2022 – 9 Days For Life Novena

9 Days for Life unites Catholics nationwide via the annual novena prayed for the sanctity and protection of all human life. Each day’s intention is accompanied by a short reflection and suggested actions to help build a culture of life.

In catholicism, a novena consists of prayers or actions over nine successive days. This year’s novena begins on January 19 and ends on January 27. If you’d like to participate, please visit Everyday Catholic daily from January 19 – 27 to find the daily prayers and reflections, along with other resources.

If you prefer, you may visit​ RESPECT LIFE to sign up to receive the daily prayers via email or text or click the link below to download the entire novena.
9-days-for-life-novena

The Baptism of the Lord

Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord.
Christian baptism is the sacrament through which we are cleansed of original sin and welcomed into the family of God. We know Jesus, the Son fo God, was without sin, so why was he baptized?


Reprinted from The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at nationalshrine.org

In the liturgical calendar, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord signifies the end of the Christmas season. The Baptism of the Lord is notable because it marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and confirms his identity as the Son of God. This event is documented in all the gospels except John.

The Trinity Displayed in the Baptism of the Lord
The Gospel of Mark describes the event:
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:9-11)

Christ’s baptism remarkably shows all three Persons of the Trinity at the same time: the Son being baptized, the Holy Spirit descending, and the Father speaking from the heavens. In this event, the Father and the Holy Spirit confirm the deity of Christ, and Jesus submits to his Father’s will.

Why Is Jesus Baptized?
When Jesus comes to John, John hesitates to baptize him. John’s is a baptism of repentance, and Jesus has nothing for which he needs to repent. Why then does Jesus insist on being baptized? By choosing to be baptized, Jesus fulfills all righteousness – preparing himself to be a perfect sacrifice for us.

The account in Matthew demonstrates this:
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him. (Matthew 3:13-15)

What Does Baptism Mean for Us?
As we reflect on Christ’s baptism, we are reminded of our own baptism. Pope Benedict XVI said on the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord:

[Baptism] is communion with the One who conquered death and holds in his hand the keys of life. Belonging to this circle, to God’s family, means being in communion with Christ, who is life and gives eternal love beyond death.
Thanks be to God, who has redeemed us from our sins and given us eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God, who has redeemed us from our sins and given us eternal life through Jesus Christ.

 

Purgatory

 

The following is being re-posted with permission. It was written by Liz, founder and author of the Love Being Catholic Facebook page and blog.  Follow Love Being Catholic on FACEBOOK  or visit the BLOG for more posts like this one.

The Catholic Church has always taught that Purgatory does exist. It is not a second chance to be saved, but rather, a place of cleansing for the already saved before entering into heaven. Once you die you are either saved or not saved. People who die with unexpiated sins or the attachment to sin on their souls go there, and are cleansed in the purifying fire of Purgatory for a period of time. Once they are purified, they go to heaven and enjoy the Beatific Vision forever.

We can help those in Purgatory by praying for them, saying rosaries for them, offering up our sufferings here on earth for them, and most powerfully of all, having Holy Masses said for them. If you have a love one who has passed away, or know someone who has, please never assume that when they died they went straight to Heaven. There is a very good chance they are in Purgatory. Please pray for their souls every day. Please also pray for the souls who have nobody to pray for them. Your prayers for the souls in purgatory can help them.
The Prayer of St. Gertrude is one of the most famous of the prayers for the souls in purgatory. St. Gertrude was a Benedictine nun and mystic who lived in the 13th century:
“Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.”

There is great joy as well as pain for the souls in purgatory. Joy for they know for certain they are bound for heaven, but pain because they are not there yet, and must undergo purification. Purgatory has been described as a “cleansing fire” that burns away the sins on our souls. St. Paul wrote those of being saved “yet so as through fire” (1 Cor 3:15), and whether or not the soul endures a literal fire, its purification does involve suffering. In purgatory, the souls of many of those who have died in God’s grace undergo purification so that they may enter heaven.

Some will try to tell you that the word “Purgatory” is not mentioned in the Bible. This is true, and yet it does not disprove the existence of purgatory or the fact that belief in it has always been part of Church teaching. The words Trinity and Incarnation are not in Scripture either, yet those doctrines are obviously taught in the Bible.
Scripture clearly teaches that purgatory exists. Prayers for the dead and the doctrine of purgatory have been part of the Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ, for over 2000 years.

The most famous scriptural reference concerning these prayers comes from the Old Testament where it is called “a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Macabees 12:46). If everyone who dies goes immediately to Heaven or to Hell, then this verse would be nonsense. Those who are in Heaven have no need of prayer, “that they may be loosed from sins”; those who are in Hell are unable to benefit from such prayers, because there is no escape from Hell, since damnation is eternal. Thus, there must be a third place or state, in which some of the dead are currently in the process of being “loosed from sins.”

