“Just for Today” Resolutions: the Daily Decalogue

Today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (formerly known as the Feast of the Circumcision), but throughout the world January 1 is better known as New Year’s Day. Many people prepare for the beginning of a new year by making a list of all the ways they will better themselves in the months to come: lose weight, give up smoking, take the dream vacation they’ve always wanted, earn a promotion, etc. Sometimes less …

Purge this land of bitter things

I was surprised and gratified to discover that this was to the opening hymn sung at Mass in my parish this Sunday: Judge eternal, throned in splendor, Lord of lords and King of kings, with the living fire of judgment purge this land of bitter things; solace all its wide dominion with the healing of thy wings. Still the weary folk are pining for the hour that brings release, and the city’s crowded clangor cries aloud …

Glory Be to God in small things

A few years ago, I began taking walks for my health. I walked slowly, because I wasn’t capable of any speed and, at any rate, I was in no hurry to get anywhere. These walks take me along the shore of the lake where I live, through meadows that form a greenbelt just above the retaining wall installed by the county to keep our suburban condos from falling into the reservoir. Fortune landed me in …

Laboring and resting: “On This Day, the First of Days”

Many years ago, a wise priest taught me that an excellent way to recollect myself before the beginning of Mass is to meditate on the texts of the hymns of the day. I have followed this practice now for decades and, provided the hymns are well-written and carefully selected, find it very helpful. (At Masses where the “hymns” are poorly written songs full of dubious theology, however, I find it better to ignore them altogether.) The …

Anima Christi

The Anima Christi is the prayer I recite silently on my way back to my seat after receiving Holy Communion at Mass. Sometimes I pray it in Latin, sometimes in English, and sometimes, if time permits, both. But I also like to meditate on it at other times — when I’m walking, driving, or otherwise have a stretch of time to pray without distraction. Anima Christi, sanctifica me. Corpus Christi, salva me. Sanguis Christi, inebria me. Aqua lateris Christi, lava me. Passio Christi, conforta me. O …