Wednesday, 28 March 2012

So ... veiling

I can't remember if I've mentioned this before but I veil for Mass. I've been veiling for almost a year now and I cover for Mass, Confession, Adoration, prayer and basically whenever I'm in a church. Veiling was, for a long time, compulsory for women but this requirement was abrogated in the 1983 Code of Canon Law. Women are still free to choose to cover their heads but no longer have to. I am told it has remained common practice at Extraordinary Form Masses but in the Ordinary Form it has almost died out. Many have suggested, however, that veiling is experiencing a revival among young women - women too young to have experienced the times when it was the norm but are drawn to the practice anyway. I am one of these who is too young to remember a time when women had to veil, since I wasn't even born until almost a decade after the new Code of Canon Law. Only once in my entire life had I seen a woman veiling at Mass. But even just that one time I was transfixed by it, though it was several years later that I actually began the practice for myself.

My own decision to veil was somewhat spontaneous but at the same time something I had felt drawn to for a long time. I felt a tug in my heart but couldn't really face the reality of doing it. I lived in the Middle East for several years and for a long time I associated head-covering with that oppression of women and hiding from men who would otherwise leer at you. Not to mention I used the headscarf to hide the fact that I am European and not make myself a target for attacks. So head-covering itself was not a new idea to me but for many years it did have those negative associations. It was only through a lot of research and a lot of prayer that realised that the true beauty of something should not be judged by those who abuse it. I was so drawn to veil at Mass but I never saw a single other woman veil at my parish veil and was too scared of being stared at or refused the Eucharist or something (an EMHC did try and refuse me the Blood of Christ a few weeks ago but that's for another post). It wasn't until one week I was discussing the subject on CAF with another young woman who was interested in veiling that I had this moment where I just went "okay, I'm going to cover this Sunday". I hadn't actually been to Mass in a few weeks so I think part of it was that I knew it was 'safe' since I wouldn't be receiving the Eucharist anyway. I didn't have anything to veil with so that day I went out and scoured the stores looking for something. Eventually I found the perfect thing, a plain white gauzy scarf. As I went into Mass that Sunday I almost chickened out. I stood in the narthex and put the scarf around my neck but couldn't put it over my head. I went into the church feeling a bit dejected and went and knelt in my pew to pray as normal. All of a sudden I felt this wave of grace and the Holy Spirit really came to me in that moment and without really thinking I pulled the scarf over my head. I don't think I had ever called upon our Blessed Mother for help quite as fervently as I did at that Mass. As she always does, she showered me with graces and as I prayed the nerves calmed and I was filled with the most wonderful feeling that I was doing exactly what God wanted me to be doing. There are honestly few experiences as amazing as that. Ever since that day I have continued to veil at Mass and extended the practice to Adoration, Confession and my private prayer both when I visit the church to pray and at home.

For me, veiling has been an immense blessing. It brought me back to the Mass when I had drifted, it increased my devotion to the Blessed Mother and honestly it has truly enriched my experience of the Mass. Through the veil Christ has humbled me and drawn me ever closer to Him. If you do not veil and feel drawn to it, I implore you give it some sincere thought and prayer. God will guide you. Trust in Him and don't be afraid of being the only one. Just pray that your witness may inspire other women who feel drawn to the practice.

Resources for veiling
CAF Group - Veiled in Grace - if you are a member of the Catholic Answers Forums, I thoroughly recommend that you join this group. It is for women who choose to veil for any variety of reasons and provides a great support group and also has some excellent resources.
Mantilla With Me - this is a very good resource, it's very simple and easy to read and has a very humble approach. It also has some good advice for first-timers.
Garlands of Grace - they have beautiful, simple head-coverings and headbands and also cute little ones for young girls.
Rosa Mystica Mantilla - they sell very beautiful mantillas in a wide range of colours and styles.
Headcoverings by Devorah - for those less inclined to the lacy mantillas, I would say this is the place to go. They have a huge variety of styles of head-covering so you can find what works best for you.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Prayer: Evening

This is my schedule for evening prayer.

Sign of the Cross
By the sign of the cross
deliver us from our enemies,
you who are our God.
In the name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day
our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Amen.

