Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

What’s in a Blessing: Latin Rite Deacons

Well, I have survived the first week. Yep, you betcha! One week ago, by the grace of God the Father, Bishop Paul S. Loverde, ordinary of the Diocese of Arlington, counted me among the sixteen men he ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons. I am still reflecting on the profundity of the day and what it means to be ontologically changed – that’s another post!

In the meantime, my assignment to St. Mary of Sorrows in Fairfax, started upon ordination. I served my first Divine Liturgy the day of ordination with my Bishop and then preached my first Mass the following day at St. Mary’s. Reflecting on the past week, I found it curious what most people requested (Hint: Look at the title of this post.) A large part of my public service this week has been to provide the People of God blessings. I have been asked to bless a countless number of people and articles – some weirder than others (Yes, I turned some of them down). To many Catholics, blessings make sense, but to non-Catholics (or non-sacramental churches) this liturgical action is a bit of a mystery.

Fr. John Hardon, SJ, in the Modern Catholic Dictionary, defines a blessing this way (separation of the definition by the author):

1. As found in Scripture, it means praise, the desire that good fortune go with a person or thing, dedication of a person or thing to God’s service and a gift.

2. In liturgical language a blessing is a ritual ceremony by which an authorized cleric in major orders sanctifies persons or things to divine service, or invokes divine favor on what he blesses. The Church’s ritual provides for over two hundred such blessings, some of which are reserved to bishops or members of certain religious institutes.

In colloquial terms, when someone says at work, home or with friends, “You are blessed,” they are referring to the first sense of the definition. But, what people ask for is found in the second sense of the definition. Clerics bless those objects which assist the individual in living a life of grace and drawing them closer to the Lord. This also includes setting apart people and objects to assist in the welfare of the People of God. The following are the blessings that a Deacon may administer:

Blessings Pertaining to Persons

  1. Order for the Blessing of a Family
  2. Order for the Annual Blessing of Families in Their Own Homes
  3. Order for the Blessing of a Married Couple outside Mass
  4. Order for the Blessing of Children
  5. Order for the Blessing of Sons and Daughters
  6. Order for the Blessing of an Engaged Couple
  7. Order for the Blessing of Parents before Childbirth
  8. Orders for the Blessing of a Mother before Childbirth and after Childbirth
  9. Order for the Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage
  10. Order for the Blessing of Parents and an Adopted Child
  11. Order of Blessing on the Occasion of a Birthday
  12. Orders for the Blessing of Elderly People Confined to Their Homes
  13. Order for the Blessing of the Sick
  14. Order for the Blessing of a Person Suffering from Addiction or from Substance Abuse
  15. Order for the Blessing of a Victim of Crime or Oppression
  16. Order for the Blessing of Those Appointed as Catechists
  17. Order of Blessing for a Catechetical or Prayer Meeting
  18. Blessings of Catechumens
  19. Order for the Blessing of Students and Teachers
  20. Order for the Blessing of Ecumenical Groups
  21. Order for the Blessing of Organizations Concerned with Public Need
  22. Orders for the Blessing of Pilgrims
  23. Order for the Blessing of Travelers

Blessings Related to Buildings and to Various Forms of Human Activity

  1. Order for the Blessing of a New Building Site
  2. Order for the Blessing of a New Home
  3. Order for the Blessing of a New School or University
  4. Order for the Blessing of a New Library
  5. Order for the Blessing of a Parish Hall or Catechetical Center (by delegation from the pastor)
  6. Order for the Blessing of a New Hospital or Other Facility for the Care of the Sick
  7. Order for the Blessing of an Office, Shop, or Factory
  8. Order for the Blessing of Centers of Social Communication
  9. Order for the Blessing of a Gymnasium or a Field for Athletics
  10. Order for the Blessing of Various Means of Transportation
  11. Order for the Blessing of Boats and Fishing Gear
  12. Order for the Blessing of Technical Installations or Equipment
  13. Order for the Blessing of Tools or Other Equipment for Work Order for the Blessing of Animals
  14. Order for the Blessing of Fields and Flocks
  15. Order for the Blessing of Seeds at Planting Time
  16. Order for a Blessing on the Occasion of Thanksgiving for the Harvest
  17. Order for the Blessing of an Athletic Event
  18. Order for the Blessing Before and After Meals

Blessings of Objects that Are Designed or Erected for Use in Churches, either in the Liturgy or in Popular Devotions

  1. Order for the Blessing of a Repository for the Holy Oils
  2. Order for the Blessing of Articles for Liturgical Use (shorter rite outside Mass)
  3. Order for the Blessing of Holy Water outside Mass

Blessings of Articles Meant to Foster the Devotion of the Christian People

  1. Order for the Blessing of Religious Articles
  2. Order for the Blessing of Rosaries

Blessings Related to Feasts and Seasons

  1. Order for the Blessing of an Advent Wreath (outside Mass)
  2. Order for the Blessing of a Christmas Manger or Nativity Scene (outside Mass)
  3. Order for the Blessing of a Christmas Tree
  4. Order for the Blessing of Homes during the Christmas and Easter Seasons
  5. Order for the Blessing of Throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise
  6. Order for the Blessing and Distribution of Ashes
  7. Order for the Blessing of Saint Joseph’s Table (March 19)
  8. Order for the Blessing of Food for the First Meal of Easter
  9. Order for Visiting a Cemetery on All Souls Day, Memorial Day, or on the Anniversary of Death or Burial
  10. Order for the Blessing of Food for Thanksgiving Day
  11. Order for the Blessing of Food or Drink or Other Elements Connected with Devotion

