St. John Vianney Novena Day 8

Sermentizon_vianney

O Holy Priest of Ars, a witness of your life made this magnificent praise of you:
‘We would have taken him for an angel in a mortal body.”
You so edified others: the modesty and the exquisite purity radiated from your body. With such charm and with such enthusiasm you preached to others about these beautiful virtues which you said resembled the perfume of a vineyard in bloom.
Please I beg you to join your entreaties to those of Mary Immaculate and Saint Philomena in order that I guard always, as God asks me, the purity of my heart. You, who have directed so many souls towards the heights of virtue, defend me in temptations and obtain for me the strength to conquer them.
Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for … (mention silently your special intentions).
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

St. John Vianney Novena Day 7

Sermentizon_vianney

O Holy Priest of Ars, the infamous attacks of the devil which you had to suffer and the trials which disheartened you by fatigue would not make you give up the sublime task of converting souls. The devil came to you for many years to disturb your short rest but you won because of mortification and prayers.
Powerful protector, you know the temptor’s desire to harm my baptized and believing soul. He would have me sin, by rejecting the Holy Sacraments and the life of virtue. But good Saint of Ars dispel from me the traces of the enemy.
Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for … (mention silently your special intentions).
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

St. John Vianney Novena Day 6

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O Holy Priest of Ars, whose only comfort in this world was the real presence of Jesus in the tabernacle, was it not your great joy to distribute the Eucharist to the pilgrims who visited you? You refused Communion to the souls who refused to reform but to souls of goodwill you opened wide the doors of the Eucharistic Feast.
You, who each day at Holy Mass received Holy Communion with great loves, give me some of your fervor. With freedom from mortal sin, obtain for me a sincere desire to profit from receiving Holy Communion.
Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for… (mention silently your special intentions).
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

St. John Vianney Novena Day 5

Sermentizon_vianney

O Holy Priest of Ars, you knew how important was a good confession for the Christian life. It was to procure the happy fruits of millions of souls that you agreed to be in an uncomfortable confessional, which was like a prison, up to 15 to 16 hours on certain days.

I will try to develop the habit of frequent confession, to prepare properly each time and to have always regret for my sins, so that the grace of final perseverance but also the sanctification of my soul will be assured. Ask this grace for me.

Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for … (mention silently your special intentions).

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

St. John Vianney Novena Day 4

Sermentizon_vianney

Saint John Mary Baptist Vianney, you were so adamant against sin, yet so sympathetic and so ready to welcome the sinner. I come to you today as if you were still alive, as if I were kneeling at your feet and you could hear me. Bend towards me, listen to the repentant confidence for the weaknesses and miserable deeds of mine.
Priest of the Lord, inexhaustible Confessor, obtain for me the horror for sin. You wanted us First to avoid the occasion of sin. I want totake your advice and make the resolution to break bad habits and to avoid the dangerous occasions of sin. Help me today to examine my conscience.
Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for… (mention silently your special intentions).
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

St. John Vianney Novena Day 3

Sermentizon_vianney

Saint John Marie Baptist Vianney because of your love of God you showed great charity towards your neighbor. You could not preach on the Love of God without burning tears of love. During your last years, it seemed as though you could not talk about any thing else or live for anything else. Thus you sacrificed yourself to your neighbor by consoling, absolving and sanctifying them to the limits of your strength.
Your charity inspires me to greater love of God, a love which is shown more by acts then by words. Help me to love my neighbor generously as Christ loves them.
Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for … (mention silently your special intentions).

 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Saint John Vianney Novena Day 2

Sermentizon_vianney

Saint John Marie Baptist Vianney, what confidence the people had in your prayers! You could not leave your old rectory or your humble church without being surrounded by imploring souls, who appealed to you as they would have appealed to Jesus Himself during His earthly life. And you, O good Saint, gave them hope by your words, which were full of love for God.

You, who had always counted entirely on the heart of God, obtain for me a deep filial trust in His Providence. As the hope of divine goods fills my heart, give me courage and help me to always obey the Commandments of God.
Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession.

Pray for me during this novena especially for … (mention silently your special intentions).

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

St. John Vianney Novena Day 1

Sermentizon_vianney

Saint John Marie Baptist Vianney you were born of a deeply religious mother; from her you received the Holy Faith; you learned to love God and to pray. At a young age, you were seen kneeling in the front of the statue of Mary. Your soul was supernaturally carried towards the things on High. Despite the high cost, you answered your vocation!
Against many obstacles and contradictions, you had to fight and suffer to become the perfect priest which you were. But your deep spirit of faith supported you in all these battles. 0 Great Saint you know the desire of my soul; I would like to serve God better; from Him I have received so many good things. For this, obtain for me more courage and especially the depth of faith.
Many of my thoughts, words, and actions are useless for my sanctification and for my salvation, because this supernatural spirit does not stir up my life. Help me to be better in the future.
Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for
… (mention silently your special intentions).
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Side Effects of Spending Time With God

mountain high

 

Luke 6:45

“A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”

 

When we love something, we have a tendency to talk non-stop about it. Think of your local sports fanatic, a friend who is about to get married, or look on tumblr at all the fans swooning over Hamilton and the endless comic book adaptations on TV and in the movies. For me, especially, I can’t stop talking about how much I love or hate something.

