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Trinity, Rublev

If you remember from yesterday’s post, the little kids and I are singing a fragment of the song Come, Holy Spirit as our little mini novena. It’s day 2 and we managed to remember again! Yay, us. Will we remember tomorrow? Hopefully.

We’ve also tried saying the first version with the bigger kids (who now have a Brand New Super Exciting Later Bedtime, perfect for things like saying short novenas with mama and daddy).

Day 2
(This version comes from the lovely people at Pray More Novenas.)

Joy

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Joy within us.

All of the Saints are marked with an uncompromisable Joy in times of trial, difficulty and pain. Give us, Oh Holy Spirit, the Joy that surpasses all understanding that we may live as a witness to Your love and fidelity!

Amen.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

Amen.

the-ascension.jpg!Blog
Ascension by Giotto

Did you know that there are ten days until Pentecost? Did you know that today marks the first day of the oldest novena, when Jesus, before ascending into heaven, commanded his disciples to pray in preparation for the descent of the Holy Spirit? Have you vaguely heard the world novena before but have never done one? Perfect! Join me!

So many options…

Last year, the kids and I sang this Holy Spirit song for nine days and we dubbed it our own:

Little Mini Starter Novena

Come Holy Spirit, we need you.
Come, Holy Spirit, we pray.
Come with your strength and your power.
Come in your own special way.

I think it is only a fragment of a song that my grandmother used to sing for us when helping us get ready for bed, but it’s all I remember by heart. It’s simple and the kids love singing it. My grandma used to sing it with her eyes closed and both hands raised slightly. I don’t… yet.

(Update: I found the tune! Here’s a Youtube video of a young man singing the song.)

   

So far, my inbox has two versions of the Pentecost Novena from two different people and I thought I would share them with you, along with their sources. There appear to be countless versions available online.

Pentecost Novena, Version 1

Novena to the Holy Spirit Day 1
Charity

Let us bow down in humility at the power and grandeur of the Holy Spirit. Let us worship the Holy Trinity and give glory today to the Paraclete, our Advocate.

Oh Holy Spirit, by Your power, Christ was raised from the dead to save us all. By Your grace, miracles are performed in Jesus’ name. By Your love, we are protected from evil. And so, we ask with humility and a beggar’s heart for Your gift of Charity within us.

The great charity of all the the host of Saints is only made possible by your power, Oh Divine Spirit. Increase in me, the virtue of charity that I may love as God loves with the selflessness of the Saints.

Amen.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,

Amen.

(Find the Original Here: http://www.praymorenovenas.com/novena-to-the-holy-spirit/#ixzz3aDa3QBqa )
  
Pentecost Novena, Version 2

TEN DAY DEVOTION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
FIRST DAY

Introductory Prayer [1]

Come, O Holy Spirit! Enlighten my understanding in order that I may know your commands; strengthen my heart against the snares of the enemy; enkindle my will. I have heard your voice and I do not want to harden my heart and resist, saying, “Later…tomorrow.” Nunc coepi! Right now! Lest there be no tomorrow for me.

O Spirit of truth and wisdom, Spirit of understanding and counsel, Spirit of joy and peace! I want what you want, because you want it, as you want it, when you want it.

Consideration [2]

Pentecost: the day when the Holy Spirit
Came down upon the Lord’s disciples

Having just read in the Acts of the Apostles about Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit came down on the Lord’s disciples, we are conscious of being present at the great display of God’s power with which the Church’s life began to spread among all nations. The victory Christ achieved through his obedience, his offering of himself on the cross and his resurrection — his triumph over death and sin — is revealed here in all its divine splendour.

The disciples, witnesses of the glory of the risen Christ, were filled with the strength of the Holy Spirit. Their minds and hearts were opened to a new light. They had followed Christ and accepted his teachings with faith, but they were not always able to fathom the full meaning of his words. The Spirit of truth, who was to teach them all things, had not yet come. They knew that Jesus alone could give them words of eternal life, and they were ready to follow him and to give their lives for him. But they were weak, and in the time of trial, they fled and left him alone.

