Wednesday, May 11, 2016

On Fiction, Perspective, and the Culture Wars

I've been thinking a lot lately about fiction, and how we process it.

A couple weeks ago, some friends and I went to see Fiddler on the Roof (absolutely phenomenal, btw). While chatting at intermission, I mocked myself, declaring that I should have counted how many times I cried in that first act. One friend replied, "I know, the wedding was so sad!" 


Oh. Yeah, didn't cry at the wedding, even though, yes, it was very sad. No, what made me tear up was every moment when someone took the risk of being vulnerable to tell someone they love something important, something that would be horrible if that person took it poorly. (And when someone listened to a loved one saying something difficult, good or bad.)

Watched Captain America: Civil War this week (barely spoilers ahead, only for the general conceit of the film). It was a fantastic movie, and I spent most of it not quite tense but distinctly uncomfortable, concerned--convinced--that one of these beloved characters would do something they'd regret and not be able to take back.

Discussed the movie with three friends. #1 discussed scenes, characters, legitimate concerns presented and imperfect ways they could have been dealt with, etc., with great nuance (as per usual). #2 was extremely annoyed at Tony, could conscience no reason whatsoever to be on Team Iron Man; obviously Cap was right, as always. #3 admittedly isn't a big fan of Cap, and found him completely unsympathetic because he went rogue and didn't try to compromise or communicate, didn't at all see that he didn't have the time or opportunity to do much of either.



These latter two conversations have stayed with me, not because they impact how I think of these loved ones, but because they worry me. If we can't "see the other side" in a fictional problem, how can we possibly hope to navigate thorny real-life problems?

There's just about nothing in this world I hate more than the culture wars. They divide us so harshly, we don't even notice that we're demonizing (or at least patronizing) real people on the other side, people who may or may not have seen the same data, but who came to a different conclusion. We see agenda, we see malice, we see stupidity.

Yes, there is some agenda, some malice, some stupidity, always. But most of the time, the people "on the other side" are real people trying to fix legitimate problems, even if their proposed solution seems to cause more problems.

I should have some kind of conclusion here, but I don't. All I have are misgivings. Kyrie, eleison.

Friday, April 22, 2016

On Thoughtfulness

I've been in an uncommonly pensive mood lately. No, pensive is not quite the right word, as it connotes almost-brooding. I've just been thoughtful. Keeping everyday things close to my heart, but thinking about them more often, more deeply. Feeling them more clearly. Yes, my current novel is thoroughly excellent, but it might not be just the author's skillful characterization that's inspired tears a number of times this hundred pages or so. I suppose I'm vulnerable? Which is probably a good place to be, going into a retreat.

Life can be so overwhelming! There is so much to see, so much to do, so many people to love and care for. Freed from the shackles of disease, I can finally pursue a hobby! But only one. The other two vying for my time (let alone the many yet to be considered!) have to take a backseat until the period I set for this hobby is over, which is frustrating, and feels like I'm back to where I was months ago. Really, I'm not; I just (as always) want to do too many things.

Still, I'm grateful that my everyday life is not plagued by any of the heavy crosses I see around me; even if, at the same time, I am beginning to truly long for a romance. Previously, the longing was really a more practical desire for a life partner, someone to support and make plans (and children) with. That would still be great, but the aching begins for the sort of whirlwind of feelings described by so many, through so many media. An interesting change, and I'm not sure what may have sparked it. With this shift, though, comes an acceptance of a life other than the stay-at-home-mom one I've always dreamed of. Again, not especially positive or negative, just interesting.

Well! There is something relaxing about posting a fairly stream-of-consciousness blog. I've got a few half-written posts that I may return to soon. But in the meantime: I leave you with some absurdly fluffy puppies, because my sister and deprived-dog-lover friends are apparently rubbing off on me.

