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A Prayer and a Novena to Blessed Junípero Serra

serra-p

Feast Day Prayer: 

God most high, your servant Junipero Serra brought the gospel of Christ to the peoples of Mexico and California and firmly established the Church among them.

By his intercession, and through the example of his apostolic zeal, inspire us to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen. 

Courtesy of here.

 

 

 

A Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes

Novena to
Our Lady of Lourdes

Prayer
Be blessed, O most pure Virgin, for having vouchsafed to manifest your shining with life, sweetness and beauty, in the Grotto of Lourdes, saying to the child, St. Bernadette: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” A thousand times we congratulate you upon your Immaculate Conception. And now, O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of mercy, Health of the sick, Refuge of sinners, Comforter of the afflicted, you know our wants, our troubles, our sufferings deign to cast upon us a look of mercy.
 

 

lourdes

By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, whence you dispense your favors, and already many have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and physical. We come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain for us, O loving Mother, the granting of our request.
(state your request)
Through gratitude for your favors, we will endeavor to imitate your virtues, that we may one day share your glory.
Our Lady of Lourdes, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your divine son while upon earth. You have the same influence now in Heaven. Pray for us; obtain for us from your Divine Son our special requests if it be the Divine Will. Amen.Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

 

NINE DAY NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF LOURDES

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9


DAY ONE

O Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, virgin and mother, queen of heaven, chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of the Eternal Word and in virtue of this title preserved from original sin, we kneel before you as did little Bernadette at Lourdes and pray with childlike trust in you that as we contemplate your glorious appearance at Lourdes, you will look with mercy on our present petition and secure for us a favorable answer to the request for which we are making this novena.

(make your request)

O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

 

DAY TWO
Be blessed, O most pure Virgin, for having vouchsafed to manifest yourself shining with light, sweetness and beauty, in the Grotto of Lourdes, saying to the child Saint Bernadette: “I am the Immaculate Conception!” O Mary Immaculate, inflame our hearts with one ray of the burning love of your pure heart Let them be consumed with love for Jesus and for you, in order that we may merit one day to enjoy your glorious eternity. O dispenser of His graces here below, take into your keeping and present to your Divine Son the petition for which we are making this novena.

(make your request)

O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your  assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

 

DAY THREE
“You are all fair, O Mary, and there is in you no stain of original sin.” O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. O brilliant star of sanctity, as on that lovely day, upon a rough rock in Lourdes you spoke to the child Bernadette and a fountain broke from the plain earth and miracles happened and the great shrine of Lourdes began, so now I beseech you to hear our fervent prayer and do, we beseech you, grant us the petition we now so earnestly seek.(make your request)

O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious  in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

 

DAY FOUR
O Immaculate Queen of Heaven, we your wayward, erring children, join our unworthy prayers of praise and thanksgiving to those of the angels and saints and your own-the One, Holy, and Undivided Trinity may be glorified in heaven and on earth. Our Lady of Lourdes, as you looked down with love and mercy upon Bernadette as she prayed her rosary in the grotto, look down now, we beseech you, with love and mercy upon us. From the abundance of graces granted you by your Divine Son, sweet Mother of God, give to each of us all that your motherly heart sees we need and at this moment look with special favor on the grace we seek in this novena.

(make your request)

O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your  assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

 

DAY FIVE
O Mary Immaculate, Mother of God and our mother, from the heights of your dignity look down mercifully upon us while we, full of confidence in your unbounded goodness and confident that your Divine Son will look favorably upon any request you make of Him in our behalf, we beseech you to come to our aid and secure for us the favor we seek in this novena.(make your request)O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your  assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

 

DAY SIX
O glorious Mother of God, so powerful under your special title of Our Lady of Lourdes, to you we raise our hearts and hands to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the gracious Heart of Jesus all the helps and graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare and for the special favor we so earnestly seek in this novena.

(make your request)

O Lady of Bernadette, with the stars of heaven in your hair and the roses of earth at your feet, look with compassion upon us today as you did so long ago on Bernadette in the Grotto of Lourdes.

O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious  in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

 

DAY SEVEN
O Almighty God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary did prepare a worthy dwelling place for your Son, we humbly beseech you that as we contemplate the apparition of Our Lady in the Grotto of Lourdes, we may be blessed with health of mind and body.  O most gracious Mother Mary, beloved Mother of Our Lord and Redeemer, look with favor upon us as you did that day on Bernadette and intercede with him for us that the favor we now so earnestly seek may be granted to us.(make your request)O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your  assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

 

DAY EIGHT
O Immaculate Mother of God, from heaven itself you came to appear to the little Bernadette in the rough Grotto of Lourdes! And as Bernadette knelt at your feet and the miraculous  spring burst forth and as multitudes have knelt ever since before your shrine, O Mother of God, we kneel before you today to ask that in your mercy you plead with your Divine Son to grant the special favor we seek in this novena.