In the First Book of Samuel 31:13, the survivors fasted for the dead, which makes no sense if the deceased were not in a place where that penance (fasting) could do some good for them. In Matthew 12:31, Jesus told the parable about blaspheming the Holy Spirit (not believing that the Holy Spirit can save you, no matter what – the sin of despair), and said that anyone who does blaspheme the Holy Spirit “will not be forgiven in this age or the age to come” (Matthew 12:32). Since sins aren’t forgiven in Hell, and those in Heaven are already forgiven for their sins, then this one statement indicates another place after death where sins can indeed be forgiven.

Many of the Fathers of the Church, such as St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom, considered prayers for souls in purgatory to be essential.
Once you die you are either saved or not saved. If you have suffered greatly in this life, or during your death, that pain and suffering alleviates your purgatory time, if it was done for Christ, and not wasted in anger at God. All purgatory does is to detach you from your love of sin, and to pay your debt to God for all of the sins that you have committed while alive on earth. This is directly analogous to someone who robs a bank and then asks for forgiveness. While the bank president will probably forgive him, the thief still has to give back the money and pay his debt to society through prison time. Remember – nothing unclean or defiled shall enter Heaven (Revelation 21:27).

Praying for the dead is a Christian obligation, so please always remember to pray for the holy souls in purgatory every day. What a beautiful gift for these very special souls!

Prayers and Contemplation for a Happy New Year

 

Whether it involves traveling to visit family and friends out of town, dinner reservations or a simple, quiet evening at home watching college football and sharing good food with my husband (and our dog), I often forget to invite God into my plans for ringing in the new year.  God is indeed present with us as we celebrate this holiday,  as He is in all days. Sacred tradition isn’t particularly obvious in the festivities surrounding New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, but you might be surprised to learn there is some religious significance.

The close of the Christmas Octave, (the eight days following the Christ child’s birth) falls on January 1. In keeping with Jewish tradition, it was on this day that our Lord was circumcised and named Jesus, the name given to Him by the angel Gabriel, before He was conceived in the womb, when he appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary to reveal God’s plan for her life. ‘Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.” (Luke, 1:38 NAB).  It is on this day, the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, that we honor Mary as the Mother of God.

“Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church’s Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the “Seat of Wisdom.” — Catechism of the Catholic Church 721

The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God is not a holy day of obligation this year because it falls on a Saturday, but I’m sharing today’s gospel reading because it is such a beautiful depiction of the Blessed Mother’s humble love.

 

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,  
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,  
they made known the message  
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed  
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,  
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,  
glorifying and praising God  
for all they had heard and seen,  
just as it had been told to them.  

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,  
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel  
before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke, 2:16-21)

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is a time of renewal, refreshment, and recommitment. I often forget it is also an especially good time to spend a few minutes with God in prayer and contemplative thought.

Prayers for the New Year

  • As the dawn breaks on a new year, let us give thanks for all we hold dear: our health, our family and our friends. Let us release our grudges, our anger and our pains, for these are nothing but binding chains. Let us live each day in the most loving ways, the God-conscious way. (https://www.xavier.edu › online-resources › prayer-index)
  • Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
    Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your 
    womb, Jesus.
    Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners, now and at the our of our death. Amen.
  • I wish you a year filled with serenity and happiness: may you always be certain of God’s love for us. As he did two thousand years ago, Christ comes today with his saving Gospel to guide the uncertain and faltering steps of peoples and nations, leading them towards a future of true hope. I ask him to bless this moment of festivity and good wishes, that it may be the promising beginning of a new millennium filled with joy and peace. Let us enter the Year 2000 with our eyes fixed on the mystery of the Incarnation. Christ, yesterday, today and for ever. To him belong time and the ages. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen! I thank you. Happy New Year to all. Praised be Jesus Christ! —-Pope John Paul II, Jan. 1, 2000
  • Dear brothers and sisters, it is only by pondering in the heart, in other words, by piecing together and finding unity in all we experience, that, following Mary, we can penetrate the mystery of a God who was made man out of love and who calls us to follow him on the path of love; a love to be expressed daily by generous service to the brethren. May the new year which we are confidently beginning today be a time in which to advance in that knowledge of the heart, which is the wisdom of saints. Let us pray, as we heard in the First Reading, that the Lord may “make his face to shine” upon us, “and be gracious” to us (cf. Nm 6: 24-7) and bless us. We may be certain of it: if we never tire of seeking his Face, if we never give in to the temptation of discouragement and doubt, if also among the many difficulties we encounter we always remain anchored to him, we will experience the power of his love and his mercy. May the fragile Child who today the Virgin shows to the world make us peacemakers, witnesses of him, the Prince of Peace. Amen! —-Pope Benedict XVI, Jan. 1, 2008
    [less=”Read less”]Read more hidden text
Read more