Sunday, October 20, 2019

Gifts of Prayer


Adding a new item is always a process over in the shop! You have to design it, create it, photograph it, list it, and share it! And for this holiday season, we added 50 new ones! Head on over to check out the gifts of prayer here but we wanted to feature one of these products on the blog today. October is the month of the Rosary, which Our Lady asked to be prayed for the conversion of sinners. The Chaplet of Conversion, a unique devotion, was also asked by Our Lady to be prayed for those who have lost their way. Here is how you pray this beautiful sacramental:

THE CHAPLET OF CONVERSION

For the first four beads pray one Apostles’ Creed for unbelievers, one Our Father for conversion, one Hail Mary honoring our Lady, and one Hail, Holy Queen.

Repeat the section below five times.

On the first bead pray: “O Holy Mother, I join thee at the foot of thy Son’s Cross to implore mercy and conversion for the souls of the world. With thee I offer the wounds of thy Son Jesus to the Father in atonement for the sins of the world, past, present and to come.”

On the five beads pray:
“Through the sorrowful, bleeding, Immaculate Heat of Mary, and in union with the suffering of her Son Jesus on the Cross, I implore from the Father the grace of conversion for the world.”

At the end of each set, pray one Hail Mary in honor of Mary’s tears of sorrow, followed by this invocation: “Holy Mother Mary, Mediatrix of all graces, obtain for us from God the conversion of the world.”

Conclude with three Glory Be’s in honor of the Blessed Trinity and one Hail, Holy Queen.

This chaplet was requested by Our Lady for the conversion of souls in the world during these difficult times. She gave it to a chosen soul in Ireland, but asked that it be prayed widely.

So if you're looking for a beautiful item to add to your prayer life, click here!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

You Just Know


Does that phrase ever frustrate you? "You just know." Like, how did you realize that person was the one you are meant to marry?" "Oh, you just know." Well, that idea frustrates me, not because I won't know it when I see it, but I don't think it will be a feeling that "you just know."

The closest I felt something like that was when I moved to my new place. I had the feeling that it was "mine" when I first walked in. BUT, it was still a hard decision and there were many factors that led me to make it. My new home was the right size, the right location, the right layout, the right price, etc. It wasn't perfect, but I wasn't looking for perfection...just the right fit for me.

Now for meeting someone special, there has to be a similar thought process, don't you think? They have the right morals, the right personality that fits with yours, the right ideals in life, the right ways to finance, the right relationship with their family. Now by "right" I don't mean it's exactly the same as you, but that it fits with you and you fit with them in these and other ways.

I've had priests or nuns in religious life tell me the same thing about their vocation. "You just know" you fit in a Community. But when I entered the convent, it wasn't because I had some feeling of knowing, it was that I was looking for certain aspects of religious life, had prayers answered in novenas, and doors were opening for me. 

Whether it is for a vocation or other life change, it's about discernment which means weighing pros and cons. While feelings do come into these decisions, they aren't the only basis. So all in favor of eliminating the phrase "you just know" from the English language, raise your hand. I'll "just know" you agree.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

A Solider's Rosary


"The word rosary means 'crown of roses' that is to say that every time people say the rosary devoutly they place a crown of one hundred and fifty-three white roses and sixteen red roses upon the heads of Jesus and Mary. Being heavenly flowers these roses will never fade or lose their exquisite beauty." ~ St Louis de Montfort 

A really beautiful thought on the worth and significance of praying the rosary. I thought as a tribute to Our Lady of the Rosary's feast day tomorrow, I would share this moving song I found about a solider and his rosary.

A Soldier's Rosary
Lyrics by J.E. DEMPSEY
Music by JOSEPH A. BURKE
  
FIRST VERSE

A mother's last words to every soldier
"kneel down at night and say your prayers."
But he's so weary,
Thro' days so dreary,
After all his trials and cares,

Don't worry mother,
He serves his Maker
when he serves his country's needs.

No matter where
each act is a prayer
and they form the links
upon a soldier's beads.

SECOND VERSE

When bells are tolling Our hearts consoling
we seek the chapel o'er the way
When cannons thunder
Would we I wonder,
Ever take the time to pray,

The foe before him,
No shelter o'er him
over head the cold stars shine.

His Maker knows
as onward he goes
that his pray'r is better far
than yours or mine.
  
CHORUS

For his thoughts keep turning homeward
and their pray'rs come drifting back
that's his chaplet and his guide to victory,

But bullets are his beads
and on his knees he pleads
that each one will help to end the misery,

Ev'ry shot a pearl,
each pearl a pray'r
he fights until he falls,

Lost in action comes the message o'er the sea.
And while the nation mourns his loss
his dear old mother bears the cross
that's a soldier's rosary.

Copyright 1918 by A.J. Stasny Music Co., 56 W. 45th St.N.Y.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Centurion's Wife


It is funny how this book came into my hands. I was collecting a bunch of Janette Oke novels, ordering them in used book lots, and some of them I received were written in collaboration with Davis Bunn. I had never heard of this author, but I have truly enjoyed his Christian novels. The Centurion's Wife in particular really struck a cord with me.

The novel centers around the two main characters of Alban and Leah. You read their lives in separate accounts for the first half, discovering that they are both searching for peace and answers. Alban, a Roman centurion, is commissioned by Pontius Pilate to discover the truth of the events following Christ's death. Leah is a servant in Pilate's household and is sent by Pilate's wife to find similar answers. Alban and Leah are arranged to be married by Pilate, Alban looking forward with eagerness and Leah with dread.

The research brought into this novel is captivating. You truly feel as if you are walking the earth at the time of Christ. The political turmoil, the greed of many leaders, the awe and confusion of those who are searching for the truth about Christ, all make you realize what people at that time must have felt. It brought alive how truly powerful the Resurrection is and was, and what that would mean to someone hearing it first hand at the time.

With dynamic and interesting characters, this novel connects you with Alban and Leah, having you desire a happy end between the two as much as if you were there. I recommend this story for anyone looking for a light, faith-filled, historical, and romantic read. On to the sequel, The Hidden Flame!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Be Reasonable


Goals should be about balance. If we are "under" achievers or "over" achievers we are not achievers at all, or if we are doing something for the wrong reasons, then we really didn't accomplish much. We should strive to achieve balance and "be reasonable" about goals and deadlines and lists.

It is good to have ambition, determination, motivation, but not if it is at a cost to something more important like happiness. A goal should not rob us of our peace. If you find it hard to relax, like myself, and fill your life up with work, let me tell you from experience, it only makes you restless. 

Why? Because there is always more work. You will never be satisfied because there are always reasons (aka excuses) to bury oneself in work. It might be your way of coping with something, of staying busy, or avoiding something else. Whatever the reason, work doesn't give you answers. 

The goal in this situation is to search for hobbies. Something that brings peace and joy and isn't done for the sake of being productive. Leisure is being productive by reminding us that work is a means to an end, whereas true "rest" is an end in itself because it parallels eternal rest. Our greatest work will be union with God and loving prayer to Him.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Triumph through Tragedy

Gifts sent to our Troops
A couple years back I wrote a post on our experiences of 9/11, where we were, what we felt, how it affected the country, remembering those who were lost. This year I want to focus on the aftermath. Maybe its because I've experienced personal loss this year to loved ones, that 9/11 hits home this year more than others. It has made me realize that even 18 years later, grief still lives, but grief does not triumph. 

Death does not have the final say. There will be tragedy, there will be loss, there will be suffering...but not forever. 

I think it's important to reach out, not just on anniversaries like this, but throughout the year to those who are suffering. Reaching out to our Troops, to pro-life organizations, to the poor. We have to let tragedy transform into triumph, that even though we are knocked down, it spurs us on to greater gifts.

We don't want to forget days like 9/11, but more importantly we don't want to forget the people who are still suffering from that day now. They should ever be in our prayers, and our nation's needs should ever be in our hearts.

For to triumph means something had to come before...a struggle, pain, grief perhaps. Aftermath generally means the suffering that comes from a tragic incident. Sometimes you feel like you are in a hole. Advice I was recently given was that you can build a ladder out of that hole. Make the rungs things that can help, be it family, friends, prayer, hobbies...and soon you'll be taking that step up one at a time and feeling that triumph.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Come Rack, Come Rope


Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson is the author of many notable Catholic novels, many of which I would love to cross off my list of read books. I personally have only read two of his English martyrs novels, By What Authority and more recently Come Rack, Come Rope. Both were very inspiring and historically accurate. 

Come Rack, Come Rope, are words taken from Edmund Campion, who after being tortured in the Tower of London reaffirmed he had not revealed any secrets that would compromise the Faith, "come rack, come rope." As written in the preface, the novel could more rightly be called non-fiction, rather than fiction, save for the two main characters. The events center around the sufferings of Catholics under Elizabeth's reign in the late 1500's, when it became high treason to be a priest in England.

The story follows the characters of Marjorie and Robin who are Catholics in love. However when Robin's father apostatizes, Robin is presented with a new inspiration to pursue the priesthood rather than marry Marjorie, which he well knows may mean eventual death. Edmund Campion makes an appearance in the novel as well as Nicholas Owen, the priest hide creator and Richard Topcliffe the infamous torturer. The plot realistically captures the stealth, courage, and heroism of the priests who risked their lives to provide the Sacraments. 

This novel reminded me of the great love and appreciation we should have for the Mass. It is sobering fact that Catholics risked their lives to attend Mass in those times, and this is a privilege offered to us daily at no inconvenience to ourselves other than our time. We should long to be present at the Holy Sacrifice to receive Him Who comes down from Heaven for us. At the end of the novel, Heaven is described as that place where "the Crucified Lamb of God would talk to him as a man talks with his friend." Let us here on earth talk to Christ as our dearest Friend.