(make your request)

O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

 

DAY NINE
O glorious Mother of God, to you we raise our hearts and hands to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the benign Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly for the grace of a happy death. O Mother of our Divine Lord, as we conclude this novena for the special favor we seek at this time.(make your request) 
 lourdesmary_berna4inchcopy1
We feel animated with confidence that your prayers in our behalf will be graciously heard. O Mother of My Lord, through the love you bear to Jesus Christ and for the glory of His Name, hear our prayers and obtain our petitions.O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your  assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

Her feast day is today.  Courtesy of here.

Requiem for Leonard Nimoy

Leonard_Nimoy

For Leonard Nimoy, who died today, the Kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning:

mourner's_kaddish_text

May the great Name of God be exalted and sanctified, throughout the world, which he has created according to his will. May his Kingship be established in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of the entire household of Israel, swiftly and in the near future; and say, Amen.

May his great name be blessed, forever and ever.

Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, honored elevated and lauded be the Name of the holy one, Blessed is he- above and beyond any blessings and hymns, Praises and consolations which are uttered in the world; and say Amen.

May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life, upon us and upon all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who makes peace in his high holy places, may he bring peace upon us, and upon all Israel; and say Amen.

Prayer to Pope St. John Paul II

O St. John Paul, from the window of heaven, grant us your blessing! Bless the church that you loved and served and guided, courageously leading it along the paths of the world in order to bring Jesus to everyone and everyone to Jesus. Bless the young, who were your great passion. Help them dream again, help them look up high again to find the light that illuminates the paths of life here on earth.

May you bless families, bless each family! You warned of Satan’s assault against this precious and indispensable divine spark that God lit on earth. St. John Paul, with your prayer, may you protect the family and every life that blossoms from the family.

Pray for the whole world, which is still marked by tensions, wars and injustice. You tackled war by invoking dialogue and planting the seeds of love: pray for us so that we may be tireless sowers of peace.

O St. John Paul, from heaven’s window, where we see you next to Mary, send God’s blessing down upon us all. Amen.

Courtesy of here.
I have reservations about aspects of his papacy, and especially the fast-tracking of his canonization.  Nevertheless, this is his first feast day as a saint, and I decided that it should be marked somehow.

Music for Saint Francis of Assisi

 

 

Today is his feast day.  The latter is my absolutely favorite setting of “The Prayer of St. Francis”.   It wasn’t actually written by him, but it is definitely in his spirit; and Sarah McLachlan is truly sublime.

 

A Prayer of Saint Jerome

Caravaggio_-_San_Gerolamo

A Prayer of Saint Jerome for Christ’s Mercy

O Lord, show Your mercy to me and gladden my heart. I am like the man on the way to Jericho who was overtaken by robbers, wounded and left for dead. O Good Samaritan, come to my aid. I am like the sheep that went astray. O Good Shepherd, seek me out and bring me home in accord with Your will. Let me dwell in Your house all the days of my life and praise You for ever and ever with those who are there. Amen.

 

Today is his feast day.  He produced the first translation of the Bible into Latin directly from the original Hebrew.  As a language buff, I consider him a patron of sorts.

A Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows

A Novena For Life

God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory to the Father,
and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, is now,
and will be for ever. Amen.

 

mother_of_god


A Daily Reading From The Bible:
(click on scripture)

 

Holy Mother of God, hear the prayers of the Church  for all mothers,
especially those wearied by life and overcome by the suffering they bear for their children.

Hail Mary…

O Mother of the Word Incarnate, intercede for them  from your place in heaven,
that the mercy of your divine Son might lighten their burden and give them strength.

Hail Mary…

Glory to the Father….


As we contemplate this Mother, whose heart a sword has pierced  (cf.
Luke 2:35), our thoughts go to all  the suffering women in the world, suffering either physically  or morally. In this suffering  a woman’s sensitivity plays a role,  even though she often succeeds in resisting suffering better than a man.
It is difficult to enumerate these sufferings; it is difficult to call them all by name. We may recall her maternal care for her children, especially when they fall sick or fall into bad ways;  the death of those most dear to her;  the loneliness of mothers forgotten by their grown-up children; the loneliness of widows; the sufferings of women who struggle alone to make a living; and women who have been wronged or exploited. Then there are the sufferings of consciences as a result of sin,  which has wounded the woman’s human or maternal dignity: the wounds of consciences which do not heal easily. With these sufferings too we must place ourselves at the foot of the Cross.”

