News Categories
(171)General Catholic Ramblings (17)Catholic Retailing Tips (4)lent (1)sales (1)Catholic Retailing Links (4)e-book (3)kindle (3)nook (101)Aquinas and More Catholic Goods Newsletters (2)easter (3)first communion (1)confession (1)imelda (1)mother's day (1)vatican collection (1)confirmation (1)saints (2)josemaria escriva (2)opus dei (2)there be dragons (1)altar missal (1)church supplies (1)roman missal (1)divine mercy (7)Catholic Reading Program (1)rosary (134)Catholic Media Reviews (1)bible (1)catechism (1)youcat (4)Should We Carry This Product? (8)Press Releases (1)e-reader (10)Aquinas and More Staff Picks (1)James' Picks (1)behind the counter (1)product reviews (1)staff picks (13)Chinese Persecution (3)Jeremy's Picks (1)Donna's Picks (2)Ian's Picks (2)Aline's Picks (1)Nicole's Picks (5)Catholic Author Interviews (1)CPSIA (77)The Liturgical Year (3)Family Life (1)12 days of christmas (1)feast days (15)Catholic Product Guides (14)Behind the Counter Catholic Radio Show (224)Behind the Catholic Counter (44)Behind the Catholic Counter Podcast (1)catholic choir book (1)oplatki christmas wafer (1)coffee (1)the theotokos (1)elizabeth ann seton (1)thomas aquinas (1)john bosco (1)didache bible (2)ember days (1)first communion gifts (1)gregory the great (1)symbolon (1)Technology (2)sacred heart (1)scapular (1)miracle of our lady of the snows (1)back to school gifts (1)nativity of the blessed virgin mary (1)saint thomas aquinas (1)clean fridge monday (1)clean monday (1)diaconate (1)how to measure for a cassock (1)san damiano cross (1)crucifix (1)divine mercy for moms (1)saint blaise (1)what should i do for lent? (1)laetare sunday (1)ash wednesday (1)our lady of lourdes (1)columba marmion (1)maximilian kolbe relics (1)bury the dead (1)saint cunegunda (1)pray like a carmelite (1)frances of rome (1)saint joseph (1)saint joseph table (1)how to be holy (1)easter vigil (1)way of prayer (1)way of perfection (1)our lady of perpetual help (1)peter and paul (1)saint ignatius (1)Dominicans (1)Saint Dominic (1)oplatki (1)blessing for an advent wreath (1)saint andrew (1)saint lucy (1)douay rheims bible (1)what is candlemas (1)Catholic Passion (2)First Communion Stories (1)first friday devotions
RSS Feed
The Church as the Sorrowful Mother
Posted by Ian on 15 September 2017 10:11 AM

Reflection on the gospel for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Pre-Vatican II calendar). Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Gueranger.

This is the second time during the year that holy Church offers this Gospel to our consideration; we cannot be surprised at this, for the fathers selected by her as its interpreters tell us,on bothof these occasions that the afflicted mother who follows her son to the grave is the Church herself.

The first time we saw her under this symbol, of a mother mourning for her child, was in the penitential season of Lent. She was then, by her fasting and prayer (united as those were with her Jesus’ sufferings), preparing the resurrection of such of our brethren as were dead in sin. Their resurrection was realized, and we had them, in all the fullness of their new life, seated side by side with us at the Paschal Table. What exquisite joy on that feast of feasts, inundated the mother’s heart, as she thus shared in the triumphant gladness of her divine Spouse! Jesus was, by His one Resurrection, twice over the conqueror of death – He rose from the grave, and He gave back the child to the mother. The disciples of this risen Lord, who follow Him closely by their observance of the evangelical counsels, they, and the whole multitude that associated themselves with the Church, glorified Jesus for His wonderful works, and sang the praises of God who thus vouchsafed to visit His people.

