St. Michael chaplet

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Steven and I first met Fr. Tito Ayo, SOLT at Sam and Ning’s annual pilgrim rosary, May 2011, and found his dry wit most refreshing.

“You remind me of my very special friend, Fr. Carmelo Fonseca,” I told Fr. Tito.  “We met as volunteers in the Latin American Mission Program (LAMP) in Matamoros, Mexico, July 1966.  I wish you could meet him!”

Long-lost friend

Carmelo and I were among a bunch of idealistic spring chickens back when— he a young seminarian, me a naïve green bean— but we remained close friends even though we lost contact with each other almost immediately after our month of service.

Carmelo visited mom off and on and one day left his address for me.  Regrettably, I misplaced it without having written even one letter!  Still, I never forgot and always longed to find him to the point of tearfully imploring not just St. Anthony’s intercession, but also that of all the angels and saints over the years.

Blogging buds

So what was the connection between Fr. Tito and Carmelo? I wondered.

Aside from the obvious, the only common trait I could attest to was their mischievous sense of humor.  Maybe Fr. Tito and Carmelo shared other attributes?  But what really impressed me about Fr. Tito was his eagerness to start a blog on WordPress (WP).

OLCC7916-25aSteven and I couldn’t believe that he wanted to come over to the house for a day of intensive yet friendly tutoring when no one else had been even remotely interested!

What a fun, productive day we had!  Fr. Tito was relaxed, down to earth, and funny, as well as bright, well-organized, and self-motivated!  He set up his WP blog in no time, and we’ve followed him ever since.  (See “reflections” widget in right sidebar.)

Coincidences

Later that year Fr. Tito emailed to share his good news: The bishop had assigned him to St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Banquete, TX.

“That’s wonderful!” I responded.  “I can hardly wait to take photos of your church for my blog!”

Then we lost track of time until I had my own good news to share.  I’d serendipitously discovered Carmelo’s address, June 2012!  I couldn’t believe it’d been under my nose for years, so well-kept that it’d remained hidden from view with other important papers in a large ziplock bag crammed between books on a low shelf near my workspace.  I was so deliriously overjoyed that I laughed and cried.  Until reality set in.

The address might not even be valid anymore! 

As I searched for Carmelo’s name online, a duh moment left me totally stunned!  Why hadn’t I done this sooner?!!!

I laughed aloud when I located Carmelo’s address: Parroquia San Miguel Arcángel, Diaz Ordaz, Mexico! 

How sweet to discover that both Carmelo and Fr. Tito were connected to St. Michael through their parishes!  I immediately wrote my letter and mailed it the following day so I could hope for a quick reply.  (I had no way of knowing the significance of the date: Carmelo had been ordained June 18, 1971!  On mom’s birthday, no less!)

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St. Michael chaplet

More than two years passed before Steven and I finally got around to Sunday Mass at St. Michael’s, September 7, 2014.  Steven had checked the church website in advance and learned that parishioners pray the St. Michael chaplet before Mass.  He’d even printed the prayers from EWTN for us to join in, but I had difficulty keeping up with the devotion.  I felt no sense of ownership!

Interacting with Fr. Tito and his parishioners that morning made me wonder about Carmelo’s church community.  Did they also pray the St. Michael chaplet before Mass?

I really missed Carmelo!  Our letter exchanges had been filled with eager anticipation for lively conversations in what he’d hoped would be the near future.  Only God trumped our plans.  Carmelo was called home on June 26, 2014— just eight days after the forty-third anniversary of his ordination— so our visits would have to wait a bit longer.

Enjoying the drive home from Banquete gave me time to reminisce, reflect, and think.  Since May 2008, I’d developed an ongoing fascination with St. Michael but didn’t know why.  Maybe because the name and its variants are popular among both genders within our small family?  What other reason could there be? I wondered.

The “saints” page that I’d started for the blog came to mind as well as the leaflets and prayer cards received over the years from Franciscan Mission Associates, mostly, but also from other sources.  And Sr. Bernadette, OCD had sent me a St. Michael chaplet with the prayers too.  Only I didn’t gravitate to those!  Too uninviting!

I’d placed the chaplet by the praying Mary statue that Sr. Encarnación, OP had given me years before.  If I saw the chaplet every day, might I be inclined to pray with it?  Probably not.  Still, I sensed St. Michael beckoning to me with growing constancy.  But why?  How could I embrace the prayers if I couldn’t relate to the chaplet?  The colors were drab; the words, archaic.  Missing was the joyful presentation!

MB12312-3a  MB12312-4a MB12312-4b MB12312-4c  MB12312-3b

On our way from Banquete the dilemma resolved itself.  I visualized a color-coded gold-blue-red St. Michael chaplet.  So, once home, I not only beaded the prototype, but also created the accompanying prayer cards.  Then, having bought the medals, I delighted in making the chaplets and printing the cards to share with others to grow the devotion.

Spending quality time with St. Michael has been so much fun!

Beaded samples

FrP121814        Betty4315-13        FrM12714a        StM112914-5

StM-a  StM-archangel  StM-guardian  StM-b

StM112314-4        KGS1815-1        MH111514a        MiA4315-5

Oh, dear Michael, you are the keeper of justice and goodwill.
Please watch over me that I may make sound decisions in my life,
and help me not to stray off the path of righteousness
(St. Michael medal; edited).

Prayers

Lon-StM-1a       Lon-StM-1b      Lon-StM-1c      Lon-StM-1d

Lon-StM-2a      Lon-StM-2d      Lon-StM-2b      Lon-StM-2c

For divine guidance…  Enlighten our minds, O Lord, by your shining radiance.  Then, we can see how best to act and may have the needed strength to do so.  Through Christ, our lord, your son, we ask this gift.  Amen.

For special friends…  You flood the hearts of all the faithful, O God, with the gifts of love by the grace of the Holy Spirit.  Give health of mind and body to all our friends for whom we entreat your favor.  May they love you with all their strength and be always pleasing to you in every way.  Through Jesus Christ, our lord, your son, we ask this blessing.  He it is who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the same spirit, one God, for all the ages to come.  Amen.

FMA82213-R40a        FMA82213-R40b        FMA82213-R40c        FMA82213-R40d

FMA-R-8R-a        FMA-R-8R-b        FMA-R-8R-c        FMA-R-8R-d

FMA-StM-H103a        FMA-StM-H103b        FMA-StM-H66b        FMA-StM-H66a

Contact information

The two prayers above (Retreat Booklet, B-20) and the St. Michael Archangel leaflets and cards are from Fr. Primo, OFM at Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mount Vernon, NY 10551-0598.  The two sources below are from Miniature Stories of the Saints (Lord, 1943, pp. 26-27) and The Pieta Prayer Booklet (MLOR Corporation, 1996, p. 56).

LordSJ1943-1b      LordSJ1943-27      LordSJ1943-26

MLOR1996-1a        MLOR1996-M56        MLOR1996-1b

St. Michael the Archangel – Banquete, TX

SMAC9714-12a        SMAC9714-9        SMAC9714-12b

SMAC9714-68        SMAC9714-16        SMAC9714-15

SMAC9714-46        SMAC9714-18        SMAC9714-37

SMAC9714-49        SMAC9714-61        SMAC9714-64        SMAC9714-42

SMAC9714-28    SMAC9714-29    SMAC9714-32

SMAC9714-56        SMAC9714s-5        SMAC9714-58

SMAC9714-53    SMAC9714-55    SMAC9714-66

SMAC9714-70        SMAC91414-1        SMAC91414-2

SMAC91414-3        SMAC91414-4        SMAC9714-71

Thanks to Letty Garcia, parish secretary pictured above with Fr. Tito,
for graciously assisting me when I’ve contacted the office.