Pope John Paul II
(
Mulieris Dignitatem, 21)

 


Day 1

Pray for the Suffering Women of the World

Labor day usually brings to mind images of factory workers, farmers or heavy equipment operators. Yet we also use labor to describe the first work which brought each one of us to birth: those first hours of maternal sacrifice which brought us into the world. It’s too easy to forget that and all the other sacrifices which the vocation of motherhood entails. Pray for the mothers in labor today. Those who give birth. Those who work two jobs to support a child. Those who go without so their child’s needs are met. Those whose patient endurance is a sign of God’s love upon the cross.


Day 2 

Pray for Mothers who will Give Birth Today

‘At first I was scared,’ Sarah told me. ‘I was scared, excited and filled with the most incredible expectation. It was like those words we hear at Mass: we wait in joyful hope. I thought of all those women who feel the first kick, the stirrings of life deep within them. I prayed for them, that they would love their child, cherish their little baby and know that in being a mother they are involved in something so much bigger than themselves. They have been chosen by God to be custodians of the mystery of life. At first I was scared, and then I just cried … with joy.’


Day 3

Pray for Fathers  at the Birth of their Child

‘At first I was petrified”, Jon told me. “Petrified that I would faint or get in the way or not know what to do to help Sarah. But then I prayed to Mary. I know, praying to Mary is something you?d think a mother would be doing. But somehow, I think Mary understood Saint Joseph more than anyone else. She probably saw the fear in his eyes and sensed the restlessness of his heart. She probably spent a lot of time praying for him as well. And when I prayed to Mary for my child about to be born, I knew she understood and heard me and prayed for me to her son. At first I was petrified, and then I put everything into God’s hands.”


Day 4 

Pray for All Children

The eyes of a child are an infinite well of life, hope and goodness. If you doubt the value of life, look into the eyes of a child. If you are worn by life’s worries, look into the eyes of a child. If you want to see tomorrow, look into the eyes of a child. And what you will see is the divine spark which brought beauty out of chaos, the infinite beauty, which is the presence of the Creator in his creation.


Day 5 

Pray for Families

I know of a family which prays each night. Since the kids were little they are gathered from their games and their grumbling to the couch in the living room. There they pray for those whom they love and those they have a hard time loving. They pray for the unborn and for little babies. They pray for the sick and the dying. They pray for the Church and for their priest. Many a night it was the knowledge of those prayers that gave me hope and peace and a good night’s sleep.


Day 6 

Prayer for Life Begins in the Home

I know of another family which used to pray for unborn children every Friday night. They chose Friday because that’s when Christ, innocent and without sin, was sent to the cross. There’s no prayer more powerful than that said over little folded hands asking God to take care of all the babies who you’ve made.


Day 7 

Secret Suffering 

We look all around us at Church and see them: all the people whose kids never seem to scream and who look like they haven’t a problem in the world! But what if we really knew them? We would see the ‘secret sufferings’ that mirror our own. Mass is the gathering of those who have looked at the their own brokenness through the lens of the cross, and live! Today is the perfect day to pray for all God’s broken children and especially those who are tempted to break the lives of others.


Day 8 

The Holy Cross

Each time I pray, I am called to join my prayer with Christ’s perfect prayer upon the cross. It is easy from the vantage of the cross to see the world clearly. To see how easy it is to join the suffering of the innocent to the suffering of him who is without sin. We should work for an end to all the forms of violence which threaten life. That is a wonderful good. But it is even more important to stand with the Virgin Mother and to beg her son to come to our aid.


 click for larger image

Day 9

Our Lady of Sorrows

We end as we began nine days ago: with Mary, weeping silently beside the cross. Weeping for the innocent child so violently taken. Weeping for the nation which has let him die. Weeping for her child and for our, we place them both in her arms.

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Novena courtesy of EWTN.

Litany of the Holy Name of Mary

A litany is a prayer composed of alternating statements and supplications. The Feast of the Holy Name of Mary was established by Pope Innocent XI upon the victory of Christian forces against the Moslems besieging Vienna in 1683. This litany, reflecting the nature of the feast, is for private devotion.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Son of Mary, hear us.
Son of Mary, graciously hear us.

Heavenly Father, of Whom Mary is the Daughter, have mercy on us.
Eternal Word, of Whom Mary is the Mother…
Holy Spirit, of Whom Mary is the Spouse…
Divine Trinity, of Whom Mary is the Handmaid…