SO MUCH FLUFF! 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A lovely hymn I can never use: On the gemstones in the walls of the New Jerusalem

Regarding Revelation 21:18-20:
The wall was constructed of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the city wall were decorated with every precious stone; the first course of stones was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh hyacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.

 Translator's commentary:
The twelve foundation stones of the Apocalypse gave rise, as might be expected, to an infinite variety of mystical interpretations. Marbodus wrote a short contmentary on the prose that we are considering,

Sing to the tune of Faith of Our Fathers.

Ye of the heav’nly country, sing
The praise and honor of your King
The raiser to its glorious height
Of that celestial city bright,
In whose fair building stand displayed
The gems for twelve foundations laid.

The deep green hue of jasper saith
How flourishing the estate of Faith,
Which, in all them that perfect be
Shall never wither utterly,
In whose firm keeping safe we fight
With Satan's wile and Satan's might.

The azure light of sapphire stone
Resembles that celestial throne·:
A symbol of each simple heart
That grasps in hope the better part :
Whose life each holy deed combines,
And in the light of virtue shines.

Like fire, though pale in outward show,
Chalcedony at length shall glow;
Carried abroad, its radiance streams:
At home, in shade it hides its gleams:
It marks their holiness and grace
Who do good deeds in secret place.

The emerald burns, intensely bright,
With radiance of an olive light :
This is the faith that highest shines,
No deed of charity declines,
And seeks no rest, and shuns no strife,
In working out a holy life.

Sardonyx, with its threefold hue,
Sets forth the inner man to view;
Where dark humility is seen,
And chastity with snow-white sheen,
And scarlet marks his joy to bleed
In martyrdom, if faith shall need.

The sardius, with its purple red
Sets forth their merits who have bled:
The martyr band, now blest above,
That agonized for Jesus’ love:
The sixth foundation, not in vain,
The Cross's mystery to explain.

The golden colored chrysolite
Flashes forth sparkles on the night:
Its mystic hues the life reflect
Of men with perfect wisdom decked,
Who shine, in this dark world, like gold,
Through that blest Spirit sevenfold.

The sunshine on the sea displays
The wat’ry beryl’s fainter rays:
Of those in this world's wisdom wise
The thoughts and hopes it signifies :
Who long to live more fully blest,
With mystic peace of endless rest.

Beyond all gems the topaz rare
Hath value therefore past compare;
It shines, albeit of colour grey,
Clear as a fair ethereal ray:
And notes the part of them that live
The solid life contemplative.

Some Council, decked in purple state
The chrysoprase doth imitate:
In the fair tint its face that decks
'Tis intertinged with golden specks:
This is the perfect love, that knows
Kindest return to sternest foes.

The azure jacinth comes between
The brighter and the dimmer sheen:
The ardour of whose varied ray
Is changed with every changing day:
Th’angelic life it brings to view
Attempered with discretion due.

Last in the Holy City set
With hue of glorious violet,
Forth from the amethyst are rolled
Sparks crimson-bright, and flames of gold:
The humble heart it signifies
That with its dying Maater dies.

These stones, arrayed in goodly row
Set forth the deeds of men below:
The various tints that there have place
The multiplicity of grace.
Who in himself such grace displays
May shine with these in endless rays .

Jerusalem, dear peaceful land!
These for thy twelve foundations stand ;
Blessed and nigh to God is he
Who shall be counted worthy thee!
That Guardian slumbereth not, nor sleeps,
Who in his charge thy turrets keeps.

King of the heavenly city blest!
Grant that thy servants may have rest,
This changeful life for ever past,
And consort with thy saints at last:
That we, with all the choir above,
May sing thy power and praise thy love!

Cibes coelestis patriae, Marbodus, d. 1125, tr. John Mason Neale in Medieval Hymns and Sequences, 1863, alt. Public domain.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

On Bad Hymns

When you become a professional at something many of your friends are amateurs at, your pet peeves change, big time. Most notably, the amateur's expression of their pet peeves, which are no longer yours, drive you nuts.