Ave María
Ave, María, grátia plena,
Dóminus tecum.
Benedícta tu in muliéribus,
et benedíctus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta María, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatóribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostræ.
Amen.

Glory Be
Glory be to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning
is now, and ever shall be
world without end.
Amen.

Act of Contrition
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,
I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with Your help,
to do penance, and to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.
In His name, my God, have mercy.
Amen.

The Divine Praises
Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His angels and in His Saints.

May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen.

Evening Prayer of Saint Augustine
Watch, Lord, with those who wake or sleep tonight. Give the angels and saints charge over those who sleep. O Lord Jesus Christ, tend Your sick ones, rest Your weary ones, bless Your dying ones, soothe the suffering ones, pity all the afflicted ones, shield the joyful ones, and all for Your love's sake. Amen.

Concluding Prayer
Lighten our darkness we beseech You O Lord, and by Your great mercy defend us from all the perils and dangers of this night; for the love of Your only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

May the Lord grant us a quiet night and a perfect end. Amen

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Prayer: Morning

Recently I've been developing a prayer schedule and I decided to share it here. This is my schedule for morning prayer. 


Sign of the Cross
By the sign of the cross
deliver us from our enemies,
you who are our God.
In the name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.

 Amen.

Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day
our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Amen

Ave María
Ave, María, grátia plena,
Dóminus tecum.
Benedícta tu in muliéribus,
et benedíctus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta María, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatóribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostræ.
Amen.

Glory Be
Glory be to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning
is now, and ever shall be
world without end. 

Amen.

Daily Offering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and suffering 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 sins, the reunion of all Christians;
I offer them for the intentions of our Bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer
and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.

Consecration to Our Lady of Sorrows
Most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, Mary, would that I could be in Heaven,
there to contemplate the honours rendered to thee by the Most Holy Trinity
and by the whole Heavenly Court!
But since I am still a pilgrim in this vale of tears, receive from me, thy unworthy servant and a poor sinner, the most sincere homage and the most perfect act of vassalage a human creature can offer thee.
In thy Immaculate Heart, pierced with so many swords of sorrow, I place today my poor soul forever; receive me as a partaker in thy dolors, and never suffer that I should depart from that Cross on which thy only begotten Son expired for me.
With thee, O Mary, I will endure all the sufferings, contradictions, infirmities, with which it will please thy Divine Son to visit me in this life.
All of them I offer to thee, in memory of the Dolors which thou didst suffer during thy life, that every thought of my mind, every beating of my heart may henceforward be an act of compassion to thy Sorrows, and of complacency for the glory thou now enjoyest in Heaven.
Since then, O Dear Mother, I now compassionate thy Dolors, and rejoice in seeing thee glorified, do thou also have compassion on me, and reconcile me to thy Son Jesus, that I may become thy true and loyal daughter; come on my last day and assist me in my last agony, even as thou wert present at the Agony of thy Divine Son Jesus, that from this painful exile I may go to Heaven, there to be made partaker of thy glory. 



Daily Dedication
Lord, may everything I do begin with your inspiration and continue with your help, so that all my prayers and works may begin in you and by you be happily ended. I ask this through Christ the Lord. 

Amen. 


Prayer of Abandonment
Father,
I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you
with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father. 



Concluding Prayer
Almighty God, you have given us this day;
strengthen us with your power
and keep us from falling into sin,
so that whatever we say, or think, or do,
may be in your service and for the sake of the kingdom. 
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son,
who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
every one God, world without end.
Amen.



May the Lord bless us, keep us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen. 

Signs

I watch a lot of videos on vocations and I hear a lot of the vocation stories of others in my various forums. I have to read a lot of them now for my work on The Vocation Operation so I can post them up. They're all so incredible but the ones that really strike me are the ones with these beautiful mystical experiences. I've heard of women who hear heavenly voices calling to them, prophetic voices saying "you will be Christ's bride" and "will you marry me?", and have these deep, powerful spiritual moments. I have never had one of these and I was always very content in that.

Until recently I'd always seen them as amazing experiences and great gifts but never really thought about it much more than that.  But for some reason I've found myself desperately craving that mystical experience. I'm almost envious of those who have them because I just think they're so lucky and blessed and I just think why don't I have that? Am I not worthy, am I not special enough, am I not really called? It's stupid and childish, I know that, but it just makes me feel rejected. Am I not holy enough? Is my faith not strong enough? Does God simply love them more than me?

I'm trying so hard not to be asking God for a sign but I just want one so much. The stubborn little child part of me wants to just stamp my feet and be like "Okay God, I'm willing to give you everything, I'm giving you everything, so just give me something back. Just give me this one little sign." I've been at such a loss with my discernment for the past few weeks and I just don't know what I'm doing anymore. That stubborn little child is just thinking"If you want me to be a nun then stop dragging me over all the rocks and mountains and just set me on the path."

It doesn't help that when I get stressed I get like super scrupulous. There's a penitential service at my parish tomorrow so hopefully I'll feel better after that.

Pink & Pinterest

As some of you may have noticed, I have changed the blog's appearance. This is purely because I decided I liked the theme that's on The Vocation Operation and wanted it here as well. A few tweaks with the colour and it's now got some awesome bright pink in there.

Also I've now got a Pinterest account. Shockingly enough, my username is EmilyAnnsCorner so if you have an account and want more of me in your life (how could you not?) then do some following.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Air Guitar

I can't sleep so I've been staying up surfing the internet and listening to music on YouTube. One of my favourite songs is Katy Voegele's '99 times' and earlier I was listening to it, dancing around my room and playing air guitar. Obviously I have awesome air guitar skills (not) but it just kinda reminded me to take joy in the little things. I've been feeling down recently but tonight I have remembered how much a good air guitar session can perk you up.

It's 3AM and I'm tired so I apologise if this makes about as much sense as a fish on a unicycle.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Saint Benedict of Nursia


O glorious St. Benedict, sublime model of all virtues, pure vessel of God's grace! Behold me, humbly kneeling at thy feet. I implore thy loving heart to pray for me before the throne of God. To thee I have recourse in all the dangers which daily surround me. Shield me against my enemies, inspire me to imitate thee in all things. May thy blessing be with me always, so that I may shun whatever God forbids and avoid the occasions of sin.

Graciously obtain for me from God those favors and graces of which I stand so much in need, in the trials, miseries and afflictions of life. Thy heart was always so full of love, compassion, and mercy toward those who were afflicted or troubled in any way. Thou didst never dismiss without consolation and assistance anyone who had recourse to thee. I therefore invoke thy powerful intercession, in the confident hope that thou wilt hear my prayers and obtain for me the special grace and favor I so earnestly implore (mention it), if it be for the greater glory of God and the welfare of my soul.

Help me, O great St. Benedict, to live and die as a faithful child of God, to be ever submissive to His holy will, and to attain the eternal happiness of heaven. Amen.


Admirable Saint and Doctor of Humility, you practiced what you taught, assiduously praying for God's glory and lovingly fulfilling all work for God and the benefit of all human beings. You know the many physical dangers that surround us today often caused or occasioned by human inventions. Guard us against poisoning of the body as well as of mind and soul, and thus be truly a "Blessed" one for us. Amen.



Dear St. Benedict, you are a "blessing" indeed, as your name indicates.
Practicing what you preached, you founded the monastic tradition of the West by joining prayer to labor for God---both liturgical and private prayer. Help all religious to follow their Rule and be true to their vocation.
May they labor and pray for the world to the greater glory of God. Amen.


Solem Profession

I've been reading this reflection from a sister at St Cecilia's on her solemn profession and wanted to share it here.
Prudentes virgines... 'Wise virgins, trim your lamps: behold the Bridegroom comes; go forth to meet him.' The sacristan had provided a long and fat candle, which was doubtless wise as I was gripping it so tightly that if it had been any slimmer it would have snapped in half. The most terrifying part of the profession ceremony is the beginning, when one is summoned to the sanctuary and walks up the choir, candle in hand, singing
Et nunc sequor: 'Now with all my heart I follow you; it is you I revere, and your face I long to see. O Lord, do not disappoint me; deal with me gently and according to the greatness of your mercy.' This prayer of the three young men in the fiery furnace (Dan 3.41-42) is in itself an act of self-offering and of trust; since the Daniel story contains the theme of passing from death to new life, the prayer also introduces the paschal and baptismal dimension of profession. Accounts of the rite in the seventh century describe the nun carrying a candle in each hand; perhaps too much wax had spilt on too many habits over the centuries so that the number was reduced to just one.
The profession ceremony has two parts, first, monastic profession itself, and then the rite of consecration. For the monastic profession we follow what St Benedict prescribes in chapter 58 of the Rule. The bishop, representing the Church, asks the nun if she promises to fix her stability in this community, if she will undertake the conversion of her life according to the Rule of St Benedict and if she will make profession of obedience. To each of these questions she answers Promitto, 'I promise.' She then reads out the chart on which she has already written her vows. The chart is vellum and adorned with the monastery's crest. Once I had written them, the Wednesday before the ceremony, I prayed fervently for the bishop, for if he had fallen ill and had to cancel, I would have had to write the chart out all over again.

After signing the chart and placing it on the altar one seals the offering of oneself by singing the Suscipe: 'Uphold me, O Lord, according to your word, and I shall live, and let me not be disappointed in my hope' (Ps 118[119].116). After this the newly professed nun kneels before the bishop to receive the monastic cowl, the capacious, broad-sleeved overgarment which is worn over the habit for Vigils, Lauds, Mass and Vespers and on other solemn occasions. Meanwhile the community sings the Regnum mundi, 'The kingdom of the world and all earthly allurements I have renounced for the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ whom I have seen, whom I have loved, in whom I have believed, whom I have chosen as my love.' This and the other antiphons used in the rite are from the Acts of St Agnes which, while composed probably in the fifth century, two hundred years after her martyrdom, express the single-minded dedication to Christ of which she was exemplar.
This concludes the vows part of the ceremony. For every Christian, the most important vows of his life are his baptismal vows. To make monastic vows is to say: This is the way I shall live out and hope to bring to perfection the vows of my baptism. That is why the profession ceremony follows the pattern of the baptismal rite, with the questioning by the bishop, 'Do you promise...?'just as at baptism the candidate is asked, 'Do you believe...?'; the reading of the profession chart corresponds to the saying of the Creed; and the clothing in the cowl corresponds both to baptism's white garment and, because of its shape, to the signing with the sign of the cross.

The second part of the ceremony is the Rite of Consecration. If profession expresses what we do for God, consecration is about what God does to us. The language becomes more spousal since the consecrated woman more clearly embodies the relationship between Christ and his Bride, the Church. The first reference to a special rite of consecration is St Ambrose's account of Pope Liberius' consecration of his sister on Christmas Day in 352 or 353. The nun prostrates while the Litany of Saints is sung. All who have made monastic profession agree that this is the most relaxing part of the ceremony: there is nothing to do but surrender oneself. There is a standard list of saints but others may be added: I made sure that my parents' patrons were included and others which are important to me. At the end of the Litany one kneels before the Bishop for the solemn prayer of consecration. The consecratory prayer which we use is first cited in the Leonine Sacramentary (first quarter of the seventh century) but phrases in it suggest that St Leo may have written it or known it. As the prayer states, God's first blessing is on marriage, but he has nevertheless granted that there should be some who, without being married themselves, desire the mystery of which marriage is a sign.1 The prayer concludes: 'In love may she revere you; in love may she serve you. Be her honour, her joy, and her will; in sorrow be her consolation; in doubt, her counsel; in injury, her defence; in tribulation, her patience; in poverty, her riches; in fasting, her food; in sickness, her healing. In you may she possess all things, whom she has chosen above all things.'

The newly-consecrated nun now comes forward to receive the veil, ring and book. The Bishop gives her the black veil saying, 'Receive the sacred veil which will mark you as one who has left the world and has truly and humbly and with all the love of your heart submitted herself eternally as a spouse to Christ Jesus: may he defend you from all evil and lead you to life eternal'. The nun then rises and sings Posuit signum, 'He has placed a sign upon my face that I may receive no lover but him.' She then kneels while the Bishop gives her a gold ring, saying, 'Receive the ring of faith, the seal of the Holy Spirit, that you may be called the spouse of God, and, if you serve him with fidelity, may receive an eternal crown.' All our rings are engraved with one's monastic name and 'Jesus'. The antiphon sung on receiving the ring is Ipsi sum desponsata, 'I am espoused to him whom the angels serve; before his beauty the sun and moon stand in wonder.' Finally one kneels before the Bishop to be presented with the book of the Divine Office with the words, 'Receive this book, so that, putting nothing before the work of God, you may day and night sing the praises of God our creator in the Church.' To sing God's praises in the Divine Office, to have the whole day arranged so that this takes first place, to be daily fed and nourished by the psalms with all their passion and grandeur, to follow the round of the liturgical year and the unfolding of the mystery of salvation with all its richness and glory, is the principal privilege and joy of the Benedictine nun. We come to the monastery to seek God, but we do this not in a void but in the words of the psalms with which Christ himself prayed and in the framework developed by the Church's two thousand years of reflection on what Christ did and is still doing.

The final antiphon which the newly-consecrated nun sings sums up her joy at the union with Christ represented by the veil and ring, and the task of singing the Divine Office: Ecce quod concupivi, "Behold, what I longed for, I now see; what I hoped for, I now possess; I am united in heaven to him whom on earth I have loved with all my heart." The other privilege of the nun is to have someone to obey, so that she can live in the same dynamic of obedience in which Christ lived, whose food was to do the will of the Father. So the last act of the rite is to go to Mother Abbess and ìmake one's obedience by placing one's joined hands between hers and receiving the kiss of peace. Then one goes to the community, who are one's fellow soldiers, friends and truly one's sisters, and receives the kiss of peace from each one. During this kiss of peace an antiphon and psalm are sung: my choice was the antiphon Simile est, "The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, gave all that he had and bought it," and Psalm 33(34), "I will bless the Lord at all times."
Mass then continued; all nervousness had long disappeared and the whole day was one of joy and gratitude. On our profession anniversaries we sing the Suscipe again surrounded by our community. The profession day is only the beginning of the privilege and joy of being a Benedictine nun.
I read that and feel so full of joy and excitement. There are several parts of the profession that just made me so emotional. 

"He has placed a sign upon my face that I may receive no lover but him." 
I just love this. The nun says this when she receives the black veil and I think it's just such an incredible symbolism. 

"I am espoused to him whom the angels serve; before his beauty the sun and moon stand in wonder."
Some don't like nuns being thought of as Brides of Christ but I personally love it. I cannot wait for Jesus to be my spouse. 

"Behold, what I longed for, I now see; what I hoped for, I now possess; I am united in heaven to him whom on earth I have loved with all my heart." 
This just sums it up perfectly I think. Everything I now long and hope for I will have. 

St. Anthony Mary Claret

Monday, 19 March 2012

Longing

About a month ago I posted this: 


Whenever I read about the religious life, watch videos of solemn professions I feel the deepest longing in my heart to lead that life. It is beyond any other passion or longing and I cannot even describe the feeling that takes over me. I find myself weeping, partly with joy, partly with longing and partly for the days I must wait until I can be fully and totally consecrated to my Beloved and be able to say to the whole world "I am a Bride of Christ, I belong fully and only to Him."


That hasn't changed. I think about applying, about entering, about living that life, about consecrating myself to God forever, and the joy is indescribable. I want it so badly. I'm just confused about what to do now. All I know is that when I think about entering religious life there is this longing in my heart that takes over me, I believe with every fibre of my being that it's my calling. I get scared and confused and worried but that longing overtakes all that. I was reading an article in the diocesan newspaper written by a then novice at St. Cecilia's (now the solemnly professed Sr Elizabeth) and I just get overwhelmed by the desire to be a part of them.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Sad News

A friend of mine passed away in an accident with her boyfriend two days ago. She was such a sweet, kind, wonderful person and her loss is so tragic. I just can't believe she's gone and I miss her. 


Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Updates

So I haven't been that great when it comes to posting here recently. I'm kind of in the middle of stuff at the moment, so I haven't really been blogging that much recently. Once all that is over though I'll go back to gifting you with my ineloquent posts.

Though on a more cheerful note, I've hit 3000 views!