I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.
I arise today, through
God's strength to pilot me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
O Christ Jesus
When all is darkness
And we feel our weakness and helplessness,
Give us the sense of Your Presence,
Your Love and Your Strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
In Your protecting love
And strengthening power,
So that nothing may frighten or worry us,
For, living close to You,
We shall see Your Hand,
Your Purpose, Your Will through all things.
By St. Ignatius of Loyola
We are accustomed to anxiety and stress all too well. There is rarely a moment in our days where we are not faced with some level of anxiety or pain. The stress of duties imposed upon you whether it be of work, family, friends, etc. can be overwhelming. However, inevitably there shall come a time when great distress finds us and renders us pinned down in absolute chaos. These are of the anxieties that are deep reaching and often most difficult to withstand such as a death of a loved one or financial/emotional/spiritual ruin. What then shall the Catholic do under seemingly diabolical attacks on our peace and well-being?
In a word, we are to pray. Now this is not a 'cop-out' for lack of better terms but rather the ultimate strategy against despair. We simply cannot afford to forgo prayer and expect to be able to deal with life's various twists and turns. This of course means we pray whatever the 'season' may be in our lives; whether the joys of springtime or the pains of winter we are to give place to God as master of our lives. It is graces that we must seek in order to be given the faith we need to carry our crosses. Keep in mind, there has never been a time our Lord ever said to us that to follow Him was to be a walk in the park. Instead, Jesus made it clear that to follow Him meant to, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me daily.”
So, prayer is the answer but first, let's recall the easier days of your life when stress was at an all time low if any at all. Do you remember how easy it was to pray? Exceedingly easy! It is not terribly impressive that you pray and pray often in times of relaxation, peace, and comfort; though all pray merits for holiness, but saints are not made in the days where justice and peace is common place otherwise following logic would make us perfect. No, it is when life is the hardest we discover the narrow path spread with thorns to the rewards of Christ. It is when every prayer is like a mouth full of sand that you gain the greatest merit for your penances. It is in the very midst of temptation to forgo prayer that we find our path to the crown of life. Struggle therefore with that temptation to refuse to speak to God or petition the saints for intercession as it is surely a demonic attempt to assail you from spiritual victory.
Now that we know that endurance and persistence in prayer is necessary, what shall we petition God in our distress? Shall we ask God to take away our pain or misfortune that we are obligated to give attention to? If so, then tell me, would it have been good to shield our Lord Jesus from the scourging at the pillar or to protect Him from the crown of thorns or to remove the cross from His shoulders and keep Him from being crucified? Surely these things would have given Jesus comfort and removed from His path great pains and distress. Do you see what I am getting at? I deliberately meant to frustrate your less than stellar petitions to God to remove from you the one thing that might make you holy. Why should you ask God to take away what was destined for you to suffer for His sake for the very purpose of sanctification? How does gold get refined? By the fire! How is the steel of a sword tempered and strengthened? By the fire! How are you going to shed all those things that keep you from Christ? By the fire! Pray therefore for the graces to happily receive whatever is necessary for your salvation even to the point of martyrdom. Is that going to far? To what lengths do you go for security, peace, happiness, and love for you and your loved ones? Then how much more shall we do for the eternal God who loves us and wishes to live eternally with Him in heaven? Pray then that your will be abandoned so that God's heavenly will may be done in, through, and by you so that you are neither puffed up by life's easy moments nor cast down by the hardest. Rather, pray to be fully satisfied in ALL things for the love of our Lord. As Sacred Scripture says, “And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.” - Romans 8:28
When was the last time you went to confession?
Here is a quick guide on how to make a good Confession that you may want to print.
If you want to learn about the history of confession here is a good article.
If you want a good advent reflection on Confession then look at our Day 3 reflection.
By Sadeer Farjo
Do you struggle with committing the same sins over and over? A practical way of avoiding sin is by eliminating the circumstances that usually lead up to sin. A young man one time admitted to me that he has a hard time stopping himself from committing sexual sins with his girlfriend. It turned out most of his sins with his girlfriend happened while the two were alone together in the car. My advice to him was to avoid being alone with her in the car.
