Saturday, March 25, 2017


From the Imitation of Mary

Madonna of Humility
Source: Wikipedia

...If you become the least, you will become the greatest. The conviction that you are and can do nothing will humble you and in that very act raise you up to the God whom you acknowledge as sovereign source of all good.

Humility will free you from all the vileness into which ambition and pride lead men. What soul can be more base than that of the man who is ruled by pride and wants to be applauded at any cost?

Humility will free you from false respect for men and from the worthless ideas men have. You will be able to say with the apostle: "It matters little to me that you pass judgment on me...I acknowledge but one judge, and that is God" (I Cor 4, 3-5).

Humility will make you look with detachment at the world's honors, for behind the splendid facade lurk illusion and emptiness.

Humility will  teach you not to vie with your neighbor but to honor him, and to have no envy when you see him raise about you, whether in rank or in esteem.

The natural man regards humility as base, because he judges entirely according to the senses and perceives only sensible things. Yet humility is one of the virtues best fitted to form great and noble hearts.

Of all the virtues, humility is the one that most steadies the spirit and most strengthens the soul. 

Above all, it is the most beautiful element of likeness to Jesus, the God-man and source of true greatness and glory...Jesus was humble and loved humiliation because He knew how much He thereby honored the Father.

Here is an excellent homily on Humility:

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, March 14, 2017



Photo: R. Massaro (c) 2017 Spirit Singing Our Lady of Lebanon Shrine North Jackson, Ohio

Many parishes throughout the world publish our Holy Father, Pope Francis' prayer intentions for the month in their bulletin or announce them during the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass on Sunday.  We should take seriously our obligation to pray for our Holy Father. 

There are many opportunities to gain a partial or plenary indulgence when we include prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father. For instance, each time you make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, one can gain a partial or plenary indulgence. If you spend at least one half hour in adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, you can gain the indulgence. There are a few other conditions to gain the indulgence besides praying for the Holy Father. One must go to the sacrament of Confession and be detached from sin. Please visit Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's (Fr. Z) blog to find out more about this holy practice:

Why should we care about gaining indulgences? Because it is an act of mercy on behalf of Christ, through the Church, to help the souls of the living and the dead. Remember, the souls in Purgatory cannot pray for themselves, we must pray for them. Obtaining indulgences for them is an act of mercy.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.

Click here to read more about indulgences from the Catechism

Did the line from above strike you as it did me?  "...through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption..." 

I must say, I think this is one of the most beautiful statements in Catholic teaching I have ever read! By the authority of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church is the minister of redemption!

Our Lady, Mother of the Church, desires all to be saved. She is united to Christ, her Son, in this desire. This is why she has been sent from God on mission in many approved apparitions.

At Lourdes, she said to St. Bernadette: "Penance, penance, penance. Pray for the conversion of sinners."  

At Fatima, she told the children, "Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them."

In the year 1214, Our Lady appeared to St. Dominic and presented to him the Rosary. She told him, "Therefore if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.”

One can gain a plenary indulgence by reciting the Rosary in church, with your family, or in a spiritual group setting.

Our Lady came from heaven to present to us her prayer petitions. In her apparitions, she has the same message: "Repent! Pray for the conversion of sinners."  Let us console the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Our Lady by responding to her requests. 

Each month, when you hear the new prayer intentions of the Holy Father, remember the intentions of Our Lady.  Her intention never changes: "Pray for the conversion of sinners."

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Saturday, March 4, 2017


From The Way of the Cross for the Holy Souls in Purgatory by Susan Tassone

Photo: R. Massaro (C)2017 Spirit Singing St. Joseph Church Circleville, Ohio

HAIL MARY...Behold, most merciful Mother, your poor and sorrowful children who suffer so grievously in the purification of purgatory. We beg you, for the sake of the great joy that the angelic salutation caused you, to have compassion on them, and send them your holy angel to bring them another joyful greeting, and to announce to them release from their suffering.

