Archive for the 'Devotions' Category

9th Saturday in Ordinary Time

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From the Office of Readings

Psalm 131 (132)
The divine promise to the house of David

With an honest heart I have offered up all things joyfully, O my God.

O Lord, remember David

and all the many hardships he endured,
the oath he swore to the Lord
his vow to the Strong One of Jacob.

“I will not enter the house where I live
nor go to the bed where I rest.
I will give no sleep to my eyes,
to my eyelids I will give no slumber,
till I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling for the Strong One of Jacob.”

At Ephrata we heard of the ark;
we found it in the plains of Yearim.
“Let us go to the place of his dwelling;
let us go to kneel at his footstool.”

Go up, Lord, to the place of your rest,
you and the ark of your strength.
Your priests shall be clothed with holiness;
your faithful shall ring out their joy.
For the sake of David your servant
do not reject your anointed.

With an honest heart I have offered up all things joyfully, O my God.

Corpus Christi 2010

Today we had Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Chapel of St Joseph Institution International. I served Mass together with the usual brothers. The music was very beautiful. Of notice is the Sequence before the Gospel, named Lauda Sion. It was 24 verses long. I think the schola took about six or seven minutes to finish singing it. It was good, allowing the meaning to sink into me. This sequence was composed by St Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. It perfectly summarizes all the teachings on the Holy Eucharist.

Some of the verses which are very striking, especially:

Sumunt boni, sumunt mali:
sorte tamen inaequali,
vitae vel interitus.
Mors est malis, vita bonis:
vide paris sumptionis
quam sit dispar exitus.

Both the wicked and the good
eat of this celestial Food:
but with ends how opposite!
With this most substantial Bread,
unto life or death they’re fed,
in a difference infinite.

It reminds us to prepare ourselves well to receive Holy Communion, to be in state of grace before that. Many Catholics do not prepare themselves well for Communion. It is very lamentable. If we do not take this seriously, we are eating to our death. Blessed are those who prepare well, for they are eating to eternal life. This is what they mean when the verse writes ‘but with ends how opposite!’. All the good and bad Catholics eat the same Holy Eucharist, yet the outcome is different! Those who eat well, go to heaven. Those who do poorly, go to hell.

In the Ordinary Form, the priest (or extraordinary minister if you are unfortunate) will say ‘Corpus Christi’ or ‘Body of Christ’ before administering the Holy Sacrament to the recipient. In the Extraordinary Form, the full words are ‘Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.’ or in English ‘May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ keep your soul unto life everlasting. Amen.’

In the new rite we acknowledge that the Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, but perhaps we have forgot one thing; we are eating it so that we may enter heaven. It cannot be simplified as just having a family meal every Sunday. This is a matter of life and death!

It was one of the most impactful Masses I have served. I understood what was going on. I managed to pray. Best of all is, despite recent events I felt peaceful. Absolute bliss. It was indeed a foretaste of heaven. It is as the hymn Ave Verum Corpus goes, ‘Be a foretaste of sweetness to me; In my death’s great agony’

After Mass we carried on with the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament. We sang a number of hymns, including O Salutaris Hostia, one English version of O Salutaris Hostia, Pange Lingua Gloriosi, and the rarely heard Te Deum Laudamus.

Another thing which struck me was, after the ablutions and before the Post Communion prayer, I saw that the altar was bathed with sunlight. Absolutely amazing.

Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam aeternam. Amen.

Midway through Long Lent

Forty days in the desert with Our Lord.

The dryness is starting to get to me. The absence of a day job does this to me. The job hunt is fruitless so far. I had two job interviews this year, but no luck yet. So I reviewed my resume and decided to rewrite it. And continue applying for more jobs.

It is a great opportunity to put things in order. I am not doing well with my spiritual life either. Recently I have acquired The Soul of the Apostolate by Jean-Baptiste Chautard. This is an awesome book which teaches that those with a good interior life will be fruitful in evangelization.

One chapter entitled Action Made Fruitful attempts to categorize different kinds of souls.

Starting with the most sinful we have:

1) Hardened in Sin
2) Surface Christianity
3) Mediocre Piety
4) Intermittent Piety
5) Sustained Piety
6) Fervor
7) Relative Perfection
8 ) Heroic Perfection
9) Complete Sanctity, which is the most saintly state.

