Month: October 2015

Theology of a Body: Finding Homo-Religiosus

 File:Bernadette.jpg
Advertisements

THE WORLD’S SHORTEST INDULGENCED PRAYER (A SIMPLE BUT POWERFUL DEVOTION TO THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY)

 vatican-26894_640
                                
                      “The faithful who apply indulgences as
                        suffrages for the dead are practicing
                        charity in a superior way and with their thoughts
                        on the things of Heaven are dealing more
                        virtuously with the things of earth.” 
                        (Apostolic Constitution on Indulgences)

My mission:  to come up with a short but powerful devotion to the Holy Souls in Purgatory who are counting on our prayers so that they may advance to the one thing their hearts desire and yearn for: union with God.

Plan:  Find the shortest indulgenced prayer possible that can be offered up all day long for the Holy Souls with virtually no effort.

Result:  Consulted The Handbook of Indulgences and discovered on page 82, #55, that “a partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly sign themselves with the cross while saying the customary formula: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

     Now, an indulgenced prayer is normally made for your own benefit, but can be applied as a suffrage to the poor souls in Purgatory, thus reducing their sufferings in Purgatory and advancing them nearer to the one true goal of life: to be with God in Heaven. Those souls are counting on our prayers!

WONDERFUL EFFECTS OF THIS DEVOTION

(I am relying on Father Faber, who makes the following points in various contexts in All for Jesus; the whole inspiration and basic content for this note comes from him)

     1. You begin to make the Sign of the Cross with awesome reverence knowing you are helping the poor souls;

     2. In practicing this devotion you grow closer to the Trinity as you say their names with tenderness and love; and you remind yourself, in signing yourself with the cross, that the cross is the true wisdom of God, i.e., love entails sacrifice;

     3. You give great glory to God because you assist Him in the ultimate goal of His love: bringing souls to Heaven to praise Him;

     4. You practice the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love because you practice faith in the supernatural value of this devotion as revealed by the Church, you hope for something you cannot see, and you show love for your brothers and sisters in Purgatory by making this prayer applicable to them;

     5. You grow in holiness since this prayer, which could have been made for your own welfare as an indulgence to reduce your time in Purgatory, is given in loving sacrifice as a suffrage to the poor souls;

     6. You develop a habit of devotion that keeps your mind attuned to the supernatural operation of grace and to the goal of life: salvation! (and this is an attitude which acts as an antidote to worldliness – our arch enemy); and

     7. It is possible that when these souls reach Heaven they will pray for you and for your salvation – ALL THIS BY REVERENTLY MAKING THE SIGN OF THE CROSS A FEW TIMES A DAY with the preface of saying: “For the Holy Souls in Purgatory,” or for Grandpa Smith or Aunt Mary. How easy can Jesus make things for us! Or you could say, “MotherMary, For the poor souls in Purgatory you love so much.”

     Now imagine for the next 40 years you made such an act of love, by making the sign of the cross for the poor souls 5 times a day (30 seconds of prayer). At the day of judgment, you will have said about 73,000 (seventy-three thousand) prayers for the poor souls in Purgatory! What an awesome devotion in the Communion of Saints!

For the souls in Purgatory: “In the Name of the Father….”

Yours in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Tom Mulcahy, M.A.

Source: All for Jesus, F.W. Faber

Note: In the updated Manual of Indulgences this prayer is found on page 98, #28, part II (4th Edition). Image: Vatican flag.

To SHARE on SOCIAL MEDIA: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below (and this will bring up social media icons if they are not already present).

To LEAVE A COMMENT: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below, and then scroll down to the box which says, “Leave Your Own Comment Here,” which is at the end of any comments already made. If the comment section is already present, merely scroll to the end of any comments already made.

THE NEW TESTAMENT BASIS FOR PURGATORY: THE IMAGE OF A PURIFYING FIRE

   candles-738604_1920
                                               For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29)

THE POWER OF MUSIC AND PARADIGM SHIFTS

Piano, Hand, Playing, Music, Keyboard

There is music that moves you in the right direction. And there is music that moves you in the wrong direction. Some music is more or less neutral, and neutral means you really ain’t going anywhere.