Removing yourself from circumstances that will lead you to sin makes it less likely for you to commit sin. If you struggle with gluttony then don't keep a fridge stocked with unhealthy foods. In addition to avoiding situations that will cause you to sin, place yourself in environments that will allow you to grow in holiness. Simply put, to stop committing the same sins over and over you should try the following:
1. Identity the circumstances that cause you to commit the sin.
2. If possible, avoid placing yourself in such situations.
3. Place yourself in situations that will allow you to grow in holiness.
One of my favorite verses in Holy Scripture can be read in 1 John 4:18, which says,
“Fear is not in charity: but perfect charity casteth out fear, because fear hath pain. And he that feareth, is not perfected in charity.”
Now this is not to say that fear has no place in a man but in what light does man take in fear that actually assists him? Going back to 1 John 4:18, the Disciple that Jesus loved is confirming the necessity of charity or love that drives out fear. One would naturally think the opposite of fear is courage but the word courage itself is more of a word than a strategy in conquering fear, rather love is the strategy that deadens the sting of fear. So as we continue to regard fear that is to naturally weave in and out of our finite minds, keep charity in mind as the decisive plan for victory over fear.
But again, in what light does man take in fear that actually assists him and what unfortunately of fear that destroys him? What are we “allowed” to fear and continue to avoid worshiping in vain? I ask these questions to call to mind the fears that bind you at this very moment so that you may in secret find the solution, who is Jesus Christ. Shall we legitimately fear things and still claim faith in Him who is always faithful regardless of our inconsistencies? Fear of losing a job or not being able to provide for those we have charge over? Or fear of not meeting others expectations? Indeed fear has its place in our lives as it is a healthy reminder of our boundaries and limits to what may bring ruin if we were to exhaust them. Such as the fear of suicide as this goes against the moral law and traditionally speaking is a grave matter. The fear of hell, while considered imperfect contrition for sin is quite useful indeed to stave oneself away from malignant choices in life. But do we rather fear losing grace or sullying our innocence? Do we fear for the souls of others who, if we do as Christ asks us to, see others on a road to destruction? This isn't pride that we who are so holy and they who are so evil so as to fear for them and not ourselves. Certainly Not! Do also fear for your own soul as you, oh fickle one, are ready to lie, steal if an opportunity presents itself, lust when no one is looking, procrastinate in ones duty in life or not at all, you who are so ready to judge and think nothing of it. What shall you fear? Fear him who can destroy the body and soul. Fear also the perfection of Him who reigns supreme as master, king, and lord of all creation. For as we look at ourselves as though dimly in a mirror we see the inglorious nature of man, deaf, dumb, and blind to most spiritual realities that would have without a doubt solidify our faith if we only had one small glimpse at the face of God while we walked the earth.
What I gather about the plague of fear is not actually concerning spiritual matters but far more carnal reasons. Earthly troubles that are made into mountains while only in truth the size of a mole hill. And so many believe by praying for a desired result will usher in a definitive resolution to your haunting fears. Remember, those of you who fear without consolation, you do not receive because you ask amiss . If it is 'these things' that we are afraid we will not receive, we need only refer to Our Lord Jesus in fully understanding what we must do so that we receive freely,
Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature by one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith?
Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. - Matthew 6:26-34
So what do you have to fear? Some would quote FDR and say fear itself is to be feared and in some ways that is true. But in reality, it is the lack of charity you ask to be perfected in by God you must concern yourself with. Thanks to St. Paul, we know of the three Theological Virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity, however it is charity that is greatest of them all . But why? How is it that charity towers over faith and hope? Some may argue without faith you cannot be saved, this is true. Others would side with hope as without it you lack zeal in the truth and endurance in all things, and this is true. But charity, my brave ones, is the pillar virtue that outlines, infiltrates, edifies, and purifies your faith and your hope as God IS charity so, therefore, employing true love while satisfying His justice in Dogmatic/Doctrinal truth removes all hindrances from receiving His grace. So that you may receive and not be afraid, pray for the graces to live a life of virtue, to take care in fulfilling even the smallest duties granted to you, offering them up as penance for your sins and others. Turn you fear into something holy and presentable to Him who wipes away all fear because of His great love. Do this, and you will indeed be perfected by charity and fear will flee you!
By Sadeer Farjo
Today, December 10, is the feast day of Saints Behnam, Sarah, and the Forty Martyrs according to the Syriac Catholic Rite's Calendar. Behnam and Sara were the children of King Sinharib. They become converts to Chrisitianity when St. Matthew, a priest, cured Sara from leprosy. Behnam, Sara, and the forty slaves were all baptized by St. Matthew.