May 26, 2015

Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in the good life.  Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits
(St. Philip Neri).

September 29, 2016

The angels lead the soul to the peaks of the spiritual life.  In revealing the beauty of God, they awaken in the soul a more burning thirst for union with him (Jean Danielou, The Angels and Their Mission).

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Links of interest…  Angels: about (more) / book / choirscreation (more) / holy angels / servants of God / spiritual lifestories…  Archangels: feast (more) / Gabriel / Michael / Michael, Gabriel, St. Raphael / mightynovenas / prayers: for protection – in a time of terror & grief – to St. Michael / Raphael (joyful friend) / rosary / Uriel / seraphimseven…  Christian angelic hierarchy (book – more)…  For God & country (book / more)…  Fr. Tito Ayo: Hope in the word (Sunday reflections) One word. Only hope.
(blog) / SOLT / St. Michael’s…  Franciscan Mission Associates: contact / devotional saintslight a candle / prayer requests / quarterly newsletter / saint & prayer of the month / who we are…  Guardian angel: about (more) / badge / chaplet / eight things to know & share about the guardian angelmemorial / prayers (for humanity – more – special)…  Keeping it Catholic (more)…  Legendary sword of St. Michael…  Lessons from a monastery: hospitality…  Our Lady, queen of angels (miracles / novena)…  Padre Carmelo Fonseca: LAMP / obituary / San Miguel Arcángel: facebook – parish…  Prayer to St. Michael: Our defense in daily battle…  Rosaries & chaplets: collection / eleven / for the sick & dying / maker’s guide / pictures & prayers / St. Michael (YouTube) / various…  Social media…  There’s dynamite in praise (Gossett, 1974): about / book (more) / miracle healing testimonies…  We are called to be angels…  When St. Michael crushed a very Pope-ish looking devil

WP posts…  Angels all around…  Angels keeping watch…  Call of service…  Familiar yet new…  Making meaning…  Mary’s seven joys…  Promise of hope…  Quiet prayer time…  Si quaeris miracula…  Sweet Jesus…  Today’s Beatitudes…  Two angels

St. Anthony chaplets

Days before the New Year 2012, I requested five St. Anthony relics from Father Primo at Franciscan Mission Associates; so I was thrilled to tears when I received them January fourteenth.

Five relic chaplets

Mary Ellen and Steve were supposed to accompany us to Stella Maris for Mass on the twenty-first, so I beaded her relic chaplet first.  Two days later, Olivia was having surgery, so I had hers ready by then.  The ones for Junebug, Neli-Beli, and the Lovely Ning waited until January twenty-ninth.

Since Steven wasn’t scheduled to serve at our church, we attended Mass at St. Paul’s, met up with the gang afterwards, and celebrated over lunch.

I was able to present each chaplet personally, but I gave Neli’s to Ning, since we thought she hadn’t yet returned from visiting her family in the Philippines.  Then off we went to Alice and Roger’s house for the pilgrim rosary that afternoon.

“Little booklet”

Imagine my surprise at seeing Neli looking more radiant than ever as I entered Alice’s house!

Before I even had the chance to say anything about her chaplet, Neli-Beli with her Mona Lisa smile handed me a blue tote.

“There’s a little booklet in there for you,” she teased.

Reaching into the bag, I found the novena booklet from her recent trip.

Wow!  Perfectimundo!

Right away I knew that I’d be adding some of the prayers to this post.

St. Anthony chaplets

Unlike my Franciscan Crowns, which are all different from each other, these St. Anthony relic chaplets are not only very much alike, but also almost identical to the prototype.

               

               

Prayer card

Accompanying each relic chaplet was the card that Steven printed for me.  The prayers are from my “Si quaeris miracula” post; the photos, those taken of the statue Steven bought for me at the Oblate gift shop right before Christmas.

               

Prayers

Before study…  O light of the world, infinite God, father of eternity, giver of wisdom and knowledge, and ineffable dispenser of every spiritual grace, who knows all things before they are made, who makes the darkness and the light, stretch forth your hand and place your spirit, O Lord, in my heart that I may understand and retain what I learn and meditate on.  Do lovingly, mercifully, and gently inspire me with your grace.  Do teach, guide, and strengthen the thoughts of my mind and let your discipline instruct me to the end and the council of the most high help me, through your infinite wisdom and mercy.  Amen.

Grace of dying well…  Great St. Anthony of Padua, sweet hope of all who implore you, [please help me obtain] by your powerful intercession the greatest of all blessings, the grace of dying well.  Do not allow [that I should die in] mortal sin.  By your intercession obtain for me that, at the last moment, I may experience the most profound sorrow for the sins of my whole life; that I may be [filled] with love for Jesus; [and that I may have] confidence in the power of his blood which was shed for me.  May my hands’ last movements be to carry the crucifix to my lips; my last words, the names of Jesus and Mary.  In [your embrace may I] have the happiness to see God, to love him, and to possess him with you for all eternity….  Amen.

Grace of God…  O glorious St. Anthony, God has given you the power of miracles, a power you have exercised for centuries.  Since God has given you… the power of finding that which is lost, I come to you with the confidence of a child….  By your intercession obtain for me… the grace of God, if I have had the misfortune to lose it.  May I also find my former fervor in [both] the service of God and the practice of virtue.  As a pledge of these graces so important for my eternal salvation, may I also find what I have lost [so that I can] experience… your goodness and increase my confidence and my love for you.  Amen.

To the Infant Jesus…  O sweet Jesus, best and only hope of afflicted souls, I prostrate at your feet and beseech you, through the immeasurable love and grace with which you visited, comforted, and embraced your blessed servant, St. Anthony, come to me at his intercession and let me taste how sweet your presence is in the souls that trust in you.  Amen.

Zeal…  Glorious St. Anthony, who by your sanctity and your eloquence triumphed over the hardest heart, obtain for us the grace to follow faithfully the divine call….  Amen.

Contact information

To request a St. Anthony relic, contact Franciscan Mission Associates, P.O. Box 598, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

Links of interest…  Franciscan: prayers / requests / saints…  Franciscan Mission Associates: contact / devotions / light a candleprayer requests / quarterly newsletter…  Messenger of St. Anthony (editorials)…  Si quaeris miracula: prayer / song…  St. Anthony: bread / hymn / life / nine Tuesdays devotion / relic / S.A.G. (miraculous mail deliveries) / shrine / tongue’s feast

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Franciscan experience…  Holy relics…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan Crown…  Prayer…  Promise of hope…  Saint of miracles…  Si quaeris miracula…  Soulful…  St. Anthony…  St. Felix…  Tony’s big day…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies

Two prompt replies

New Year’s Eve 2010, I began an experiment.  I wrote five notecard messages and mailed them the following day.

Of the five, I received two responses: an email within days and a five-page letter shortly thereafter.

The email exchanges continued only for a few days; but the letter exchange became a mutual expression of friendship, joy, and sharing that continues on a regular basis even in 2012.

