Faith Renewal – The ABC’s of Being Catholic – The Letter “I”

Faith Renewal – The ABC’s of Being Catholic – The Letter “I”

By: Bernadette Parrott

Welcome to our Faith Renewal Series that is exploring The ABCs of Being Catholic. We are invited on a journey through the alphabet to explore Catholic terms, beliefs, and traditions. In this post we focus on the letter “I”. Every few days we will add another term beginning with “I” to this post.

If you missed our Introduction to this series <click here>. To go back to the letter “H” <click here>. To go to the letter “J” <click here>.

Indulgence

March 15, 2021

Here’s to the one that started it all! Much earlier in our lockdown I was doing daily reflections on the Readings of the Day. One person asked if I could give her the answer to what Indulgences are all about. That is when I thought it a good idea to the ABC’s of the Catholic Faith! It’s been a long journey since that day. Thanks to her, this series in our faith renewal was born. So, here we go with Indulgences.

So, here’s the official definition:

An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain defined conditions through the Church’s help when, as a minister of redemption, she dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions won by Christ and the saints.

Indulgentarium Doctrina 1

Now, let’s take a closer look!

Sadly, this word stirs up so many misconceptions.

  1. A person can buy their way out of hell with indulgences. The only way to avoid hell is to allow God’s mercy to penetrate our daily lives while we are here on earth. After death, our fate is sealed.
  2. A person can buy indulgences for sins not yet committed. The Church has always taught that an indulgence is not permission to commit a sin, nor a pardon of future sin.
  3. A person can buy forgiveness with indulgences. The very nature of an indulgence requires that we have already sought and received forgiveness. An indulgence only deals with the punishments that may be left after sins have been forgiven.
  4. Indulgences were invented as a means for the Church to raise money. Indulgences developed from reflection on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. They are a way of shortening penance.
  5. An indulgence will shorten your time in purgatory by a fixed number of days. Our “time” in Purgatory is known to God alone.
  6. A person can buy indulgences. In 1545 at the Council of Trent reformed the practice of granting indulgences and canceled all grants of indulgences that involved any fees. It’s important to understand that a person never was able to “buy” an indulgence. That earlier “fee” was related to the giving of alms to a charitable fund or foundation.

Our sins affect the world around us, and we see that in the analogy of the rock being thrown into a lake and the ripples extend outward from there. Christ and the saints wish to help us deal with that ripple affect our sins have. God’s mercy is infinite. The Church does hold the role in the administration of temporal penalties, and we find that in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Indulgences draw from the richness of God’s mercy and His rewards that He wants to bestow on us.

There are partial indulgences and plenary indulgences. The partial indulgence cancels only part of our temporal punishment while the plenary indulgence cancels all temporal punishment required to cleanse our soul. This temporal punishment has an “end”. This end takes place when our soul is purified and permitted into heaven. This is what we experience in Purgatory. The granting of an indulgences lessens the “time” we are in Purgatory through the mercy of God alone.

How do we gain an indulgence? For a partial indulgence, we must be a Catholic in a state of grace. We must have hope that we can gain the indulgence by the acts we perform, and we must perform that act with a contrite heart. To gain a plenary indulgence we add to the requirements of the partial indulgence, seeking forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and pray for the pope’s intentions. There is one final condition – we must be free from all attachment to sin, including venial sin. As we take this journey we are on now and strive to reach out to our God through acts necessary to receive a plenary indulgence, we may still falter, especially on the final condition of being free from all attachment to sin. In God’s great mercy, our grant for indulgence does not go unheard. We will still receive a partial indulgence if we fail in our desire to receive a plenary indulgence.

In all things, the granting of indulgences are meant to encourage us to live the Christian spirit to its fullest through our acts of charity, witnessing to the call of Jesus. We come to God in humility and trust in his mercy. We are invited to read, reflect or listen to Sacred Scripture, to adore Jesus in the Eucharist, to piously take part in the Stations of the Cross and recite the Rosary. Special indulgences can also be granted in Jubilee Years or anniversaries of special events such as the apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes. So powerful is the Sign of the Cross, that a partial indulgence is granted when we devoutly sign ourselves while saying “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

The granting of indulgences is a call for each of us to draw from the repository for the welfare of the whole of the church through prayer and penance. The granting of an indulgence is a lessening of the punishment still due to sin, and this indulgence can be offered to those suffering in purgatory.

In this Year of St Joseph, the Holy See has granted special indulgences from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021. It is granted along with the usual conditions of sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis calls us to:

  • Mediate for at least 30 minutes on the Our Father.
  • Participate in a spiritual retreat of at least one day that includes a mediation on St. Joseph.
  • Perform a corporal or spiritual work of mercy.
  • Recite the Holy Rosary in families and between husband and wife.
  • Entrust our work daily to the protection of Saint Joseph and to all believers who invoke with their prayer the intercession of the Worker of Nazareth.
  • Pray the litany of Saint Joseph.
  • Pray any approved prayer or act of piety in honour of St. Joseph.
    This gift of plenary indulgence extends particularly to the elderly, the sick, the dying, all those who for legitimate reasons cannot leave their home.

You can find more clarification and detail here: https://yearofstjoseph.org/indulgences/

I invite everyone to join us as we continue to pray the Novena to Saint Joseph for the rest of this week. You’ll find all the information under our Events tab on our Website.

I can think of no better way to close ‘Indulgence’ than by praying the prayer the Pope has asked us to pray:

To you, O blessed Joseph,
do we come in our afflictions,
and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse,
we confidently invoke your patronage also.

Through that charity
which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God
and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus,
we humbly beg you graciously
to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood,
and with your power and strength
to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family,
defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ;
O most loving father,
ward off from us every contagion of error and corruption influence;
O most mighty protector,
be kind to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness.

As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril,
so now protect God’s Holy Church
from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity;
shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection,
so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able
to live piously,
to die in holiness,
and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Incarnation

March 11, 2021

For us men and for our salvation,
He came down from heaven,
And by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
And became man.

These remarkable statements of faith are found in our Nicene Creed. I find that we often say the words without really allowing them to penetrate our soul. These words are truly a gift from heaven and I really like to take my time praying them slowly: what are they saying to me?

The Incarnation has everything to do with Jesus becoming man yet still retaining his Divine Nature as the Son of God.

Why is it that Jesus seems more accessible, easier to relate to for some then God the Father or God the Holy Spirit? It is because he experienced everything that you and I do. And he experienced it because he loves us with an unmeasurable love.

This union of the divine nature of the Son of God with the human nature in the person of Jesus is Incarnation. Jesus assumed our flesh, body, and soul and lived among us, like us, for our salvation. His divine nature was united to our human nature in all things except sin.

Our salvation – my salvation. Everything so I can be reconciled once again with God, so that I can really and substantially know God’s love for me as His child. In this incredible gift of the Word becoming flesh, I find the model of holiness. God commands us to listen to Him. Jesus reminds us that he is the way, the truth and the life. God has given His Son and His Son offered Himself for my salvation. So remarkable is this reality!

In the Incarnation there can be no confusion. Jesus is not part God and part man. He is not a mixture of the two natures. He became truly man while remaining truly God. The small statement of faith seems to fit into almost every corner “With God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26).

Jesus was born, lived, suffered and died. I was born, am living, have suffered and will die. The gift is that Jesus is united and journeying with me, always by my side, hearing my laughter and rejoicing with me, experiencing my pain and sadness and consoling me.

How do I look upon the Incarnation, Jesus coming from Heaven and dwelling among us, as one of us? How do I relate to his joys, his suffering? Do I allow the gift of the Divine Son dwelling within me to be a beacon to the world I am encountering?

We find in the words of the Angelus a moment of encounter: I invite you to pray this often:

The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with you;
Blessed are you among women,
And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done unto me according to your word.
Hail Mary….

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, thy grace into our hearts,
That we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known
By the message of an angel,
May by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection,
Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary

March 8, 2021

When I was a young child, we had many opportunities to have borders live with us and our home often served as a temporary residence for visiting priests. One of those priests later took up residency in Rome and he invited my mom and dad for a visit there, taking them on private guided tours throughout the city and its treasures close to the heart of all Catholics. Both my parents are deceased, but I remember them speaking about how moved they were to see the chains of St. Peter, the Pieta with no crowds trying to capture pictures, and so much more. A couple of keepsakes came back to Canada with them, and I have some here in my home.