Today's iteration? Bad hymns.

Not bad music-related puns, bad hymns.
Sure, those in the the collection complained about here aren't our best: Gather Us In; City of God; Lord of the Dance; All Are Welcome; and Mary, Did You Know? But there are so many that are so much worse! I understand, pet peeve, sung too often, etc. But take a gander at a few choice verses here:

Sing we of the modern city,
Scene alike of joy and stress;
Sing we of its nameless people
In their urban wilderness.
Into endless rows of houses
Life is set a millionfold,
Life expressed in human beings
Daily born and growing old.
                  from Sing We of the Modern City
A nice try, but:
Lord, the demons are still thriving
In the grey cells of the mind:
Tyrant voices, shrill and driving,
Twisted thoughts that grip and bind,
Doubts that stir the heart to panic,
Fears distorting reason's sight,
Guilt that makes our loving frantic,
Dreams that cloud the soul with fright.
                     from Silence! Frenzied Unclean Spirit
Culturally offensive yet trying to be progressive:
Remember all the people
Who live in far off lands
In strange and lovely cities
Or roam the desert sands,
Or farm the mountain pastures
Or till the endless plains
Where children wade through rice fields
And watch the camel trains.
                     from Remember All the People
Merely inane/reductive:
With Jesus for hero, for teacher and friend,
The world to the purpose of God shall ascend:
Then learn we that gospel of love to obey,
Till sickness and want and disputes pass away.
                      from With Jesus for Hero
Yes, bringing our work up to God (rather than bringing him down to our work) is good, but...:
Lord of cable, Lord of rail,
Lord of motorway and mail,
Lord of rocket, Lord of flight,
Lord of soaring satellite,
Lord of lightning’s livid line,
All the world of speed is thine!
                     from God of Concrete, God of Steel
And, of course, the uncontested (in my opinion) winner: Giant Love Ball Song by Carey Landry (earworm warning!).




So, pardon me if I don't really care that you're sick of singing On Eagles' Wings. You know what? At least that one's based on Scripture.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

On Goals, and a Lack Thereof

The problem is not so much 29 and single with no prospects.

The problem is more that most of my good friends are living my dream (stay-at-home-motherhood), and have been for about five years now.

Yep, I know. Still want it.

The problem is that I don't have any goals left besides motherhood:

Get an interesting advanced degree: √

Live in or near a couple great cities: Chicago (outside), Atlanta, NYC, √

Travel to interesting places: A dozen or so countries in Europe, one in the Middle East, and 38/50 states, before running out of money? √

Get published in an academic journal: √

Get published in not-an-academic-journal: √

Present a paper at a conference: √

Work for a(n arch)diocese: √

Work in publishing: √

So! I need to develop some life goals. No ideas how to do this.


I've got some small goals:

Shape up finances to a not-so-terrible place (depressing)

Get apartment to a not-so-messy place (depressing)

Get less terrible at cooking (depressing, and more importantly neverending)

Read voraciously (great fun, but there's no threshold to achieve here)

Maybe do some Shakespeare-related thing for his quadricentenary this year?

I have, in fact, NEVER regretted attending a Shakespeare play.

None of these provide overall motivation, though. None of them help me combat the feeling that I'm just filling time until my "real" life starts.

This would be so much easier if I had any career ambition whatsoever!

Anyway, suggestions are welcome, both for new goals themselves and for how to brainstorm/find new goals.

Until next time!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hey look! I'm back! And feeling a bit like a different Claire

I think I've reached a point in life when I need to blog again. I consume so much of other people's writings -- mostly stories, but a lot of random thoughts and brief articles, too -- I need to start producing some of my own.

Even apart from that, I find myself in ways I never thought I'd be: 

Living in NYC!

This was taken less than 2mi from my home (by not me)
29 and single with no prospects, and more or less settling down nonetheless.

Fighting various small-but-persistent health problems. 