But let me be a little more specific. There is music which clearly draws us closer to God, the source of all Goodness, and this music is very valuable. On the other hand, there is demonically influenced music which is positively harmful.

Who can deny that music has a profound influence on our emotions and feelings? Yet music runs even deeper than that: it influences our values and beliefs and the very person we become.

We have witnessed for ourselves that music has influenced significant segments of society to embrace a lower standard of sexual morality and even the use of mind altering drugs. I know people who joke about not even remembering the 1960s!

The other day my 17 year old nephew, who I still manage to occasionally beat in basketball, told me about the “27 club,” which is a group of musicians who all died at the age of 27, mostly due to drug and alcohol abuse. Members of this club include Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison. Music can take us profoundly in the wrong direction; and it would be a mistake to overlook a demonic influence.

I hear about sincere Christian friends who went to the recent Rolling Stones concert. I wonder if they considered, if only for a moment, whether there was a demonic influence there that they were exposing themselves to? It is never a good thing (however unintentional) to rejoice or take pleasure in evil, or to show any sympathy for the devil. Songs that extol sexual immorality normally have a demonic influence. Do good; avoid evil. When one considers the value of rap music it is interesting to consider how many rappers have been killed in violent acts. I won’t even comment on the relationship between vile language and the demonic. And people are shocked that Pope Francis speaks so frequently about the influence of the devil!

Then there is Christian praise and worship music. Lives have been literally healed and saved by it. This is a paradigm shift worth noting: the shift from secular music to Christian praise and worship music. This paradigm shift is like a revolution in the spiritual life. Suddenly we are changed; the music we listen to is literally drawing us into God. Now we are not only listening to beautiful music – more than that we are engaging in acts of praise and worship that mold us into children of God.

Music is like a creation. It is a composition: a thought brought to fruition. When God created the world he rested in the complacency that all he had done was GOOD. Can we say that about the music we listen to?

Tom Mulcahy, M.A.

 

P.S. Clearly there is good secular music. In fact, some of the best secular music has a quasi-religious dimension to it. But we must discern between good and evil. And this discernment involves a true assessment of how the music we listen to has helped to shape and influence the person we have become. I maintain that for Christians it is helpful, more and more, to expose ourselves primarily to Christian music. I note that some of the contemporary secular music I sometimes hear has an introspective, angst-ridden quality to it (it feels almost like a defeated existentialism). This music seems to me to be in need of Christian hope. Jailhouse Rock is a catchy tune of low value, but when Elvis sings the Gospel hymn, Lead Me, Guide Me, the song has power to lead one safely through the valley of the shadow of death (that type of power is transformative).

 

To SHARE on SOCIAL MEDIA: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below (and this will bring up social media icons if they are not already present).

To LEAVE A COMMENT: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below, and then scroll down to the box which says, “Leave Your Own Comment Here,” which is at the end of any comments already made. If the comment section is already present, merely scroll to the end of any comments already made.

JOHN 3:16: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO PERISH?

Stranded, Ships, Wrecks, Abandoned

To SHARE on SOCIAL MEDIA: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below (and this will bring up social media icons if they are not already present).

To LEAVE A COMMENT: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below, and then scroll down to the box which says, “Leave Your Own Comment Here,” which is at the end of any comments already made. If the comment section is already present, merely scroll to the end of any comments already made.

SAINT PAUL’S HANDKERCHIEF AND THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS



“so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched [Saint Paul] were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” (Acts 19:12
)



 I had a dream about a faith-filled and holy Protestant man.