FULL OF GRACE...Obtain for them grace, mercy, and remission of the great cleansing they now endure.

THE LORD IS WITH THEE...He will deny you nothing, but will hear your prayer and mercifully come to the assistance of these poor souls.

BLESSED ART THOU AMONG WOMEN...Yes, you are blessed among all creatures in the whole world! Bless and render happy with your intercession the poor imprisoned souls, and deliver them from their bonds.

AND BLESSED IS THE FRUIT OF THY WOMB JESUS...Your Son is the Savior and Redeemer of the whole world, who was born, without pain, of you, a Virgin! O merciful Jesus, blessed fruit of Mary's inviolate virginity, have mercy on the souls departed! O merciful Mother, hasten to their assistance!

HOLY MARY, MOTHER OF GOD...Wonderful Virgin Mother of God!

PRAY FOR US SINNERS...--and for the souls in purgatory.

NOW...--and forever!

AND AT THE HOUR OF OUR DEATH...And as you assisted the departing souls in their last agony, so assist them now in their grievous suffering, that delivered by your motherly intercession they may pass from present suffering to everlating joy, from anguish and torment to evelasting rest and glory, and rejoice with you and the whole heavenly host through all eternity.


Order Susan Tassone's book on Amazon:

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Spiritual Direction with St. Teresa of Jesus

Photo: R. Massaro (C)2017 Spirit Singing-Regina Health Center Richfield, Ohio

Editor's Note: St. Teresa experienced an awakening in her soul that planted a desire in her heart to never again offend "His Majesty." She was desperate and tearful and resolved to not leave prayer until the Lord answered her.

In this excerpt from her life, she speaks of how she struggled to pray in her new resolve to gain virtue and serve the Lord more faithfully and the method she used at this difficult time. She explains how she used her imagination to pray.  Later, in her classic work, The Interior Castle, she will instruct us that in advanced prayer, one does not use the imagination in prayer, for the gift of contemplation frees the mind from working so that the heart may experience the love, joy, and peace God wishes to give the soul.

From the Book of Her Life:

Beseeching Him to strengthen me once and for all that I might not offend Him, I threw myself down before Him with the greatest outpouring of tears.

I was very devoted to the glorious Magdalene and frequently thought about her conversion, especially when I received Communion...I think I then said that I would not rise from there until He granted what I was begging Him for. I believe certainly this was beneficial to me, because from that time I went on improving.

This is the method of prayer I then used...I strove to represent Christ within me, and it did me greater good--in my opinion--to represent Him in those scenes where I saw Him more alone. It seemed to me that being alone and afflicted, as a person in need, He had to accept me. I had many simple thoughts like these.

The scene of His prayer in the garden, especially, was a comfort to me; I strove to be His companion there. If I could, I thought of the sweat and agony He had undergone in that place. I desired to wipe away the sweat He so painfully experienced, but I recall that I never dared to actually do it, since my sins appeared to me so serious. I remained with Him as long as my thoughts allowed me to, for there were many distractions that tormented me. Most nights, for many years before going to bed when I commended myself to God in preparation for sleep, I always pondered for a little while this episode of the prayer in the garden. I did this even before I was a nun since I was told that one gains many indulgences by doing so. I believe my soul gained a great deal through this custom because I began to practice prayer without knowing what it was; and the custom became so habitual that I did not abandon it, just as I did not fail to make the sign of the cross before sleeping.
The Book of Her Life, Chap. 9, No. 4

Let us follow the example of St. Teresa, who, after resolving to never again give up the practice of prayer, tried every means possible to unite herself to the Lord. As she teaches us, we must all begin with vocal prayer, advance to meditation, and if we are faithful, God will give us the gift of contemplation, where we are unable to form images in the mind, even of holy scenes. If we experience dryness in prayer and cannot meditate, it could be a sign that God is preparing the soul for the gift of contemplation. 