My faith at a different, quieter, hopefully deeper level, at 11.5y and counting of intentional discipleship. 

An extrovert who has grown into the introvert problem of sometimes being suddenly Done With People while still out with people. 

Someone with a fantastic network of friendships rooted in Christ, who yet still struggles with and ponders about loneliness on a fundamental human level. 

A career woman with no interest in a career, who has trouble finding new life goals to set. 

A person unwilling to pick up and move again, because I've done that far too often already, and because it'd require something really good for me to move away from family again.

A reasonably fervent sports fan! Who knows sadly few fellow fans to discuss them with. A surprisingly common attitude among my friends is: "I love that you love sports! I have no interest in them myself, but it'so so unexpected in you, yet it suits you at the same time." That's quite charming, but doesn't help me suss out who to root for to win the AFC this year, besides anyone who's not the Patriots. (I think I'm going for the Chiefs, FWIW. I like Kansas/Kansans.)

Someone who hasn't gotten her shit together enough to send out Christmas cards in at least three years.

Oh yeah, and who has lost nearly all reservations about using coarse language, except of course in particular situations.

Someone who's not only unscandalized but unsurprised by various parish/diocesan/whatever happenings that cause faithful co-workers twice my age to FREAK OUT. I suppose I'm jaded in a certain respect?

Someone whose perspective has changed on a lot of things. Who gladly acknowledges objective right and wrong, but is more worried about an individual's culpability and vulnerabilities.

Someone who has increasingly seen places where the feminists actually get it right, enough so this no longer scares/disturbs her.

Someone who doesn't (can't) attend daily Mass, but prays Matins, Lauds, and Vespers daily.

Someone who's not in any kind of liturgical choir! Seriously, I haven't been out of a choir for more than a couple months since my age was in the single digits.

Enormously more conservative with both physical and verbal affection than in years past. Much preferring to demonstrate the same enormous amounts of love by implementing in life the great maxim of the visual arts: Show, don't tell. (Ok, tell sometimes, but only sometimes, and probably pretty concisely.)

Who watches a LOT of tv! And keeps pretty current on movies, too. So many great stories to watch these days!

Mostly wears hats for the enjoyment of other people, or to be easily identifiable publicly, and rarely for my own sake anymore.

Travels only a moderate amount, no longer flying someplace at least one weekend a month.

Who has recently begun to experience that horrible feeling -- when an acquaintance gets engaged, feeling fundamentally sad or resentful or frustrated, despite desiring to feel happy for her, who is truly delightful, and good for her.

Not only do I accept dates categorically unless the guy is unavailable, creepy, or far too old, but I straight up ask guys out myself when I have moderate interest! A date is just a date. And how else are you supposed to get in a decent conversation with somebody to see if there's any interest there?

Empathy runs especially high for those whose difficult experiences I don't share, whose sensitivities, whose "normal" others often transgress out of misinformation or obliviousness. I try to be aware of my own shortcomings in this regard, but I'm sure I do imperfectly.

Vulnerable is more difficult than it used to be.

I see others, often friends, speak of their job or their hobbies with passion, and am a bit envious. I don't know how to access equivalent passion/excitement in myself.

Thanks to my very-long commute, I read at least 20,000 pages a year. The vast majority of that is fiction, which is simply glorious!

* * *

I mean, plenty of things are still constant. I'm every bit as Catholic as I've ever been! I'm still broke. Still love stories, and love people even more. Still have great fun planning parties and other events in great detail. And unorganized writing turns into disorganized stream-of-consciousness pretty easily.

Heh. And what I intend to be a small note still turns out to be more than twice as long as I'd intended. Some things never change...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Favorite Ash Wednesday Hymn

Sing to the tune of The Glory of These Forty Days:

It is the time of solemn fast:
The mournful days of Lent are here,
The priests and people weep aloud,
The temple echoes with their tears.

