Tag Archives: saints

How I Became an Apostle of Prayer

In December 2014, I became an apostle. I’d thought about it before, but it was a while (years, actually) before I took the plunge. Now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I first discovered the Morning Offering when I was in college. My roommate and I slept in bunk beds before we got our own rooms. I have always been a top bunk kind of girl, so every morning, I would climb down the foot of our beds in the dark, like some kind of methodical monkey, to turn off my alarm. I purposely chose an annoying alarm on a real clock, and my roommate was a light sleeper, so I had plenty of motivation to get moving. Slumped in my desk chair after vanquishing the alarm, I turned on my desk lamp and squinted at two Post-its stuck to the edge of my desktop bookshelf.

One said this:

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you all of my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for all the intentions of our bishops, all the Apostles of Prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.

The other had two bullet points: one general (now “universal”) intention and one mission (now “evangelization”) intention. I found them online. I mumbled my way through the prayers and intentions, still about 60% asleep, and eventually convinced myself to move on with getting ready for the day.

Fast-forward to my second year of teaching. I found myself re-learning that offering prayer and reciting it at the beginning of the day, every day. It was part of the morning announcements at my school. Our theology department chair was on point. It was then that I realized the “apostles of prayer” were actual people. I had been praying for their intentions. Furthermore, this was a group I could join. So why didn’t I?

Moving on again, we find me just this past December. I don’t know what led me back to the website of the Apostleship of Prayer in the U.S., but I got there, and I registered, and now it’s official.

Lindsay Wilcox has pledged to make a daily offering of self to God for the salvation of all people, for the monthly prayer intentions of the pope, and for the intentions of all the Apostles of Prayer throughout the world. This pledge entitles one to membership in the Apostleship of Prayer.

I’m in good company. How’s St. Thérèse for a fellow member?

Before doing good on Earth from heaven, Therese joined the Apostleship of Prayer.

After I joined, I received a lovely booklet listing the pope’s intentions for the year. I keep it on top of my breviary, which I use nightly, so I see it all the time. I also get an email on the first day of the month reminding me of the new intentions and linking me to the reflections provided by the AOP staff.

It has been glorious.

A bit of history: The Apostleship of Prayer began in 1844 when Fr. Francis Gautrelet counseled his Jesuit students about how to console their missionary hearts. They wanted to evangelize in countries around the world, but they were stuck studying in heavily-Catholic France. By offering their whole day to God in union with the intentions of the Sacred Heart and Holy Father, they satisfied their desire to participate in the work of missionary evangelization even while buried under books in the library. The movement spread to 13 million members around the world in just forty years. Today, I am one of them.

The old international AOP website summarizes the purpose and benefits of joining. The Apostleship of Prayer:

  • proposes a way to sanctification
  • through the daily offering
  • that transforms our lives,
  • and unites us in a worldwide communion of prayer
  • through the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts,
  • and arouses in us the desire to have the same sentiments that were in the heart of Christ,
  • so that, nourished and molded by him in the Eucharist
  • and reconciled with him in the sacrament of Reconciliation,
  • we become able to put ourselves totally and with all our heart at his disposition
  • and at the disposition of his Church,
  • following the example of Mary,
  • for the coming of his reign.

Do you want to do that? Join the Apostleship of Prayer! It’s free, and you can enroll online anytime. You can also donate to support the work of the AOP, including ministry tools for children and young adults, new media evangelization, and Ignatian retreats held around the country.

Pray with the Pope in the Apostleship of Prayer.

The first and primary duty of an Apostle of Prayer, however, is to pray for the intentions of the pope. This duty is pope-neutral, i.e. it doesn’t matter who is pope at any particular moment. When he asks for prayer, you pray. Even before I became a member, I prayed (and fasted) for peace with Syria. Did the U.S. go to war with Syria? Nope! That’s a pretty solid result in my book. I’m still praying for the actual “peace” part.

Secondary duties are to promote devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, promote the Holy Father’s intentions, and invite others to join the AOP. It is also recommended to go to Mass as often as possible and pray the rosary daily. I’m still working on that, but I think I’ve neatly fulfilled promotion and invitation right here.