Let us be like St. Teresa and the Magdalene, let us remain at the feet of Jesus, with true sorrow for our sins-let us remain faithful to prayer.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, February 24, 2017

Saturday of Our Lady

Photo: R. Massaro Queen of Heaven Eucharistic Chapel Green, Ohio

St. John Vianney's Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

O most holy Virgin Mary, who evermore stands before the most holy Trinity, and to whom it is granted at all times to pray for us to your most beloved Son; pray for me in all my necessities; help me, protect me, and obtain for me the pardon of all my sins. Help me especially at my last hour; and when I can no longer give any sign of the use of reason, then encourage me, make the sign of the cross for me, and fight for me against the enemy. Make in my name a profession of faith;favor me with a testimony of my salvation, and never let me despair of the mercy of God. Help me to overthrow the tempting enemy. When I can no longer say: "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I place my soul in your hands." I ask you to say it for me;

Photo: R. Massaro Little Flower Parish North Canton, Ohio
when I can no longer hear human words of consolation, comfort me. Leave me not before I have been judged, and if I have to atone for my sins in purgatory, pray for me earnestly; and admonish my friends to procure for me a speedy enjoyment of the blessed vision of God. Lessen my sufferings, deliver me speedily, and lead my soul into heaven with you: that, united with all the elect, I may there bless and praise my God and you for all eternity. Amen.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, February 17, 2017


The earliest known prayer to the Theotokos (in the original Greek “Θεοτοκος” means “Bearer of God”), that is, to the Virgin Mary, is found on a fragment of papyrus, which dates all the way back to approximately AD 250
Photo Source:

From the Year 250

Photo: R. Massaro (C) 2017 Spirit Singing Holy Ghost Church Akron, Ohio

Beneath thy compassion, we take refuge, O Mother of God: do not despise our petitions in time of trouble, but rescue us from dangers, only pure one, only blessed one. - 

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Spiritual Direction with St. Teresa of Jesus

Photo: R. Massaro (C) 2017 Spirit Singing

In today's Gospel we hear how the Lord severely reprimands Peter: "Get behind me Satan...!"
(Mk 8: 27-33)

Today's rebuke of St. Peter reminded me of our Holy Mother St. Teresa's teaching on accepting the crosses that the Lord sends to us or those we love.  Many times, we pray that the Lord will remove the cross in their lives, instead of praying that they have the grace to endure it.  Of course, we don't like to see the ones we love suffer, but perhaps the Lord is sending them a trial in order to purify them or strengthen them in virtue.

Here is what St. Teresa says about true spiritual love for another and suffering:

...You may speak about the licit love I mentioned, which we have for one another or for relatives and friends and in which our care is that our loved ones don't die; or, if the other's head aches our souls seem to ache too, and if they suffer trials, it seems that we lose our patience; and other things like that.

Spiritual love is not like this. Even though some grief is at first felt through natural weakness, reason immediately considers whether the trial is good for the one loved, whether there is an enrichment in virtue and how that soul bears the suffering; it asks God to give the other patience and merit in the trials. If this love sees that the other person has patience, no distress is felt; rather it rejoices and is consoled. 
The Way of Perfection, Chapter 7, No. 2,3

We can tell if we are advancing and making progress in virtue when we do not pray to be relieved or spared from trials and tribulations in life. St. Teresa describes this soul:

Now see, I am certain that those who reach perfection do not ask the Lord to free them from trials or temptations or persecutions or struggles. This is another very great and certain effect of contemplation and the favors His Majesty gives...
Way of Perfection, Chap. 38, No. 1

Perhaps we have a "Peter" in our life, one who tries to prevent us from following God's will. They try to help us see our foolishness of taking up our cross and treading on the narrow path of sacrifice, humility, and prayer. Let us be strong in our resolve to follow Jesus on the path he has marked out for us-which should be our delight.

You will show me the path of life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever. (Psalm 16)

Photo: R. Massaro Loyola of the Lakes

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS