The Prayer of Saint Francis Xavier

Today, December 3, is the Feast of Saint Francis Xavier in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.  Francis Xavier was the third companion of Saint Ignatius Loyola the founder of the Society of Jesus and the great missionary to Asia during the Age of Discovery in the 16th century.  Possessed by a great apostolic zeal he devoted his life to bringing unbelievers into the Faith and worked tirelessly to this end, preaching the Gospel and achieving many conversions in India and throughout East Asia.  It is one of the tragedies of the Age of Discovery that, instead of penetrating the Middle East and going on from there, the Church was only able to go around Islam and seek to convert the outer edges of Asia while leaving its ancient heartland on that continent untouched, but such is the will of God.  St. Francis Xavier was however the greatest missionary of that age, and established presence for the Church in those regions of the world that continues to this day.  This man who was so devoted to bringing unbelievers into the Church has left us this prayer, reprinted from the 1962 Roman Missal:

Aeterne rerum omnium effector Deus, memento abs te animas infidelium procreatas, easque ad imaginem et similitudinem tuam conditas.  Memento Iesum, Filium tuum, pro illorum salute atrocissimam subisse necem.  Noli, quaeso Domine, ultra permittere, ut Filius tuus ab infidelibus contemnatur, sed precibus sanctorum virorum et Ecclesiae, sanctissimi Filii tui sponsae, placatus, recordare misericordiae tuae et, oblitus idolitriae et infidelitatis eorum, effice ut ipsi quoque agnoscant aliquando quem misisti Dominum Iesum Christum, qui est salus, vita, et resurrectio nostra, per quem salvati et liberati sumus, cui sit gloria per infinita saecula saeculorum.  Amen.

“O God, everlasting creator of all things, remember that the souls of unbelievers were made by Thee and formed in Thine own image and likeness.  Remember that Jesus, Thy Son, endured a most bitter death for their salvation.  Permit not, I beseech Thee, O Lord, that Thy Son should be despised any longer by unbelievers, but do Thou graciously accept the prayers of holy men and of the Church, the Spouse of Thy most holy Son, and be mindful of Thy mercy.  Forget their idolatry and unbelief and grant that they too may some day know Him Thou hast sent, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Life and Resurrection, by whom we have been saved and delivered, to whom be glory for endless ages. Amen.”

Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage: for their liberty and their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome and for the conversion of the Jewish people and the Muslim peoples.  And add in the prayer of St. Francis Xavier for unbelievers at the end if you like.  It can’t hurt.

The Feast of St. Andrew: November 30, 2013

Today is the feast day of the first called Apostle, brother of St. Peter and founder of the church of Constantinople St. Andrew.  Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist who went along with the beloved disciple St. John to follow our Lord at the direction of John the Forerunner.  He later introduced his younger brother Simon to the Lord who made of him Peter the Rock on which He built his Church.

Tradition records that St. Andrew went north after Pentecost to found the church of Byzantium on the Bosporus, the future site of Constantinople and later preached in what is now Russia and in what we now call the Ukraine but what was then broadly called Scythia.  He was martyred in the Peloponnese in southern Greece, crucified by the Roman governor.  St. Andrew is the great patron of the East, the older brother of Simon Peter the founder of the See of Rome.  Peter was ordained Prince of the Apostles not by his own choice or merit, but by the will of God.  The East and the West are brothers, the East older while the West is younger but with the Apostolic See of Rome given primacy by its founder, its history, and the inscrutable divine Will.  Pray for the unity of the Church, the unity between East and West, and to paraphrase Bl. John Paul II that the Church may breathe with both lungs once again.

Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, for its liberty and its salvation, and the restoration of its ancient position as a pillar of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome and for the conversion of the Muslim peoples.

Message of Pope Francis to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I on the Feast of St. Andrew

 

November 24, 2013: Homage to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the King of all the world, of all the nations and tribes, and of all men.  Let us pray today especially that all mankind may one day stand before his throne and with a single mighty voice sing praise to his holy and glorious Name.  What follows is the great hymn of praise to the primacy of Jesus Christ from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians (Col. i, 12-20) that is recited every Wednesday evening in the Liturgy of the Hours and is the second reading in today’s Mass for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe:

Gratias agentes Deo Patri, qui dignos nos fecit in partem sortis sanctorum in lumine: qui eripuit nos de ptestate tenebrarum, et transtulit in regnum filii dilectionis suae, in quo habemus redemptionem per sangiunem ejus, remissionem peccatorum: qui est imago Dei invisibilis, primogenitus omnis creaturae: quoniam in ipso condita sunt universa in caelis, et in terra, visibilia, et invisibilia, sive throni, sive dominationes, sive principatus, sive potestates: omnia per ipsum et in ipso creata sunt: et ipse est ante omnes, et omnia in ipso constant.  Et ipse est caput corporis Ecclesiae, qui est principium, primogenitus ex mortuis: ut sit in omnibus ipse primatum tenens: quia in ipso complacuit, omnem plenitudinem inhabitare: et per eum reconciliare omnia in ipsum, pacificans per sanguinem crucis eius, sive quae in terris, sive quae in caelis sunt.

Here is the English translation from the Liturgy of the Hours that comes from the New American Bible 1970 that leaves out the bit about the thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers:

“Let us give thanks to the Father for having made you worthy to share the lot of the saints in light.  He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son.  Through him we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.  He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creatures.  In him everything in heaven and on earth was created, things visible and invisible.  Al were created through him; all were created for him.  He is before all else that is.  In him everything continues in being.  It is he who is head of the body, the Church!  he who is the beginning, the first-born of the dead, so that primacy may be his in everything.  It pleased God to make absolute fullness reside in him and, by means of him, to reconcile everything in his person, both on earth and in the heavens, making peace through the blood of his cross.”

Jesus Christ is King, not just of us but of all.  Let us pray that all mankind be united under Him.  Pray the Rosary.  Monday for the See of Constantinople, Tuesday for the See of Antioch, Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, Thursday for the See of Alexandria, Friday for the See of Carthage: for their liberty and their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome; for the conversion of the Jewish people and the conversion of the Muslim peoples.  Jesus Christ shed his Blood for them too and He is King of us all.

The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary

Some random musings of mine on praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.  If these thoughts of mine can help anyone to meditate on the Mysteries then I am grateful, if you find them a hindrance then ignore this posting because it is strictly my way of thinking about these Mysteries.  Again these are my thoughts, but if any have been expressed by others elsewhere without me giving proper credit I beg their forgiveness.

The Joyful Mysteries are the beginning.  They are the beginning of the world recreated and the world reborn.  In many ways each Hail Mary we pray is the Incarnation all over again.  We start with the words of the Angel who announced to the Blessed Virgin Mother of God the turn of the age and the role she was to play in it, and then the words of her cousin Elizabeth who was the first human being besides the Virgin herself to acknowledge the Incarnation.  So this theme of the Incarnation then weaves itself throughout all of the Mysteries of the Rosary, both in the praying of the Hail Mary itself and the meditating on the Mysteries of the Incarnation and the Redemption of mankind by the Word made flesh.

The Joyful Mysteries make this theme of the Incarnation paramount.  Think of the world as it appeared from that small village in the Galilee five minutes before the Annunciation.  It was a dark place indeed.  The people Israel had been without a prophet for the better part of half a millennium, the return from the Babylonian exile had not restore to them any form of their ancient glory.  They were now a subject people, their one brief period of independence won by the Maccabees having been snuffed out now by the might of the seemingly all conquering might of Imperial Rome.  Nor were they at peace among themselves.  Some dove wholesale into the pagan, hedonistic culture that prevailed in the Mediterranean in those days, while others climbed back into the shelter of the old Law having long lost the sense of what that Law was really about or intended for, and others turned to politics thinking that the restoration of the political might of David and Solomon would bring about paradise.  It must have seemed that God had forgotten them and that his promise had withered and failed.  Then an Angel visited a young woman who lived in a region that would have seemed at the end of the world to anyone with power and influence in those days and announced these words: Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.  Benedicta tu in mulieribus.

From that moment to this the world has never been the same.  A Light came to be in the womb of Mary that day that will never go out through all the travails of humankind.  She then carried that Light in her womb to visit her cousin Elizabeth a woman, who despite her old age and previous barrenness, now carried in her womb the greatest of all prophets: John the Forerunner who was to announce the coming of the Lord to his people Israel.  This woman pronounced the words “benedictus fructus ventris tui.”  Elizabeth then becomes the first faithful witness to the Gospel.  The communion of faith between these two women in that house in the hill country of Judea is in many ways the start of the prehistory of the Church.

