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The Feast of All Saints ~ Will you become one too?

All Saints Day ~ November 1st, 2018

A Litany of Saints

Before we begin, a couple of notes:

This is a lengthy blog. I’ve given a thorough list of saints here throughout the Church year—not all, but the most popular ones. Peruse the ones that interest you and skip over the others.

FIND THE SAINT WHO BEARS YOUR NAME. That’s your patron. You might want to pray to him or her, if you don’t already. You have something precious in common, don’t you?

You will also note than many of them have the title of “Doctor.” Ir means:

(Latin doctor “teacher”) is a title given by the Catholic Church to saints whom they recognize as having made significant contribution to theology or doctrine through their research study, or writing.

Finally, the dates in italics at the end of each paragraph are the Feast Days in the Roman calendar for the saint.

St. Sebastian—Martyr—his images show him as pierced with arrows. January 20th.

St. Agnes—Virgin and Martyr—St. Ambrose: ”too young to be punished, yet old enough for a martyr’s crown; unfitted for the contest, yet effortless in victory, despite the handicap of youth.” January 21st.

St. Francis de Sales—Bishop and Doctor—wrote “The Introduction to the Devout Life” stating that people of all walks of life could be holy. January 28th.

Sts. Timothy and Titus, Bishops who were disciples and companions of the apostle Paul. January 26th.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor—completed his studies at Paris under St. Albert the Great, becoming himself a teacher, writing many learned volumes during the 13th Century. An anecdote: He was so overweight, his confreres cut an oval out of the dinner table to accommodate him! He composed the hymn “Tantum ergo—Pange Lingua”. January 28th.

St. John Bosco, Priest—dedicated himself to the education of boys in the 19th Century. His order today is known as the Salesians. (S.D. B.) January 31st.

St. Patrick, Bishop was born in Great Britain about the year 385. As a young man he was captured and sold as a slave in Ireland where he had to tend sheep. Having escaped slavery, he chose to enter the priesthood and later, as a bishop, he tirelessly preached the gospel to the people of Ireland where he converted many people and established the Church. He died at Down in 461, March 17th.

St. Joseph, Husband of Mary. God made him a father to the king and master of all his household. He raised him up so that he might save many people. March 19th.

St. Anselm, Bishop and Doctor, was born in 1033 and entered the Benedictine Order in France. He taught theology to his fellow students and then went to England where he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury where he fought vigorously for the freedom of the Church which caused him to be twice exiled. April 21st.

St. Mark, Evangelist, a cousin of Barnabas, accompanied St. Paul on his first missionary journey and went with him to Rome. He was a disciple of St. Peter whose teaching was the basis of Mark’s gospel. Mark is said to the founder of the church of Alexandria. April 25th.

St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor, was born in Siena in 1347. While still a young girl she sought the way of perfection and entered the Third Order of St. Dominic. On fire with the love of God and neighbor, she established peace and concord between cities, and fought for the rights and freedom of the Roman Pontiff, persuading him to come out of exile in Avignon and return to Rome. She died in 1380. April 29th.

St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr—born in England around 673, he was sent as bishop to Mainz, now in Germany. He was highly successful in evangelizing those peoples. June 5th.

St. Norbert, Bishop—lived and worked as bishop, preaching throughout France and Germany in the early 12th Century. June 6th.

St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor—he transferred after ordination to the Friars Minor (Franciscans) and had great success preaching in Africa and then in France and Italy. He became the first to teach theology to his brothers. Anthony died in 1231 about 40 years of age. Thus, you see, he’s much more than just the saint people invoke for finding lost objects! June 13th.

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, S.S.J.—was a kind of hero of young people. He entered the Society of Jesus and was serving the sick during the plague and contracted the disease himself. He died in 1591 when he was 23 years old. June 21st.

 St. John the Baptist—The Messenger of the Son of God: “He must increase; I must decrease,” he said. June 24th.

St. Peter, Apostle, First Pope and Martyr. “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” Peter indicated he wanted to be crucified upside down—and St. Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles—Paul more than anyone else has shown us what we humans are and what our nobility consists Paul died by the sword in Rome.   They share the same feast day on June 29th.

St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, Martyrs—John Fisher was appointed Bishop of Rochester. Thomas More was educated at Oxford and while Chancellor in the King’s Court he wrote works on the governance of the realm and in defense of the faith. Both were beheaded by King Henry VIII, as they resisted in the matter of his divorce. Fisher was named to the College of Cardinals by Pope Paul III. Their feast day is June 22nd.

St. Thomas, Apostle—the one who doubted, and then declared, “My Lord and my God.” July3rd.

St. Benedict, Abbot—he gathered disciples and set out for Monte Casino, there he establishing the famous monastery and the Benedictine Rule and received the title as Patriarch of Western monasticism. He lived and died in the 6th Century. July 11th.

St. Henry was elected Emperor and worked for Church reform and fostered missionary activity; he lived and died in the 12th Century. July 13th.

St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor, studied philosophy and theology at Paris and taught his fellows in the Friars Minor and was elected Master General of the Order. After being made Cardinal-Bishop of Albano, he died at the Council of Lyons in 1274. July 15th.

St. Mary Magdalene, was one of Jesus’ disciples, was present when he died and the first to see the risen Lord and to tell the Apostles the Good News! July 22nd.

St. Bridget of Sweden was married and gave birth to eight children. After her husband’s death, she devoted herself to the ascetic life and wrote many works in which she related her mystical experience. She lived and died in the 14th Century. July 23rd

St. James, Apostle, Son of Zebedee and brother of St. John the Apostle, was born at Bethsaida. He was put to death by Herod around the year 42 and is especially honored in Spain at Compostella’s famous church dedicated in his name. July 25th.