Old wives’ tale

So maybe just maybe there’s something to be said about Tía Quina’s urban legend regarding New Year’s Eve: “Whatever you’re doing as the old year passes sets the tone for what awaits you in the new year, so be sure your house is clean and all else is in order?”  Or maybe it was just plain contrivance on my part to lend credence to the old wives’ tale while simultaneously doing my small part to bolster the economic status of the United States postal service?

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Of course, 2011 may simply have been a serious case of mail tag— for every letter received, one was sent in return— but 2012 already appears to be a continuation of New Year’s Eve 2010.

Tía Quina’s theory

Therefore, based on personal observation and the log I kept of both incoming and outgoing letters from and to friends and acquaintances, respectively, my well-timed New Year’s Eve 2010 experiment wasn’t so much about receiving responses from all five to whom I’d initially written.  Instead, Tía Quina’s theory was a more of a predictor of mail to come and go in 2011, refreshing, appealing, and enjoyable for sure!

Two prompt replies

On that note, I have to say that I was thrilled to the moon to receive prompt replies from both Sister in Australia and Father Primo at Franciscan Mission Associates, Saturday, January 14, 2012.  And, oh, what glorious responses they were!

Letter from Sister

           

Carmelite Monastery – 591 Ballina Road
Goonellabah, NSW 2480 Australia
8/1/12 – Feast of the Epiphany

Praised be the Holy Child Jesus!  Thank you for your lovely card, wishes, letter….

I am happy to hear from you and, as I read your letter, I find the Holy Child Jesus has taken us along the same road of suffering which is grace filled.  I offer my condolences and prayers on [the] passing away of your dear mother….

I will continue to pray for your family… and keep their names under the Child Jesus and ask Little Margaret to help them….

How wonderful [that] you have found your help in the guidance of
St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila).  Our Holy Mother, as we call her, is great and speaks to everyone individually [through] her writings, which were inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross), after reading her biography, put it down and said this was the truth and became a Catholic and a Carmelite!

With regard to myself, the Holy Child Jesus has given me the grace to share in his sufferings, affronts, and his poverty in a real way.  Finally, one can say [that] Jesus is the only one that matters and repeat [the] fiat: “Jesus, I trust in you!”

I do not have an email address now, nor a computer, [nor] access to the Internet, hence, please write to me….

Today, being Epiphany here, we have a custom in Carmel that the Sister who gets the bean in the cake is the king and chooses the intercessor for the year.  I got the bean (the first time in my sixteen years [at] Carmel!), so I have chosen Little Margaret as the intercessor.  The Little King has arranged all this for his spouse!

A lady in England has been cured of stomach cancer after praying to Little Margaret and [using] the chaplet.  It is being investigated.  Please pray for [its] success.

I pray that the Holy Child Jesus will bless this New Year 2012 for you, Steve, and all your family and make it a brighter one, full of joy and peace.

Thank you… and may St. Teresa help you grow closer to Jesus.

I hold you close to my heart in prayer.  God bless you abundantly….

With loving gratitude….

Sister’s cantique

It is a custom in Carmel to prepare a cantique by each Sister to be sung before the crib during Christmas.  This year I got the card, Going to a Crib in a Farm Cart, [and] this is a copy of it [from] January 3 (our titular Feast of Holy Name).  God bless [you].

The angels singing the mystery which was full of jubilee

Gloria in excelsis deo.  Glory, glory to God.  Alleluia!  Jesus, be my Jesus.

The Baptist pointing to the Lamb of God / The shepherds singing good tidings of joy of the eternal shepherd boy

Verbo caro factum est et habitatarit in nobis!

Hastening in a farm cart in bad weather / In poverty, affronts, and sufferings / On a journey that takes a lifetime / With many falls along the way / Always confident of your merciful hand to pick me up and start afresh / And to sing my fiat— “Jesus, I trust in you”— along the way

The way of nothing takes me quickly / The night of faith, my illumination— porta fidei to our mystical Bethlehem / Where the Eternal Child, God the King of Grace and Glory, is born

To worship the joy of the beauty of Jesus, our Savior / Wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger / Concealing your infinite riches of your divinity / To show your infinite love for us, the Word made flesh

Glory, glory to God.  Alleluia!  Jesus, be my Jesus.

With Mary, his immaculate mother / Adoring the earthly beatific vision of Jesus, the inexpressible sweetness of the incarnation / The face of the Eternal Word

And with Joseph, the shadow of the Eternal Father / In deepest reverence of the Holy Child Jesus / In bright light in the hidden sweetness of the mysteries of the holy childhood

My office at the crib is to be your aid of the verbo caro factum est / The joy of all joys of all the earth / Making visible the Queen of all mysteries / The mystery of the Blessed Trinity

Glory, glory to God.  Alleluia!  Jesus, be my Jesus.

The first drops of your precious blood / Little Lord Jesus, seal and consecrate this New Year 2012 Annus Domini / May thy name, Jesus, resound in our voices / Unite all peoples and all nations around your manger in peace

Glory, glory to God.  Alleluia!  Jesus, be my Jesus.

Maranatha / Come, Lord Jesus.

Letter from Father Primo

FMA11412aFranciscan Mission Associates
274-280 West Lincoln Avenue
P. O. Box 598
Mount Vernon, NY 10551-3017
December 30, 2011

The joy of the Lord fills my heart as I write to wish you His peace, love, and blessings….

Your love, sacrifice, and generous heart have been a source of inspiration for us to go forward.  Your sacrifice is acceptable and pleasing to God and that is why we are able to achieve a little bit of establishing the kingdom of God.  “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Jesus Christ” (Philemon 4:19) is my prayer for you.

Drs. Lanoux, the seminarians and our friars join me to thank you sincerely and pray for you.  Be assured of a remembrance of your intentions in our Novena of Masses in Bethlehem.

May the grace and blessing of the Infant Jesus be with you.

                   

August 3, 2012

“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart” (Phyllis Theroux).

December 31, 2016

“New Year’s Eve— this is the moment of beginning again…, the moment in which the old touches the new, in which we offer gratitude to God” (Catherine Doherty).

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Links of interest…  Child Jesus: about / chaplet (more) / history / little crown / petitions…  Flower of Carmel (Goonellabah): contact info / home / prayer…  Franciscan Mission Associates: prayer requests / quarterly newsletter / seasonal devotions…  Hymn to St. Anthony of Padua…  Is there a new etiquette about writing thank-you notes…  Letters of note…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…  Si quaeris miracula: prayer / song

WP posts…   Budding relationships…  Christmas year ’round…  Connected tangents…  Franciscan experience…  Gift of love…  Growing pains…  Holy relics…  In good time…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan Crown…  On being Christian…  Prayer…  Promise of hope…  Prayerful ways…  Santo Niño…  Seven dwelling places…  Si quaeris miracula…  Soulful…  St. Anthony…  St. Felix…  Sweet Jesus…  Teresa of Avila…  Two letters…  Venerable Margaret

Two letters

Every New Year’s Eve without fail, I remember what my maternal great-aunt, Tía Quina, told me when I was seventeen.

“Whatever you’re doing as the old year passes sets the tone for what awaits you in the new year, so be sure your house is clean and all else is in order.”

Setting priorities

Last year during the holidays, I decided that I wasn’t cleaning house and doing laundry as usual before the new year.  I’d experienced such great success with my letter writing experiment from New Year’s Eve 2010, that I wanted to focus on my correspondence instead.

In 2011, I’d wanted to touch base with Father Robert at Franciscan Mission Associates but missed the opportunity when he was succeeded by Father Primo in October.  Plus, I hadn’t requested two more St. Anthony relics from him as I’d intended.