A decree then comes forth from Caesar Augustus.  Joseph takes his wife Mary from Nazareth down to Bethlehem to be enrolled in the census.  After a difficult journey they arrive, only to be shut out from the inns, a woman on the verge of giving birth to a new world but there is no place to put her.  Finally someone finds room for them in a nice out of the way place: a cave where animals are housed.  The child is born and the world is changed.  The angels of the celestial choir announce the birth of the Prince of Peace to the humble of the earth and they come to adore Him.  There is a message here I think for all of us: God will not force his way into our lives.  He will come in where we let Him, if we let Him, and from there He will begin his saving work.  And once you let Him start to work within you there is nothing that will stop Him.

The child Jesus is then presented to the world in his own holy place, the Temple of Jerusalem.  The priest Simeon pronounces his famous canticle and the glory of God that is in this child is first announced publicly, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the world.  Simeon then speaks his famous prophecy of trouble ahead for this child and his Mother and for the Israel that he had known.  Not long after Joseph takes Mary and Jesus and flees from Bethlehem to Egypt and Herod’s thugs raid the town, massacring its newborns, looking to exterminate this new Prince before He can begin his work.  Another message here: the work of God in this world comes with pain and suffering.  Jesus Christ was barely allowed to be born before the world sought to annihilate Him and it will always be so.  But in the end the Triumph is his, and this we must not forget.

When the child Jesus was twelve years old his parents were travelling back north to the Galilee from Jerusalem and discovered that He was missing.  They searched high and low among their relatives for Him, but did not find Him.  Then they turned back to Jerusalem, to God’s Temple, and found Him.  They asked Him why he had done this and his response to them was, essentially, that if they knew Who He was (which both of them did) then they should know where to find Him.  Again a message: God does not abandon us.  We sometimes lose sight of Him if we are looking in the wrong places but that He will always be there for us.

I hope this helps, the thoughts are strictly my own and I am no theologian but these do tend to help me ponder these Mysteries.  Pray the Joyful Mysteries each Monday for the See of Constantinople, for its liberty and its salvation, and for the restoration of its ancient position as a pillar of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome.  And for the conversion of the Muslim peoples.

The See of St. Andrew

St. Andrew was the older brother of St. Peter and the first called.  St. John’s Gospel records that both he and another unnamed disciple of John the Baptist (presumably the beloved disciple St. John himself) followed Christ on the word of John the Baptist and went to stay with him that day.  Tradition going back through Eusebius to Origen says that Andrew went north after Our Lord’s Ascension to preach the Gospel.  He is remembered as the first bishop of the Greek settlement of Byzantium on the Bosporus, which 300 years later when the emperor Constantine decided to make it his capital became the great urban metropolis of Constantinople: the mother of the Christian world.  Tradition also records that St. Andrew went beyond the Bosporus, into the regions that were then called Scythia but now form the Ukraine and European Russia.  Thus St. Andrew is also the patron of Russia and the Ukraine as well as Georgia.  He ended his life in martyrdom; crucified in the city of Patras, in the Peloponnese in modern Greece.  His feast day is celebrated November 30 in both the Eastern and Western Church.

St. Andrew is thus the first bishop of Constantinople and Greek Orthodox ecumenical patriarchs claim their apostolic authority from him, the first called and the older brother of the Prince of the Apostles.  The See of Constantinople is, to paraphrase Blessed John Paul II, the other lung with which the Church breathes.  It was a city great and powerful in its day, the master of the East though embroiled to a much further extent than Rome in the Christological disputes that erupted following the Edict of Milan.  After the rise of Islam in the seventh century the See of Constantinople lost much of its previous grandeur but persevered through the centuries and endured several political and military disasters, including the schism with Rome dating from 1054 and the occupation of the city by the Crusaders in the 13th century from which it never really recovered, before the Christian emperors finally succumbed to their Turkish conquerors in 1453.  Ever since that day the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the See of St. Andrew, has been politically and materially subject to foreign masters.  Offer the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary each Monday for this great See, for its liberty and its salvation, and the restoration of its ancient position as a pillar of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome, and for the conversion of the Muslim peoples.