Sts. Joachim and Ann, Parents of Mary. Going back to the second century, the parents of the Virgin Mary are known by the name of Joachim and Ann. July 26th.

St. Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus. When she received the Lord as guest at Bethany, she looked after him with devoted attention. July 29th.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest and Founder. He spent his early years in court and as a soldier. Later he was converted to God and undertook theology studies at Paris where he attracted his first followers and at Rome joined them together as the first members of the Society of Jesus. He died in Rome in 1556. July 31st.

St. Alphonsus Ligouri, Bishop and Doctor, renowned in both civil and canon law he left the legal profession and entered the priesthood. He founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (C.S.s.R.). He was chosen as a bishop for an Italian diocese but soon resigned to work with his confreres. Some may know of the Ligourian publications. August 1st.

St. John Vianney, Priest—The Cure of Ars. After overcoming many difficulties, he was ordained a priest and was entrusted with a parish in the town of Ars. He cared for his parish in a marvelous way by his preaching, mortification and good works. He had great skill in helping penitents and people came from many regions and devoutly accepted his counsel. He died in 1859 and is now given the title as the Patron of Parish Priests. I grew up in St. John Vianney Parish in St. Pete Beach, Florida. August 4th.

St. Dominic, Priest, was born in Spain and studied theology at Palencia. He worked effectively against the Albigensian heresy (that taught that there two gods—one of good and one of evil). To carry on this work, he gathered companions and founded the Order of Preachers (O.P.) that today has both men and women religious. Dominic died at Bologna in 1221. August 8th.

St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr. Lawrence was one of the seven deacons chosen in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 6: 1-6) He was a deacon of the Church of Rome and became a martyr during the persecution of Valerian. August 10th.

St. Clare, Virgin, was born at Assisi and followed her fellow citizen Saint Francis in a life of poverty and became a foundress and mother of an order of nuns. She died in 1253. August 11th.

St. Stephen of Hungary. After his baptism he was crowned king of Hungary in the year 1000. In his relationship with his subjects he was just, peaceful and pious and founded many dioceses. He died in 1038. August 16th.

St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor. After a religious upbringing he joined the Cistercians in 1111 and was chosen abbot of their famous monastery at Clairvaux. Because of schisms in the church at the time, he travelled all over Europe restoring peace and unity. He wrote prodigiously and died in 1l53. August 20th.

St. Pius X, Pope was born in Italy and became the patriarch of Venice and elected Pope in 1903 choosing as his motto renew all things in Christ. He became known for renewing the liturgy and especially for advancing the age of children’s first communion. August 21st.

St. Bartholomew, Apostle was born at Cana and was brought to Jesus by the apostle Philip. He is said to have preached the Gospel in India. August 24th.

St. Louis was born in1214 and became king of France while he was twenty-two years old. He married and fathered eleven children who received from him careful instruction in the Christian life. He excelled in penance and prayer and love for the poor. He undertook the Crusades and died near Carthage in 1270. August 25th. 

St. Monica—mother of St. Augustine, was born at Tagaste in Africa in 331 and was married to Patricius as a young maiden. She prayed, with tears for years for the conversion of her son, She died a Ostia with her two sons at her side in 387. August 28th.

St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor, wrote prodigiously His “Confessions” is a bestseller.”Late have I loved you, O Beauty, ever ancient, ever new., late have I loved you! “     (He was known to have fathered a son, though not admitted by the church.) August 29th.

 St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor. He was born in Rome around 540 and ordained a deacon and upon entering the monastic life he became a legate to Constantinople. On September 3, 590 he became Pope and proved to be a true shepherd, helping the poor and strengthening the faith and wrote extensively. September 3rd.           

St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor was born at Antioch about the year 349 and after an extensive education embraced an ascetical life. He was elected bishop of Constantinople in 397 and committed himself to reforming the clergy and the serving the faithful. Twice he was forced into exile by the hatred of the imperial court. His preaching was outstanding and that’s why they called him Chrysostom—Golden Mouth. September 13th.

St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor, was born in 1542 in Tuscany and entered the Society of Jesus and distinguished himself with brilliant essays in defense of the Catholic faith and as a professor in Rome. Elected to the College of Cardinals and named bishop of Capua he solved many pressing questions in the various Roman Congregations, He died at Rome in 1621. (He’s one of my two patron saints—the other is St. Robert of Molesme—one of the three founders of the Cistercians. Robert Bellarmine’s feast day is September 17th. 

St. Vincent de Paul, Priest, was born in France in 1581 and after ordination served as a parish priest in Paris. He founded the Congregation of the Mission (C.M.) to supervise priests and serve the poor and with St. Louise de Marillac, he founded the congregation of the Daughters of Charity. He died in Paris in 1660. His work lives on today, of course, in the work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. September 27.

St. Wenceslaus, Martyr was born in Bohemia about 907. Brought up as a Christian by his aunt he began his rule around 925—that would have been when he was 18. Having difficulty ruling over his subjects and in leading them to the faith he was betrayed by his brother Boleslaus and killed by assassins when he was about to enter a church. He was immediately recognized as a martyr and as the patron saint of Bohemia. And you might know the Christmas carol Good King Wenceslaus. September 28th.

Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels. The word “Angel” denotes a function, not a nature; they can only be called angels when they are delivering a message. Michael means “Who is like God?”; Gabriel means “The strength of God.”; and Raphael means” God’s Remedy. Michael appears in the book of Revelations in the final battle. Gabriel makes the announcement to the Virgin Mary that she will have a Son. Raphael touches Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him and banish his blindness. September 29th.

St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor, was born in Dalmatia around 340. He studied the classics in Rome and was baptized there, went to the East, embraced a life of asceticism and was ordained a priest. He returned to Rome, was secretary to Pope Damasus, and began translating the holy Scriptures into Latin. His work eventually became the Latin version of the Scriptures known as the Vulgate. He died in Bethlehem in 420. September 30th.

St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor (The Little Flower) was born in France in 1873. While still a young girl she entered the Carmelite monastery at Lisieux. There she lived a life of humility, simplicity and trust in God. She wanted to be a martyr, but found her calling in the writings of St. Paul. “My calling is ‘love’, she wrote.” Theresa died of Tuberculosis at the age of twenty-four. October 1st.

St. Francis of Assisi, Deacon, was born in at town in 1182 and after a carefree youth he renounced his paternal wealth and committed himself to God and entered into a life of poverty, He preached the love of God to all. He gathered a number of companions and established a rule of life that gained approval from Rome. Subsequently he founded and order of nuns and a society of laypersons who practice penance while living in the world. He died in 1226 at the age of 44. He composed several glorious hymns. October 4th.

St. Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor was born at Avila, Spain in 1515. She joined the Carmelite order and made great progress in the way of perfection and enjoyed mystical revelations. When she reformed the order she met with much resistance, but she succeeded with undaunted courage. She wrote inspiringly from the fruit of her own spiritual life. She died at Avila in 1582. October 15th.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin was born in 1647 in France. She joined the Visitation Sisters locally and was favored with mystical revelations. She was especially devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was responsible for spreading that devotion throughout the Church. She died in 1690. October 16th.

St. Luke, Evangelist, was born of a pagan family. Converted to the faith, he became a fellow-worker of the apostle Paul. From St. Paul’s preaching he compiled one of the gospels. He is said to have been a physician. He handed down another work of the beginnings of the Church, the Acts of the Apostles. October18th.

St. Isaac Joques and John de Brebeuf, Priests and Martyrs and Companions, Martyrs. Between the years 1642 and 1649 eight members of the Society of Jesus were killed in North America after fearful torture by the Huron and Iroquois tribes. October19th

St. Paul of the Cross, Priest, was born in 1694. Aspiring to a life of perfection, he left his life as a merchant behind and brought together a group of associates who joined him in caring for the poor and the sick. After becoming a priest he wrote, “It is very good and holy to consider the passion of our Lord and to meditate on it, for by this sacred path we reach union with God.” He taught his companions to preach the passion of Jesus. And formed an order today called the Passionists. (C.P.) October 19th.

St. Martin de Porres, Religious, was born in Lima, Peru of a Spanish father and a Negro mother in 1579. As a boy he studied medicine that when he became a Dominican brother, he put it to good use serving the poor. November 3rd.

St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop was born in Lombardy in 1538, After taking honors in both civil and canon law he was made a cardinal and bishop of Milan by his uncle Pope Pius IV. As a true pastor he worked tirelessly to reform his diocese. November 4th.

St. Margaret of Scotland was born around the year 1046 in Hungary where her family was exiled. She married King Malcolm III of Scotland and gave birth to eight children. The ideal mother and queen, she died in Edinburgh in 1093.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, born in 120, she was the daughter of Andrew king of Hungary. While still a young girl she was married to Louis the Landgrave of Thuringia and had three children. After her husband’s death, she embraced a life of poverty, erecting a hospital in which she herself served the sick. She died at Marburg in 1231. November 17th. 

St. Andrew, Apostle, born at Bethsaida was a disciple of John the Baptist before becoming a follower of Jesus, to whom he brought his brother Peter. With Philip he presented the Gentiles to Christ. After Pentecost, he preached the Gospel in many lands and was put to death by crucifixion at Achaia. November 30th.

St. Francis Xavier, Priest was born in Spain in 1506. While studying the liberal arts in Paris, he became a follower of Ignatius of Loyola. In 1537 he was ordained at Rome and there devoted himself to works of charity. Francis went to the Orient in 1540 where for ten years he worked tirelessly proclaiming the gospel in India and Japan and through his preaching brought many to believe. He died in 1552 near the China coast on the island of Sancian. December 3rd.

St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor was born of a Roman family about the year 340. He studied at Rome and served the imperial government. While living in Milan, he was elected bishop of the city by popular acclaim and ordained on December 7. He devotedly carried out his duties and especially in service to the poor and became and effective pastor and teacher. Ambrose was effective in helping to bring St. Augustine into the faith. December 7th.

St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor, was born in Spain around 1542. After a number of years as a Carmelite, he was persuaded by St. Teresa of Avila to lead a reform movement of his brothers that caused him to imprisoned by them for a time, He finally escaped and the renewal of the order proceeded with new energy. His mystical theology and poetry is stunning. He died in 1591. December 15th.

St. Stephen, First Martyr, was one of the seven deacons chosen in Acts 6:1-6. “a man filled with grace and prayer, he worked great wonders and signs among the people.” On the day after Christmas, the Church indicates that his martyrdom—and all martyrs are the seeds of the Church’s growth. December 26th.

St. John Apostle and Evangelist. John wrote the fourth gospel. John gave testimony to the Word of God; he gave witness to Jesus Christ whom he had seen. December 27th.