The mother ceased to weep. But since then the Spouse has again left her, to return to His Father; she has resumed her widow’s weeds, and her sufferings are continually adding to the already well-nigh insupportable torture of her exile. And whence these sufferings? From the relapses of so many of those ungrateful children of hers, to whom she had given a second birth, and at the cost of such pains and tears! The countless cares she then spent over her sinners, and that new life she gave them in the presence of her dying Jesus – all this made each of the penitents, during the Great Week, as though here the only so of that mother. What an intense grief, says St. John Chrysostom, that so loving a mother should see them relapsing, after the communion of such mysteries, into sin which kills them! ‘Spare me,’ as she may well say, in the words which the holy doctor puts in to the apostle’s mouth. ‘Spare me! No other child, once born into this world, ever made his mother suffer the pangs of child-birth over again!’ To repair the relapse of a sinner costs her no less travail than to give birth to such as have never believed.

And if we compare these times of ours with the period when sainted pastors made her words respected all over the world, is there a single Christian still faithful to the Church, who does not feel impelled by such contrast to be more and more devoted to a mother so abandoned as she now is? Let us listen to the eloquent words of St. Laurence Justinian on this subject. ‘Then,’ says he, ‘all resplendent with the mystic jewels wherewith the Bridegroom had beautified her on the wedding-day, she thrilled with joy at the increase of her children, both in merit and in number; she urged them to ascend to ever greater heights; she offered them to God; she raised them in her arms up towards heaven. Obeyed by them, she was, in all truth, the mother of fair love and of fear; she was beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array. She stretched out her branches as the turpentine-tree, and beneath their shadow she sheltered those whom she had begotten against the heat, and the tempest, and the rain. So long, then, as she could she laboured, feeding at her breasts all those she was able to assemble. But her zeal, great as it was, has redoubled from the time she perceived that many, yea very many,had lost their first fervour. Now for many years she is mourning at the sight of how, each day, her Creator is offended, how great are the losses she sustains, and how many of her children suffer death. She that was once robed in scarlet has put on mourning garments; her fragrance is no longer perceived by the world; instead of a golden girdle, she has but a cord, and instead of the ruch ornament of her breast, she is vested in haircloth. Her lamentations and tears are ceaseless. Ceaseless is her prayer, striving if, by some way, she may make the present as beautiful as times past; and yet, as though it were impossible for her to call back that lovely past, she seems wearied with such supplications. The word of the prophet has come true: ” They are all gone aside, they are become unprofitable together; there is none that doth good, no, not one!” … The manifold sins committed by the Church’s children against the divine precepts show that they who so sin are rotten members, members alien to the body of Christ. Nevertheless the Church forgets not that she gave them birth in the laver of salvation; she forgets not the promises they  then made to renounse the devil, and the pomps of the world, and all sin.Therefore does she weep over their fall, being their true mother, and never losing the hope of winning their resurrection by her tears. Oh what a flood of tears is thus every day shed before God! What fervent prayers does this spotless virgin send, by the ministry of the holy angels, up to Christ, who is the salvation of sinners! In the secret of hearts, in lonely retreats, as well as in her public temples, she cries out to the divine mercy, that they, who are now buried in the filth of vice, may be restored to life. Who shall tell the joy of her heart, when she receives back living, the children she mourned over as dead? If the conversion of sinners is such joy to heaven, what must it be to such a mother? According to the multitude of the sorrows of her heart, so will be the consolations, giving joy to her soul.

It is the duty of us Christians, who by God’s mercy have been preserved form the general decay, to share in the anguish of our mother, the Church; we should humbly but fervently co-operate with her in all her zealous endeavours to reclaim our fallen brethren. We surely can never be satisfied with not being of the number of those senseless sons who are a sorrow to their mother, and despise the labour of her that bore them. Had we not the holy Spirit to tell us how he that honoureth his mother is as one that layeth up to himself a treasure, the thought of what our birth cost her would force us to do everything that lies in our power to comfort her. She is the dear bride of the Incarnate Word; and our souls, too, aspire to union with Him. Let us prove that such union is really ours by doing as the Church does; that is, by showing in our acts the one thought, the one love which the divine Spouse always imparts to souls that enjoy holy intimacy with Him, because there is nothing He Himself has so much at heart; the thought of bringing the whole world to give glory to His eternal Father, and the love of procuring salvation for sinners.

Read more »

First Friday Devotions in the Catholic Church
Posted by Ian on 01 September 2017 06:01 AM

Today is the First Friday of the month, which is a devotion that many Catholics around the world follow.

