The Church dedicates the month of September to Our Lady of Sorrows. It’s a devotion that has become a favorite of mine. As a convert, it took me a while to become comfortable with Mary and to trust her to bring my cares and sufferings to Her Son.
Over the centuries, as the saints and theologians reflected on what it means for Our Lady to have pondered and treasured the sacred events from the life of Jesus in her heart, as attested in Scripture, Mary’s heart began to be recognized as something to be imitated in daily practice. Devotion to Mary’s holy heart then developed, in much the same way as it did for the Sacred Heart, which was physically pierced by the lance on the Cross to give Eternal Life to men. So also does Mary’s heart, which was also pierced (as prophesied by Simeon) in union with her Son, give life—that is, grace—to the Christian soul.
Prayer is “the necessary and sure means of obtaining salvation, and [contains] all the graces we need to attain [salvation]…To save one’s soul without prayer is most difficult, and even impossible…but by praying our salvation is made secure, and very easy…If we do not pray, we have no excuse, for the grace of prayer is given to everyone…if we are not saved, the whole fault will be ours, because we did not pray.” If Alphonsus’s words are indeed true, then how crucial is prayer to our daily life, and to our eternal destiny! Do we live as though such words are true?
Icons are a means by which the Church leads her faithful to a life of prayer. Even today icons are seen in many churches around the world and can be venerated in the home as well.
St. Martha, the feisty sister of Mary of Bethany, tends to get a bad rap. After all, when Jesus came to visit the two sisters, Martha complains about Mary not helping—and Jesus’s response seems to be a scolding in which He praises contemplation and disregards practical action and service. However, the story isn’t as simple as that, and I don’t believe that Martha should be remembered as “the one who wasn’t doing it right.”
Recently I encountered a slight problem when turning to the saints in regards to marriage and family, and perhaps you would too, because from the list of popular saints I know, it may often be the case that a favorite saint was, um, celibate. That being said, I decided to compile a list of thoughts and prayers on parenting and finding holiness at home – from 10 saints who were mothers and fathers themselves.
The White Cord of St Joseph is piously used as a remedy against physical ailments and a support in living the virtues of chastity and purity of heart. This beautiful devotion began almost 400 years ago in the small town of Antwerp, Belgium. An Augustinian nun was miraculously healed there after asking for St. Joseph’s intercession while wearing a cord blessing in his honor.
Did I have a relationship with Our Lady when I was growing up? If you had asked me, I would have said yes. After all, I recited the rosary. I prayed the Angelus. One year in high school I even memorized the “Litany of Loreto” as my Lenten resolution. But as I came to know […]
The Monday after Pentecost is a Marian feast day. Didn’t you know? It’s alright if you didn’t. After all, Pope Francis only just declared the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, to be a permanent memorial this past March. Why Mary, Mother of the Church? Since the earliest days of Christian history, Catholics have referred […]
When you’re trying to imitate the behavior of someone you admire, reflecting on specific moments in his or her life is particularly helpful. We see the fruits of this practice when meditating on the mysteries of Christ’s life in the rosary, or when praying with the mysteries of Mary’s life in the Seven Sorrows devotion. […]