Mary, Mother of the Living God, pray for us
Mary, Daughter of the Light Eternal…
Mary, our light…
Mary, our sister…
Mary, Flower of Jesse…
Mary, Issue of Kings…
Mary, Chief Work of God…
Mary, the Beloved of God…
Mary, Immaculate Virgin…
Mary, all fair…
Mary, Light in Darkness…
Mary, our sure rest…
Mary, House of God…
Mary, Sanctuary of the Lord…
Mary, Altar of the Divinity…
Mary, Virgin Mother…
Mary, embracing your Infant God…
Mary, reposing with Eternal Wisdom…
Mary, Ocean of Bitterness…
Mary, Star of the Sea…
Mary, suffering with your only Son…
Mary, pierced with a sword of sorrow…
Mary, torn with a cruel wound…
Mary, sorrowful even unto death…
Mary, bereft of all consolation…
Mary, submissive to the law of God…
Mary, standing by the Cross of Jesus…
Mary, Our Lady…
Mary, Our Queen…
Mary, Queen of Glory…
Mary, Glory of the Church Triumphant…
Mary, Blessed Queen…
Mary, Advocate of the Church Militant…
Mary, Queen of Mercy…
Mary, Consoler of the Church Suffering…
Mary, exalted above the angels,
Mary, crowned with twelve stars…
Mary, fair as the moon…
Mary, bright as the sun…
Mary, distinguished above all…
Mary, seated at the right hand of Jesus…
Mary, Our Hope…
Mary, Our Sweetness…
Mary, Glory of Jerusalem…
Mary, Joy of Israel…
Mary, Honor of Our People…
Mary, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception…
Mary, Our Lady of the Assumption…
Mary, Our Lady of Loreto…
Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes…
Mary, Our Lady of Fatima…
Mary, Our Lady of Czestochowa…
Mary, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal…
Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel…
Mary, Our Lady of the Angels…
Mary, Our Lady of Dolors…
Mary, Our Lady of Mercy…
Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary…
Mary, Our Lady of Victory…
Mary, Our Lady of La Trappe…
Mary, Our Lady of Divine Providence…

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord Jesus.

Son of Mary, hear us.
Son of Mary, graciously hear us.

I will declare your name unto my brethren.
I will praise you in the assembly of the faithful.

Let Us Pray (Oremus)
O Almighty God, Who beholds Thy servants earnestly desiring to place themselves under the shadow of the name and protection of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, grant, we beseech You, that by her charitable intercession, we may be delivered from all evil on earth, and may arrive at everlasting joys in Heaven, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Amen.

Today is the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary.  Prayers and image above courtesy of here.

A Chant and a Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

 

Novena To Our Lady of Mount Carmel
July 16

 

First Day O Beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a pure virgin, assist us in our necessity! O Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Show us that you are our Mother!
(pause and mention petitions) Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Second Day Most Holy Mary, Our Mother, in your great love for us you gave us the Holy Scapular of Mount Carmel, having heard the prayers of your chosen son Saint Simon Stock. Help us now to wear it faithfully and with devotion. May it be a sign to us of our desire to grow in holiness.
(pause and mention petitions) Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Third Day

O Queen of Heaven, you gave us the Scapular as an outward sign by which we might be known as your faithful children. may we always wear it with honor by avoiding sin and imitating your virtues. Help us to be faithful to this desire of ours.
(pause and mention petitions) s)

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Fourth Day When you gave us, Gracious Lady, the Scapular as our Habit, you called us to be not only servants, but also your own children.
We ask you to gain for us from your Son the grace to live as you children in joy, peace and love. (pause and mention petitions) Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Fifth Day O Mother of Fair Love, through your goodness, as your children, we are called to live in the spirit of Carmel. Help us to live in charity with one another, prayerful as Elijah of old, and mindful of our call to minister to God’s people.
(pause and mention petitions) Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Sixth Day With loving provident care, O Mother Most Amiable, you covered us with your Scapular as a shield of defense against the Evil One.
Through your assistance, may we bravely struggle against the powers of evil, always open to your Son Jesus Christ.
(pause and mention petitions) Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Seventh Day O Mary, Help of Christians, you assured us that wearing your Scapular worthily would keep us safe from harm. Protect us in both body and soul with your continual aid. may all that we do be pleasing to your Son and to you.
(pause and mention petitions) Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Eighth Day You give us hope, O Mother of Mercy, that through your Scapular promise we might quickly pass through the fires of purgatory to the Kingdom of your Son. Be our comfort and our hope.
Grant that our hope may not be in vain but that, ever faithful to your Son and to you, we may speedily enjoy after death the blessed company of Jesus and the saints.
(pause and mention petitions) Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Ninth Day O Most Holy Mother of Mount Carmel, when asked by a saint to grant privileges to the family of Carmel, you gave assurance of your Motherly love and help to those faithful to you and to your Son.
Behold us, your children.mtcarmel
We glory in wearing your holy habit, which makes us members of your family of Carmel, through which we shall have your powerful protection in life, at death and even after death.
Look down with love, O Gate of Heaven, on all those now in their last agony!
Look down graciously, O Virgin, Flower of Carmel, on all those in need of help!
Look down mercifully, O Mother of our Savior, on all those who do not know that they are numbered among your children.
Look down tenderly, O Queen of All Saints, on the poor souls!
(pause and mention petitions) Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

 

Courtesy of EWTN. Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

For the Feast Day of St. Thomas the Apostle

Thomas the Apostle, whose feast it is today, is said to have traveled to India and planted Christianity there.  The church in Kerala, India, traces its lineage back to him.  Above is a religious song in the Malayalam language of Kerala.  Below are prayers in honor of St. Thomas, courtesy of here.