History of First Friday

First Friday devotions among Catholics are related to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ. First Friday practices date to the last decades of the 17th century, when Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary and spoke to her of His Sacred Heart. Among the promises Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary, the 12th specifically referenced practices for Fridays:

In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart, as given to St. Margaret by Jesus, began to grow in popularity as soon as the saintly woman had died, but was officially recognized 75 years later. Though the devotion dictated to Margaret referred to 9 consecutive first Fridays, it does not need to end there. Many of the Catholic faithful continue to make the First Friday devotion beyond the nine consecutive months.

First Friday Mass

Holy Mass on Friday is devoted to the Sacred Heart and to the Precious Blood of Jesus. Due in part to the promise revealed by Christ to St. Margaret Mary, attending Mass on the First Friday of the month is popular among many Catholics, even if they are unable to attend daily mass regularly throughout the week. Reception of the Holy Eucharist on such Fridays was popular even in years when frequent Communion was not. Fridays, particularly the first Friday of the month, are the popular day in many parishes for the Blessed Sacrament to be taken to the sick and homebound.

Other Friday Devotions

Devotion on Fridays have long existed among the faithful, even if they were not directly connected to the First Friday devotions to the Sacred Heart or were not relegated to the first Friday of a month. This is because, as each Sunday is a reminder and anniversary of Christ’s Resurrection, each Friday is a reminder and anniversary of His Sacrifice.

For example, Pope John XXIII, whose papacy lasted from 1959-1963, practiced a Friday devotion to the Precious Blood of Christ shed on the first Good Friday. Additionally, Friday is and had long been a day of penance for the faithful, not only during Lent but year-round. And some pray the Novena to the Sacred Heart over the nine consecutive First Fridays that they attend Mass.


You can read more about St. Margaret Mary here, or by reading her autobiography, and read about Pope John XXIII in Journal of a Soul. Read about  Devotion to the Precious Blood or books on the Devotion to the Sacred Heart.

This article incorporated information from the New Catholic Encyclopedia and Catholic Customs and Traditions.

Read more »

A Mother’s Saintly Patience
Posted by Ian on 27 August 2017 06:40 AM

St. Augustine and His Mother St. Monica

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Monica, the virtuous mother of the great convert Augustine of Hippo, who was saved through the prayers and persistence of his mother. Tomorrow the Church remembers St. Augustine himself. These two saints give much hope to many people – those who are praying for a family member who has fallen away from the Church or has not yet discovered the faith, and those who have been (as we all are) great sinners and now see how wrong living like that is. St. Augustine’s example is one that shows that anyone can turn his or her life around completely, no matter what happened in the past.

St. Monica was born in 333 and married early to a pagan official of Tagaste, North Africa. She had three children with her husband Patricius, and because of his temper and habits her life with him was less than happy. Despite his disagreements with it, Patricius could not help but hold her in some awe because of her virtue, prayer, and almsgiving. However, he did not allow her to get their children baptized, which caused her a great deal of sadness. When Augustine, who was born in 354, grew ill as a child, Monica sought Patricius to let him be baptized, but when Augustine recovered Patricius continued to deny consent. Monica focused much of her energy on Augustine from this point on, seeing that he was more prone to laziness and negative habits than was good for him and the faith she hoped to share with him. Although she would have years of sorrow because of Augustine’s wayward and hedonistic lifestyle, she did receive some comfort and joy when her husband converted to Christianity shortly before his death.

While studying in Carthage, Augustine became caught up in the heresy of Manichaeism and started letting pleasures control his actions. He began a relationship with a woman that would last many years, despite knowing the hurt it caused his mother. He was a great scholar and teacher, which would later help lead him away from heresy and into Christianity. Eventually he saw the errors of Manichaeism and traveled to Italy, where Monica followed him and where Augustine began to study more deeply the faith of his mother. He continued to struggle against the teachings of Christianity for a few years, but through the reading of Scripture he began to accept them, intellectually if not yet entirely in his heart. Through continued prayers of his mother and the example of St. Ambrose, Augustine was able to give his life over fully to Christianity, in part because of his love of philosophy that he found to be so tied with Christian doctrines. He was baptized a Christian in 387 by St. Ambrose, and Monica died a few months later, after finally getting the joy of seeing her beloved son accept and embrace the teachings that were so dear to her.

