Sorrowful redemption


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

My Lord and my God, under the loving eyes of our Mother,
we are making ready to accompany you along this path of sorrow
which was the price paid for our redemption.

We wish to suffer all that you suffered,
to offer you our poor, contrite hearts,
because you are innocent; and, yet, you are going to die for us
who are the only really guilty ones.

My mother, Virgin of Sorrows,
help us to relive those bitter hours which your Son wished to spend on earth
so that we who were made from a handful of clay may finally live…
in the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you
because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

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Sonnet to our Lord on the cross

I am not moved to love you, O my God,
that I might hope in promised heaven to dwell;
nor am I moved by fear of pain in hell
to turn from sin and follow where you trod.
You move me, Lord, broken beneath the rod
or stretched out on the cross as nails compel
your hand to twitch.  It moves me that we sell
to mockery and death your precious blood.
It is, O Christ, your love which moves me so
that my love rests not on a promised prize;
nor holy fear on threat of endless woe;
it is not milk and honey, but the flow
of blood from blessed wounds before my eyes
that waters my buried soul and makes it grow.

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Both the sonnet and the prayers are from the Daily Roman Missal (Rev. James Socias for Midwest Theological Forum, 1993-2011, pp. 2385 and 2369, respectively).


O holy banquet in which Christ is received, the memory of his passion is recalled, the soul is filled with grace, and the promise of the future glory is given to us.  Alleluia.

V.  You have given them bread from heaven.  Alleluia.
R.  Containing in itself all delight.  Alleluia.

God, who in this wonderful sacrament left us a memorial of your passion, we implore you that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of your body and blood as always to be conscious of the effects of your redemption.  You live and reign forever and ever.  Amen.

Blessed be the holy and immaculate conception of the blessed virgin, Mary, mother of God.  We adore you, Christ, and we praise you because, by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.  Most sacred heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

June 2, 2016

We meditate before, during, and after everything we do.  The prophet says, “I will pray, and then I will understand.”  This is the way we can easily overcome the countless difficulties we have to face day after day, which, after all, are part of our work.  In meditation we find the strength to bring Christ to birth in ourselves and in others (St. Charles Borromeo).

June 5, 2016

Let us trust in him who has placed this burden upon us.  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 light” (St. Boniface).

June 9, 2016

The good God toils painfully, as it were; for, while he does not wish to coerce our liberty, yet neither does he permit us to be negligent.  For, were he to use coercion, he would be taking away our power of choice; were he to leave us to our negligence, he would be depriving our souls of his help.  The Lord, then, [knows] that, if he coerces us he robs us, if he withdraws his help he loses us, but if he teaches us he gains us.  [He] neither coerces nor withdraws his help as does the evil one but teaches, instructs, and so gains us since he is the Good One (St. Ephrem on free will).

June 21, 2016

“He who wishes to love God does not truly love him if he has not an ardent and constant desire to suffer for his sake” (St. Aloysius Gonzaga).

July 29, 2016

“Those who are simply upright men and women walk in the way of the Lord, but the devout run along it; and, when they are very devout, they fly” (St. Francis de Sales, Roses Among Thorns).

August 22, 2016

Christ did not promise an easy life.  Those who desire comforts have dialed the wrong number.  Rather, he shows us the way to great things; the good, toward an authentic human life (Pope Benedict XVI).

October 5, 2016

Suffering is a great grace.  Through suffering the soul becomes like the Savior; in suffering love becomes crystallized.  The greater the suffering, the purer the love (St. Faustina Kowalska).

November 10, 2016

No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the cross.  No one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ (St. Leo the Great).

November 20, 2016

“The throne of this King whom we worship… is the cross; and his triumph is the victory of love, an almighty love that, from the cross, pours out his gifts upon humanity of all times and all places” (Pope Benedict XVI).

January 6, 2017

“The love which our Lord had during his passion puts into full light God’s love for us”
(St. André Bessette).

March 2, 2017

If Jesus Christ is our way, let us not walk in the ways of the world.  Let us enter into the narrow gate through which he walked (Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet in Meditations for Lent).