I seem to be alternating between 3 and 4, barely touching 5. I won’t type the descriptions of each state, they are quite long. Cultivating the interior life is so difficult.

There is a Legion Officers Training Camp next weekend. I hope it will be fruitful in passing on the values for these prospective leaders. Past generations have come and gone. When will there be a generation who will stay faithfully?

I’ve heard it so often: A vocation without sacrifice is not a vocation. Even a lay apostle must make sacrifices. How can I inculcate this spirit in my legionaries?

I am looking forward to the end of Lent. The end of Lent also coincides with the end of the current module I am taking.

Statistics is madness. I am not enjoying this module, though I’m forcing myself to. Why? I might need to use this in whatever occupation I take up one day. For example, biostatistics or public health. After not doing very well for the first test, I think it’s time to take it more seriously.

I need to find an alternative strategy to studying for tests and exams. I got a distinction for the first module Human Biology & Disease, and I think I’ll be able to scrape through Biological Organic Chemistry. I enjoy isolating myself in my room to study for hours, but when I get full time work I won’t have this luxury.

I hope all this is not in vain.

Offering it up

Allocutio for Curia Meeting 19 July 2009

In the course of our work, we will encounter many difficulties. They may be big and small, but there is one thing in common: we like to complain about them. It is not wrong to release some frustration or to tell your troubles to a close friend, but sometimes we end up hurting others if we are not careful with our words. And the problem is nowhere to being solved because we are just so tired. Maybe we should learn to offer up our suffering. What does it mean? We can make an act of love by saying ‘My God I offer you my suffering’. We can also tie it in with an intention. For example, for someone’s healing or conversion. We can also this during the sacred liturgy especially the Holy Mass. As the priest offers up the holy sacrifice of bread and wine, we too must raise up our hearts ‘Sursum Corda’.

What are the benefits? We can cultivate the virtues of patience, resignation to the divine will, and perseverance. It gives us a sense of peace because our suffering is made holy; it is not in vain. We also avoid harming others. When we offer up our suffering to God, we can be sure that he is also watching over us, always ready to help.

and you forgave the guilt of my sin

Psalm 31 (32)

Antiphon: Happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no blame.

Blessed is he whose sins are forgiven,
whose transgressions are hidden away.
Happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no blame,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
While I kept silent,
my bones grew old
as I groaned all day long.
While your hand lay heavy on me,
by day and by night,
my strength was dried up as if by summer heat.
I made my sin known to you,
and I did not hide my faults.
I said “I will bear witness against myself before the Lord,”
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
This is why every saint will pray to you in due time,
and even in the great flood he will not be touched.
You are my refuge, you will preserve me from trouble,
you will surround me with cries of deliverance.
I will give you understanding and teach you the path you are to follow;
I will keep watch over you.
Do not be like the horse and the mule,
without understanding:
if you approach them with bit or bridle,
they will not come near.
Many are the sufferings of the wicked,
but the Lord’s mercy will protect those who trust in him.
Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you just.
Shout for joy, you upright of heart.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

Antiphon: Happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no blame.

Pray for the Ex. Wanderer, pray for me

Hail Queen of Heaven

Hail, Queen of heav’n, the ocean star,
Guide of the wand’rer here below;
Thrown on life’s surge, we claim thy care:
Save us from peril and from woe.

Mother of Christ, O Star of the sea,
Pray for the wanderer, pray for me.

O gentle, chaste, and spotless Maid,
We sinners make our prayers through thee;
Remind thy Son that He has paid
The price of our iniquity.

Virgin most pure, O star of the sea,
Pray for the sinner, pray for me.

And while to Him Who reigns above
In Godhead one, in Persons three,
The Source of life, of grace, of love,
Homage we pay on bended knee:

Do thou, bright Queen, O star of the sea,
Pray for thy children, pray for me.

I am not looking forward to this week’s exercise. I’ll see you guys in a week, hopefully. Please pray for me!

Office of Readings for Tuesday 28 August 2007

Today is the Memorial of St Augustine of Hippo.