On Pentecost all that is a thing of the past. The Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of strength, has made them firm, strong, daring. The word of the Apostles resounds forcefully through the streets of Jerusalem.

The men and women who have come to the city from all parts of the world listen with amazement. “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, Jews as well as proselytes, Cretans and Arabs, we have heard them speaking in our own languages of the wonderful works of God.” These wonders, which take place before their own eyes, lead them to listen to the preaching of the Apostles. The Holy Spirit himself, who is acting through our Lord’s disciples, moves the hearts of their listeners and leads them to the faith.

St Luke tells us that after St Peter had spoken and proclaimed Christ’s resurrection, many of those present came up to him and asked: “Brethren, what shall we do?” The apostle answered: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And on that day, the sacred text tells us, about three thousand were added to the Church.

The solemn coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was not an isolated event. There is hardly a page in the Acts of the Apostles where we fail to read about him and the action by which he guides, directs and enlivens the life and work of the early christian community. It is he who inspires the preaching of St Peter, who strengthens the faith of the disciples, who confirms with his presence the calling of the gentiles, who sends Saul and Barnabas to the distant lands where they will open new paths for the teaching of Jesus. In a word, his presence and doctrine are everywhere.

Concluding Prayer

Holy and divine Spirit! Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, your spouse, bring the fullness of your gifts into our hearts. Comforted and strengthened by you, may we live according to your will and may we die praising your infinite mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

[1] Cf. Postulation for the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Msgr. Josemaria Escriva: Historical Registry of the Founder (of Opus Dei), 20172, p.145
[2] The homily: “The Great Unknown,” in Christ is Passing By, by St. Josemaria Escriva, is reprinted here and divided into ten “Considerations.”

The kids are particularly looking forward to collecting up all the leftover Easter chocolate for the annual Pentecost Fondue Extravaganza.

Come, Holy Spirit!

Some of the most beautiful hymns are Advent hymns, I think. This is one of my favourites. The first part is very simple and works as a nice bedtime prayer with little kids during the season of Advent (or when you’re lighting Advent wreath candles).


1. O come, divine Messiah!
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

Refrain:
Dear Savior haste;
Come, come to earth,
Dispel the night and show Your face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.
O come, divine Messiah!
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

2. O come, desired of nations,
Whom priest and prophet long foretold,
Will break the captive fetters;
Redeem the long-lost fold.
Refrain

3. You come in peace and meekness,
And lowly will Your cradle be;
All clothed in human weakness
We shall Your Godhead see.
Refrain

Super duper good news: it’s not even Advent yet! This little-known often-overlooked liturgical season which helps us prepare for Christmas only starts on November 30 and continues until December 24, the day before Christmas. So, for the perennially-late and forever-procrastinating sorts like me, we’ve got TIME. I usually get hit by the reality of the Advent a few days before it starts, if I’m lucky. My hint is usually that the rest of the world gets into full Christmas mode and I think Ha! The radio stations are playing Christmas music and the malls are shiny and decorated… it must be… Advent! But since the malls and the radio stations are getting started earlier and earlier, it means that I get a bit more time.

Time to do what?

Well, at Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ. Advent is the period of waiting and preparing that happens beforehand. Sometimes called “little Lent,” it is a time that involves increased prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

For us, the prayer part of Advent has involved three very old yet simple traditions: lighting candles of an Advent wreath each night at dinner along with a little prayer, and hanging an ornament on a Jesse tree (usually at night before bedtime) along with a little Bible story, and setting out the Nativity scene (without Jesus, because… he’s not there yet.).

Basically, I need to buy/make a wreath and four candles, and find the Jesse tree ornaments and the nativity scene somewhere in storage. Seems so simple…

Advent wreath. Image by Andrea Schaufler.
This is what we’re going for.

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This is usually what happens. No wreath. Candles don’t quite stay in candleholders. Fatter candles?

E for effort, I say. Also, I’ll need to hunt down the card that has the Advent prayers for when we’re lighting the candles of the wreath.

The ornaments of a Jesse Tree represent the descendants of Jesus form the Old and New Testaments. It’s such a great way to get familiar with the Bible characters and their stories.

