Finding that balance that only God can give me is finding time for prayer. Why pray? Pray puts me before the divine light of God, and it is only in him with the Holy Spirit moving in me that I can find healing from my own depraved desires and obsessions. Without Jesus as my role model, and the spirit of his guidance, I would have long ago been sucked into the darkness that seduces my soul.
I can understand the trials many saints have gone through especially when their words can touch the core of my being. In An Introduction To The Devout Life – St. Francis de Sales, (p. 61) writes:
“Prayer brings our mind into the brightness of divine light, and exposes our will to the warmth of divine love. Nothing else can so purge our mind from its ignorance, and our will from its depraved affections. It is a blessed fountain which, as it flows, revives our good desires and causes them to bring forth fruit, washes away the stains of infirmity from our soul, and calms the passions of our hearts.”
There are some mornings when I wake up and I am more tired then when I went to bed. I recall waking up a few times during the night with vivid images from a dream – disturbing – it was like I was in some spiritual saga – a battle. Each time I woke up, I prayed and fell back to sleep.
Upon awakening, I recall flashes of my dream, but then by the time I have my first coffee, I can’t remember them.
After a somewhat choppy morning prayer, I was looking for inspiration to complement my grunt of a prayer. I came across St. Catherine of Siena’s quote (the image above).
I call this a gentle nudge from God. It is His way of reminding me (and us) of his amazing grace and hand in my (our) life (lives). “He will provide the way and the means…”
No matter how terrible my night was, I can rest assure of God’s protection:
Assurance of God’s Protection
1 You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, 2 will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” 3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; 4 he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. 5 You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day, 6 or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only look with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place, 10 no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12 On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
14 Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. 15 When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. 16 With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.
Ok, call me “stupid”, but I never associated St. Valentine’s Day to a saint. The first clue should have been the Saint in front of Valentine. Alas, I live in a secular world, and hence influenced by all the hoopla of the day – the excitement surround this day – roses, flowers, chocolate and all the things associated with “love”.
I can now embarrassingly attest to all the silly things I expected on St. Valentine’s Day from my husband, and the disappoint if he forgot – “Where are the flowers?” I think of all the material things I expected on February 14th! When our own children were growing up, my husband and I would always prepare gift bags of chocolates and little cute stuff animals holding hearts as a symbol of our love for them. I got the love part partially right, but was not mindful of what St. Valentine’s Day really means.
It is a special and historic day named after a very real and holy saint. San Valentino (St. Valentine) was a Third Century Roman priest and martyr during the reign of Claudius II, known as Claudius the Goth. He was arrested for helping Christians who were being persecuted by Claudius in Rome and for performing marriage ceremonies between young Christian couples in love. While imprisoned and under threat, Saint Valentine would not sway from answering questions of the Emperor regarding his beliefs. The emperor tried to no avail to convert Saint Valentine. Regardless of what was asked however, Valentine would not renounce his faith so Claudius had him sent away to prison. The guard where Valentine was imprisoned listened as he preached day in and day out. As the legend goes, the guard, Asterius, had a daughter who was blind. He asked Valentine to hear her confession in which he did. Afterwards, Valentine put his hands over the girl’s eyes and chanted: “Lord Jesus Christ, enlighten your handmaid, because You are God, the True Light.” Immediately the little girl regained her eyesight. Because of this miracle, the guard and many of his family members converted to Christianity and were baptized. Upon hearing of the conversions, Emperor Claudius condemned all of The night before his execution, Valentine wrote the young girl a note and signed it, “From your Valentine.” Valentine was then beaten with clubs and stoned and finally beheaded on February 14th, around the year 269. He was buried on the Flaminian Way and a chapel was later built over his remains. On the same day, another Valentine, bishop of Terni, was imprisoned and beheaded by Placidus, prefect of Terni, about sixty miles outside of Rome. Many believe mysteriously that the two are one in the same priest — the same Valentine who was earlier brought to Rome for execution and buried on the Flaminian Way.
Novena to Saint Valentine
Patron saint of courtship, engagement, marriage, Beekeepers, Fainting, Epilepsy, Happy Marriages, Love, Lovers, Young people.