Reading from The Confessions of Saint Augustine

O Eternal Truth, true love and beloved eternity

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance the innermost places of my being; but only because you had become my helper was I able to do so. I entered, then, and with the vision of my spirit, such as it was, I saw the incommutable light far above my spiritual ken and transcending my mind: not this common light which every carnal eye can see, nor any light of the same order; but greater, as though this common light were shining much more powerfully, far more brightly, and so extensively as to fill the universe. The light I saw was not the common light at all, but something different, utterly different, from all those things. Nor was it higher than my mind in the sense that oil floats on water or the sky is above the earth; it was exalted because this very light made me, and I was below it because by it I was made. Anyone who knows truth knows this light.

O eternal Truth, true Love, and beloved Eternity, you are my God, and for you I sigh day and night. As I first began to know you, you lifted me up and showed me that, while that which I might see exists indeed, I was not yet capable of seeing it. Your rays beamed intensely on me, beating back my feeble gaze, and I trembled with love and dread. I knew myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me”.

Accordingly I looked for a way to gain the strength I needed to enjoy you, but I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who is also God, supreme over all things and blessed for ever. He called out, proclaiming I am the Way and Truth and the Life, nor had I known him as the food which, though I was not yet strong enough to eat it, he had mingled with our flesh, for the Word became flesh so that your Wisdom, through whom you created all things, might become for us the milk adapted to our infancy.

Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!
Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong – I, misshapen.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being,
were they not in you.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Office of Readings for Saturday 30 June 2007

The reading was an exposition by St Gregory of Nyssa on the Beatitudes. Part of the passage struck me.

“So if, by love and right living, you wash off the filth that has become stuck to your heart, the divine beauty will shine forth in you. Think of iron, which at one moment is dark and tarnished and the next, once the rust has been scraped off, shines and glistens brightly in the sun. It is the same with the inner core of man, which the Lord calls the heart. It has been in damp and foul places and is covered in patches of rust; but once the rust has been scraped off, it will recover itself and once more resemble its archetype. And so it will be good, since what resembles the good must be good itself.”

I also read an additional reading usually from My Daily Bread, which is a classic. It was written by Fr. Anthony J. Paone S.J and printed by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood in 1954. Each day I read one chapter of the book. I was reading Chapter 28 where it stated:

“(Paragraph 3) 3. As iron, cast into the fire loses its rust and becomes bright with the flame, so too a man who turns his whole heart to Me, is purified of all sluggishness and changed into a new man.”

Hmm, that’s something to think about.

Office of Readings for Thursday 21 June 2007

Today we celebrate the Memorial of St Aloysius Gonzaga. St Aloysius Gonzaga was born on 9 March 1568 in Lombardy. His father wanted him to become a soldier, but he entered the Society of Jesus as a novice when he was eighteen.

He cared for plague victims during the outbreak in 1591. He caught the disease and died on 21 June 1591, in Rome. His relics are entombed under the altar of Saint Ignatius Church in Rome.

St Aloysius is the patron saint for teenagers and youth. Let us imitate his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and be innocent like him.

The below letter is in today’s Office of Readings. It was written by the Saint before he shortly before he died.

A letter from St Aloysius Gonzaga to his mother
God’s mercies shall be my song for ever

May the comfort and grace of the Holy Spirit be yours for ever, most honoured lady. Your letter found me lingering still in this region of the dead, but now I must rouse myself to make my way on to heaven at last and to praise God for ever in the land of the living; indeed I had hoped that before this time my journey there would have been over. If charity, as Saint Paul says, means to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who are glad, then, dearest mother, you shall rejoice exceedingly that God in his grace and his love for you is showing me the path to true happiness, and assuring me that I shall never lose him.

The divine goodness, most honoured lady, is a fathomless and shoreless ocean, and I confess that when I plunge my mind into thought of this it is carried away by the immensity and feels quite lost and bewildered there. In return for my short and feeble labours, God is calling me to eternal rest; his voice from heaven invites me to the infinite bliss I have sought so languidly, and promises me this reward for the tears I have so seldom shed.

Take care above all things, most honoured lady, not to insult God’s boundless loving kindness; you would certainly do this if you mourned as dead one living face to face with God, one whose prayers can bring you in your troubles more powerful aid than they ever could on earth. And our parting will not be for long; we shall see each other again in heaven; we shall be united with our Saviour; there we shall praise him with heart and soul, sing of his mercies for ever, and enjoy eternal happiness. When he takes away what he once lent us, his purpose is to store our treasure elsewhere more safely and bestow on us those very blessings that we ourselves would most choose to have.

