Gregorian chant for Advent

A little Gregorian chant to kick off your Advent. I realize that not quite all of it is actually chant, but it is still lovely. Enjoy, and God bless!

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My new patron saint

Dina_Belanger

Learning about new saints is a fun little pursuit of mine. I try to learn a good deal about the saints because  while their lives were not perfect examples, they show us how to rise above the cultural and secular expectations and become holy. That is my ideal.

Anyways, my latest “find” is the Canadian nun and mystic known as Blessed Dina Belanger. You can read her whole story here (the site I have linked to is devoted to the stories of mystics and is faithful to the Magisterium). I find her story interesting for a number of reasons:

1. She was Canadian, like me.

There aren’t a lot of saints (or beatified persons) who were born and raised in Canada, so I find the stories familiar, in a way. When they mention the cold of a winter night or a city in a nearby province, I can sort of see the story playing out in my mind. It becomes familiar in that way and I don’t forget it.

2. She had a temper, also like me.

Just getting it out there: I had an awful temper when I was younger. As a baby I would scream for quite a long time without quitting, and as I got older (being the oldest) I got a little spoiled. So now I also have a holy person that I can relate to in this respect.

3. She chose “death rather than defilement”. 

When she was admitted to the Sodality of Our Lady she took the motto “Death rather than defilement”. This shows what a strong will she had, just like many of the other young saints of the Catholic Church. And finally…

4. She was a pianist.

There have been many saints and holy people who have played an instrument or sung a good deal during their life, but I think Bl. Dina Belanger is different. She didn’t just play piano for a few years. She persevered and became a very accomplished pianist (I can say this as a pianist who has read about her credentials. St. Cecilia is invoked as the patron saint of musicians, but I think that if she is ever canonised, Bl. Dina Belanger ought to be the patron saint of pianists. Just my two cents. 😉

So may God bless you and Blessed Dina Belanger pray for you!

More on Humility

I was looking through my journal a couple of nights ago and I found this little tidbit that I had written last fall.

“Humility is a noble virtue; a true prize.

To gain it, you must deeply love Christ and all other people above yourself.

To keep it, you must practice it always [without ceasing].

Always search for ways to show humility.

The dictionary says the humility is humbleness; a modest view of one’s [puny] importance.

If we are to be humble [as children of God], then we must practice humble works! Scrub floors and toilets; do dishes and fold laundry! And whilst you are in the midst of these things, the Lord will show you the way to humility.

God bless!

Saint Joseph the Worker

From Lives of the Saints:

   In an adress to the Catholic Association of Italian Workers, May 1, 1955, Pope Pius XII proclaimed May 1 (May Day) the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.  He thus imparted special religious significance to an observance that had been strictly secular – the proper feast of labor throughout the world – and one that had been used by the enemies of the Church to further their evil designs.

Henceforth, May Day is to be “a day of rejoicing for the concrete and progressive triumph of the Christian ideals of the great family of labor.  Acclaimed in this way by Christian workers and having received as it were a Christian baptism, the first of May,  far from being a stimulus for discord, hate and violence, is and will be a recurring invitation to modern society to accomplish that which is still lacking for social peace.”

Thus the humble carpenter of Nazareth, who was the support and guardian of the Divine Child and His Virgin Mother on earth, is now honored above all other men as the personification of the dignity of the manual laborer and the provident guardian of the worker’s family.

Also, here is my absolute favorite prayer to Saint Joseph, found in the year 50, and sent from the Pope to Emporer Charles shortly before a battle that took place in 1505:

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires.  O St. Joseph, do assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me from thy Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord; so that having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.  O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thy arms.  I dare not approach while he reposes near thy heart.  Press him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

Now I know its not the feast of departed souls or anything, but the prayer is quite powerful, for following the prayer is this:

Whoever reads this prayer or hears it or carries it, will never die a sudden death, nor be drowned, nor shall poison take effect on them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy, nor be burned in any fire, nor shall they be overpowered in battle.

Make this prayer known everywhere.

Cool, right? 😉

God bless!

