Why On Earth Should I Learn Latin? – Part 1/3

This is part one of a three-part Rose. Each part consists of a 20 minute blog post (mixed video and reading) followed by a 20 minute study session. All three completed are a single rose.
For the introductory page to the rose, click here.

Reason #1 – Efficacy

Short video on the efficacity of Praying in Latin

OK so the above video makes a succinct point – but it doesn’t exactly back it up! If this is going to prove to be a lasting motivation for us, we need to take a closer look at whether or not it is actually more efficacious to pray in Latin – and to seek to understand and back up the assertion… Allow me to begin somewhat Thomistically with a couple of ‘Sed Contras’:

A few years ago, I was talking to my father (the one who wasn’t allowed to take Latin for an A-Level subject) and he basically said that he didn’t know why people made such a fuss about praying in Latin, because God listens to our prayers in our own language and doesn’t really care what language we use when they come from our hearts. Of course there is a certain truth in this primacy of the disposition of heart. Actually I wasn’t sure how to answer the objection back – as far as I remember my defence ran something along the lines of ‘Mumble mumble mumble… language of the Church… mumble mumble’. Of course that didn’t mean a better answer didn’t exist! As things were to work out though, it would not be my research but an intervention of the Mother of God that would settle our debate!

I’m going to leave that cliffhanger a moment and bolster his assertion with the (approved but alleged, private revelation is still that) words of Jesus to a canonised mystic whose experiences have been validated by the devotion and veneration of the Church:

“Speak to Me about everything in a completely simple and human way; by this you will give Me great joy. I understand you because I am God-Man. This simple language of your heart is more pleasing to Me than the hymns composed in My honour. Know, My daughter, that the simpler your speech is, the more you attract Me to yourself.” (St. Faustina’s Diary, #797)

Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? One can be confident that typically St. Faustina wasn’t stringing her simple prayers from the heart together in Latin. Her conversations with Jesus, in both directions, took place in her vernacular Polish dialect, in all simplicity. The hymns, on the other hand, composed in Jesus’ honour (but less pleasing to Him) may often have been in Latin!

Why, then, should we think that Latin – which is less familiar to us and may well seem to be an obstacle to simply praying from the heart – makes one’s prayers any more efficacious?

Well, I’ll begin by telling you how Our Lady settled the debate with my father. Not that long after that conversation – I’d say within 24 hours – he and I were getting into his car. The car he had at that time had an intermittent problem with the starter motor, and that day it happened to play up. I suppose we must have been going somewhere I deemed important, because I was convinced the Mother of God was going to start the car. So despite his failed attempts I said I was going to pray a Hail Mary and he was to try again. So we did. And the car got no better. I decided to try again, and this time (feeling multicultural, I suppose) prayed the Hail Mary in Irish. No improvement, and at this stage he’d tried enough and was about to go inside, but I still felt in my heart that Mary wanted to answer the prayer so I insisted: ‘Daddy – once more!’ He agreed. This time (evidently still feeling multicultural): ‘Ave Maria, Gratia Plena…’ – I didn’t reach the end of the prayer before the car started, as readily as if there had been no issue.

Can I prove that was heavenly intervention, as opposed to just chance? Nope, not empirically, the car was too unpredictable. But as the car started Daddy’s few words and facial expression made it clear that the remembrance of our prior conversation came back to him at just the same moment it came back to me. With it, there was a mutual understanding that the debate was settled by something beyond both of us. And without having the rational basis all worked out the evidence was simply: There is something about praying in Latin.

But let’s explore a little more thoroughly before drawing a conclusion. Firstly, we’ll take a look at a testimony from someone with a more dramatic experience of praying in the language than me:

This excerpt should automatically take about 8 minutes, starting just after 2 and stopping just before 10. Stop it if it runs past 10 minutes on the timer!

The clip covers a few things, but for this blog post we’ll stay with the testimony aspect in considering efficacy. I liked this testimony because it was a first hand witness account of a specific incident – but it’s far from unique as stories go. It is well documented amongst exorcists that Latin is actually more effective in performing exorcisms than the vernacular and that demons refuse or show great reluctance to speak it – especially in its liturgical form (if you desire see here, here, here – but these things don’t count as part of your rose time!) One documented example of this is in the case of St. Mariam, the Little Arab, who consented to undergo expiatory demonic possession. Amongst the notable things revealed in the course of her possession was fact that the demons possessing her refused to speak in the Sacred Language of the Liturgy.

Coming back, then to our original question! When Fr. Ripperger speaks of Latin as being a more efficacious language in prayer you have to bear in mind that he is speaking as a priest and an exorcist. His assertions therefore are coming from one who is accustomed to dealing in spiritual warfare and seeking out the most objectively powerful means by which to undo the influence of the enemy in the spiritual realm, that’s not to say other forms of prayer don’t have their place! Now let’s consider the quote from St. Faustina’s diary within its original context.

The first thing to note here is that St. Faustina died in the year 1938. This means that what we now typically call ‘Latin Mass’ was the only Mass she knew. Since many of her most profound mystical experiences took place in the context of the Holy Sacrifice, and her spirituality was deeply Eucharistic, it would be crazy to say that her exposure to that language inhibited her simplicity of soul or union with God. Rather it was part of the liturgical framework within which that simple exchange took place most freely. Therefore it seems that Latin in the Liturgy did not inhibit the simplicity of St Faustina, but if anything supported and complimented it – even though her heart to heart conversations with Jesus were in the vernacular.

What does that mean for Daddy’s original objection as to why praying in Latin should be such a big deal? It means it is somewhat confused due to a false opposition. Of course God treasures, hears and attends to the simple prayers of our hearts with all the attention of a Loving Father, when we use the simple words that come to us naturally. Our relating to that Paternal Love of God must always include those things that we bring to Him in all trust and simplicity, without pretence or artificial blocks. However that same approach cannot afford to stop at what we bring to God. Ultimately, we must seek to discover that to which His Love deigns to call us. We come as we are, but we must learn to seek God as He Is, and also to approach Him according to the Will that He has revealed.

In the context of prayer and language, that means there are times when it is appropriate to seek an order in our approach that is ordained by Heaven and given to us. Prime amongst those times we might expect to find occasions when objectively we are drawn most close to God (as in the Sacred Liturgy) or when we most need His power to be manifest (as in spiritual warfare and exorcism). That doesn’t mean we leave behind the simple words that come naturally or the desires of our hearts, but that we submit them to the discipline appropriate to approaching a God Who is All-Holy. Thereby we embrace the humility required for allowing all that we are to come before His Throne. And always in the spiritual life, far from distancing us from God, humility draws us closer to Him.

To ensure we haven’t skipped a step here, let’s finish by looking at what links those two things – the objective power of the language in prayer and an order given by Heaven. If the language used in prayer is part of that order, there must be reasons for this – some sort of an indication that the language is chosen or set apart by God. Can this be said of Latin?