Augustine continued his journey into Christianity, and was ordained to the priesthood in 391. He fought heresies including Manichaeism, Donatism, Pelagianism, and others, and continued to do so successfully throughout his time as Bishop of Hippo from 396-430. Because of his great philosophical understanding and explanation of Church teachings, Augustine was eventually named a Doctor of the Church. He is still today considered one of the greatest Doctors of the Church, despite his rocky beginnings and disagreements with the Church. His writings on a number of issues relating to the Church are still often referenced and used today.

It wasn’t until the 13th century that a cult began to spread for St. Monica, which was firmly established by the 15th century. Many mothers who have children fallen away from the faith, or who have not yet discovered the Church, pray for the intercession of St. Monica that their children will find the faith as Augustine eventually did. Her patience and perseverance are beautiful examples for anyone praying for a loved one to convert or rediscover the faith. These two saints together have (arguably) one of the most touching conversion stories in Christianity, especially for mothers who struggle with the choices their children make.

The lives of St. Monica and St. Augustine are both much more beautiful than I can do them justice here, but to learn more about them, there are many books available that go into a great deal more depth, including Augustine’s life in his own words – The Confessions. The book St. Monica: The Power of a Mother’s Love also details wonderfully the influence of Monica on Augustine’s life, through excerpts from Augustine himself.

Read more »

History of Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Posted by Ian on 17 August 2017 06:25 AM

The month of August is given the special honor of being devoted to the devotion of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. While we have been unable to find a definitive statement explaining this, a couple of guesses can be made.

Immaculate Heart of MaryFirst, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary occurs on the 15th of August. Don’t forget to go to Mass!

Second, the Feast of St. John Eudes, considered to be the father of the devotion of the Immaculate Heart by Pope Pius X, is celebrated on August 19th.

Third, before Vatican II the Feast of the Immaculate Heart used to be celebrated on August 22nd.

Before looking closely at the actual devotion it is good to look back at where the focus on the heart of Mary we should take a look at where Mary’s heart is mentioned in Scripture. There are two mentions of Mary’s heart in the Gospel of Luke. First, “But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) Second, “And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart.” (Luke 2:51)

In his Encyclical, Redemtor hominisBlessed John Paul II says that “We can say that the mystery of the Redemption took shape beneath the heart of the Virgin of Nazareth when she pronounced her “fiat”.

St. FaustinaSt. Faustina saw Mary’s heart as a channel of graces: “I saw, between heaven and earth, the Mother of God, clothed in a bright robe. She was praying with her hands folded over her bosom, her eyes fixed on heaven. From her heart issued forth fiery rays, some of which were turned towards heaven while others covered our country.” Diary of St. Faustina.

So Mary’s heart is seen in these examples as the source of her original “Yes” to God and the graces for mankind that come from her Son.

Devotion to her Immaculate Heart seems to have begun in the twelfth century based on the writings of the saints. From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

It is only in the twelfth, or towards the end of the eleventh century, that slight indications of a regular devotion are perceived in a sermon by St. Bernard (Deduodecim stellis), from which an extract has been taken by the Church and used in the Offices of the Compassion and of the Seven Dolours. Stronger evidences are discernible in the pious meditations on the Ave Maria and the Salve Regina, usually attributed either to St. Anselm of Lucca (d. 1080) or St. Bernard; and also in the large book “Delaudibus B. Mariae Virginis” (Douai, 1625) by Richard de Saint-Laurent. Penitentiary of Rouen in the thirteenth century. In St. Mechtilde (d. 1298) and St. Gertrude (d. 1302) the devotion had two earnest adherents. A little earlier it had been included by St. Thomas Becket in the devotion to the joys and sorrows of Mary, by Blessed Hermann (d.1245), one of the first spiritual children of St. Dominic, in his other devotions to Mary, and somewhat later it appeared in St. Bridget’s “Book of Revelations”. Tauler (d. 1361) beholds in Mary the model of a mystical, just as St. Ambrose perceived in her the model of a virginal soul. St. Bernardine of Siena (d.1444) was more absorbed in the contemplation of the virginal heart, and it is from him that the Church has borrowed the lessons of the Second Nocturn for the feast of the Heart of Mary. St. Francis de Sales speaks of the perfections of this heart, the model of love for God, and dedicated to it his “Theotimus“.

