Saturday, June 28, 2008

What do You Think?

Is this prayer a pious devotional, or piously over-devotional?

I found this prayer in an old prayer book that I have and really liked it. But as I typed it up for a project I am doing, I got the feeling that it was a little over-the-top. That may be because as I typed it word for word, each word sunk in one by one instead of taken as a whole. So after you read it, please tell me your opinion.

Prayers or Litany for a Happy Death

O Lord Jesus, God of goodness, and Father of mercies, I draw nigh to Thee with a contrite and humble heart; to Thee do I recommend the last hour of my life, and that judgement which awaits me afterwards.
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my feet, benumbed with death, shall admonish me that my course in this life is drawing to an end,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my hands, cold and trembling, shall no longer be able to clasp the crucifix, and shall let it fall against my will on my bed of suffering,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my eyes, dim with rouble at the approach of death, shall fix themselves on Thee, my last and only support,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my lips, cold and trembling, shall pronounce for the last time Thy adorable name,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my face, pale and livid, shall inspire the beholders with pity and dismay; when my hair, bathed in the sweat of death and stiffening on my head, shall foreboded my approaching end,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my ears, soon to be forever shut to the discourse of men, shall be opened to that irrevocable decree which is to fix my doom for all eternity,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my imagination, agitated by dreadful specters, shall be sunk in an abyss of anguish; when my soul, affrighted with the sight of my iniquities and the terrors of Thy judgment, shall have to fight against the angel of darkness, who will endeavor to conceal from my eyes Thy mercies and to plunge me into despair,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my poor heart, oppressed with suffering and exhausted by its continual struggles with the enemies of its salvation shall feel the pangs of death,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When the last tear, the forerunner of my dissolution, shall drop from my eyes, receive it as a sacrifice of expiation for my sins; grant that I may expire the victim of penance; and then in that dreadful moment,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my friends and relations, encircling my bed, shall be moved with compassion for me, and invoke Thy clemency in my behalf,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When I shall have lost the use of my senses, when the world shall have vanished from my sight, when my agonizing soul shall feel the sorrows of death,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my last sighs shall force my soul to issue from my body, accept them as the children of a loving impatience come to Thee,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When my soul, trembling on my lips, shall bid adieu to the world and leave my body lifeless, pale and cold, receive this separation as a homage which I willingly pay to Thy Divine Majesty, and in that last moment of my mortal life,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.
When at length my soul, admitted to Thy presence, shall first behold the splendor of Thy Majesty, reject me not, but receive me into Thy bosom, where I may forever sing Thy praises, and in that moment when eternity shall begin to me,
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

Let us pray. O God, who has doomed all men to die, but hast concealed from all the hour of their death, grant that I may pass my days in the practice of holiness and justice, and that I may be made worthy to quit this world in the peace of a good conscience, and in the embrace of Thy love; support me in that my last hour, in the strong arms of Thy sacraments and by the fresh fragrance of Thy consolations.
Let Thy absolving words be said over me, and the holy oil sign and seal me, and let Thine own Body be my food, and Thy Blood my sprinkling; and let sweet Mary breathe on me, and my angel whisper peace to me, and Thy glorious saints and my own dear patron, smile on me, that in them all and through them all I may die, as I desire to live, in Thy faith, in Thy Church, and in Thy love. Amen. My Jesus, mercy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Waking Rose: The Exception to Catholic Fiction

When it comes to Catholic fiction it is hard for me not to view it with contempt and distaste. I would much prefer to read secular fiction with Catholic undertones, such as Brideshead Revisited, than some overtly-in-your-face-Catholic novel. I read Pierced by a Sword and didn't care for it, but I gave the author the benefit of the doubt and read the next book by him. That one was just as bad. Then I read Father Elijah and hated it. Again, I gave the author the benefit of the doubt and read one of his other books. I hated that as well. Thus sealed my opinion of Catholic fiction forever. Or so I thought.

While I was visiting my in-laws, many of them were excitedly talking about Regina Doman's newest books, Waking Rose and The Midnight Dancers. I was already familiar with Doman's children's book Angel in the Waters and I had read articles on her blog occasionally as well. I decided to see what the fuss was about and take the risk of reading more bad fiction.