The answer is yes – and there is even a Biblical reason why! This was looked at in the video clip, but I want to take it a little bit further:

And Pilate wrote a title also, and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am the King of the Jews.  Pilate answered: What I have written, I have written.
John 19:19-22

So the main argument for the Sacred Languages (that is Hebrew, Greek and Latin) being such is that they were nailed to the Cross on which Christ saved us. The Cross of Calvary on which Jesus’ Blood was poured out for all mankind, the Cross on which the Sacrifice offered in the Upper Room was consummated. This is, of course, the same Sacrifice that was offered at each and every Mass thereafter – which incidentally for the first four centuries of Church History appear only to have been offered in these three languages. Latin is efficacious in a particular way because it was linked by the placard of a Roman Governor on a Roman Cross to the Death of Christ. Furthermore, when the chief priests of the Chosen People, those from whom the Messiah was taken, tried to change the declaration and relegate the claim to the realm of subjectivity… it was the Roman Governor who refused. It seems to me that each of the Sacred Languages is not only chosen by God, but has its particular role, function and grace – and that in Pilate’s ‘quod scripsi scripsi’ we have a preliminary hint at what will be one of the primary gifts of Rome and of Latin to the Church…

But that can wait for the next section, for now let’s get stuck into some study materials!

Study Session #1

To complete session one, give twenty minutes in total to reviewing the following three study materials. Unlike the blog, which was just a case of reading through, these aren’t tailor written to lead you from A to B. Take a look through, pray with them, take notes and think carefully about their application to the subject matter in the time you have. For the first two given materials it may be helpful to take notes, as they will be relevant in as the rose continues to parts 2 and 3. The third study material is more a basis for prayerful reflection.

The Etymologies of St. Isidore of Seville – Read De Linguis Gentium, which makes up the first page and a half of Chapter IX )that is to say p.205-206 on electronic numbering/p.191-192 on page numbers).

Veterum Sapientia, Pope St. John XXIII – with particular reference to the first half of the document.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Crucifixion – You don’t need to read all of this, scan through and then focus on some parts that help you to reflect on the Sacrifice of Christ and what it means for us. Then contemplate the meaning of a language being sanctified by direct relation to the Cross on which He died.

When you want to continue with cultivating this rose, return to the introductory page or move on to part two!

Reverence… Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone!

You know sometimes we overthink things in order to underdo them?
Here’s an Evangelisation rose that takes us back to basics!

EvangelisationThe Witness of Reverence
ObjectiveHelp people to experience the majesty of God by witnessing to it in your own life, prayer and bearing
Seedtime15-20 minute read (blog post & attached PDF, final section of blog optional)
Feedtime+/- 1 hour (a number of small things over several days)
DirectivePerform 10 acts of reverence at the edge of your comfort zone – directives given in the post!
To learn how these boxes work, click here!

A while back, I read something that intrigued me. I’m afraid I can’t find it now to link or quote – so I’m going to have to just feed it back as I remember. You have probably heard of St. Francis de Sales. And if you know stuff about him, perhaps that he was a bishop, that he converted thousands of Calvinists and was a brilliant apologist, that he’s a Doctor of the Church, maybe you’re familiar with ‘Introduction to the Devout Life’ and so on and so forth… If you’re more familiar than me, you may also be aware of what I stumbled across in my reading – but it was new to me!

Basically it was a statement that one of the main things he did in mobilising his people to convert those who had left the Church and become protestant was to have them perform simple acts of piety and reverence in public. The Sign of the Cross, kneeling for the Angelus…

Reading this really got me thinking. So often, when we think about conversion and apologetics and getting people to love Jesus and the Church we turn it into some big ‘thing’ that we have to work out. We come with a predetermined approach that we have to move tactfully and find the best ways to convince them that we’re so well informed that we couldn’t possibly be wrong. We can overthink the process until we barely know where to start. But is this really, really motivated by the purity our love of God? It seems to me to sometimes rather be self love getting in on the act and compromising what may be the greatest witness we have to give – that is to say the simplicity, the reality, of a loving relationship with Jesus – that isn’t afraid to be seen.

We need to be very careful. Sometimes, when the ‘audience’ we are trying to win over becomes our focal point, it can lead us to compromise the very things that might most directly call them to see beyond us – to the beauty of the faith we love. Sometimes, simply observing physical acts of reverence with the objective intent of glorifying God witnesses much more effectively to the onlooker than a display of intelligence, or wit or rhetoric designed to impress and convince them.

What I’m going to propose for this Rose, then, is that we step outside of our comfort zones in terms of the degree to which we are prepared to show reverence to Our Lord in the public sphere. This is not always an easy thing to do in the 21st Century. And to be honest, if it was, this probably wouldn’t be a Rose.

“Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.”
(St. Teresa of Calcutta)

There should be a cost involved in bearing witness to Jesus. That said, the point of this exercise isn’t to make you look like a wacko in front of everyone for no good reason (that will be a whole other rose, and it will begin with St. Philip Neri rather than St. Francis de Sales… 😉 ). It is simply to love God in a way that is consistent – where our heart finds full expression in our bodily postures without being hindered by our pride and self consciousness. And this is evangelisation because there is no witness more powerful than a consistency of who we are with what we profess to believe. Physical displays of reverence may be one small part of this consistency – but it is an important one, and one that is badly overlooked in today’s world.

At this point, I’m going to give the directives for the Rose. If you’re happy to follow through on them, you don’t need to read the last section of the post. If, after reading them, you are not convinced, or have reservations – keep reading!

Rose Directives

The idea is to undertake 10 actions that move us out of our comfort zone in terms of public displays of reverence. Each one may be repeated UP TO 4 TIMES in this counting. So all in all at least 3 of them should be attempted, 1-4 times each until the total of 10 is reached. The things you choose should be unfamiliar/something of a sacrifice for you – therefore the required threshold is higher if you’re already ‘doing’ more reverential things. That’s as it should be. We thank God for where He has brought us to thus far, and we press on.

N.B. These are part of an evangelisation rose, so at least one person has to be present to see you for them to count. Some of them may lend themselves to inviting others’ participation (and that might actually make them less awkward for you). Where this is the case that is encouraged. Of course it’s beautiful to show reverence whether or not you have an ‘audience’, but the rose is designed to overcome being shy or sheepish about acknowledging the sacred in public.

Ideas:

  • Bless yourself when passing Churches, in situations/company where you normally wouldn’t
  • If you already do this consistently, genuflect when you’re walking past a Church (or better still, do a St. Francis of Assisi!)
  • If you find the genuflection really awkward, you can go in and visit the Lord instead. To be relevant to this Rose you need to make a particular effort to be reverent in your bearing in so doing and you should be seen at least going into the Church.
  • If your Church presently doesn’t have Holy Water on account of Covid, start carrying a little bottle in your pocket and visibly and reverently blessing yourself with it on the way in/out.
  • Presumably if your Church does have Holy Water this is not much of an effort – however if it is not your current practice it can be counted for the Rose if you are more deliberate about how you do this: Stopping. Blessing yourself slowly, facing the Tabernacle – etc.
  • Stop mid-whateveryou’redoing at 12pm and/or 6pm to say the Angelus. To this end, it may help to set alarms on your phone.
  • If you already do this readily, stand for it and genuflect at the appropriate point (And the Word was Made Flesh…)
  • If you already do this readily, try kneeling for the whole thing, and bowing at aforementioned point.
  • Like the above, set an alarm for 3pm and mark the Hour of Mercy. Depending on your company you might be able to invite them to join you to pray a Chaplet, if not it suffices to bow your head. make a Sign of the Cross, and immerse yourself for a moment in remembrance of the Death of Jesus on the Cross and His Merciful Love for you and for souls. You can explain this to anyone you may be speaking to and/or invite them to join you.
  • Say Grace Before (and/or after) Meals in Public/with company
  • If you already do this, do something to be less shy about it. So, for example, if you would normally make an awkward sign of the Cross whilst mentally mumbling a prayer, try slowing everything down, making your sign of the Cross more deliberate and really giving a few moments to thank God from your heart…
  • Women Only: Start to cover your head in Church
    You don’t need to go out and buy yourself a mantilla for this, if you already have one grand – but a scarf/hat does the same job! For why: Click here!
  • Going to and From Holy Communion
    You remember when you were little and being trained to receive your First Holy Communion and you walked up to the Altar with your hands joined and your fingers all pointy? Do you still do that? If not maybe try it! Other things: Keep your eyes down, walk reverently, if you are going to receive standing genuflect in advance… Choosing the stipulations you take on from this list is left to your discretion, but discern if there are ways you can increase reverence…
  • A note on Family Mass (you can skip this point if not a parent): Obviously managing or carrying young children may at times hinder the capacity to enter into this in reverential behaviour in and of itself, however there are a few other ways in which their presence can be a positive aid towards this Rose (whatever it may feel like!) The fact is when you have young children at Mass you have a captive audience. It may not feel like that when they are in the middle of an ‘altar dash’ or discovering the climbing frame potentiality of a pew. However have them return from their wanderings to find you gone and you would soon discover that your child is actually more acutely aware of your presence in the Church than that of anyone else.
    Therefore, weigh these three things up, discerning what reverence means in your context (how exactly to count is left to individual discretion here). However, that in a single Mass you could find several things to count towards the Rose is not unlikely:
    • One: everything you do matters. You children will notice your eyes, your posture, your bearing – everything. Eventually. It will require consistency. You don’t need to overthink this, but you can know that your perseverance in attempting to find ways to show reverence will bear fruit not only for yourself but for those around you – especially your children.
    • Two: you have someone to instruct in the area of reverence. Not just by telling them to be quiet but by simply and consistently reminding them of why – of what is happening at different parts of the Mass (before/after/during as appropriate). Your words and reverential behaviour will thus grant weight and authority to each other.
    • Three, that your purity of intention is safeguarded in a particular way in this task. However hard you may try, there will probably be times when young children will do something disruptive at Mass. You responsibility is to do what you can, not what you can’t – and not being in control of external manifestations or being able to feel self satisfied about how holy something looks is actually a very good thing for your soul!

“I really did listen attentively, but I must own I looked at Papa more than at the preacher, for I read many things in his face. Sometimes his eyes were filled with tears which he strove in vain to keep back; and as he listened to the eternal truths he seemed no longer of this earth, his soul was absorbed in the thought of another world.”
-St Therese of Lisieux on attending Mass with her Father

  • Reception of Holy Communion:
    At time of writing, this whole area is a mess in many Churches because of Covid, and it’s not easy to give rose directives for. I will try to make suggestions, but you are going to have to discern your circumstances and what, if anything, can be improved. For anything that can change, even a small detail, you can count it towards the rose. To justify the following directives, I ask the reader with objections to read this and this.
  • If you are in a position where you can receive kneeling and on the tongue, I don’t really have anything to add – do that! If you could do that by switching where you go to Mass, making that effort can count towards the Rose. The following are written with other scenarios in mind:
  • The first thing I’m going to say is if you are receiving with a mask on – stop doing that. Take off the mask before getting to the priest, and consume the Sacred Host directly before him. That may sound overly strong, and it may go against the norm in your Church, but unless your parish priest directly instructs you personally otherwise (which is unlikely, though not impossible) it cannot be wrong to push against a measure that facilitates (or nigh encourages) the potential for sacrilege by leaving the Blessed Sacrament unguarded.
  • Secondly, this may feel and look awkward rather than reverent, but if you are forced to receive in the hand you must do so carefully and check your hands for particles of the Sacred Host immediately afterwards, even before blessing yourself. Apart from the practical necessity, it is relevant to this Rose because it is a witness to your faith in the Real Presence.
  • The general – kneel if you can (whether you receive on the tongue or on the hand – not only does this show reverence, but it keeps your mouth and nose further from the priest’s so nobody can fight you on it!), genuflect or bow if you can’t kneel… What else can be done is left to the individual’s discernment.
  • Start wearing or carrying a Sacramental that you can kiss in Church or in public. Maybe a little Crucifix, a Miraculous Medal… You will have to determine the appropriate moments for veneration.

These are ideas. The list is not exhaustive, and other similar ideas may be added or substituted for its contents. The main thing is to seek ways to grow in and bear witness through the practice of reverence.

As we near the end of the post, I invite you to prayerfully consider this letter of St. Padre Pio to a spiritual daughter before you begin to make and act upon your resolutions. Not only does it underline the necessity of reverence, but it gives clear guidance as to why and in what spirit it should be undertaken.

Conclusion

As mentioned before, this final section of the blog is unnecessary for those who aren’t dubious about the need or value of reverence in general, so reading it is not a requirement for the Rose.

However as I know there will be some with reservations I would like to pre-empt and answer a few objections before ending:

Objection #1: Jesus tells us not to be like Pharisees praying on the street corners and wearing wide phylacteries etc.! (Matthew 6:5, 23:5)

Response: This is true, but it is is about not having a disposition of heart that is not hypocritical – not abolishing customs displaying reverence altogether! Let’s take another example. St. Bernard says that without Her Humility, the Virginity of Our Lady could not have pleased God. Does that mean that it would be better that She was without flawless purity as it is something that might incline one towards pride? OF COURSE NOT! Her Virginity was an objective good in itself, and far from conflicting with her humility, it aided its perfection.
What we need to weigh up is this:
1. We are incarnate beings. Is it therefore an objective good and a duty for us to treat reverence God not only interiorly but by our witness and actions? Yes.
2. Can these objectively good things be an occasion for pride, and could pride destroy the value of the good actions? Potentially.
3. Should they be therefore omitted to avoid this danger? No. Because they are objectively good it’s not a case of simply avoiding an occasion of sin. One must strive to be humble in carrying them out.
Furthermore, there is more often than not little risk of being a ‘Pharisee’ in today’s world, as reverence is so often compromised that it is very often more mortifying than gratifying to perform simple acts of piety…

For He that shall be ashamed of Me, and of My words, in this adulterous and sinful generation: the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he shall come in the glory of His Father with the Holy Angels.” Mark 8:38

Objection #2: But God looks at the heart, not at the appearance (1 Sam 16:7), why should a Rose give so much credit to what can be externally perceived?

Response: Precisely because the heart is perceived only by God and the individual, our guidelines for Roses can’t really dictate terms for its conduct. What we can do, is outline objective practices and challenges that we hope might tend one more towards a disposition of appropriate humility and devotion before God. The human heart is intimately bound up with our external actions, and practice with interior disposition, the two effect each other mutually. In this case, we are asked by our external bearing to bear witness to invisible realities. This should strengthen both our faith and that of those around us. And in so doing, it will not only be a matter of appearance, but of the heart – the unity of our devotion and our witness.

