Category Archives: Prayer

The Roman Missal – Third Edition

the ritual text containing prayers and instructions for the celebration of the Mass, is now being prepared for publication. In the United States, seven publishers (Catholic Book Publishing Corp., Liturgical Press, Liturgy Training Publications, Magnificat, Midwest Theological Forum, USCCB Communications, and World Library Publications) will publish ritual editions and are now advertising their plans and will soon accept pre-orders. The Roman Missal will be implemented in the United States of America on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011.  The ritual editions should start arriving in parishes around October 1.

Pope John Paul II announced a revised version of the Missale Romanum during the Jubilee Year 2000. Among other things, the revised edition of the Missale Romanum contains prayers for the observances of recently canonized saints, additional prefaces for the Eucharistic Prayers, additional Votive Masses and Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions, and some updated and revised rubrics (instructions) for the celebration of the Mass. The English translation of the Roman Missal will also include updated translations of existing prayers, including some of the well-known responses and acclamations of the people. Continue reading

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History of the Rosary

HISTORY OF THE ROSARY Fr. William Saunders
Please explain the history and background of the rosary. Is it true that the Blessed Mother gave it to St. Dominic?
The rosary is one of the most cherished prayers of our Catholic Church. Introduced by the Creed, the Our Father, three Hail Marys and the Doxology (“Glory Be”), and concluded with the Salve Regina, the rosary involves the recitation of five decades consisting of the Our Father, 10 Hail Marys and the Doxology. During this recitation, the individual meditates on the saving mysteries of our Lord’s life and the faithful witness of our Blessed Mother.
Journeying through the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries of the rosary, the individual brings to mind our Lord’s incarnation, His passion and death and His resurrection from the dead. In so doing, the rosary assists us in growing in a deeper appreciation of these mysteries, in uniting our life more closely to our Lord and in imploring His graced assistance to live the faith. We also ask for the prayers of our Blessed Mother, who leads all believers to her Son.
The origins of the rosary are “sketchy” at best. The use of “prayer beads” and the repeated recitation of prayers to aid in meditation stem from the earliest days of the Church and has roots in pre-Christian times. Evidence exists from the Middle Ages that strings of beads were used to count Our Fathers and Hail Marys. Actually, these strings of beads became known as “Paternosters,” the Latin for “Our Father.”
The structure of the rosary gradually evolved between the 12th and 15th centuries. Eventually 50 Hail Marys were recited and linked with verses of psalms or other phrases evoking the lives of Jesus and Mary. During this time, this prayer form became known as the rosarium (“rose garden”), actually a common term to designate a collection of similar material, such as an anthology of stories on the same subject or theme. During the 16th century, the structure of the five-decade rosary based on the three sets of mysteries prevailed.
Tradition does hold that St. Dominic (d. 1221) devised the rosary as we know it. Moved by a vision of our Blessed Mother, he preached the use of the rosary in his missionary work among the Albigensians, who had denied the mystery of Christ. Some scholars take exception to St. Dominic’s role in forming the rosary. The earliest accounts of his life do not mention it, the Dominican constitutions do not link him with it and contemporaneous portraits do not include it as a symbol to identify the saint.
In 1922, Dom Louis Cougaud stated, “The various elements which enter into the composition of that Catholic devotion commonly called the rosary are the product of a long and gradual development which began before St. Dominic’s time, which continued without his having any share in it, and which only attained its final shape several centuries after his death.” However, other scholars would rebut that St. Dominic not so much “invented” the rosary as he preached its use to convert sinners and those who had strayed from the faith. Moreover, at least a dozen popes have mentioned St. Dominic’s connection with the rosary, sanctioning his role as at least a “pious belief.”
The rosary gained greater popularity in the 1500s, when Moslem Turks were ravaging Eastern Europe. Recall that in 1453, Constantinople had fallen to the Moslems, leaving the Balkans and Hungary open to conquest. With Moslems raiding even the coast of Italy, the control of the Mediterranean was now at stake.
In 1571, Pope Pius V organized a fleet under the command of Don Juan of Austria the half-brother of King Philip II of Spain. While preparations were underway, the Holy Father asked all of the faithful to say the rosary and implore our Blessed Mother’s prayers, under the title Our Lady of Victory, that our Lord would grant victory to the Christians. Although the Moslem fleet outnumbered that of the Christians in both vessels and sailors, the forces were ready to meet in battle. The Christian flagship flew a blue banner depicting Christ crucified. On October 7, 1571, the Moslems were defeated at the Battle of Lepanto. The following year, Pope St. Pius V established the Feast of the Holy Rosary on October 7, where the faithful would not only remember this victory, but also give thanks to the Lord for all of His benefits and remember the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother.
The fact that our Church continues to include the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the liturgical calendar testifies to the importance and goodness of this form of prayer. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, “The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description.”
Fr. Saunders is president of the Notre Dame Institute and associate pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish, both in Alexandria.