St. Thomas Becket. Bishop and Martyr, was born in London in 1118. He first became chancellor to the king and then was chosen bishop. His tireless defense of the rights of the Church against Henry II prompted the king to first exile him to France and upon his return, he endured many trials and in 1170 was murdered by agents of the king, December 29th.  

Lord Jesus,

You have inspired women and men, boys and girls

of every age, nation and skin color

to follow your Way of holiness,

not in conformity or uniformity,

but to seek their own style 

and to put their own mark on this Way we call Christianity.

Please grant me, O Jesus, the grace to find my place at the table too.

I am as eager and willing in my latter years as I was in my youth.

Please grant this to any who are willing this day.

May the kingdom, the power and the glory be yours,

now and forever. Amen!  

And now, before you go, here’s the Litany of the Saints sung for you in English. Click here. 

And here are today’s Mass readings, if you would like to reflect on them. Click here. 

With love, 

Bob Traupman  

Contemplative Writer

 

 

 

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The Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael ~ Have you been touched by an angel?

 The Feast of the Archangel

Michael, Gabriel and  Raphael

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Nearly everyone is fascinated by angels, whether they are into religion or not. You may recall the popular TV series Touched by an Angel, starring Della Reese, Roma Downey, Toby Keith that ran from 1994- 2003.

Angels have a very big role in the Bible and in our history. Angels have been declared a part of our dogmatic Catholic tradition;. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states in Paragraph 328:

The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith.

The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition. For Jews, it is impossible to not believe in the literal beings known as the angels because the Old Testament makes numerous references to them. For them then it is an article of faith that cannot be ignored if you want to be a sincere and devout Jew. Witness the angel that led Israel’s camp and protected them from Pharaoh.

The same is especially true of Christians. In addition to what is given to us in the Old Testament, almost every book of the New Testament shows us that the angels are a real and active force in our lives. And since in the life of Jesus as man and his eternal existence as God consists of numerous encounters with the angels, you cannot believe in Jesus as Christ without encountering angels.

So what are angels? The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in Paragraphs 329-330:

St. Augustine says: “‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit’, from what they do, ‘angel.'” With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word”. (329)

IAs purely spiritual creatures, angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness. (330)

Christian doctrine thus teaches that the angels are spiritual beings who were created by God to serve him. Some say they can appear in human form and interact with us, but those bodies are only temporary illusions and pass away when their interaction with certain humans ends. As purely spiritual beings, angels thus do not have DNA and those bodies may feel tangible but are not part of the angelic nature and thus vanish after the encounter because they have no use for physical bodies as we do. But as created beings, they exist within time as we do and do not know the future unless God reveals it to them.

What is the purpose of the angels?

The purpose of all of the angels is to serve, and praise God, worship, and pray to God. In the process of serving God, they also protect us, pray for us, inspire us, encourage us, and guide us during our journey on Earth. Some early Christian traditions indicate that even after our death, the angels continue to guide us in our journey to our final place, whether it is to Heaven or to Hell. It is speculative that those who have to go through the final state of purification on the way to Heaven known as Purgatory might also have their guardian angels (Psalm 91:9-12; Matthew 18:1-4,10) with them during their time of purification of sin.

And yes, everyone has a guardian angel. As Paragraph 336 of the Catechism tells us:

“From it’s beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.”

Our Guardian Angels love us and do everything within God’s Will to protect us from harm. Sometimes though we reject God’s protection, and by consequence theirs, when we reject God, we have to deal with the consequences of our sins when we do not repent.

Angels also pray for us. We see in Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8 that the angels continue to sing and pray to God, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts!” We also see in Tobit 12:12 and Revelation 5:8 and 8:3 that along with the Saints who are in Heaven, the angels serve as intercessors for us in prayer to God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:10 not to despise or bring harm to children, “for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

   Cf. Catholic 365.com for the above information.

St. Gregory the Great notes that angels do not have names unless and until they are given a mission from God to announce a message. There are untold millions of angels in heaven, all created as pure spirits, in continual praise and adoration of our God. Our faith tradition teaches us that God assigns to each of us a “guardian angel” to protect and guide us in our daily effort to grown in wisdom and grace. Scripture also makes clear that at great events of salvation history, God sends an “archangel” to proclaim a message.

The three Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are three of the seven archangels named in Sacred Scripture and all three have important roles in the history of salvation.

Saint Michael is the “Prince of the Heavenly Host,” the leader of all the angels. His name is Hebrew for “Who is like God?” and was the battle cry of the good angels against Lucifer and his followers when they rebelled against God. He is mentioned four times in the Bible, in Daniel 10 and 12, in the letter of Jude, and in Revelation.

Michael, whose forces cast down Lucifer and the evil spirits into Hell, is invoked for protection against Satan and all evil. Pope Leo XIII, in 1899, having had a prophetic vision of the evil that would be inflicted upon the Church and the world in the 20th century, instituted a prayer asking for Saint Michael’s protection to be said at the end of every Mass. (I’ll include that prayer at the bottom of this blog, though it was suppressed with the Vatican II changes in the liturgy.)

Christian tradition recognizes four offices of Saint Michael: (i) to fight against Satan (ii) to rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death. (iii) to be the champion of God’s people, (iv) to call away from earth and bring men’s souls to judgment.

Gabriel is, he who stand before God.” (Luke 1, 19)

Saint Gabriel, whose name means “God’s strength,” is mentioned four times in the Bible. Most significant are Gabriel’s two mentions in the New Testament: to announce the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zacharias, and at Incarnation of the Word when he announces to Mary that she will be the Mother of the Most High and again appeared to Joseph in a dream and guided them on their way to Egypt to flee from Herod’s clutches.