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you crooked speech, an
d put devious talk far from you.
Let your eyes look directly forwards, and your gaze be straight before you.
Keep straight the path of your feet, and all your ways will be sure.” P
roverbs 4:23

Objection #3: I really don’t think this is going to effect any difference in terms of evangelisation. The people I know already think I’m mad enough for the things I do, without going further!

Response: If people already think you’re OTT, but you can see ways in which you could give greater respect to God, what is there to lose in prioritising his opinion over theirs? Years ago, when I was first beginning to think about this whole area, I began simply to genuflect before receiving Holy Communion. Nobody else where I was going to Mass had this practice, so I did it quickly so as not to draw attention to myself. After a while of this my father called me up on it and asked me if I was willing to stop because it looked silly. I began to object, and he listened to me and then (authoritatively) said ‘OK – half the speed’. That caught me off guard. He wasn’t so much objecting to my attempts to be respectful, but to the inconsistency of my compromise. If I was going to reverence the Lord, he wanted it to be actually reverent – and not doing some sort of a ‘skippy jump thing’ (his words!) before receiving Jesus. As an evangelisation exercise, the above points are not intended to make you look and feel like a tube, but rather to draw attention to the holiness of God. They may be uncomfortable at first, but sometimes there are barriers in our comfort zone and the expectations of creatures that have to be broken through in order to come to a place of reason in our worship of God. This is especially the case in our society when so much is compromised in this area. Whilst there are times these things may seem to result in misunderstanding, if the focus is honouring God appropriately, we can trust that He will work out the rest in the hearts of others.

“Simply proclaim the Lord Christ Holy in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their accusations.” 1 Peter 3:15-16

Why On Earth Should I Learn Latin? – Introduction

My paternal grandfather was a great fan of Latin. Apparently he used to wax lyrical about the construction of the language – until the day Daddy chose it as an A-level subject. At that point, I believe Grandad decided it was ridiculous to choose a ‘dead language’ instead of something more useful and decided that his son should be studying Maths instead.

Before starting to suggest formation roses pertaining to on the Latin Language, it seems to me that it is a good idea to establish a firm foundation as to why we, as Catholics (who probably for the most part pray in the vernacular), should bother. Otherwise, doing so risks being a nice sentimental idea that at best seems like a good idea when we have spare time on our hands – but quickly presents as an obsolete effort once other, seemingly more useful or practical pastimes present. In short – we need to be grounded in our convictions than my grandad was!

This introductory Rose, therefore, seeks to explore just why a Catholic (perhaps) should learn Latin. We live in a world that tends towards an inordinate prizing of what is perceived to be efficiency, all the while measuring the same by secular empirical standards. That doesn’t help us to be open to the merits of learning a ‘dead language’! If nothing else, and whatever one decides about further study, I hope that exploring the reasons the Church proposes its use to us will be an incentive to slow down and listen to an aspect of what Tradition has to say to us on the subject of prayer – on terms that are not our own. As such, simply posing the question with an open heart should stand to pull our hearts a little towards a greater magnanimity and our minds towards a more objectively framed engagement with the truth.

Whether or not either of those ends are met by the demands of this rose will be for one who has completed it to judge, so without further ado let’s get started:

Faith FormationThree Reasons To Learn Latin
Objective Explore Three Reasons why a Catholic might want to learn to pray in the Latin Language.
Seedtime1 hour (3 x blog posts with videos included, each about 20 minutes total)
Feedtime1 hour (3 x 20 minute study segments – one for each blog post)
DirectiveSimply work through the blogs. As you come to a study task at the end of each, commit 20 minutes to engaging with the material.
To check out how these boxes work, click here!

Before we begin I want to make a brief note regarding the sources, videos, documents and my own personal writing style used in this rose. There’s potentially something (or someone) in this rose to alienate most people… Too traditional, too innovative, too rigid, too silly – whatever. I make no apology for this in and of itself. Latin is the universal language of the Roman Catholic Church and as such it seems to me an argument for using it should transcend any divisions within Her walls (and be somewhat impervious to those without). I’ve tried here simply to present and support three reasons, using the best arguments or explanations I could find for each. Whilst objective improvements to the arguments are welcomed, I would ask that you don’t write off (or fight with) a point made simply on account of who is quoted or how it is presented.

This Rose involves working through three potential reasons for a Catholic to learn Latin. Each has its own blog post and all three must be worked through in order to complete the Rose. Here are the reasons:

Reason #1 – Efficacy

Reason #2 – The Significance and Honouring of Culture

Reason #3 – Universality

Fatima Summer Soul Saving – Penitential Rose Challenge!

Welcome to the Summer Months! Sunshine, beaches, ice cream, holidays…

To celebrate, we at Golden Rose propose to you… Penance! Yayy!!!

Need some convincing? We have a video for you. Since this is a Rose Challenge rather than a Seed Rose you’re not getting a ‘box’ here but if we did your ‘seedtime’ would be 55 minutes – 52 to watch the video, 3 to read this blog. Feedtime is designed to be spread out over the course of a month or so, so let’s talk about that after the video:

Fatima, Penance and the Communion of Reparation Lifestyle!

OK, so Gabi makes a good case for Penance, for the Rosary, for Communions of Reparation – but what is being asked of you, and what is this Rose Challenge? Do some of the suggestions he made overwhelm you? Am I about to tell you to go to Mass every day or pray 4 Rosaries or something that you don’t see how you can possibly make time for?

Here’s your challenge: Gather 33 Penitential Roses between 13th July and 19th August

This blog is posted a few days early to give you time to think, pray and prepare.

Why those dates?

Let’s recap from the video: Our Lady appeared to the children and showed them hell on 13th July, and it was at the (delayed) apparition on 19th August that she said:

“Pray, pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners.  Many souls go to hell because they have no-one to pray and make sacrifices for them.

Therefore, though it is good, indeed important, to maintain a lifestyle of reparation all year round, the month and a bit between those two dates seems like a good time to add a seasonal focus on this kind of reparatory penance.

Why 33 Roses?

On a practical note, that asks you make the effort to cultivate an average of about a Rose a day for the duration of the challenge – excluding Sundays (since we are talking about penance!) That said, Sunday may be one of the easier days for you to complete a Rose, if you are not a daily communicant – so you can count your roses from whatever days suits, we just challenge you to to aim for 33 (more is also awesome if you’re eager!)

But 33 also has significance in being the age at which Jesus was offered on the Cross for our sins, and the number of years He spent on this earth. Since our little prayers and sacrifices have value and meaning only in union with the Prayer and Sacrifice of Christ, we aim at 33 penitential offerings to remind us of our union with Him in undertaking the challenge.

What do I mean by a Penitential Rose?

N.B. There are quite a few options below. We invite you to undertake ONE for each of your 33 Roses, we’re not saying you have to do all of them each day!

Although if you have the time and fervour to do them all, be our guest! If some of these practices are already part of your daily routine, maybe consider adopting some new ones in addition… It is up for you to discern! Here are your options:

Firstly, we have specific penitential roses outlined under perennial options here on the site. Perhaps this is an aspect of the site you haven’t had a chance to look at much before now – here we invite you to begin.

Any of those roses listed can count towards that 33 – should you choose to embrace this challenge! If you are thinking this is too much to ask with your schedule or lifestyle, take a careful read of the first penitential rose.

Is there anyone who really can’t do that even every day of their lives, if one’s daily duties are approached with an attitude of recollection and intentionality? In fact, the busier you are, the more duties you have, the better equipped you will be to find five substantial efforts to offer! Ask your guardian angel in the morning to help you to remember to make your five offerings during the day.

That said, we do also encourage making some extra efforts at some of the other penitential options – as is possible for you and as you discern to be best.

In addition, we will take the two suggestions Gabi makes in the video and outline how they can be offered as Roses (which just means remembering/adapting some of the prayer perennial roses that already exist).

If you decide to undertake the Communion of Reparation Lifestyle, that is to live the First Five Saturdays request every day (with the Confession aspect weekly) as Gabriel suggests, the things he mentions will contribute towards the challenge as follows:

For the duration of the challenge any day you receive Holy Communion, the Holy Communion offered in reparation (normally in the context of assisting at a full Mass unless this is impossible on a given day) can it be one of your 33 penitential roses. The 15 minutes of spending time with Mary, meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary suffices for the 10 minutes of preparation/thanksgiving that is normally required for a Mass and Holy Communion to count as a rose. However in this case the meditation is not counted as part of another prayer Rose. If the preparation/thanksgiving time is also made separately, then for the duration of the challenge every four sets of 15 minute meditations can be a Rose.

If you are praying a daily Rosary with the above, remember that every four Rosaries you offer counts as a Perennial Rose – we invite you to watch or read a little refresher in between each set of 20 decades. Depending on whether or not you take him up on praying the whole thing every day, this could be your daily Rose for the challenge!

So what happens after the challenge?

Nobody’s going to check up on how well you did or didn’t do with this Rose Challenge, it’s between you and Heaven – but in order to help you focus on it in a practical sense, the PDF below may help you:

If you have benefitted from undertaking the challenge, maybe think about how you could take what has most helped your spiritual life and incorporate it more regularly.

God bless you!

When Will it Ever Be Enough?

Growing in VirtueWasting Your Life Through Selflessness
ObjectiveLearn how to combat selfishness in order to reach Heaven
Seedtime40 minutes (8 minute read, 32 minute video; audio suffices)
Feedtime1 hour 20 minutes
DirectiveUse the instructions at the end of the post
To check out how these boxes work, click here!

If you have ever seen The Greatest Showman, you’ll know that many of the themes are similar to Christian living and the struggle to pursue goodness and truth. If you haven’t seen it, you can find the synopsis here. It is really a remarkable film with many lessons that we can learn from. The last time I watched it, there was a particular scene that struck me and stays with me. Barnum, the main protagonist, finally found glory and acceptance among the upper class with his new found talent, Jenny Lind. He was consumed in greed. In pursuit of this fame, he lost himself and his family’s support as well. He was willing to trade his family’s love and security for fame and fortune. Then his wife, Caroline, turns to him and asks, “When will it ever be enough?”

He had wanted more wealth and more admiration – the more he got, the more he wanted. He let his own pride and lust consume him, and even when his wife asked that question, he still left to pursue something more.

In the same way, I asked myself that question. What is it that I am pursuing? What is it that I live for? When will my earthly life be enough for me? I’m constantly moving towards the next thing, the next idea, looking for fulfilment. Even though I know the real reason why I am here on this earth, my own humanity gets the better of me.

Just like Barnum was grasping at worldly desires and affections, don’t we do the same? He was hoarding these things for his own benefit and pride under the illusion that it was all for the sake of his family.

The struggle for us today is much the same. There is a deep seeded longing within us to have more, to be more and to do more. Without this desire we would just become complacent and never strive for anything. It’s a good desire which becomes distorted by our hubris. We have certain needs in order to survive, but it can quickly turn when we lose our sense of security and purpose. Isn’t self-preservation part of our human nature?

Selfishness, self-centredness and laziness are easy vices to fall into. I should know because I struggle with them every day. I honestly can’t think of one day during my life that I was completely selfless, and I’m sure there are few out there who couldn’t say the same.

The world really doesn’t help us with this in any way. Instead, the world offers us “you do you” and “look out for number one”. We are being inundated with messages that train us to believe we are most important.

Matthew (6:19-21):
“Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and woodworm destroy them and thieves can break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworm destroys them and thieves cannot break in and steal. For wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be too.”

All the things that the world offers are not enough. Even the things which we know to be objectively good are not enough.

It’s not what we live for, but Who we live for. We live knowing that our goal is to reach Eternity. While we might not be actively looking to separate ourselves from our Creator, are we truly living for Heaven? Or maybe, at times, are we living for purgatory?

“God cannot give us a peace and happiness apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
C.S. Lewis 

Everything comes from God, and everything is fulfilled in Him. We are created for complete and total union with our Creator. That is what will bring us happiness. That is when it will finally be enough for us. Happiness apart from God does not exist; however, that doesn’t stop us from trying to find it.

“The happy life is this – to rejoice to Thee, in Thee and for Thee.”
St. Augustine

If the only thing that will bring us true happiness is getting to Heaven, how do we get there and why do many of us fight it?

Jesus gives us the answer. He tells us plainly what we need to do to get to Heaven. So often we think there has to be another way, an easier way, but anything in life worth having will not be easy. It will challenge us to grow and strive for perfection. It will challenge us to die to self and offer everything we have. We have the perfect example to follow.


HOW DO WE REACH HEAVEN?

Take some time to listen to these words of wisdom by Venerable Fulton Sheen. Try to remove any distractions and focus on his message.

We will never reach Heaven if we are so focused on ourselves that we forget about God and others. He is the reason for the breath in our lungs and the clothes on our backs. Even if it is a constant battle, it is a battle worth fighting.

We need to go the extra mile and not just do the bare minimum asked of us. Jesus loves us deeply and profoundly in a way that no human could ever love another. His love for us is so great that He gives us His grace without merit. He gives us the energy to do the impossible.

Matthew (19:26):
“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”

We don’t want to be like Judas counting each penny of the alabaster oil; God is worth infinitely more. Instead, we need to break the jar and give everything even when we feel like we have nothing.

I do not want to be complacent anymore. I do not want to give the Lord only a portion of what I can because He gave everything for me. I want to go the extra mile and wholeheartedly abandon myself to His love. I want to adore and worship Jesus for all of eternity with the angels and saints in Heaven.

This life will never be enough for us. What are we doing to reach the next?

Jesus has given us a way – The Way. It’s time that we stop trying to rely on our own strength and stop trying to obtain whatever we want in the moment. Too much of our lives are focused on ourselves. We have to focus on the Lord and allow Him to transform us so that we can be Jesus to others.

It’s difficult, and I‘m not going to pretend that I’m perfect and I can do it all easily. I’m learning every day what it means to live as a Christian. It is not about wanting more of the world, but wanting more of God.

“The freest soul, I think, is the one most forgetful of self . . . You see, pride is love of ourselves; well, love for God must be so strong that it extinguishes all our self-love.”
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity


What are some practical steps we can take to remove our focus on self?

ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE TRANSFORMED

 Before we do anything, we need to recognise the areas of our life that needs attention and invite God to work in us. It’s no use to do anything on our own strength because it’s just not enough. God has infinite graces to give us; we just need to ask. It’s only once we fill ourselves with Him that we can become like Him.