Last week, however, I couldn’t seem to stop talking about how much I love God. I spent so much time in Daily Mass, Adoration, Stations of the Cross, and praying in general last week that I ended up talking about my faith in a job interview and offering prayers to people who aren’t particularly religious. This is not something that I would often do, nor was it something that happened intentionally. I was so filled up with God that He comes pouring out of me.

In other words, I was basically on a spiritual high. I was receiving a lot of consolations as a side effect of spending so much time with God. But it makes sense. When you spend so much time doing something or thinking about something, it becomes all that you talk about.

In last Sunday’s gospel, Peter, James, and John had their own version of this experience during the Transfiguration. Peter wanted to stay in that moment so much, he wanted to build three tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. As moronic as he was (since the Gospel even said he didn’t even know what he was saying), I can totally relate to it. I wanted that feeling I had to stay with me for the rest of Lent. Alas, it didn’t.

I still feel God’s presence in my life, even if it’s not as strong as it used to be. Besides that, I’m in my first week of renewing my Marian Consecration, so there are still many graces that will hopefully come my way this Lenten season. In the meantime, here’s a little reminder about spiritual highs from Blimey Cow:

The Necessity Of Prayer: Advent Week 1, Day 5

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Photo courtesy of Rachel Penate from the Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship.

There are days that I just want to hide away inside a cloister and pretend that the outside world doesn’t exist. I usually believe in the best in people, but when tragedies such as the ones in San Bernardino and Colorado happen and with threats of ISIS and other acts of terrorism and all the hatred in the world loom all over the news like the perpetually gray December skies, I can completely understand why Thomas Merton chose to go into monastic life.

What makes me even sadder is when the world condemns those who say that they will pray. Has this world become so cynical that the mere idea of prayer has become offensive? I mean when a verse as lovely as Corinthians 13 sets off a “trigger warning,” what good is left in the world?

It calls to mind this scene from an episode of Buffy called “Lie to Me” in which Buffy deals with the fact that an old friend of hers chose to become a vampire in the hopes of escaping the fact that he has brain cancer.

Buffy: Does it ever get easy?

Giles: You mean life?

Buffy: Yeah, does it get easy?

Giles: What do you want me to say?

Buffy: Lie to me.

Giles: Yes. It’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and… everybody lives happily ever after.

Buffy: Liar.

 

Life isn’t easy. It’s messy and complicated and at first glance, prayers may seem like empty promises or a way for politicians to pay lip service to the voters.

But here’s the thing. There is power in prayer. I know this because I’ve experienced it. Prayers aren’t like wishes that magically undo the damages or instantly change the heart of a sinner. Saint Monica can testify that it took a long time for her prayers to finally change Augustine. It took Alessandro Serenelli a long time before he finally repented and admitted that murdering St. Maria Goretti was wrong. Prayers don’t work overnight. The point, however, is that they do work.

It’s easy to believe that the universe is indifferent. It’s easier to try and create our own meaning so that life can be whatever we see it. In the end, though, that kind of existentialist belief is no better than the prisoners in Plato’s cave, who create reality from mere shadows.

I know there are some cynics out there who will say that Christians are really the ones in the cave, creating realities from shadows. Yet look at the lives of people like Mother Teresa, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and Pope John Paul II. The saints all had to endure hardships, living in a world that didn’t make any sense. In spite of that, Mother Teresa was able to make life better for the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. St. Maximilian Kolbe saved the life of an entire family. Pope John Paul II changed an entire generation of people and continues to do so now.

Prayer changes lives, but never in the way that we expect. It is through prayer that we accept that the world is broken. It is through prayer that we can try and find a way to take what is broken and make things whole again. It is through prayer that we can be a light to the world and maybe change the hearts of others along the way.

God is the one who breaks the prisoners free and leads them out of the caves of their illusions. In this first week of Advent, let us keep hope alive through fervent prayer, especially for those who need God’s mercy the most. Pray for the souls of the people who died in San Bernardino. Pray for the conversion of the shooter as well as for the person who attacked the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. Pray for peace in this world. It may not seem like much, but it’s enough to help restore hope.

I’ll leave you with this poem that I wrote back in April:

Of Monsters and Men

Life is terribly complicated
Sometimes the best of friends
turn out to be people who stab you in the back
The bad guys are not easy to see
because many of these monsters
come in the forms of handsome men
There are battles you can never win
because you can’t stand on your own
There are good days and bad days
and some of them can never be saved.
And sometimes happily ever after
is the farthest thing from your reach.

But somehow, things always turn around
You heal the scars that run down your back
You find some monsters that turn out to be friends
Who help you fight the battles you can’t handle on your own
You look out at the sun as it dawns
and realized that every day starts out fresh and new
even if yesterday couldn’t be saved
And even if you don’t have a happily ever after
You start with what you have now
and find happiness there