Prayer to St. Thomas the Apostle

Touching the Lord’s side, thou didst attain to the perfection of good things, for, as a sponge, thou drew therefrom the fount of all good and drank the draught of everlasting life, driving out ignorance from the minds of men and filling them with the doctrines of the knowledge of God.

First incredulous, then believing, thou strengthened those who were tempted, preaching to every creature how our Lord and God became flesh for us on earth and suffered death on the cross, being transfixed with nails and having His side opened with a lance, whence we draw life.

Most holy apostle, who dost rejoice in the vision of God, thou didst flood with light all the land of the Indies; when thou hadst enlightened these children of the light and the day, inspired by the Spirit, thou didst overthrow their pagan temples and didst raise their people in the love of God, to the praise and glory of the Church–O blessed intercessor for our souls.

Through a vision of the divine, thou didst become, O Thomas the Apostle, the mystic cup of the spiritual wisdom of Christ, in whom the souls of the faithful rejoice; a spiritual net, thou didst draw men from the abyss of ignorance. Hence thou became as a stream of charity from Sion, filling every creature with thy teachings of the divine. Thou didst imitate the Passion of Christ and, with thy side pierced for Him, didst put on immortality. Pray to Him for us, that He may have mercy on our souls.

_____________________________

St. Thomas, Apostle
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

St. Thomas was a fisherman, born in Galilee. The divine Saviour received him among His Apostles, to announce His Gospel to the world, and to convert mankind. From the time that he was chosen to so high an office, Thomas followed his beloved Master everywhere, and feared no danger. One day, when Jesus spoke of going to Judaea, to awaken Lazarus from the dead, some of His disciples opposed Him, saying: “Rabbi, the Jews but now sought to stone Thee, and goest Thou thither again?” They probably feared that they would have to suffer with Him. Thomas, however, more courageous than the others, said: “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” By these words the Apostle manifested that no fear of death would separate him from Christ; and that, rather than leave Him, he would die with Him. It is true that later, with other disciples, he left Him on the Mount of Olives, when He was taken prisoner by the Jews; but he returned soon, and joined the rest of the Apostles.

On the day of His resurrection, Christ appeared to them. Thomas, however, was not with them. When they told him afterwards, that they had seen the Lord, he doubted, and said: “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” By this, Thomas meant that he did not believe the resurrection of the Lord, although he had several times heard from the lips of Jesus, not only a prophecy of His sufferings and death, but also of His resurrection; and although the Apostles and several pious women had repeatedly assured him that they had seen the risen Lord. The Holy Fathers say that Christ permitted this unbelief in Thomas, not only that from it we might learn our own weakness, but also that all who believe in Him might be so much better instructed in the mystery of His resurrection, and strengthened in their belief in it. Hence, St. Gregory writes: “The unbelief of Thomas has been more useful to our belief than the belief of the other disciples of the Lord, who, without hesitation, received the news of His resurrection,” because the unbelief of Thomas gave occasion for new proofs of the resurrection of Christ.

The eighth day after that event, Christ came into the hall where Thomas was with the other Apostles, and greeted them with the words: “Peace be unto you.” Then, turning to Thomas, He said: “Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing.” What Thomas must have felt at these words, and at seeing his risen Saviour, each one may picture to himself. He saw himself suddenly convinced, not only of the resurrection, but also of the omniscience of his dear Master. With shame and fear at the remembrance of his fault, but also with love and confidence at the thought of the meekness of the Saviour, he touched, with deep veneration, the holy wounds, and exclaimed: “My Lord and my God!” In these few words he repented of his unbelief, and at the same time made a confession of his faith, in presence of those whom he had scandalized by his obstinacy. He remained until his end, constant in his belief; and, after the descent of the Holy Ghost, announced, not only the glorious resurrection of the Lord, but also the other mysteries and articles of the faith.

St. Thomas passed some time in Judaea, preaching the Gospel, and then went into distant countries, inhabited by savage races, as Parthia, Media, Persia, Hyrcania, and came, at last, to India. In all he preached the Gospel of the Lord, notwithstanding the manifold difficulties which the Evil One placed in his way, through the enemies of the faith, and the numerous persecutions which he everywhere endured. How many thousand souls this holy Apostle converted to Christ is known only to Him from whom nothing is hid. The many miracles which he almost daily performed, persuaded the people that the faith which he preached was truly divine: hence his success with the most embittered pagans. He made the largest number of converts in India. This immense territory he traversed in every direction, and established Christianity in it so firmly, that traces of it were found there in the sixteenth century, fifteen hundred years after his death. Even in China, indubitable signs of it were discovered. He erected many churches, and placed Christian teachers in them, that the faith he had personally preached during his life might be preserved after his death.

