Saving Graces

new mercies each and every day

Novena for students

Jan
14

So how’s the studying going you ask? It’s not. Enough said. But that does not stop me asking for some celestial help.

Novena to St. Thomas Aquinas.
found here and here

St. Thomas Aquinas, patron of students and Catholic schools, I thank God for the gifts of light and knowledge he bestowed on you, which you used to build up the Church in love. I thank God, too, for the wealth and richness of theological teaching you left in your writings. Not only were you a great teacher, you lived a life of virtue and you made holiness the desire of your heart. If I cannot imitate you in the brilliance of your academic pursuits, I can follow you in the humility and charity which marked your life. As St. Paul said, charity is the greatest gift, and it is open to all. Pray for me that I might grow in holiness and charity. Pray also for Catholic schools, and for all students. In particular, please obtain the favour I ask during this novena (mention your request). Amen.

First Day
St. Thomas, called by God
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Mt 10:37).
St. Thomas, as a young man you became convinced that God was calling you to religious life. Although your family was opposed to it, you were determined to follow God’s call. Even when your brothers kidnapped you and forced you to remain a prisoner in your own house, you did not give up but waited patiently for God’s hour. St. Thomas, pray for all young people who are considering their vocation in life. Help them to be open to the call of God. Inspire them to make choices motivated by love for God and an unselfish love for other people. Whatever their state in life, help them to see their chosen path as a call to service. May all married couples, single persons, priests and religious build up the Church through lives of unselfish devotion and love. (Recite the novena prayer.)
Second Day
St. Thomas, lover of purity
“For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness” (1 Thes 4:7).
St. Thomas, you had a great esteem for the virtue of purity. When your family tried to deter you from entering the Dominicans by sending a woman to lead you into sin, you resisted the temptation and deter mined to consecrate your chastity to God forever.
Today we are immersed in a culture that degrades the gift of human sexuality. Human persons are viewed as objects of pleasure and their human dignity is devalued. As a consequence, society tolerates abortion, disregarding human life at the very outset. Children suffer abuse and families are damaged by infidelity.
Pray that our society may once again value the virtue of chastity. Pray that those in the media will work to promote a Christian view of marriage and family life. May the plague of pornography in all its forms be eliminated. May Christian moral standards act as a leaven in society and bring about a greater respect for human life. (Recite the novena prayer.)
Third Day
St. Thomas, example of humility
“All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted” (Mt 23:12).
St. Thomas, when you were a young student some of your classmen called you the “dumb ox.” Although you were more intelligent than all of them, you bore their insults patiently without retaliating. You were endowed with a keen mind but recognized that God is the source of all gifts. You humbly acknowledged your dependence on God, and begged him to enlighten you so that you would act only for his glory.
St. Thomas, pray for me that I too learn to act out of humility and never from the empty desire for esteem in the sight of others. Help me to seek only God’s glory and to act with a right intention. May I seek to humble myself now, so that in heaven I will shine like the stars for all eternity. (Recite the novena prayer.)
Fourth Day
St. Thomas, devoted to truth
“But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Eph 4:15).
St. Thomas, you devoted your life to seeking the truth and explaining it to others. You dedicated your mind to God, and used it to probe the Word of God more deeply. Your gifts as a theologian and philosopher make you stand out as one of the greatest doctors of the Church. In your discussions, you made truth your primary aim, while treating respectfully anyone who differed with you.
Obtain for me too a great love of truth. Help me to ponder God’s word so as to draw from it the light I need to nourish myself spiritually. Keep me firmly rooted in the truth, and never let me be swayed by false teachings. I pray also for those who are lost in darkness; please bring them into the light of truth. (Recite the novena prayer.)
Fifth Day
St. Thomas, afire with love for the Blessed Sacrament

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you”‘ (Jn 6:53).

St. Thomas, you had a great love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and spent many hours in adoration be fore the Blessed Sacrament. You once said that you learned more from prayer before the tabernacle than from many hours of study. The Church owes you a debt of gratitude for the beautiful Eucharistic hymns you wrote at the request of Pope Urban IV, for the newly-established feast of Corpus Christi.
Pray that I too might be inflamed with an ardent love for the Holy Eucharist. Help me to always esteem and reverence this wonderful sacrament. Pray for me that I might always participate devoutly in Mass, receive Holy Communion with great fervour, and often visit Jesus in the tabernacle. Through contact with the Eucharistic Lord, may my heart overflow with love for God and for my neighbour. (Recite the novena prayer.)
Sixth Day
St. Thomas, filled with charity

“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 1 3 :4-6).

St. Thomas, you were noted during your life for the charity you showed to others. During debates at the university, you did not ridicule those who argued with you but treated them with respect and love. You showed consideration for the needs of other people.
Help me also to be more deeply rooted in love of God and neighbour, keeping in mind Jesus’ words, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). Help me to practice this same charity in a concrete way that does not stop at words, but is shown with sacrifice. May it begin first of all in my family, and then radiate to everyone I meet. (Recite the novena prayer.)
Seventh Day
St. Thomas, defender of the church
“…the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15).
St. Thomas, from your youth you learned to love the Church, your spiritual home. In your teaching, you sought to explain and defend the doctrine of the Church, making it known through your writings. You understood that true wisdom means to let oneself be instructed by the Church, for Jesus guaranteed that the Holy Spirit would always be with the Church, to lead it into all truth. At the end of your life you said, “I have taught and written much…according to my faith in Christ and in the Holy Roman Church, to whose judgment I submit all my teaching.”
Intercede for the Church today, that it might grow stronger and more spiritually fruitful in the world. Raise up holy priests, religious and laity, that they may all be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Bless the pope in his efforts to guide the Church, witnessing to the power of the Gospel to renew the face of the earth. May all theologians work to explore the richness of Catholic teaching so as to show forth its truth and benefit the faithful. Pray for missionaries as they work to spread the Gospel. May the whole Church be renewed by the power of the Spirit to more effectively witness to Christ in the world today. (Recite the novena prayer.)
Eighth Day
St. Thomas, teacher of prayer

“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving” (Col 4:2).

St. Thomas, you knew that prayer is the source of wisdom and you spent long hours in conversation with God. Prayer became your very life. Whenever you pondered over a problem in theology, you turned to prayer to seek God’s enlightenment. Now in heaven, you see God face to face. Pray for me, too, that I might become a person of profound prayer. Obtain for me the grace that I might always pray with humility, confidence and perseverance. Help me to grow more and more in the spirit of prayer, so that my whole life may become a prayer. May I always seek the face of the living God.(Recite the novena prayer.)
Ninth Day
St. Thomas, patron of students
“For in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind” (1 Cor 1:5).
St. Thomas, God called you to spend most of your life in academic pursuits, first as a student, and then as a professor of theology. In your work as a teacher, you desired to help your students apply what they learned to their lives, in order to grow in holiness. You realized that knowledge is meant to draw people closer to God. In your teaching you sought to communicate the truth, desiring to help your students become better Christians.
Pray for all students. Pray for those who may have difficulty in their studies, as well as for those who can study with ease. Pray that they may all be open to the truth, and always seek to better under stand it. May they grow in knowledge so as to know God better and to be able to serve their brothers and sisters as the Lord desires. St. Thomas, pray especially for theologians, that in their studies and research they may come to a deeper knowledge of revealed doctrine in keeping with the mind of the Church. May their lives reflect the holiness of the Word of God which they seek to more fully understand. (Recite the novena prayer.)
Prayer to St. Thomas Aquinas
Patron of Students
Wonderful theologian and Doctor of the Church, you learned more from the Crucifix than from books. Combining both sources, you left us the marvellous Summa of theology, broadcasting most glorious enlightenment to all. You always sought for true light and studied for God’s honour and glory. Help us all to study our religion as well as all other subjects needed for life, without ambition and pride in imitation of you.
From the Roman MissalThomas Aquinas, priest and doctor

God our Father, you made Thomas Aquinas known for his holiness and learning. Help us to grow in wisdom by his teaching, and in holiness by imitating his faith. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,forever and ever.

Rome Sweet Home: Book review

Jul
16

I have finished reading Rome sweet home by the Hahns!!!! wow, actually I finished it on Tuesday but have only got to writing about it now. Now I have to read it again!