I write all this with the one desire that you and all my family may consider my departure a joy and favour and that you especially may speed with a mother’s blessing my passage across the waters till I reach the shore to which all hopes belong. I write the more willingly because I have no clearer way of expressing the love and respect I owe you as your son.

http://www.universalis.com/800/i-readings.htm

O God, the distributer of heavenly gifts, Who in the angelic youth Aloysius didst unite a wonderful innocence of life with an equally wonderful penance, grant, through his merits and prayers, that we, who have not followed him in innocence, may imitate him in penance. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Office of Readings for Friday 8 June 2007

Reading: Job 40:1 – 42:6

The Lord turned to Job, and he said:
Is Shaddai’s opponent willing to give in?
Has God’s critic thought up an answer?

Job replied to the Lord:
My words have been frivolous: what can I reply?
I had better lay my finger on my lips.
I have spoken once… I will not speak again;
more than once… I will add nothing.

The Lord gave Job his answer from the heart of the tempest. He said:
Brace yourself like a fighter,
now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.
Do you really want to reverse my judgement,
and put me in the wrong to put yourself in the right?
Has your arm the strength of God’s,
can your voice thunder as loud?
If so, assume your dignity, your state,
robe yourself in majesty and splendour.
Let the spate of your anger flow free;
humiliate the haughty at a glance!
Cast one look at the proud and bring them low,
strike down the wicked where they stand.
Bury the lot of them in the ground,
shut them, silent-faced, in the dungeon.
I myself will be the first to acknowledge
that your own right hand can assure your triumph.

This was the answer Job gave to the Lord:
I know that you are all-powerful:
what you conceive, you can perform.
I am the man who obscured your designs
with my empty-headed words.
I have been holding forth on matters I cannot understand,
on marvels beyond me and my knowledge.
Listen, I have more to say,
now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.
I knew you then only by hearsay;
but now, having seen you with my own eyes,
I retract all I have said,
and in dust and ashes I repent.

A treatise of Bishop Baldwin of Canterbury
The Lord sees our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts

The Lord knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Without a doubt, every one of them is known to him, while we know only those which he lets us read by the grace of discernment. The spirit of man does not know all that is in man, nor all of the thoughts which he has, willingly or unwillingly. Man does not always perceive his thoughts as they really are. Having clouded vision, he does not discern them clearly with his mind’s eye.

Often under the guise of devotion a suggestion occurs to our mind – coming from our own thoughts or from another person or from the tempter – and in God’s eyes we do not deserve any reward for our virtue. For there are certain imitations of true virtues as also of vices which play tricks with the heart and bedazzle the mind’s vision. As a result, the appearance of goodness often seems to be in something which is evil, and equally the appearance of evil seems to be in something good. This is part of our wretchedness and ignorance, causing us anguish and anxiety.

It has been written: There are paths which seem to man to be right, but which in the end lead him to hell. To avoid this peril, Saint John gives us these words of advice: Test the spirits to see if they are from God. Now no one can test the spirits to see if they are from God unless God has given him discernment of spirits to enable him to investigate spiritual thoughts, inclinations and intentions with honest and true judgement. Discernment is the mother of all the virtues; everyone needs it either to guide the lives of others or to direct and reform his own life.

In the sphere of action, a right thought is one ruled by the will of God, and intentions are holy when directed single-mindedly toward him. In a word, we could see clearly through any action of ours, or into our entire lives, if we had a simple eye. A simple eye is an eye, and it is simple. This means that we see by right thinking what is to be done, and by our good intention we carry it out with simple honesty, because deceitful action is wrong. Right thinking does not permit mistakes; a good intention rules out pretence. This then is true discernment, a combination of right thinking and good intention.

Therefore, we must do all our actions in the light of discernment as if in God and in his presence.


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Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us

Stella Matutina, ora pro nobis

Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, pray for us

St Michael the Archangel, pray for us

St Jude, pray for us

St Benedict, pray for us

St Dominic, pray for us

St Anthony, pray for us