       

Similarly, I’d wanted to share my thoughts on Teresa of Avila (Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc, 1979) with Sister at the Flower of Carmel monastery in Australia, since she’d emailed twice early in the year; but I just hadn’t made the time.

With 2011 fast coming to an end, I couldn’t put off either communication any longer.  I got busy writing and finally mailed the two letters with time to spare.

Letter to Sister

27 December 2011

Dearest Sister,

It’s been a very long time since I last wrote and/or emailed; but it’s been a year of bearing my crosses quietly on my own, too.

When I last wrote to you, I was so worried that I was frustrated, tired, and disappointed.  I typed a very long letter and attached it to my email to you.  And then I felt badly, guilty, for having shared my woes….

I took a hard look at the situation which, believe it or not, grew progressively worse; [so] I chose to step away….  to simply let go… and begin my journey.

Long story short, I discovered Teresa of Avila; and, oh, what a difference she’s made in my life!

It’s funny how things happen, but I truly believe that God has his own very personal timeline for each of us.  And wouldn’t you know it?  I started shucking extraneous habits.  Not bad habits but things that kept me from focusing inwardly.

I don’t know how it happened, but I lost interest in emailing and in other things as well.  And I began to discover some pretty amazing stuff.

Every day since you and I have known each other I’ve thought of you, and I’ve been faithful about praying the chaplet you sent me in 2010.  It’s something that’s taken root in my life, [something] that’s as natural as my dialogues with the Infant since before Segy… and I visited Our Lady of Victory Church in Prague (July, 1998).

I think that the more I’ve recited the chaplet prayers the more I’ve learned how to bear my crosses, how to focus my attention on what’s really important, and how to deal with adversity in my life.

Certainly, I’ve had a lot of ta-dah moments: epiphanies that make me laugh or cry or both.  I’ve enjoyed writing about my experiences and [posting] them on my personal blog ‘cause I want others to learn about St. Teresa as well.

It’s amazing how I’ve been able to connect bits and pieces from my life leading to when I read Teresa of Avila and have found that I was readying for her messages [all along].  Her book is such a joyful treasure from God!  A pick-me-up when I need uplifting.  A friend when I need a smile and a sweet hello.

So, yes, bad things have continued to happen; but God’s allowed me to remain focused on what he wants for me to see, to think about, to do.  I don’t know how else to explain it.  As I said, I wrote five posts about St. Teresa’s book for my personal blog [and] found that her messages have been exactly what I’ve needed since I was a child.

St. Teresa has become my mentor, a very loving close friend who’s with me to share her teachings… beautiful, heartfelt… so that I don’t feel alone and/or lost.  She’s helped me understand what it means to tell the Infant that I accept all the crosses he wants to send my way.

Somehow I can make it.  Despite the pain and the sorrow, despite the disappointment and the frustration, despite the anger that I feel against injustices… still… I welcome the crosses.

Mind you, [when] I’m having a tough time… not doing well at all with my crosses… I simply tell the Infant,

Please forgive me.  I’m having a really tough time today.  I’m sorry.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that I’ve found inspiration in a little book that’d been waiting on the shelf since April, 2008.

Untouched, forgotten, it called out to me one morning; and, when I began to read it, I couldn’t set it down!  I’ve reread it countless times.  It’s an awesome read!

[So, yes.]  Lots has happened since I last wrote….

Mom died November 29….  She [believed] in prayer, and she loved the Sisters she communicated with.  [She gave] me her oldest sister’s Infant [statue] in 1999 [after my aunt died].

Since I’d faithfully used the chaplet you’d initially sent me, I placed it in mom’s hand before the casket was sealed at the funeral home.  My thinking was that she knew I was devoted to the Infant, so she [can] now join me in prayer from heaven whenever I spend my special time with the Infant….

I’m now praying with the [second] chaplet you sent [even though it was meant for our daughter], and I’m thinking that you’re fine with it.

I also want to thank you again for the six candles you sent with [the second] chaplet.  I lit one… early this year….  [Then] I gave away three [to the couples in] our Why Catholic? group….  The two I have left… are keeping me company until I have a very special reason to use them… or until I gift them to someone.

So you see?  Your gifts have gone a very long way!  The very same way that your prayers have continuously embraced us all this time!

We love you!  Thank you!

Letter to Father Primo

29 December 2011

Dear Father Primo,

In the 1980s, Father Roderick sent me three relics.  Then in the 1990s, Father Robert sent me two.  However, I always manage to give them away to someone who’s in need of everyday miracles and friendship from our beloved St. Anthony.

At this time, I’m asking… please… that you send me five, as there are three couples in our Why Catholic? family and another couple, Olivia and George, in dire need.

I’d like to bead some chaplets for them and print out the prayers so that they, too, can know St. Anthony as I have since age thirteen.

If you could do this for me, I’d be ever so [happy], as I’ve included myself in the five.  You see, I feel… lost without my relic; but, as I said, I gave my last one away when I beaded two chaplets to give to Ruth and Sabrina… at [the] doctor’s office.

Please know that I understand if you can’t send me the number I’ve requested.  It’s fine.  But I do really need one for Olivia because she’s [undergoing surgery, January 23], and I’d like to make her day by giving her a promise of hope through St. Anthony’s intercession.  Plus, George worries a lot about his three adult kids….

Thanks ever so much for all you do.  Know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers… the same way Father Roderick was, the same way Father Robert was.

God bless you and your Franciscan associates abundantly!

Prayers

God of all time, on this New Year’s Day we place the days and months of the new year into your hands and we pray, “Lord, hear our prayer.”  Fill our days with the blessings of family, friendship, laughter, and love.  We pray, “Lord, hear our prayer.”  Show us ways to spend our time serving your children in need.  We pray, “Lord, hear our prayer.”  Help us appreciate the time we have to listen to your Word and to talk with you in prayer.  We pray, “Lord, hear our prayer” (R. L. Benziger, 2016).

In the year ahead, Lord of New Beginnings, stretch our souls and move us into new awareness of the human family, their needs and their longings.

Make these into our needs, our longings so [that] we move more confidently from our small selves to a deeper sense of community where our resolutions reflect our interdependence.

Help us recognize the possibilities you have offered to us as a people, so we can commit to practice the hope that happens when we gather gratefully n your name and we hold up to you this fragile, precious world.

Grant us all the grace in this year ahead to sow the seeds of justice and to gather peace in our day.  Amen (Capuchin Communications: Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, 2016).

August 3, 2012

“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart” (Phyllis Theroux).

December 31, 2016

The past is no longer yours; the future is not yet in your power.  You have only the present wherein to do good (St. Alphonsus Liguori).

Links of interest…  Child Jesus: chaplet (more) / history / little crown / petitions…  Flower of Carmel (Goonellabah): contact info / home / prayer…  Franciscan Mission Associates: prayer requests / quarterly newsletter / seasonal devotions…  Help from heaven…  Hymn to St. Anthony of Padua…  Journalism as an act of grace…  Letters of note…  Nine Tuesdays devotion…  Si quaeris miracula: prayer / song…  St. Anthony’s Guild: devotions / ecards / prayer requests / prayers

WP posts…   Budding relationships…  Christmas year ’round…  Connected tangents…  Franciscan experience…  Gift of love…  Growing pains…  Holy relics…  In good time…  Making meaning…  My Franciscan Crown…  On being Christian…  Prayer…  Promise of hope…  Prayerful ways…  Santo Niño…  Seven dwelling places…  Si quaeris miracula…  Soulful…  St. Anthony…  St. Felix…  Sweet Jesus…  Teresa of Avila…  Two prompt replies…  Venerable Margaret

Christmas year ’round

Months before the Catholic Shoppe permanently closed last year, I dropped by to replenish my medals stash, since I bead Franciscan Crowns and St. Anthony chaplets.