Blessings for Various Needs and Occasions

  1. Order for the Blessing of Those Who Exercise Pastoral Service
  2. Order for the Blessing of Readers (with delegation by the pastor)
  3. Order for the Blessing of Altar Servers, Sacristans, Musicians, and Ushers (with delegation by the pastor)
  4. Order for the Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (outside Mass, with delegation by the pastor)
  5. Order for the Blessing of Officers of Parish Societies (with delegation by the pastor)
  6. Order for a Blessing in Thanksgiving
  7. Order for a Blessing to be Used in Various Circumstances

Blessings Pertaining to Persons

Order for the Blessing of a Family

Order for the Annual Blessing of Families in Their Own Homes

Order for the Blessing of a Married Couple outside Mass

Order for the Blessing of Children

Order for the Blessing of Sons and Daughters

Order for the Blessing of an Engaged Couple

Order for the Blessing of Parents before Childbirth

Orders for the Blessing of a Mother before Childbirth and after Childbirth

Order for the Blessing of Parents after a Miscarriage

Order for the Blessing of Parents and an Adopted Child

Order of Blessing on the Occasion of a Birthday

Orders for the Blessing of Elderly People Confined to Their Homes

Order for the Blessing of the Sick

Order for the Blessing of a Person Suffering from Addiction or from Substance Abuse

Order for the Blessing of a Victim of Crime or Oppression

Order for the Blessing of Those Appointed as Catechists

Order of Blessing for a Catechetical or Prayer Meeting

Blessings of Catechumens

Order for the Blessing of Students and Teachers

Order for the Blessing of Ecumenical Groups

Order for the Blessing of Organizations Concerned with Public Need

Orders for the Blessing of Pilgrims

Order for the Blessing of Travelers

Blessings Related to Buildings and to Various Forms of Human Activity

Order for the Blessing of a New Building Site

Order for the Blessing of a New Home

Order for the Blessing of a New School or University

Order for the Blessing of a New Library

Order for the Blessing of a Parish Hall or Catechetical Center (by delegation from the pastor)

Order for the Blessing of a New Hospital or Other Facility for the Care of the Sick

Order for the Blessing of an Office, Shop, or Factory

Order for the Blessing of Centers of Social Communication

Order for the Blessing of a Gymnasium or a Field for Athletics

Order for the Blessing of Various Means of Transportation

Order for the Blessing of Boats and Fishing Gear

Order for the Blessing of Technical Installations or Equipment

Order for the Blessing of Tools or Other Equipment for Work Order for the Blessing of Animals

Order for the Blessing of Fields and Flocks

Order for the Blessing of Seeds at Planting Time

Order for a Blessing on the Occasion of Thanksgiving for the Harvest

Order for the Blessing of an Athletic Event

Order for the Blessing Before and After Meals

Blessings of Objects that Are Designed or Erected for Use in Churches, either in the Liturgy or in Popular Devotions

Order for the Blessing of a Repository for the Holy Oils

Order for the Blessing of Articles for Liturgical Use (shorter rite outside Mass)

Order for the Blessing of Holy Water outside Mass

Blessings of Articles Meant to Foster the Devotion of the Christian People

Order for the Blessing of Religious Articles

Order for the Blessing of Rosaries

Blessings Related to Feasts and Seasons

Order for the Blessing of an Advent Wreath (outside Mass)

Order for the Blessing of a Christmas Manger or Nativity Scene (outside Mass)

Order for the Blessing of a Christmas Tree

Order for the Blessing of Homes during the Christmas and Easter Seasons

Order for the Blessing of Throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise

Order for the Blessing and Distribution of Ashes

Order for the Blessing of Saint Joseph’s Table (March 19)

Order for the Blessing of Food for the First Meal of Easter

Order for Visiting a Cemetery on All Souls Day, Memorial Day, or on the Anniversary of Death or Burial

Order for the Blessing of Food for Thanksgiving Day

Order for the Blessing of Food or Drink or Other Elements Connected with Devotion

Blessings for Various Needs and Occasions

Order for the Blessing of Those Who Exercise Pastoral Service

Order for the Blessing of Readers (with delegation by the pastor)

Order for the Blessing of Altar Servers, Sacristans, Musicians, and Ushers (with delegation by the pastor)

Order for the Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (outside Mass, with delegation by the pastor)

Order for the Blessing of Officers of Parish Societies (with delegation by the pastor)

Order for a Blessing in Thanksgiving

Order for a Blessing to be Used in Various Circumstances

Novena for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Day Eight

EIGHTH DAY

Bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen warm the chill. Guide the steps that go astray!

