Category Archives: Christianity
In Lent of 2009 I decided I’d start reading the Bible from beginning to end for a third time. I’d tried that a couple of times in the past, never having got past Genesis, or once the very beginning of Exodus. This time, I vowed, I’d do it. I began reading it. Two and a half years later, I’m still at it. At least I’ve finished through the end of Joshua, and I am confident that I will indeed finish the whole Good Book again eventually.
Alas, it is now almost seven years since I wrote that post, and over nine years since I began re-reading the Bible, and I just ran out of steam. I have, however, started back, in a bit of a roundabout way.
This past Easter (2018) my wife, after eighteen years of marriage and twenty-one years together, entered the Catholic Church. This was a cause of celebration in our family. During Lent, she began using a Catholic app on her phone to read the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible. For Easter I bought her a hardcopy, as well as getting the Kindle version for her Kindle Fire. Since we use a common Amazon account, I put the Kindle version on my Fire, too. I have no idea why she decided to read that particular translation. However, since I now had it on my Fire also, I decided that I’d just jump in and start reading it, too. It wouldn’t be bad to be rereading the Bible (again); and by reading the specific version my wife was reading, I’d be better equipped to answer any questions she had.
♥ Prayer to the Sacred Heart
O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing,
I adore you, I love you and will a lively sorrow for my sins.
I offer you this poor heart of mine.
Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to your will.
Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you.
Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions;
give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs,
your blessings on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.
Within your heart I place my every care.
In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying,
Heart of Jesus, help me.
♥ Daily Offering
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you all my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father.
♥ Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
This nine-day prayer is often said prior to the Feast of the Sacred Heart but can be said anytime. The “Our Father,” “Hail, Mary,” Glory Be,” and “Hail, Holy Queen” are traditional Catholic prayers associated with the Rosary, and may be readily found online or in most Catholic prayer books. There are other versions of the novena; this is the one that Saint Margaret Mary offered.
O my Jesus, you have said: “Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” Behold, I knock, I seek, and ask for the grace of (name your request). Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father…
♥ Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender mother and ours.
Say the Hail, Holy Queen and add: “Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.”
—Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
Prayers for Special Circumstances
♥ Prayer of Trust to the Sacred Heart (in Times of Stress)
Holy Heart of Jesus, Sweet Sanctuary of rest,
bring peace to my soul and settle my spirit,
especially in the matter of_________________.
I vow to place all of my worries and fears
into the wound of your Sacred Heart,
there to be tended to in accordance with your perfect will,
which desires only the best and highest good.
Your love alone is enough, and I surrender to it;
clinging to the hope of a swift resolution
and trusting with confidence in all of your promises.
♥ Prayer to the Sacred Heart in Times of Loss or Betrayal
Sweet Jesus, your heart beats for the brokenhearted,
and you know their pain.
You experienced loss when your friend Lazarus died,
and betrayal when your friends abandoned and rejected you in
your darkest hours.
I ask you for relief and release right now in this time of grief.
I cry out to your heart, seeking comfort and consolation.
Take this present heartache and unite it to your own for the good of others,
Ease my sorrow,
and fill my heart with hope and light to face another day.
♥ Prayer to the Sacred Heart for Help to Forgive
my heart feels like an impenetrable stone as I am struggling to forgive_____________.
Please trade my hardened heart for one that flows with mercy like your own.
Give me the grace to let go of bitterness, a desire for revenge, and the need for an apology.
Set me free from the captivity of my unforgiving heart and fill me with your healing love.
♥ Prayer to the Sacred Heart for Someone Who Is Addicted
Lord, my heart is filled with concern for____________, who is addicted.
You know and see the disorder and chaos that the addiction is causing,
and your heart grieves over the distortion of personality and danger to the soul
that results when someone is in the throes of addiction.
I pray that you will please give me the wisdom and spiritual
fortitude to detach with love and trust in your tender mercies
and that you will give _______________ the humility and strength to seek recovery.
I ask this through the saving grace of your Sacred Heart.
♥ Prayer to the Sacred Heart When Health Is Failing
Sweet Heart of Jesus,
my health is failing, and I am hurting.
Thank you for my body, which is a great and marvelous gift
and a temple where the Holy Spirit chooses to dwell.
I offer up my current suffering for ____________,
accepting whatever you permit to happen to me.
I believe in your healing power and claim your promises of peace,
help in all my afflictions, and the grace of final perseverance.
Help me to resist all fear, and hide me, Lord,
in the haven of your precious heart.
Give me the strength to accept this current state of my health with joy,
holy resignation, and lively hope for the future.
♥ Prayer of Thanksgiving and Praise to the Sacred Heart
Lord, you deserve all honor and praise,
because your love is perfect and your heart sublime.
My heart is filled to overflowing with gratitude
for the many blessings and graces you have bestowed upon me and those
whom I love.
Forever undeserving, may I always be attentive
and never take for granted the gifts of mercy and love
that flow so freely and generously from your Sacred Heart.
Heart of Jesus, I adore you.
Heart of Jesus, I praise you.
Heart of Jesus, I thank you.
Heart of Jesus, I love you forever and always.