But all defy the wrath of God
And all the grieving words deceive,
Unless repentant hearts are true
And contrite in our shame we grieve.

In vain our foreheads mark’d with ash,
In vain the bow’d and beaten breast,
Unless true sorrow for our sins
Our very soul marks with distress.

With hearts thus Broken by our sins,
Before our God, then let us fall,
Who, knowing all our wicked faults,
Demands no punishment at all.

O righteous Judge! O God Most High!
Withhold the forfeit we should pay,
And give both time for true reform
And grace to help us change our way.

Grant us a harvest from our fast,
O, high and blessed Trinity,
Which we may reap in heav’n with you,
O, one and perfect Unity.

Solemne nos jejunii, Paris Breviary, XVIII, tr. John-Julian, OJN, 1997. © 1998 Order of Julian of Norwich. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 19, 2015

On Lovecraft and My Catholic Worldview

A few months ago, I bit the bullet and read my first H.P. Lovecraft story, the novella At the Mountains of Madness. I'd been hearing about Lovecraft for years, and knew he was well-respected by later authors and quite beloved by many, so I figured it was about time.

Bonus points to whoever correctly identifies
the number of eyes on this book cover.
Boy was I wrong!

It was a new-to-me kind of frustrating, because I could tell that I was supposed to be terrified (or at least anxious or creeped out), yet the only emotion I could muster was impatience.

I asked around, to try and understand what I was missing, but all replies suggested that while Lovecraft's mythos is phenomenal, he could have done with an editor. Ok, fine. Forgot about it for a while.

Those eldritch wall paintings are more interesting than wallpaper, at least.

But last week I stumbled upon a virtual book club reading this very book, so I thought I'd ask them if they could convince me of Lovecraft's genius, and their responses were thorough and helpful.

I should consider Lovecraft in his own time, they said, based on the way scientific researched changed their understanding of reality. Okay:
The TL;DR version is that when Lovecraft was born the sun was thought to be, at absolute most, around 20 million years old. When he was an adult we had discovered that the sun was powered by fusion and was around 4.5 BILLION years old. As a child Lovecraft thought the universe consisted of the milky way, around a million stars total, and a few blurry things no one knew what were. As an adult it was known that a) the milky way contained closer to 100 BILLION stars and b) all those weird blurry things were in fact galaxies as large as the milky way.
The cosmos expanded during Lovecraft's life at a rate comparable to the rate of expansion of available data storage during my life. I was born in late 1964. In 1973, the total manufactured fixed disk storage capacity in the United States was on the order of 100Gb. 40 years later, it's really hard to buy hard disks that small; hard disk storage currently costs on the order of 4 cents per gigabyte, giving our 1973 USA's installed hard disk capacity a value of around $5.
Ok, that IS a pretty huge series of changes. But what makes this terrifying? I needed someone to point it out to me. [Spoilers ahead, but plot isn't necessarily the point with Lovecraft, so whatever.]
Now think back to At the Mountains of Madness. The horror is not that the Elder Things, these half-plants / half-animals that have been hibernating for millions of years might come to once again re-inhabit the Earth, it's that even this wondrous creatures, to whom we are nothing more than ants, were themselves wiped out by something even bigger, more awesome, and more terrifying than they were.
Okay! That I can wrap my head around! But I still can't get my emotions there. I can appreciate his creations from an artistic standpoint, but they still don't creep me out.

Although they are still unsettling to look at.

This disconnect between brain and emotions simmered on the back burner of my mind for a few days, until finally, after returning from a wonderful retreat, it hit me:

What completely undercuts the eldritch horror of Lovecraft's world and creatures is Catholic theology!

Sorry not sorry. Couldn't resist!

Now, I've read explicitly atheistic authors before, but none were trying to terrify, so it's hard to compare. And no wonder Lovecraft's creatures do inspire so much fear; the world they represent is precisely the opposite of that in which our all-loving God has not only created but redeemed us!

