I have to admit I am not a fan of politics, politicians, and the milieu they create. I am reminded of the famous quote from Obi Wan-Kenobi: “Mos Eisley spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” Ok, that might be a bit over the top, but it is a great quote … and if you don’t know who Obi Wan-Kenobi is … well, I can’t help you. Continue reading
At our parish in Tampa we have a Gift & Book Store. After shopping in the store, a parishioner sought out the pastor. “Father, your gift store has rosaries that were made by someone who didn’t know the rosary. Were they made in China?” The parishioner had noticed that some rosaries had seven decades of beads in contrast to the traditional five. It was not a mistake – those rosaries were called “Franciscan Crowns.”
The Franciscan Crown – The Franciscan Crown (or Seraphic Rosary) is a rosary consisting of seven decades in commemoration of the Seven Joys of the Virgin – a tradition of the middle ages:
- the Annunciation,
- the Visitation,
- the Nativity of Jesus,
- the Adoration of the Magi,
- the Finding in the Temple,
- the Resurrection of Jesus, and
- the Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin.
The Franciscan Crown has also been called the Franciscan Rosary, the Seraphic Rosary or the Rosary of the Seven Joys of Our Lady.
History of the Crown – The Franciscan historian, Father Luke Wadding (1588-1657) dates the origin of the Franciscan Crown to the year 1422. In 1442 an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary took place in Assisi, to a Franciscan novice named James. As a child, he had the custom of offering daily the Virgin Mary a crown of roses. When he entered the Friars Minor, he became distressed that he would no longer be able to offer this gift. The Blessed Virgin appeared to him to give him comfort and showed him another daily offering that he might do: to pray every day seven decades of Hail Mary prayers, meditating between each decade on one of the seven joys that she had experienced in her life. Friar James began this devotion, but one day the Director of Novices saw him praying and an angel with him who was weaving a crown of roses, placing a lily of gold between each of the ten roses. When the novice had finished praying, the angel placed the crown upon him. The Director asked Friar James what this vision meant. After hearing the explanation, he told the other friars and soon this devotion spread throughout the Franciscan family.
How to Pray the Franciscan Crown Rosary: The Franciscan Crown Rosary begins quite simply by stating the first Joy and then praying one Our Father and ten Hail Mary’s while meditating upon it. This same procedure is then followed for the other six Joys. It is common practice to add the Glory Be at the end of each decade. It is customary to finish by adding two Hail Mary’s in honor of the 72 years that Our Lady is said to have lived on earth, and one Our Father and Hail Mary for the intentions of the Pope.
Prayers with beads like the rosary may have begun as a practice by the laity to imitate the Christian monasticism of the Liturgy of the Hours, during the course of which the monks prayed the 150 Psalms daily. As many of the laity and even lay monastics could not read, they substituted 150 repetitions of the Our Father for the Psalms, sometimes using a cord with knots on it to keep an accurate count. During the middle ages, evidence suggests that both the Our Father and the Hail Mary were recited with prayer beads. Continue reading
This morning’s email brought the news that the World Health Organization (WHO) approved the first vaccination for malaria. The vaccine, called Mosquirix, is not just a first for malaria — it is the first developed for any parasitic disease. Parasites are much more complex than viruses or bacteria, and the quest for a malaria vaccine has been underway for a hundred years. In this age of the covid-19 pandemic we are used to hearing vaccine efficacy of 95% plus. The malaria vaccine’s efficacy is only about 50% across all malaria pathogens, but that is a start. The vaccine targets plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest of five malaria pathogens and the most prevalent in Africa. Continue reading
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through (the) eye of (a) needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” (Mark 10:23-27)
Before we address the question of wealth, the larger question is really “Who can be saved?” Continue reading
This coming Sunday is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time in Cycle B of the Lectionary. It is a familiar story as Jesus is asked by a rich young man. “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?…Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to (the) poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” (Mark 10:17, 21-22) Continue reading