Courtesy of here. Today is the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
The title of this post is a slight alteration of the title of this excellent book, a translation of the Ad Monachos of Evagrius Ponticus. I am not here applying it to Evagrius or his works, but to myself. I mentioned back here that I was an Arian–or perhaps, better, “quasi-Arian” or “little-u unitarian”–in my younger days. I said that a detailed unpacking of my beliefs and how they developed was for another time. That time is now.
I grew up in a small town in Appalachia, part of the Bible Belt and hotbed of Fundamentalism, and (paradoxically) one of the most unchurched regions of the country. I was raised in a sort of generic, culturally Protestant way, without anyone in the family formally belonging to any church. Both my parents had been baptized before I was born, though I don’t know the details. During my life, though, neither was a formal member of any church, nor a regular attender. I was sent to Sunday school at a Methodist church from about the age of four until about seven; and at a Baptist church between the ages of about eight or nine and thirteen. During this latter period, I was usually sent to vacation Bible school in the summers, at the Baptist church (and once or twice, I think, at a second Methodist church). Every once in awhile, my mother would go to church services (this was at the Methodist church–she never attended the Baptist one, as far as I remember) and drag me with her. “Drag” was the operative word.
I was always extremely reluctant to go to church, and never did so voluntarily. I don’t know exactly why. I do remember I that I associated church with fear. I don’t clearly remember any hellfire and damnation sermons, though there may have been some. Mom and Dad certainly never used threats of hell, as some parents did. I remember thinking that being in an actual church involved a commitment I was unwilling to make. I recall one time Mom dragged me to church, and the hymn being sung was, “I have decided to follow Jesus/ No turning back, no turning back.” I mouthed the second line without singing it. I wasn’t going to sign up for that! I remember another time in Sunday school at the Baptist church, there was a visiting preacher, a black Baptist (there were very few black people where I grew up, so for us this was exotic). The one thing I remember about him is that at one point he said, “When you say I’m going to follow God and get my life together tomorrow, that old devil just laughs and laughs!” Those words haunted me for years.
Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.
Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God’s Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there’s nothing true.
On the cross thy godhead made no sign to men,
Here thy very manhood steals from human ken:
Both are my confession, both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.
I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he;
Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.
O thou our reminder of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died,
Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.
Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what thy bosom ran—
Blood whereof a single drop has power to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.
Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me what I thirst for so,
Some day to gaze on thee face to face in light
And be blest for ever with thy glory’s sight. Amen.
–courtesy of here
Ceux-là qui aiment à se faire craindre, craignent de se faire aimer, et eux-mêmes craignent plus que tous les autres; car les autres ne craignent qu’eux, mais eux craignent tous les autres.
Those who love to be feared fear to be loved, and they themselves are more afraid than anyone, for whereas other men fear only them, they fear everyone.
–The Spirit of Saint Francis de Sales, ch. 7, sct. 3 (1952); courtesy of Wikiquote
A few days ago I was sitting in a Wal-Mart, waiting to get a tire replaced on my car. I had my Kindle Fire with me so I’d have something to read. Recently I posted here about The Gospel of Thomas. Since I had the ebook version of The Gnostic Bible on my Fire, I decided to open it up and reread The Gospel of Thomas. I got to the first page and stopped. I remembered that I’d started to read this particular translation before, and stopped; and I remembered why I’d stopped. The introduction to Thomas says,
The translation gives the Semitic forms of Semitic names, in order to highlight the Jewish identity of Jesus and his students and the Jewish context of the life of the historical Jesus. For example, the name Yeshua is used for Jesus; the other names are identified in the notes.
Thus, the first line of the translation reads, “These are the hidden sayings that the living Yeshua spoke and Yehuda Toma the twin recorded.” “Yehuda Toma” is the Aramaic for Judas Thomas–the disciple known as “Thomas”, literally “twin”, in the canonical gospels, and referred to also as Judas or Judah here and in other non-canonical sources. This irritates the crap out of me, and the rest of this post will unpack the whys of this irritation.
O God, who through the Cross
wondrously taught Saint Justin the Martyr
the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ,
grant us, through his intercession,
that, having rejected deception and error,
we may become steadfast in the faith.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity
of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
“Lost” or “forbidden” scriptures are a big thing these days, and have been for some time. They have certainly played their role in pop culture, in works ranging from The Da Vinci Code and its sequels to horror/suspense movies like Stigmata, to name just a couple. The Gospel of Judas caused a worldwide sensation when it was translated and published in 2005. Walk into any large bookstore and you’ll see Elaine Pagels’s classic, The Gnostic Gospels (which arguably started the craze), various publications of the Nag Hammadi scriptures, both individually and as a group, collections such as The Gnostic Bible, and so on. Of all the various “lost”, “forbidden”, and “Gnostic” scriptures, probably the most famous is The Gospel of Thomas.
The Gospel of Thomas, though short, is a mysterious and intriguing document. Unlike the canonical gospels of the New Testament, and even some of the other heterodox gospels, The Gospel of Thomas has no narrative. Instead, it consists of one hundred fourteen logia–sayings–of Christ, addressed mainly to the disciples. Like the Gospels of Mark and John, Thomas lacks birth stories of Jesus. Unlike all four canonical gospels, Thomas also lacks any account of the crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, as well as the apocalyptic themes associated with Jesus in the canonical gospels. About half the logia are parallel to or at least similar to sayings of Jesus in the canonical gospels. The rest are of unclear origin.