BE READY AND WILLING

There is no point putting off to tomorrow what you can do today. We might be tempted to say that we are too weak or too sinful, or we don’t have time right now. God has new challenges waiting for us each day. We must be like Samuel and say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening”. It is truly amazing how many opportunities for growth and service we waste by not being attentive to God’s voice.

MAKE DAILY SACRIFICES

The best way to forget self is to deny self. You might even think that your sacrifice is so small that it is insignificant, but no sacrifice for the Kingdom of God is lost. God can use even the feeblest offerings.  You know what your struggles are and you know what sacrifices will please God.

REFLECT AND EXAMINE

Self awareness will combat selfishness. If you’re struggling in a particular area, it’s important to take time out of your day to reflect on how it’s going. Acknowledge the growth as well as the shortcomings, and ask God to help you again. Practice does not make perfect; practice makes progress.


DIRECTIVES

First, take five minutes to pray. Ask the Holy Spirit for inspiration, guidance, patience and anything else you might need in order to overcome the areas of selfishness, self-centredness or laziness. It’s extremely important to rely on God’s strength for anything that we do.

Then take at least thirty minutes to journal and reflect on these questions:

  • What areas of my life do I need to address?
  • What treasures am I hoarding for my own gain?
  • How can I give these things more freely to others?
  • Is there something hindering me from giving these things to God and to others?
  • How does this impact my daily life?
  • How does this impact my relationship with God?
  • How does this impact my relationship with others?
  • What are some sacrifices I need to make?
  • What actions can I take?

Once you have finished reflecting, you need to put those thoughts into actions. It can be tempting to get caught up in thoughts and never really do anything about it. This will be different for each person and you need to make your actions personal to you and your situation. I would suggest you spend at least ten minutes over three days on these actions and sacrifices.

At the end of these three days, spend no more than five minutes reflecting on your progress. Give glory to God for the improvements and ask for mercy in the shortcomings.

Catholic Bible Reading With the St. Paul Center (Audio Course Roses)

Are you ready to take Scripture reading further but not sure where to get started? We have a suggestion to help you do just that!

Scott Hahn’s St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology (we’ll call it ‘SPC’ for ‘St. Paul Center’ henceforth!) has some great, free, online and Catholic Bible Studies. We’re going to spend a couple of Faith Formation Rose blog posts breaking these down in order to provide practical guidelines for not only diving into Scripture Study, but knowing how that study can translate into Roses to offer to Our Lady in Your Monthly Rose Crown, or discuss at a weekly Golden Rose group. For this post, we’ll take a look at the options in their audio courses…

The SPC has eight full audio courses, each with 5-10 lessons of audio lectures that generally average out at about an hour’s listening time each. To listening to each lesson, we add an hour of personal study in order to grow your rose. Thus, whilst we will take the time to break these down and give more specific directives for how you might want to conduct that Scripture Study, your typical rose box (if that’s a new concept for you, take a quick read of this page) is going to look like this for any of these roses:

Faith FormationScripture Study With St. Paul Center Audio Bible Courses
ObjectiveGo more deeply in your study of Scripture
SeedtimeApprox 1 hour audio lecture with note taking
Feedtime1 hour
DirectiveSpend an hour assimilating and building upon the lecture you have listened to, through reading and writing.
To learn how these boxes work, click here!

Notes Regarding Further Study:

In general, it will be helpful for you to make good notes during the lecture to help guide this study. In particular, make a note of any Scripture references and numbers given from the Catechism, so you can go back over them (the Catechism is online free here if you don’t have one).

The SPC website suggests some reading material you could buy to use for the duration of the course, and these can be used to fulfil your study time obligation. However if you don’t want to purchase books at present, here are some ideas for resources that are free online. What is free online is generally older, as then it is public domain. If you haven’t bought custom designed books you will need to spend some of your time simply doing the research required to unearth the relevant material – that’s OK! The resources for these roses will be updated on an ongoing basis, please let us know if you would like to recommend anything not listed:

  • Works of the Early Church Fathers – not all on Scripture directly, but there are lots of commentaries and homilies scattered throughout when you look!
  • Catena Aurea online – a scriptural Commentary spanning the four Gospels. It was put together by St. Thomas Aquinas and is made up of quotes from the Early Church Fathers.
  • Other Commentaries by St. Thomas Aquinas
  • With an account on Formed (some of their resources require a paid subscription, but not all) or a subscription (or free trial!) on Scribd you will find some of the suggested resources online.

In any case, listen to the lecture and to cultivate the rose you need to spend an hour with study material – your main text is almost always the relevant Scripture Passage, with the exception of a few studies where the Scripture element is less direct. Taking careful notes whilst listening is likely to help at study time. At least half of the study time should be after listening to the lecture, but it may be helpful to use some of it as preparatory reading instead – up to you!

Course One – Signs of the Covenant: Transforming Lives and Renewing Relationships

This course has 6 lessons

Course Two – The Gospel of Mark

This course has 5 lessons

Course Three – Romans: The Gospel According to St. Paul

This course has 9 lessons

Course Four – Proclaiming the Kingdom: The Gospel of Matthew

This course has 10 lessons

Course Five – Lessons from the Early Church

This course has 5 lessons
Technically, you will notice, it’s not a Bible Study! Nevertheless we list it here as the Church Fathers are so important for learning to read the Bible as the Church does. To bring this back to the Scriptures, we suggest diving into their writings directly during your extra study. These are available free online here. They provide material for HOURS of study and in most cases you will find they are richly interwoven with Sacred Scripture.

Course Six – Feasts of Faith

This course has 8 lessons
Not strictly a Bible Study, but it covers topics that span the Old and New Testaments and should really give a framework within which you can readily use your Bible, Catechism and whatever else you want to take to help you understand better our spiritual and liturgical roots.

Course Seven – The Splendour of the Church

This course has 9 lessons

Course Eight – John: The Sacramental Gospel

This course has 6 lessons

Evangelisation Through the Miraculous Medal

This post is a continuation from the Starter Rose found here (scroll, it’s the fourth rose down). In it, the ‘seed’ was the modern day conversion story of a man who became Catholic through the power of a blessed Miraculous Medal. Here, we will continue with exploring Miraculous Medal distribution and its power in Evangelisation, taking a few more sources as seeds. Let’s take a look at what the challenges look like:

EvangelisationMiraculous Medal Distribution
ObjectiveBring people to Jesus through Mary by means of the Miraculous Medal
SeedtimeVariable (see below) but generally around 15 minutes
Feedtime1 hour, perhaps more if conversations develop (you will need as stock of blessed Miraculous Medals to undertake the task)
DirectiveFor each seed, give out 12 blessed Miraculous Medals. Talk about the medal/faith where an opportunity presents. Afterwards, pray for 5 minutes (e.g. a decade of the Rosary and Memorare) for each person.
To learn how these boxes work, click here!