This article appeared in the October 6, 1994 issue of “The Arlington Catholic Herald.” Courtesy of the “Arlington Catholic Herald” diocesan newspaper of the Arlington (VA) diocese. For subscription information, call 1-800-377-0511 or write 200 North Glebe Road, Suite 607 Arlington, VA 22203.

Many of the popes and saints regularly prayed the rosary. Padre Pio prayed several rosaries per day and his last words were, “Love the Blessed Virgin and make Her loved. Always say the Rosary!” Pope John Paul II is one “saint” who was very devoted to the rosary. He wrote an apostolic letter on it called The Rosary of the Virgin Mary in which he called the rosary a “path to contemplation”. I’d highly recommend that you read it here.


A Simple Rule of Life

A Simple Rule of Life

The following is put together from some suggestions by Fr. Christopher La Rocca, OCD, Rector of the Carmelite House of Studies, Mt. Angel, OR.

Besides participating in the sacrifice of the Mass on Sundays and Holydays (and possibly daily Mass if you can make it) here is a suggestion on a simple way to order your day to include prayer:

1. Begin your day with a “Morning Offering” to offer the day to God (linked to www.catholic.org).

2. Live in the presence of God during the day by calling to mind that God is always with you. (For further information online read The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection.)

3. Meditate on the Word of God in the Bible. One idea is to choose a Scripture quote to meditate on during the day, for example, something that stands out to you from the Readings for Daily Mass listed on the US Catholic bishops website at www.usccb.org.

4. Pray before meals in your own words or use a traditional prayer such as at the www.catholic.org website.

5. End the day with prayer and a General Examination of Consciencesuch as from the EWTN website by Fr. John Hardon, S.J..



The Way of the Cross with Carmelite Saint

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FIRST STATION: Jesus is condemned to death

“When the soul reaches the stage at which it pays little attention to praise, it pays even less attention to disapproval. Blame strengthens the soul; what’s more, it acquires a special and tender love for its persecutors.” ~ Saint Teresa of Avila

Lord, my soul is before you.  You know me deeply, you know all about me, you read into my inmost depths.  You gather every tear and respond to my every smile.  There is no space or time in my life when you do not visit with your love, with your friendship.  I thank you for all of this, my God.  My path in this life is traced out, is certain: with each step, I want to be with you, in joy and in struggle, in peace and in misunderstanding, in company and in solitude.  Your presence, O Jesus, makes my soul strong, even in weakness.


SECOND STATION: Jesus carries the cross

“Jesus lavishes his crosses as the most certain mark of his tenderness, for He will to make you like Him. So why be afraid of not being able to carry the cross without weakening?” ~ Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Lord, so many times i knew your tenderness in my life!  Especially in the painful moments, when I could no longer find the words to say, when it was impossible for me to pray, when there was only night…You became near, even in silence, with a barely perceptible touch.  I saw you in some many times, Jesus, that I could look you in the eye.  Then, when the light returned, when the tears were dried, I felt a little more like you, a little more your son and brother.


THIRD STATION: Jesus falls the first time

A ‘scientia crucis’ can be gained only when one comes to feel the cross radically. The entire sum of human failures can be blotted out by the expiation of the cross. ~ St. Edith Stein

Lord, I know that I do not know you as I should, as I would like.  I know that I still have a long journey, walking behind you, following in your footsteps, even in the shadow of the cross.  All that I can brag about are my weaknesses, my faults.  Humanly speaking, Jesus, I am truly a poor thing, but with you in my heart and in my life, I feel rich, I feel happy.  I do not want to hide myself before you; I open my arms, I open my heart so that you may enter into my poverty with true wealth, which is your cross.  Yes, my Savior: this is the sign of Love.


FOURTH STATION: Jesus meets his mother

The Gospel here places no words in the mouth of your mother. And you, too, my Jesus speak not a word. Your silence is eloquent. ~ Bl. Titus Brandsma

Lord, I also want to remain in silence, in this moment, to gather that exchange of infinite love that unites you and your Mother.  I lift my eyes, Jesus, and see you, I stay to look at your face, the eyes of a Son, that reflect the figure of your Mother.  You do not speak, but give your Presence: you give yourself, and you give your Mother.  I receive her as my Lady, my dearest Mother.


FIFTH STATION: Simon of Cyrene helps carry the cross

“All bear their crosses although these crosses be different. If a person wants to gain freedom of spirit and not always be troubled let him begin by not being frightened by the cross. Then he will see how the Lord helps him carry it.” ~ St. John of the Cross

Lord, I am afraid.  I want to flee from every pain, from every trial.  Above all, solitude frightens me, blocks me.  All of those times when the shadow of the cross reappears in my life, I struggle to continue to hope.  Perhaps I am tired by now, Jesus.  But I want to try once more, I want to make myself closer to your heart.  I extend my hand and grasp yours; I offer the little strength I have, the nothing that I am.  Only with you will I be able to carry the cross.


