Guardian Angels

Today is the feast of the Guardian Angels and I found these two posts to be the best explanations of what Scripture teaches us about these wonderful helpers. Thank you, Lord, for my guardian angel!

http://lifeteen.com/blog/to-protect-and-serve-the-truth-about-guardian-angels/?utm_content=bufferf09dc&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

 

Music for Eastertide & Beyond

If I had thought about it sooner, I would have posted this on Holy Thursday…

Music for the Triduum/Easter season:

Good Friday:

Traditional hymns: “O Sacred Head Now Wounded,” “At the Cross Her Station Keeping,” “The Old Rugged Cross,” & “Were You There?”

Bach’s St. Matthew Passion or St. John Passion

Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri

Contemporary: Matt Maher’s “You Were on the Cross,” “Jars of Clay’s “O Come and Mourn With Me Awhile,” and Bruce Carroll’s “Driving Nails”

Holy Saturday/Easter Sunday:

Contemporary: Carman’s “Sunday’s On Its Way”–and for the young at heart, here’s a fun video:

Easter Sunday/Easter Season:

Traditional hymns: “Christ Arose”, “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”, “Alleluia! Alleluia!” [Ode to Joy tune]

Classical: Bach’s Easter Oratorio & Widor’s Toccata from the Fifth Organ Symphony in F, Op 42 #1–Here’s a wonderful performance:

Contemporary:

Anthem: Matt Maher’s “Christ is Risen” (backing vocals by Audrey Assad); nice concept video done by a fan:

Worship & praise: Adam Young (a.k.a. Owl City)’s cover of “In Christ Alone (I Stand)”

Contemporary hymn: “Easter Song” (Keith Green performance, although the 2nd Chapter of Acts is good, too)

Anthem: James Ward’s “Death is Ended”

Vintage anthems: Don Francisco’s “He’s Alive” & Dallas Holm’s “Rise Again”

Finally, I would be remiss to not include at least a few other year-round favorites that come to mind about the grace of God at work in our lives:

Bach’s Halellujah Chorus

Rich Mullin’s “Step by Step”

Audrey Assad’s “O Happy Fault,” “Sparrow,” & “Breaking Through”

U2’s “Magnificent” & “Pride”

Matt Maher’s “New State of Mind,” “Alive Again,” “His Grace is Enough”

Eleanor Farjeon’s “Morning Has Broken”

Johnny Cash’s “When the Man Comes Around”

Contemporary hymn: “You Are Mine”

Randy Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses”

Any musical setting and/or performer for “Ave Maria,” although I’m especially fond of Andrea Bocelli and Perry Como’s versions.

 

Freestyle Fridays

Here’s a slightly late helpful refresher guide to the Triduum, in handy infographic form. You can use it to help you better process what was involved and to prepare for what’s remaining. Remember, Sunday’s on it’s way!

http://www.focus.org/blog/posts/an-illustrated-guide-to-the-triduum-infographic.html

I’m looking forward to the Stations of the Cross and tonight’s Communion service as unfortunately I couldn’t attend The Lord’s Supper mass last night. But then there’s the Easter Vigil to look forward to tomorrow, after watching The Passion of the Christ for the second year in the row (I’m DVRing it tonight). I can’t watch all the scenes and use a ton of Kleenex, but in my opinion–and I put this off for over a decade–it’s well worth whatever you can manage viewing/hearing.

 

 

The Way of the Cross

Here’s an excellent reblogged post for Holy Thursday.

http://aquinasetc.com/2015/04/02/the-way-of-the-cross/

I hope you have had a blessed first day of the Triduum, whether it looked like what you had planned or not. We have two more days to focus on the Lord’s passion and then celebrate with Easter Sunday!

 

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

I arise today                                                                                           Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

Amen.

Monday Musings

Today I return to blogging after having one of the many versions of late winter illnesses that are going around. Mine wasn’t particularly horrible–just a cold that quickly went into my chest and kept me feverish and not sleeping nights for longer than I wanted. But in the end–although I’m still hacking–it was just a simple cold and once the fever subsided I had to keep marching on with life again. This reminds me of an old post that I’d like to share again, as it was good for me to reread today for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that we’re marching on toward Easter Sunday as we continue in our Lenten journey. I hope it will be encouraging to you as well.

https://beyouverywell.com/2013/08/09/marching-on/

 

Shrove Tuesday

Lest I forget, here’s my favorite verse for this day of feasting before our days of fasting (“There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven…” Ec 3:1, NJB)

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine
There’s music and laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!

