Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Like a Roaring Lion

1 Peter 5:8
Sobrii estote, vigilate. Adversarius vester Diabolus tamquam leo rugiens circuit quaerens quem devoret. Cui resistite fortes fide…

Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith…

So, perhaps you have seen the news item from a wild animal park in China, about a woman who, having had an argument with her husband, exited their car and was promptly attacked and dragged away by a Siberian tiger. Her husband, we can see in a video of the tragedy, leaps out in pursuit, but stops a few steps from the car. Then the woman’s mother charges out of the back seat of the car, without hesitation and without return. We are told that she was mauled to death by another tiger. Her daughter has apparently survived.

To me, this is an earthly demonstration of that scripture I cited at the top of the page. Our enemy, the devil, is out there, ready to snatch away our loved ones, and ourselves. But a mother’s love for her daughter will take precedence even over her fears for her own life, and she must pursue her daughter and the evil attacker, even if death comes to her in a horrible fashion.

At least, that’s how I feel about my own daughter. I suppose it might be suggested that physical death at the fangs and claws of a Siberian tiger is more terrifying than spiritual warfare waged in one’s own private chapel; and surely that is true on the purely physical level. But there are other aspects to the spiritual battle, of course. And while the physical mauling and death are horrendous, the thought of a daughter’s eternal damnation is almost unbearable…and that torment doesn’t end in an instant, as a physical death does.

And so…I pray, as I'm sure you pray for your own children. This prayer was recommended to me by my spiritual director:

Parents' Prayer

O LORD GOD, Who hast called us to holy matrimony 
and hast been pleased to render our union fruitful, 
thus making glad the sublime state of life wherein Thou hast placed us, 
by a certain likeness to Thine Own infinite fruitfulness;
we heartily recommend to Thee our dear children; 
we entrust them to Thy fatherly care and all powerful protection, 
that they may grow daily in Thy holy fear,
may lead a perfect Catholic life
and a be source of consolation, not only to us, who have given them life,
but chiefly to Thee, Who art their Creator.

Behold, O Lord, in what a world they must pass their lives;
consider the cunning flatteries whereby the sons of men everywhere
endeavor to deprave their minds and hearts 
with false doctrine and wicked example.
Be watchful, O Lord, to help and defend them; 
grant us the grace to be able to guide them aright 
in the paths of virtue and in the way of Thy Commandments, 
by the righteous pattern of our own life and practice,
and our perfect observance of Thy holy law 
and that of our Holy Mother the Church;
 and in order that we may do so faithfully, 
make us certain of the grave danger
that awaits us at the hands of Thy Divine justice.
Nevertheless all our efforts will be unavailing, unless Thou,
O almighty and merciful God, 
shalt make them fruitful by Thy heavenly blessing.

This Thy blessing, therefore, we humbly ask of Thee, 
from the bottom of our hearts,
trusting in Thy great goodness and mercy hitherto shown unto us;
we ask it for ourselves
and for the children whom Thou hast been graciously pleased to give unto us.
We dedicate them to Thee, O Lord, 
do Thou keep them as the apple of Thine eye,
and protect them under the shadow of Thy wings;
do Thou make us worthy to come at last to Heaven, 
together with them, 
giving thanks unto Thee, our Father, 
for the loving care Thou hast had of our entire family 
and praising Thee through endless ages. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Seeking Silence and Solitude: Time for a Retreat

It's been a busy summer with my child-care duties, and I am ready for some silence and solitude. I'm going on retreat this coming week!

I admit to being stressed out by a lot of things going on in the world today. I suppose we should all be stressed, on some level: atrocious things are happening. And yet, God is still in control. His will is the safest place to be, and abandonment to Divine Providence will always be the best course. Prayer and penance, prayer and penance...

Anyway, I thought I'd leave you with some pretty pictures, since I don't think I've posted many lately.

And here are a couple of pictures of the children, taken at the parish Vacation Bible School (I'm avoiding shots of their faces to protect their privacy):

The girl in the pink top and the little boy beside are "mine"!

My little guy with autism enjoyed the parachute activities!

Big sister is almost always happy to help little brother.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Don't Forget to Ask For Help!

From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers:

[Abba Elias] also said, “An old man was living in a temple and the demons came to say to him, ‘Leave this place which belongs to us,’ and the old man said, ‘No place belongs to you.’ Then they began to scatter his palm leaves about, one by one, and the old man went on gathering them together with persistence.

“A little later the devil took his hand and pulled him to the door. When the old man reached the door, he seized the lintel with the other hand crying out, ‘Jesus, save me.’ Immediately the devil fled away.

“Then the old man began to weep. Then the Lord said to him, ‘Why are you weeping?’ and the old man said, ‘because the devils have dared to seize a man and treat him like this.’ The Lord said to him, ‘You had been careless. As soon as you turned to me again, you see I was beside you.’

“I say this because it is necessary to take great pains, and anyone who does not do so, cannot come to his God. For he himself was crucified for our sake.”
I have noted a few times myself that the devil can be quite forceful in convincing me of some untruth that tempts me to despair; but when I call out to Our Lord for help, He always comes to my aid. And after the struggle has been resolved, I always ask myself why I did not remember to call on Our Lord earlier in the battle!

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.