He was standing by the road in the throes of a dreadful and deadly illness, barely clinging to life. Suddenly, he sees a kind lady approaching him with Saint Paul’s handkerchief, the one mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, the one that God allowed to heal so many people. As he sees the relic coming close to him, his sense of hope ascends to an incredible height! His family is amazed that such a grace is being  given to him. But suddenly something sends him a scruple and he reasons: why should I touch a handkerchief that touched Saint Paul, a mere human? No, I will pray directly to Jesus, lest I steal away Jesus’ glory by honoring Paul. The crowd is urging him to touch the handkerchief but he refuses to do so. Suddenly, Jesus appears to him to calm his fear of offending Him, and says: “My son, be not afraid, it will give me great glory if you touch the handkerchief, for Paul was once my great enemy but through grace he became a mighty image of myself, and his transformation into a saint has given my Father great glory.”

Suddenly the man realizes that by amazing grace Saint Paul has been incorporated into the mystical body of Christ. He – Paul –  is a part of Christ’s body. The man sees that God is indeed glorified in His saints (see 2 Thessalonians 1:10). He touches Saint Paul’s relic. He’s healed. His wife is crying tears of joy. And everyone is saying, “praise God!” 

What a great mystery the communion of saints is! How much does it tell us about how wonderful our Heavenly Father is! In the historical Protestant faith the model for justification is the courtroom and legal righteousness (imputed), but in the Catholic faith the model for justification is Divine sonship. We truly become sons and daughters of the eternal Father and cry out “Abba,”( Papa). Its all a family affair. And what gives a Father more glory than allowing his sons and daughters to partake of His own life, and eat at his table, and perform miracles like Jesus did, and bring his children’s prayers to Him.

“To venerate the relics of the saints is a profession of belief in several doctrines of the Catholic faith [including] the belief in the special intercessory power which the saints enjoy in heaven because of their intimate relationship with Christ the King; and… the truth of our closeness to the saints because of our connection in the communion of saints — we as members of the Church militant or pilgrim Church, they as members of the Church triumphant” (Fr. W. Saunders, “Church Teaching on Relics”). The fact that the New Testament identifies, in Paul’s Handkerchief, such a striking example of God’s power working through the relic of a Saint profoundly authenticates the Church’s teaching in this area.

So why pray to a saint in Heaven? : because it shows great confidence in the amazing munificence of the redemption merited by the Precious Blood, that sinners are made into saints and allowed participation in the very Trinitarian life of the omnipotent Creator. How great God is!! Far from detracting from God’s glory, the doctrine of the communion of saints is a rather amazing manifestation of it.

Tom Mulcahy, M.A.

 

P.S. It would be incredulous to think that Saint Paul, now glorified in heaven, has less influence in the Communion of Saints than what he had on earth! If we can pray for each other, consider what the Saints in Heaven can do! Its a beneficial practice to make friends with a new Saint and to be devoted to that Saint for a particular need which corresponds to that Saint’s particular sanctity. See what happens!
     I see the influence of listening to many hours of Scott Hahn tapes in my third to last paragraph.

To SHARE on SOCIAL MEDIA: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below (and this will bring up social media icons if they are not already present).

To LEAVE A COMMENT: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below, and then scroll down to the box which says, “Leave Your Own Comment Here,” which is at the end of any comments already made. If the comment section is already present, merely scroll to the end of any comments already made.

THE HEALING OF EMOTIONAL LIFE

Light, Healing, Sky, Trees, Nature

     The beautiful emotions God has given us work tremendous good in our lives when they are under the guidance of our rational and spiritual faculties. A child lives his life primarily on an emotional level, but to mature he must gradually bring his emotional life under the control of right reason and spiritual life. In this context it may be helpful to see our lives from this four-fold perspective:

1. Physical Life;

2. Emotional Life;

3. Rational Life; and

4. Spiritual Life

     What is being urged upon us here is the proper management of our emotional life by the higher faculties of human reason and Divine grace. By spiritual life, then, I am referring to the life of grace given to us by God which flows to us by way of prayer and sacramental life. Recourse to prayer and the sacraments is a great aid in healing impaired emotional life.