The Admirable Heart of MaryEven though there are many earlier references to the devotion, the devotion to the Immaculate Heart wasn’t regularized and promoted enough to later become a practice throughout the Church until the 1600’s by St. John Eudes in France. His book The Admirable Heart of Mary is an in-depth explanation of the devotion. During his beatification Pope Pius X declared him the Father of Devotion to the Immaculate Heart.

In the visions of Fatima on July 13th, 1917, Mary told the children “to save poor sinners, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” In a series of visions in 1925 and 1926, the oldest of the visionaries, Lucia Dos Santos, received a further message from Mary asking that the five first Saturdays be devoted to help make amends for the offenses committed against her heart by the blasphemies and ingratitude of men.

In 1942, as the war Mary prophesied raged through Europe and the Church celebrated the 25th anniversary of the original visions at Fatima, Pope Pius XII consecrated the Church and the whole world to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.  Also in 1942 he established the Feast of the Immaculate Heart to fall on August 22 during the Octave of the Assumption.

On May 4th, 1944 Pope Pius XII extended the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the universal Church. Following Vatican II the feast day was moved to the Saturday following the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

More Resources about the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

First Saturday Devotions

Prayer to the Immaculate Heart

Prayer by St. John Eudes to the Immaculate Heart

Read more »

All About St. James
Posted by kenneymg on 25 July 2017 05:00 AM

James drank of the cup Jesus drank of, all too shortly after the Resurrection.  Acts 12:1 tells us that James was one of the first martyrs of the Church. Saint James is known to have died around A.D.  44, by the sword, at the command of Herod Agrippa.

Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great who tried to have Baby Jesus killed, set out to do the will of the Jews by dealing harshly with local Christians. St. James was accused, and Herod then “killed James, the brother of John, with the sword.” (Acts 12:1-2). Church Historian, Eusebius, tells us that St. James’s accuser followed James to martyrdom when he converted after hearing the Saint’s confession to Herod.

James is called James the Greater because he became an apostle before another man named James.

According to legend, he spent seven years in Spain, traveling throughout the land and preaching Christianity. After he was put to death upon his return to Israel, his followers are said to have brought his body back to Spain for burial. In the ninth century, a star miraculously revealed what was claimed to be his tomb. A great shrine was build at Compostela (“Star of the Sea”), and by the eleventh century great flocks of pilgrims were visiting it. From then on, only Jerusalem and Rome attracted more pilgrims than “Santiago” (Iago is Spanish for James).

The English name “James” comes from Italian “Giacomo”, a variant of “Giacobo” derived from Iacobus(Jacob) in Latin, itself from the Greek Ἰάκωβος. In French, Jacob is translated “Jacques”. In eastern Spain, Jacobus became “Jacome” or “Jaime”; in Catalunya, it became Jaume, in western Iberia it became “Iago”, from Hebrew יַעֲקֹב, which when prefixed with “Sant” became “Santiago” in Portugal and Galicia; “Tiago” is also spelled “Diego”, which is also the Spanish name of Saint Didacus of Alcalá.

James’ emblem was the scallop shell (or “cockle shell”), and pilgrims to his shrine often wore that symbol on their hats or clothes. The French for a scallop is coquille St. Jacques, which means “cockle (or mollusk) of St James”. The German word for a scallop is Jakobsmuschel, which means “mussel (or clam) of St. James”; the Dutch word is Jacobsschelp, meaning “shell of St James”.

Fun Customs for the Feast of St. James

As to the day’s customs, because of the love the Spanish have for St. James, they adopted him as their Patron, and his Feast is a national holiday, a time of great celebration, much like the Feast of St. Patrick is for the Irish, and that of St. Joseph is for the Italians. In Compostela, there are great processions and the famous La Fachada fireworks display. And at the city’s cathedral, the city’s faithful — and many pilgrims, too, especially in Jubilee years — gather to worship. From the ceiling of this great cathedral hangs a six-foot tall 14th century censer (the “botafumeiro”) that is swung by pulleys on this day and for a few other great Feasts.“Back in the day,” the people of England who couldn’t make the pilgrimage to St. James’s shrine would gather up seashells, bits of broken colored glass, pretty stones, and flowers and such and would build little grottoes in honor of St. James on his Feast. Though I doubt many people still do this, it is a lovely custom — and one that could be easily revived!