               

BR7314b                        Lon31415

But why stop there

I also looked at the dual-sided medals— the kind with a different saint on either side— for Our Lady of Guadalupe, and who should I see but San Juan Diego.

Oh, good!  I can use these on some of my crowns or make bracelets with them.

Then I found some St. Anthony medals, so I got a few of those for the chaplets.  I much prefer the relics from Franciscan Mission Associates, but I have to make do with what’s available.

What I really and truly wanted were Holy Infant of Prague medals for some chaplets that I hadn’t yet begun to design, but I didn’t find any; and the shop had no idea when some would be in stock.

What to do, what to do since I rarely drive into town to buy items I need.

Veritable rose

As I stood there trying to decide, I examined the medals I was holding and made quite a discovery.  Not all the Lady of Guadalupe medals were paired with San Juan Diego.  I’d erroneously assumed that all the medals in the bin were the same, yet some had the Santo Niño de Atocha instead of San Juan Diego.

Hallelujah!  I’ll buy more of these with the Holy Infant and try my hand at crafting the chaplets I’ve had on hold all this time.  Then, later on, I’ll come back to buy some Infant of Prague medals.

The beauty of it all is that the Infant, like Our Lady, is known to devotees by various names.  Nevertheless, he’s one and the same regardless of our name for him, as the bishop told us at the feast day Mass of the Santo Niño de Cebú.

Bishop’s homily

Christmas is not over in the Philippines until the Santo Niño de Cebú feast day.  The celebration began in 1521 when Magellan first introduced the statue from Spain.  After a great fire, the Santo Niño statue miraculously remained intact; so it’s now a much venerated relic.  But, whether the Infant is called the St. Infant of Prague or the Santo Niño de Atocha, the practice is the same.  There are many beautiful stories.  Growing up [in Ireland], there were always statues in homes.  The custom was to place a coin under the statue, so the family would never go broke.  The Infant of Prague statue was placed outside to guarantee fine weather for a wedding.  The message from the Santo Niño has always been associated with humility, love, and trust.  The Santo Niño calls in whispers.  If we listen carefully, we hear him.  The Lord calls us in different ways to give us a message to do what he asks.  The Lord waits patiently for all of us to come to him, nonjudgmentally to follow him.  If we do that— follow his counsel, trust in him— we need not worry.  With him all things are possible (Bishop Edmund Carmody, 2009).

Two prototypes

Finally having both the time and the inclination to focus on creating the Child Jesus chaplets, I got to work.

The chaplet on the left, strung on black hemp, was completed first.

Since the devotion starts with three Our Father‘s, I chose blue for God’s powerful greatness.  The pink beads represent Our Lady’s tender loving care, so they’re the twelve Hail Mary‘s.  The green beads denote not only the promise of hope for the chaplet’s devotees, but also the thanksgiving and praise sent heavenward with the three Gloria‘s.

The chaplet on the right had me in contemplative, problem solving mode overnight.  It’s visually different from the first because of its bright orange hue reminiscent of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Strung with elastic, it can be worn as a bracelet.

Christmas year ’round

Although the second chaplet posed somewhat of a challenge— um, many— since hiding knots takes a bit of creative talent, I’ve got my materials set out to bead at least one more bracelet with the three remaining Our Lady of Guadalupe/Santo Niño de Atocha medals on the dining table.

I can hardly wait to see how the rest of the chaplets turn out.  And I’ll certainly add photos upon completion.  After all, sharing the Child Jesus chaplet with others is one way to keep Christ in Christmas year ’round.

January 18, 2012

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November 18, 2014

MEG22912-2a   Lon10515-3   MG10315   lN71214-2a   CJ22912-1a

SD111314-9a    D-Ar101614-8a    SrL92114-7a    MR10615-11

Pdf file…  Child Jesus chaplet prayers

Links of interest…  Catholic devotions: A spiritual vocabulary…  Five ways to put all those Christmas cards to good use…  Franciscan Mission Associates: prayer requests / quarterly newsletter / seasonal devotion…  Holy Infant of Prague: about / chaplet
(more) / devotion / feast / history / little crown / novena / of good health / petitions…  Santo Niño de Atocha: about / chapel / history / miracles / origin / prayers / story…  Santo Niño de Cebú: basilica / feast / history / hymn (YouTube) / novena / origin / perpetual novena / poem / song (YouTube)…

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Christmas blessings…  Connected tangents…  Faith and prayer…  Faces of Mary…  Father’s guided tour…  Guadalupe Church…  Holy relics…  Marian devotions…  Mary’s seven joys…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  My Franciscan Crown…  Oh, happy day!…   On being Christian…  Our Lady…  Our Lady’s church…  Prayers and blessings…  Promise of hope…  Repeated prayers…  San Juan Diego…  Santo Niño…  Si quaeris miracula…  Sweet Jesus…  Venerable Margaret

Making meaning

Reading Teresa of Avila (Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc., 1979) was like eating that exploding candy popular some years ago.  Couldn’t get enough, couldn’t stop the ricocheting, couldn’t describe the experience.

Then I reread the book off and on: In the usual sequence, back to front, front to middle, middle to either end, skipping around, revisiting parts with relish, reviewing my notes in the margins, comparing and contrasting with what I know, figuratively adding the book to my friends list.

Clear message

With all the mental pingbacks I’ve received since reading the book, the ol’ pea brain’s been so full that sharing has been delayed for lack of knowing where to start.  Still, words and phrases from the book persist, and the message is clear.

Through prayer, humility, and perseverance one can embrace the cross, surrender to God’s will, and receive God’s favors.

Connections

Teresa of Avila reminds me of St. Dominic, whose prayerful ways centered on God— mind, body, heart, and soul— and St. Anthony, whose chaplet is based on the Miraculous Responsory.   On a more personal level, too, the book provides illumination for my evolving spirituality.

Awareness

Days prior to finding Teresa of Avila on the hallway shelf, I’d been praying St. Anthony’s chaplet when, quite unexpectedly, I was filled with great awe and understanding.

Oh, my, gosh!  I get it!  I finally get it!  I know what prayer is!

I love my Franciscan Crown and the Child Jesus chaplet that Sister sent me from Australia, but St. Anthony’s chaplet is so powerful that I can’t get through the prayers without tearful emotion.

               

My Franciscan Crown and my Child Jesus chaplet are alike in that they commemorate special times in the lives of the Blessed Mother and the Holy Infant, and some of the mysteries are even the same.

St. Anthony’s chaplet is different, though.  Based on the thirteen favors of the Miraculous Responsory, the chaplet builds commitment to God with
St. Anthony’s help and requires not my passive recollection, but my proactive engagement.  Its purpose is to help me become a better person, centered on God as the ultimate prize, as St. Dominic would say.

What a revelation to be enlightened by the power of prayer!

Timely lesson

So, was this God’s perfect timing yet again?  Did he in his infinite wisdom as teacher extraordinaire prepare me for Teresa of Avila?

