Do you want to sanctify your life in simple ways? Try praying the Angelus

Finding time to pray is certainly difficult. As I have advocated before, it is essential to create your own daily schedule of prayer. However, sometimes we don’t know where to start and only have a vague idea of what we want to do.

One excellent idea that will get you started and help sanctify your day in a simply way is by taking up the ancient practice of the Angelus.

But what is the Angelus? How do I pray it devoutly?

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The beauty of a forgotten Advent tradition: the “Rorate Mass”

The Rorate Mass is a beautiful tradiation worth preserving for future generations. Here is my article at Aleteia:

The season of Advent falls each year in the dark month of December and it is a month when we see the general theme of the liturgical season being echoed in nature. Darkness has crept over the world, and is increasing each day. Yet, there is hope for soon the days will begin to lengthen and the sun will conquer the night. The earth reveals that there is a light in this dark place and that Light reigns victorious.

The Church makes this truth more visible with an ancient tradition (often forgotten) called the “Rorate” Mass. This votive Mass during Advent in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary receives its name from the first words of the opening chant in Latin, Rorate caeli, or in English “Shower, O heavens.”

The Mass is most often celebrated in communities devoted to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (aka, the “Latin Mass”), but is also an option for parishes that celebrate Mass in the vernacular.

What is peculiar to this celebration of the Eucharist is that it is traditionally celebrated in the dark, only illuminated by candlelight and typically just before dawn. The symbolism of this Mass abounds and is a supreme expression of the Advent season.

First of all, since the Mass is normally celebrated right before dawn, the warm rays of the winter sun slowly light up the church. If timed correctly, by the end of Mass the entire church is filled with light by the sun. This speaks of the general theme of Advent, a time of expectation eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Son of God, the Light of the World. In the early Church Jesus was often depicted as Sol Invictus, the “Unconquered Sun,” and December 25 was known in the pagan world as the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Birthday of the Unconquered Sun). Saint Augustine makes reference to this symbolism in one of his sermons, “Let us celebrate this day as a feast not for the sake of this sun, which is beheld by believers as much as by ourselves, but for the sake of him who created the sun.”

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Why We Need Rose Vestments

On one Sunday each Advent and Lent, the priest will come out of the sacristy wearing rose vestments and inevitably makes some sort of comment about how the color of his vestments should not be classified as “pink,” but rose.  Often the priest is somewhat embarrassed, especially when his parishioners give their pastor a hard time.

Photo by Brett Crandall (Wikipedia)

Yet, the use of rose vestments during the sacred liturgy of the third Sunday of Advent has been a part of the Church’s tradition for many centuries and is a tradition we must hold onto. Rose gives us joy and a promise of hope; our world is in need of both.

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“Computer geek” takes one more step toward sainthood

Such an inspiring story about a modern-day saint who is a perfect inspiration for young teenagers. Wether you knew it or not, you probably have seen his panels on Eucharistic Miracles come to your parish. Here is my article about him at Aleteia:

On Thursday, November 24, 2016, Cardinal Angelo Scola closed the diocesesan phase in the canonization process for Carlo Acutis, a 15-year-old Italian boy who died in 2006 of leukemia. He was a well-loved teenager who devoted himself to prayer and daily Mass as well as computer programming, film editing, website creation, editing and layout of comics.

According to the website for his canonization process, “Carlo was gifted at anything related to computers so that his friends, and the adults with computer engineering degrees, considered him a genius. Everyone was amazed by his ability to understand the computer secrets that are normally accessible only to those who have completed university.”

One of his most significant computer ventures was cataloguing all the Eucharistic miracles of the world. He started the project when he was 11 years old and wrote at the time, “The more Eucharist we receive, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of Heaven.” He then asked his parents to start taking him to all the places of the Eucharistic miracles, and two and half years later the project was completed.

Acutis researched over “136 Eucharistic miracles that occurred over the centuries in different countries around the world, and have been acknowledged by the Church” and collected them into a virtual museum. Besides creating a website to house this virtual museum, he helped create panel presentations that have traveled around the world.

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5 Saints who loved the great outdoors

On this feast of Saint John Paul II, here is my latest post on Aleteia:

…Many saints had a great love for the outdoors and took any opportunity to enjoy nature. Here are five such examples in hopes that it will inspire us to spend a little more time with God’s creation, appreciating the world he has created for us.

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Frassati loved the mountains. He once wrote to a friend, “With every passing day I fall madly in love with the mountains; their fascination attracts me.” Frassati loved to climb and ski with his friends, often seeking out the highest peaks. During his short lifetime, Frassati was a member of the “Italian Alpine Club and climbed the Gran Tournalin (3,379m/11,086ft), the Grivola in the Val d’Aosta (3,969m/13,022ft), Mon Viso (3,841m/12,602ft), the Ciamarella (3,676m/12,060ft), the Bessanese (3,532m/11,588ft)” and other smaller peaks.

He is probably most well known for a phrase he wrote on the back of a photograph of him climbing a mountain: Verso l’alto (“toward the top”). After his death it became a phrase associated with his constant desire for sanctity and reaching for the goal of eternal life.

Saint John Paul II

In 1954, Father Karol Wojtyła was awarded a “Bronze Badge for Hiking Tourism” by a local organization in Poland. Wojtyla won this badge for hiking on foot on multiple occasions during that year, totaling 166 km (103 miles). More than half of these excursions were completed during the winter (November 1 – March 31).

Throughout the remainder of his life, John Paul II would go hiking, skiing and kayaking with groups of friends as a priest, bishop, cardinal and pope. He even sneaked out of the Vatican to ski and did so at least 100 times!

Needless to say, John Paul II loved the outdoors.

Saint Hubert

Appointed Bishop of Liège in 708, Hubert is more widely known for his conversion story and a legend regarding a vision he saw while hunting a deer. During his youth, Hubert spent his days hunting, even skipping out on Church services.

On Good Friday one year, while the faithful were attending services, Hubert pursued a magnificent stag. After drawing close to it, the animal turned and, as the legend narrates, he saw a crucifix between its antlers, and heard a voice saying: “Hubert, unless you turn to the Lord, and lead a holy life, you shall quickly go down into hell.” Hubert then prostrated himself and said, “Lord, what would Thou have me do?” God said in return, “Go and seek Lambert, and he will instruct you.”

Hubert sought out Saint Lambert, who instructed him and set him on the pathway to sanctity. Saint Hubert is regarded as the patron saint of hunters and is also known for promoting ethical hunting practices, treating animals as part of God’s creation.

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