Think about it. At the heart of Christian theology is that God, who needs nothing, created us just because he wanted to love us. Then he actually took on human weakness and died violently, painfully, so as to redeem not only all humanity, but each human being! His love for each one of us is profound especially in light of the enormity of the cosmos!

This image is not to scale.

It's all so enormous and grand! And we are so small, so short-lived. And yet, what dignity we are afforded, by virtue of the incarnation!

All this, just for a chance to spend eternity with you!

Angels, the only non-human sentient species mentioned in Scripture and Tradition, are metaphysically superior to us, being pure spirit--and we are explicitly praised as higher than the angels! How could any species, no matter how powerful, compete with love like that!?

You may be gigantic, powerful, ugly, and brutal, but you cannot deprive me
of the life that really matters, so why should I fear you? (cf. Mt 10:28)

Deus Pater, qui creavit omnium, miserere nobis.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday, #1 (Thursday just doesn't have that alliteration...)

So I've been thinking about this What I'm Reading Wednesday thing Liz keeps doing, and, knowing that I wouldn't actually write anything unless I committed myself by telling her yesterday, guess what I did? So I'm cutting my usual lunchtime tv break short and actually exercising my brain a bit...

1. Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell


My mom has been mentioning this book and how much she enjoyed reading for about as long as I can remember, so it's continually been on the back burner throughout my life--much like how, when I first watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I felt like the Black Knight was a beloved but deceased family member, based on how many times Dad had told hist story.

Apart from her completely inspecific high praise, however, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this book. I was hooked by about page 15 (of 600), and could hardly put it down from that point forward! (Warning: minute spoilers ahead)

Beginning in Lucanus' childhood, Caldwell weaves a thoroughly-researched (even if fictional), compelling biography. Her characters remind you that, while God revealed himself fully to the Jews, there were always Gentiles aware of his existence; you also see the way that one man could impact the world, even without television or internet. Cultural prejudices are shown in what seems to me to be a realistic manner... and the familiar gospel stories are woven into the text and the lives of its characters so well!

Apart from one obvious misinterpretation that belies her Protestant theology (but what else should one expect re: the Eucharist?), and the silly insistence upon describing both Jesus and Mary as golden-haired and pale-skinned, I recommend this book very whole-heartedly. I can barely imagine how I managed to live so long and never have anyone else trying to sell me on reading it!

NB: Probably not for younger than teenagers, based on just a scene or two. Important ones, though.

TL;DR: If you're over 16 and a Catholic, how on earth have you managed not to read this book yet!?!? Do it. Seriously.

2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, read by Anne Hathaway


As an American born in the late 20th century, of course I know the film version of the Wizard of Oz quite well. So when this came in Audible's "Daily Deal," I decided to give it a go, having been quite pleased with previous titles in their A-List Collection, and being curious about what the film adapted from the original text.

This was no exception! Hathaway's narrator voice did make me feel like I was participating in Storytime with the Queen of Genovia—which was definitely not a negative feature!—and the sheer range of accents, lisps, and other vocal tricks she used to differentiate the many characters was quite effective and impressive. I always knew who was speaking before they were identified, even the bit parts.

TL;DR: Great story, superbly narrated, and fun to revisit!

3. Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions by Neil Gaiman


Upon the high recommendation of some friends whose artistic taste I quite respect, I started to read some Neil Gaiman novels—mostly via Audible, where he narrates his own stories. He's excellent at blurring the line between fantasy and reality, and also remarkably good at creepy. His bad guys, for instance, aren't just evil—they actually make your skin crawl with their, well, creepiness. Clearly my own articulation skills pale in comparison. :)

Anyway, my parents, with unexpected coordination, combined their powers and got me this book of his short stories, and they've been just fascinating! I've been reading just one nearly every day, which gives me plenty of time to digest each one. Because he doesn't have the taboos my moral code gives me re: sex, it's a lot more prevalent (and sometimes more depraved) than what I would otherwise expose myself to—which turns out to be quite okay in small doses, and thought-provoking.


TL;DR: Fascinating, slightly outside my comfort zone, enjoyable, completely unique. I'm a fan.


So, uhh... I guess there are more of these on Jessica's blog? Whoo!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Reason #583.6 Why I Love Terry Pratchett

A brief quotation from his 2007 novel Making Money (yes, the footnote—the whole purpose of this post—is found in the book itself). The context here is an argumentative sort of town hall meeting.


"As' chairman of the, Merchant's' Guild gentlemen may, I point out that these thing's represent a valuable labor force in this' city—" said Mr. Robert Parker.*

*As a member of the Ancient and Venerable Order of Greengrocers, Mr. Parker was honor-bound never to put his punctuation in the right place.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oops

This message appeared tonight when I opened my browser:


Read that top line again. 
I know Google is notorious for pranks, but I'm not sure I believe this is one...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thirty Days Prayer to St Joseph


Ever blessed and glorious St. Joseph, kind and loving father, and helpful friend of all in sorrow! Thou art the good father and protector of orphans, the defender of the defenseless, the patron of those in need and sorrow. Look kindly on my request. My sins have drawn down on me the just displeasure of my God, and so I am surrounded with unhappiness. To thee, O loving guardian of the Family of Nazareth, do I go for help and protection. 

Listen, then, I beg of thee, with fatherly concern, to my earnest prayers, and obtain for me the favor I ask. (Here make your request.)

I ask it by the infinite mercy of the Eternal Son of God, which moved Him to take our nature and to be born into this world of sorrow. 

I ask it by the weariness and suffering thou didst endure when thou didst find no shelter at the inn of Bethlehem for the Holy Virgin, nor a place where the Son of God could be born. Then, being everywhere refused, thou hadst to allow the Queen of Heaven to give birth to the world’s Redeemer in a cave. 

I ask it by the loveliness and power of that sacred Name, Jesus, which thou didst confer on the adorable Infant. I ask it by that painful torture thou didst feel at the prophecy of holy Simeon, which declared the Child Jesus and His holy Mother future victims of our sins and of their great love for us. 

I ask it through thy sorrow and pain of soul when the Angel declared to thee that the life of the Child Jesus was sought by His enemies. From their evil plan thou hadst to flee with Him and His Blessed Mother into Egypt. I ask it by all the suffering, weariness and labors of that long and dangerous journey. 

I ask it by all thy care to protect the Sacred Child and His Immaculate Mother during thy second journey, when thou wert ordered to return to thine own country. 

I ask it by thy peaceful life in Nazareth, where thou didst meet with so many joys and sorrows. I ask it by thy great distress when the adorable Child was lost to thee and His Mother for three days. 

I ask it by thy joy at finding Him in the Temple, and by the comfort thou didst find at Nazareth, while living in the company of the Child Jesus. I ask it by the wonderful submission He showed in His obedience to thee. 

I ask it by the perfect love and conformity thou didst show in accepting the Divine order to depart from this life and from the company of Jesus and Mary. 

I ask it by the joy which filled thy soul when the Redeemer of the world, triumphant over death and Hell, entered into the possession of His kingdom and led thee into it with special honors. 

I ask it through Mary’s glorious Assumption and through that endless happiness thou hast with her in the presence of God. 

O good Father! I beg of thee, by all thy sufferings, sorrows and joys, to hear me and obtain for me what I ask. (Here mention your petitions or think of them.) 

Obtain for all those who have asked my prayers everything that is useful to them in the plan of God. Finally, my dear Patron and Father, be with me and all who are dear to me in our last moments, that we may eternally sing the praises of Jesus, Mary and Joseph! 

A blameless life, O St. Joseph, may we lead, by thy kind patronage from danger freed. Amen.

Thirty Days Prayer to St. Joseph
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