Author: Benedict

How to Make Your First Saturday Rosary Meditation According to Sr. Lucia

How to Make Your First Saturday Rosary Meditation According to Sr. Lucia

One of the prayers of Our Lady of Fatima made known to Sr. Lucia was that the faithful makes  “communions of reparation” on five consecutive first Saturdays of the month. This has become known as the “First Saturday Devotion,” and its purpose is to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the many ungrateful offenses she suffers patiently from mankind.

In relation to receiving Holy Communion on the first Saturdays of five consecutive months, Our Lady also gave other conditions to fulfill: confession, praying five decades of the rosary, and to keep her company by meditating for fifteen minutes on the rosary mysteries (for example, either in church or before a statue or image of Our Lady).

To those who faithfully meet all these conditions on five first Saturdays in reparation to her Immaculate Heart, Our Lady has assured to help them at the hour of death with the graces important for eternal salvation. That is, she will make sure that those who have concluded her prayer sometime during their life will not die in a state of mortal sin.

WHY A SEPARATE MEDITATION?

One may ponder why Our Lady asked that the faithful meditate on the rosary mysteries for fifteen minutes, when praying the rosary itself involves meditating on the rosary mysteries and takes about fifteen minutes to pray. Wouldn’t praying the rosary fulfill the prayer request for fifteen minutes of meditation?

Comprehending what is meant by meditation in this context will help to explain further. Traditionally, to “make a meditation” involved a structured time of guided meditation (not simply to think about or dwell upon in a random way). Once one makes a meditation properly speaking, they have planned a specific topic on which they will mentally dwell for a set amount of time, examining it from all sides, along with making concrete resolutions to practice specific virtues extracted from what has just been meditated.  If you’ve ever used Catholic meditation books, you’re already used to this. Each day has a topic and always involves questions and/or recommendation where one applies the meditation to unique areas of one’s life.

So, Our Lady has asked that in addition to praying the rosary on the first Saturdays, one should also dedicate fifteen minutes meditating on one or more of the rosary mysteries in order to better exemplify the virtues hidden therein. Below is the manner in which Sr. Lucia of Fatima, the woman to whom Our Lady made this request, finished her first Saturday rosary meditations.

SR. LUCIA’S METHOD FOR FIRST SATURDAY MEDITATION

“Here is my way of making the meditations on the mysteries of the rosary on the first Saturdays:

First mystery, the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Our Lady.

First prelude: to imagine myself seeing and hearing the Angel greet Our Lady with these words: ‘Hail Mary, full of grace.’

Second prelude: I ask Our Lady to infuse into my soul a deep sentiment of humility.

1st point: I will meditate on the attitude in which Heaven proclaims that the Most Holy Virgin is full of grace, blessed among all women and destined to become the Mother of God.

2nd point: The humility of Our Lady, discovering Herself and declaring Herself to be the handmaid of the Lord.

3rd point: How I must imitate Our Lady, in Her humility, what are the faults of pride and arrogance through which I occasionally sin against the Lord, and the means I must be willing to avoid them, etc.

On the second month, I make the meditation on the second joyful mystery. The third month, I make it on the third joyful mystery and so on, following the same method of meditating.

When I have finished the Five First Saturdays, I begin five others and meditate on the sorrowful mysteries, then the glorious ones, and when I have concluded them I start over again with the joyful ones.”

You can see from the above passage that Sister Lucia starts with one of the rosary mysteries, identifies the key virtue showed in it by Mary and/or Jesus, looks into the attitude in which they exercised it, and resolves to do likewise in her own life, rooting out all that is opposed to it.

One of the temptations with praying the rosary is to run through the beads quickly, only dwelling in a superficial way of the rosary mysteries we are praying. To make the meditation as Our Lady requested enables us to dig deeply into just one or two mysteries to pull out more from them than we may have otherwise done.

Our Lady is always guiding us to higher heights in the spiritual life. The First Saturday devotion takes the faithful higher during the course of five months so that we, through Mary’s intercession, will progress in virtue more easily and more perfectly image Christ.

Five Prayers Taught at Fatima by Mary & the Angels

Five Prayers Taught at Fatima by Mary & the Angels

Precisely, on May 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal with an urgent message for the whole world. Between May and October, she would come five more times, each on the 13th of the month.

She identified herself as Our Lady of the Rosary and encouraged the children to pray the rosary daily for peace in the world (as World War I raged on) and to make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. Over the course of these visits, and various visits by an angel, there were five prayers that were taught to Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta.

THE PARDON PRAYER

The angel who appeared to the children called himself the Angel of Peace and the Angel of Portugal. He gave them the following prayer:

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.

THE ANGEL’S PRAYER

On one occasion, the three children saw the angel bowed before a host and chalice that hung in the air. Worshiping the Eucharist, the angel prayed,

Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit- I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.

THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER

During the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, the children found themselves “moved by an interior impulse,” as Lucia later described, to say the following prayer together:

Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

THE SACRIFICE PRAYER

The Blessed Mother taught the children to offer all their personal sacrifices to God by praying,

Oh my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

THE ROSARY DECADE PRAYER

The Blessed Mother stressed the critical relevance of praying the rosary daily for the conversion of sinners and for peace in the world. She asked that the following prayer is recited at the end of each rosary decade:

Oh My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, particularly those in most need of Thy mercy.

May 13th is the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima. Many miracles and conversions have been attributed to her Immaculate Heart, and she went ahead to pray for sinners that all may come to know Christ’s mercy.

These Fatima prayers, given to Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta by Our Lady and an angel, are a heavenly gift to the faithful to teach us how to intercede effectively for the unseen battle for souls that takes place around us daily. They should be memorized and prayed as we offer up sacrifices throughout our day for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the many sins committed against God.

Everything You Need To Know About Purgatory

Everything You Need To Know About Purgatory

Purgatory is perhaps one of the most misunderstood Catholic doctrines today, and many do not believe that it actually exists.  In this article, I’m briefly going to cover what purgatory is, the biblical basis for purgatory, and the history of the teaching on purgatory in the Catholic Church.  I will not specifically cover in information prayer for the dead or indulgences, which you can read about here:

WHAT IS PURGATORY?

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), purgatory is a “final purification” (CCC 1031) which is afforded to “all who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified” so that they might “attain the holiness necessary to experience the joy of heaven” (CCC 1030).

This is the reason why the souls in purgatory are called “Holy Souls” . . .  they have died in God’s grace and they will attain heaven and the beatific vision of God after their cleansing is complete.

Importantly this means that purgatory is a sort of temporary purifying punishment which is typically thought of like a cleansing fire (see 1 Cor. 3:15). This begs the question, is purgatory a sort of physical, fiery place full of souls?  Not essentially.  I would think of purgatory as more of a state of being.  A state of being post mortal death but before the final judgment of Christ at the Second Coming.

WHAT DOES THE CHURCH TEACH ABOUT PURGATORY?

In line with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “the Church created her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent” (CCC 1031). If you know your Church history, then you know that those councils weren’t until the 15th and 16th centuries. So what was agreed and taught before those councils?

Early Church Fathers, including St. Augustine, Origen, and St. Clement were all advocates of prayer for the dead and a purging away of sin post-death. There was also a routine in the early Church of praying for the dead during liturgical worship and during the Eucharistic prayer. So, praying for the souls of the departed was a part of the faith and belief of the Church from the start.

Over the years, these information were unpacked and more clearly defined by St. Thomas Aquinas, who expounded on purgatory in greater depth thereby guiding the Church into infallible magisterial doctrine on purgatory.

WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL FOUNDATION OF PURGATORY?

Many who desire to find mention of purgatory in the Bible point to the initially referenced 1 Cor. 3:15 and 2 Macc. 12:45.  2 Maccabees is an early reference to interceding for the dead, and 1 Cor. is the foundational verse advocating a cleansing fire that takes place after death.

1 Cor. 3:15: “If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.”

2 Macc. 12:45: “But if he was seeking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead so that they might be delivered from their sin.”

Side Note: Rev. 21:27 disagrees that nothing unclean will go into the presence of God; and many, if not most, of Christians, die in an unclean state of different degrees.

WHY IS PURGATORY NECESSARY?

Many Christians die with attachments to sin that must be gotten rid of before they can be united with God in a perfect union of love through all eternity.  Purgatory is taking away this attachment to sin so that people can love God alone, and of course, this can be painful.  Just as in your mortal life giving up things to which we have unhealthy attachments causes pain, so too will purgatory cause pain. But it is a cleansing for our good, not a torment for our punishment.

Therefore, a temporary period of purging is necessary in order to enjoy the presence and beauty of God that we were made for, whether we will pass through that purging while here on earth, through docility to the daily crosses given to us by God, or whether after death in purgatory.

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE?

One of the well-known books about purgatory is Hungry Souls – Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings from Purgatory.  This book recounts real stories of real encounters with souls suffering in purgatory as well as images taken from the Vatican’s “Museum of Purgatory” which is a museum of unique and verified relics of encounters with the Holy Souls.  

Pray for the Holy Souls!

The Prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory by St. Gertrude the Great is a popular prayer for the souls of purgatory. In relation to tradition, Our Lord told St. Gertrude in a vision that saying the following prayer with love and devotion will release many souls from purgatory:

“Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.”

Imitating These 9 Amazing Virtues of The Blessed Virgin Mary

Imitating These 9 Amazing Virtues of The Blessed Virgin Mary

Here are the 9 Virtues of Mary:

  • Ardent charity
  • Blind obedience
  • Constant mental prayer
  • Divine wisdom
  • Heroic patience
  • Lively faith
  • Profound humility
  • Surpassing purity
  • Universal mortification

Indeed, Mary’s virtues may seem overpowering to us, but don’t panic. They’re not as overwhelming as they may seem. In this article, I will list out each of Mary’s virtues and list practical ways in which we can live by them in our daily lives.

1. Ardent Charity

  • MeaningArdent – characterized by warmth of feeling or passion. Charity – the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for His sake.
  • How Mary demonstrated Ardent Charity: Everything that Mary did for those around her was done out of love for the Lord.
  • How to practice this virtue: Be like the Blessed Mother and take on the disposition of love for those around you by bringing Jesus to them, the true and perfect Lover.

2. Blind Obedience

  • MeaningBlind — Fully believing in God’s plan for our lives, even when we don’t fully understand it, acknowledging that He is Truth itself. Obedience— Obeying His commands as given by Holy Mother Church.
  • How Mary demonstrated Blind Obedience: Mary was able to confidently give her fiat at the moment of the Annunciation, and also in every situation after that.
  • How we can live out this virtue: We can believe and trust that God’s plan for us is good and loving. This is really hard, especially at times when life is not certain, but you are not alone in the turmoil. He is right there with you.

3. Constant Mental Prayer

  • Meaning: In the words of Saint Mother Teresa: “Mental prayer is the essence of life for our soul and holiness is impossible without it.” It doesn’t mean praying in the chapel all day, but simply loving God and others in every little act we do.
  • How Mary demonstrated Constant Mental Prayer: Mary’s entire life was a prayer, due to her constantly placing herself in the presence of the Lord, every moment of her life.
  • How we can live out this virtue: Praise God. Have time for silence, for thanking Him, and for inquiring assistance to accomplish His Will. Bring Christ into every little thing, offering up all your thoughts, words, actions, joys, and sorrows.

4. Divine Wisdom

  • MeaningDivine – Coming from God. Wisdom: Knowledge of what is true and right, and has excellent judgment.
  • How Mary demonstrated Divine Wisdom: Mary was able to see the beauty of God’s will in every moment. She didn’t run to others first; she always conversed with the Lord first, so that she could embrace His Will.
  • How we abide by this virtue: Ask the Holy Spirit for the wisdom to see things through the eyes of Christ and not your own. Ask Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, to pray for you!

5. Heroic Patience

  • MeaningHeroic — Acknowledging that God is Lord, no matter what difficulties are faced. Patience — Quiet perseverance and peaceful waiting, as you abide in His love and wait for Him to reveal His will when the time is right.
  • How Mary demonstrated Heroic Patience: Mary gave her fiat, her “yes” to Christ. Mary’s patience culminated at the foot of her Son’s cross, where she truly became a martyr through her patient and finish suffering in union with Christ.
  • How we can live out this virtue: Unite your sufferings with the pains of Our Lord and Our Lady of Sorrows. Pray for the gift of perseverance and establish silence in your life and in your heart.

6. Lively Faith

  • MeaningLively – Full of life and spirited. Faith – When man totally submits his whole being to God, including his intellect and his will.
  • How Mary demonstrated Lively Faith: Mary totally submitted herself to God in an energetic way. She joyfully gave herself to the Lord.
  • How we can live out this virtue: Faith is a gift from God! To receive a gift, we must be in communion with the Giver. Decide to trust Him and practice receiving His gifts with humble, open palms.

7. Profound Humility

  • MeaningProfound – Penetrating or going deeply into subjects of thought or knowledge. Humility – Free from pride and arrogance; lowliness of mind.
  • How Mary demonstrated Profound Humility: Mary perfectly conformed herself to God’s Will. She saw herself as God saw her: nothing more, nothing less.
  • How we can live out this virtue: See yourself as God sees you! Pray the Litany of Humility, accept compliments gracefully and quietly, and don’t be disappointed to have made mistakes in front of others.

8. Surpassing Purity

  • MeaningSurpassing – More than what is typical in magnitude or degree. Purity – The state of being free from sin; oneness of heart and mind in desiring God.
  • How Mary demonstrated Surpassing Purity: Everything in Mary was of God. Her mind and heart were pure. She lived her life with the unity of purpose, seeking only to love and honor with all her heart, all her mind, and all her soul.
  • How we can live out this virtue: Live a life full of prayer and frequent the Sacraments. Work hard to keep your mind pure and focused on heavenly things rather than things of this world.

9. Universal Mortification

  • MeaningUniversal – All-encompassing, applicable everywhere. Mortification – Dying to yourself and your own will.
  • How Mary demonstrated Universal Mortification: Mary died to herself from the moment she said, “Not my will but Yours be done.” She continued this throughout her entire life, constantly dying to herself and totally uniting herself to her Son.
  • How we can live out this virtue: Make sacrifices and offer them up for the greater good of someone else. Prepare yourself in little daily events, such as getting right away when the alarm goes off and not hitting the snooze button!

Mary’s 9 virtues are impressive to reflect on but don’t feel downcasted. The key to defeating any task is to start small. Try choosing one virtue each week, month, or year to intentionally focus on and practice emulating.