When King Sinharib found out that his children became Christians he was frious and demanded that they denouce their Christianity. Refusing to denouncing their faith Behnam, Sara, and the forty slaves took flight to Mount Alfaf. King Sinharib sent his soldiers after them and had his own children and the forty slaves killed.
What I find most amazing in these events is that the slaves were baptized and remained with their so called master, Behnam, even enduring death along side him. This event reminds us that only Christ can set us free. The Forty Martyrs were not made free by some political action, but by God's Grace bestowed upon them in their Baptism. We read in John 8:36: "If therefore the son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed." Also as St. Paul writes:
"For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." GALATIANS 3:26-28 (New American Bible).
The forty so called 'slaves' could have saved their own lives by abandoning Behnam and Sara; however, they decided to risk and ultimately lose their own lives with them. By the virtue of their baptism, the Forty Martyrs were no longer slaves, they were brothers and sisters in Christ.
By Sadeer Farjo
Jealousy is at the root of many sins. Lucifer was jealous of God and rebelled against God, which transformed Lucifer from a beautiful angel into a wicked demon. Adam and Eve were jealous of God and wanted to become gods themselves and thus believed the words of the father of lies (the serpent) and ate the forbidden fruit, which resulted in them being cast out of the Garden of Eden. Cain was jealous of Abel which ultimately resulted in the first murder. I can go on and on but you get the point.
Are you the jealous type? Imagine this scenario, you have just received your final exam grade. You got a D. You find out that your friends all got As, how do you feel? Are you jealous or happy for them? What if your friends all got Ds, like you, are you more comforted by your low score?
We need to train ourselves to be happy for others. We always want to cry out WHY ME? But we need to resist this temptation. The devil loves to use our jealousy....
Written By: Thomas Mulcahy
Prefatory note on the importance of devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Conception. Mary entered human existence by a remarkable grace that preserved her from original sin, and which set her apart to become the Mother of God and the harbinger of God's own human existence in the person of Jesus. Mary's Immaculate Conception thus warrants a special devotion, and wearing the Miraculous Medal (first called the medal of the Immaculate Conception), and saying the prayer each morning, "Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you,' is one way to effectively practice this devotion. Saints who have been devoted to Mary's Immaculate Conception include Saint Catherine Laboure, Saint Bernadette, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and Blessed Mother Teresa (whose nuns have given out millions of Miraculous Medals).
Father Faber talks about the power of this devotion to Mary's Immaculate Conception; he indicates that her Immaculate Conception "is the first dawn of the world's redemption." He further indicates that devotion to Mary's Immaculate Conception is calculated to help us greatly in our "present needs...against the torrent of modern impurity" (and Faber was writing around 150 years ago!, so how much more do we need this devotion now!). Perhaps you know someone battling impurity: here is a devotion "eminently calculated" to sanctify our unruly passions. Faber recommends immense devotion to Mary and her Immaculate Conception, calling such devotion "a special power with God." Of the power of Mary's mediation Saint Pope John Paul II once said:
"In Mary's case we have a special and exceptional mediation...Jesus Christ prepared her ever more completely to become for all people their 'mother in the order of grace' "
(Saint Pope John Paul II, Mother of the Redeemer, 39).
This "preparation" began with the Immaculate Conception. If you are interested in the Miraculous Medal devotion, I recommend you read about the amazing conversion story of a Jewish man, Alphonse Ratisbonne. See
The Miraculous Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne
By Sadeer Farjo, based on my notes from Fulton Sheen's Way to Inner Peace, chapter 35
"Humility is truth, or seeing ourselves as we really are
Here are 4 signs that might suggest you lack humility:
1) You play out a dream where you are the hero
2) You decrease the value of others effort
3) You are excessively sensitive to personal insults
4) You lack compassion for other people's feelings
A humble person does not underestimate himself. A humble person judges himself by his Maker and his Maker intended him to be. A humble person does not get bothered when insulted by others because if he has made a mistake, then he will try to fix it. If the insult he received is not true, it will not hurt him. A humble person is usually not comfortable receiving praise because a humble person knows that his talents are God's gifts.