At the building of the church at Meliapor, one of the chief cities of India, a wonderful event took place. The sea had cast ashore a very large tree, which the king desired to make use of for the palace he was just erecting. But neither men nor many elephants could move the tree. The holy Apostle, full of trust in the Almighty, offered to draw the immense burden all alone, if the king would make him a present of it for the Christian church he was about to build. The king consented, and St. Thomas, loosening his girdle, tied the end of it to one branch of the tree, made the sign of the Cross, and drew the tree away from the place where it was lying. All present were greatly astonished at this miracle, and many were converted, and assisted the Apostle in building the church. In this church the Saint erected a cross of stone, which, it is said, is still to be seen at this day. Upon this cross he engraved the following words: “When the sea will have reached this spot, men will come from Europe to propagate the faith which I began to preach.” The sea was, at that time, far off, but at the time when St. Francis Xavier landed there, it had reached the cross, and the prophecy was fulfilled.

The idolatrous priests who could not contradict the faith which St. Thomas preached, and which he verified by so many miracles, were enraged at his success, as they lost considerably in temporal goods by the conversions that took place. They therefore endeavored to arouse the king’s wrath against him, or to make away with him in some other manner. Some write that they persuaded the king to pronounce his death-sentence, and that he was shot dead with arrows. Others relate that the Brahmins themselves took the life of the holy Apostle. They had ascertained that the Saint went every day, towards evening, to a cross which he himself had erected, and that he remained there a long time in prayer. This gave them a favorable opportunity to vent their wrath upon him. They came together silently to the place where, on bended knees, the Saint was saying his prayers. One of them thrust a lance into him so violently that he sank upon the ground; after which, the others continued to beat him and to trample on him until all signs of life ceased.

When St. Francis Xavier came to India, the signs of blood were still to be seen on the cross where this murderous deed was committed; and more than once drops of blood appeared on this cross during the celebration of Mass, when crowds of people were present. St. Xavier, shortly after his arrival in India, went to the tomb of St. Thomas, and passed many days and nights there in prayer. He begged God fervently to bestow upon him the Spirit and zeal of this holy Apostle, that he might be able to restore the Christian faith which St. Thomas had preached there, but which had gradually been entirely exterminated. Before undertaking any important work, he went, if possible, to the tomb of St. Thomas; and when this was impossible, he invoked the holy Apostle’s intercession, and endeavored to follow his example in all things.

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS.

I. St. Thomas, for three years, accompanied Christ our Lord; was present at His divine instructions; saw the many miracles He wrought; and yet became incredulous and remained so for eight days, and might have remained still longer, had not Christ mercifully restored his faith. Go, O man, and build upon your own strength, or if you have lived piously for some time, imagine you are secure against falling! Oh! how foolish, how presumptuous you are! That which happened to an apostle may surely happen to you. The sad fall of our holy Apostle, ought not, however, to make you despondent or fearful; it ought only to incite you not to trust too much in your own strength, but to walk continually in the fear of the Lord, and to pray to Him daily, that He may give you the grace not to offend Him, but to remain constant in His service If you remain continually in the fear of the Lord, you will walk carefully and not fall into any great sin. For, it is written: “The fear of the Lord is unto life; and he shall abide in fulness without being visited with evil,” (without falling into sin.) (Proverbs, xix.) Tertullian writes: “Fear is the foundation of our salvation. Whoever fears is careful. Through fear we shall become careful, and through carefulness we shall be saved. Whoever is careful is sure.” If we cease to fear God, then we are near falling, even if we have reached the highest pinnacle of perfection. This the Holy Ghost indicates in the following words: “Unless thou hold thyself diligently in the fear of the Lord, thy house shall quickly be overthrown.” (Eccles. xxvii.)