It was like having the remaining scales fall of mine eyes and seeing the glory of the Lord. Thing is I’ve always had problems with some Catholic ‘stuff’ for lack of a better word, but after I made the decision to be Catholic I endeavoured to study and understand them you know. And the Hahns put most of it real simple like… just like Catholicism for Dummies does, of which I’m on chapter 2!!! What can I say the Lord has blessed me with a mind and a love of reading so I am partaking, boy am I partaking!

One thing it did was introduce me to a lot of protestant language I’ve never really known, of late I’ve been seeing “crossing the Tiber” often as I have been reading a bit, no a lot of conversion stories.Why, I don’t know they just appeal to me. The book has highlighted the path that I’ve been on for a while now; to live my faith to the full, to partake of the sacraments and to know why we have some of the practices we have so as to actually practice them in the right spirit. I want everyone to read it, even if it does not make them convert it would sure clear up a lot of misunderstandings out there. It’s beautifully written and it brought to mind why someone would think we are part of an anti-Christ movement until one delves into the Word and gets the reasons for all we do outline in intricate and not so intricate detail.

Suffice it to say when I like a book I read it super fast.. case in point here. So I have to read it again now and learn from it, in other words, a book all should read!

On another note, I watched The Proposal on Sunday! Good movie! I haven’t watched one I enjoyed so much in a long time. Could have done without the stripper scene though or naked shower scene. The movie was good enough to be a hit without them but I guess, as they say, sex (unfortunately) sells. It was really funny and highlighted that love can grow anywhere, anytime. Had a good true to life ending 😀 what more can a girl want!

The Eucharist – Flannery O’Connor

Jun
09

I was reading a blog about Father Jefferey Steel who is leaving the Anglican church to become Catholic, Deo Gratias 🙂 and I came across these two excerpts that are so profound to me. And here they are:

My children, we know when a soul has worthily received the Sacrament of the Eucharist, it is so drowned in love, so penetrated and changed, that it is no longer to be recognised in its words or its actions. . . . It is humble, it is gentle, it is mortified, charitable, and modest; it is at peace with everyone. It is a soul capable of the greatest sacrifices; in short, you would not know it again.

-St John Vianney

The other is from Flannery O’Connor whom I have suddenly discovered and now is going onto my Amazon wishlist, if only some benefactor out there would reduce my list even by one… he hehe. From first read I thought she was male… just goes to show ha! Totally invigorating and affirming!!

“I was once, five or six years ago, taken by some friends to have dinner with Mary McCarthy and her husband, Mr. Broadwater… She departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual. We went at eight and at one, I hadn’t opened my mouth once, there being nothing for me in such company to say…Having me there was like having a dog present who had been trained to say a few words but overcome with inadequacy had forgotten them. Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the most portable person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it. That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”

Flannery O’Connor

Trepidatious excitement – books

Jun
05

Trepidatious excitement. Oxymoron.

I’m choosing books this week for book club! Yippee yippee ya ya!

Thing is, as excited as I am, I am a bit concerned as to what books to get, hence the trepidation. The books will after all be mine in the end so it should be something I like, and should be something the book club has yet to read, which already narrows down the field considerably. It also has to be something that at least half of the book club would want to read methinks. And my weekends are so busy, finding a quaint bookstore is nearly impossible without wheels, so I shall hunt online. Now if only I had a credit card…

On my list for now is It’s Not about Me by Max Lucado

Girl meets God – Book

Apr
07

I have been reading “Girl meets God” by Lauren Winner, it is so real to me it’s as if a part of me may have actually taken part in its writing. Here I was thinking how books that I like most are ones that I relate to, that I see myself somehow in the protagonist or that I want to see myself in, like a few years from now or how I’m trying to model myself and then a few pages later Lauren writes about how the students she liked were usually ones she saw herself in a few years back, ones who when they read a new work or concept they have never come across they find themselves suddenly hunting down material to get to know more about it, immerse themselves in this subject matter till their amateur gurus… the exact way I do… and my current topic? Judaism, because they are way too many references in her book that I do not get so I feel as if, if I am getting so much from this book at this exact moment when all these Jewish refs are over my head how much more would I get if I could understand all her references to seder, tzniut, niggunim, halacha etc. “Girl meets God” is definitely one I should get for my library. The library I’ll have one day when I can actually afford to buy books, at the moment I am ever grateful for book club (from which I took 15 books this month) and public libraries.