The mission of the Apostleship of Prayer is to encourage Christians to make a daily offering of themselves to the Lord for the coming of God’s Kingdom and for the Holy Father’s monthly intentions. This habit of prayer encourages a Eucharistic spirituality of solidarity with the Body of Christ and loving service to others. Nourishing this spiritual program is the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (source)

If you’ve ever thought about joining a prayer group with no meetings, one membership requirement, and universal and eternal effect, join the Apostleship of Prayer. I’d love to have you with me.

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 179

— 1 —

Nickelodeon has rebooted Figure It Out. This sounds like a good idea, except that they’ve apparently done the same thing CTW did to Sesame Street. I haven’t watched Sesame Street since I was about seven, but I’ve heard that the old-school “How to Get to Sesame Street” song has been changed to a ten-second spree of colors and a super-fast song.

Among the problems:

  • I am definitely old, because I have no idea who most of the panelists are. I want Danny Tamberelli and Amanda Bynes back, man.
  • There is a definite lack of Summer Sanders.
  • Each round is supposed to be the same length. It’s not fun if the panelists don’t win every now and then; it just seems fixed. I want kids to win prizes, but I also want to watch a good game.
  • The set is so busy. There are colors and funky shapes all over the place. Bring back Billy the Answer Head!
  • The prize announcer and sound effects are loud, and the kids aren’t super interesting.

I know I’m not their target market, but if you’re going to reboot a classic, at least do a good job. The 90’s Are All That has been so successful! Maybe Figure It Out just needs to be hosted by Stick Stickly.

— 2 —

To celebrate Independence Day, I went with some friends down to Auditorium Shores to watch fireworks against the skyline. There was an amazing reflection off the mirrored windows of the closest skyscraper. I didn’t take any photos of the fireworks themselves, because no camera is as good as my eyes (with glasses), but I had a great time hanging out with friends and getting a bit of fresh air and sunshine.

This blue color was incredible!

— 3 —

On a related Instagram note, IG has redesigned the individual photo pages. They are much more useful now. Check out the page for that skyline photo, and if you’re on Instagram, follow me!

— 4 —

This probably should have been number 1, but today is the feast day of St. Maria Goretti! She is my favorite saint for a number of reasons. I wear holy medals every day, and the only one with an individual saint (besides Mary and Jesus) is one of her. I pray four novenas every year, and I just finished the one to her yesterday afternoon. (I missed a day somewhere, but I caught up, which is my usual novena pattern anyway.) If you’ve never heard of her, you’re missing out. She is one to know for chastity advocates everywhere.

— 5 —

I discovered this week that two of my real-life friends who I didn’t know had blogs… well, do. Brittany at Miss Communication writes about her life as a slightly sarcastic but very lovable counseling professional (the lovable is my assessment, not hers, but it is still true. Pomeranian Catholic writes about the life of faith and his experiences training to become a Camaldolese Benedictine Oblate and as a young adult Catholic living with disability.

— 6 —

I would like to second Jen’s observation that midweek holidays are disconcerting and toss in a vote for weekly Wednesday holidays. Unfortunately, I also have to add the bad news that Halloween is already scheduled to fall on Wednesday. Which weekend do you throw your party: the one that’s clearly too soon or one that will feel too late because it’s several days into November?

Furthermore, Christmas Day is on a Tuesday. UT final exams end exactly one week earlier. When should I plan to fly home? If you’re a Christmas Eve pageant Massgoer, do you go two days in a row (the Fourth Sunday of Advent and then the very next day)? If you go to an actual Midnight Mass at midnight, does it feel like Christmas lasts for three days? (It actually lasts for eight, but that’s a different deal.) If you wait until Christmas Day, what do you do with that odd Monday in the middle?

This bunny and I have similar expressions when our wonderfully comforting patterns get disrupted.
(photo by sgrace)

Leap Day, you are a cute novelty, but why did you ruin the calendar for the rest of the year?

— 7 —

I participated in Hallie’s love song linkup, and then I realized that, aside from admitting to “Love You Like a Love Song,” I left out any other silly choices. Although I’m not big on “Silly Love Songs,” by Wings, I do like silly love songs. I also like some of the super-angsty ones like “Iris,” by the Goo Goo Dolls, even though that will always be associated with someone from my past. This sounds like a follow-up post to me!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 178

— 1 —

I’m always a little miffed when a solemnity sneaks up on me. I made a Catholic calendar for Google; you’d think I’d actually read it sometimes. The problem is mostly that I have prayed the incorrect day of Night Prayer.