Based on prior knowledge and experience, God’s sense of humor is too weird and too timely for me to think otherwise.

What is prayer then?

St. Dominic planted the seed.  St. Anthony nurtured it.  And St. Teresa harvested the crop.

Prayer isn’t asking God for something.  Prayer is embracing the cross.  Prayer is loving God and doing for God without giving thought to what he can do for us in return.

God grants graces to ease the pain, manage the suffering, address the injustices.  He also grants favors to whomever he wants, whenever he wants, however he wants.  But not because we ask. 

This is why St. Dominic believed that we should center on God alone, not on petitioning for ourselves and others.

God knows what we need, and he provides accordingly.  In his own time.

Making meaning 

Think about it.  How many times have we asked for something and never received it?  Or we received it but not right away?  Or we received something totally different?  Or we received everything beyond our wildest imaginings along with heavily weighted crosses to bear?

I can think of one prayer I carried in my heart for more than two years.  And, oh, the agony I endured until I finally gave it up.  Completely.

You know what’s in my heart.  You know the pain I feel.  But I love you more.  You know best.  I give it up to you.  You know what to do.

It took a lot to let go but, little by little, I was okay again.  Then, within less than a year, I received God’s wonderful surprise.  I was so happy that I couldn’t even remember the misery I’d inflicted on myself for worrying all that time before.

Sadly, I know that I can easily revert to wanting my way again.  Only now I understand better than I did before: Prayer is loving God unconditionally, entrusting our all to his care no matter what.

Prayer

I beseech you, O Lord, give me the fidelity I need to persevere with humility and constancy in this path of continual adherence to your will.  With your help I will make this practice the center of my interior life.

O my God, shall I ever fall again?  Yes, for I am frailty itself; but I know that you will be even more eager to help me rise again than I shall be prone to fall.  My firm resolution and my perseverance will be to “begin again” every day, every instant, humbling myself profoundly for my weakness, but having utter confidence in your will to sanctify my soul (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD in Divine Intimacy, 2013, p. 19).

St. Dominic’s blessing

May God the Father who made us bless us.  May God the Son send his healing among us.  May God the Holy Spirit move within us and give us eyes to see with, ears to hear with, and hands that your work might be done.  May we walk and preach the word of God to all.  May the angel of peace watch over us and lead us at last by God’s grace to the kingdom.  Amen.

April 30, 2011

Father Robert, OP at the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus in Chicago shares his Daily Inspiration.

“My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me” (Psalm 63:8).

Jesus said over and over again: “Be not afraid.”  Ambivalence can make life difficult.  [Being] irresolute, uncertain, indecisive… can create… anxiety.  Knowing what to do, how to judge, when to decide are all questions that can be the source of much concern and doubt.  Fears can be immobilizing to needed action.  Often our hearts are ambivalent.  In examining and evaluating one’s lifestyle, we can easily perceive that changes are in order.  This certainly is true in our relationship with God.  Spiritual writers tell us that to grow in the spirit we must let go, abandon things with which we feel most in control.  We need to break free and simplify our lives.  We are advised not to cling to things and patterns of behavior but to “let go” and cling to God.  As we move freely forward in life, trust helps us venture out, holding on tightly to God’s hand.  Trust and confidence in God’s loving care and protection are the assurance we need to move ahead in the new and exciting adventure of loving him more.

June 25, 2011

Jesus, I surrender.  I give you all of my sickness, all of my wounds, all of my grief.  You are my only hope, Lord.  Stretch out your hand and touch me with your love (the Word among us, June 2011, p. 44).

July 5, 2011

Father Robert, OP adds this Daily Inspiration.

One of his disciples said; “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1-4).

Sometime when you want to find new meaning in saying the Lord’s Prayer consider the advice of St. Teresa of Avila by saying “The Our Father” backwards.  Start from the end verse.  Mediate on each line and thought as you move toward the beginning.  It starts simply by asking God to help us fight against evil, then proceeds to asking for the needs we have to sustain our lives each day— our daily bread— this is “all that keeps us going,” physically and spiritually and then ends with the grand praise of praise, seeking God’s kingdom on earth in our hearts and in all we do.  It closes with the loving title addressed to God the Father, Abba, calling God our loving, “darling” father.

July 10, 2011

Welcome, Master of the harvest!  Sow your word in every part of me.  Grow whatever crop you desire.  I want to know you and love you more each day (the Word among us, July/August 2011, p. 31).

August 3, 2012

“The value of persistent prayer is not that God will hear us, but that we will finally hear God” (William McGill).

August 17, 2012

“Pray for the grace” is an excerpt from The Ignatian Adventure (Kevin O’Brien, SJ;
E-Magis).

Ignatian spirituality taps into our deepest desires.  In them we can discern God’s noble desires for us.

Thus, at the beginning of each prayer period, Ignatius advises that we pray for a certain grace, or gift from God: “Ask God our Lord for what I want and desire” (SE 48).  Simply naming what we deeply desire opens us to receive the gift God wants to give us.  Moreover, praying for a grace helps us to notice when we actually receive that gift later on.  In this way, we realize that the grace is not of our own making but is the result of God’s generosity to us.  Finally, praying out of our desires grounds us in the present, keeping our prayer “real.”

August 12, 2014

“If we patiently accept through love all that God allows to happen, then we will begin to taste even here on earth something of the delights the saints experience in heaven”
(St. Jane Frances de Chantal).

October 16, 2014

“Prayer is ‘a conscious turning to the invisible friend who is always near'” (St. Teresa of Avila).

March 20, 2015

“It is essential to begin the practice of prayer with a firm resolution of persevering in it” (St. Teresa of Avila).

April 22, 2015

Faith believes, hope prays, and charity begs in order to give to others.  Humility of heart forms the prayer, confidence speaks it, and perseverance triumphs over God himself (St. Peter Julian Eymard).

May 19, 2015

“To speak heart to heart with God, you must love to be with him alone” (St. Peter Celestine).

May 22, 2015

Just as God, by the ministry of nature, gives to each animal instincts needed for its preservation and the exercise of its natural properties, so too, if we do not resist God’s grace, he gives to each of us the inspirations needed to live, work, and preserve ourselves in the spiritual life (St. Francis de Sales in Finding God’s will for you).

June 5, 2015

When praying to God, we can only ask for God since he is everything and, in giving himself, he gives us all.  In asking for him, we ask for all.  When we possess him, we can wish and ask for nothing more (Dom Augustin Guillerand in The Prayer of the Presence of God).

August 8, 2015

“We must sow the seed, not hoard it” (St. Dominic).

August 29, 2015

“No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

August 30, 2015

Jesus is waiting for you in the chapel.  Go and find him when your strength and patience are giving out, when you feel lonely and helpless.  Say to him: “You know well what is happening, my dear Jesus.  I have only you.  Come to my aid….”  And then go your way.  And don’t worry about knowing how you are going to manage.  It is enough to have told our good Lord.  He has an excellent memory (St. Jeanne Jugan).

November 13, 2015

If God seems slow in responding, it is because he is preparing a better gift.  He will not deny us.  God withholds what you are not yet ready for.  He wants you to have a lively desire for his greatest gifts.  All of which is to say, pray always and do not lose heart (St. Augustine).

November 18, 2015

“We cultivate a very small field for Christ; but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements but a heart that holds back nothing for self” (St. Rose Philippine Duchesne).

June 16, 2016

“To love God is something greater than to know him” (St. Thomas Aquinas).