One keepsake was the hand-crafted representations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (we’ll look at the Sacred Heart later) and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I have them hanging on a wall in my home and I often find myself spending a moment with them.

At Calvary, the perfect hearts of Jesus and Mary were united for the salvation of mankind. And this is why the Two Hearts are honored together.

In 1830 the Blessed Virgin Mary appear in Paris, giving rise to the Miraculous Medal. Our Lady showed St. Catherine Laboure an image of a medal to be struck which would obtain many graces for those who wore it faithfully, especially the grace of conversion for sinners.

On the front of the medal was an image of Our Lady encircled with the words, “O Mary, Conceived Without Sin, Pray for Us Who Have Recourse to Thee”, and on the reverse was an image of the Cross of Christ surmounted by the Letter “M” with the symbols of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary side by side underneath.

The devotion to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary gained prominence through the Fatima apparitions in 1917. This devotion is essentially focused on the love that her heart has for Jesus, for God. It is a model for the way we should love God. Through this devotion we honor Mary as the person chosen to be the Mother of God. As we’ve already discovered, Mary was sinless: immaculate. She was able to really love God in the way that he should be loved.

Sister Lucia described her visions in 1917 and 1927 of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The most holy Virgin rested her hand on her shoulder, and as she did so, she showed her a heart encircled by thorns, which she was holding in her other hand. At the same time, the Child said:

Have compassion on the Heart of your most holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.

The devotion to her Immaculate Heart means no less than victory over the devil and evil (Genesis 3:16). Sister Lucia puts it this way:

The new generation that God foretold would be born of this woman, will triumph in the battle against the progeny of Satan, to the point of crushing its head. Mary is the Mother of this new generation, as if she were a new tree of life, planted by God in the garden of the world so that all her children can partake of her fruit.

Her extraordinary holiness and immense love for Jesus is a call to all of us to imitate. Her joys, sorrows, virtues virginal love for her God and her maternal love for her Divine Son are all exposed through her Immaculate Heart. Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we are united to God, giving ourselves to Him through love.

The month of August is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart. The physical heart of Mary is venerated (not adored as the Sacred Heart of Jesus is).

I invite you all to open your Bible and read of the seven swords that pierced the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They are:

  • Simeon’s Prophecy
  • The flight into Egypt
  • The three days loss in the temple
  • Meeting Jesus with His cross
  • The crucifixion
  • Taking Jesus down from the cross
  • The burial of Jesus

Perhaps a wonderful Lenten practice might be to recite the Novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I have included the Novena Prayers for you. They are not traditionally prayed during Lent, but can be prayed anytime. Lent seems like an good time, don’t you think?


NOVENA PRAYERS TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY

Glorious Virgin Mary, I long to love your Son, Jesus, the way he deserves to be loved—with the love of your Immaculate Heart. Unite me to your Immaculate Heart so that I will be open to receive your Son with the same dispositions by which you received him. Your Immaculate Heart is supremely gentle, steadfast, watchful—completely given over to the will of God. Lead me out of the darkness of ignorance, free me from all selfishness and willful self-assertion, and train me in conformity with your Immaculate Heart.

Let me always trust your Immaculate Heart as a true source of grace and mercy. In sharing in the Passion of your Son, your Immaculate Heart was pierced. May your immaculate love embrace me in moments of suffering. I beg to make reparation for all offenses against your Immaculate Heart as I offer you my intentions (mention your request). Amen.

Day 1 – In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Immaculate Virgin, by the holy will of your Son my Lord Jesus Christ, you are my Mother in Heaven. Your Immaculate Heart is full of love, mercy and compassion for sinners like me. I ask that you intercede for me today for… (mention your prayer intentions) I trust in your intercession before the throne of God for my needs. Please pray also that if my requests are not in accordance with the will of God, that I may be, like you, conformed to His will and not my own.

Hail Mary… Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pray for us! Amen.

Act of Consecration – by Pope Pius XII Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world. Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.

We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. Amen. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Day 2 – In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Immaculate Virgin, by the holy will of your Son my Lord Jesus Christ, you are my Mother in Heaven. Your Immaculate Heart is full of love, mercy and compassion for sinners like me. I ask that you intercede for me today for… (mention your prayer intentions) I trust in your intercession before the throne of God for my needs. Please pray also that if my requests are not in accordance with the will of God, that I may be, like you, conformed to His will and not my own.

