23 June 2008

Riga quod est aridum

To the Holy Spirit:

Fall softly on me, without noise, like rain on wool, may that deep stillness secure my soul: it is Thyself. Fall sweetly, like morning dew upon the grass, that I may taste and see how sweet Thou art. Sink gently, yet copiously, into the secretest retreats within my soul, that in lieu of so long and great aridity there may arise a plenteous and lasting fountain, which heats shall not be able to dry up nor time consume; that I may thereby enjoy Thy presence, and continue it till I be transplanted by Thy gracious hand from this dry and barren soil into the land of the living, where an infinite torrent of delights will never cease to flow. Riga, quod est aridum (water what is dry).

by Rev. Richard Johnson

21 June 2008

Chaplet of St. Michael

When I was a Pentecostal preacher I saw a statue of St. Michael the Archangel at a gift shop. It was the traditional pose: foot on the devil's head, sword raised and ready to strike. I thought: "This is my kind of angel!" From then on I've had a devotion to this heavenly warrior.
I have an Abyssinian (Ethiopia/Eritrea) icon that I mounted myself on some stained wood where he has a flaming sword. It travels with me wherever I go.

I knew about the Chaplet of St. Michael, which is a special way to pray using beads that are similar to a Rosary. Wanting to add this devotion to my spiritual practice I cut out an icon of St. Michael from the Monastery Icons catalog and mounted it to a 2"x1" piece of tree bark. Then I used wooden beads for the rest of the chaplet--nine large for each choir of angels, three small between them for the "Our Father" and four at the end for concluding prayers.

I would like to make a note to my non-catholic readers. Praying to saints or angels and asking for their help is not worship, nor is it necromancy. All saints and holy angels point to Jesus. Why ask for their intercession? Because I need all the help I can get, and who better than those who see the Face of God! Also, look closely at the prayers--they ask for Jesus to give to me the qualities found in each type of angel through the intercession of St. Michael.

My favorite prayer is on the first bead: "By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity. Amen."

Rather than post the whole thing here, I created a PDF file of the devotion I use. Some of the prayers are in Latin since I like to pray that way sometimes. There's also a history of the Chaplet.

With so much confusion latelty about angels and what they do it is comforting to have direction from Holy Mother Church on the truth. For more about angels, check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church starting at paragraph #328.

18 June 2008

Desire for God

In the days of the Desert Fathers, a young monk sought out an elder monk who was known for his great holiness. The elder agreed to teach the young man everything he knew about prayer and the spiritual life.

He took the young man to a river and instructed him to immerse himself. The young man did and immediately the older man pushed the young man’s head under the water and held him down. The young man submitted to this for a short time, but then he became frightened that he was going to drown. He began to struggle against the old monk’s grip, fighting for air.

Finally, when the young man thought his lungs would burst, the old man released him. The young man stood up, gasping for air, looking at the old man in astonishment.

The elder monk looked at him calmly. “What did you experience while you were under the water?”

“I thought I was going to die,” he spluttered.

“Why were you going to die?”

The young man was angry. “Old man,” he spat, “I needed to breathe. I came here to learn the ways of God, and of prayer. And instead you tried to murder me!”

“You wanted that breath of air more than anything else?”

“Of course.”

“When you desire God as much as you desired that breath of air, then you will understand.”

15 June 2008

Sacred Heart & Holy Face

Representations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus bothered St. Therese of Liseux. The reason is that few of them showed Christ's invitation to rest there as St. John did during the Last Supper. She wrote:
To sleep on His heart,
so close to His face,
Such is my heaven!
St. Therese prefered pictures showing the Lord with children resting against His chest. She wrote in one letter:

I do not see the Sacred Heart as others do. I think that my Spouse's Heart is mine alone and I speak to Him in the solitude of this delightful heart-to-heart exchange, waiting for the day when I will contemplate Him face to face.

09 June 2008

St. Ephraim the Syrian

St. Ephraim the Syrian was known as the "Harp of the Holy Spirit" because of the beautiful hymns he wrote during the 4th century. During Lent I mentioned his wonderful prayer that is recited by Byzantine Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. He is loved by Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Monophysites, and was declared a Doctor of the Church by the Roman Catholic Church.

From every mouth “Blessed are ye,”
on every side “Blessed are ye.”
Sin from you is driven out,
and the Holy Spirit on you is dwelling.
The Evil One is become sad of countenance;
the Good God makes glad your countenance.
The gift that ye have received freely,
cease not from watching over it:
(Hymn for the Feast of Epiphany 6:16-17)

06 June 2008

Protecting the Flock

O Jesus, the true light which enlightens every man coming into this world, grant, I beseech You, by the merits of Your passion and death, that all errors and heresies may be driven back into darkness; that all mankind may behold the light of Your truth, and may hasten into the bosom of Your holy Church. Oh, good Shepherd, who has given Your life for Your sheep, protect Your flock, and defend it from the strength and snares of those who come upon it in the clothing of lambs, but are, in reality, ravenous wolves. Grant that all may follow one Shepherd and that all may form only one flock. Stay with us, O Lord, according to Your promise--"Behold I am with you all days, even until the consummation of the world." Show that Your Church is built upon a rock, and that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. Amen.

03 June 2008

Honoring the Heart of Jesus

From the depth of my nothingness, I prostrate myself before Thee, O Most Sacred, Divine and Adorable Heart of Jesus, to pay Thee all the homage of love, praise and adoration in my power.
~St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes His most Holy Name. It adores the incarnate Word and His Heart which, out of love for men, He allowed to be pierced by our sins. Christian prayer loves to follow the way of the cross in the Savior's steps.
~CCC #2669

There is a free download PDF booklet of Sacred Heart prayers thanks to the Heart to Heart Apostolate

Though I have Byzantine Christian devotional leanings, I doubt that I would kiss this guy's back?
Not brave enough for a tattoo like this? How about something temporary for your next church picnic??

01 June 2008

Welcome to June

This month
is dedicated to the
Sacred Heart of Jesus!
Sagrado Corazon en ti confio!

O sacred Heart of Jesus, most obedient to the will of the Father, incline our hearts to Thee, that we may always do what is most pleasing to Him.

The Holy Father's Prayer Intention:
Friendship with Christ. That all Christians may cultivate a deep and personal friendship with Christ so to communicate the strength of his love to every person they meet.

Favorite Saints
St. Justin Martyr (1)
Sts. Martha & Mary (4-Byzantine)
St. Columba (8)
St. Ephraim the Syrian (9)
Prophet Elisha (14-Byzantine)
St. Thomas More (22)
Birth of St. John the Baptist (24)
St. Cyril of Alexandria (27)
St. Irenaeus (28)
Sts. Peter & Paul (29)