II. Thomas is called unbelieving by Christ, although he disbelieved only one article, the resurrection. Hence, it is clear that he who doubts, or rejects only one article of faith, cannot be counted among true Catholics, although he believes all the others. A Catholic must believe every truth revealed by the Almighty, be it great or small, as God cannot fail either in small things or great. The offence which we do to God by denying even the smallest article of faith, is as great as if we denied an important one, or all of them together; for, it is just as if we said: God has been deceived, or He has deceived us in revealing this article. Whether this is said of great and important articles, or of one that is small, makes but little difference; or if we desire to make a difference, we must say that it is a greater offence to God to ascribe to Him a fault in a small matter than in a great; for, what can be more blasphemous than to maintain that the Almighty has been deceived in a trifling matter, or that He intends to deceive us? They should ponder on this, who sometimes entertain doubts about an article of faith, or even go so far as to say that in some matters, they agree with non-Catholics, and consider them right. These are no longer Catholics. Their faith is lost; and if they do not repent, as St. Thomas did, they will go to perdition, because they are incredulous. They are disobedient who obey nine of the Commandments but not the tenth. What is the fate of the incredulous? Christ Himself pointed it out when He said: “Who believes not in the Son, will not see life, but the wrath of God will remain with him.” (John viii.)

Homily of St. Gregory, Pope on the Feast Day of St. Thomas the Apostle

What, dearest brethren do you notice in this passage? Do you think that it happened by chance, that this chosen disciple was absent at that time, and afterwards coming, heard the news, and hearing doubted, that doubting, he touched, and touching, he believed? This did not happen by chance, but by divine dispensation. For the divine clemency brought it about in a wonderful way that the doubting disciple, while touching the wounds in his master’s flesh, should thereby heal the wounds of our unbelief. The unbelief of Thomas is more to our faith than the faith of the believing disciples. While he is brought back to faith by touching, our minds are set free from doubt and established in the faith.

So the Lord indeed after his resurrection permitted his disciple to doubt, but he did not leave him in unbelief; just as before his birth he wished Mary to have a spouse, who however never attained to the married state. The disciple who doubted and touched his risen Lord thus became a witness to the truth of the resurrection, just as the spouse of his mother was the guardian of her inviolate virginity. Thomas touched, and cried out: My Lord, and my God. Jesus said to him: Because you have seen me, you have believed. But since the Apostle Paul says: Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not; it is certainly clear that faith is the evidence of those things which cannot appear. The things which appear are the object, not of faith, but of knowledge.

Why then is it said to Thomas, who saw and touched: Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed? But he saw one thing and believed another. Indeed, mortal man cannot see the divinity. So Thomas saw a man, and confessed him to be God, saying: My Lord and my God. He therefore believed through seeing, for, looking upon one who was truly man, he cried out that this was God, whom he could not see. The words which follow are cause of great joy to us: Blessed are they who have not seen, and have believed. These words are meant especially for us who cherish in our minds him, whom we do not see in the flesh. They are meant for us; but only if we carry out our faith in works. For he truly believes, who puts his faith into practice.


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Hymn: Exsultet orbis

Now let the earth with joy resound,
And heaven the chant re-echo round;
Nor heaven nor earth too high can raise
The great Apostles’ glorious praise.

O ye who, throned in glory dread,
Shall judge the living and the dead,
Lights of the world forever more!
To you the suppliant prayer we pour.

Ye close the sacred gates on high;
At your command apart they fly:
O loose for us the guilty chain
We strive to break, and strive in vain.

Sickness and health your voice obey;
At your command they go or stay:
From sin’s disease our souls restore;
In good confirm us more and more.

So when the world is at its end.
And Christ to Judgment shall descend,
May we be called those joys to see
Prepared from all eternity.

Praise to the Father, with the son,
And Holy spirit, Three in One;
As ever was in ages past,
And so shall be while ages last. Amen

(Roman Breviary for the Common of Apostles)

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St. Thomas, Apostle
from the Liturgical Year, 1870

This is the last Feast the Church keeps before the great one of the Nativity of her Lord and Spouse. She interrupts the Greater Ferias in order to pay her tribute of honour to Thomas, the Apostle of Christ, whose glorious martyrdom has consecrated this twenty-first day of December, and has procured for the Christian people a powerful patron, that will introduce them to the divine Babe of Bethlehem. To none of the Apostles could this day have been so fittingly assigned as to St. Thomas. It was St. Thomas whom we needed; St. Thomas, whose festal patronage would aid us to believe and hope in that God whom we see not, and who comes to us in silence and humility in order to try our Faith. St. Thomas was once guilty of doubting, when he ought to have believed; and only learnt the necessity of Faith by the sad experience of incredulity: he comes then most appropriately to defend us, by the power of his example and prayers, against the temptations which proud human reason might excite within us. Let us pray to him with confidence. In that heaven of Light and Vision, where his repentance and love have placed him, he will intercede for us, and gain for us that docility of mind and heart, which will enable us to see and recognise Him, who is the Expected of Nations, and who, though the King of the world, will give no other signs of His majesty, than the swaddling-clothes and tears of a Babe.