It is also customary for the English to eat oysters today. It is said that “Who eats oysters on St James’s Day will never want!” In France, it is not the oyster that is eaten, but the scallop — named “coquilles St.Jacques” — “shells of St. James” — in his honor. A few recipes to try:

Coquilles St. Jacques à la Provençale (serves 6)

1/3 cup yellow onions, minced
1 TBSP butter
1 1/2 TBSP minced scallions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds washed bay scallops (or sea scallops, quartered)
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup sifted flour, in a dish
2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP olive oil
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 small bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon thyme
6 buttered scallop dishes or baking shells
1/4 cup grated good-quality Gruyère or Swiss cheese
2 TBSP butter in 6 pieces

Cook onions in 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes, or until they are tender and translucent but not brown. Stir in scallions and garlic and sauté slowly 1 minute more. Dry scallops and cut them into slices 1/4 inch thick. Just before cooking, sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper, roll in flour and shake off excess flour. Sauté scallops quickly in very hot 2 tablespoons butter mixed with olive oil until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Pour wine into skillet with scallops, add herbs and cooked onion mixture. Cover skillet and simmer 5 minutes. Then uncover and, if necessary, remove scallops and boil down sauce rapidly for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Correct seasoning and discard bay leaf. Spoon scallops and sauce into shells. Sprinkle with cheese and dot with butter. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to broil. Just before serving, run under moderately hot broiler 3 to 4 minutes to heat through and melt cheese.

Oysters on the Half-Shell

Arrange raw, shucked oysters (see below) on the lower halves of their shells on an plate covered with crushed ice (6 oysters to the plate is the traditional way), with lemon wedges in between. To eat, add one of the following to the oyster in the shell:

  • nothing
  • a few drops of lemon
  • a few drops of Tabasco
  • a few drops of Pernod with a tiny bit of caviar
  • a little mignonette sauce (see below)

Slurp the oyster out of the shell, or use a small cocktail/oyster fork if you’re dainty. Drink the oyster’s liquor from the shell after eating the oyster itself. Serve with oyster crackers, and champagne or dry white wine.

Mignonette Sauce (enough for 3 dozen oysters)

1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 shallot, minced
white pepper to taste
salt to taste

Place wine and vinegar in saucepan and reduce to one-half. Turn off the flame and stir in the shallot, white pepper, and salt as needed. Set aside to steep until the shallot is softened.

How to Shuck An Oyster

Only eat live oysters, which you can recognize by their tightly closed shells. If a shell is opened, throw it out. Now, scrub the shells with a brush and rinse. Now put on a pair of heavy gloves! Holding the oyster so that the bottom shell is in your hand, insert the blade of a sturdy, blunt knife in between the shells as close to the hinge as you can get. Run the knife along the edges of the oyster until you get to the other side, then twist the knife to pop the shell open. Keep the shell steady so you don’t lose the liquor! On the underside of the oyster will be a little muscle that connects it to the shell. Cut that, then scoop the osyter out. Keep the liquor in the shell to drink when eating the oyster and/or to add to the mignonette sauce, if you are making some.

…As you shuck, keep an eye out for pearls! Pearls (which also, but much more rarely, form in clams and mussels) are produced when an irritant, such as a grain of sand, gets stuck in between the oyster’s mantle and shell. To protect itself, the oyster secretes the same substance that it used to line the inside of its shell with lovely nacre. The pearl is a symbol of perfection and chastity, and of evangelical doctrine (see St. Ephraem’s hyms on the Faith under the title “The Pearl“). After recounting the Parable of the Wheat and the Cockle, Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a merchant seeking a “pearl of great price”:

Matthew 13:24-29, 36-50
Another parable he proposed to them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seeds in his field. But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat and went his way. And when the blade was sprung up, and had brought forth fruit, then appeared also the cockle. And the servants of the goodman of the house coming said to him: Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it cockle? And he said to them: An enemy hath done this. And the servants said to him: Wilt thou that we go and gather it up? And he said: No, lest perhaps gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it. Suffer both to grow until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn, but the wheat gather ye into my barn…