     We know very well that letting our emotions flow freely can be psychologically healing –  as in sharing our emotions and feelings with a friend or in therapy. But in a different context unregulated emotional life can be very damaging. In this sense if emotional life is not brought under the control and guidance of rational and spiritual life it can become a tyrant – and as such inordinate anger or sadness can even lead to violence or other destructive conduct.

     We see in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus seemingly crushed by the weight of sorrow and grief – yet he has the strength of mind and the strength of grace to complete his mission, saying to the apostles, “Arise, let us go” (Matthew 26:46). Jesus teaches us to place our emotional life under the guidance and strength of grace.

     Once a person I knew quite well was suffering significant emotional turmoil and had clearly strayed from the light of right reason. His emotional life had simply engulfed his rational life. I told this person that he had always been a person of great common sense, and that this would be a good time for him to gather-up and make good use of the excellent common sense God had given him. He took my advice and within a few days he was doing much better.

     Spiritual life can profoundly impact our emotional life for the better. Thus, if we are experiencing to a harmful degree the emotions of bitterness and resentment, we can take recourse to spiritual life in order to re-channel these vexing emotions into positive forces. By allowing the powerful spiritual virtues of meekness and gentleness to descend into our emotions, we can heal our emotions and make them occasions for acts of virtue and charity. Thus, what started out in the direction of hatred ends in the life-giving direction of charity! “The act of virtue,” Saint Thomas Aquinas says, “is even more meritorious when it makes good use of the passions [or emotions] in view of a virtuous end.” Therefore, “passions or emotions regulated…by right reason…are forces to be used in the service of virtue” (Fr. Garrigou-LaGrange). Here we see a fundamental insight of Saint Thomas: that grace builds upon nature.

     Right reason involves not only a knowledge of the virtues but in addition the elimination of what psychologists call cognitive distortions (meaning erroneous ways of thinking). Becoming acquainted with the ten common distorted ways of thinking, and correcting the ones that pertain to you, is one of the most valuable things you can do for emotional health and well-being (see link below). Learning to recognize and correct defective thinking patterns is essentially curative.

     Finally, spiritual life involves prayer and the sacraments. Suffice it to say in this short note that the Sacraments of Reconciliation, the Eucharist (including Eucharistic adoration), and the Anointing of the Sick are powerful means of healing grace. Moreover, as Father Padovani, a therapist, points out, we can bring our broken emotions to God freely in prayer. In prayer we approach God in faith and hope, theological virtues which in and of themselves are pathways to healing since they direct us towards God. In prayer we can ask God for the “ever-new graces” we need to heal distorted or impaired emotions. God can restore beauty and balance to our emotional life, or give us the grace to carry the crosses that no one can avoid on this earthly pilgrimage.

     In short it is a great benefit simply to see that we need to place our emotional lives under the protection and guidance of our rational and spiritual lives. To see this necessity is already the beginning  of the healing of emotional life.

Tom Mulcahy, M.A.

References. The book by Father Padovani is entitled: Healing Wounded Emotions. In Feeling and Healing Your Emotions it is psychiatrist C.W. Baars who mentions at page 55 that “a child lives predominantly on the emotional level….” However, for this note I am relying predominantly on Father Garrigou-LaGrange, a Thomist, who demonstrates how the theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas promotes emotional well-being through the proper ordering of emotional life to rational life and rational life to spiritual life. See The Three Ages of the Interior Life, Vol. 1, Chapter 23. Nothing in this note is meant to be a substitute for good and necessary medical and professional care.

Link: If you type in at Google, “Ten types of cognitive distortions,” numerous sites will bring up this important list. The list is very helpful; however, I can’t tell you about the recommendability of any particular site.

To SHARE on SOCIAL MEDIA: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below (and this will bring up social media icons if they are not already present).