Christian tradition suggests that it is he who appeared to the shepherds, and also that it was he who “strengthened” Jesus during his agony in the garden of Gethsemane.

“I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord” (Tob 12:15)

Saint Raphael, whose name means “God has healed” because of his healing of Tobias’ blindness in the Book of Tobit.  Tobit is the only book in which he is mentioned. His office is generally accepted by tradition to be that of healing and acts of mercy.

Raphael is also identified with the angel in John 5:1-4 who descended upon the pond and bestowed healing powers upon it so that the first to enter it after it moved would be healed of whatever infirmity he was suffering.

And let’s not forget our unnamed guardian angels. I’ve dubbed my own guardian angel Claretia— after the famous guardian angel Clarence—in the old movie with Jimmy Stewart it’s a Wonderful Life. All I know is she’s gotten me out of a helluva a lot of scrapes—near car accidents and falls and all. That’s what guardian angels do for us, ya know. They just watch over us Their Feast Day for our guardian angels is October 2nd. Do you remember the prayer your mother taught you? (I don’t know whether young parents still teach their children this little prayer or not.) But you can teach it to them now.

Angel of God, my guardian dear,

to whom God’s love commits me here;

ever this day be at my side; to light, to guard, to rule, to guide. Amen

 And here’s Psalm 91 that speaks of the protection of the angels . . . .

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

I have always recommended this psalm to people who were experiencing any kind of trauma, no matter what the kind for them to pray often. It reflects what soldiers on the battlefield have often known: bullets whizzing by them and not harming them. Their angel protecting them!

And here’s this psalm set to music. Click here

And here are today’s Mass readings, if you’d like to reflect on them. Click here. 

And here’s the old prayer to St. Michael.

Saint Michael Archangel,
defend us in battle,
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil;
may God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God, cast into hell
Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

With love, 

Bob Traupman

Contemplative Writer

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The Triumph of the Cross of Jesus ~ and our crosses too!

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross ~ September 14, 2014

 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life (John12:24.)

Jesus had said this to his disciples shortly after his entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. I’m thinking about the issue of Dying to Self these September days because we’re celebrating a favorite feast day of mine because I have an along association with the Cistercian Abbey of the Holy Cross in Berryville,Virginia, nestled on the Western side of the first ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the shore of the Shenandoah River. I’m also thinking of the issue of Dying to Self these September days because of some personal issues I’m experiencing as I enter the fiftieth year of my priesthood.

Many of us might shudder and quake in our sneakers at the thought of Dying to Self. It goes against everything our American culture tells us we should do—Look Out For No. 1 ~ especially what we  put up with from our elected officials, day in and day out these days. There has been talk about the “Me Generation” since the Seventies. I found quite interesting: Patricia Greenfield, a psychological scientist at the University of California in Los Angeles, used the Google Ngram Viewer to scan more than 1 million books. Her findings, which were published in Psychological Science, showed that there has been a distinct rise in more individualistic words such as “choose,” “get,” “feel,” “unique,” “individual” and “self” and a decrease in community-focused words such as “obliged,” “give,” “act,” “obedience,” “authority,” “pray” and “belong.” No sign of Dying to Self here, it seems. Let alone the Cross.

I wonder what will happen to our young people when they hit on hard times? When their climb toward success begins to crumble? When the girl that they’ve fallen head-over-heals in love with cruelly rejects them? Or as I just read in The Writer magazine, after five years of marriage, the successful screen-writer “Brendan” had grown tired of arguing with his wife, also a writer, but insecure and jealous of his success, told her he’s moving out? What happens to any of us when life does not turn out as we planned? When we suddenly lose our job? Or are diagnosed with cancer?

If you name the trauma(s) that have altered your life over the years . . . how did you deal with them? How did they affect you? What about Dying to Self?  Can you ~ do you ~ do that?

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life will lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life (John 12:24.) Does this make sense to you?

For you? In another place, Jesus says to his disciples . . .

If any wants to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? (Luke 9:24-26 ~ NRSV)

Obviously, this is not the wisdom of the world with its emphasis on Power Prestige and Possessions. A priest-friend sent me a Christmas card a couple of years ago that I framed and placed on my dining room table —a quote of St. Paul’s:

My grace is enough for you, for in weakness power reaches perfection. And so I willingly boast of my weaknesses instead, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For when I am powerless, then I am strong (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

Now here you have three koans to mull over, dear friends, and to try to grasp:

I / Unless a grain of wheat dies, it will not bear fruit.

II / Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. I

II / When I am powerless, then I am strong.

What is a koan, you might ask? A koan is a Zen saying often used by Buddhist monks to teach their novices: “To meditate on a koan is to engage in an active process, like that we engage in when we try to solve a mathematical problem. As in mathematics, the solution is supposed to come suddenly.”

So, rather than giving all your energy to the three P’s of the world, why not write these three Christian Scriptures on index cards and pull them out when you’re idle waiting for something else to happen? Try it! You just might be enlightened, as I somehow receive the gift of some in wisdom, as I have from time to time when I have been attentive to my prayer-life.

Jesus, of course, shows us the way.  Let’s look at the famous “Kenosis” passage of Philippians Chapter 2:6-11 “Kenosis”—meaning here Jesus’ self-emptying . . .

Though he was in the form of God, [Jesus] did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.

