Rosary for Priests: Decade six — The Agony in the Garden

1st-sorrowful-mystery-agony-gardenThe Apostles fall asleep; Jesus sweats blood at the thought of His coming passion and death; angels come to comfort him.

We begin the second set of the Mysteries of the Rosary today in our series of intentions for Priests using the Rosary. Today we use the first of the Sorrowful Mysteries: The Agony in the Garden.

  • We pray that all priests who are suffering and on the way to Calvary may be comforted by God’s presence; those who have betrayed or denied the Faith through weakness may repent and return to the warmth of God’s love.
  • We pray that all priests may live only to do our Father’s will, as Jesus always did.
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Rosary for Priests: decade one – The Annunciation

TheAnnunciationThe Angel Gabriel announces to Mary, that she will become the Mother of God, Word made Flesh. For all centuries to come, Jesus will become flesh in the Holy Eucharist to nourish us in a most intimate union with Him.

The words above I found in a leaflet published by the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei, inside the Roman Martyrology which I had re-found on my bookshelves. For those that don’t know, my library is just making it out of boxes and onto shelves, and so is all round the house, on the floor, on shelves, on the stairs, on my desk, beside my bed, wherever I can put it.

The leaflet encourages us to pray a Rosary for Priests, and I am sure that all of us who use this devotion pray it for all sorts of needs and intentions. For the next fifteen days, it is my intention to pray especially for the intentions in the leaflet. Today, we begin with those for the first Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation.

  • We pray for all priests who daily, through the words of the consecration at Mass, and through Holy Communion, bring us the Body and Blood of Christ.
  • We pray for all future priests now being formed in the wombs of their mothers, that they may be safe from physical and spiritual harm, and come to Ordination as God intends.
  • We pray for all future generations of priests.
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Thoughts on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady

Saint Anne conceiving the Virgin Mary Douai, Musée de la Chartreuse

Saint Anne conceiving the Virgin Mary
Douai, Musée de la Chartreuse

Pope Benedict ⅩⅥ, the Bishop of Rome, has said that “on the path of Advent shines the star of Mary Immaculate”, and without her part in history we should not have received our Blessed Lord as the Child-King of Bethlehem. Without Our Lady saying, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me” to the angel Gabriel, in today’s Gospel,  there would have been no conception of Jesus, no Incarnation, no Passion, no Cross, no Resurrection, and no Ascension, and today we would not be waiting for the Second Coming of Christ.

Read the rest of my thoughts here

Doing the work—not being seen to do the work—is much more important

The daily Rosary is one personal devotion which has been with me for many years. No matter how long I have been saying it, I still have to look up which set of mysteries is said on which day. None of this has been made any easier since the introduction of an extra set by Blessed Pope John Paul Ⅱ which he suggested be said on Thursdays. I have never been a fan of the Luminous Mysteries (not the name that I am told some English seminarians gave them…) and so I stick to the three traditional sets…

Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays – The Glorious Mysteries

  1. The Resurrection
  2. The Ascension
  3. The Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles
  4. The Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven
  5. The Coronation of Our Lady and the Glory of all the Saints

Mondays, and Thursdays – The Joyful Mysteries

  1. The Annunciation
  2. The Visitation
  3. The Nativity
  4. The Presentation
  5. The Finding in the Temple

Tuesdays and Fridays – The Sorrowful Mysteries

  1. The Agony in the Garden
  2. The Scouring of Our Blessed Lord at the Pillar
  3. The Crowning of Our Blessed Lord with Thorns
  4. Our Blessed Lord carrying His Cross
  5. The Crucifixion

I often find myself saying the Rosary as I walk. I don’t always have my beads out as I do so, but it is a good witness for the Faith when we do. As Fr Southwell of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales once said, “If the Muslims can wander our streets with their beads out, there is no reason why the Catholics of England ought not to do so as well. We are after all Our Lady’s Dowry.” I’m not sure that I would have put it in quite that manner, but a good practice it remains. However, we don’t want to become like those who parade their Faith, it is better to do the work than to be seen to do the work.

The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description. — Venerable Fulton J. Sheen.

Scapulars broken but not the promises – a way of life for all.

Those of us who have been enrolled in the Brown Scapular Confraternity know how difficult it is at present to find a brown scapular that will not break when sleeping, or when playing games, or in the gym. I have found it rather difficult to keep a scapular on. Recently, via a Facebook group (Catholic and Proud), I have become aware of some Carmelite nuns that are making what look to be excellent scapulars and made in accordance with the regulations. (As one would expect of Carmelites!)

I will be ordering some of these scapulars in the near future and hope that the one put around my neck will not break. A testimonial says,

About a year ago, I had ordered three of your scapulars (one for myself and one for each of my two children), and I just want to thank you for your wonderfully crafted scapulars. I’m a notorious scapular breaker due to the way I sleep and rough-house with my kids. Your scapular has held up to all of that and is still as good as new with no fraying. – Sam, Massachusetts, USA

The Brown Scapular was given by Our Blessed Lady to St Simon Stock, in Aylesford in England in the year of our Lord 1251. Our Lady handed him a brown woollen scapular and said: “This shall be a privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.” In time, the Church extended this magnificent privilege to all the laity who are willing to be invested in the Brown Scapular of the Carmelites and who perpetually wear it.

Even though at the moment I do not have a physical scapular on my person—for my most recent one has broken—I do feel the love of Our Lady every day. When I was enrolled the priest permitted me to say the Rosary daily instead of the Little Office of the BVM. Now that I am a priest, I look forward to the day when someone approaches me and asks

Father, I have a brown scapular, can you bless it?

And I will take him or her aside and explain that the scapular is not a superstition but an item of personal devotion and that those who choose to wear it are committing themselves to a way of life. A way of life that is not overly difficult to keep to. And one that every Catholic – indeed every Christian should want to lead.

An indulgence

Pope Benedict XV granted 500 days indulgence for devoutly kissing your scapular.

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