April 10, 2017

Our thoughts turn to the passion and death of our Lord, and we long to share his pain with him.  What is the pain of Jesus?  It is the pain of loving and not being loved in return.  He has loved us with an everlasting love, and what do we give him in return?  We allow our minds to be preoccupied with little things and so spend many hours without thinking of Jesus.  And yet our hearts and minds, bodies and souls, belong only to him.  Let us meditate on the sufferings of Christ each day (Heidi Hess Saxton in Lent with St. Teresa of Calcutta).

May 2, 2017

For man is by nature afraid of death and of the dissolution of the body; but there is this most startling fact, that he who has put on the faith of the cross despises even what is naturally fearful, and for Christ’s sake is not afraid of death (St. Athanasius).

The care of a mother embraces her child totally. Mary’s motherhood has its beginning in her motherly care for Christ.  In Christ, at the foot of the cross, she accepted John, and in John she accepted all of us totally.  Mary embraces us all with special solicitude in the Holy Spirit.  For as we profess in our Creed, he is “the giver of life.”  It is he who gives the fullness of life, open towards eternity (St. John Paul II in Our Lady of Fatima: 100 Years of Stories, Prayers, and Devotions).

August 16, 2017

The cross to me is certain salvation.  The cross is that which I ever adore.  The cross of the Lord is with me.  The cross is my refuge (St. Thomas Aquinas).

November 22, 2017

In our suffering, we collaborate with Christ for the salvation of the world.  Our suffering is therefore anything but random and meaningless.  It is cosmically restorative, even though it may be a horrible burden to the sufferer.  John Paul didn’t intend to whitewash suffering.  Doing so would have been both insensitive and false.  But he did want to show that God can use even suffering for the betterment of humankind.  It, like everything else, has a place in the economy of salvation (Kerry Walters in John Paul II: A Short Biography).

April 25, 2019

The devout do not hate life because life hates them or because they have drunk of its dregs and found them bitter but because they love God more; and, in loving God more, they dislike anything that would tear him away (Ven. Fulton J. Sheen in God’s World and Our Place in It).


Notre Dame Church – Kerrville, TX

Links of interest…  At the feet of Jesus…  Blessings & dangers…  Christ, loneliness, & redemptive suffering…  Cross of Jesus: God’s awful work of love…  Expect the unexpected…  Inside the ancient church of the Holy Sepulchre…  Introduction to the devout life: ebook (St. Francis de Sales)…  It’s time to stop fleeing from the cross…  Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary: aboutbook / consecrating the hours / hymns, psalms, & readings / introduction / prayers (more)…  Mercy with every breath (Jesus prayer)…  Notre Dame Church (Mass times)…  Seven words of Jesus on the cross…  Stations of the cross (YT) & prayers…  Ten arrows to launch us to heaven / lessons from the agony in the garden…  Trusting in God completely & in uncertain times…  Via Crucis: Walking the passion with Jesus: one & two…  Visits to Jesus in the tabernacle: Hours and half-hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament: e-book…  Way of Holy Week…  We are all marked men & women…  What is redemptive suffering…  What Jesus saw from the cross…  Why are the stations of the cross in (almost) every Catholic church…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Call of service…  Capuchin church stations…  Christ’s passion…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Church time blues…   Dear God…  Faith and prayer…  For all time…  Full circle…  Gifts…  God’s lovely gifts…  In good time…  Lady of sorrows…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Lingering memory…  Making meaning…  Notre Dame revisited…  Quiet prayer time…  Second looks…  Sioux chapel stations…  Today’s Beatitudes

Notre Dame revisited


After Mass in Fort Stockton I asked Steven if we could take a detour in Kerrville.  “I’ve longed to revisit Notre Dame since we met Gloria and her little girl our first time there, August 30, 2008.”

I didn’t push the issue, though.  Highway traffic had been frantic on Interstate 10, and Steven was tired.  All he wanted was to get us home safely.

Heartfelt wish

We might not pass this way again, I pleaded wishfully in silence as I kept my gaze on the road and my thoughts to myself.

“Sure,” Steven replied, despite the stormy weather looming ominously, waiting patiently to overtake us with torrential rain predicted days before.

Notre Dame revisited

Once we found the church we turned off our travel cares.

In the vestibule I met a young mother with a little girl, so reminiscent of Gloria and her little girl.  In Spanish I briefly shared the story of our first visit.  The woman was very nice, all smiles.  She didn’t know Gloria (whose last name I didn’t know) or anything about the Cursillo group that Gloria had invited us to learn more about but, from the lilt in her voice, I could tell that she understood how happy I was to be back after almost eight years.  We wished each other well before they departed for home.

I proceeded to the heart of the church where Steven was already taking photos.  A woman, sitting very still in a pew near the altar, seemed lost in meditation as we moved about, delighted in our very own (unexpected) concert: forty-five glorious minutes of music practice before evening Mass.

Steven and I spoke quietly here and there about angles, lighting, and the stations of the cross but, mostly, we savored every heavenly note and sang along as we grinned nonstop.  We were ever so grateful for God’s precious gifts at Notre Dame Church!

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O ever immaculate Virgin, mother of mercy, health of the sick, refuge of sinners, comfort of the afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy.  By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary where you dispense your favors; and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal.

I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession.  Obtain, O loving Mother, the grant of my requests.

I will endeavor to imitate your virtues that I may one day share your glory, and bless you in eternity.  Amen.

May 7, 2016

“The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the love of a mother” (St. Therese of Lisieux).

May 8, 2016

Look at the mothers who truly love their children: how many sacrifices they make for them.  They are ready for everything, even to give their own blood so that their babies grow up good, healthy, and strong (St. Gianna Molla).


Links of interest…  Behold your Mother: This Mother’s Day, this month of May, & beyond…  Can we endure the light…  Don’t compartmentalize your faith (audio)…  Faith connected to everythingin the gospels / through love / what is…  Hear God speaking to you…  Introduction to the devout life: ebook (St. Francis de Sales)…  Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary: aboutbook / consecrating the hours / hymns, psalms, & readingsintroduction / prayers (more)…  Notre Dame Church (Mass times)…  Our Lady of Lourdes: about / novena / prayer…  What is Cursillo…  Visits to Jesus in the tabernacle: Hours and half-hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament: e-book…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Angels all around…  Angels keeping watch…  Building community…  Christ’s passion…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Dear God…  Faith and prayer…  Gifts…  God’s lovely gifts…  In good time…  Lady of Sorrows…  Lingering memory…  Little gifts…  Lourdes novenas…  Making meaning…  Marian devotions…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  May flowers…  My Franciscan Crown…  Our Lady…  Sorrowful redemption…  St. Agnes Church…  Sweet Jesus…  Two angels

Faith and prayer

“God gives faith equally to everyone, and he invites all of us to develop this faith” (the Word among us, August 2008, p. 16).  Faith is both “an attitude of heart” that grows through prayer and “an inner conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit” (pp. 15 & 17).

ND12609Warm welcome

On our way back home Saturday morning, Steven drove us to Kerrville.  Never having been there, our first impression turned into wondering if we could make it our home.

We looked for a Catholic church, easily found Notre Dame, and stopped for a visit.  How perfect to find open doors leading to a simplistically elegant spaciousness warmly lit through stained-glass windows in the open-truss ceiling.

Within moments, a woman arrived, smiling at us as she knelt to pray.  In no time, she joined us in quiet meditation before the Blessed Sacrament.  “Where two or more are gathered” came to mind (Matthew 18:20) .

Dear God, were we meant to pray together?

Trusting soul

As we stood by the choir section, a very humble, elderly Hispanic man came up to me.  Without speaking he insistently, almost urgently, handed me a church envelope.

Puzzled, I wanted to say “but we’re not from here” or “we’re not staying for Mass.”  But, realizing it was his weekly offering, I thanked him and looked around for a receptacle in which to deposit the padded envelope.

Seeing no metal receptacle by the statues or the candles I turned back to the man who, by then, was deep in prayer: eyes tightly closed, kneeling next to me on the floor.  He didn’t hear me thank him two more times.

My heart went out to him.  His attire made me wonder if, even as an elder, he still worked the fields or minded livestock.  Had he stopped by church at that time knowing his work would keep him from attending Mass that weekend?

Dear God, did you call us here for this man?

Building community

In the meantime, the woman before the Blessed Sacrament had left and a woman with a small child had entered.  Standing before Our Lady of Guadalupe she was wholly immersed in prayer.

She can help us!

I turned back to the man, but he’d already left.  Turning back to my only hope, I found that the woman had left as well.

Even if the rectory was open I had no idea how to get there, and we’d seen no one else on the church grounds.  We exited through the side door we’d first entered and walked around to the front.  Those doors were unlocked and— more relieved than surprised— I was beyond glad to see the woman with her child as we entered.