There it is, dear friends! Jesus gave his life for us. The movement was downward. Earthward. Earth-bound. Into the muck. Humility comes from the word humus, meaning muck. So, that’s what Dying to Self involves—getting down into the nitty-gritty of our lives and those of our loved ones and those we are called to serve. Being obedient to what life demands of us.  And beckons us to, whether we might like it not. Real Life elicits from our inner depths our best resources. Then . . .

Then . . . God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

And so, too, with us! We will be lifted up! I have experienced this several times. My longtime readers know that I’ve struggled with manic-depressive illness, and other issues with it, and later Parkinson’s disease, from which I received some sort of a miraculous release, according to my neurologist and very often financial struggles,like many of you.

But Jesus is faithful! Dying and rising is a continual process in nature and in our lives as well. We are taken down in some burden or crisis but, through faith, we are lifted up again! This is the Paschal Mystery. The Pasch ~ Passover ~ Passage ~Transition ~Transformation ~ Change. The Dying and Rising of Jesus in our lives is celebrated for us Catholics throughout the liturgical year and in every Mass.

Think about how you have experienced—and continue to experience the Paschal Mystery ~ this dying and rising ~ in your own life. And so, dear friends, I will bring this missive to a close by returning to the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and conclude with the wonderful words of the hymn Lift High the Cross. I remember when I first heard it. Trumpets and timpani sent shivers down my spine and goose bumps all over!

Lift high the cross The love of Christ proclaim,

Till all the world Adore His sacred name

Led on their way By this triumphant sign,

The hosts of God In conquering ranks combine. Refrain:

 

Each newborn servant Of the Crucified

Bears on the brow The seal of Him who died. Refrain

 

O Lord, once lifted On the glorious tree,

As Thou hast promised Draw the world to Thee. Refrain.

 

So shall our song Of triumph ever be:

Praise to the Crucified For victory. Refrain:

Now here is the hymn for your listening pleasure. Click here.  Be sure to turn up your speakers.

And here are today’s Mass readings, if you’d like to reflect on them.  Click here.

With love, 

Bob Traupman

Contemplative Writer

 

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A prayer for Labor Day ~ 2018

LABOR DAY 2018

As we pause this weekend for the last holiday of the summer, may we reflect on the gift of work.

And so, I invite you to pray with me . . . .

Good and gracious God,

you told us from the very beginning that we would earn our bread by the sweat of our brow (Gen. 3:19).

We depend on the migrant workers who pick our lettuce and delicious summer tomatoes,

the nurses’ aids who empty bed pans,

the teachers who form our children’s minds. 

We thank you, Lord, for the gifts and talents you have given each of us

that allow us to earn a living and contribute something positive to our world.

 

We pray, dear Lord, for those who are without work.

Sustain them — us — in your love.

Help us to realize that we have worth as human beings,

job or no job.

But that’s hard to get sometimes, Lord. 

We worry when we have hard times.

u11850667 And we get embarrassed because our society preaches to us that our worth comes from success,

of being better than the Jones’.

But we should realize our worth comes because You made us, Lord.  We are Your children, whether we have a job or not.

You love us and you call us to love and support each other.

We pray, Lord, also for those who do the dirty work in our lives, Lord,

those who break their backs for us,

those who are cheated out of even a minimum wage,

those who don’t have access to health care,

those who cannot afford to send their kids to college.

Help us to bind together, Lord, as a community, as a nation

because we depend on one another — the garbage men,

the police, the folks who stock our grocery stores,

the UPS driver, the airline pilot, the 7/11 clerk, the ticket-taker on the turnpike, 

the plumbers, the accountants, the bank tellers, the landscapers, the lifeguards,

those who clean our houses, the cooks, the waiters, the steel workers, the carpenters,

the scientists, , our doctors and nurses and yes, we writers too.

Help us to realize this weekend how dependent we are on one another, Lord.

We are ONE!  We are family!  We need each other.

May we give thanks for each other this Labor Day weekend, Lord.  Let not any one in our country sow division among us. We are One! we are family. We need each other!

IMG_0943

Help us to celebrate and give thanks for each other and appreciate the value, the dignity, the contribution that each one makes to keep our country, our cities, our farms, our neighborhoods, our lives going. And in tough times, help us remember the words of Jesus. . . .

Come to me all you who labor

and are heavily burdened

and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you . . .

for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

(Matthew 11:28)

And, here’s a charming night prayer attributed to Cardinal Newman:

O Lord, support us all the day long

until the shadows  lengthen and the evening comes,

and the busy world is hushed,

and the fever of life is over,

and our work is done.

Then, Lord, in thy mercy,

grant us a safe lodging,

a holy rest, and peace at the last.

AMEN!

 

And may I suggest this weekend we might jot down a list of all the people who’s work makes our lives go better.

The next time you talk with some of them, your mail carrier or cashier, tell them you appreciate them!

Two words have great power:  THANK YOU!

If only we would use them often, we would ease each other’s burden and energize each other,

and we would make trying times just a little bit easier for us all.

And before you go, here’s a spirited version of the great Celtic hymn “Lord of all Hopefulness” about the blessing of our work. Click here.  Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

  Enjoy.  Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

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The Feast of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven ~ The Exaltation of Womanhood

THE FEAST OF ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

AUGUST 15th, 2018

I rejoice heartily in the Lord,

In my God is the joy of my soul;

for he has clothed me with the robe of salvation,

like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,

  like a bride bedecked with her jewels. (Canticle of Isaiah) 

Through the power of his Resurrection,

Christ has adorned Mary with the robe of his own glory and majesty.