O glorious advocate and protector, Saint Valentine, look with pity upon our wants, hear our requests, attend to our prayers, relieve by your intercession the miseries under which we labor, and obtain for us the Divine blessing, that we may be found worthy to join thee in praising the Almighty for all eternity; through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Pray, then, O holy Martyr, for the faithful, who are so persevering in celebrating thy memory. The day of Judgment will reveal to us all thy glorious merits. Oh! intercede for us, that we may then be made thy companions at the right hand of the Great Judge, and be united with thee eternally in heaven.
Let us pray: Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who solemnize the festival of blessed Valentine, Thy Martyr, may, by his intercession, be delivered from all the evils that threaten us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Mention your intentions here)
Saint Valentine, advocate and protector, pray for us.
Let us begin, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O glorious advocate and protector, St. Valentine, Look with pity upon our wants, hear our prayers, relieve by your intercession the miseries under which we labor, and obtain for us the divine blessing, that we may be found worthy to join you in praising the Almighty for all eternity: through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Mention your request here…)
St. Valentine, pray for us
Say 1: Our Father… Say 1: Hail Mary… Say 1: Glory Be
There are so many beautiful prayers and novena in the Catholic faith. The St. Valentine Novena is particularly special to me, especially now that I know that Valentine’s Day is not some festival secular day, but deeply rooted in faith and commitment to God. It’s meaning is deeper than all the flowers, chocolate and fancy dinners that I once knew.
God Bless as we all reflect on the meaning of St. Valentine’s Day 💖
I know I have been posting many prayers lately, and it comes from a sincere desire to share with all – prayers that I pray. Prayers have been very healing for my soul, especially in light of all the craziness the past few years have ushered in with government restrictions and mandates. Not only have they been very healing, prayer has also changed “me”! Prayer allows me to draw closer to God. It is my intimate conversation with Him – sometimes full of praise and joy, at others times full of complains and sad moans (crying), and at others, full of adoration and love.
These days, I am also praying for God’s light to shine into the world, even in the darkest of cervices.To be an active participant with Him, and He with me.
God needs our help!
God wants to be an active participant in our lives, to guide us to make changes in our own lives and in the world. Our prayers can lead to God’s Divine Mercy moving on those around us, and, our prayers lifted up in sincerity can lead to healing in not only ourselves, but in others – those we love, friends, and strangers.
Father Mike’s short message inspired me today. Oh the more! This morning, I got out of bed late (hmm, I was a sloth and stayed in bed for another hour), and rushed my morning prayer. Urgh, yes, a confession of my soul!
The Feast Day for Our Lady of Lourdes
The Feast Day for Our Lady of Lourdes is on February 11th, 2022. “On Feb. 11, the Catholic Church celebrates the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, recalling a series of 18 appearances that the Blessed Virgin Mary made to a 14-year-old French peasant girl, Saint Bernadette Soubirous”. For more information on St. Bernadette and the History of Our Lady of Lourdes: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/saint/our-lady-of-lourdes-144.
Let Your goodness Lord appear to us, that we made in your image, conform ourselves to it. In our own strength we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder nor is it fitting for us to try. But Your mercy reaches from the heavens through the clouds to the earth below. You have come to us as a small child, but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts, the gift of eternal love Caress us with Your tiny hands, embrace us with Your tiny arms and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.
Rejoice! Rejoice! My heart rejoices at Mary’s “YES”!
As I reflect on my little “yes” to God, there is a wonderful homily written by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux hundred’s of year ago that reflected on the importance of Mary’s “YES”, and it has such insight, I share it below:
The Whole World Awaits Mary’s Reply On the Annunciation and Mary’s “fiat” Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
This homily excerpt of St. Bernard is in the Office of Readings for December 20, the fourth week of Advent.
You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.
The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.
Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.
Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.
Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.
Hom. 4, 8-9: Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 4 , 53-54
My Little “yes”!
I ask myself, have I said “yes” to God? “Can I really do that? Often doubt and fear clouds my judgement, and that’s when I need God to help me over come my insecurities. Last week, I almost said no to helping drive food baskets to the needy in my parish, but at the last minute, I said, “Yes!”. My hesitancy was fear – of meeting people I didn’t know. God gave me a chance to say, “yes”, and it was one of the most humbling and happy thing I could have done. There was a joy in sharing with those in need the love of Jesus, and giving a helping hand. As I knocked on doors, God opened my heart to see His people, and to give them much needed food so that they may have a Merry Christmas.
Let each of us reflect on our “YES” to our Almighty God.