Hadassah : One Night With the King – Book

Oct
22

Author: Tommy Tenney ISBN-10: 0764229435 Genre: Christian Fiction

The memorable story of Esther in the Bible is now retold through the eyes of Esther. As Hadassah Kesselman prepares for her wedding day, she finds the experience steeped in mystery. Hadassah Kesselman is required to read the story of Esther before her wedding day and soon learns of Esther’s horrifying childhood experiences and mysterious awakenings into womanhood. The scent of myrrh lingers on the pages as an exciting drama unfolds in moments of sexual tension, suspense and intrigue.

Esther’s story is truly brought to life in this retelling filled with political conspiracies, wars, longings of the heart and brutal action. In her search for G-d, she also finds her place in the world and begins to understand her true destiny. Must she sacrifice herself to the King of Persia and fall prey to Haman’s evil intentions?

Loved it totally blown away!!! Definitely a must read. Thanks for the heads up Dass!

Phoebe Deane – Book

Jun
29


Author: Grace Livingstone Hill
ISBN-10: 0891900446
Genre: Christian Fiction

Day after day Phoebe is subjected to living as a servant in her brother’s home, picked on by her hateful sister-in-law, and forced to endure matchmaking schemes influenced by greed. Marriage to an ill-tempered man with several misbehaving children seems to be her lot, and her hope is about to be snuffed out. Could a chance encounter in the woods change the direction of her life and finally introduce her to someone who could care about her?

It was mighty sweet, very Cinderella style, Nya loved it and so did I 😀

White Chocolate Moments

Jun
29

Author: Lori Wick ISBN: 978-0-7369-1780-3 Genre: Christian Fiction

 After losing her parents, Arcineh Bryant lives with her grandfather as a girl. But growing up without her family causes her to hold resentment toward the man who took her in. Years later, when she meets a man she thinks she may love, she doubts whether she can trust her own heart. A character–rich journey leads Arcineh back to her grandfather’s home where there are surprises, questions, and for the first time in her life, an answer to “who will love me forever?” This compelling story about a woman’s hunger for acceptance and wholeness points the reader home to God’s love.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book… doesn’t hurt wither that i love white chocolate… and totally understood the concept… just like walnut shell days! Also made me realise quite a bit…

Redeeming Love – Book

Jun
13

Author: Francine Rivers
ISBN-10: 1601420617
Genre: Christian Fiction

In this splendid retelling of the biblical story of Hosea, bestselling author Francine Rivers pens a heartbreaking romance between a prostitute and the upright and kind farmer who marries her; the story also functions as a reminder of God’s unconditional love for his people. Redeeming Love opens with the Gold Rush of 1850 and its rough-and-tumble atmosphere of greed and desire. Angel, who was sold into prostitution as a child, has learned to distrust all men, who see her only as a way to satisfy their lust. When the virtuous and spiritual-minded Michael Hosea is told by God to marry this “soiled dove,” he obeys, despite his misgivings. As Angel learns to love him, she begins to hope again but is soon overwhelmed by fear and returns to her old life. Rivers shines in her ability to weave together spiritual themes and sexual tension in a well-told story, a talent that has propelled her into the spotlight as one of the most popular novelists in the genre of Christian fiction. This is one of her best.

One of my favourites!!!

Monster – Book

Jun
12

Author: Frank Peretti ISBN Christian Fiction

Miles away from the hectic city, Reed and Rebecca hike into the beautiful Northwestern woods. They’re surrounded by gorgeous mountains, waterfalls, and hundreds of acres of unspoiled wilderness. But something-or someone-begins closing in on them. Something no human has ever seen. And it’s killing everyone in its path without remorse.

I loved this one! It was totally grand! And restored my love of unsolved mysteries and the knowledge that I should never limit God 😀