Raison d’Etre of this Blog

This site exists to encourage people to pray the Rosary.  And to pray the Rosary for a very specific group of intentions.  For the five great Sees of the Catholic Church lost to Islam so long ago.  Fourteen centuries ago the Catholic Church covered the entire Mediterranean basin and the True Faith was spread and gaining adherents from Scotland to the Euphrates river and beyond.  Then Islam came out of the desert and shattered the old, if by that point strained, unity.  Immediately they took the eastern and southern shores of the Mediterranean and cast a veil between Rome and the great and ancient Christian Sees of Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Carthage while greatly weakening the power and influence of Constantinople which the Muslim armies continually preyed upon for the next eight centuries until it finally fell to the Turks in 1453.

While the Catholic Church has gained large numbers of adherents in the Americas, Asia, and sub Saharan Africa over the last half millennium it has not penetrated a jot into our ancient heartland in all of the centuries since this was lost to us.  A small number of Catholics remain there, and there are still a decent number of adherents to the ancient apostolic churches unfortunately separated from Rome by schism, but their number is rapidly shrinking due to the convulsions of the Middle East over the last century and particularly over this last decade.  Islam seeks now to cement its domination and control won first a millennium and a half ago and sees within its grasp a final victory over the Catholic Church in the land of its birth.

We must now call upon the Mother of God, the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Victory to come to our aid and to the aid of the Church founded by her son Our Lord Jesus Christ.  No weapon of war will return the Church to its birthplace; the Crusades failed because they were in the end only a military adventure.  Let us use then a far more powerful weapon than guns or bombs: the Rosary.  Pray the Rosary Monday for Constantinople, Tuesday for Antioch, Wednesday for Jerusalem, Thursday for Alexandria, and Friday for Carthage.  And along with this intention let us beseech the Lord God the conversion of the Jewish and the Muslim peoples: Jesus Christ shed his blood for them too.  All of the great accomplishments of the Church have begun with prayer.  The life of Our Lord as passed down to us by the Evangelists shows this to be the case.  Pray the Rosary and meditate on its Mysteries.  Our Lady has proclaimed at all of her apparitions that this will change the world.  The time is now.

In the fifth chapter of St. Luke’s (a native of Antioch) Gospel the Evangelist narrates an episode where Our Lord enters Peter’s boat to teach the multitude and, when finished, he tells St. Peter to “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. (Lk. 5: 4)”  After protesting that he had been fishing all night and catching nothing the Apostle does as commanded, and the haul of fish is so large that his net breaks and he has to call on the other boats for aid.  They are so full of fish that they almost sink before reaching the shore.  The prophetic aspects of these events, from the perspective of someone living 2,000 years after the fact, seems to refer to the first great conversion that brought the Roman Empire into the Church’s net.  The net was broken however by schism and discord which continues down to our own day.

But there is a second miraculous draught of fishes.  At the conclusion of the Gospel of St. John the beloved disciple relates to us an event which he himself took part in.  After Our Lord’s Resurrection some (not all) of the Apostles venture out on the Lake of Galilee with St. Peter to fish.  After fishing all night and again catching nothing they are approaching the shore at first light when they catch sight of Our Lord standing on the shoreline.  He tells them to cast their nets over the right side of the boat and the haul was the miraculous number of 153 (symbolic of all the species of fish known to the ancient world) fish.  The Prince of Apostles then himself hauls the net full of fish ashore and “although there were so many, the net was not broken. (Jn. 21: 11)”  This seems to indicate that near the end of time approaching the end of the Church’s journey there will be another and greater mass conversion that will not be broken apart as of old.  This must begin with the five great Sees.  This region forms the geographic heart of the world, and it was in the part of the world where Our Lord chose to reveal Himself.  I am no prophet and do not claim that the end is upon us, that is not the point of this effort, but we must begin to repair the saving net of the Church and should we not begin this task with prayer?

This site becomes active on Wednesday of the 30th week of Ordinary Time, October 30, the first year of Francis’ pontificate, and in the year MMXIII of the Incarnation.  I will attempt to post here with the greatest frequency I can muster some reminder of the lost world of the five great Sees.  I beg Our Lady of Victory her bountiful aid in attracting visitors to this site that we may together beseech her most powerful assistance in repairing the Church’s broken net.