“Good morning!” I said warmly before asking about the donations receptacle.

The woman wanted to help me, but she struggled with her English.  Then, on hearing me speak Spanish, her face lit up— until she realized that I wanted to entrust her with placing Augustín’s envelope in the collection basket at Mass.

Gloria was my only hope.  I had to help her understand why I couldn’t hold onto it.

Faith and prayer

Conversing as long-lost friends Gloria told us that Notre Dame is the only Catholic church in town, “one among many, many of the other churches.”  She’s part of the Cursillo movement and wants us to attend Mass together when we return.

Then Gloria told us about her family.  The three oldest daughters attend school and love to learn.  The youngest, Rosibel, will attend Head Start after she turns four in November.  Gloria wants to look for work once her little one’s in school, since the family lives on her husband’s meager social security benefits.  Education is key to their daughters’ success and well-being, so she does her part to provide for them.

When I told Gloria about our visits to the various churches and about the church website, she asked that I provide the link.  The family can’t afford the internet, but the girls can stay in touch through the computer at the public library.  In turn, Gloria gave me her telephone number.

Despite her family’s economic struggles Gloria walks in faith the way her mother taught her in Coahuila.  She believes that God’s love, goodness, and mercy have guided and protected the family the past nineteen years in Kerrville.

Dear God, was Gloria’s need to share so great that you made our meeting possible  through Agustin’s church offering?  Or was this one of your lessons in faith and prayer?


Although Gloria’s initial response was to refuse Agustín’s envelope, she finally relented— not because she’d be at nine-thirty Mass the next morning, but because I trusted her, she told me.

Coming away from our experience at Notre Dame I felt an unexpected but enduring connectedness to the four parishioners that Saturday morning, so I kept my promise to Gloria.  On getting home, I placed their names in the two little baskets— one for petitions, the other for thanksgiving and praise— before the Holy Infant of Prague here at home and have kept them close ever since.

“Remember that faith is a gift and a disposition, not a set of rules and tasks that one must accomplish” (the Word among us, p. 18).  When we make the time to discover God’s “treasures in secret places,” we unwittingly practice our faith (Isaiah 45:3).

December 10, 2014

“Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances” (C. S. Lewis).

June 3, 2015

“When you take the leap to look at the world through the eyes of faith, you start seeing God’s fingerprints everywhere, creating connections so subtle, so delicate, they might pass unseen” (Cari Donaldson in Pope Awesome & other stories).

August 28, 2015

Faith is the first light, the heralding light, the foundation placed in us of what in its final perfection will be the beatific vision of God.  It is the beginning of the eternal ways in us, the commencement of our union with God (William Ullathorne in Patience and Humility).

October 29, 2015

When faith grows weak, all virtues are weakened.  When faith is lost, all virtues are lost (St. Alphonsus Liguori).

November 6, 2015

“Prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God” (St. Teresa of Ávila).

January 15, 2016

Holiness is not something for some privileged few.  God calls everyone.  From everyone he waits for love: from everyone, wherever they may be; from everyone, whatever may be their state in life, profession, or occupation (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

June 18, 2016

“Faith furnishes prayer with wings, without which it cannot soar to heaven” (St. John Climacus).

June 22, 2016

“The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest” (St. Thomas More).

July 25, 2016

“Faith … if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17).

November 4, 2016

“Such is the nature of faith that the greater are the obstacles it encounters, the more ardent it becomes” (St. Charles Borromeo).

January 2, 2017

The gift of faith, which comes to us from God, is a sublime grace.  But we are not intended to keep it to ourselves— in effect, to bury it in the ground.  The apostolic fishermen were ordained to be fishers of souls and not custodians of an aquarium (Fr. George W. Rutler in Hints of Heaven).

April 20, 2017

Faith is the door through which we enter the supernatural order.  It opens into heaven.  It tells us [that] we have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come (Abbot Chapman).

June 12, 2017

Faith dovetails with hope and matures in charity.  The life of faith is truly redemptive if there is hope for a future glory and a true friendship with God, which is charity.  The work of Christian faith is charity, and the eternal expectation connected with it is hope (Fr. Maurice Emelu in Our Journey to God).

August 24, 2017

“For faith is the beginning and the end is love, and God is the two of them brought into unity” (St. Ignatius of Antioch).