…Then having sent away the multitudes, he came into the house, and his disciples came to him, saying: Expound to us the parable of the cockle of the field. Who made answer and said to them: He that soweth the good seed, is the Son of man. And the field, is the world. And the good seed are the children of the kingdom. And the cockle, are the children of the wicked one. And the enemy that sowed them, is the devil. But the harvest is the end of the world. And the reapers are the angels. Even as cockle therefore is gathered up, and burnt with fire: so shall it be at the end of the world. The Son of man shall send his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all scandals, and them that work iniquity. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the just shine as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls. Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kind of fishes. Which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.                                                            (

Read more »

St. Bridget of Sweden and the 15 Prayers for His Passion
Posted by kenneymg on 23 July 2017 08:00 AM

St. Bridget of Sweden (also known as Birgitta) was born June 14, 1303 to Birger Persson, a governor, judge and wealthy land owner and Ingeborg Bengtsdotter, a deeply pious woman.

She married Prince Ulf Gudmarsson a noble and pious man. They had eight children including St. Catherine of Sweden. When her husband died in 1344 she devoted herself to religious life. In 1346 she founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior.

St. Bridget is known for the revelations she received on the wounds and passion of Jesus, known as the 15 Prayers of St. Bridget.
She died July 23, 1373 and was canonized on October 7, 1391.

From Benedict XVI General Audience, 10/27/10

Our catechesis today is on Saint Bridget of Sweden.  Born in thirteen hundred and three, she grew up steeped in the faith.  She and her husband had eight children, and dedicated themselves with great fervour to the spiritual life and their children’s Christian formation.  Bridget was the driving force behind her and her husband’s “conjugal sanctity”, and became a model for many women through the ages of how to be the spiritual centre of the family.  Following her husband’s death, Bridget renounced further marriage in order to deepen her union with the Lord, through prayer, penance and works of charity.  She gave away her possessions and lived in a monastery.  In her prayer, she experienced many intense mystical experiences.  In thirteen forty-nine, she made a pilgrimage to Rome, to obtain Papal approval for a religious order of both men and women which she intended to found, and, while in Rome, she lived a life of intense apostolic prayer and activity.  Bridget died in thirteen seventy-three, and was canonized eighteen years later.  She is a significant reminder of a united Western Christendom, a powerful example of feminine sanctity, and was proclaimed co-Patroness of Europe by the Venerable John Paul the Second, during the Great Jubilee.  May her intercession help unite all Christians, and draw the people of Europe to an ever greater appreciation of their unique and invaluable Christian heritage.

15 Prayers of St. Bridget

1st Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! You have proved that You have no greater desire than to be among men, even assuming human nature at the fullness of time for the love of men. I recall all the sufferings of Your life especially Your Passion.

I remember, O Lord, that during the Last Supper with Your disciples, having washed their feet, You gave them Your Most Precious Body and Blood, and, while consoling them, You foretold Your coming Passion.

I remember the sadness and bitterness which You experienced in Your Soul as You said, My Soul is sorrowful even unto death.

I remember all the fear, anguish and pain that You did suffer in Your delicate Body before the torment of the Crucifixion, when, after having prayed three times, bathed in a sweat of blood, You were betrayed by Judas, arrested by the people of a nation You had chosen and elevated, accused by false witnesses and unjustly judged by three judges.

I remember that You were despoiled of Your garments and clothed in those of derision, that Your Face and Eyes were covered, that You were beaten, crowned with thorns, a reed placed in Your Hands, that You were crushed with blows and overwhelmed with insults and outrages. In memory of all these pains and sufferings which You endured before Your Passion on the Cross, grant me before my death a true contrition, a sincere and entire confession, worthy satisfaction and the remission of all my sins. Amen.

2nd Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I remember the horror and sadness which You endured when Your enemies surrounded You, and by thousands of insults, spits, blows, lacerations and other unheard-of cruelties tormented You. In consideration of these torments and insulting words, I beg You to deliver me from all my enemies, visible and invisible, and to bring me, under Your protection, to the perfection of eternal salvation. Amen.

3rd Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I remember the very bitter pain You did suffer when the executioners nailed Your Sacred Hands and Feet to the Cross by blow after blow with big blunt nails, and, not finding You in a sad enough state, to satisfy their cruelty they enlarged Your Wounds, and added pain to pain, stretching Your Body on the Cross and dislocated Your Bones by pulling Them on all sides. I beg of You by the memory of this most loving suffering of the Cross to grant me the grace to love You. Amen.