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We made these simple Internet-downloaded and kid-coloured ornaments a few years ago. I’m sure these are somewhere. Probably near the Nativity scenes. Behind the sleeping bags? Beside bathing suits and flip-flops?

OR you could make your own felt ornaments.

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Or buy fancy ones from Etsy. At all price points. (from InspiredTraditions on Etsy)

Some kind people have put together the accompanying Bible readings to go along with each ornament here or here. Or sometimes we just use the Bible story books that we already have around. Or sometimes we just say, “This is Noah’s ark… ok, time for bed.”

It’s not yet Advent! There’s time!

dirt

Sometimes I make a big mess of things. A really big mess. Sometimes the messes I make are the work of several awful days that finally pile up to create an overwhelming avalanche of terrible, and sometimes I do just one swift awful thing and them BAM. There I am, spiritually face down in the dirt, having failed the very people that God gave me to take care of. And when I’ve done something awful, I find it near impossible to get up and do the next thing. Unload the dishwasher. Say sorry. Anything. Move on and try again. I find it hard to do that. I’m just so awful, I think. I should just stop because I’m just going to keep doing awful things. There’s really no hope for me or for these sad people who need me.

Flashback to the mid-nineties…

During what may have been my last bike ride, my front wheel slipped on a steep bit of road and I flew off, head first. If it were one of those extreme sports competitions, I would have gotten all sorts of points for how high I was. I landed roughly on the dirt and gravel and when I finally stopped skidding, I lay there for a bit, face to the ground, dazed. I stayed there for a while, painfully covered in cuts and bruises.

Fast-forward again…

That’s what a spiritual faceplant feels like to me: humiliating and awful and you just don’t want to move. For a while. A long while. Everything hurts and maybe, maybe they’ll all just let you stay down here, in the dirt (or mud, if you’re crying).

After typing all that, I wish I had something profound and practical to share about what to do in these situations. Most times, and for longer than I would admit, for longer than I need, I just wallow. Feel bad for myself. And boy is it hard to do good things in this state. But sometimes, SOMETIMES, I remember to turn to God and say Help me, please! through my tears, or anger, or humiliation. I feel really silly saying that, if I really thought about it, thought back to all those really terrible times, God hasn’t failed me yet. All those moments have ultimately worked out for the good. God hasn’t failed me yet, and still I linger in the dirt before asking Him for help. Sometimes I don’t even remember to ask at all. He is all-merciful and all-powerful. And He loves me more than I can imagine. Even if I’m a very slow learner.

photo 1

Things that one might do today for the greater glory of God:

1. Empty the dishwasher.

2. Take out the smelly garbage.

3. Cheerfully register for Fall extra-curriculars. Or cheerfully fail at registering for Fall extra-curriculars.

4. Not lose one’s temper at the child who tries to enter the refrigerator.

5. Not lose one’s temper at the child who is yelling at the other child trying to enter the refrigerator.

6. Smile at the neighbours walking their dogs, despite being shy.

7. Wash the school lunch thermos line-up before they get crusty.

8. Listen attentively to the after-school stories.

9. Make dinner.

10. De-crustify the high chair.

(As far as I can tell, in order to do something for the greater glory of God, one turns to God and says, “God? I think you would like me to do this and I’m doing this for your greater glory.” And I think there are bonus points if you really don’t want to do it.)

Good days, Bad days
Two days ago, I had one of those Terribly Bad Days. Or rather, my toddler had a Terribly Bad Day (reason: unknown) and there’s nothing like a tantrummy toddler to send your mood spiralling South. Nothing went right. By the end of the day, my nerves were a wreck and I was snarling at everyone. Blech. I went to bed with my eyes narrowed at God, praying, “God? Where are you? What are you thinking?” Yesterday, on the other hand: the sky was blue, the toddler was smiling (reason: unknown) and everything fell easily into place. Same me, same toddler, same God. Same God who loves me and my toddler more than I can ever imagine, as much two days ago as he did yesterday. Some days are good days, some days are bad days – and we keep on keeping on. Blest be the name of the Lord.