Before we get started on spiritual inputs – seeds and refreshers – there are a few practical pointers regarding Miraculous Medal distribution (these may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised!):

  • Whilst God can work with anything and it’s nice to have things that remind us of Mary, there is little point, in terms of the objective efficacy of the sacramental, in giving out Miraculous Medals unless you get them blessed first – especially if the people you’re giving them to are unlikely to seek out a priest themselves!
  • You can’t buy blessed medals because they will lose their blessing in the buying. You need to get them blessed after they are purchased.
  • It’s not compulsory for the rose, but since really you want the people who receive them to wear the medal, it is highly advisable to get your hands on suitable string to have them ready to go on their necks, and to encourage them to put it on straight away. The best thing for this job is generally cotton (thicker than a sewing thread, probably a little thinner than your average wool). Blue is nice for the Marian aspect…
  • Before you waste cotton make sure you are cutting it to the right length: tie the ends of a test one and check it goes over your own head comfortably, then measure further lengths accordingly. If you have a small head you’ll need to take that into account and measure out extra. It’s important to get this right if you’re going to encourage people to wear the medal because you’ll need to have them tied in advance and it’s just going to be embarrassing for everyone if they can’t get it over their head…

Seeds:

This PDF booklet on the Miraculous Medal, available to download free from the Traditional Observance MI, contains 4 potential seeds – each taking maybe 15 minutes to read. They are divided as follows:

  1. Page 5-21: The Story of the Miraculous Medal
  2. Page 22-33: Two conversion stories, including that of Alphonse Ratisbonne
  3. Page 34-47: Conversions of Claude Newman and James Hughs, Testimony of Fr. John Hardon
  4. Page 48-63: Story of St. Catherine Laboré

Reading this essay, ‘The Medal Called Miraculous’ by Frank Duff (available online courtesy of Waterford LOM Curia), can serve as one seed.

The above content is sufficient in terms of seeds. Until these seeds are all sown (i.e. read), one should be taken between each batch of 12 medals that is distributed. After these seeds are all sown, roses can continue to be cultivated without new inputs each time you give out 12 Miraculous Medals according to the specs above (regarding 5 minutes of prayer).

This means that effectively giving out 12 Miraculous medals becomes a perennial rose. As such, it comes with a short refresher to be completed between each rose: Reading a testimony (generally about a paragraph, less than a minute) from this site.

In addition, below are some videos that can serve to help further your devotion if you want to be reminded of stories or go deeper with what you have already learned from the preparatory material. These inputs are optional, but may be helpful in strengthening your faith in the power of the practice.

Recap of the Story of The Miraculous Medal
Recap of the Story of Claude Newman

Seasonal Rose Challenge for the Month of the Sacred Heart!

In this month of the Sacred Heart, we’re suggesting a way in which you can give a rose to Our Lady specifically in honour of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It’s very simple: Make a Novena!

This Novena may be made, and counted as a Rose, any time in the month of June. However it is suggested to make it at the traditional time – beginning on Thursday 3rd June (Corpus Christi or the Thursday preceding – depending on your local calendar) and ending on the Feast of the Sacred Heart – which this year is Friday 11th June*. And if you decide to recite both prayers each day for the whole month you may count the recitation as three Novenas and three Roses.

*N.B. If you are reading this post in a year after 2021 check the bottom to confirm dates!

The Novena consists of two prayers, an act of Reparation and a the Litany of the Sacred Heart. On the final day, you are also invited to make St. Margaret Mary’s Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart – but this is a personal decision, and not required for the purposes of the Rose.

Here are the prayers:

Act of Reparation (recite daily for 9 days)

Most sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before Thee, eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries to which Thy loving Heart is everywhere subject.

Mindful, alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask Thy pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation, not only for our own personal offenses, but also for the sins of those, who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow Thee, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the promises of their baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of Thy law.

We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against Thee; we are now determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behavior, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violations of Sundays and holydays, and the shocking blasphemies uttered against Thee and Thy Saints.

We wish also to make amends for the insults to which Thy Vicar on earth and Thy priests are subjected, for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of very the Sacrament of Thy Divine love; and lastly for the public crimes of nations who resist the rights and teaching authority of the Church which Thou hast founded.

Would that we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood. We now offer, in reparation for these violations of Thy divine honor, the satisfaction Thou once made to Thy Eternal Father on the cross and which Thou continuest to renew daily on our altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of Thy Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of Thy grace, for all neglect of Thy great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past.

Henceforth, we will live a life of unswerving faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the Gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from offending Thee and to bring as many as possible to follow Thee.

O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to Thee, so that we may all one day come to that happy home, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit Thou livest and reignest, God, forever and ever. Amen.

Litany (recite daily for 9 days)

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven R./ Have Mercy on us
God, the Son, Redeemer of the World
God, the Holy Ghost
Holy Trinity, one God

Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father R./ Have Mercy on us
Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost
Heart of Jesus, united substantially with the word of God
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Divinity
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is well pleased
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who invoke Thee
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins
Heart of Jesus, saturated with revilings
Heart of Jesus, crushed for our iniquities
Heart of Jesus, made obedient unto death
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord
Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us

V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart.
R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray
Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end. Amen.

Act of Consecration – Optional, may be recited on the Feast or Final Day

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials, and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee.

I take Thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life, and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be Thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my justification before God Thy Father, and screen me from His anger which I have so justly merited. I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in Thee, O Heart of Love, I hope all from Thine infinite Goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist Thee. Imprint Thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget Thee or be separated from Thee.

I beseech Thee, through Thine infinite Goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon Thy Heart, for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of Thy devoted servants.

Amen.

Dates of the Feast of the Novena/Feast in other years:

2022 – Start Thursday 16th June, feast Friday 24th June
2023 – Start Thursday 8th June, feast Friday 16th June
2024 – Start Thursday 30th May, feast Friday 7th June
2025 – Start Thursday 19th June, feast Friday 27th June
2026 – Start Thursday 4th June, feast Friday 12th June
2027 – Start Thursday 27th May, feast Friday 4th June
2028 – Start Thursday 15th June, feast Friday 23rd June
2029 – Start Thursday 31st May, feast Friday 8th June
2030 – Start Thursday 20th June, feast Friday 28th June

Back to Prayers

Metaphysics, Theology, St. Thomas Aquinas

Do you want to dive deeper with your faith and get to grips with a more profound general understanding of Catholic Theology? Why not begin with getting to grips with the thought and writings of the great St. Thomas Aquinas?

This post is based on the framework provided by Season One of the Thomistic Institute’s online Aquinas 101 course, and seeks to give you the details on how your using it to come to grips with Aquinas can equate to Roses in the field of Faith Formation, which you can offer to Our Lady in the monthly bouquet, or discuss at your Golden Rose meeting in the appropriate week:

Season 1 – Course 1 – Why Aquinas [one rose]

(This is a Starter Rose – see third down on this blog post for course materials and details)

Season 1 – Course 2 – Introduction to Thomistic Philosophy [three roses]

As there is more material here than in course one, course two amounts to three roses in total. There are 21 segments in the course, and for each rose one must take 7 of them and work according to the following breakdown:

Faith FormationAquinas 101 Part 2 – Roses A-C – Introduction to Thomistic Philosophy
ObjectiveSeek a deeper understanding of the Philosophical world of St. Thomas Aquinas
Seedtime35 minutes (per rose) – Watch 7 videos, averaging max. 5 minutes each
FeedtimeApprox 1 hour 30 minutes (per rose) hour
DirectiveFor each video watched, spend 10-15 minutes extra study. This study must include the course reading, and may be supplemented by any other of the resources referenced on the page, as you find most beneficial.
To check out how these boxes work, click here!