August 31, 2017

Faith requires perseverance.  It often grows in stages.  Sometimes we fall.  Sometimes we walk away.  So often, we must crawl.  Whether we consciously admit to it or not, our faith— our life in Christ— has sustained us throughout the ups and downs of our lives.  It has sustained us in moments of new life and in death, at times of sickness, and at those times when we struggle to give meaning to painful situations (Peter J. Vaghi in Meeting God in the Upper Room: Three Moments to Change Your Life).

September 18, 2017

We must express joy and thanks to the Lord in our problems.  Joy and thankfulness transform our problems into opportunities for the Lord to work in our lives.  They turn our minds from our problems to him (Bert Ghezzi in Getting Free: How to Overcome Persistent Spiritual Problems).

January 31, 2018

“It is the very nature of faith to persevere, for faith is not rooted in emotion but in character, not in experience but in loyalty; in short, not in the changeable but in the constant elements of life” (Romano Guardini in The Art of Praying).

June 4, 2018

“When you take the leap to look at the world through the eyes of faith, you start seeing God’s fingerprints everywhere, creating connections so subtle, so delicate, they might pass unseen” (Cari Donaldson in Pope Awesome & Other Stories).

June 15, 2018

Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives.  It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love (Pope Francis in Lumen Fidei, 53).

July 18, 2018

Faith is much more than the sum total of everything we believe.  Faith describes the stance we take before the world and the way in which we engage the world.  Faith flows out of the belief that each one of us matters and that we exist to share God’s life.  In order to remain confident in this truth, we must allow Jesus to say this to us again and again and again.  We must give the Lord the opportunity to affirm this truth and to express this truth in the unique conditions and circumstances of our existence.  Prayer is the way we allow him to speak the words our hearts long to hear (Fr. Gary Caster in Prayer Everywhere: The Spiritual Life Made Simple).

August 16, 2018

It takes faith in God to bring about things that never could have been.  Faith helps us to connect the dots between the natural and the supernatural.  It is by faith that we understand God’s plan in our lives and in society and become ready to submit to it (Fr. Maurice Emelu in Our Journey to God).

January 21, 2019

Faith, however, is not only a blessed certainty; it is also a matter of practice and self-conquest.  You must therefore learn to speak to God as Father.  You must learn it from the attitude of Christ (Romano Guardini in The Lord’s Prayer).

“In many quarters Christian communities are once again embracing the ancient insight that the faith is a spiritual pathway, a life built on transformative practices of love rather than doctrinal belief” (Richard Rohr, OFM).

January 6, 2020

The gift of faith, which comes to us from God, is a sublime grace.  But we are not intended to keep it to ourselves— in effect, to bury it in the ground.  The apostolic fishermen were ordained to be fishers of souls and not custodians of an aquarium (Fr. George W. Rutler in Hints of Heaven).

January 13, 2020

“It is the very nature of faith to persevere, for faith is not rooted in emotion but in character, not in experience but in loyalty; in short, not in the changeable but in the constant elements of life” (Romano Guardini in The Art of Praying).


Links of interest…  Beatific vision of God: heavenseeing face to face / what is…  Can we endure the light…  Catholic faith: A life-altering journey…  Creating a space for Jesus in the midst of duty & anxiety…  Deepen your friendship with God…  Don’t compartmentalize your faith (audio)…  Faith connected to everything / ensures contact with Godin the gospels / through love / what is…  Five ways to listen to God…  Getting out of God’s way & cooperating with his divine plan…  Hear God speaking to you…  Hope born of prayer & purification / proper place / that banishes fear…  How faith relates to hope & charity / our small actions can change the world…  Introduction to the devout life: ebook (St. Francis de Sales)…  Little book of holy gratitudelitany of Thanksgiving…  Listen for the Spirit in your prayer…  Miracle in the Whataburger parking lot…  Notre Dame Church (Mass times)…  Patron saint of missing socks, pray for us…  Stir the flame of faith…  What is Cursillo…  Visits to Jesus in the tabernacle: Hours and half-hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament: e-book…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Angels all around…  Angels keeping watch…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  May flowers…  Notre Dame revisited…  Our Lady…  Picturing God…  Sorrowful redemption…  St. Agnes Church…  Sweet Jesus…  Two angels