Hail Mary… Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pray for us! Amen.

Act of Consecration – by Pope Pius XII Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world. Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully. We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. Amen. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Day 3 – In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Immaculate Virgin, by the holy will of your Son my Lord Jesus Christ, you are my Mother in Heaven. Your Immaculate Heart is full of love, mercy and compassion for sinners like me. I ask that you intercede for me today for… (mention your prayer intentions) I trust in your intercession before the throne of God for my needs. Please pray also that if my requests are not in accordance with the will of God, that I may be, like you, conformed to His will and not my own.

Hail Mary… Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pray for us! Amen.

Act of Consecration – by Pope Pius XII Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world. Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully. We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Day 4 – In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Immaculate Virgin, by the holy will of your Son my Lord Jesus Christ, you are my Mother in Heaven. Your Immaculate Heart is full of love, mercy and compassion for sinners like me. I ask that you intercede for me today for… (mention your prayer intentions) I trust in your intercession before the throne of God for my needs. Please pray also that if my requests are not in accordance with the will of God, that I may be, like you, conformed to His will and not my own.

Hail Mary… Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pray for us! Amen.

Act of Consecration – by Pope Pius XII Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world. Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully. We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Day 5 – In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Immaculate Virgin, by the holy will of your Son my Lord Jesus Christ, you are my Mother in Heaven. Your Immaculate Heart is full of love, mercy and compassion for sinners like me. I ask that you intercede for me today for… (mention your prayer intentions) I trust in your intercession before the throne of God for my needs. Please pray also that if my requests are not in accordance with the will of God, that I may be, like you, conformed to His will and not my own.

Hail Mary… Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pray for us! Amen.

Act of Consecration – by Pope Pius XII Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world. Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully. We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Day 6 – In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Immaculate Virgin, by the holy will of your Son my Lord Jesus Christ, you are my Mother in Heaven. Your Immaculate Heart is full of love, mercy and compassion for sinners like me. I ask that you intercede for me today for… (mention your prayer intentions) I trust in your intercession before the throne of God for my needs. Please pray also that if my requests are not in accordance with the will of God, that I may be, like you, conformed to His will and not my own.

Hail Mary… Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pray for us! Amen.

Act of Consecration – by Pope Pius XII Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world. Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully. We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Day 7 – In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Immaculate Virgin, by the holy will of your Son my Lord Jesus Christ, you are my Mother in Heaven. Your Immaculate Heart is full of love, mercy and compassion for sinners like me. I ask that you intercede for me today for… (mention your prayer intentions) I trust in your intercession before the throne of God for my needs. Please pray also that if my requests are not in accordance with the will of God, that I may be, like you, conformed to His will and not my own.

Hail Mary… Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pray for us! Amen.

Act of Consecration – by Pope Pius XII Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world. Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully. We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Day 8 – In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Immaculate Virgin, by the holy will of your Son my Lord Jesus Christ, you are my Mother in Heaven. Your Immaculate Heart is full of love, mercy and compassion for sinners like me. I ask that you intercede for me today for… (mention your prayer intentions) I trust in your intercession before the throne of God for my needs. Please pray also that if my requests are not in accordance with the will of God, that I may be, like you, conformed to His will and not my own.

Hail Mary… Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pray for us! Amen.

Act of Consecration – by Pope Pius XII Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world. Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully. We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Day 9 – In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Immaculate Virgin, by the holy will of your Son my Lord Jesus Christ, you are my Mother in Heaven. Your Immaculate Heart is full of love, mercy and compassion for sinners like me. I ask that you intercede for me today for… (mention your prayer intentions) I trust in your intercession before the throne of God for my needs. Please pray also that if my requests are not in accordance with the will of God, that I may be, like you, conformed to His will and not my own.

Hail Mary… Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pray for us! Amen.

Act of Consecration – by Pope Pius XII Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world. Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully. We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Immaculate Conception

March 4, 2021

Hail Mary full of grace.

You may have already discovered that I hold a special place in my heart for Mary. I have encountered her gentleness, her tenderness, her presence and her guiding hand.