Course materials for these roses are found here.

Season 1 – Course 3 – God and His Creation [three roses]

You will see the seedtime per rose is beginning to increase a bit. As the material moves on, there is more information given in the videos. However, the course is also moving on to grapple more directly with issues that are relevant to our spiritual lives – God and the soul – so hopefully there will be a correlative increase in how interesting the learning is to how much extra attention it may require.

Feedtime per rose has not been increased here, and if you feel you have come to grips with the material of the video in the 10-15 minutes extra study you can just continue onto part 4. However, if you prefer to dive more deeply into the material, feel free to spend more time. Listening, for example to the podcasts/soundcloud audio may be helpful and this can be part of your ‘feedtime’ if the reading takes less than the specified time for you. There are no further roses for spending extra time after what is specified listening to material – but as it is the work of a canonised saint, spending further time reading and studying the Summa can contribute towards spiritual reading perennial roses.

Faith FormationAquinas 101 Part 3 – Roses A-C – God and His Creation
ObjectiveExplore the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas on God and His Creation
Seedtime45 minutes for rose A (watch first 6 videos)
1 hour each for roses B and C (watch 7 videos for each)
FeedtimeApprox 1 hour 30 minutes (per rose) hour
DirectiveFor each video watched, spend 10-15 minutes extra study. This study must include the course reading, and may be supplemented by any other of the resources referenced on the page, as you find most beneficial.
To check out how these boxes work, click here!

Course materials for these roses are found here.

Season 1 – Course 4 – Principles of the Moral Life [two roses]

The course continues onto the moral life. Advice/guidelines much the same as given above for Part 3.

Faith FormationAquinas 101 Part 4 – Roses A-B – Principles of the Moral Life
ObjectiveExplore St. Thomas Aquinas’ Principles of the Moral Life.
Seedtime55 minutes (per rose) – Watch 7 videos, averaging under 8 minutes each
FeedtimeApprox 1 hour 30 minutes (per rose) hour
Directive For each video watched, spend 10-15 minutes extra study. This study must include the course reading, and may be supplemented by any other of the suggested resources on the page.
To check out how these boxes work, click here!

Course materials for these roses are found here.

Season 1 – Course 5 – Theological and Cardinal Virtues [two roses]

These two roses break down to slightly less of a time commitment than the last few. Advice given for Part 3 remains the general guideline…

Faith FormationAquinas 101 Part 5 – Roses A-B – Theological and Cardinal Virtues
ObjectiveCome to know virtues more deeply through the thought of Aquinas.
Seedtime35 minutes (per rose) – Watch first 4 videos for Rose A
Remaining 5 videos for part B
FeedtimeApprox 60-75 mins (per rose) hour
DirectiveFor each video watched, spend about 15 minutes extra study. This study must include the course reading, and may be supplemented by any other of the resources referenced on the page, as you find most beneficial.
To check out how these boxes work, click here!

Course materials for these roses are found here.

Season 1 – Course 6 – Christ and the Sacraments [four roses]

Here less videos make up the seedtime, and we are asked to spend a little longer per video in ‘feedtime’ to come to grips with the roses. Whilst this might not be strictly necessary in order to generally understand the content, the idea is not to rush through these concepts which have such a direct application to our Catholic spiritual lives, and to give them a little more time to sink in deeply and change our prayer and experience.

Faith FormationAquinas 101 Part 6 – Roses A-D – Christ and the Sacraments
ObjectiveLook in more depth at the Incarnation and the Sacraments of the Church
Seedtime30-35 minutes (per rose) – Watch 4 videos for each rose
FeedtimeApprox 60-80 minutes (per rose) hour
DirectiveFor each video watched, spend 15-20 minutes extra study. This study must include the course reading, and may be supplemented by any other relevant resources, as you find most beneficial.
To check out how these boxes work, click here!

Course materials for these roses are found here.

Season 1 – Course 7 – Virtue [two roses]

This is the seventh and final section, with two final roses to go!

Faith FormationAquinas 101 Part 7 – Roses A-B – Virtue
ObjectiveExplore Virtue through Thomistic teachings
Seedtime40 minutes (per rose) – Watch 5 videos, averaging about 8 minutes each
Feedtime1 hour 15 minutes (per rose) hour
Directive For each video watched, spend 15 minutes extra study. This study must include the course reading, and may be supplemented by any other of the suggested resources on the page.
To check out how these boxes work, click here!

Course materials for these roses are found here.

Conclusion!

If you’ve made it to here by working through all the roses above, praise God! I pray that your study has been blessed and helped you to draw closer to Jesus, and that in offering it to Him through Mary She has taken you in a special way under Her Mantle.

For now we have no specific follow on roses in the area of Aquinas and Metaphysics, but as the Thomistic Institute release more in their Second Series on Science and Faith, we will look at ways this this too might translate into roses, and update things.

In the meantime, feel free to try other roses, to undertake independent study or to simply move as the Spirit leads you! God bless.

Why Pray in the Morning?

Growing in PrayerPut God First
ObjectiveBegin to put God first every day
Seedtime32 minutes (2 minute read, 30 minute podcast)
Feedtime1 hour
DirectiveTake 15 minutes each day for 4 days to spend time with God first thing in the morning. Make a morning offering, and read through and pray with the Gospel of the day.
To check out how these boxes work, click here!

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. To be honest, it’s not wrong. I know from personal experience that when I get up early, my day always seems to go better. When I sleep in, it throws my whole day off balance and I feel like I’m constantly playing catch up.

So if that is true for waking up early, then is it the same for our prayer time?

I would argue, absolutely yes! Below are three reasons why:

LEARN FROM EXAMPLE

Throughout the bible leaders and prophets, including Jesus Himself, rose early to pray. These are just a few examples:

Mark (1:35):
“And in the morning, a great while before day, [Jesus] rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.”

Job (1:5):
“And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.”

Genesis (32:3):
“So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.”

Joshua (6:12):
“Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord.”

CUTS OUT DISTRACTIONS

My day is filled with distractions. There’s always something that needs to get done. And If I have distractions, I’m sure the majority of people do too. Rather than trying to fit Jesus into my busyness, I choose to make a special time for Him in the stillness. People are always in a rush in the morning, whether it is getting the children ready for school or beating the traffic to work. There is something so special about claiming that time for God when it is quiet and still and you can focus on the Lord.

SETS UP YOUR DAY

Matthew (6:33):
“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”

Our days are full of ups and downs. By inviting God into our day at the very beginning, we invite Him to walk alongside us through the joys, challenges, blessings and struggles. If we put God first, then our day will be an extension of our prayer, and He will give us the grace to follow Him. Even if we offer God each day before bed, we are only giving back to Him what we have achieved by ourselves. Of course, God can use everything we offer Him, but how good would it be to say every morning, “I want to follow You today. Your Will be done”?

Take some time and listen to this podcast by Jeff Cavins Why Morning is the Best Time to Pray. This podcast will give more insight into this subject and how you can offer your day to God more fully. Then use the directive above to grow this seed into a rose.