The Sacrament of Penance, Frequent Confession and the Deeper Interior Life

Dear Family on the Way: This is a live-stream we provided on the topic of confession for those who are no longer struggling with habitual mortal or venial sin. This is a very misunderstood and difficult topic to deal with in our time because of poor formation.  The Divine Intimacy reading Melissa provided is included in full below the video and is worthy of your reflection and meditation. As well, a good resource for confession entitled, “Confession Its Fruitful Practice” is also recommended. Please post any questions, if you have any, in the comment section below the post.

Pope Pius XVII in Mitici Corporis Christi noted that teaching or exhortation that is opposed to frequent confession is “disastrous” for the Church and is the “ruin” of the faithful. In number 88 of this Encyclical he proclaims (emphasis mine) “The same result follows from the opinions of those who assert that little importance should be given to the frequent confession of venial sins. Far more important, they say, is that general confession which the Spouse of Christ, surrounded by her children in the Lord, makes each day by the mouth of the priest as he approaches the altar of God. As you well know, Venerable Brethren, it is true that venial sins may be expiated in many ways which are to be highly commended. But to ensure more rapid progress day by day in the path of virtue, We will that the pious practice of frequent confession, which was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy spirit, should be earnestly advocated. By it genuine self-knowledge is increased, Christian humility grows, bad habits are corrected, spiritual neglect and tepidity are resisted, the conscience is purified, the will strengthened, a salutary self-control is attained, and grace is increased in virtue of the Sacrament itself. Let those, therefore, among the younger clergy who make light of or lessen esteem for frequent confession realize that what they are doing is alien to the Spirit of Christ and disastrous for the Mystical Body of our Savior.

This theme is beautifully expanded in Divine Intimacy as Melissa noted and is offered here below (emphasis mine):

Although the Sacrament of Penance is necessary only to remit mortal sins, the Church has always recommended and praised the frequent use of it even for those who have only venial sins to confess. “We heartily recommend,” says Pius XII, “the pious custom introduced by the Church, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, of frequent confession. It gives us a more thorough knowledge of ourselves, stimulates Christian humility, helps us to uproot our evil habits, wages war on spiritual negligence and tepidity, purifies our consciences, strengthens our wills, encourages spiritual direction and, by virtue of the Sacrament itself, increases grace.” (Mystici Corporis Christi)

Frequent confession has always been considered an authentic Catholic tradition, as a school of perfection, an effective way to correct faults and evil tendencies and to advance in virtue. When a penitent sees Our Lord Jesus Christ in the person of the confessor, and discloses with humble sincerity his sins and weaknesses, accompanying his accusation with true repentance and firm purpose of amendment, the Sacrament will have most efficacious results. Not only will he be absolved from his infidelities and receive an increase of sanctifying grace, but he will also receive the “sacramental grace,” which assures him of divine assistance in correcting his weak points, overcoming the temptations to which he is most often exposed, and surmounting the particular difficulties he encounters in the practice of virtue.

There is no better medicine for the ills and wounds of the soul than frequent confession when made with a humble, sincere, and contrite heart. Jesus awaits us in this Sacrament of His merciful love, not only to cleanse our soul in His precious Blood, but also to strengthen it in this salutary bath, fortify it, and guard it against future attacks of temptation and evil. Confession applies to our soul all the merits of the Passion of Jesus, all the infinite value of His Blood; we shall always return from the Sacraments renewed, sanctified, and strengthened in good in the measure in which we have approached it with a contrite and humble heart.

From Divine Intimacy – Penance #73, Meditation 2 – Baronius Press

Finally, if you would like a sound treatment of this liberating sacrament of mercy and grace, it can be found here:

Novena – Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Beloved Family on the Way: As you know, it is customary for our community to renew our Marian consecration at least once each year. It is particularly encouraged that we do so concluding on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in prayer for our own participation in the charism and for those who are newly joining or deepening their association with Apostoli Viae. Below you will find the official novena for this purpose. Please note that the Litany of Our Lady of Mount Carmel used in this novena can be found in a previously published post.  This novena and litany is also included in the prayer book given to Disciples. Please plan to join us this year in the renewal of this beautiful and powerful tradition of uniting our hearts to Mary as she leads us to the heights of union with Jesus.

OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL NOVENA

Common
Opening Prayer (same each day):
          O glorious Queen of Angels. Most pure and ever blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel, powerful advocate of all those who wear your holy scapular, faithful protectress of all the servants of your Son Jesus Christ, I, an unworthy sinner, do this day, in the presence of your beloved Son, my Savior, choose you for my Patroness, that, through your intercession, I may receive from Him whatsoever grace may be necessary and profitable for me now, and at the hour of my death. I beg your particular intercession to reveal to me all that hinders my ascent to Him and give me the strength to do all that I can to yield all that I am to Him. I also ask for your special intercession for my fruitful and joyful participation in the charism of Apostoli Viae and for (mention petitions). Amen.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be…

Let us Pray (according to each day)

Litany of our Lady of Mount Carmel

Let us Pray (same each day)
O Almighty and Eternal God, who did ordain the holy order of Your Immaculate and Ever Blessed Mother with the glorious title of Carmel, grant propitiously that those who celebrate her solemn commemoration may, by the assistance of Your Holy Grace, turn their affections from all disordered adherence to this world, and orient them entirely to worship You Blessed Trinity. Who lives and reigns One God, world without end. Amen.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be…

Colloquy (according to each day)

Closing Prayer (same each day)
   Grant we beseech You, O Lord, that we your servants may enjoy health of body and mind, and by the glorious intercession of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, be delivered from all temporal afflictions, and enjoy eternal bliss with You. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

First Day

Opening Prayer (common)

Let us Pray
          O most glorious and Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel, I an unworthy wearer of your holy scapular, confident, however, that the Church does not call you in vain the “Refuge of Sinners,” do beseech you to make me aware of the favors you have conferred upon me, by promoting the welfare of your holy charism, that, being truly contrite for past offenses, I may, by your aid and assistance, break the chains of my slavery, and live henceforward in the happy liberty of the children of God; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, live and reign, one God, world without end. Amen.

Litany of our Lady of Mount Carmel

Let us Pray (common)

Colloquy
“I am the Mother of fair love.” Says the glorious Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel. “Will you my dear child, serve God faithfully with all of your life, as St. Elias, St. Eliseus. St. Albert, St. Teresa, St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, and an infinite number of my blessed children have done? I assure you, in the sincerity of a Mother, that you will with them enjoy a heavenly beatitude for all eternity; and, the more to encourage you thereto, my dear child, I assure you in the language of Holy Scripture, that ‘neither eye has seen, nor hear heard, nor has it yet entered the heart of man to conceive, what God has prepared for those who faithfully keep His commandments.’”

                  “Yes, most dear mother, both now and all the days of my life, will I serve God, and honor you, O Sacred Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel; and together with all the Angels and celestial Spirits in heaven I will bless and praise you because you have been so admirably chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of our Divine Redeemer.”

Hail Mary… Glory be…

Closing Prayer
          Grant we beseech You, O Lord, that we Your servants may enjoy health of body and mind, and by the glorious intercession of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, be delivered from all temporal afflictions, and enjoy eternal bliss with You. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Second Day

Opening Prayer (common)

Let us Pray
     O Almighty and Eternal God, please impart to us, Your unworthy servants, a small portion of that heavenly grace with which You have been pleased to sanctify Your servant Mary and grant that, through her intercession and protection, we may be shielded against all temptations, and be secure from all our enemies. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who lives and reins with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Litany of our Lady of Mount Carmel

Let us Pray (common)

Colloquy
                  “I am the Mother of Divine Grace,” says the glorious Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel. “Will you, my dear child, partake of my greatness as St. Simon Stock did, who took so much pleasure in the inestimable privilege of being called my child, that he would not have left nor exchanged the same for all the pleasures of this life? – wherefore I assisted him by my prayers at the awful moment of his dissolution, and conducted his soul into the regions of Bliss. And I will do the like for you, my dear child if you follow his example; I do assure you that I will assist you at death; although you were on the brink of eternal ruin, yet if you will be converted to my Son, He will draw you from it, and I will defend you against your spiritual enemies.”                 

  “Yes, most pure Mother. I will always rejoice at those gifts which the Almighty God has bestowed on you and reverence you, O Sacred Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel; and together with all the celestial Powers, bless and praise you because you are the true Mother of Christ Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father.”

Hail Mary… Glory be…

Closing Prayer
          Grant we beseech You, O Lord, that we Your servants may enjoy health of body and mind, and by the glorious intercession of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, be delivered from all temporal afflictions, and enjoy eternal bliss with You. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Third Day

Opening Prayer (common)

Let us Pray
          Remember O most pious Virgin, it is unheard of that you have ever forsaken those who have recourse to you. Encouraged with this hope and confidence, my most dear Mother, I, a miserable sinner, cast myself at your sacred feet, humbly begging that you will adopt me as your child forever, and take upon you the care of my eternal salvation: do not, Mother of the Word Incarnate, reject my petition, but graciously hear, and grant it. Amen.

Litany of our Lady of Mount Carmel

Let us Pray (common)

Colloquy
          “I am the Mother of God,” says the glorious Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel; “O how happy are you to be called my child. Hearken then to the commandment of your Mother and write it in your heart. Will you frequently participate in confession and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the advice of your spiritual Father? St. Teresa and St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi did communicate almost every day, whereby they have been admirable in all virtues, and have received Manna from Heaven, the true food of the children of God. I do assure you, my dear child, with the sincerity of a loving Mother, that this is the most ready way to become perfect, and the surest means for obtaining Heaven.”

          “Yes my loving Mother, it is my great desire to purify my soul in the Blood of my Redeemer, by confessing my sins, and receiving communion often (especially on Saturdays, on all your feasts, and those of your Blessed Son), with all diligence and devotion. I do reverence you, O ever glorious and Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel, Mother of Divine Grace; and together with the Cherubim, bless and praise you, because you have been so liberally endowed with all sorts of virtues in the most supreme degree of excellence.”

Hail Mary… Glory be…

Closing Prayer
          Grant we beseech You, O Lord, that we Your servants may enjoy health of body and mind, and by the glorious intercession of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, be delivered from all temporal afflictions, and enjoy eternal bliss with You. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Fourth Day

Opening Prayer (common)

Let us Pray
O most glorious and Ever Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel; I, your unworthy child, sensible of the favors you enjoy with God, humbly present myself before you and beg that you will intercede and obtain for me true contrition and repentance, an undefiled purity of heart, and a conscience free from sin and all offence against God; direct me, I beg you, in all my actions during life, and in that awful moment when my poor soul departs from my body, conduct it into the presence of your Son, there to sing His praises forever and ever. Amen.

Litany of our Lady of Mount Carmel

Let us Pray (common)

Colloquy
     “I am the Queen of the Universe,” says the glorious Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel. “Will you my dear child, every day, both morning and evening, make a firm purpose rather to endure any loss or privation whatsoever than to offend God by mortal sin? Will you imitate the example of the blessed Saints who have gone before you? If you will, I assure you that at the awful hour of death, when forsaken by all your friends, I will conduct your soul into the Mansion of Glory.”

          “Yes most Blessed Virgin, I do now firmly purpose, by the grace of your Son, rather to die a thousand deaths than once to offend my God by mortal sin. And I do reverence you, O most glorious Virgin of Mt. Carmel; and with the Seraphim, bless and praise you, whom I love with my whole heart and soul.”

Hail Mary… Glory be…

Closing Prayer
          Grant we beseech You, O Lord, that we Your servants may enjoy health of body and mind, and by the glorious intercession of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, be delivered from all temporal afflictions, and enjoy eternal bliss with You. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Fifth Day

Opening Prayer (common)

Let us Pray
O most glorious Virgin Mother who by the favor of your Divine Son, has so great power in heaven and on earth. Enlighten my blindness and strengthen my resolution. The zeal you have in promoting the welfare of your sacred charism, and the part you take in seeing the grace of our Redeemer abound in us, give me a right to your interest in this my request; and, when that awful hour of death approaches, be to me, I beg you, a tender Mother, and by your prayers dispose your Son Jesus Christ favorably in my regard. Amen.

Litany of our Lady of Mount Carmel

Let us Pray (common)

Colloquy
      “I am the patroness of my children” says the glorious Virgin Mother of Mt. Carmel. “Give me your heart, my dear child, and if it be as hard as stone, I will, by my intercession, make it as soft as wax; and if it be found loathsome, I will render it more clear and beautiful than crystal; give me your heart, my child, and tell me with the sincerity of a true child, how much you love me.”

          “O my dear Mother; I love you more than words can express, more than my very soul can conceive; I reverence you, O Sacred Virgin of Mt. Carmel. I praise and magnify you, whose chaste womb bore the Son of the Most High God.”

Hail Mary… Glory be…

Closing Prayer
          Grant we beseech You, O Lord, that we Your servants may enjoy health of body and mind, and by the glorious intercession of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, be delivered from all temporal afflictions, and enjoy eternal bliss with You. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen

Sixth Day

Opening Prayer (common)

Let us Pray
          O most glorious and Ever Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel; I offer unto thee, this day, all my thoughts, words and actions; I am weak and infirm, dejected and cast down at every tribulation, and terrified at the dismal prospect a review of my own interior life gives me. All is misery, a continual propensity to vice, and repugnance to virtue. O Mother of Mercy and refuge of sinners; you will not reject a contrite and humble heart. Intercede for me, I beseech you, that I may so live in this sinful world, that at the hour of death I may be worthy and be admitted into the Regions of Bliss. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, with the Father and the Son, lives and reigns, One God, world without end. Amen.

Litany of our Lady of Mount Carmel

Let us Pray (common)

Colloquy
 
“I am the mirror of purity,” says the glorious Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel. “Will you, my dear child, daily examine your conscience, and never go to sleep in mortal sin? It is the way to live in tranquility and joy of spirit, having always your soul ready in thy hand to render it up pure to Him Who was created to His own image, and redeemed it with His own most Precious Blood. I assure you in the sincerity of a loving Mother that it is better to suffer all the punishments that could be inflicted in this life than to sleep one night in mortal sin.”

          “Yes, my most dear Mother, I will think of my sins with bitterness of soul, and examine my conscience every night before I go to rest. I reverence you, O most Pure Virgin of Mt. Carmel; and together with all the Blessed in Heaven I do praise you, because by your powerful intercession, we poor sinners can obtain of your Son Jesus all we ask for.”

Hail Mary… Glory be…

Closing Prayer
          Grant we beseech You, O Lord, that we Your servants may enjoy health of body and mind, and by the glorious intercession of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, be delivered from all temporal afflictions, and enjoy eternal bliss with You. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Seventh Day

Opening Prayer (common)

Let us Pray
          O most holy Mary of Mt. Carmel; pray for me, I beseech you, that, through the merits of your Son, I may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body, and that I may serve Him faithfully in this life, and hereafter see, love, and enjoy Him in the Kingdom of His glory, Who, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, One God, world without end. Amen.

Litany of our Lady of Mount Carmel

Let us Pray (common)

Colloquy
          “I am the Protectress of all those who place their confidence in me,” says the glorious Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel. “Will you, my dear child, do something this day in my honor? For you must know that I leave nothing, though of ever so little value, unrecompensed, which is done in my name; and I assure you in the sincerity of a mother that at the hour of death, being abandoned by all your friends, you will obtain my assistance and favor.”

          “Yes my dear Mother, both today and all the days of my life, I will pray to you and reverence you, O most Holy virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel; and with the Celestial Court bless you, because you have ever been exempt and free from all sin, and always rapt in heavenly contemplation.”

Hail Mary… Glory be…

Closing Prayer
          Grant we beseech You, O Lord, that we Your servants may enjoy health of body and mind, and by the glorious intercession of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, be delivered from all temporal afflictions, and enjoy eternal bliss with You. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Eighth Day

Opening Prayer (common)

Let us Pray
       O most glorious and Ever Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel; faithful Protectress of all those who wear your holy Scapular, behold your poor servant, humbly prostrate at your feet, deploring my misery and imploring your prayers, and beseeching you to protect me through the stormy ocean of this tempestuous world; hear my prayers then, O refuge of sinners, and after this our exile show unto us the Blessed Fruit of your womb, Jesus, O most clement, O most loving, O most sweet Virgin Mary.

Litany of our Lady of Mount Carmel

Let us Pray (common)

Colloquy
          “I am the Help of Christians,” says the glorious Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel. “Will you, my dear child, obey all the Precepts of the Holy Catholic Church, and call upon me in your necessities? If you will do so, I will assist you, my dear child, and assure you, with a heart truly maternal, that I will plead for you in time of danger, and will avert from you all the anger and indignation of my Divine Son.”

          “Yes, my dear Mother, I will always obey the Commandments of God, and of His Church; and although I were as disloyal as Judas, yet, if you be pleased to intercede for me, and assist me by your prayers, I shall never despair. And I reverence you, O Sacred Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel. Together with all the Angels and Saints, I bless and praise you, because you have been found worthy to be the most faithful and humble handmaid of the Most Beloved Trinity.”

Hail Mary… Glory be…

Closing Prayer
          Grant we beseech You, O Lord, that we Your servants may enjoy health of body and mind, and by the glorious intercession of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, be delivered from all temporal afflictions, and enjoy eternal bliss with You. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Ninth Day

Opening Prayer (common)

Let us Pray
          O Blessed Finder of Grace, Mother of Life, Mother of Salvation; may we through you have access to your Son; and that He, who was given us through you, may receive us through you; may your integrity and innocence excuse before Him the stain of our corruption: may your abundant charity cover the multitude of our sins, and your glorious fruitfulness supply our want of merits. Our Mother, our Mediatrix, our Advocate; reconcile us to your Son, by the grace with which you are honored, obtain that He, Who through you put on our weakness, may, through you, make us partakers in His bliss and glory. Amen.

Litany of our Lady of Mount Carmel

Let us Pray (common)

Colloquy
          “I am the Queen of Virgins,” says the glorious Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel. Will you, my beloved child, live as an Angel clad in the flesh, as many of my devoted children did, who chose to lose their lives rather than lose the purity of body and soul? I will love you, as I have loved them, and pray for you, as I have prayed for them; and, I assure you, with a heart truly maternal, that when you depart this life, you shall enjoy that glory which ‘neither eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered the heart of man to conceive.’”

          “Yes, my most dear Mother; I desire to be pure all my life, as well in body as in soul. I beseech you, O All-Merciful Virgin, to assist me by your prayers, that through the merits of your Divine Son Jesus I may obtain the grace so to live as to be always prepared to die. I do here prostrate before you, O most Sacred Virgin Mother. I bless and praise your name, because you have given the example of purity and sanctity to so many pious souls that have already followed and hereafter will follow you in so glorious a vocation.”

Hail Mary… Glory be…

Closing Prayer
          Grant we beseech You, O Lord, that we Your servants may enjoy health of body and mind, and by the glorious intercession of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, be delivered from all temporal afflictions, and enjoy eternal bliss with You. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Prayers to be Recited at the Conclusion of the Novena on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel:

Prayer at the Mass and Office

          O God, who has deigned to honor the Order of Carmel with the glorious title of Your Virgin Mother, grant the grace of her protection to all who celebrate this Solemn Commemoration, so that, through her, we may attain eternal happiness. Amen.

          O Glorious Virgin Mary; Queen of Carmel and Apostoli Viae, Mother of God and of poor sinners; special Protectress of all those who wear your holy Scapular, I supplicate you, by the glory that has been accorded you by the Incarnate Word in choosing you for His Mother, to obtain for me the pardon of my sins, amendment of my life, salvation of my soul, consolation in my pains, and in particular the grace I ask in this Novena, provided it be conformable to the will of your Divine Son. Amen.

Act of Consecration to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

          O Mary, Queen and Mother of Carmel and Apostoli Viae, I come today to consecrate myself to you; for my whole life is but a small return for the many graces and blessings that have come from God to me through your hands. Since you regard with an eye of special kindness those who wear your scapular, I implore you to strengthen my weakness with your payer, to enlighten the darkness of my mind with your wisdom, to increase my Faith, Hope, and Charity that I may render, day by day, my debt of humble homage to you.

May your Scapular keep your eyes of mercy turned towards me and bring me your special protection in the daily struggle to be faithful to your Divine Son. May it separate me from all that is sinful in life and remind me constantly of my duty to behold you and clothe myself will all your virtues. From henceforth I will strive to live in the sweet companionship of the Holy Spirit, to offer all to Jesus, and make my life the mirror of your humility, charity, patience, meekness, and prayerfulness.  Amen

Litany of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Litany of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

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

God the Father of Heaven, R. Have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, R.
God the Holy Spirit, R.
Holy Trinity one God, R.

Holy Mary, Queen and Beauty of Carmel R. We fly to thee, O Mary

Holy Mother of God, R.
Mother most amiable, R.
Mother most humble, R.
Mother most pure, R.
Mother most modest, R.
Mother most mild, R.
Mother beautiful flower of Carmel, R.
Model of resignation to the will of God, R.
Model of meekness, R.
Friend of all mankind, R.
Mother of the poor, R.
Comforter of the afflicted, R.
Refuge of sinners, R.
Helper of the dying, R.
Virgin full of grace, R.
Glory and hope of Apostoli Viae members, R.
Faithful protectress of those who wear thy holy scapular, R.
Most loving Mother of thy devotees, R.
Joy of all heaven, R.
Mother of holy love, R.
Protectress of the Order of Mount Carmel, R.

Through thy most exalted majesty, R. Hear us, O Mary

Through the kindness of your heart, R.
Through your heavenly love for your only-begotten Son, R.
Through the love in which you shared in all the riches of Jesus, R.
Though the pains experienced at His Passion, R.
Through your motherly faithfulness, when you stood at the foot of His cross, R.
Through your inner joy when you saw Him risen, R.
Through your languishing rapture when He ascended into heaven, R.
Through your joy when your most blissful death drew near, R.
Through your rapture when you entered the joy of heaven, R.
Through your eternal glory bestowed on you by God, R.
Through your motherly love for us, R.
In all anxieties and necessities, R.
In desolation and anguish of soul, R.
At the hour of our death, R.
When we stand before the tribunal of your Divine Son, R.
When we suffer in Purgatory and long for the sight of God, R.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world:
                  Spare us O Jesus

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world
                 Graciously hear us O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world
                  Have mercy on us O Jesus

Our Father… Hail Mary… (in silence)

The glory of Lebanon He has given her, the ornament of Carmel and Sharon.

All: Gracious Mother of God, glory of Mount Carmel, adorn in similar manner with virtues those who wear your habit, and graciously preserve them always from all dangers.

Queen and Beauty of Carmel
                  You have given us a sign of your protection.

Let us pray: O God, who has honored the Order of Carmel with the glorious title of the most holy Virgin Mary; grant, we beseech You that we who keep her memory may through her intercession attain to the everlasting joy of heaven. In the name of Jesus who lives and reigns world without end, amen.

Reflections on Kneeling and Humility

“Our generation has lost the religious gesture of kneeling; we have become more a clapping generation. We seem to have compromised the virtue of humility with a culture of self-security and independence. If we dream of renewal, let us kneel again in adoration, in repentance and in service.”

Kneeling Adores
Bending the knee before the tabernacle in genuflection, kneeling down at the celebration of the Eucharist, kneeling down to adore the exposed Blessed Sacrament – these are little but sublime acts of adoration that we must preserve and protect.