4th Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I Remember the bruises You suffered and the weakness of Your Body, which was distended to such a degree that never was there pain like Yours. From the crown of Your Head to the soles of Your Feet there was not one spot on Your Body which was not in torment. Yet, for getting all Your sufferings, You did not cease to pray to Your Heavenly Father for Your enemies, saying: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Through this great mercy and in memory of this suffering, grant that the remembrance of Your most bitter Passion may effect in us a perfect contrition and the remission of all our sins. Amen.

5th Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I remember the sadness which You experienced when, foreseeing those who would be damned for their sins, You suffered bitterly over these hopeless, lost and unfortunate sinners.

Through this abyss of compassion and pity and especially through the goodness which You displayed to the good thief when You said to him, This day you will be with Me in Paradise, I beg of You that at the hour of my death to show me mercy. Amen.

6th Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I remember the grief which You suffered when, like a common criminal, You were raised and fastened to the Cross, when all Your relatives and friends abandoned You, except Your Beloved Mother who remained close to You during Your agony and Whom You entrusted to Your faithful disciple when You said,

Woman, behold Your son. Son behold your Mother.

I beg You by the sword of sorrow which pierced the soul of Your Holy Mother, to have compassion on me in all my afflictions and tribulations, both of body and spirit, and to assist me in all my trials and especially at the hour of my death. Amen.

7th Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I remember Your profound gesture of love from the Cross when You said, I thirst, and Your suffering from the thirst for the salvation of the human race. I beg You to inflame in our hearts the desire to tend toward perfection in all our actions and to extinguish in us all worldly desires. Amen.

8th Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I remember the bitterness of the gall and vinegar which You tasted on the Cross for love of us. Grant us the grace to receive worthily Your Precious Body and Blood during our life and at the hour of our death that It may be a remedy of consolation for our souls. Amen.

9th Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I remember the pain You endured when, immersed in an ocean of bitterness at the approach of death, insulted, outraged by the people, You cried out in a loud voice that You were abandoned by Your Father, saying: My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Through this anguish I beg You not to abandon me in the terrors and pains of my death. Amen.

10th Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I remember that for our sakes You were immersed into an abyss of suffering. In consideration of the enormity of Your Wounds, teach me to keep, through pure love, Your Commandments, which are a wide and easy path for those who love You. Amen.

11th Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I remember Your Wounds which penetrated to the very marrow of Your Bones and to the depth of Your Being. Draw me away from sin and hide me in Your Wounds. Amen.

12th Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I remember the multitude of Wounds which afflicted You from Head to Foot, torn and reddened by the spilling of Your Precious Blood. O great and universal pain which You suffered in Your Flesh for love of us! What is there You could have done for us which You have not done?

May the fruit of Your sufferings be renewed in my soul by the faithful remembrance of Your Passion and may Your love increase in my heart each day until I see You in eternity, You Who are the treasury of every real good and joy, which I beg You to grant me in Heaven. Amen.

13th Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I remember the pain You endured when all Your strength, both moral and physical, was entirely exhausted; You bowed Your Head, saying: It is consummated.

Through this anguish and grief, I beg You to have mercy on me at the hour of my death, when my mind will be greatly troubled and my soul will be in anguish. Amen.

14th Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I remember the simple and humble recommendation You made of Your Soul to Your Eternal Father, saying, “Father, into Your Hands I commend My Spirit,” and when, Your Body all torn and Your Heart broken, You expired. By this precious death, I beg You to comfort me and give me help to resist the devil, the flesh and the world, so that, being dead to the world, I may live for You alone. I beg of You at the hour of my death to receive me. Amen.

15th Prayer

Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary.

O Jesus! I remember the abundant outpouring of Blood which You shed. From Your Side, pierced with a lance by a soldier, Blood and Water poured forth until there was not left in Your Body a single Drop; and finally the very substance of Your Body withered and the marrow of Your Bones dried up.

Through this bitter Passion and through the outpouring of Your Precious Blood, I beg You to pierce my heart so that my tears of penance and love may be my bread day and night. May I be entirely converted to You; may my heart be Your perpetual resting place; may my conversation be pleasing to You; and may the end of my life be so praiseworthy that I may merit Heaven and there with Your saints praise You forever. Amen.



Read more »