Prayer for the dying

sacrament of the sickMost Catholics practice the custom of praying for the dead. We have our annual celebration of remembering all the dead on “All Souls Day” and the month of November is dedicated to renewing our devotion of praying for the poor souls.

The practice of praying for the dead is a venerable tradition and a great act of love and mercy. However, how often do we remember to pray for those who are dying and who will die this day? In today’s Gospel, we heard the story of Jairus’ daughter who was dying and in hopes of saving her live, he went to Jesus. “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live. (Mk 5:23)”

We all know people who have been taken from this life suddenly and with an unprepared death. Those who have died in traffic accidents, the victims of 9/11 and the many tsunamis, some who have been taken through an act of nature and those who through sad and tragic circumstances. At the same time, we also know of people in hospitals and nursing homes. People who long to leave this life. I have been told many times: “I’m ready to go, but God doesn’t want me.”

So how often do we pray for those who will die this day? There are those who will die today who are in a state of mortal sin, never had the opportunity to know Christ, and those who have outright rejected Jesus Christ and His Church. All of these people need our prayers. We can off the prayer that moves a heart to repentance and the heard heart to request the assistance of a priest.

I once read a story about St. John Vianney and will relate it from memory. A woman whose husband took his life by jumping off a bridge was very disturbed. The woman told the saint she feared his eternal damnation. St. John Vianney told the woman that just before her husband reached the bottom, his conscience was moved and he repented, therefore saving him from hell.

We don’t know the power of our prayers, sacrifices and sufferings. If we pray for those who will die this day, God may grant some unknown soul the grace of repentance. Let us pray daily for those who will enter eternity this day and every day, in hopes that someone will pray for us that day we are called to account for our lives.

Let’s follow the example of the Muslims!

In his latest installment of his bi-weekly article in The Rhode Island Catholic, my bishop, the Most Rev. Thomas Tobin shared his experience of visiting an Islamic school “My Visit to the Islamic School.” Bishop Tobin was impressed with the many similarities between the Islamic school and our own Catholic schools. The truth is, children are children. Dress them all p the Sam and put them in a room and no on will know who is who, their religion, ethnic backgrounds and the like.

As I read the article, I was struck by two of the Bishop’s experiences. The Bishop writes:

“I was also impressed to find one group of students learning Arabic so that they could read the Koran in its original language. The school has a prayer room where the students gather each day, and there are sayings from the Koran – some of which are very similar to Bible passages – attached to posters outside of the prayer room.”

Today, many Catholics cringe at hearing any semblance of Latin in the Holy Mass. Latin is our Sacred Language, as Arabic is for the Muslims, Hebrew for the Jews and other languages for other religions. However, we are the only ones who reject our sacred heritage. Before asking why our Catholic school children are not learning Latin, I must ask a more fundamental question. Why don’t our seminarians learn Latin? I know they get a few classes, but why don’t they get a very intensive education in the official language of the Church and the sacred language of our Faith?

The second point that struck me was this.

“Muslims are devoted to Salat, prayer, which consists of five daily prayers offered at designated times of the day. Muslims typically recite their prayers while facing Mecca and the prayers are accompanied by set postures including bowing, standing, prostrating, and sitting.”

Again, our Muslim friends put us to shame. For 1,950 years, the common direction of the Liturgy was to the east. Today, we call it ad orientem. That means that we, both priest and people turned towards Our Lord for the Eucharistic Prayer, a practice that was never abandoned by the Eastern Rites, both Catholic and Orthodox. You can read more about this ancient practice here.

I firmly believe the time has come for the Roman Rite to rediscover Her sacred heritage and embrace it wholeheartedly. These external practices have the power to effect the depths of a person’s souls and lead them int a more profound experience of the mystery of God.

You can read the Bishop’s whole article here.

Is the Breviary outdated?

Is the Breviary outdated?  It goes by many names, the Breviary, the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Hours and I’m sure if we search there are more.  The Breviary are the official prayers of the Church, an integral part of the full Liturgy of the Church.  Daily  recitation of the Divine Office is require of those in Holy Orders and most Religious.  It is made of of antiphons, Psalms, readings, prayers and intercessions.  The Breviary has been around in one form or another for centuries.  Originally, the Divine Office was copied by hand by monks in old damp monasteries.

So back to my original question, is the Breviary outdated?  I actually only used this question to get your attention.  But are the bound books of the Liturgy of the Hours outdated?  Thanks to Father Paolo Padrini, the Liturgy of the Hours is an app on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.  That’s right!  In 2008, Fr. Padrini created an app called iBreviary.  The iBreviary was a great little app on the iPhone, but now it has become so much better.

Say hello to iBreviaryPro – the new and improved iBreviary, and it’s free.  Let me say that again, it’s FREE!  A few weeks ago, Fr. Paolo gave a notice on the app that it would be unavailable for a week or so as it was being updated to iBreviaryPro.

The new iBreviaryPro is all that the old app was and more.  Since I began my vacation almost a week ago, I haven’t picked up my Breviary.  Don’t get me wrong.  I haven’t picked up my Breviary, but I have picked up my iPad to use iBreviaryPro.

The new version of iBreviaryPro, like it’s old counterpart iBreviary has the five hours of the Breviary, yet the new version also contains the prayers and readings of the Mass, a set of devotional prayers and the Missal which contains the order of the Mass.  The new app also contains a button for preferences within iBreviaryPro.

Under the “More” button, you will find the settings for Language, Font Size and even choose from the Office of the “Last 10 Days”.

The new iBreviaryPro is a must have for anyone who prays the Divine Office.  I give this revision a two thumbs up.  One suggestion for a future update would be the ability to have not only the “Last 10 Days” but the “Upcoming 10 Days”.  That would be helpful when one is on vacation without an internet connection.

Thank you Fr. Paolo Padrini and crew!

To get your copy of iBreviaryPro, just click here.

iPadre #181 – What is your favorite station?

In today’s show, we talk about an ancient and beautiful Catholic devotion called the Stations of the Cross.  We also talk about Baptism of Protestants who become Catholic and what to do about Confirmation candidates who don’t want to be Confirmed.  We also have a winner for Lisa Hendey’s book “The Handbook for Catholic Moms”.  If you want to win a copy of Bishop Tobin’s book, “Effective Faith – Faith That Makes A Difference”, list in and find out how.

– Music: “Old Rugged Cross” by Jean Shy
iPadre #148 – Stations of the Cross
Franciscans of the Holy Land

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iPadre #148 – Stations of the Cross

This special episode of the iPadre Show is a presentation of the Stations of the Cross, based on Anne Catherine Emmerich and a Spanish mystic.  It will provide a great meditation for Holy Week or any other time one wishes to meditate on the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

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