Divine Mercy Novena Begins Today!

The Divine Mercy Novena begins today, in anticipation of Divine Mercy Sunday April 12. Please join in, if you can!

Divine Mercy prayers

The Divine Mercy prayers have become very dear to me since becoming a Christian, perhaps due to how effective they can be in developing compassion in the one praying. You truly open yourself to being a conduit of God’s mercy praying these beautiful prayers! (And one of the lessons I took out of my first confession: I can certainly benefit from learning a lot more about God’s mercy and forgiveness! 🙂

Click here to sign up to join in praying the Divine Mercy novena.

“Their blood confesses Christ”

“The blood of Christians is a testimony that cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ.

Pope Francis

Prayer for Persecuted Christians

Father Robert Barron requests:

“The news of 21 Coptic Christians mercilessly slaughtered this past weekend reminds us that age of the martyrs is not a time long ago, but right now. Let us pray today for all those suffering religious persecution, and particularly for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.

“Pope Francis eloquently said that ‘the blood of Christians is a testimony that cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ.’

“Let us join in prayer with our Holy Father and in communion with all Christians who are persecuted, especially those who live and profess their faith under the threat of violence and death.”

Veni, Creator Spiritus

A prayer traditionally recited or sung on New Years day. Blessings to all in 2015! _()_

 

Holy Spirit

 

“A plenary indulgence may be gained by reciting or singing the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus on the first day of the year. This hymn is traditionally sung for beginnings of things, calling on the Holy Spirit before endeavoring something new.” (From Catholic Culture website.)

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,

and in our souls take up Thy rest;

come with Thy grace and heavenly aid

to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

 

O comforter, to Thee we cry,

O heavenly gift of God Most High,

O fount of life and fire of love,

and sweet anointing from above.

 

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;

Thou, finger of God’s hand we own;

Thou, promise of the Father, Thou

Who dost the tongue with power imbue.

 

Kindle our sense from above,

and make our hearts o’erflow with love;

with patience firm and virtue high

the weakness of our flesh supply.

 

Far from us drive the foe we dread,

and grant us Thy peace instead;

so shall we not, with Thee for guide,

turn from the path of life aside.

 

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow

the Father and the Son to know;

and Thee, through endless times confessed,

of both the eternal Spirit blest.

 

Now to the Father and the Son,

Who rose from death, be glory given,

with Thou, O Holy Comforter,

henceforth by all in earth and heaven.

Amen.

 

A beautiful rendition of the song:


Veni, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.

Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.

Accende lumen sensibus:
infunde amorem cordibus:
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.

Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque dones protinus:
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.

Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium;
Teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis
surrexit, ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula.
Amen.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…”

Pope Francis recently requested prayers for Jerusalem: “I invite you to pray that the Holy City, dear to Jews, Christians and Muslims, which in recent days has witnessed diverse tensions, always be a sign and foretaste of the peace which God desires for the whole human family.”

Jerusalemflower

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, an advocate for the equal right of all religions to pray in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount, was recently a victim of an assassination attempt. I pray that his efforts to bring a peaceful resolution to the conflicts between religions in that region may come to fruition.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick prays with Muslims at the Temple Mount:

.

Please pray!

_()_

How Strong Is My Faith?

One of the questions in tonight’s RCIA class: How strong is my faith in God?

It’s like a very young child – not a mature faith, but a complete faith. I trust God, like a child trusts its parents. I’ve always felt like God was there with me, even during my years of unbelief, waiting, nudging me, helping me “toddle along” in my spiritual growth.

I remember when I was very young, in my childhood church, learning “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” I remember thinking, “Well, that first part is easy.” Because I knew I loved God so very much, as much as I was able. And that love, adoration, was always in the background of my prayers.

We went to church every Sunday when I was little, and I didn’t “act up” because I loved the music, and during the rest of the service I would gaze at the large stained glass window at the front of the church and just sat there loving God and loving being in that place. Church was truly a sanctuary for me. The stained glass window was of an abstract design, no particular scene being portrayed, kind of like this one below, and the church was light and airy, so beautiful.

stained glass

I’m trying not to lament the years that I “strayed from the faith”, because I know that I had to work with myself where I was at, but I am so happy to be back, loving God with all the strength I’m able! That much hasn’t changed… 🙂

Now, if the question had been “How strong is my faith in Jesus?” that would be a different matter altogether. As I mentioned in a previous post, throughout my childhood, even though I was raised a Christian, I rarely thought or spoke about Jesus, and really directed my prayers to God. We studied the New Testament, of course, and the church focused on Jesus, but in my own inner spiritual life, all of that kind of rolled off me, didn’t stick, for whatever reason. So this is something I have to work on, and right now I’m praying the Divine Mercy chaplet daily, and hope soon to do Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, now that I’ve started going to church.

