About Me

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Daughter of the Most High King by the Power of the Blood of Jesus. Living for my Heavenly Father and my Lord. Growing daily into the princess I was created to be. Loving My Husband - One Kiss at a Time - Nurturing My Children - One Smile at a Time - Making the World a Prettier Place - One Stitch at a Time - Reading the Best Books First - One Page at a Time - Walking with the Lord - One Step at a time

Friday, 24 February 2012

The Potpourri Prayer

I have owned a copy of this book for at least 18 months possibly 2 years. It was one of those things I was going to get round to.

Well a couple of weeks ago after my retreat I finally started to use it and I can't even begin to explain how wonderful I have found it.

After a couple of days of using it I sent for two more copies, one for my son and one "just in case".

That really says something because I don't usually buy multiple copies of books.

It may not be a book which suits everyone, you need to be a little flexible as instead of the usual twenty (or fifteen for the really inflexible) mysteries there are thirty-five.

That gives a different set for each day of the week, as well as that there are a choice of five different sets of bible verses.

There are different ways of using the book all explained in the book itself, but the way I am using it I will only repeat the same verses once every five weeks and for myself this seems tailored to my needs.

There are also opening and closing prayers and different prayers for each decade....

First       For Priests
Second  For the Souls in Purgatory
Forth      Prayers of Thanksgiving
Fifth       Prayers of Praise

I intentionally left our the third decade because that is what they call the Potpourri Prayers and although it does give some suggestions (and starts of with the St Raphael Christian Community, the authors parish - which seems only fair and I am sure she prays for her readers) it is for our own personal intentions.

So here is my own mix of Potpourri for this season of my life.....

For health and stability in my own family, peace in their hearts and conversion in their souls and for those in our parish and the world.

For my associates in the Rosary Confraternity, the Confraternity of the Passion International,  the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mercy, the Confraternity of Consolers, the St Mary MacKillop Rosary Circle and all their intentions.

For all religious Brothers and Sisters and in particular for the Sisters of the Cross and Passion and their Associates and for an increase in vocations.

For the protection of the Unborn, an end to abortion and abundant mercy for those who are or have faced this difficult decision.

For all children who's lives are effected by their parents negative choices, particularly L & L and C & G.

Lent is such a good time to overhaul our intentions and maybe even our whole prayer life.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Day Two of Lent...

Yes I've been at it again....

Today I joined the Confraternity of the Passion International.

Don't worry I don't intend to join a new one every day over lent!

Together with the Rosary Confraternity and Confraternity of Our Lady of Mercy that makes three or four if you count the Confraternity of Consolers (which is not as yet recognised by Mother Church) and I am a member of a Living Rosary Circle.

I joined the Passion International because of my Passionist leanings, and Our Lady of Mercy because of my regrets over my abortion (I joined the Confraternity of  Consolers in advent when I did the Consoling the Heart of Jesus do it yourself retreat) .

Each confraternity has its own commitments, but many of these overlap, such as making a yearly retreat and a nightly examination of conscience and act of contrition.

Many of the commitments are things that I already do regularly such as praying the rosary and for the souls in purgatory and for an end to abortion and making a yearly retreat, so I am not actually taking on heaps of new spiritual practises all at once.

I will have to make some changes, but mostly it will be a case of looking at my routine and tweaking it in order to make sure that all the commitments are met and fitting things together in a more appropriate way.

For instance I have realised that instead of going to Bible Study on Monday Nights (where we study the readings for the following Sunday) I would do better to go to Mass on Tuesday Nights instead, which will meet one of my commitments, to go to one weekday Mass per week.

Also there are lots of alternative resources for studying the Mass readings, but there is no substitute for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

What I am also doing is using my self knowledge, which tells me that I am more apt to be regularly devoted to the practises I have if I have the accountability of knowing that if I do not I will be letting others down as well as myself.

Well onwards and hopefully upwards into lent.....

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Today is Ash Wednesday

My first act today has been to join the rosary confraternity, I will be a member from today and will receive my certificate some time during Lent.

It seemed to me to be a very fitting day to join.

Here is the Rosary Confraternity Prayer

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary and Mother of us all, we come to you for help in our sorrows, trials and necessities. Sin leaves us weak and helpless but Divine Grace heals and strengthens.

We ask for the grace to love Jesus as you loved Him, to believe as you believed, to hope as you hoped; we ask to share your purity of mind and heart. Give us true sorrow for sin and make us love people as you and Jesus loved them. 

Obtain for us the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we may be wise with your wisdom, understand with your understanding, know with your knowledge, prudent with your prudence, patient with your patience, courageous with your fortitude and desire justice ardently for everyone with the all consuming desire of the Sacred Heart of Jesus your Son.

Open our minds that as we pray the Rosary we will understand the teachings of the Gospel contained in its mysteries.

We pray especially for the members of the Rosary Confraternity whom we love. Help them wherever they may be; guide them, watch over them and make them strong in their trials and suffering. We are drawn together by a common bond of great charity for you and for each other; keep us faithful to your Son and to your Rosary till death.

Intercede for the souls in Purgatory, especially for the members of the Rosary Confraternity who have died. May they rest in peace. Finally we ask for grace of final perseverance for ourselves and for our loved ones that we may all be reunited in heaven forever.

Saint Dominic, you who received so much Grace and Strength from the Rosary, Pray for Us.

Monday, 20 February 2012

In the Garden with Jesus....

When I came across the words of comfort on the Passionist website one line stood out as having special meaning for me.....

If I am afflicted, abandoned, desolate, I will keep Him company in the Garden. 
This was because only days before while on my retreat I had been meditating (or at least my version of it) on Psalms 42 and 43 in which there is a line which is repeated several times.....
"Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me?"
This was often followed by "Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him."
At this point these words totally summed up what was going on in my own mind.
As a family we have been going through some terrible problems (the major one being my sons health) and just before I left to come on retreat yet more problems had added to the pile.
It was on this retreat that all this came to a head in my thoughts and I reached the end of my tether.
I found myself totally immersed in this verse. The questions went round and round in my mind. Why was I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? I knew that I truly did put my hope in God so how could I still feel like this?
In the cross references I saw listed Matthew 26:38 and there were the words of Jesus spoken  in the Garden "My soul is swallowed up in sorrow - to the point of death."
He had voiced my own thoughts. My soul felt as though it was swallowed up by my sorrow.

I felt so close to him and I knew without a doubt that he knew what I was feeling. Even more than that,
I knew that he would not condemn me for my thoughts and think less of me. He would still be able to see that my hope was in God despite them.

For He Himself had felt terrible anguish although His hope could never be anywhere but with His Father.

So from now on when things seem unbearable and I am afflicted, abandoned, desolate not only will I do as the Passionists recommend and keep Him company in the Garden, but I will run there as quick as I can!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Sisters of the Cross and Passion

I will try with all my strength to follow in the footsteps of my Jesus. 
If I am afflicted, abandoned, desolate, I will keep Him company in the Garden. 
If  I am despised and injured, I will keep him company in the Praetorium.
If  I am depressed and afflicted in the agonies of suffering, I will keep Him company on the Cross with a lance in my heart.
These words describe the source of comfort and strength for Elizabeth Prout (Mother Mary Joseph) and others who have followed a call to the Sisters of the Cross and Passion, of which she is foundress. 
The order's beginnings date to the industrial revolution in Manchester, England. The times called for strong people to work against the filth, danger, and ignorance that abounded in living conditions of the new factory towns. The place, the midlands of England, called for people of faith sturdy in the face of deep anti-Catholic prejudices.  

St. Ignatius Loyola: Rules for Spiritual Discernment

Something I am following at the moment is a wonderful series on EWTN about the rules of St Ignatius


The first Rule: In the persons who go from mortal sin to mortal sin, the enemy is commonly used to propose to them apparent pleasures, making them imagine sensual delights and pleasures in order to hold them more and make them grow in their vices and sins. In these persons the good spirit uses the opposite method, pricking them and biting their consciences through the process of reason.

The second: In the persons who are going on intensely cleansing their sins and rising from good to better in the service of God our Lord, it is the method contrary to that in the first Rule, for then it is the way of the evil spirit to bite, sadden and put obstacles, disquieting with false reasons, that one may not go on; and it is proper to the good to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing, and putting away all obstacles, that one may go on in well doing.

The third: Of Spiritual Consolation. I call it consolation when some interior movement in the soul is caused, through which the soul comes to be inflamed with love of its Creator and Lord; and when it can in consequence love no created thing on the face of the earth in itself, but in the Creator of them all. Likewise, when it sheds tears that move to love of its Lord, whether out of sorrow for one’s sins, or for the Passion of Christ our Lord, or because of other things directly connected with His service and praise. Finally, I call consolation every increase of hope, faith and charity, and all interior joy which calls and attracts to heavenly things and to the salvation of one’s soul, quieting it and giving it peace in its Creator and Lord.

The fourth: Of Spiritual Desolation. I call desolation all the contrary of the third rule, such as darkness of soul, disturbance in it, movement to things low and earthly, the unquiet of different agitations and temptations, moving to want of confidence, without hope, without love, when one finds oneself all lazy, tepid, sad, and as if separated from his Creator and Lord. Because, as consolation is contrary to desolation, in the same way the thoughts which come from consolation are contrary to the thoughts which come from desolation.