Hilaire Belloc

 

 

Too Much Tuesday

I have decided I’d like to try blogging about when there’s too much of something in my life. Here’s a prime example:

“The worst way of speaking is to speak too much. Therefore speak little and well, speak little and gently, speak little and charitably, speak little and amiably.”

St. Francis de Sales

So, for Lent I am going to give up my habit to let my jaws start flapping the instant there’s an audience for whatever is on my mind and it feels like my head will explode if I don’t immediately share the idea, inspiration, information, or just plain old issuing forth on whatever subject is currently on “play”–a.k.a. rant mode (son’s nomenclature). In essence, I will be fasting from such frequent freedom with my tongue. This will be tough. It may even be laughable to those who know me best. I know I was surprised to find, upon meditation, that this was the direction the Holy Spirit was nudging me in. But be that as it may, I will give it my best shot. The downside for you, gentle reader, is that I am not placing that fast on my writing. So if I become even wordier and take longer than usual to make my point, I apologize in advance; Lent only lasts six weeks.

I am sure this will be the hardest thing I’ve ever given up for love of my Lord’s immense sacrifice for me and all of mankind, but it also will be a huge blessing to my family if I can even remotely pull it off (plus they provide built in accountability!).

Lord, have mercy!

Holiday/Seasonal Suffering

Whether it’s illness (depression, anxiety, pain, etc.), the common triggers of departed loved ones departed and family separated from us by distance or even various unexpected changes in life, the holidays are, for many, a time full of suffering. I know this year I’m just feeling worn out in general and although I’m not having a bad Advent it’s not the one I had hoped to have. So much for more time for reflection on the meaning of the life Christ came into this world to bring us. It’s not over just yet but it seems there’s only been little bits and pieces of that woven through our Advent wreath prayers and O, Antiphons and my eclectic Advent/winter music mix (and those Christmas hymns that I think of as good year-round).

Then there are circumstances that make gift giving more challenging this year and, as always it seems with me, right down to the line, so there’s the additional pressures of meeting deadlines when one is suffering and thereby slowed down. I’m feeling overwhelmed by the material things of the world and frustrated that I can’t be more focused on the spiritual things of life. But then I serendipitously came across these words of one of my personal heroes, Vincent van Gogh, during a time when he was working as a teacher and feeling pretty overwhelmed himself it seems. His letters from that period are “packed with long quotes from the Bible, poems, and hymns about struggles, sorrows, lost dreams, and his faith in God.”

Must man not struggle here on earth? You must have felt so when you were ill. No victory without a battle, no battle without suffering…No, being ill and being supported by God’s arm and acquiring new ideas and resolutions, which couldn’t occur to us when we weren’t ill, and acquiring clearer faith and firmer trust during those days, no that’s not a bad thing.

Letter 95, Isleworth, October 1876, Van Gogh’s Inner Struggle: Life, Work, & Mental Illness; Secrets of Van Gogh, Vol. 2, Liesbeth Heenk, p. 9.

And you know what? He’s absolutely right! My struggles this Advent have been helping me acquire a clearer faith and firmer trust in God, even though my feelings don’t always match my head’s assessment. So to all of you who are struggling–and I’m sure the majority of you have struggles that make mine seem trite, just as there are those below me on the ladder of suffering who feel the same way regarding mine–let’s remember what Scripture instructs us:

“If one member suffers, all suffer together.” 1 Cor 12:26a RSV-CE

A Simple Life

My Faith in Rural Living is Restored

Every year our little town, population of 700 and something, puts up its ancient but nonetheless comforting Merry Christmas lights in front of our tiny downtown’s train tracks. Of course they go up right after Thanksgiving–which is way too early for my celebrating Advent before Christmas preference–so I just try to remember to rejoice that we actually live somewhere that keeps Christ in Christmas! In previous years I always remembered the various aging Christmas decorations around town going up at the same time, so it was much to my dismay that there was no life size Nativity scene next to our town’s quaint gazebo, which, unlike everything else around town, is of quite recent vintage. I felt really let down and considered talking to our mayor, a neighbor, about its absence.

But then, voila! As I drove home in the dark last night my eyes were drawn to it in all its lit up glory and there was great rejoicing; I actually burst out into Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” (This no doubt would have mortified or at the very least annoyed The Teen but probably amused The Husband, who has withstood my quirks for almost a quarter of a century.) Ahh, the balance of celebrating Advent in a society that begins the Christmas frenzy earlier every year was restored with this simple return of the most special family to ever live, the Holy Family.

As Bilbo says in the movie version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring,

“It is no small thing to live a simple life.”

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