Kneeling Obtains Mercy
It is easier to remember that we are sinners when we kneel. It is easier to share the same mercy kneeling down, not from a higher moral level but from our shared sinful condition. “The bending of the knee is a token of penitence and sorrow of a penitent heart.” (St John Cassian)

Kneeling Atones
Kneeling atones for the countless profane actions against the Eucharist. As we bow down and adore the Eucharist, we also beg for mercy for the sacrilege and desecration the Sacred Species are repeatedly subjected to in many communities. We seek pardon for liturgical experiments and abuses: the narcissism among ordained ministers seeking popularity rather than piety; for taking the Mass for granted; for the irreverent attire and the cold interior disposition when we attend Mass.

Kneeling Humbles
We cannot celebrate mercy without repentance. We kneel in humility and repentance especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation where we kneel down to confess our sins and receive pardon.

Kneeling Renews
The family that prays together stays together.… Kneeling empowers families to stand up against the storms of life. Kneeling is strength.

[Taken from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Pastoral Exhortation entitled “Let Us Kneel Before The Lord Who Made Us” (Psalm 95:6)]

Do We Really Believe? How Will We Then Receive?

Do you remember that last time you held a newborn baby? Take a moment to consider the beautiful little one here with mother’s loving delicate care carefully supporting every element of the infant as if the baby is vulnerable, and sacred – because it is.

The child is vulnerable and sacred as is the Lord when He offers Himself, defenselessly, to us, in the Blessed Sacrament. Do we treat Him with the same care, or do we act as if the encounter is with a mere piece of bread or just a cup of wine?

An initial question is important for us to consider. Do we truly believe, without doubt, without reservation, without qualification, that the Lord is present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and that we receive Him, consume Him, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in Holy Communion?

If our answer is a visceral joyful proclamation, “YES!” then we must consider another pressing question; “How could we ever approach Him without the same grave caution and care as we would a tiny defenseless child?” How could we ever choose to approach this encounter in a way that could cause injury, desecration, irreverence, or any other injustice to our precious Lord? Most, even those who’s belief is marginal, would at this point exclaim, “never!”

How can we honor Him? How can we give Him all the love and gentle reverent care He deserves because He is the Kings of Kings and He has given everything to us – and He is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Our Church teaches that this is definitively true down the last fragment of the precious Body of our Lord.

What you see in this photo is a paten. Many Catholics don’t know what this is because the vast majority of parishes do not understand or care enough to use them. A paten is used to protect the Lord in the Eucharist from being dropped on the floor and egregiously desecrated by trampling and disregard.

Think about this for a moment. The Lord is presented to us, humble and defenseless, and He is dropped and trampled…

This paten is one that a priest is holding to reveal the fragments that fell from the hands of communicants during the reception of communion during a typical Mass. These fragments of the Lord came from the simple passing of the Eucharist from the hand of the priest to the hand of the recipient which was then handled again by the recipient (as happens whenever communion is received on the hand).

Do we really believe it is the Lord? Allow me to reveal another perspective via short video to further explore this vitally important matter of our solemn worship of the King of Kings:

Please note that the hosts used here were not consecrated.

If you watch an attentive holy priest during Mass, you will notice that he habitually rubs his forefinger and thumb together over the chalice after touching the Eucharist. If you didn’t know why I suspect you do now. You can learn a lot about a priest through this simple gesture of love and care.

Here are two more brief reflections on related aspects of our reverent reception and approach to the Lord in Holy Communion:

And now to us. We are allowed to receive the Lord two ways. Do we really believe? How should we approach the Lord and receive Him in all His love and vulnerability? Should we do so in a manner we might prefer or in one more fitting for so precious an encounter?

To be more direct and to the point, if we do really believe, how can we allow for what we have seen and heard by receiving on the hand? How can we allow the increase of the handling, possible fragmentation, possible dropping of the Lord and even worse, desecration by trampling Him underfoot?

I think the answer is simple. Please honor Him the next time you receive. The norm in Apostoli Viae will always be to encounter our Lord with sacred and appropriate reverence, kneeling (if possible) and on the tongue (always). He deserves nothing less.

Dance of the Dark Night and the Kindness of God

To be free of habitual mortal and venial sin is a glorious reality. To live within the beautiful rhythm of a rule of life, to dance in step with the heart of God, to have a tangible and near-constant experience of His peace and love is a gift beyond any other. To discover how easily the rhythm of this exquisite dance is broken can devastate a holy heart.

The beautiful ascetical rhythm of the committed pilgrim begins with reliance upon Christ and the sacraments. It continues to emerge from sin to holiness by the power of self-awareness, humility, and dependence on God as it wastes precious time in silent prayer with the One who reveals all and heals all.

Then, by Divine kindness, He allows the storm to rise. He is present, but the awareness of His presence and sustaining power slips into the background, obscured by the relentless wind and waves. The rhythm of the holy dance is broken and the heart is brought low as it seems to stand alone, separate and defenseless. Regardless of how much effort the holy heart extends to hold on to the beloved and maintain the ebb and flow of the dance, the eternal melody of peace fades, until all is a storm.

How is this a Divine kindness? It is a kindness because of our blindness. Holy hearts, created hearts, limited hearts, must be ever prepared and purified for deeper intimacy with the Beloved.

What seems to be a broken rhythm is really just an interlude, a purifying pause in the sacred dance. It is a place where God shifts the tempo to force us to see what we would otherwise miss in our comfort, bliss and complacency.

Our wounded hearts always drift from the beloved. Our broken nature, no matter how much it shines in the eyes of the world, is always in need of purification through circumstances that cause us to reflect, to ask why, to weep, and to cry out for His help and healing.

It is a Divine kindness to allow us to fail and to fall that we might see our true state, our deepest need. When we cry out, He always steps back into view and with a gentle and heavenly touch calms the storm. If received, His perfect embrace of reunion releases the flow of holy tears and healing. If received…

When faced with this Divine kindness we have a choice. The world, the devil, and the flesh would have us flagellate ourselves into a bloody heap and then violently hurl barbs of condemnation into our battered souls. This self-flagellation is a kind of spiritual pride that only further imprisons the soul, emboldens the evil one, and solidifies the attachments that keep us from the healing He longs to give.

The Holy Spirit, our heavenly Lover and Healer, would have us come to the end of ourselves, weep, sorrow for our sins and imperfections, receive His love and forgiveness in reconciliation, and then return to the dance. When we return in this manner, we do so with a profoundly attentive humility and awareness of our need. Then the Holy one gently looks into our eyes, receives our trembling hand, and leads us ever more deeply into the sacred dance.

This is the dark night. This is the dance of Heaven. This is our redemption.

Carmelite Spiritual Warfare Prayer

Come Holy Spirit with Thy Seven-fold gifts and anoint us with Thy Divine light, wisdom, and power. Come Lord Jesus Christ and anoint us with Thy Precious Blood, freeing us from every snare and stronghold of the principalities and powers of darkness. O Mother of God, glorious and Immaculate ever Virgin Mary, come and crush the head of the ancient serpent. O great father, St. Joseph, terror of demons, come and annihilate the enemies of our souls. St. Michael, great prince and commander of the heavenly army, strike down the insidious foes who seek to destroy us. Come glorious band of the Apostles, come great patriarchs and prophets; come white-robed army of Martyrs, come pure and noble throng of Virgins. Come to our aid Holy Mother St. Teresa, our Holy Father St. John of the Cross, St. Elijah, St. Elisha, St. John the Baptist, St. Therese, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, all you saints of Carmel, our Guardian Angels, Archangels, and all you holy Angels and Saints, come repulse the attacks and deceits of our wicked enemies; render them impotent and helpless. Let God arise; let His enemies be scattered and let all those who hate Him flee before Him. As smoke is driven away, so are they driven away; as wax melts before the fire, so the wicked perish at the presence of God.

(From the Apostoli Viae Prayer Book)

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