To LEAVE A COMMENT: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below, and then scroll down to the box which says, “Leave Your Own Comment Here,” which is at the end of any comments already made. If the comment section is already present, merely scroll to the end of any comments already made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHY ALL CHRISTIANS BELIEVE IN PURGATORY

  Clouds, Sky, Faith, Christianity, God
             
               “Our souls demand Purgatory, don’t they? Would it
                not break the heart if God said to us, ‘It is true, my son, that
                your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but
                we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with
                these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy’?
                Should we not reply, ‘With submission, sir, and if there is
                no objection, I’d rather be cleaned first.’ ‘It may hurt,
                you know’ – ‘Even so, sir.”
                (C.S.Lewis, Letters To Malcom, chapter 20)
                                        
            
                “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly
                 purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but
                 after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve
                 the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church
                 gives the name purgatory to this final purification of the elect,
                 which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned”
                 (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1030)
                     
 
            Believe it or not, all Christians do in fact believe in Purgatory.  Let me show you why. We are told in the Letter to the Hebrews that no one can see the Lord without possessing holiness (Hebrews 12:14). This brings us to Larry and Jane Smith, husband and wife, who unfortunately died together in an automobile accident when Larry fell asleep at the wheel of his brand new Ford Explorer.  Little did Larry and Jane know that they would meet the Lord on that fateful day. By way of background, Jane had been a very holy and devout Baptist who walked the straight and narrow path of the Lord.  Moved by her love for Christ, she had led a holy and righteous life and had been very kind to the poor.  The grace of God had certainly worked wonders in her life. On the other hand, Larry had been a habitual sinner.  The three sins which had taken root in his soul were his love for pornography, his dishonest business practices and his hate for certain races.  Fortunately for Larry, the one time he went with his wife to church he picked up a tract on the table and followed the directions which told him “How to be saved.”  That day in church he repented of his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior.  He was saved.
     For two days after being saved Larry actually managed to avoid committing a serious sin.  But then the struggle became too much and he reverted back into the pattern of sin which had been routine in his life for many years.  Then, as you know, he fell asleep at the wheel and died.
     When the moment came for the book of Jane’s life to be laid out in front of the judgment seat of Christ, there was nothing but joy and contentment.  Jane was pure and holy and Jesus was very pleased with the state of her soul.  He gave to her a white linen garment to put on, representing the righteous deeds she had done during her life.  (See Revelation 19:81)
     The moment for Larry’s judgment was not so joyful.  Larry was so full of sin that he could not even look upon the Lord.  When asked by Jesus what he had to say in his defense, Larry was smart enough to remind the Lord that he had been saved the day he repented of his sins and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior (since, for the purpose of this fictional story, Jesus is an Evangelical Protestant, Jesus responded to Larry by letting him know that Larry’s faith, as little as there was of it, had saved him).  Jesus told Larry that he was free to walk through the gates of heaven.
     But then something happened to Larry. As he started to walk through the gates of heaven, all of the saints and angels in heaven came forward and blocked Larry’s path. They shouted at Larry: “Even though you have been saved, you still stink of sin and our Lord has made it clear that you cannot enter into heaven until you are holy.  You must be purified.  You must be cleansed of your sin.  We cannot have you enter heaven looking at the angels with lustful eyes or still hating races of people who were made in the image and likeness of God.  You must be purged from your sin.”  Larry said: “How is this to be done?”  The angels and saints responded: “You must spend some time outside the gates of heaven doing penance for your sins and transforming your soul, with the aid of God’s grace, from a state of sin to a state of grace.  Then, and only then, can you enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus has saved you from hell, but you are not worthy yet to enter the kingdom of God.  Our God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24;Hebrews 12:29), and until the fire of his love destroys all the sin within you, you must wait outside and become purified.  Then, and only then, may you look upon the face of our holy God.” 
     Although to a Catholic Larry’s fate may well have been worse than Purgatory, the circumstances of his life and death underscore the absolute necessity for a state of purification prior to the glory of entering heaven.  Even if you believe a person is saved by his faith alone in Jesus – irrespective of the conduct of his life – he cannot enter heaven in a defiled state.  He must be purified of his sin.  Therefore, unless you believe a person can somehow enter into heaven in an impure state, you do in fact believe in Purgatory. 
     Historically, it is quite clear that the early Christians believed in a state of purification after death. We know, for example, that the Christians living in the catacombs in Rome inscribed prayers for the dead on the walls.  In addition, prayers for the dead are contained in some of the earliest Christian writings.* The key proof text in scripture is 2 Maccabees 12:46, which states: “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins.” Obviously, we would not pray for the dead if they were already in heaven. Every Catholic Mass offered throughout the world includes prayers for the living and the dead, and there is an extraordinary list of Catholic saints who have experienced private revelations of Purgatory, the most recent of which include Saint Padre Pio and Saint Faustina Kowalska (the saint of the Divine Mercy revelations). Finally, is there not in our hearts a God-given instinct to pray for the souls of the dead? In Letters to Malcolm C.S. Lewis makes mention of this instinct to pray for the dead:

     “Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me. And I hardly know how the rest of my prayers would survive if those for the dead were forbidden. At our age, the majority of those we love best are dead. What sort of intercourse with God could I have if what I love best were unmentionable to him? I believe in Purgatory.”

      In conclusion, scripture, common sense, Sacred Tradition and our natural desire to pray for the dead convince us that some of  us may have to undergo a period of purgation before entering heaven, for we are told in the clearest terms that —
         

                        “NOTHING UNCLEAN SHALL ENTER [HEAVEN]….” 

                             (Revelation 21: 27)

Tom Mulcahy, M.A.

 

References: *See article at catholic.com, *”The Roots of Purgatory,” pertaining to the subject of early Christian writings and Purgatory. See also, Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating. Finally, Pope Benedict XVI elaborates profoundly on the New Testament basis for Purgatory in his encyclical, Spe Salvi (sections 45-48), and I will be posting a note on that at some point.

To SHARE on SOCIAL MEDIA: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below (and this will bring up social media icons if they are not already present).

To LEAVE A COMMENT: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below, and then scroll down to the box which says, “Leave Your Own Comment Here,” which is at the end of any comments already made. If the comment section is already present, merely scroll to the end of any comments already made.

THE JESUS METHOD OF AFFIRMATION

Inspiration, Jesus, Sacred Heart

Jesus led an affirmed life. This is an important point: for to affirm others Jesus had to be affirmed himself. Thus we see that after Jesus’ baptism the Father in Heaven first calls Jesus “my beloved” and then adds my “son, in whom I am well pleased” (see Matt: 3:17). Jesus’ mission of affirming others came from the fact that he was first of all an affirmed person. Since Mary was a human being fully alive in the Holy Spirit it was impossible for Jesus not to be touched by her affirming presence.

We see throughout the Gospels the tremendous and extraordinary power Jesus possessed to affirm others! People in the presence of the most dire circumstances suddenly find their lives transformed by the dynamic, affirming presence of Jesus. Whether it be the woman at the well, Zacchaeus (the dishonest tax collector), the woman caught in adultery, the man who came to Jesus through an opening in the roof, or the immoral woman who dried Jesus’ feet with her hair, Jesus is authentically open to them, he makes time for them, he affirms and does not condemn them, and ultimately he liberates them from the tyranny of sin. Thus, as one example, he says to the woman caught in adultery: “Has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:10-11). And Zacchaeus comes away from his encounter with Jesus vowing to make restitution to all those he has defrauded (Luke 19:8).

We thus see that Jesus, who is the supreme exemplar of authentic Christian affirmation, had a remarkable way of being open to others and giving to them the gift of discovering their own inner goodness and of receiving themselves as children of God. Jesus’ method of affirming others involves a liberation from sin rather than an acceptance of sin. Jesus does not condone sin – rather he frees, he heals, he liberates. Authentic affirmation, therefore, does not, as Catholic psychiatrist C.W. Baars points out, consist in “lowering moral standards and precepts with a mistaken notion that this will help people to become happier….” Thus, to try to affirm someone by telling them that pornography is OK, or that illicit sexuality is OK, or that vulgar language is OK, contradicts the Jesus method of affirmation. Jesus never, ever compromises the moral law to affirm someone.