In years past, the image I’ve chosen for Mary on this post was a strong one following her title from Revelations, ” A Woman Clothed with the Sun”, but this year, I’ve selected a softer one that connotes the Easter Rites’ emphasis on the “Dormition” of our Lady or her “falling asleep”, and then being taken up into heaven.

Here’s a bit about this Feast (or Solemnity, as we call it in the liturgy.)

First of all, it’s a celebration of the body and an exaltation of womanhood.

In 1950 Pope Pius XII declared as a dogma of the church something that we Catholics have believed throughout the church’s history ~ that Mary was taken up into heaven, body and soul,  to sit at her Son’s side for all eternity.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote that precisely because Mary is with God and in God, she is very close to each of us. While she lived on earth she could only be very close to a few people. Being in God, who is actually within in all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God.”  Our Lady “knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness.  She always listens to us, and being mother of the Son, participates in the power of the Son and his goodness.  We can always entrust the whole of our lives to this Mother.”

Everyone was quite startled when the distinguished psychiatrist Carl Jung, who was not a Catholic,  said that this declaration about Mary was “the greatest religious event since the reformation.”  And by the way, Martin Luther believed in the Assumption of the Virgin.

Here’s the entire text of what he had to say.  You ought to read this; what he says is truly amazing coming from a psychiatrist and a non-Catholic!

The promulgation of the new dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary could, in itself, have been sufficient reason for examining the psychological background. It is interesting to note that, among the many articles published in the Catholic and Protestant press on the declaration of the dogma, there was not one, so far as I could see, which laid anything like proper emphasis on what was undoubtedly the most powerful motive: namely the popular movement and  the psychological need behind it. Essentially, the writers of the articles were satisfied with learned considerations, dogmatic and historical, which have no bearing on the living religious process. But anyone who has followed with attention the visions of Mary which have been increasing in number over the last few decades, and has taken their psychological significance into account, might have known what was brewing. The fact, especially, that it was largely children who had the visions might have given pause for thought, for in such cases, the collective unconscious is always at work …One could have known for a long time that there was a deep longing in the masses for an intercessor and mediatrix who would at last take her place alongside the Holy Trinity and be received as the ‘Queen of heaven and Bride at the heavenly court.’ For more than a thousand years it has been taken for granted that the Mother of God dwelt there.

I consider it to be the most important religious event since the Reformation. It is a petra scandali for the unpsycholgical mind: how can such an unfounded assertion as the bodily reception of the Virgin into heaven be put forward as worthy of belief? But the method which the Pope uses in order to demonstrate the truth of the dogma makes sense to the psychological mind, because it bases itself firstly on the necessary prefigurations, and secondly on a tradition of religious assertions reaching back for more than a thousand years. What outrages the Protestant standpoint in particular is the boundless approximation of the Deipara to the Godhead and, in consequence, the endangered supremacy of Christ, from which Protestantism will not budge. In sticking to this point it has obviously failed to consider that its hymnology is full of references to the ‘heavenly bridegroom,’ who is now suddenly supposed not to have a bride with equal rights. Or has, perchance, the ‘bridegroom,’ in true psychologistic manner, been understood as a mere metaphor?

The dogmatizing of the Assumption does not, however, according to the dogmatic view, mean that Mary has attained the status of goddess, although, as mistress of heaven and mediatrix, she is functionally on a par with Christ, the king and mediator. At any rate her position satisfies a renewed hope for the fulfillment of that yearning for peace which stirs deep down in the soul, and for a resolution of the threatening tension between opposites. Everyone shares this tension and everyone experiences it in his individual form of unrest, the more so the less he sees any possibility of getting rid of it by rational means. It is no wonder, therefore, that the hope, indeed the expectation of divine intervention arises in the collective unconscious and at the same time in the masses. The papal declaration has given comforting expression to that yearning. How could Protestantism so completely miss the point?

I was amazed and thrilled when I discovered this text and again when I’ve just now re-read it.

And I’ve always loved to pray and sing these words from the preface of the Mass of the day:

Today the virgin Mother of God was assumed into heaven

as the beginning  and the image

of your Church’s coming to perfection

and a sign of sure of hope and comfort for your people

on their pilgrim way.

Mary is the first disciple of her Son.

She is the one who said Yes!  “Be it done unto me according to Your word.”

Each of us who bear witness to Christ give birth to him in our own way.

May we honor Mary on this wonderful feast day and enjoy this late summer day and exalt the women in our life as well!

On August 22nd, the octave of the Assumption we celebrate a minor feast ~ the Queenship of Mary.  I honor her as my queen.  Now this may sound a bit odd, my friends, but I take her shopping with me.  I thanked her for finding my lovely condo.  I signed the documents for the condo on August 15th, 2008.

Now here is the beautiful Gregorian chant melody Salve Regina on the occasion of the Carmelites’ observance of St. Teresa of Avila’s 500 year anniversary with a worldwide virtual choir. Click here. And be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

And here are today’s Mass readings. Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

Contemplative writer

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The Courage of the Signers ~ where is our courage?

Dear Friends,

On  July 4, 1776, the men, and their families supporting them
published the sacred document, the Declaration of Independence,
that created this country.  At its conclusion, they said:

FOR THE SUPPORT OF THIS DECLARATION
WITH A FIRM RELIANCE ON THE PROTECTION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
WE MUTUALLY PLEDGE OUR LIVES, OUR FORTUNES AND OUR SACRED HONOR.