On the bright side, I realized that it’s a Friday solemnity. That means it’s Meatday again! This is the last one until the Friday after Christmas, so enjoy your Church-approved bacon!

This is like the Friday after Easter! (Click for full size.) (image from Slightly Orange)

— 2 —

Next on the list of things I’ve nearly forgotten, I am now three days into the Novena to St. Maria Goretti, my favorite saint. She’s my favorite saint, so I was super embarrassed to forget to start it on the correct day (Wednesday), but I prayed two days’ worth yesterday, so it’s all good. (And I already did today’s, so hooray!)

— 3 —

I have discovered the benefit of pre-meetings. Get-It-Done Guy has recommended pre-meetings for ages (under “Meeting to Make Decisions”), but I never attempted to actually have one until now. (Sure, that was because my boss/priest asked me to, but that totally counts!) Instead of trying to hash out a plan with six interested parties all at once, I’m trying to meet with four of them individually and use the big group meeting to combine and summarize all our ideas. I’ll let you all know how it turns out.

— 4 —

I try not to turn Jen‘s Quick Takes into mine, but she is going to write about “Somebody That I Used to Know” next week, so I had to watch her recommended covers and share the “five people, one guitar” one I posted here. So, here’s Ingrid Michaelson playing ALL THE INSTRUMENTS!

— 5 —

I did a lot of evening traveling this week. In addition to my usual Monday night holy hour and my new Wednesday night Bible study, I went to a happy hour straight from work yesterday.

On Tuesday, a coworker drove us all the way to Temple straight from work. We had to leave at 5:15 to get there just before 7 p.m. (oh, Austin traffic), but it was worthwhile. I got to see Bishop Joe in his non-Mass fancy clothes (purple cassock and surplice) and to support our student who received the Lumen Gentium Award. It’s an annual diocesan award to the person or couple in each parish who has best been a “light to the world” (as in the encyclical Lumen Gentium, which I am coincidentally reading right now).

— 6 —

I also “traveled” to the eye doctor this week. It’s been five years, so I figured it was time. I have also finally realized that squinting against the summer sun is not a good idea, so I’m going to need sunglasses, and it would be silly to use a five-year-old prescription for them. To my delight, my eyes haven’t changed very much. Frame shopping is always tricky; if I could see how I looked, I wouldn’t need them! My new plan is to take iPhone photos of myself and evaluate that way. We’ll see how it goes.

— 7 —

Here’s some great music as you slide into however much time you get off for Independence Day. Amazon MP3 is offering 20 summer songs (classic and 2012) for 25 cents each! One quarter for “Call Me Maybe” or The Fresh Prince’s “Summertime” (featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff)! (They also have 50-cent Linkin Park songs. Those are less seasonal, but some are equally catchy.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Jesus Had Battle Scars, Too (Review: “My Peace I Give You”)

Remember, Christ was a healer. (image by Amos)

Some things are difficult to talk about. There’s an adage that some things should never be discussed in mixed company: sex, politics, money, and religion. Well, I work in religion, and this is a Catholic blog, so brace yourselves. Now that the Church is ten years from the horror of the public revelation of the priestly sexual abuse scandal and just over a year from the beatification of the man who enlightened so many about the truth of human sexuality, Blessed John Paul II, I think we’re ready to talk about recovery. Realizing that you have a problem is only the first step. Fixing the problem can be the journey of a lifetime. Now that we know sexual abuse is part of our Church’s history, we need greater resources to deal with this tragedy. Dawn Eden has taken a significant step toward a solution in her brand-new book, My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints.

Read the rest at Austin Catholic New Media.

P.S. The book only officially came out today. I got my review copy by way of Dawn Eden herself!