The fifth: In time of desolation never to make a change; but to be firm and constant in the resolutions and determination in which one was the day preceding such desolation, or in the determination in which he was in the preceding consolation. Because, as in consolation it is rather the good spirit who guides and counsels us, so in desolation it is the bad, with whose counsels we cannot take a course to decide rightly.

The sixth: Although in desolation we ought not to change our first resolutions, it is very helpful intensely to change ourselves against the same desolation, as by insisting more on prayer, meditation, on much examination, and by giving ourselves more scope in some suitable way of doing penance.

The seventh: Let him who is in desolation consider how the Lord has left him in trial in his natural powers, in order to resist the different agitations and temptations of the enemy; since he can with the Divine help, which always remains to him, though he does not clearly perceive it: because the Lord has taken from him his great fervor, great love and intense grace, leaving him, however, grace enough for eternal salvation.

The eighth: Let him who is in desolation labor to be in patience, which is contrary to the vexations which come to him: and let him think that he will soon be consoled, employing against the desolation the devices, as is said in the sixth Rule.

The ninth: There are three principal reasons why we find ourselves desolate. The first is, because of our being tepid, lazy or negligent in our spiritual exercises; and so through our faults, spiritual consolation withdraws from us. The second, to try us and see how much we are and how much we let ourselves out in His service and praise without such great pay of consolation and great graces. The third, to give us true acquaintance and knowledge, that we may interiorly feel that it is not ours to get or keep great devotion, intense love, tears, or any other spiritual consolation, but that all is the gift and grace of God our Lord, and that we may not build a nest in a thing not ours, raising our intellect into some pride or vainglory, attributing to us devotion or the other things of the spiritual consolation.

The tenth: Let him who is in consolation think how he will be in the desolation which will come after, taking new strength for then.

The eleventh: Let him who is consoled see to humbling himself and lowering himself as much as he can, thinking how little he is able for in the time of desolation without such grace or consolation. On the contrary, let him who is in desolation think that he can do much with the grace sufficient to resist all his enemies, taking strength in his Creator and Lord.

The twelfth: The enemy acts like a woman, in being weak against vigor and strong of will. Because, as it is the way of the woman when she is quarrelling with some man to lose heart, taking flight when the man shows her much courage: and on the contrary, if the man, losing heart, begins to fly, the wrath, revenge, and ferocity of the woman is very great, and so without bounds; in the same manner, it is the way of the enemy to weaken and lose heart, his temptations taking flight, when the person who is exercising himself in spiritual things opposes a bold front against the temptations of the enemy, doing diametrically the opposite. And on the contrary, if the person who is exercising himself commences to have fear and lose heart in suffering the temptations, there is no beast so wild on the face of the earth as the enemy of human nature in following out his damnable intention with so great malice.

The thirteenth: Likewise, he acts as a licentious lover in wanting to be secret and not revealed. For, as the licentious man who, speaking for an evil purpose, solicits a daughter of a good father or a wife of a good husband, wants his words and persuasions to be secret, and the contrary displeases him much, when the daughter reveals to her father or the wife to her husband his licentious words and depraved intention, because he easily gathers that he will not be able to succeed with the undertaking begun: in the same way, when the enemy of human nature brings his wiles and persuasions to the just soul, he wants and desires that they be received and kept in secret; but when one reveals them to his good Confessor or to another spiritual person that knows his deceits and evil ends, it is very grievous to him, because he gathers, from his manifest deceits being discovered, that he will not be able to succeed with his wickedness begun.

The fourteenth: Likewise, he behaves as a chief bent on conquering and robbing what he desires: for, as a captain and chief of the army, pitching his camp, and looking at the forces or defenses of a stronghold, attacks it on the weakest side, in like manner the enemy of human nature, roaming about, looks in turn at all our virtues, theological, cardinal and moral; and where he finds us weakest and most in need for our eternal salvation, there he attacks us and aims at taking us.

How the Passionists Got Their Habit

The Sisters of the Cross and Passion are a branch of the larger Passionist family founded by St Paul of the Cross in the eighteenth century.

Identification with Christ in the mystery of His passion, death and resurrection is at the heart of their vocation. The experience of the passion in their own lives enables them to express the compassion of Christ towards others.

They wear a heart-shaped sign imprinted with the words "The Passion of Jesus Christ". The Cross of Jesus surmounts the sign; nails of the Crucifixion underscore the words. The sign keeps in their memory the great and constant life-giving love God has poured out for all of us.

This sign was first worn by the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared to St Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionist Congregation.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Inspired to Become an Associate

My meeting at the Convent of the Cross and Passion went very well.

I was seen by a Sister who gave me both a book and a cup of tea (two of my favourite things).

We had a lovely chat during which I was invited to the next associates meeting.

Our meeting ended with a few moments in the chapel (treats!).

I am very much looking forward to the meeting and the possibility of one day being able to wear the associates badge.

I leave it in His hands!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

True Devotion

This is the statue of Our Lady, in the Padre Pio Garden at the Friary in Pentasaph.

The prayer on the base of the statue is as follows -

I choose you Mary in the presence of the Angels of Heaven for my Mother and Queen.

I consecrate to you in obedience and love all that I am, all that I have and all the good that I may do, putting myself and all that belongs to me entirely at your service, for the greater Glory of God in time and eternity.

It's by St Louis De Monfort  the author of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

When we arrived at the statue I was privilaged to witness a real life example of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The was a young man already there and as I started to write down the prayer in my little notebook he became busy on his knees.

He had brought a gift of beautiful flowers for his "Mammy" Mary.

When he had finished arranging the flowers to his satisfaction he did not arise, but shuffled forward to get closer to Mary.

At this point I moved away a little, but could not take my eyes from the scene which was unfolding before me.

Although I intentionally moved away so that I could not hear what was being said, I watched facinated as he kissed her feet and spoke to her gently and at some length, often stroking her rosary or the folds of her dress.

When he had finished I returned to the statue to finish writing down the prayer upon it's base.

I had been so touched by the modern day show of "True Devotion" that I spoke to the young man and told him that I had found it very beautiful him bringing Mary flowers for Valentines Day.

He smiled and replied in a lovely Irish lilt "Ah well, you couldn't pass by Our Lady now could you!"

What a lovely way to some up True Devotion!

During our short conversation he told me that he had also been, that morning, to the near by Shrine, St Winifred's Well and had taken the Blessed Mother some flowers there too.

It made me smile as I remember that my own father, God rest him, always said you could judge a man by how he treated his mother!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Inspired to Seek ....

While on retreat at Hyning I met a lovely man who gave his name as Wild Mad Irish John. He was indeed Wild, certainly Irish and no doubt named John, but he had a peace and joy which marked him out as one of the sanest people I have ever met!

He was what is known as an oblate, or lay associate and offered his help and gave of his skills to the Sisters with Joy and Love.

I have considered the oblate life my self and was deeply moved by his story.

He encouraged me to join them, but I did  not feel that this was the right order for me, as lovely as the Sisters are the "fit" was not quite right. I had considered the Franciscans previously, as a friend of mine is very drawn to them, but I knew that it just was not the right order for me.

So, on return from my retreat I searched for other orders to look into.

I was amazed to find that there was a convent almost on my own doorstep, that I had no idea existed.

I checked out the details on the Internet and was even more amazed (and somewhat amused) to find that they were a Passionist order.

This was the one order I had felt truly drawn to!

My Patron Saint Gemma Galgani (who chose me not the other way round) is a passionist saint and everything I knew about the passionist drew me to them.

So I took the bull with the horns and rang the convent.

It was a strange call to make as I wasn't sure how to start.

I suppose that "We haven't met, but I know you husband!" could be an opening when talking to any Sister.

After quite a lengthy conversation I was invited to the convent for a chat.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Retreat with the Sisters at Hyning

My retreat this year has been at the Monastery in Hyning where these lovely Benedictine Sisters live, work and worship.

It was such a wonderful place to visit, so peaceful and quiet and because we had snow while we were there I think we enjoyed an added stillness nestled under the white blanked.

The Sisters were a joy to behold and I went to mass with them and joined in there regular prayers in the chapel at every opportunity.

I read a couple of good books while I was there and our conductor lead some very informative sessions on St Benedict and his rule.

I particularly found the information on Lectio Divina peaked my interest and I look forward to adding it to my own spiritual endevours.

I did  however feel kind of the odd one out at this retreat being the only Catholic in the party, which was very strange as I had known most of the group for over ten years.

It would have been easy to "fit in" to miss Mass in order to make it on time to all the sessions. To go to the service lead by the conductor instead and then try to make it to Mass once we were home, but I knew it was wrong.

Jesus was waiting for me in the chapel, his real and living presence in the Blessed Sacrament and not for the first time I picked up my cross and followed Him.

As always He gave me more that I had given up.

Luke 14:25-35 (The Message)

Figure the Cost
One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, "Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one's own self!—can't be my disciple. Anyone who won't shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can't be my disciple. 
"Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn't first sit down and figure the cost so you'll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you're going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: 'He started something he couldn't finish.'

"Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can't, won't he send an emissary and work out a truce?

"Simply put, if you're not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can't be my disciple.

"Salt is excellent. But if the salt goes flat, it's useless, good for nothing.

"Are you listening to this? Really listening?"