Prayer:

O glorious Apostle Thomas! who didst lead to Christ so many unbelieving nations, hear now the prayers of the faithful, who beseech thee to lead them to that same Jesus, Who, in five days, will have shown Himself to His Church. That we may merit to appear in His divine presence, we need, before all other graces, the light which leads to Him. That light is Faith; then, pray that we may have Faith. Heretofore, our Saviour had compassion on thy weakness, and deigned to remove from thee the doubt of His having risen from the grave; pray to Him for us, that He will mercifully come to our assistance, and make Himself felt by our heart. We ask not, O holy Apostle! to see Him with the eyes of our body, but with those of our faith, for He said to thee, when He showed himself to thee: Blessed are they who have not seen, and have believed!

Of this happy number, we desire to be. We beseech thee, therefore, pray that we may obtain the Faith of the heart and will, that so, when we behold the divine Infant wrapped in swaddling-clothes and laid in a manger, we may cry out: My Lord! and my God! Pray, O holy Apostle, for the nations thou didst evangelise, but which have fallen back again into the shades of death. May the day soon come, when the Sun of Justice will once more shine upon them. Bless the efforts of those apostolic men, who have devoted their labours and their very lives to the work of the Missions; pray that the days of darkness may be shortened, and that the countries, which were watered by thy blood, may at length see that kingdom of God established amongst them, which thou didst preach to them, and for which we also are in waiting.

Litany of the Resurrection
(Approved by the Most Rev. John Hughes, Archbishop New York 1853)

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven,
have mercy on us. *

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,*
God the Holy Ghost,*
Holy Trinity, one God,*
Jesus, Redeemer of mankind,*
Jesus, Who hast cleansed us by Thy blood,*
Jesus, Conqueror of sin and death,*
Jesus, the Holy One and the Just,*
Jesus, the First-Born from the dead,*
Jesus, the Second Adam,*
Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life,*
Jesus, the Author of our salvation,*
Jesus, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob,*
Jesus, Who by death didst destroy him who had the empire of death,*
Jesus, Who didst bring life and immortality to light,*
Jesus, Who didst lay down Thy life for Thy sheep,*
Jesus, Who hadst power to lay it down, and hadst power to take it up again,*
Jesus, Who, after three days, didst rise again from the dead,*
Jesus, Who didst rise very early in the morning on the first day of the week,*
Jesus, Who didst hasten to visit Thy blessed Mother in her solitude,*
Jesus, Who didst appear to Mary Magdalen while it was yet dark,*
Jesus, Who didst send Thy angels to announce to the women, that thou wast risen as thou hadst said,*
Jesus, Who didst suffer Thyself to be seen of the women, and to be adored by them,*
Jesus, Who didst appear to Peter, the chief of the Apostles,*
Jesus, Who didst appear, in another shape, to the two disciples going to Emmaus,*
Jesus, Who didst make Thyself known unto them in the breaking of bread,*
Jesus, Who didst appear to the eleven, saying, Peace be unto you,*
Jesus, Who didst breathe upon them, and give unto them the Holy Ghost,*
Jesus, Who didst confirm the faith of Thomas, by showing unto him Thy hands and Thy feet,*
Jesus, Who didst commission Peter to feed Thy lambs and Thy sheep,*
Jesus, Who didst converse with Thy disciples, upon the mountain of Galilee,*
Jesus, Who was seen by more than five hundred brethren at once,*
Jesus, Who wast seen by James,*
Jesus, Who didst to in and out among Thy apostles, speaking to them of the kingdom of God, and eating with them,*
Jesus, Who didst lead them out as far as Bethany, and, while they looked on, wast carried up to heaven,*
Jesus, Who shalt come again with great power and glory, to judge the living and the dead,*
Jesus, Son of God, *

We sinners,
Beseech Thee, hear us. **

That we may put off the old man with his acts,**
That we may put on the new man, who is created in justice and holiness of truth,**
That we may walk in newness of life,**
That we may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of thee,**
That we may persevere unto the end,**
That, having risen with Thee, we may die no more,**
That we may attain unto the resurrection of the just,**
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to feed us continually with the bread of life,**
That Thou wouldst reform the body of our lowliness, and make it like unto the body of Thy glory,**
That we may behold Thy face with joy,**
That we may be placed on Thy right hand in the Judgment,**
That we may hear those words of joy: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess ye the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,**
That Thou wouldst give us part in Thy heavenly glory,**
That Thou wouldst give rest and peace to the faithful departed,**
That with them we may obtain everlasting life,**
That we may be with Thee always, forever, and ever,**

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

V. Christ is risen. Alleluia.
R. He is risen indeed, and hath appeared unto Simon. Alleluia.

Let us pray:

O God, Who, by Thine only-begotten Son, hast (this day) opened the passage to eternity, through His victory over death; vouchsafe, we beseech Thee, so to confirm us by Thy grace, that we may walk in all our ways like those who have been redeemed from sin. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen