Monday, March 02, 2015

The Miraculous Novena of Grace for Friends of St. Francis Xavier

St. Francis Xavier is widely popular for his close friendship and supporting role to the Jesuit founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola. It’s not a far stretch of the imagination to presume this saint had other close friends, too. In fact, while in heaven, St. Francis’ initiated friendship with the faithful on earth by generously offering them his prayers and assistance.

            In 1633, St. Francis Xavier appeared to Fr. Marcelo Mastrilli, who was dying, reminding the latter of his wish to serve in a mission in Japan.  St. Francis made this promise to his fellow Jesuit priest:  “All those who implore my help daily for nine consecutive days, from the 4th to the 12th of March included, and worthily receive the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist on one of those nine days will experience my protection and may hope with entire assurance to obtain from God any grace they ask for the good of their souls and the glory of God.”  Fr. Mastrilli was instantly cured.

            Here is the Novena of Grace:

“Most amiable and most loving St. francis Xavier, in union with thee I reverently adore the Divine Majesty.  I rejoice exceedingly on account of the marvelous gifts which God bestowed upon thee. I thank God for the special graces He gave thee during thy life on earth and for the great glory that came to thee after thy death.  I implore thee to obtain for me, through they powerful intercession, the greatest of all blessings –that of living and dying in the state of grace.  I also beg of thee to secure for me the special favor I ask in this novena.  (**Mention the spiritual or temporal grace you wish to obtain).

“In asking this favor I am fully resigned to the Divine Will.  I pray and desire only to obtain that which is most conducive to the greater glory of God and the greater good of my soul.

“Pray for us, St. Francis Xavier.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

“Let us Pray.  O God, Who did vouchsafe by the preaching and miracles of St. Francis Xavier, to join unto Thy Church the nations of the Indies, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who reverence his glorious merits may also imitate his example, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.”

Add three Our Fathers, three Haily Marys and ten Glory Bes in thanksgiving for St. Francis Xavier’s 10 years of apostleship.

** Lately, I’ve been drawn to St Francis Xavier, patron of missionaries.  His love for and work with the Asian people make me almost certain he and I could talk for hours on end over my fulfilling work with immigrants.   I daresay he’d be someone I’d call a friend.  During this novena, I’m offering up my labor pains for conversions of my loved ones.  (If you’d like to join me on the novena, feel free to email me or write on the combox the first names of people you wish me to pray for.)  At the end of this novena, I’ll update my blog on the particular graces I’ve requested his intercession for. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

How the Carmelites Rescued Me From New Age

I lost my marbles between the pages of my first new age book, a dizzying but feel good fiction novel. Naturally, with a few marbles short, I picked up another new age fiction, and this time the confusion blended with some fascination, so that I kept returning to the new age shelf in the bookstore, holding my breath for Oprah’s next recommendation.

               With new age, nothing was labeled sin anymore, and everything mystical that made me feel good and refreshed was the path to my enlightenment/self-fulfillment or evolution, or something exotic sounding like a “higher conscious living.” Occult was encouraged; “mystical spirit guides” and psychics were valuable; crystals/fengsui/numerology provided extra luck and good vibes; the earth was Mother, so was God or Mother Goddess; Breathing Eastern style was somehow better; the universe’s energy could be harnessed; unlimited power was within me as the “god within”; and I was going to be part of a future “paradigm shift” in the soul of the “one world”, a “new age” of sorts.  (If you’re confused, don’t worry, you’re not alone, but I hope to straighten it out in a few.)

            It never occurred to me to question what the bottom line was that the new age agenda was pushing, nor to ask why there were novel ideas that just smelled shifty… as if they were the repurposed but upside down of Catholic dogma and doctrine. The main thing that appealed to me, and I practiced for years, was transcendental meditation, (a self-hypnosis practice to mimic peace), which was sadly, introduced in my Catholic high school by a Catholic nun.   So I dangled between Sunday Masses and new age ideas that were quaking all of the Catechism that I knew.
             The suspicious niggling began when I read that the practitioners of sufism (the mystical arm of Islam) magically reach a divine union with God in their souls, which mystical union was allegedly the same as the union describe by St. Teresa of Avila in “The Interior Castle” because all religions are supposedly equal paths to this “energy” (also known as God or universe according to Oprah’s gospel).   

             “How could Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, monism, occultism, pantheism, Gnosticism all be true and right when they teach opposing ideologies?,” I wondered.   Was everything relative?

            When I chanced upon a visiting Carmelite priest from India (a friend of Mother Teresa’s), I asked him if this Eastern transcendental mediation was the same contemplative prayer of the Carmelites that produced remarkable saints. He said “No.” God is a person outside of us with whom we cultivate a relationship  through prayer, not an inside source of power to be accessed and released. That’s when it became clear as crystal, that new age and Catholicism couldn’t ever be compatible.

Two roads diverged before me: to study more this Carmelite mystical spirituality I was drawn to or pursue this mishmash of pseudo-metaphysical philosophy of hocus pocus, which still had me reeling in perplexity. (In fact the more I studied new age, the more I was confused. There were so many dimensions and they were all inconsistent.)

            I chose to wade into a Carmelite third order and re-donned the brown scapular that I earlier removed for aesthetic reasons.  I never touched another new age element.  I knew I made the right choice when I later read from an exorcist that the uptick in cases of demonic possession/obsession/oppression could be traced to the proliferation of new age practices.   If it reeked of fishiness back then, the stench of sulfuric fire was now smoking behind the door to the flashy new age.

            When I fueled on to study more Carmelite writings of the saints (what a terrific library they have), the confusion disappeared.  I remembered all the basics I was taught:  God created man with free will to choose sin or love; evil began from the rebellion of the angels and exists when men reject God’s love; everlasting life comes after death if we make the heroic choice to love (which is essentially self-sacrifice). Union with God is happiness in heaven for eternity, but also briefly on earth when we partake of the Body of Christ in the Eucharist.  Peace doesn’t require self-hypnosis.  It comes from simply being in a state of grace –free from mortal sin -- because divine mercy is available to the sinner in the Confessional.

               Read the rest at Catholic 365...
The window of the Carmelite saints from the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in San Antonio

Recommended Reading:  
The Story of a Soul, Autobiography of St. Therese of Liseux
The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila
The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila
The Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross
The Living Flame of Love by St. John of the Cross                                           
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
Complete Works of Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity

To learn more about the seriousness of the dangers of new age, watch this video by Moira Noonan, a former new age practitioner who required exorcism:

Friday, February 20, 2015

7 Short N Easy Prayers To Learn And Attached Promises

Sure, Lent’s a time to fast and give up licit activities/pleasures and almsgiving.  But also, it’s the perfect opportunity to learn new prayers.  Here are short and easy to learn devotions with promises and indulgences attached to them:

1.   Act of Love

            “Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save Souls!”

            This short prayer was given to Sr. Consolata Betrone by Our Lord with the promise that “it repairs a thousand blasphemies” and that this Act of Love “includes the souls in Purgatory, the innocent, the suffering, the sinful, the dying and even your poor soul.”

2.  The Golden Arrow Prayer

            “May the most holy, most scared, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in Heaven, on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.”

            Jesus dictated this prayer to Sr. Mary of St. Peter, saying that those who would recite the golden arrow prayer would pierce Him delightfully, and also heal those wounds of blasphemy.   Sr. Mary also received a vision that this prayer streamed conversion graces for sinners.

3. The Seven Sorrows

            Our Lady grants seven graces to souls who honor her daily by saying 7 Hail Marys and meditating on her seven sorrows: the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the loss of the Child Jesus in the temple, the meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross, the Crucifixion, the taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross, and the burial of Jesus.

            The seven graces: “I will give peace to their families, enlightenment about divine mysteries, consolation in their pains and accompaniment in their work, as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls, defense in their spiritual battles, protection at every instant of their lives, visible help at the moment of their deaths.  Those who propagate this devotion will be taken directly from this earth to eternal happiness since their sins will be forgiven and My son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.”

4.   Prayer Before a Crucifix after Holy Communion

            “Behold O kind and Most sweet Jesus, before Thy face I humbly kneel, and with the most fervent desire of my soul, I pray and beseech Thee to impress upon my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment.  With deep affection and grief of soul, I ponder within myself mentally contemplating Thy five wounds, having before my eyes the words which David the Prophet spoke concerning Thee: “They have pierced my hands and my feet, they have numbered all my bones.”

            According to the Enchiridion of Indulgences No. 22, a plenary indulgence is granted on each Friday of Lent to those who after Communion pray this before the Cross.  On other days, partial indulgence is granted.

5.   My Adored Jesus

            “My Adored Jesus”

            Jesus told Elizabeth Kindelmann that if she said and constantly repeated this phrase, “how pleasant it is to Me, and even if you say nothing else for a whole hour, repeat it with repentance for your sins.  This obtains many graces, forgiveness for sins, and provides peace for souls.”

6. The Flame of Love

            “Our Mother, spread the effect of the grace of your Flame of Love over all of humanity. Amen.”

            Jesus also promised Elizabeth Kindelmann, “Each time you pray invoking the Flame of Love for all humanity, Satan is blinded and loses his dominion over souls. Our Lady also promised her, “My Flame of Love will blind Satan to the same extend that all of you spread it around the world.”

7. Blood and Water Prayer:

            “O blood and water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in you.”

            This prayer was given to St. Faustina by Our Lord with the promise that: “When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion.”

Joining 7 quick takes.  Thank you Kelly for hosting.