Except that Waking Rose wasn't bad. It was well written* and the plot was enjoyable. It was definitely a Catholic novel, but the Catholicity was not a turn-off the way it was in the other Catholic novels I have read. Perhaps it was because it was mentioned more in the context of being part of the characters' lifestyle rather than in the context of trying to preach Catholicism to the readers. Maybe one could say that this is an overtly Catholic novel, but not an overtly-in-your-face-Catholic novel. Does all this make sense? I have a feeling that I am not articulating my position very well.

Doman took the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty and turned it into a modern story. Everything that happens in the story is possible (although not always probable) which I think is better than if she had written a modern fairytale with a real witch casting a magical spell. After reading this I want to read her other "Fairytale retold" stories as well, which are also billed as "Catholic fiction."

I do think I should add that this is definitely not a children's book. There are many adult themes in the book which would be too intense for children to understand, and it would be disturbing for them if they did happen to understand. But since it is a Catholic novel, any immorality or sinfulness found in the story line is written about with a proper Catholic perspective.

*I am not a very good judge of whether a book is well written or not, so this doesn't mean much. What it does mean, however, is that it is much better written than the other Catholic novels I have read.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We're Back

We made it home safely from our trip to my in-laws. It was very nice to see everyone again. We hadn't seen most of them in two or more years; some of them had changed and some of them looked just the same.

Happy Boy had a blast playing with all his cousins and running around outside several times a day. The only problem was that the cousins all knew each other, but didn't know him. They kept calling him, "That Boy" because they didn't remember his name. Also, they tended to want to play with the children they already knew so he was used as a last resort.

I was able to read five books while I was there, which was quite a treat since it is very difficult for me to read here without distraction. One of the books I read was Endless Night by Agatha Christie. That story was written differently from her others I have read, and had a masterful twist towards the end.

We had an added pleasure of being able to see my brother. The last time we saw him was in 2005 and before that was at our wedding. He happened to be driving across the country and drove through a city about 90 minutes away while we were there. We were able to coordinate things so that we could drive down and visit with him for an hour or so.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Tomorrow we are leaving to visit some relatives. Happy Boy packed his suitcase with everything he thinks he will need. I might need to repack it with a few other essentials. ;)

We haven't traveled in two years, so I am wondering what it will be like with two children. When I told Happy Boy we were going to fly in an airplane, he was adamant that he could not fly. He seemed distressed that I was telling him we were going to fly through the sky. Then I told him that we weren't going to fly until after he had gone to sleep and awakened again. He came up to me this afternoon at about four telling me it was time for him to go to bed. I guess he wants to fly after all.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Library Book Sale

This morning I went down to the library used book sale to see if they had any good finds. This is the first year that I went without my husband, but we decided that it would be too much trouble watching two energetic ambulatory children. Since I enjoy this sort of thing more than he does, he disappointedly stayed home.

Every time I go to a used book sale I look for certain children's books that are recommended in various book lists. Sometimes I am lucky and sometimes not, but I am often surprised at what out of print books I am able to find from those lists.

Today I was able two find two out of print books from the Christmas Mosaic list. I also found The Annotated Hobbit, which I didn't know existed but was excited about once I did learn of its existence. Happy Boy is thrilled with the various children's books I cam home with and my husband is pleased because I was able to find a couple of Loeb Classics Latin books for him. I am pretty pleased with the loot I brought home.

One thing that annoys me though, is the way the library prices books. They charge two dollars for hardbound and "softcover" books. I don't mind paying that for the hardcover, but the softcovers can be anything from an extra fat cheap paperback to a fancy glossy coffee table book. I understand that they are trying to raise money for the library, but I wish they could define "softcover" a little better. I don't mind paying two dollars for a quality softcover, but to pay that much for a 700 page forty year old paperback by Sigrid Undset which is so poorly bound it will probably fall apart before I have finished it is a little irritating. I know, I know, you are thinking that if it bothers me so much, then just don't get the book. Well, I didn't. So there. ;)