August 20, 2016

There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is curiosity.  There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is vanity.  There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is love (St. Bernard).

September 19, 2016

God answers every prayer, but sometimes the answer is no.  And, if it is no, we’re better off— if we love God.  That’s why Jesus wants us to say “thy will be done” in the Our Father.  That is the sure way to happiness— the will of God (Fr. T. G. Morrow in Overcoming Sinful Anger).

January 22, 2017

God is my longing.  In whatever way God comes.  In every form, through every experience and circumstance, painful or otherwise.  God.  Only God (Paula D’Arcy in The Divine Spark).

June 15, 2017

Jesus wants us to trust him to take care of all our yesterdays and tomorrows.  He looks for souls who are willing to see the Father in every happening, then give that circumstance to him to solve, justify, make right, or straighten out.  It is not easy but it is peaceful, for we are bearing good fruit.  God is bearing fruit within us (Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnout).

June 30, 2017

I will attempt, day by day to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s holy will, not my own (St. Gabriel Possenti).

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Links of interest…  Carmelites…  Dominican heart from the beginning…  Fight or flight & the wings of prayer…  Hidden grace of unanswered prayers…  Humble French priest is teaching me to find peace & growth in suffering…  Jesus asks a question…  Letting go…  Love is a call to action (homily)…  Meditations (book review)…  Prayer: petition / six things necessary…  Simple five-step strategy to figure out what you really want…  St. Dominic: about (more) / & the living word (seed) / contemplation / prayer: biographical documentsblessing (song) – feast day – for various virtues – for vocation – litany – nine ways (more) – novena…  St. Jeanne Jugan: 1792-1879 / about / beacon / blog / books / canonization (video; 2009) / contact / Little Sisters of the Poor / memorial (YouTube) / sayings…  Teresa of Avila: 1515-1582 / about / author / biography / bookmark / books / bread recipe / chaplet prayers / convent (Avila) / doctor (1970) / feast (Oct 15) / history / interior castle (1921 book online) / patron / poems / prayer / profile / reformer / quotes / saint / timeline / works…  Teresian Carmel…  Wisdom from a 93-year-old singing nun…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Dear God…  Gift of love…  Growing pains…  In good time…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  My Franciscan Crown…  One prayer…  Prayerful ways…  Seven dwelling places…  Si quaeris miracula…  Sweet Jesus…  Teresa of Avila…  Venerable Margaret

Bearing one’s crosses

MJH6212-118c

It’s been a little more than two months since my last post and, while things have been different, it’s not surprising that things have also remained the same.

Opportunity knocking

Ruthie and Bill came by for dinner yesterday— perfect for Ruthie’s lessons on Yahoo mail and navigating both the church blog and this one.  She’s one very quick study— “a sponge,” I call her.

Our visit also allowed us quality time together, so I could learn more about her.

Revisiting St. Simon

In talking about health issues, which we all seem to have these days, I immediately remembered “revisiting St. Simon;” so I clicked on the link.

On seeing the photo of Most Precious Blood Church, Ruthie’s face lit up.

“I know the church!” she exclaimed before adding that they’d attended a funeral there “just last week.”

We viewed the photo files of the St. Jude Shrine after which I clicked on the stone pocket-cross prayer.

“You see the cross in the photo?  It’s this one here,” I said, reaching across the desk.

I handed Ruthie the brown-black stone cross that David gave me last year, since I keep it here by my computer all the time.

           

Bearing one’s crosses

“It’s really difficult to bear one’s crosses,” Ruthie softly sighed.

I nodded smilingly in agreement.  “Which is why, when I’m facing something truly insurmountable, I reach for the little stone cross, hold it, rub it, and reflect on its relevance in my life.”

Ruthie held the small stone cross, rubbing it gently as if etching a memory of its smoothness in her small hands.

“How could David have known that I’d need this very personal reminder to carry me through the tough times?” I wondered out loud.  “He couldn’t even come up with a reason for giving it to me other than he sensed that I needed it— or would need it— somehow.”

As we continued reading, Ruthie sat on the edge of her seat, wholely engrossed in the text’s message.

“So you see how simple it is?” I asked when I thought she’d finished reading.  “All you have to do is revisit St. Simon’s post to connect with the small stone cross and reread the prayer.”

Ruthie smiled.  “Simon was my father’s name.  I never knew anything about St. Simon until now.”

I smiled, too, because just then Ruthie had made a personal connection that would help her remember that she’s not alone when she’s afraid.

Where two or more are gathered

It’s always so much easier to bear one’s cross when we have something to hold onto: A memory; a special memento; the knowledge that someone’s with us through the tough times, maybe not in person but in one’s heart.

When I go through my rough moments, I come here to my thoughtful spot where I can gaze at the Holy Infant’s picture above my workspace.  I hold the small stone cross tightly, pressing my concerns and all my feelings into its surface as I dialogue with the Infant.

???????????????????????????????Forgive me, sweet Jesus.  I’m having a tough time bearing my cross right now.  I know you love me.  I know you’re with me.  I’m with you.  Please know that this, too, will pass.  Thank you, Jesus.  Praise you, Jesus.  I’ll get through this somehow.

I think about Sister in Australia.  I think about the cathedral back home.  I think about my friends— Paty, Rose, Pat, Cammie, and others— who, like Ruthie, have shared their crosses with me.

Most of all I recall the Child Jesus chaplet prayer:

Divine Infant Jesus, I adore your cross.  And I accept all the crosses you will be pleased to send me…. 

At that moment I sense that my mind, heart, and soul have penetrated the small stone cross to its core.  I’m infused with warmth.  I’m empowered all over again.

One cross overcome

This morning after nine o’clock Mass, I had a most joyful surprise.  Not only did I see Ruthie and Bill, but I was also heartfully greeted by Rose whom I’d last seen before her recent throat surgery.

Rose’s beautiful blue eyes were barely visible as her smiles practically swallowed them up.  She was sooo happy that everything she said ended in exclamation points.

“I’m healed!  The cancer is all gone!  I’m perfectly healed!  I’ve been praying my Child Jesus chaplet every single day, and Sister has been sooo wonderfully supportive!”

We hugged each other so tightly that I thought my right shoulder would crush her throat!  We rejoiced at her glorious news!

As I took photos of Steven with our friends, Rose shared her story with Ruthie, whom she’d just met.

“God is so amazingly awesome, isn’t he?” I enthused rhetorically.

Somehow or another we always get past our tough times and we find that we’ve been able to bear our crosses so much better with a little help from our friends— even when they’re with us only in spirit— because friends are, after all, God’s gift to us when we need him most.

Prayers from Retreat Booklet (Franciscan Mission Associates, B-20)

For a good life…  You are the protector, O God, of all who trust in you.  Without you nothing is right or holy.  Shower your mercy upon us.  With you as our leader and guide may we use the good things of life without losing those that will last forever.  This favor we ask through Jesus Christ, your son and our lord.  Amen.

For abundant blessings…  You are all powerful, O God, and your mercies last forever.  They exceed not only what we deserve, but even our highest hopes.  Pour down your graces on us, forgive the sins that haunt our conscience, and even grant us the favors we dare not presume to ask.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, we implore you.  Amen.

For true happiness…  It is you, O God, who makes your faithful people of one mind and heart.  Give us, then, the grace to love your commands and to desire your promises.  Amid the allurements of life let our hearts ever be fixed on the true source of our joy.  Through your son, Jesus Christ, our lord, we ask this blessing.  Amen.