God Has a Problem: It’s You (Review: “Sinner”)

I struggle a lot with my faith life. Many people think that I am somehow better or holier because I work for the Church. Correction: I am not. If anything, being so closely connected to the inner workings of my sort-of parish makes me more aware of how much of a mess I am (and how much work and money it takes to run the place). As I write this review, I am barely through breakfast and have already been reminded by God that he does not make my life stressful. My choices do. It’s my choice to return to him and stay faithful to him that makes all the difference.

Persistent faithfulness is the underlying theme of the recent book by Lino Rulli, the Catholic Guy from Sirius XM satellite radio’s Catholic Channel. Its full title is Sinner: The Catholic Guy’s Funny, Feeble Attempts to Be a Faithful Catholic. I’m not that funny, but I am feeble, so I can relate. In the grand tradition of St. Augustine, Rulli offers stories from his spiritual journey, some of which put him in a decidedly negative light. It’s our bad choices, truly and unfortunately, that build our character and inspire the good choices that follow. In this holiest of weeks, as we approach the joy of Easter, we walk toward our personal Calvary with sorrow, but also in the hope of the Resurrection. As we read along with Rulli’s faith journey, we share a companion on that road.

Read the rest at Austin Catholic New Media.

This review was written as part of the Tiber River Reviewer Program. I received a free copy of the book in exchange for this honest review of it. For more reviews of Catholic books, visit Tiber River. To purchase Catholic products of all kinds (not just books), visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Real Role Models (Review: “Saints Behaving Badly”)

This church looks about right for those saints. (photo by mamasuco)

Saints are pretty awesome. The idea of a host of people too numerous to count who do nothing except worship God and pray for everyone who’s not in heaven definitely gives me comfort. When you’re too busy to pray, ask the saints to pray for you. When your prayer needs an extra boost, ask the saints to chip in, too. When you wander astray, ask for the help of the saints who had the same problems.

Read the rest at Austin Catholic New Media.

Catholic Carnival 152

Here’s my notes on the Christmas Catholic Carnival, number 152, hosted at A Catholic Mum Climbing the Pillars.

Heidi at Mommy Monsters Inc. (love the title!) offers a reflection on Mary’s and Elizabeth’s feelings during the Visitation. How did Mary feel after consenting to be the Theotokos? How can we compare Mary’s situation to modern times? It’s hard to analyze our Blessed Mother. I run into the same problem with her that I have trying to ponder Jesus during the hidden years of his childhood and early adulthood. In Bible study sophomore year, Maura, Tim, Jim, Ali, and I discussed whether Jesus would have ever dated. Fact notwithstanding that young Nazoreans didn’t date like people do today, it’s an interesting idea to ponder. He would have been incapable of lusting or any sin again chastity, of course, but even though he knew he would die without marrying, would he have gone walking by the well with a nice Nazorean girl?

Sr. Edith Brogue, OSB, shares a reflection presented to her sisters about St. Joseph’s role in the Holy Family and the Nativity, in light of this year’s Vatican nativity scene. St. Joseph gets left out almost all the time. It’s sad that in a world where fatherhood isn’t valued or popular, the greatest earthly father we have gets pushed aside as well. When I finally worked out a personal method of praying the rosary, I was proud to add “St. Joseph, pray for us” to my daily prayers.

Christine, of Domestic Vocation, recounts yet another harried health scare. Despite the challenges that come with being human, she managed to survive with a good outlook on redemptive suffering. I can relate.

Erin of Bearing Blog, who I also enjoyed in Carnival 151, offers a post I read last week about responding to rude questions about the size of your family. It’s none of their business how many children you have! A few weeks ago, when I went to replace my broken holy medal chain at the Shrine, I saw a woman with 5 small children, one of whom was carrying the second-smallest. In another part of my life, I would have shaken my head in pity, much like my mother would to this day. This time, I smiled, though with a worry in the back of my mind that the girl carrying her sister might not be holding on quite tight enough. Holiness takes time.

A different Heidi, of Streams of Mercy, wrote a beautiful story about how her understanding of evangelization (and evangelism) has changed over the course of her conversion to Catholicism. I believe that lifestyle evangelization is very important. If people can’t relate to you, they’ll never pay enough attention to see Christ in you. They won’t hear the Gospel if they’re not already willing to listen. I really must get around to reading that CDF document. Maybe, just maybe, I can squeeze it in before winter break ends.

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