Five Lessons from Saint Joseph – From The Integrated Catholic Life

  1. Saint Joseph was obedient.  Joseph was obedient to God’s Will throughout his life.  Joseph listened to the angel of the Lord explain the virgin birth in a dream and then took Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:20-24).  He was obedient when he led his family to Egypt to escape Herod’s infanticide in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:13-15).  Joseph obeyed the angel’s later commands to return to Israel (Matthew 2:19-20) and settle in Nazareth with Mary and Jesus (Matthew 2:22-23).  How often does our pride and willfulness get in the way of our obedience to God?
  2. Saint Joseph was selfless.  In the limited knowledge we have about Joseph, we see a man who only thought of serving Mary and Jesus, never himself.  What many may see as sacrifices on his part, were actually acts of selfless love.  His devotion to his family is a model for fathers today who may be allowing disordered attachments to the things of this world distort their focus and hinder their vocations.
  3. Saint Joseph led by example.  None of his words are written in Scripture, but we can clearly see by his actions that he was a just, loving and faithful man.  We often think that we primarily influence others by what we say, when so often we are watched for our actions.  Every recorded decision and action made by this great saint is the standard for men to follow today.
  4. Saint Joseph was a worker.  He was a simple craftsman who served his neighbors through his handiwork.  He taught his foster son Jesus the value of hard work.  It is likely that the humility Joseph exhibited in recorded Scripture spilled over into the simple approach he took to his work and providing for the Holy Family.  We can all learn a great lesson from Saint Joseph, who is also the patron saint of workers, on the value of our daily work and how it should exist to glorify God, support our families and contribute to society.
  5. Saint Joseph was a leader.  But, not in the way we may view leadership today.  He led as a loving husband when he improvised to find a stable for Mary to give birth to Jesus, after being turned away from the Bethlehem inn.  He led as a man of faith when he obeyed God in all things, took the pregnant Mary as his wife and later brought the Holy Family safely to Egypt.  He led as the family provider by working long hours in his workshop to make sure they had enough to eat and a roof over their heads.  He led as a teacher by teaching Jesus his trade and how to live and work as a man.

 

Prayer to St. Joseph the Worker

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God.

All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death.

– Composed by St. Pius X

St. Joseph the Worker

Dress Up for Mass!

Posted: March 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

A great article for men on why we should dress for Mass. As my daughter, Ariana, would say, “Looking FIERCE for Jesus!”

The Catholic Gentleman

Advisory Board 1943 Dapper gents from Our Lady of Victory Catholic Parish, Cincinnati, OH. (1943)

Society is growing more and more casual. I have seen people shopping for groceries in their pajama pants and fuzzy slippers. I’ve been to world-class classical concerts where people are dressed in Hawaiian shirts and jeans.  In fact, it’s hard to think of anything people will dress up for anymore. Even weddings and funerals are getting more and more casual.

This bothers me because how we dress is a sign of how much respect we have for ourselves and for other people. If we don’t dress up for anyone or anything, it’s a sure sign that we don’t respect anyone or anything.

Dressing up is a small sacrifice

Looking sharp takes effort. Putting on a well pressed suit and tie, rather than a wrinkled t-shirt, takes time. Shaving, rather than sporting a scruffy five-o-clock shadow, takes a little…

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LECTIO DIVINIA
Lectio Divinia is a way of praying with Scripture that St. Ambrose taught to St. Augustine back in the 3rd century. It is a way of prayer that is to be followed in 4 phases, that leads one to a deeper understanding of what Scripure means.
PHASE 1 :  LECTIO (reading)
Reading the text slowly, try to figure out what the text is saying, what in particular jumps out at you and speaks to your heart?
PHASE 2 : MEDITATIO (meditation)
Take one word or phrase and repeat it, allowing yourself to engage in the text to see what images or thoughts come to you, to spark a dialogue with God. What bis this text saying to me directly?
PHASE 3 : ORATIO (prayer)
Speak to God. What experience does the text conjure that leads you to speak openly and honestly to God. Be silent at times too, to allow God the opportunity to speak back.
PHASE 4 : CONTEMPLATIO (contemplation)
While being still and resting in the presence of the Lord, allow God to work on your heart. Allow your mind to be rest peacefully with where the Holy Spirit leads you.
 
CHOOSE a text of the Scriptures that you wish to pray. Many Christians use in their daily lectio divina one of the readings from the Eucharistic liturgy for the day; others prefer to slowly work through a particular book of the Bible. It makes no difference which text is chosen, as long as one has no set goal of “covering” a certain amount of text: the amount of text “covered” is in God’s hands, not yours.

PLACE YOURSELF in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent. Some Christians focus for a few moments on their breathing; other have a beloved “prayer word” or “prayer phrase” they gently recite in order to become interiorly silent. For some the practice known as “centering prayer” makes a good, brief introduction to lectio divina. Use whatever method is best for you and allow yourself to enjoy silence for a few moments.

THEN TURN to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the “still, small voice” of a word or phrase that somehow says, “I am for you today.” Do not expect lightening or ecstasies. In lectio divina God is teaching us to listen to Him, to seek Him in silence. He does not reach out and grab us; rather, He softly, gently invites us ever more deeply into His presence.