The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. -Deuteronomy 6:4-7

I love how it specifies when one should talk about this. You could make a little to-do list in your mind to make sure you’ve covered all your bases:

Have you talked about how the Lord our God is one Lord, and that you should love him with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might:

a) With your children?
b) When you’re sitting?
c) When you’re walking?
d) When you lie down?
e) When you rise?

And then, at some point, we could say: Check, check, check, check and check! Doesn’t everyone enjoy crossing things off lists?

Sometimes parties run late and sometimes you might find yourself ushering droopy toddlers or crazy wired toddlers from their carseats to their beds a bit after their usual bedtime. You’ve placed their tired bodies into pajamas and wrestled a toothbrush through their birthday cake-filled teeth. (Or not. Tomorrow morning might just be as good.) If they’re absolutely done, you carry them to bed, you might ask them to whisper, “Good night, Jesus.” as you point at the crucifix. Or you might say it, since they’re already asleep. Maybe they have been since the car.

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Maybe they’re still in their party clothes

But if they’re awake and have a bit left in them, you might sing just the refrain from this song, complete with actions. You might do this a few times, or more than a few times. When everyone learns it really well, you might try going faster and faster until you’re all giggling, or then slower and slower until it’s like a lullaby. Kind of like Taize, but for toddlers.

The Super Easy Lyrics
Jesus Christ,
You are my life!
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Jesus Christ,
You are my life!
You are my life!
Alleluia!

The Super Easy Actions
Jesus: Point to the middle of your palm (at Jesus’ wound)
Christ: Point to the middle of your other palm (at Jesus’ other wound)
You are: Point out with both hands
my: Point to yourself with both hands
life: Cross both hands over your heart
Alleluia: Trace enthusiastic circles, pointing upwards with both index fingers (i.e. Woohoo! Party!)

(Kind of like this, but the non-Lent version.)

Maybe the baby is having a morning nap or just be happy to wiggle on a blanket for a few minutes. Maybe you’re between tasks at work. Maybe you’re in the middle of a task. Anyway, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, maybe you can take a tiny, little break. Maybe you can say the mid-morning prayer (I think it’s called Terce) with me? Five ten minutes. Tops.

We even have some options here…

This translation is from the the folks at iBreviary. (Whenever there’s a choice, look for the parts labeled “midmorning”)

or this one from the folks at Universalis.

In celebration of the fact that it’s warmish and no one had to wear snow pants this morning. Although some of us insisted in bringing their snow pants in a plastic bag, just in case. Because NO SNOW PANTS? That’s just weird…

Since it’s Lent, we added this song to our bedtime prayers rotation, now complete with actions.

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Je-

photo 5
-sus,

photo 4
remember

photo 3
me

photo 2
when you come into your

photo 1
kingdom.

Repeat and repeat and repeat.

10842374915_a93534d06b (1)
His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins, at the ordination of Deacon Neiman D’Souza at St. Clement Parish, October 2013.

During his homily at Deacon Neiman D’Souza’s ordination in October of last year, Cardinal Collins presented an image that has stuck with me. He spoke of being a feather on the breath of God. I don’t remember who he attributed it to, but I remember thinking That is SO COOL! A feather! Imagine being so light that you can just go where God wants you to go, when he wants you to go there.

feather
At every moment, with great ease, doing God’s will.

The thing is, most of the time, I feel more like this:

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A sack of potatoes.

If you sometimes feel the same way, take heart, my fellow sacks of potatoes. God’s breath is capable of sending even the most sluggish of us into graceful aerobatics, if that is his will. We just need to ask for help. Ask and ask and ask. God, please help. Please help, please help, please help.

morningoffering
The taps are shiny because cleaning the bathroom sink is not my chore.

At some point, early in Summer, my husband scribbled the Morning Offering onto a piece of recycling and taped in underneath the bathroom mirror, above the sink. He got this idea at his mum’s house, where there is a nicely framed version affixed onto the wall of their main washroom, also within view of anyone brushing their teeth.

Our humble version is now water and toothpaste-stained, crumpled and almost falling off. But BOY is it ever a hard-working piece of paper. It’s RIGHT THERE. You would have to awkwardly avert your eyes to not see it. Every single person who can read in our house (which is now more than 50% of us!) is now more likely to remember to say this prayer as they start their day.