In 1854, Pope Pius IX formally, and for all time, proclaimed as dogma the solemn definition of the Immaculate Conception.

the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of Mankind, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

Pope Pius IX, 1854

There’s often confusion about the Immaculate Conception and its definition. As you can see, it is not referring to Jesus, but to Mary, the Mother of God.

Every one of us is an inheritor of the original sin of Adam from the first moment of our human existence. Mary, by the unmerited gift of God’s grace, was preserved from that stain and from separation from God. She was perfect in purity of morals and holiness of life.

The word immaculate means without stain, spotlessly clean, free from flaws. Why is this important? Because she is the vessel that carried the Son of God. And for that very reason, she was chosen, and gifted without original sin and without sin for the entirety of her life.

That grace given to Mary is permanent and unique to her. The CCC 492 states she was “redeemed in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.”

Mary freely cooperated with God’s plan for salvation. She chose to say ‘yes’ with courage and faith. Mary had to be sinless from the moment of conception because her ‘yes’ needed to be flawless. She utterly and completely gave herself to God.

On December 9, 1531at Guadalupe, Mary said to Juan Diego, “I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, through whom everything lives.” In 1830, Mary told St Catherine Laboure to have the Miraculous Medal struck with the inscription, “Mary Conceived free from sin, pay for us who have recourse to thee.” In 1858 Mary appeared to St. Bernadette at Lourdes and said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

Who do you find in Mary, the Mother of God? The angel’s greeting to her “Hail Mary full of grace” calls us to an invitation of relationship with her. Do we strive to fill ourselves with God’s grace?

In Matthew 19:26 Jesus reminds us that “for God all things are possible.”

I.H.S.

March 1, 2021

After the heavy topics in “H”, I thought it might be nice to look at something a little less intimidating as we move into “I”.

Have you encountered these Christograms in our churches or others you may have visited? We can find them on books, altars, baptismal fonts, communion hosts and more.


the Chi-Rho which represents for us the Greek for Christ.
the Christogram I.H.S. represents for us the Greek for Jesus.

So, let’s take a closesr look at I.H.S. It represents the first three letters of Jesus in Greek. Ieus Homimum Salvator (Jesus Saviour of Mankind).

The early Church faced persecution and often Christianity and Catholicism had to be practiced in secret. Early writers would abbreviate the sacred name of Jesus by using the first two letters of the name or the first and last letters with a line over them. For example, the Greek letter chi-rho (which looks like our English X and P) was an abbreviation for the name Christ. Likewise, the iota (I) and eta (H) are the first two Greek letters for Jesus. In 1427 Pope Martin V added letter sigma (S) after approving the proper veneration to the Holy Name of Jesus.

St. Bernardine of Siena and St. John of Capistrano (1380-1444) promoted devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus throughout Italy. They carried wood placards and encouraged people to have the monogram placed over the city gates and over the home’s doorways.

A reverent moment for me both in Scripture and in song can be found in St Paul’s letter to the Philippians. He wrote “So that at Jesus’ name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father: Jesus Christ is Lord” (2:10-11).

With reverence and faith, Jesus’ name calls upon His divine assistance in the every day of our lives.

His Holy Name heals us as we see in Mark 16:17-29: “In my name they will cast out demons, they will speak in new tongues, they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them, they will lay their hands on the sick and they will recover.”

His Holy Name helps us in our spiritual trials. “Then shall everyone be saved who calls on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 2:21) “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit”. (Acts 2:21) The cry of St. Stephen as he was being stoned can be our call aloud to Jesus as well.

His Holy name protects us against Satan and his temptation. We see this in Matthew 4:1-11.

His Holy Name grants us every grace and blessing. In John 16:23-24 we are promised, “I give you my assurance, whatever you ask the Father, He will give you in my name.”

So, how do we call upon His Holy Name? When do we cry aloud to Jesus? If all of Heaven bends their knee at the very mention of His Name, what are we called to here on earth?

What mark have we placed over our city gate, our front door, in our homes, and in our hearts?

We are still being persecuted, but we no longer have to hide. How do our neighbours know we are followers of the Jesus my Saviour?

If you missed our Introduction to this series <click here>. To go back to the letter “H” <click here>. To go to the letter “J” <click here>.