Novena to St. Jude in Financial Woes

The economic news just keeps getting worse and worse every day and, frankly, it looks like we are headed right into a deep recession or, God help us, a depression.  Lots and lots of folks are going to suffer if things keep up.  For many, this will be a time of hunger, joblessness, loss of self-esteem, complete lack of health care, and, yes, people could well die.

I know the causes of this present crisis are many and that much of the blame must be laid at the feet of those of us who were greedy or irresponsible.

However, regardless of why, God is a God of mercy and pardon, and, no matter who is to blame, the innocent and poor should not suffer.  To this end, I am beginning a novena starting tomorrow (Oct. 10th) to St. Jude and am asking that others join me in fervent prayer.  I found the following prayer in several Catholic resources and books and will be using it; do join me.

First, make the Sign of the Cross and say:

+O God, come to my assistance!  O Lord, make haste to help me.  Glory be…Amen.

Saint Jude, assist us in our present financial worry.  Since these difficult financial circumstances have come into our lives, we are in dire want and economic embarrassment, being unable to meet our honest debts.  Saint Jude, you know only too well, we are not asking for wealth, if the possession of it is not in accordance with the holy will of God.  We beg you only for that immediate assistance which will enable us to meet and satisfy our pressing obligations.  We plead with you, dear Jude, to obtain for us the financial assistance we so urgently need in our present troubles.

Lord Jesus Christ, at the intercession of St. Jude, have mercy upon us and grant our request as is best for our lives, spiritual and material, for You are good and love mankind.

Our Father…Hail Mary…Glory be…Amen.

 

CHRISTOS ANESTE!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tomb, bestowing Life! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

– Byzantine Kontakion for Easter

Christ is risen! Al-Masih qam! Ha-Mashiach qam! Khristos voskrese! Christus resurrexit! Christus ist auferstanden! Christos aneste!

O Key of David

Dec. 19, Vespers:

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel, qui aperis
et nemo claudit, claudis et nemo aperuit: veni et educ
vinctum de domo carceris sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David, Scepter of the House of Israel, who opens and
no one shuts, who shuts and no one opens: Come and lead the
captive from prison, the one seated in darkenss and the shadow
of death!

O Root of Jesse

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt regos os suum,
quem gentes deprecabuntur:
Veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare!

O Root of Jesse,
Standing as Sign for the people,
before Whom kings keep silence,
Whom the nations will adore:
Come to free us – delay no more!

Putting the “O” in Advent

“O Wisdom, proceeding out of the mouth of the Most High…come and teach us the way of prudence.”
– the O-Antiphon for 16 Dec.

At Vespers this past Friday evening (for those of the Western Tradition) the O-Antiphons began. These fairly ancient verses are, by custom, chanted (or recited) right before the “Magnificat” at Vespers. Sung each evening from 16 Dec. through 23 Dec., these antiphons
celebrate some attribute of the One whose birth we will soon commemorate – Christ the Wisdom of God, Christ the Lawgiver and Redeemer of Israel, Christ David’s heir, Christ the Harrower of Hell et al. While many Catholics and Protestants may not be familiar (any more) with the Antiphons in their Divine Office form, they will surely be familiar with the hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” each verse of which is a paraphrase of an antiphon.

As an enhancement to daily devotions, whether alone or with others, I will, starting today, write out each antiphon for that day’s Vespers in both Latin and English. I hope that they will be a meaningful addition to your daily prayers. (There is absolutely no reason why an Orthodox Christian or a Byzantine Catholic may not use these Antiphons too. A suggested place to insert them would be either right after the Trisagion Prayers or as antiphons before the evening Psalms.)

For Vespers, Sunday, 17 Dec.:

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moyse in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et in ei in Sina legem dedisti: Veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Adonai, leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the burning bush and gave the Law on Sinai’s height: Come to redeem us with outstretched arm!

The Feast of Saint Francis

Today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi…you know, the peacenik, animal-loving saint whose statue is, after Our Lady’s, the most popular in yards and gardens. Oh, and how many Catholics and Anglicans took their pets to have the Sign of the Cross made over them at the annual Blessing of the Animals? Or at least thought about it? C’mon, raise your paws…I mean, hands.

St. Francis’ Day is a wonderful day and he is a wonderful saint, “Everyone’s Saint” and “the most Christ-like person after Christ”. I want us to look more deeply at who he was and is, though. Yes, Francis gave up riches for poverty, he loved and cared for all the creatures of God put in his path, and he was a profound man of peace. But, do you know what Francis would really want to be remembered for? His deep love for and total abandonment to Jesus Christ, crucified for poor sinners. THAT was the Source of Francis’ embracing of poverty and the poor, his deep concern for the animals, and his working for peace among men.

You see, we can work to help the poor, we can work for animal protection and rights, and we can strive to bring peace on the earth but, “unless the Lord build the house, the workers labor in vain.” For Christians, Jesus…who gave His Life for our salvation and for the eventual redemption even of the whole created universe…is to be the Source and Centre of even the best and most worthy efforts. For us who “love His appearing”, keeping Him before our eyes, is the best, the only way, really, to make a redemptive impact on this fallen world. Just as St. Francis did.

O Francis of Assisi, pray for us, to Christ our God, the Source of all good works. Amen.

Cloud of Witnesses

Yesterday was the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul; today is the commemoration of the First Martyrs of the Church at Rome. Unfortunately, most non Catholic/Orthodox Christians, and nowadays even many Catholics, are like, “So what? What’s the big deal?” We live in a world where the past is just that, past and done with, where someone’s clothes or hairstyle is ridiculed with a flippant, “That’s so five minutes ago!” What matters in our fast food, up-to-date technologized, past mocking “culture” (I use that word very loosely here) is how with the latest fad one is…the latest song, clothing style, meditation technique, and on and on. But for Catholics who know what and why they believe the past is not gone and over with for the words and deeds of the Saints form a golden chain of Life that reaches into our own, often silly and frivolous, time.

In the Anglican Book of Common Prayer collects for the feasts of the Saints and other holy days are often introduced with these or like words, “Almighty God, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance…” To remember those who have lived and died for Christ in ages past and now live IN Christ in Eternal Life is to be “made glad”. Glad that we have their examples, glad that their witness kept the Faith alive and continuing, and glad that, by commemorating them before God, we may even NOW, TODAY have participation in their prayers and praises. No fad-followers, they staked their very souls on the Truth of the One who is the same “yesterday, today, and forever”. Following them, remembering them, and asking their intercession, let us do so as well.

O God, You make us glad with the yearly remembrance of Your first martyrs at Rome: Grant that we who hallow their memory may be encouraged by their examples and aided by their prayers and, following them in authentic and holy living, may come at last to the joys of Your Kingdom, through Christ our Lord. Amen.