O JESUS, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings,
all that this day may bring,
be they good or bad: for the love of God,
for the conversion of sinners, and
in reparation for all the sins committed
against the Sacred Heart and
the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

It’s the sort of prayer that really helps me get into the right frame of mind. I can’t be all “Whoa! Sufferings?! Who said anything about sufferings?!” since I explicitly offered them up to Jesus, as I was brushing my teeth. I also offered some prayers and works, so it would be good to have some of those in the day, too.

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One of the highlights of our Summer break

The joys are bonus.

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Screen shots from the “Daily Catholic” app for Android

After finding the Liturgy of the Hours online, I was very excited to find out how easy it is to access the prayers on my smartphone. My husband and I found Daily Catholic for our Android phone, but a quick search on your own flavour of smartphone will reveal many other apps designed to bring you “richest single prayer resource of the Christian Church” with a tap of your finger.

The Daily Catholic mobile app is described as “a daily companion for a Catholic faithful” and features a Saint of the Day, quotes from the saints, Universalis Liturgy of the Hours, daily Mass readings, as well as Vatican and FIDES News.

Now, when I find myself with a few minutes to spare, sitting somewhere close to my phone that is not lost, it’s like a nudge from the Holy Spirit. Pray without ceasing.

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Baroncelli Polyptych (detail), Giotto

Continuing on the theme of being the last Catholic to discover all sorts of neat Catholic things: did you know that a prayer called the Regina Coeli is sung or recited in place of the Angelus during the Easter season, from Holy Saturday through Pentecost Sunday?

Regina Coeli
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom thou didst merit to bear in your womb, alleluia.
Has risen, as He promised, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray.
O God, who through the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
gave rejoicing to the world,
grant, we pray, that through his Mother, the Virgin Mary,
we may obtain the joy of everlasting life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

My three-year old and I tried it out a few days ago after lunch. I told him to say the “Alleluia!” part whenever I pointed to him. He couldn’t keep a straight face, which meant neither could I. We persevered through our giggles, got to the end, and managed to say the Regina Coeli for the First. Time. Ever. It was such great fun that he thought the moment warranted a high five. I thought so, too.

christopherrobinpraying


Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

God bless Mummy. I know that’s right.
Wasn’t it fun in the bath tonight?
The cold’s so cold, and the hot’s so hot.
Oh! God bless Daddy – I quite forgot.

If I open my fingers a little bit more,
I can see Nanny’s dressing gown on the door.
It’s a beautiful blue, but it hasn’t a hood.
Oh! God bless Nanny and make her good.

Mine has a hood, and I lie in bed,
And pull the hood right over my head,
And I shut my eyes, and I curl up small,
And nobody knows that I’m there at all.

Oh! Thank you, God, for a lovely day.
And what was the other I had to say?
I said, “Bless Daddy,” so what can it be?
Oh! Now I remember it. God bless Me.

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

A. A. Milne

DSC04442

“Mama, what are dybountys? What are dygifs?”

As our babies become toddlers and their vocabulary explodes (or at least their ability to mimic words), they can start to be part of some family prayers. To bridge the gap between the I-can-say-Grace time and the I-understand-what-Grace-means time, we’ve been trying to provide some simplified versions:

Let’s ask God to bless our food: Bless us our Lord…
Let’s thank God for that wonderful dinner: We give thee thanks…

Not that this completely clarifies the mystery of what God has to do with what we’re having for dinner, but it’s a good start. The rest of the discussion can happen during dinner. Over many dinners.

One doesn’t have to be particularly religious to have religious items randomly strewn all over one’s house – just messy. And we’re pretty messy. Although the mess isn’t particularly religious in nature (most of it is quite secular), some of it is beginning to loudly suggest that maybe I should try to say the Rosary. Today.

