You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘pictures’ tag.

Yes, my Patron Saint for 2014 is none other than St. Peter! St. Peter

I think I can imagine why he might have chosen me as his charge. I think he and I have one major character trait in common: an impetuosity that can be a good thing and a bad thing, a strength and a weakness. It can be bold and brave. It can also be reckless and imprudent. It can grow like an oak from devotion, determination, and steadfastness. It can also serve as a coverup for weakness, doubt, and cowardice. It can be zealous, and sometimes over-zealous. It can be firm and steady as bedrock.

For all of St. Peter’s faults, Christ saw his good qualities and encouraged them. His grace helped St. Peter to become the Church’s first pope. It also helped him become a martyr in the end.

I pray that I may grow in the good qualities of that impetuosity and that I may be open to Christ’s grace. I pray to understand that Christ loves me and sees so much good in me, and that He will lead me to become the best person I can be if I will just follow Him and His will. I need to grow in faith and in hope–I am constantly in need of that!

Dear St. Peter, thank you for making yourself my patron for this year. Please pray for me!

Brace yourselves - Lent is comingIt’s a little hard to believe, but we are a mere three days from the beginning of Lent!  I feel somewhat fortunate that I’ve already begun thinking about it; in previous years, Ash Wednesday has completely caught me off guard.

Each year, I want to observe Lent better than I did before, and this year is no exception.  I’ve been thinking about how I wish to observe this season, how I wish to practice sacrifice and discipline, self-denial and self-giving.  I don’t want to be lax.  I don’t want to approach Easter with the least regret that I could have observed Lent more faithfully and deeply.  But each year has been better–this will be might eighth Lent since returning to the Church–and each year I have become more reacclimated to the rigors of this season.  I’m no longer quite the fledgling I was.  I feel this year will be very edifying.

One simple thing that I have found helpful and motivating is Father Jonathan Morris’s Lent Challenge, “A 46-day plan for spiritual growth in mind, body, and soul.”  For each of those three areas, mind, body, and soul, he encourages that we decide on one thing to give up and one thing to do.  He will share daily messages of encouragement via Twitter and Facebook.

I also found this quotation from Pope Benedict XIV in 1741:

The observance of Lent is the very badge of Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should men grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe.

This quotation speaks powerfully to me; as I’ve mentioned before, I respond to nothing more readily than to a call to arms.  I am best motivated to conduct my life well when I am reminded that how I conduct my life affects the world around me–when I remember that it’s not just about me.  It’s about what, and Whom, I stand for.  More than any other time of year, it is about carrying the Cross and following Christ toward Calvary, trembling in every footstep.  Not that we are not always called to do this, but this special season exists for our benefit, to focus us and make us stronger, to amend our lives.  It’s a special journey, a special march, a special campaign.

I pray that I might enter into this season with deep devotion and dedication, together with all Catholics.  Let us pray for each other!

(Picture source)

Today is one of my favorite feast days, that of the Holy Archangels!

While there are undoubtedly a multitude of archangels in God’s court, there are only three that we know for certain by name: Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel.  Their identities have been passed down by holy scripture and tradition.  God has given us these three to turn to in confidence, and they each have a unique role and mission.  Michael is the mighty general and standard-bearer of the heavenly host; in fact, he is called the “Prince of the Heavenly Host.”  Raphael is known as a healer, a close companion, a guardian and guide.  Gabriel is the messenger of God’s word and God’s will.

There has been a tendency in modern times to “soften” or to “humanize” the holy angels in general–as, indeed, there has been a modern tendency to soften and humanize so many things.  Some of it is harmless sentimentalism–the dewy, innocent, and gentle aesthetic of the last couple of centuries.  Some of it is rooted in more sinister things–the atheist’s casting of all spiritual things as mere fluffy fairy tale made in man’s own image, and on the other hand, the occultist’s desire to be superior and dominate all things, including spiritual things.

Granted, it is not just a modern thing to portray angels as beautiful, somewhat androgynous, human-like creatures with wings and halos.  But I think we’ve lost our sense of what that representation originally intended to convey.  That angels are beautiful signifies their holiness, their goodness, their purity, their perfection, their closeness to God who is truth, beauty, and goodness.  Likewise the halos, brimming with ethereal light and power.  That they are androgynous signifies that they are not corporeal and not human.  The wings further emphasize this, signifying that angels are not bound by space, time, or anything physical. That they are human-like signifies that they are persons, individuals with intellect and free will–not objects or lower types of creatures such as animals or plants.

Consider a traditional religious icon.  Notice first that there is nothing white or fluffy or soft or comfy.  These are noble, dignified figures, robed in splendor like princes and carrying staffs which show authority and power.  They are very human-like, youthful, and beautiful, but they are imposing figures, nonetheless, evoking some degree of reverence.  At the same time, they are not the true center of this image, of course–Christ is.  St. Michael and St. Gabriel look at Christ, while St. Raphael looks at us as if to say, “You must follow our example.  Make Christ your center.  Look to Him, adore Him, love Him, and serve Him.”

That is part of the mission of each of these special angels: to help us and show us the way.  And we are meant to turn to them respectfully and trustingly.  We don’t need them to be soft or too human–we need them to be the strong, tireless, incredible beings that they are.  We need them to be mighty enough to stand against Satan and all of the evil angels who are out for our destruction.  We also don’t need them to be “nice” to us.  They have something far greater than niceness–they have perfect charity.  They love God perfectly and completely, and because of that they also love everything and everybody that God loves–and that includes God’s children above all!

So, just because they are greater than us by nature in many ways, we need never fear to call to them.  God revealed their names to us for a reason–so that we can call upon them and talk to them in a personal way.  I do so pretty often.  Whenever I feel in danger, whenever I feel pulled toward evil, or whenever I behold danger and evil in the world around me, I call upon St. Michael to protect and guard me and the world.  I pray Pope Leo XIII’s prayer to St. Michael after every Mass, and whenever else I need to.  Whenever I feel lonely, lost, tired, doubtful, depressed, or in any way ill or in pain, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally, I call upon St. Raphael to strengthen and guide me.  Whenever I am uncertain about what God is calling me to do or who God is calling me to be, either in my whole lifetime or in very specific circumstances, I call upon St. Gabriel and ask for help in hearing, following, and obeying God’s voice.

In every case, I have always found the holy archangels to be very effective and dependable in their aid and in their understanding of what I need.  I often look back later and realize that, in fact, they were providing exactly the help I needed before I called upon them.  But it is good to call upon them and to build a relationship with them anyway.  Give it a try, if you don’t do it already.  I think you will find your life wonderfully enriched.

A blessed Feast of the Holy Archangels to you!

Happy feast day to my dear father, St. Dominic!

A blessed day to all my Dominican family and to all.

May the light of Truth, which was his guiding star,

illumine our souls and lead us to our heavenly home.

A beautiful and blessed day to all mothers–whether they be biological mothers, adoptive mothers, or spiritual mothers!  You are all such a blessing to your families and to the world.  I pray that all women–myself included– realize and embrace their natural motherhood, their unique ability to give life to others in so many ways.

Let us also remember and thank God for our Mother in Heaven!

(photo by Flickr user Qfamily)

Today we remember a great Dominican Saint, St. Raymond de Peñafort!  St. Raymond was one of the earliest Dominicans, joining the Order in 1222.

He was of great renown as a canon lawyer.  He was enlisted by the pope to codify canon law, and as Master of the Order, he revised the Dominican rule and constitutions.  Not surprisingly, he is a Patron Saint of canon lawyers.

One of his greatest passions, however, was preaching to Jews and Muslims in his native Spain.  He set up schools to teach Christians how to speak Hebrew and Arabic so that they could better communicate with the Jews and Muslims.

Read more about St. Raymond at Godzdogz–including the story behind why he is often pictured standing upon his cloak on top of water!  (Photo by Flickr user Lawrence OP)

Incidentally, earlier today, I was trying to decide which classes I want to take this semester in our diocese’s adult faith formation program.  There are four classes, and they all sound really good: Sacraments, Ecclesiology, Apocalyptic Literature, and Canon Law.  But I must limit myself to taking two classes at a time.  I knew I wanted to take Sacraments, but was very torn when trying to choose among the other three.  Well… when I glanced up at my calendar and saw that today was St. Raymond’s day… I sort of took it as a sign.  So, I’m taking Canon Law!  :D

Just a few days after gaining him as my special Patron Saint for 2010, I already get to celebrate St. John Neumann’s feast day!  So… happy feast day, dear Father Neumann!

