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But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness,

godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. ~ 1 Timothy 6:11

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The 8 Beatitudes

List of the 8 Beatitudes:
  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
  2. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 
  3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 
  4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 
  5. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 
  6. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 
  8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. 

Keep Pursuing

Additional Resources

The Beatitudes come directly from Jesus in Matthew 5:3-12. Jesus teaches the 8 Beatitudes as the beginning to the sermon on the mount.

The 8 Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus' preaching. They take up the promises made to the chosen people since Abraham. The Beatitudes fulfill the promises by ordering them no longer merely to the possession of a territory, but to the Kingdom of heaven.

The Catechism states that, "the Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity. They express the vocation of the faithful associated with the glory of his Passion and Resurrection; they shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life; they are the paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations; they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ's disciples; they have begun in the lives of the Virgin Mary and all the saints." ~  CCC 1717

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

What It Is

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a prayer that is near and dear to my heart.  It transformed my life!  And today is the 77th anniversary of the prayer!
"This Chaplet was dictated to Saint Faustina by the Lord Jesus Himself in Vilnius on September 13-14, 1935, as a prayer of atonement and for the appeasement of God's wrath." ~ Introduction to the Diary of Saint Faustina

How to Pray It

The Chaplet can be prayed on rosary beads because it follows the same format as the rosary.  The following quote is taken from the book, "Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska".  These are the words of Jesus when He gave the prayer to Saint Faustina:
"...First of all, you will say one OUR FATHER and HAIL MARY and the [APOSTLE'S CREED].  Then on the OUR FATHER beads [on the rosary] you will say the following words: 'Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.' On the HAIL MARY beads [on the rosary] you will say the following words: 'For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.' In conclusion, three times you will recite these words: 'Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.'" ~ Diary 474-476
(Just to be safe, I listed the prayer in another format at the bottom of this post.)

Why to Pray It

This is an especially powerful prayer.  The introduction to Saint Faustina's Diary goes on to say:
"By means of this prayer, the petitioners request 'mercy on us and on the whole world,' and by so doing, they perform a work of mercy.  If the faithful add to this the foundation of trust and fulfill the conditions regarding every good prayer (humility, perseverance, matters in conformity with God's will), they can expect the fulfillment of Christ's promises which are particularly related to the hour of death: the grace of conversion and a peaceful death.
Not only will the people who say the Chaplet receive these graces, but also the dying at whose side others will recite this prayer.  The Lord said: 'When this chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person, God's anger is placated, unfathomable mercy envelops the soul' (Diary, 811).  The general promise says: 'It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet' (Diary, 1541) '...if what you ask is compatible with My will.' (Diary, 1731)"
It is good to pray this prayer any time / all the time.  However, this prayer is especially powerful at the three o'clock hour, the hour of our Lord's death on the cross.  In the diary it says the following:
"At three o'clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment for the whole world.  I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow.  In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of my Passion..." ~ Diary, 1320

Personal Experience

I can attest to the power of this prayer in my own personal experience.  This prayer has transformed my life.  Once my wife taught me this prayer, it was just too powerful and too easy (10 minutes) to not say at 3 pm every day.  (Normally we'll pray along with Relevant Radio when they say it at 3 pm.)  And the results have been prayer life has improved, people have been healed, friends have been converted...heck I have a friend who made it rain during a drought (no joke).

So I pass this prayer along to you.  It is a gift straight from Jesus Himself.  Please try using it for a week at 3 pm...see if it doesn't change your life.

[Divine Mercy Image]

Keep Pursuing

Additional Material

Just in case it wasn't clear, this is how you pray the chaplet on rosary beads:
  • The Opening 
  • The Five Decades 
    • (pray this prayer once at the beginning of each decade) 
      • Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, the Soul and Divinity, of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. 
    • (pray this prayer ten times in each decade) 
      • For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world 
    • (repeat the above set of prayers five times for a total of 55 prayers) 
  • The Closing 
    • (repeat the below prayer three times) 
      • Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world 

Lastly, here is a website with loads of materials and information on the Divine Mercy Chaplet:

The Apostle's Creed

The Apostle's Creed is a "professions of faith" since it summarizes the faith that Christians profess.

This is how you pray the Apostle's Creed:
I believe in God the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son,
our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell; the third day
He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven, and sits at
the right hand of God the Father
almighty, from thence He shall come
to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body
and life everlasting.
It is listed in the Compendium of the CCC here alongside the Nicene Creed.

CCC 187 says "they are called 'creeds' on account of what is usually their first word in Latin: credo ('I believe'). They are also called 'symbols of faith'."

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The Hail Mary

The Hail Mary is a wonderful prayer asking for Mary's intercession upon our behalf.

It goes:
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. 

Why We Pray the Hail Mary

When we pray this prayer, we ask for intercession of our Holy Mother on our behalf (we are asking her to pray for us).  She is our mother because as members of the Church we are the brothers and sisters of Christ.

Fun fact: It is not possible for you to love Mary more than her son, Jesus, loves her.

Where the Hail Mary Comes From

The Hail Mary prayer actually comes from sacred scripture: Luke 1:28, 1:42.  

  • Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
    • "And coming to her, he [the angel] said, 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.'" ~ Luke 1:28
  • Blessed art though amongst women and blessed in the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
    • "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, 'Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.'" ~ Luke 1:41-42
  • Holy Mary, mother of God.
    • "'And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?'" ~ Luke 1:43
  • Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Additional Resources

The Catechism covers the reasons for and the source of the Hail Mary prayer in CCC 2673-2679.

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The Our Father

We are starting out the Prayers series with what is considered the fundamental Christian prayer: The Our Father.  It came directly from Jesus' mouth when a disciple asked him how we should pray.

This is the Our Father prayer:
"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
This prayer as given to us by Jesus.  It is recorded in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.

One commonly asked question is whether or not to include the doxology at the end of the prayer.  The doxology is: "For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever".  The Catholic Church does not include the doxology in the Our Father and explains why in CCC 2760.

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