God the Father in Heaven affirmed Jesus once again during Jesus’ Transfiguration, saying, “This is my son, My Chosen one, listen to him” (Luke 9:35).  Jesus is our model. He shows us the authentic Christian method of affirmation. Let us listen to him!

Tom Mulcahy, M.A.

Ref. I am relying almost exclusively on a beautiful little book entitled, Born Only Once: The Miracle of Affirmation, by Dr. Conrad W. Baars. Everything in this note flows from Dr. Baars’ book, and I have merely presented some of his ideas in a condensed manner.

To SHARE on SOCIAL MEDIA: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below (and this will bring up social media icons if they are not already present).

To LEAVE A COMMENT: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below, and then scroll down to the box which says, “Leave Your Own Comment Here,” which is at the end of any comments already made. If the comment section is already present, merely scroll to the end of any comments already made.

 

 

 

THE ROSARY: AN INSTRUMENT OF PRAYER AND POWER

            “The Rosary is a prayer that always accompanies me” (Pope Francis)
Rosary, Prayer, Pray, Red, Hands

    
When the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Mother Teresa in an apparition, as testified to by Blessed Mother Teresa herself, she told Mother Teresa to teach families to say the rosary (Come Be My Light, Doubleday, p. 99). When Mary appeared in Lourdes and then at Fatima, she came wearing a rosary. Why the importance of the rosary? Because without prayer it is very difficult to overcome the world. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri: “Those who pray are certainly  saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned” (no. 2744). The “world” wants to drown out our desire for God: to make God irrelevant. As one person once said, “who needs God when you have a Cadillac?” The world places a high priority on things rather than God. Go to a mall: where is God to be found?
     To remedy this downward pull of worldliness, we need prayer – especially prayer that is concentrated on the life of Christ, from his birth to his resurrection. The rosary accomplishes this need in a powerful way because it joins our sometimes very weak prayers to those of the Blessed Virgin whom Jesus loves with the most indescribable of loves. Mary presents our prayers to the Lord in a way that makes those prayers very pleasing to Him.
     The great spiritual writer of the 19th century, F.W. Faber, whom The Catholic Encyclopedia calls “a master” of the mystical life, says in one of his books that “I cannot conceive a man as being spiritual who does not habitually say the rosary” (Growth in Holiness), and Faber was a convert. He justifies this strong statement by saying that if we are going to persevere in the faith we need to perpetually keep Mary and Jesus before us: and that is what the rosary does. He mentions that the rosary combines vocal and mental prayer, presumably meaning that it strengthens our interior lives and aids in contemplating the presence of God. It is Mary’ prayer: it is a prayer, as Faber states, that has been strongly sanctioned by the Church and the saints.
     There is a “strange seduction” in the world that draws our hearts away from the one true good that we all need: God. The rosary is the antidote to this deception.  
As Deacon Marc once said, the rosary repels evil and promotes virtue. The Blessed Virgin always has our best interests in mind, to wit: prayer and knowledge of the Lord Jesus. We should pray the rosary with great love and confidence: it is a devotion very dear to our Lord’s heart.
     My friend: say the rosary as often as possible. Devotion to Mary is the “safety of souls.”
 

“All for Jesus,”

Tom
 

P.S. In notes published after his death, the following was said by Father Faber: “In consequence of all these blessings [from saying the Rosary], the devil makes the Rosary a special subject of temptations, weariness, contempt, and the like. Persevere in it, and it will itself be the chain of your own final perseverance.” He also calls the rosary “an instrument of power.”  Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects, p. 308

To SHARE on SOCIAL MEDIA: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below (and this will bring up social media icons if they are not already present).

To LEAVE A COMMENT: click on “Leave a comment” or “Comments” below, and then scroll down to the box which says, “Leave Your Own Comment Here,” which is at the end of any comments already made. If the comment section is already present, merely scroll to the end of any comments already made.