(photo from National Shrine of St. John Neumann)

From today’s liturgy:

Father,
you called blessed John Neumann to labor for the gospel
among the people of the new world.
His ministry strengthened many others in the Christian faith:
through his prayers may faith grow strong in this land.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

From the National Shrine, here is a prayer for St. John Neumann’s intercession:

O Saint John Neumann, your ardent desire of bringing all souls to Christ impelled you to leave home and country; teach us to live worthily in the spirit of our Baptism which makes us all children of the one Heavenly Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, the first-born of the family of God.

Obtain for us that complete dedication in the service of the needy, the weak, the afflicted and the abandoned which so characterized your life. Help us to walk perseveringly in the difficult and, at times, painful paths of duty, strengthened by the Body and Blood of our Redeemer and under the watchful protection of Mary our Mother.

May death still find us on the sure road to our Father’s House with the light of living Faith in our hearts. Amen.

One article I read had this quotation from the Saint:

My mother used to chide me, and call me book mad, a bibliomaniac.

Ah, I think we’ll get along just fine!  :)

O Saint John Neumann, your ardent desire of bringing all souls to Christ impelled you to leave home and country; teach us to live worthily in the spirit of our Baptism which makes us all children of the one Heavenly Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, the first-born of the family of God.

Obtain for us that complete dedication in the service of the needy, the weak, the afflicted and the abandoned which so characterized your life.  Help us to walk perseveringly in the difficult and, at times, painful paths of duty, strengthened by the Body and Blood of our Redeemer and under the watchful protection of Mary our Mother.

May death still find us on the sure road to our Father’s House with the light of living Faith in our hearts. Amen.

I received an email about a new film about Pope Pius XII that is in development for release this year!

I’m so excited about this!  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I love Pope Pius XII and feel that he has been treated unfairly in the decades following his death–portrayed as a cowardly Nazi sympathizer who did nothing to help the Jews and others who were being brutally captured and killed.  This film promises to portray him accurately, as the hero he was, and was regarded as during his lifetime.

For more information, see the film’s Web site and/or Facebook page. (The image is from the latter.)

The wonderful feast days keep coming!  Today we honor our most special companions and helpers, the guardian angels!

Red angel glassThere’s a special child-like quality to believing in, knowing, and praying to our holy guardians.  Child-like, but not childish.  Acknowledging our guardian angels reminds us that in God’s eyes we are children, and He loves us enough to give us mighty angels to help us safely home to Him.  Among all the wonderful gifts He has given us, the guardian angels are one of the best!

So, let us not imagine ourselves to be above thanking and praying to our guardian angels.  Let us embrace the simple, beautiful prayers that have been passed down to us:

Dear Angel, in his goodness God gave you to me to guide, protect and enlighten me, and to being me back to the right way when I go astray. Encourage me when I am disheartened, and instruct me when I err in my judgment. Help me to become more Christlike, and so some day to be accepted into the company of Angels and Saints in heaven. Amen.

Or:

Guardian Angel from heaven so bright,
Watching beside me to lead me aright,
Fold your wings ’round me,
and guard me with love,
Softly sing songs to me
of heaven above.
Amen.

Or the one my dad taught me when I was a child, which I still pray:

Angel of God,
my Guardian dear,
to whom His love
commits me here,
ever this day
be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.
Amen.

Let us strive to be ever closer and more devoted to our holy guardians!

(photo by Lawrence, OP)

Angel of God,
my Guardian dear,
to whom His love
commits me here,
ever this day
be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.
Amen.


St. Jerome illumination

Today we celebrate St. Jerome, Father of the Church, Doctor of the Church, and author of the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible.  He is a Patron Saint of librarians and libraries, which makes him very near and dear to my heart.  :D

I love his Prayer for Christ’s Mercy:

O Lord, show your mercy to me and gladden my heart. I am like the man on the way to Jericho who was overtaken by robbers, wounded and left for dead. O Good Samaritan, come to my aid, I am like the sheep that went astray. O Good Shepherd, seek me out and bring me home in accord with your will. Let me dwell in your house all the days of my life and praise you for ever and ever with those who are there.

St. Jerome, pray for us!

(image from SQPN’s St. Jerome gallery)

This blog is brought to you by a Lay Dominican

St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us!
(Image from a painting at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Metairie, Louisiana)

Catholic Blogs Page

Christian Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

My Amazon.com Wish List

Blog Stats

  • 233,222 visitors since 11 May 2008
October 2014
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 134 other followers