So, perhaps I have a strong trust, but neither a mature faith, nor even a particularly Christian faith at the moment. So I have a long but exciting, joyous path ahead of me…

Why Prostrations?

Every day, while at prayer and meditation, I try to work in prostrations in adoration of the Divine Mercy of Jesus.

Divine Mercy adoration

I do the full-length form of prostrations, and I thoroughly enjoy this practice, this form of worship. Granted, this is a holdover from my Buddhist days, and at first I hesitated with this, wondering if this could be a Christian practice at all? True, Christians (especially Catholics) kneel, genuflect, bow. But prostrations?

But I also didn’t want to give it up, especially since now I have something more worthy to bow before! Buddhists bow/prostrate in reverence to the Buddhas, enlightened teachers, and the teachings of compassion and enlightenment. Very good to respect, even honor, human endeavors to become more compassionate. And the very act of prostrating is good for ridding oneself of ego (one of the goals of Buddhism) and developing humility.

But bowing before our Creator and Savior is entirely different, a whole different level of humility. Because in principle I could become enlightened, as the Buddha did, even if I’m not there yet. But no one can become the Creator! And no one except Jesus can save mankind from sin! So, there’s more reason for humility – before God – and more reason to rid myself of ego – to replace what I want, my thoughts, my goals – with what Jesus wills.

But still, is there a history of Christian prostration? Well, I did a bit of research, and yes, in certain traditions there is. I found this excellent article on prostration in the Coptic Church. Here’s a quote:

Standing, bowing, and especially prostration are linked to the necessity of humility and reverence for being in the presence of God. Fr. Matta el-Meskeen notes that the reverence offered by prostrations is analogous to the reverence of Abraham in Genesis 17, where Abraham prostrates to the ground before the three divine visitors at the oak of Mamre, “as if he were dust and ashes, with a sense of utter contrition” before God, and who also remained standing before God to intercede for the salvation of Sodom and Gomorrah. The act of moving the whole body to the ground demonstrates the willingness of the person praying to be contrite in heart, and the touching of the ground with the forehead is reminder of his own mortality, returning to the dust of the earth  –  who is under the mercy of God, the only one believed to be immortal and life-giving. Likewise, standing before God with reverence and humility, in imitation of Abraham, is seen as the appropriate means of interceding for the world.

And,

Furthermore, the act of prostration expresses a powerful Christology. The prostration to the ground expresses the belief in the kenosis, or emptying of glory, of the Son of God. So, this becomes an act of affirming the incarnation of God. Prostrating to the ground and touching the ground with one’s forehead is a further expression of the link between the person and returning to the dust of the earth in death; it expresses the willingness of Jesus to humble himself in obedience to the Father even to the point of death. The holding of one’s hands as fists with the thumbs on top, as well as the sign of the cross before prostrating, express the belief in the victory Jesus won through his crucifixion and resurrection in the battle with sin and death. … Finally, the rising of the person from the ground is an affirmation of the resurrection of Jesus. Thus, the act of prostrating becomes a medium of expressing the whole of Christology and salvation history: the kenosis and incarnation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection from the dead  –  in all of which the person participates by imitating Jesus through the actions of the body in prayer.

The act of prostration also yields the richest tropological interpretation of the body as medium of expressing the worshiper’s psyche. The Copts often even name the act of prostration in prayer as “metanoia,” and the word here shows the proper intention of prostration as an act of contrition and repentance. In the same way that a person who dies falls to the ground, the act of prostration expresses the need to allow the human will to die, and subject it to the will of God. Rising from the ground after the prostration expresses the repentant and transformed will that the person chooses to follow. This repentance for acting according to one’s will and subjecting one’s self to God’s will is, as Fr. Matta el-Meskeen puts it in another context, the allowing of God to “move mountains of ice and dirt from our consciences even from the innermost wits of our bones, and the deepest intersection of our souls unattainable by any therapy or physician …God can awaken the new will that is asleep and inflame the conscience with courage, sanctity and purity, untying shackles of the soul and body from the worst uncontrollable habits.”

Here is a video of Christian prostration, with beautiful chanting!

So, I’ve started up prostrations again, and as you can see in the sidebar, I’m working up to 100 a day, like I used to do as a Buddhist a few years ago. But hopefully to better purpose now…