Category Archives: Saints

St. Joseph Never Has Enough Candles.

Every church has them. They are obligatory. We have a statue of Mary on the left, and a St. Joesph on the right. More often then not, we also have a small rack of candles in front of each for folks to light and pray.

The candles for our Most Holy Mother are always lit. There are enough candles over there to heat up the entire church. It’s like a holy bonfire.

St Joe is lucky if he has one.

Poor St Joseph. Somewhere along the line we have just seemed to forget about him.

So I ask the question, what is the next big holiday coming up? Here, in the midst of Lent, what reprieve can we expect? Celebrations in Lent always seem so much brighter.

Why St Patrick’s day of course! Green clothes, green beer, corned beef and Irish music is the fare, and boy are we excited. It just a plain fun day, we celebrate it to the hilt. Pull out the accordions, and let’s throw a party!

And we should. St. Patrick was an awesome guy, and dangit, I love being Irish.

St Patrick’s day is however, an optional memorial, a day that we may, if we like, remember a great man, and how an entire nation can be changed by just one person. A day we can celebrate, not one we have to.

Just two days later though, it the lonely forgotten feast of St Joseph. Oops, I messed that up. It’s not a feast, it’s a Solemnity. As in really big important day. Christmas, that’s a solemnity. St Joseph’s feast day is just that big of a day.

But we don’t even notice it. We let this day just slip by as if nothing has happened.

Poor St. Joseph. He has just been forgotten.

St Patrick would be ashamed.

Take the time to get to know the man among men. Take the time to learn of Joseph, his sacrifice, his dedication. If you are a father, know that St Joseph is your patron. It was he who carefully took care of the virgin, and the Child which was not his. It was he that worked every day by the sweat of his brow to feed our savior. It was he that trained the Christ Child to carve yokes, so that He might free us and give us a yoke with a light burden.

Seriously, St Joseph needs more lit candles, especially in this time of economic hardship.

Prayer of Death

So I’m about to head out on my weekly round to the nursing homes, and I’m suddenly reminded of my first service I was a part of for a retirement community. One of our die-hard parishoners was leading the service, and she asked me to read the prayer she always read right after communion. It was a special prayer to this community, but I did not know that at the time. Here goes.

“Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You, I am without fervor.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light, and without You, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You.
Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much, and always be in Your company.
Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I wish it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of Love.
Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes, death, judgement, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. It is getting late and death approaches. I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!
Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers, I need You.
Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.
Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by Communion, at least by grace and love.
Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but, the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You!
Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for. Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.
With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity.
Amen” – St. Padre Pio, OFM Cap.

Now let me say right off this prayer is beautiful. I was just unprepared for all the “end of life” talk. It caught me off guard. As I’m reading it, trying to be full of expression, in my head I’m crying out, “Holy Cow! Why am I reading all this stuff about death to these poor people who are so near to it!”

I felt insensitive, rude, callous.

No one seemed to react to me though, and over the last six months, as I have read this prayer over and over again, and lost several wonderful people in the community, I have found such deep consolation in this prayer.

Yes, they are close. They are truly looking into the abyss, and are searching for hope. I am amazed by the courage they show, to look it in the face, see death’s approach, and bear it with gentleness and humor. I truly hope that near my end, those who love me don’t shy away from what is near. I want to be prepared.

I’m not afraid to talk and pray about death anymore, thanks to this wonderful community.

St. Joseph, please grant me a happy death.

You Want to Choke Me With Candles?

Okay, so if your family had been sitting around the table for 2000 years, you would have some pretty silly traditions too.

Today is official rub candles on your throat day.

Yes, I’m serious. If you are not a daily Mass goer, you may have missed this great celebration of throat massage.

Today is the feast of St Blaise. Now, we don’t know a ton about Blaise, as he was a saint from a really really long time ago (300ish AD), but we have one legend that has really stuck with us. Now Blaise was by trade a physician, and after feeling called by God, he decided to go live in a cave. Well, back then I guess folks who lived in caves were really popular, because in no time, this alternate lifestyle led to him being called to be a bishop. Only trouble is, being a bishop back then was a rather dangerous affair.

So Blaise ended up in prison. Being a physician, he naturally went about his merry business helping people with their ailments, especially his fellow prisoners.

One day he was asked to treat a boy who got a fish bone stuck in his throat. He of course did the natural thing, and “fished” it out. (Pun most definitely intended) There you go. Blaise gets out fish bone, so we celebrate this by asking St. Blaise to bless our throats for the coming year. Heck, we blessed some candles yesterday, maybe we should use those too! So every year, we bust out the candles, and start blessing the throats.

Now I am not sure of the efficacy of this particular prayer, but I have to admit I am rather disappointed that I won’t be able to make it to Mass today. (Friday is Latin day, so I am stuck at home) I’m just sure that my throat will be all out of whack for the rest of the year. I love it when we celebrate these little fun feasts, and I’m sorry to miss it.

All levity aside, I must finish the legend of St. Blaise. When he was about to be executed, he ask God to aid those who suffered after his death by asking his intercession, that in death he may be able to help those still living. God answered his prayer, and more astoundingly, everyone there heard it. While this did not stay his execution, it did most certainly let people know who intercession they could rely on.

St. Blaise, pray for us.