NEXT TAKE the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories and ideas. Do not be afraid of “distractions.” Memories or thoughts are simply parts of yourself which, when they rise up during lectio divina, are asking to be given to God along with the rest of your inner self. Allow this inner pondering, this rumination, to invite you into dialogue with God.

THEN, SPEAK to God. Whether you use words or ideas or images or all three is not important. Interact with God as you would with one who you know loves and accepts you. And give to Him what you have discovered in yourself during your experience of meditatio. Experience yourself as the priest that you are. Experience God using the word or phrase that He has given you as a means of blessing, of transforming the ideas and memories, which your pondering on His word has awakened. Give to God what you have found within your heart.

FINALLY, SIMPLY rest in God’s embrace. And when He invites you to return to your pondering of His word or to your inner dialogue with Him, do so. Learn to use words when words are helpful, and to let go of words when they no longer are necessary. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence, in spiritual activity and inner receptivity.divina. It is not necessary to anxiously assess the quality of one’s lectio divina as if one were “performing” or seeking some goal: lectio divina has no goal other than that of being in the presence of God by praying the Scriptures.

 

The Lady Of All Nations
 
Our Blessed Mother, under the title, The Lady of All Nations, appeared to a visionary in Amsterdam back in the 1940’s. Her name was Ida Peredeman. The Lady extends Herself as a loving Mother to all mankind, just as She was given to us by Her son at the foot of the cross. The image and prayer that was given to Ida in 1951, was meant to reach all four corners of the globe to obtain the conversion of the world. It is truly a prayer for our times. It is simple, powerful and meant to be said slowly. We are asking the Lord to truly preserve us from degeneration, disaster and war. 
 
The image on the prayer card depicts Our Lady standing, arms outstretched in front of the cross. She is surrounded with sheep at Her feet. This image embodies the fifth and final dogma that will be proclaimed for Mary under the title:  Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. She is the Mother of all and of all nations.
 
 
The Lady Of All Nations Prayer
 
 
Our Lady of All Nations

The Lord said come to the fountain all of you who are thirsty, and when His heart was pierced there flowed blood and water.  Water is used for washing and for purifying, when it is blessed it works likewise but also in a spiritual manner.

Holy Water may be obtained at your local parish. It has been used from the earliest centuries in Church history. This sacramental can be used daily to bless oneself, by making the sign of the cross, or objects and dwelling places.  Holy Water is very powerful when used to bless the sick or those who suffer from depression.  The priest blessing of  the water is what makes it “holy” and gives it the powerful properties for such rites of use, like the sacrament of Baptism.  Adding exorcised salt to the water, increases the ability to combat evil.

Ordinary holy water is blessed with a small mixture of salt as a preservative.  Baptismal water is blessed with a slight mixture of “chrism” (a mixture of olive oil and balsam) and “oil of catechumens” (typically olive oil) that has been blessed by a bishop at a Chrism Mass during the most recent Passion Week.  Holy water may be used to sanctify a variety of objects or activities.  However, whether used to bless objects employed to promote prayer, to baptize, or to remind ourselves of our baptismal promises as we dip our finger in holy water and make the sign of the cross when entering a church, the implied petition is the same – a prayer to be spiritually cleansed – a plea to be washed clean by Christ Jesus.

Holy water is a sacramental that remits venial sin. Because of the blessing attached to it, Holy Church strongly urges it’s use upon Her children, especially when dangers threaten, such as fire, storms, sickness, discord and other calamities. Every Catholic home should always have a supply of Holy Water. Did we realize now, as we shall after death, the many benefits which may be derived from Holy Water, we would use it far more frequently, and with greater faith and reverence.

Holy Water has its great power and efficacy from the prayers of the Church. Following, are some of the petitions the priest makes to God when he blesses water: “O God… grant that this creature of Thine (water) may be endowed with divine grace to drive away devils and to cast out diseases, that whatever in the houses or possessions of the faithful may be sprinkled by this water, so that health which they seek by calling upon Thy Holy Name may be guarded from all assaults.”

The devil hates holy water because of its power over him. He cannot long abide in a place or near a person that is often sprinkled with blessed water.

Holy Water, sprinkled with faith and piety, can move the Sacred Heart to bless your loved ones, present or absent, and protect them from all harm of soul and body. When worry and fear take possession of you, give your dear ones the benefit of the Church’s prayer.

Only in Purgatory can one understand how ardently a poor soul longs for Holy Water. If we desire to make a host or intercessors for ourselves, let us never forget them at the Holy Water font. The holy souls nearest to Heaven may need the sprinkling of only one drop to release them.

Prayer when blessing oneself with Holy Water:

“By this Holy Water and by Thy Precious Blood, wash away all my sins, O Lord!”

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

St. Faustina Kowalska, a recently canonized Polish nun, received messages from Jesus in the early 20th century. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy was given to her from Our Lord to promote Jesus’ attribute of unfathomable Mercy. Recited on Rosary beads, this devotion promises to bring salvation at the hour of death to those who trust in His  Divine Mercy, and to supplicate God the Father on our behalf.

How to Recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

The Chaplet of Mercy is recited using ordinary rosary beads of five decades. At the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts the Chaplet is preceded by two opening prayers from the Diary of Saint Faustina and followed by a closing prayer.

Optional Opening Prayers

You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.

O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!

Begin with the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Apostle’s Creed:

Our Father
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

The Apostle’s Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Then, on the large bead before each decade:

Eternal Father,
I offer you the Body and Blood,
Soul and Divinity,
of Your Dearly Beloved Son,
Our Lord, Jesus Christ,
in atonement for our sins
and those of the whole world.

On the ten small beads of each decade, say:

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion,
have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Conclude with (Say 3 Times):

Holy God,
Holy Mighty One,
Holy Immortal One,
have mercy on us
and on the whole world.

Optional Closing Prayer

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

Our Lord said to Saint Faustina:

Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given you … Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death … When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between my Father and the dying person, not as the Just Judge but as the Merciful Savior … Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from my infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy … Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.

St. Benedict Medal

St. Benedict was a monk living in Italy during the 6th century. He founded 12 religious communities in his lifetime, and has the honor of being the patron saint of Europe and students.

The St. Benedict of Nursia Medal, made in his name, is one of the most powerful Catholic Sacramental’s in existence. It’s purpose is to ward off evil and grant protection, but not in a superstitious way. Since the 17th century, wearers of this medal have sought and gained protection in spiritual warfare and in times of temptation. It may be attached to your Scapular or Rosary. Placing it above the entry doors to the house, also serves as protection. The medal has been known to convert sinners, alleviate bodily suffering and grant domesticated animals healing from illness.

On the face of the medal is the image of Saint Benedict. In his right hand he holds the cross, the Christian’s symbol of salvation. The cross reminds us of the zealous work of evangelizing and civilizing England and Europe carried out mainly by the Benedictine monks and nuns, especially for the sixth to the ninth/tenth centuries.

Rule and Raven

In St. Benedict’s left hand is his Rule for Monasteries that could well be summed up in the words of the Prolog exhorting us to “walk in God’s ways, with the Gospel as our guide.”

On a pedestal to the right of St. Benedict is the poisoned cup, shattered when he made the sign of the cross over it. On a pedestal to the left is a raven about to carry away a loaf of poisoned bread that a jealous enemy had sent to St. Benedict.

C. S. P. B.

Above the cup and the raven are the Latin words: Crux s. patris Benedicti (The Cross of our holy father Benedict). On the margin of the medal, encircling the figure of Benedict, are the Latin words: Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur! (May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death!). Benedictines have always regarded St. Benedict as a special patron of a happy death. He himself died in the chapel at Montecassino while standing with his arms raised up to heaven, supported by the brothers of the monastery, shortly after St. Benedict had received Holy Communion.

Monte Cassino

Below Benedict we read: ex SM Casino MDCCCLXXX (from holy Monte Cassino, 1880). This is the medal struck to commemorate the 1400th anniversaryof the birth of Saint Benedict.

Reverse Side of the Medal

Crux mihi lux

On the back of the medal, the cross is dominant. On the arms of the cross are the initial letters of a rhythmic Latin prayer: Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Nunquam draco sit mihi dux! (May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon never be my guide!).

In the angles of the cross, the letters C S P B stand for Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (The cross of our holy father Benedict).

Peace

Above the cross is the word pax (peace), that has been a Benedictine motto for centuries. Around the margin of the back of the medal, the letters V R S N S M V – S M Q L I V B are the initial letters, as mentioned above, of a Latin prayer of exorcism against Satan: Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! (Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!)

Use of the Medal

There is no special way prescribed for carrying or wearing the Medal of St. Benedict. It can be worn on a chain around the neck, attached to one’s rosary, kept in one’s pocket or purse, or placed in one’s car or home. The medal is often put into the foundations of houses and building, on the walls of barns and sheds, or in one’s place of business.

The purpose of using the medal in any of the above ways is to call down God’s blessing and protection upon us, wherever we are, and upon our homes and possessions, especially through the intercession of St. Benedict. By the conscious and devout use of the medal, it becomes, as it were, a constant silent prayer and reminder to us of our dignity as followers of Christ.

The medal is a prayer of exorcism against Satan, a prayer for strength in time of temptation, a prayer for peace among ourselves and among the nations of the world, a prayer that the Cross of Christ be our light and guide, a prayer of firm rejection of all that is evil, a prayer of petition that we may with Christian courage “walk in God’s ways, with the Gospel as our guide,” as St. Benedict urges us.

A profitable spiritual experience can be ours if we but take the time to study the array of inscriptions and representations found on the two sides of the medal. The lessons found there can be pondered over and over to bring true peace of mind and heart into our lives as we struggle to overcome the weaknesses of our human nature and realize that our human condition is not perfect, but that with the help of God and the intercession of the saints our condition can become better.

The Medal of St. Benedict can serve as a constant reminder of the need for us to take up our cross daily and “follow the true King, Christ our Lord,” and thus learn “to share in his heavenly kingdom,” as St. Benedict urges us in the Prolog of his Rule.

St. Benedict Medal