May 13, 2011

Father Robert, OP shared his thoughts on worry, anxiety, and serenity.

“When your heart has fallen, raise it gently, humbling yourself greatly before God and acknowledging your limitations.  Do not undertake your affairs with disquietude, anxiety, and worry.  Do not hurry and excite yourself… for this hinders reason and judgment and prevents us from doing well the very thing about which we are excited.  Commend yourself to God and soften and moderate your concerns with reason” (St. Francis de Sales, 1567-1622).

One of the greatest treasures you can have is inner calm and peace.  Complete serenity of mind is a gift from God; but this inner quiet is not without our own intense effort.  God will not give you this unless you work with all your strength to obtain it.  Do not confuse serenity with being lazy or careless [or] with putting off decisions.  You must be diligent and decide you can deal with your problems.  Therefore, you need to get control of your mind and feelings and identify the specific causes of uneasiness.  Then, with God’s help and [with] prayer, take one step at a time.

November 12, 2011

“Let us bear our cross and leave it to God to determine the length and the weight”
(St. Rose Philippine Duchesne).

July 20, 2014

“When the afflictions of this life overcome us, let us encourage ourselves to bear them patiently by the hope of heaven” (St. Alphonsus Liguori).

September 14, 2014

From here on earth love cannot live without suffering.  It is through loving the cross that we discover his heart, for divine love never lives without suffering (St. Bernadette Soubirous).

November 24, 2014

“The greatness of our love of God must be tested by the desire we have of suffering for his sake” (St. Philip Neri).

December 18, 2014

“If there be a true way that leads to the everlasting kingdom, it is most certainly that of suffering patiently endured” (St. Colette).

March 10, 2015

“In all trials I will say always, ‘Lord, your will be done’” (St. Gerard Majella).

March 26, 2015

“Detachment is the secret of perseverance” (St. Sebastian Valfre).

March 30, 2015

“Follow after Christ and carry your cross for your salvation as Christ carried his cross for your salvation” (St. Anthony of Padua).

March 31, 2015

“Bear the cross and do not make the cross bear you” (St. Philip Neri).

April 17, 2015

Pray that we remember that the crosses we are given are not too heavy.  And when we carry our cross we carry it towards Christ (Matthew Archbold).

May 27, 2015

I will not live an instant that I do not live in love.  Whoever loves does all things without suffering, or, suffering, loves his suffering (St. Augustine of Canterbury).

“Who, then, can be so shameful as to desire to enter into the kingdom of Christ with ease, when he himself did not enter into his own kingdom without pain?” (St. Thomas More).

May 29, 2015

“For pity’s sake, don’t start meeting troubles halfway” (St. Teresa of Avila).

June 1, 2015

There is nothing which we more earnestly desire than to endure torments for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, for this is what will provide our happiness and give us confidence at his bar where all men must appear to be judged (St. Justin).

June 8, 2015

You must constantly carry the cross which he lays on you, be it interior or exterior, without growing weary or complaining of its length or weight.  Does it not suffice that it has been given you by the hands of a friend whose all-loving heart has destined it for you from all eternity? (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque).

June 5, 2015

What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ.  For he is all-powerful, and he tells us: “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light”
(St. Boniface).

July 12, 2015

“Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent” (St. John of the Cross).

September 28, 2015

“God sends us trials and afflictions to exercise us in patience and teach us sympathy with the sorrows of others” (St. Vincent de Paul).

May 26, 2016

“Men are generally the carpenters of their own crosses” (St. Philip Neri).

June 30, 2016

Suffering overwhelms you because you take it like a coward.  Meet it bravely, with a Christian spirit, and you will esteem it like a treasure
(St. Josemaría Escrivá).

November 15, 2016

“It is by the path of love, which is charity, that God draws near to man and man to God” (St. Albert the Great).

December 10, 2016

“Nature easily complains of want and of trouble, but grace bears poverty with constancy” (Thomas à Kempis in The Imitation of Christ).

January 30, 2017

In the same way that a powerful medicine cures an illness, so illness itself is a medicine to cure passion.  And there is much profit of soul in bearing illness quietly and giving thanks to God (St. Amma Syncletica).

March 1, 2017

Why must we suffer?  Because, here below, pure love cannot exist without suffering.  O Jesus, Jesus, I no longer feel my cross when I think of yours (St. Bernadette Soubirous).

April 5, 2017

In Christ, all of life has meaning now.  We have the opportunity to participate in the redemption of the world by offering up our suffering in union with Christ, and there is a treasure trove of meaning for us to uncover! (Jeff Cavins in When You Suffer).

April 24, 2017

The support of friends, especially in times of crisis, is vital to helping us through the emotions that flood and fuel our hearts.  They will help us see clearly enough to move through mourning, provide lighter moments, too, especially if we might seem to teeter on the edge of truly losing hope.  They will be the personification of God’s unconditional love and help us find even greater spiritual depth (Maureen Pratt in Don’t Panic: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough).

April 26, 2017

We are entangled and bound up together not as in a net in which we are trapped, but in a network through which we are nourished and find our health.  It is humility that teaches us the good of this entanglement while pride tries to escape our embeddedness, mostly by ignoring it and sometimes by violently wrestling free (Wendell Berry and the Given Life).

June 6, 2017

“Walk beside me and be my friend” (Albert Camus).

June 21, 2017

Jesus is the answer to all our questions, no matter what our age or state of life.  He offers solace to those aching for relief.  He offers truth to young people who are searching for deeper meaning and security.  He restores the dignity and moral center of those who are looking for life and see only death.

To each of these weary souls, Jesus says: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest… learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29; Anne Costa in Healing Promises: The Essential Guide to the Sacred Heart).

July 13, 2017

A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter: he that has found one has found a treasure” (Sirach 6:14).

August 4, 2017

You must accept your cross.  If you carry it courageously, it will carry you to heaven (St. John Vianney).

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Crosses to share, crosses to keep (Gifts: Jim Moreno, 2015)

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Grounds at the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House – Lake Dallas, TX

Links of interest…  Avoiding envy & learning acceptance in suffering…  Bearing the cross / one’s crosses…  Being a companion through the mystery of suffering…  Can suffering be a gift from God…  Cross that we bear…  Crucifixes & crosses…  Deepen your prayer life through exclamations…  Final hours of Jacques Fesch…  Finding hope in the trials of life…  God comes to you in your lowliness / decided to visit me today…  How to endure suffering…  Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House (aboutfacebook)…  Other people’s blessings…  Pain beneath the cross…  Sanctifying suffering in union with Christ…  Secret of avoiding bitterness in suffering…  St. Francis de Sales: about / Introduction to the devout life (ebook)…  Stories in stone…  Suffering for love? I would prefer not to / with the distressed…  Task of love: Carrying the cross…  Upset & turned upside down…  What is your cross made of…  What’s so special about friendship…  When God doesn’t answer / life disappoints you…  Wisdom about suffering from St. Paul & St. Frances de Sales

WP posts…  Backtracking…  Connected tangents…  Forever grateful…  Growing pains…  October novena…  One prayer…  Prayerful ways…  Repeated prayers…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Sweet Jesus…  St. Anthony Claret…  St. Jude novena…  St. Jude shrine (Chicago)…  St. Jude shrine (Corpus Christi)…  Unexpected detours…  Vattmann church…  Venerable Margaret