SIXTH STATION: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

”Jesus is not alone on the way of the cross. Today, as then, not only are there adversaries, but there are those who assist him. Representative of those who love Him and wish to assist Him is Veronica.” ~ St. Edith Stein

Lord, I have only one desire in my heart: to be your friend, to walk with you, to share life with you.  I know that you are suffering, walking along the way of sadness.  I see so many people around.  I also come, I search for you, I make myself as close as possible.  I want to love you; nothing else is important to me.  Together with Veronica I search for your face, O You who are my Light!


SEVENTH STATION: Jesus falls the second time

”When you walk in the dark night and in the emptiness of spiritual poverty, you will think that everyone and everything is failing you — including God. But nothing is failing you.” ~ St. John of the Cross

Lord, I miss you!  How can you tell me that you are always near, that you share everything with me?  I feel the solitude, the sadness, the anxiety.  You also fell, under the weight of an infinite pain.  How can I find you again, my Shepherd?  I, the lost sheep, need you.  Rise up again, arise, good Shepherd!  Now I will follow you all the days of my life.


EIGHTH STATION: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

“O Jesus, let me weep for myself, for I am nothing but dry wood to be cast into the fire. But you give new life to the dry wood by grafting it onto the wood of the cross.” ~ Bl. Titus Brandsma

Lord, you are my Fire!  Like poor wood, by now without life, I only want to throw myself into your arms.  Gather me close, I pray!  It does not matter if this means that I will need to be united to the cross of your pain.  Only with you can I be happy again.  Our united tears will become a song of joy.


NINTH STATION: Jesus falls the third time

”Even though you should fall one hundred times, to prove your love for Him, rise each time with even greater strength.” ~ St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Lord, I am ashamed of myself; I fall and fall again, my lose myself, I distance myself, I close myself off.  And when I find myself like this, down and without anymore strength in myself, I then understand that the only thing to do, the only step to take is to enter into myself again, like the lost son of in the parable, and there, in the depths of my soul, to rediscover your love for me.  Clinging to this I can rise up again, only urged on by infinite trust in the tenderness of your friend, O my Savior.


TENTH STATION: Jesus is stripped of his garments

”The soul that is stripped of self and clothed in Jesus Christ has nothing to fear from the exterior world. Therefore I renounce myself each day so that Christ may increase in me.” ~ Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Lord, so many times by now, I have felt stripped of everything that I held precious, indispensable to my life.  So many experiences in the world have made me understand that, in the end, nothing remains except your only presence, your faithful love.  I thought, therefore, of leaving behind useless things, perhaps even so many companions that did not bring me to you.  Little by little, I stripped myself and reclothed myself in the most beautiful garment, which is You, O Jesus.


ELEVENTH STATION: Jesus is nailed to the cross

”I resolved to remain in spirit at the foot of the cross and to receive the divine dew, the blood falling to the ground with no one hastening to gather it up. I then understood that I was to pour it out upon souls.” ~ St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Lord, by your grace, I have arrived to this point, at the foot of your cross.  I see you nailed, to the wood, but even more to the pain, to love, to your will to save us.  Every drop of your blood that falls is a promise of a new life, for each one of us, your sons, scattered throughout the world, throughout all times of the poor history of humanity.  As your brother and your friend, O Jesus, I want to learn every day to gather the precious drops of your word for us, of your infinite love, and then, without keeping them for me, I want more and more to give them to all those who I meet along my path.


TWELFTH STATION: Jesus dies on the cross

“Death cannot be bitter for the soul that loves, for in it she finds all the sweetness and delight of love. She rejoices over death as she would over the thought of her betrothal and marriage, and she longs for the day and the hour of her death.” ~ St. John of the Cross

Lord, your death is a great school; here I can learn to love, to truly live; here I can find a sense of my life.  Before you, crucified, I see that love and pain are one thing and it is through this that death is defeated and cannot overcome us.  Together with you, even death, every little death in my experience of life, becomes sweet, because now I know that in pain I can find love.  Thank you, Lord Jesus.


THIRTEENTH STATION: Jesus is taken down from the cross

“You will not arrive at what you desire by following your own path, or even by high contemplation; but only through a great humility and a surrender of the heart.” ~ St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Lord, I know that there is nothing great, bright or strong for me to present to you.  I have nothing more if not my heart.  After this long walk in your footsteps, through trial and the pain of the cross, I desire only the give you my heart, my love, my life.  I abandon myself to your embrace: I know that you receive me, as I am.


FOURTEENTH STATION: Jesus is laid in the tomb

“The soul must empty itself of all that is not God in order to go to God. . . For Christ, desire to enter into complete nakedness and poverty in everything.” ~ St. John of the Cross

Lord, the last step is steep descent, an entrance into the darkness of the tomb.  I hoped, arriving here at the top, to see a clearer light, to receive the beneficial rays of the sun. Instead, it is still not time for this.  However, I choose to remain with you, to descend also in the obscure solitude of the tomb, of the darkness.  I am not afraid, because I believe that your love is stronger; I know that you will raise and give new life also to me.