A novena for Pope Benedict XVI

On Monday morning, I was on Catholic Answers Forum reading the latest updates. Funny thing was, there were a ton of posts on that particular morning about Pope Benedict XVI. Upon looking into it, I learned that he was resigning! Now thats certainly something you don’t see everyday (I think that last Pope to resign was roughly 600 years ago).

Later that day, I found a novena website where many Catholics are joining together in prayer for Pope Benedict. So far there are 37,437 people who have signed up to pray this novena, but the site says that if they can get 50,000 people to pray this novena, the website’s manager is going to write a letter to the Holy Father telling him of this “retirement gift” that the people have given him. If you want to join, you can go to www.praymorenovenas.com and make sure you sign up by Tuesday, February 19th. They basically send you an email each day with the prayers that need to be prayed on that day.

I certainly hope that all of these prayers will bless the Holy Father, as well as his successor. God bless!!

~”There are no half-saints; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all.” Saint Therese of Lisieux~

Friends, Peace, and God

First thing: as a homeschooler whose family is incredibly busy, I don’t have too many friends. I mean, I could probably count on one hand the number of good, Catholic friends that I have. The past few days, I started thinking that my lack of good friends could cause problems. The thoughts running through my stupid, puny head were something along the lines of, “Christina, if you don’t get more friends who you can share your problems, trials, troubles, worries, and anxieties with, you will end up depressed in a little box, crying your eyes out. Christina, are you even paying attention?!? Helloooo?!?!”

So it was a rather one-sided conversation with myself. What did I do next? Well, first I told myself to shut up and behave. Then, my head was quiet for a couple of days and it calmed down. Now comes the funny part (this is the part when God steps in to save the day :).

This morning, I was reading Imitation of Christ, Part 3, Chapter 42 and I found this:

That Peace Does Not Depend Upon Other People 

JESUS: My dear friend, if your peace depends only on a mutual love and friendship with another person, your roots will be tangled and shallow. But if you can turn to the ever-living and deep-rooted truth, you will not be grieved when a friend must leave you or when he dies.

The love of a friend should be rooted in me. No matter how good he appears to be or how much you care for him in this life, he should be loved for my sake. Without me, friendship is neither strong nor lasting, nor is it a true or pure love unless I am the bond.

All human affection and friendship is a reflection of the love that I have for you; you should not want any other kind. True friendship is a gift; it takes root in your own heart, and the more you probe its depths, the higher you ascend to God. Friendship is a grace, and it should be nurtured with humility and love. Be thankful for it, and the Holy Spirit will continue to bless you.

Be careful not to let your friendships stand in the way of your love for me. It is easy to place your friends first and God second; looking at created things, it is easy to lose sight of the Creator. In your friendships, as in all other things, always place God first, as the source and font of all that is good.

 Doesn’t God have a terrific way of getting the point across? That was exactly what I needed! It shows that rather than searching for people to talk to, I can always talk to God. Plus, (as an added bonus) I don’t need to worry about a friend’s personal opinion interfering with the matter that I am struggling with, because God always knows what is best and His opinion is the best and only one to follow. So now, rather than vent all of problems to a friend, I will tell God what my problems are and I can trust that He will always find a solution.

Blessed be the Lord, for He has heard the sound of my pleading;

the Lord is my strength and my shield.

In Him my heart trusts, and I find help; then my heart exults, and with my song I give Him thanks.

Psalm 28:6-7

My funny brother

My 5 year old brother Adam is a funny kid. He’s funny and religious. Here are a few things he has said in the past few days:

  • “Uh-oh, Rachel (one of his older sisters) didn’t put her plate in the dishwasher. She is gonna go to Hell.”
  • (After saying his second Hail Mary when we were praying a Rosary): “Jesus is awesome.”
  • (Wondering which girl to marry): “Christina, I don’t know if I should marry Jennifer or Ava. I can’t marry both, right?”
  • A priest that we know asked Adam if he was going to be a priest when he grew up. Adam said, “No! I’m going to be a police officer.”

Right now, Adam is in the living room with 3 of his sisters who are singing songs from Phantom of the Opera (their latest obsession) and playing dress-up. If he remains un-scarred from all these weird little quirks, I will count it as a miracle.