The Gift of Wisdom

Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: “Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Novena for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Day Seven

SEVENTH DAY

Heal our wounds–our strength renews; On our dryness pour Thy dew, Wash the stains of guilt away.

The Gift of Counsel

The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. “Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth.”

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Novena for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Day Six

SIXTH DAY

If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn’d to ill.

The Gift of Understanding

Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to “walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Novena for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Day Five

FIFTH DAY

Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!

The Gift of Knowledge

The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth–in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. “Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it.”

Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Novena for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Day Four

FOURTH DAY

Thou in toil art comfort sweet, Pleasant coolness in the heat, solace in the midst of woe.

The Gift of Fortitude

The Gift of Fortitude By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to under take without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”

Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Novena for the Seven Gifts Of The Holy Spirit: Day Three

THIRD DAY

Thou, of all consolers best, Visiting the troubled breast, Dost refreshing peace bestow.

The Gift of Piety

The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.

Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Novena for the Seven Gifts Of The Holy Spirit: Day Two

Let nothing disturb you, fear nothing at all. All things are passing: God alone remains. Patience obtains all things. He who has God finds they lack nothing; God alone suffices. ~ St. Teresa of Avila

SECOND DAY

Come. Father of the poor. Come, treasures which endure; Come, Light of all that live!

The Gift of Fear

The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.”

Prayer

Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend You, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Ordination Novena to the Holy Spirit: Day One

Please join in praying for me and my fifteen ordinand brothers to the Holy Spirit for our Diaconal ordination on January 15, 20011.

Novena to the Seven Gifts Of The Holy Spirit


FIRST DAY
(Friday, January 7, 2011)

Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!

The Holy Spirit

Only one thing is important — eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared–sin· Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us.”

Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Loving to Hate

Today’s pericope from the Luke 14: 1-25-33 may seem to some as severe. Many of us are likely to chalk the language that our Lord uses as hyperbolic and in need of moderation. And yet, there is a simple truth in the following words of our Lord:

If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

The word “hate” may seem extreme but what does the word mean. Our word hate, which is closely related to the word loathsome, was first used in the 12th century and is derived from the Greek word kedos. Kedos meaning to worry or mourn. Maybe by adding this nuance, we can expand the meaning of hate in these verses to understand. Our Lord calls us to worry about our attachments and mourn for our need to need these attachments. Our Lord is not schizophrenic. He cannot say, “Honor (glorify) your father and mother” and hate them in the same breath. He instead is commanding us to love them, honor them, serve them and attach ourselves to only Himself who “is all good and deserving of all my love.”

I would like to turn our attention though to a hatred that we should all embrace. We value and allow our opinions, beliefs and our worldview to rule our life instead of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church – in every area of our life. I believe there is a new type of Catholic duality that has emerged in our midst. The new Catholic is the one who is the evangelist and faithfully obeys the doctrines, dogmas  and precepts of the Church all the while not allowing for the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Living a double life.

Don’t get me wrong. We all find ourselves in this position at times. But I am talking about the obstinate person who wants to live the Gospel on their own terms. Maybe if we are worried more about how our culture is influencing us and less about everyone loving us, what we are doing on our time off and what music mesmerizes our soul; perhaps we would be happier and healthier. It is true that we need to understand the culture we live in but that does not mean we need to participate in it wholesale.

Here are some questions to reflect on this Lord’s Day just to test the waters:

  • Do we proclaim the Kingdom of God while in the secret of our homes allow ourselves to be evangelized by the entertainment of this culture?
  • In our business dealings, do we capitalize on the weaknesses of others to get ahead?
  • Our music, the chief evangelist of any culture, how does it square with the Gospel and a true Catholic anthropology?
  • Do we welcome those who “call us” on to holiness or flee to those who will “tickle our ears” (2 Tim. 4:3), compliment us and make us feel good about ourselves?

We need to submit our attitudes, opinions and even our activities to the Lord. For the past 100 years, we have lived by the maxim that we are “people in progress” – usually to suit our own needs. With the help of the Lord’s grace we are not the same person yesterday as we are today. That is what it means to be a person in progress. It does not mean that we can view our bad habits and vices as something we will give up one day thereby giving ourselves tacit approval to retain them today. The Lord said, “Repent and sin no more” (Jn. 8:11).

How do we begin? We become radical – not the 1960/1970’s radical but a true radical. Merriam Webster defines radical as getting back to the root. So it is not acting like some crazy person – though that is usually how the culture views it. To heal this area of our life we first need to re-sensitize ourselves (being desensitized is not an excuse but the proof we enjoy the culture’s poison) by submitting ourselves to Scripture and the Church’s teaching during an extended “retreat” from our entertainment. Once we can see, hear, smell, taste and touch what is not of the Lord then we can start living the joy-filled life the Lord promised us. In fact, we see that our ministry increases because we are no longer living a double life but we become the Gospel we proclaim.

No worries, this is possible! Find some friends or family that will join you on this journey. Let them encourage you and you encourage them. Embrace the truth, regardless of the pain. Then pray, hope and don’t worry. Our Lord will be there to assist us in our need and comfort us in those times when we skirt the edge of despair. As September begins, let us cast off the the old man and take upon Christ our light and life.

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.