Imagine the risks they undertook and the courage that they needed
to bring the ideal of freedom and equality that existed in their minds and hearts into external reality.
They had to be willing to sacrifice everything dear to them — their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
Their signatures, bound to their lives, fortunes and honor, created the United States of America.
We need to return again and again to that moment.
We need to re-birth America in our hearts in this time and place.

We honor the sacrifices of the women and men and their families
who have served in Iraq and now in Afghanistan  in service of our country.
Many of these men and women have been compelled to serve tour after tour,
sacrificing their physical and emotional lives and those of their families.
But the rest of us American people have been asked to sacrifice very little.

Where is the courage and the leadership in our President and in our Congress?

I received an email some time ago from a friend that showed what happened to many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence:

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well-educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Rutledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife; she died shortly after.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

We go on with our complacent lives, untouched by the swirl of politics and the even the plight of the immigrant children on our Southern border.

May we not take for granted what we have here in America for we could lose what we have. 

May we not let some try to divide us for we are one people under one flag and a God who respects all people

May this Fourth of July be a time for us to take stock of ourselves.

John Kennedy said:

“Ask not what our country can do for you;                                                                                                              Ask what you can do for your country.”

I have pleaded for years that we need to be willing to enter a path of personal transformation
for the sake of transformation of our country.

And so again today, I invite us to pray for God’s help in that transformation.

Good and gracious God of our understanding,                                                                                                         we thank You for the courage and vision of our founding fathers and mothers,
May each of us be willing to transform
our hate to respect for all people,
our reliance on material things to reliance on You,
our greed and selfishness to self-giving and compassion
May we always be willing to respond to the grace You give us
to transform our lives and our country to serve the good of all.
Let the lessons of hardship that many of us now are experiencing
bring us to You, God of our understanding,
for You, are the Source of all that is good in our lives.                                                                                      Ma
y all our actions show Your wisdom and love.                  

For we declare that we are:                                                                                                                                               “ONE NATION, INDIVISIBLE, WITH FREEDOM AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.”
Amen.

Now, before you go, here’s Celine Dion singing God Bless America with a wonderful slide show that just might give you some goosebumps! Click here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

Enjoy your Fourth of July Celebration on Wednesday!

With love,

Bob Traupman,

contemplative writer

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Are you helping to Re-birth America?

This little guy is enthralled by the words of Thomas Jefferson emblazoned on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial

Dear Friends, the boy in the image above was reading the Declaration of Independence emblazoned on the wall of the Jefferson Memorial when I visited there in October 2007.  He represents our future.

Have you ever read it?  (I offered you an image of it last Friday as it was emblazoned on the wall that this young man is reading; I’ll attach a copy at the bottom of this post.)

Keith Carradine wrote (along with others) and composed an interesting song ten years ago that I’ll quote and then play for you in a few minutes. But first I’d like to offer my own comments on America today.

Ever since 2006, I’ve been pleading with my readers to pray for the spiritual transformation of our country. That was the year before the stock market crash and the bail-out of the big banks, the mortgage crisis, and the bailout of the auto industry. I’ve said it was necessary for us also to “pledge our lives, our fortunes and our honor to save America. And it seems to me that is more and more the case as our political leaders abdicate their responsibilities.

I still identify with every one of the song’s sentiments today.

I suggest that you read these lyrics and think about them and then listen to this powerful song sung by people all over the United States.

Then spend some time to reflect on our responsibilities this Fourth of July weekend on the future of our children and our country and let us ask ourselves what we doing to help re-birth America.

BORN AGAIN AMERICAN
By Keith Carradine

Just a workin’ man without a job
It got shipped off to China via Washington, D.C.
And I know I’m nothin’ special, there are plenty more like me
Just the same
I thought I knew the rules of the game

I stood up for this country that I love
I came back from the desert to a wife and kids to feed
I’m not sayin’ Uncle Sam should give me what I need
My offer stands
I’ll pull my weight you give me half a chance

I went up to a congressman and said to him “you know
Our government is letting people down”
He said he’d need a lot of help to buck the status-quo
I said there was a bunch of us around

I’m a Born Again American, conceived in Liberty
My Bible and the Bill of Rights, my creed’s equality
I’m a Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me
And everyone who shares the dream from sea to shining sea

My brother’s welding chassis at the plant
He’s earning what our granddad did in 1948
While CEOs count bonuses behind the castle gates
How can they see
When all they care about’s the do re mi

It’s getting where there’s nowhere left to turn
Not since the crash of twenty-nine have things been so unfair
So many of our citizens are living in despair
The time has come
To reaffirm that hope’s not just for some

The promise of America’s surrendering to greed
The rule is just look out for number one
But brace yourself ‘cause some of us have sown a different seed
A harvest of the spirit has begun

I’m a Born Again American conceived in liberty
My Bible and The Bill Of Rights
My creed’s equality
A Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me
And everyone who shares the dream from sea to shining sea

It’s clear my country’s soul is on the line
She’s hungering for something that she lost along the way
The principle the framers called upon us to obey
That in this land
The people’s will must have the upper hand

I felt the calling once before and took a sacred vow
And faithful to that vow I have remained
I hear the calling once again, my country needs me now
And to her cause I have been re-ordained

I’m a Born Again American conceived in liberty
My Bible and the Bill Of Rights, all people living free
A Born Again American, my country ‘tis of me
And everyone who shares the dream
From sea to shining sea
And everyone who shares the dream
From sea to shining sea
A M E R I C A

Click here for the song.  Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers.

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endevoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


With love,

Bob Traupman

Contemplative writer