The loudest item is a pale blue pamphlet entitled “Pray the Rosary Daily”. It doesn’t get more direct than that. And when I see it, I usually haven’t said a Rosary… yet. I suspect that it floats around our house because it has these tiny, fascinating pictures depicting the Mysteries. It may have to do with the fact that six out of six of us have trouble putting things away. It may also be those Guardian Angels in cahoots with Our Lady. In any case, however it finds its way in the middle of the playroom floor, there it is. And it says Pray the Rosary Daily.

The second loudest items are actual Rosaries. One might think that these things should be the loudest item, but they don’t explicitly have the words Pray the Rosary Daily printed on them*. One might also wonder what these are doing on the playroom floor and not safely in the Rosaries box. Ask the two-year old.

Sometimes just looking around and taking in Totality of Our Mess is enough to compel me to sit down at the nearest seat and sigh wearily. It is those times that I usually find that I’ve sat down beside, look at that what a suprise, a Pray the Rosary Daily pamphlet AND a Rosary. How convenient.

*We might be on to something here. Remember the scene in Alice in Wonderland where she finds a bottle of liquid that said Drink me and a piece of cake that said Eat me? Wouldn’t it be a good idea if Rosaries came with some sort of tag that says Pray the Rosary Daily? How could I ignore such an item when I find it among the rain boots?


Photo by Scott Schuman

Pray without ceasing.
-1 Thessalonians 5:17

(Those of us who have no cell phones can use our imaginations.)


Our Lady of Perpetual Help

The other day, an old prayer card with a version of Our Lady of Perpetual Help surfaced from somewhere (likely a bookmark found by a toddler “reading” through the big people books). This was the prayer at the back of it:

Marie, ma chère Mère, j’aime cette photo de vous et de Jésus. J’aime la façon que vous tenez Jésus dans vos bras, car en même temps vous me regardez aussi. Je vous demande de me protéger ainsi que ma famille. Aidez-moi à être aimable avec les autres, à répondre généreusement aux demandes d’aide, et à toujours apprécier toutes les bonnes choses que je possède. Amen

French! How cool is that? According to our friends at translate.google.com, it means:

Mary, dear Mother, I love this picture of you and Jesus. I like the way you hold Jesus in your arms, at the same time as you look at me too. I ask you to protect me and my family. Help me to be nice to others, to respond generously to calls for help, and still enjoy all the good things I have. Amen

Isn’t that a simple and sweet prayer? I’m thinking of giving it to my seven-year old, who will be receiving her First Communion in the coming Easter season – a little gift from Our Lady for a very exciting occassion.

Another version
When searching for an image to share with you, I found this cute version from a seller at Etsy:


Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Flor Larios

Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Mother of Perpetual Help, you have been blessed and favored by God. You became not only the Mother of the Redeemer, but the Mother of the redeemed as well. We come to you today as you loving children. Watch over us and take care of us. As you held the child Jesus in your loving arms, so take us in your arms. Be a mother ready at every moment to help us. For God who is mighty has done great things for you, and his mercy is from age to age on those who love him. Our greatest fear is that in time of temptation, we may fail to call out to you, and become lost children. Intercede for us, dear Mother, in obtaining pardon for our sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace always to call upon you, Mother of Perpetual Help.

Trying to keep by Mary’s side as we face the Holy days ahead. These images of her and the child Jesus seem so far away from those of pain and suffering that we have been seeing during Lent. Keeping you and your family in my prayers during Holy Week.

From our perennial favourite, St. Francis de Sales:

As to the examination of conscience, which we all should make before going to bed, you know the rules:

  1. Thank God for having preserved you through the day past.
  2. Examine how you have conducted yourself through the day, in order to which recall where and with whom you have been, and what you have done.
  3. If you have done anything good, offer thanks to God; if you have done amiss in thought, word, or deed, ask forgiveness of His Divine Majesty, resolving to confess the fault when opportunity offers, and to be diligent in doing better.
  4. Then commend your body and soul, the Church, your relations and friends, to God. Ask that the Saints and Angels may keep watch over you, and with God’s Blessing go to the rest He has appointed for you.

– Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales

What is this?

Here a volunteer parishoner at St. Clement shares her personal experiences as her young family tries to keep the Catholic faith alive in their homes, living out the promises of their Baptism. Thank you for stopping in and be sure to share some of your stories as well!

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