Eric Clapton & Pavarotti Blow Down Doors for Mary

‘Christian Rock’ is a genre of music I typically avoid. Aside from the term alone having a strong stench of cheesy American protestantism, the music typically flat out sucks. As a true lover of all kinds of music, especially rock, I typically state that ‘Christian rock’ doesn’t make Christianity better, it makes rock worse.

However, when authentic Christian themes are built into fantastic instrumentals, led by extremely talented musicians (let alone a guitar god), the results can be stunning on both the musical and spiritual level.

Dr. Taylor Marshall posted today on Eric Clapton and The Princess Bride. He included a video of a live performance of Clapton’s Marian ballad “Holy Mother”. Sitting in was opera legend Luciano Pavarotti. The combination of Clapton’s confident swagger on guitar with Pavarotti’s powerful vocals isn’t to be missed. As the song leaves the typically composed lyrical section, Clapton takes the lead by lacing the vocal refrain of Pavarotti with some stunning guitar work. Check it out:

Another great song to check out is “Presence of the Lord” with Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood (not to mention Derrick Trucks, a personal favorite). Halfway through the song, the composition changes tempo from a slower ballad to a heavy blues-rock jam, with Clapton laying on the wah pedal, highlighting his darting leads before mellowing back into its ballad format. What a great way to start the week, enjoy!

Praying With Your Spouse

How many of you enjoy being with your spouse? I know I cherish the moments I can do anything from the extravagant to the mundane with my wife. There’s something that can be said for just being in the same physical proximity to your spouse when you’re doing a task. Maybe we want a partner at the grocery store for no reason. Maybe we want someone to talk to when we’re cooking in the kitchen. Maybe it’s that our connected souls, joined through marriage, enjoy it when our bodies are close too.

What about when the two souls want more than just physical closeness (as described above) or intimacy (you know what I’m talking about **winks**)? What about spiritual closeness? We all know it’s good to pray for your spouse. But how many of you pray with your spouse?

“Family prayer has its own characteristic qualities. It is prayer offered in common, husband and wife together, parents and children together. Communion in prayer is both a consequence of and a requirement for the communion bestowed by the sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony.”

-Pope Saint John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio

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My Favorite Lessons from ‘The Secret of Mary’

The Secret of Mary was written around 1700 by Saint Louis de Montfort, a Priest known for his particular devotion to Our Lady. The Secret of Mary is very accessible despite being written nearly 400 years ago. It is an outlined dissertation on the importance of Mary in God’s plan along with step-by-step ways to better unite your heart to hers through prayer and good works. The description on the back of the booklet might better explain what St. Montfort does with this famous text:

In this short and beautiful work, Fr. de Montfort profoundly and elegantly explains the role of Our Lady in the life of all of those who recognize in their hearts the call to holiness that gives rise to the desire for an intense and authentic living of the Christian life.

The booklet is indeed short (and beautiful); it is only about five inches tall, three inches wide and 89 pages long. It can be read in one very short sitting even. The pages are broken into two main parts: The Secret of Mary and Consecration to Jesus Through Mary. I’m simply going to share some of my favorite passages from the first part for people who might have never been exposed to this great writer that so influenced so many popes (and future saints) such as Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius X, Pope Pius XII (“the Marian Pope”), and St. Pope John Paul II. St JPII said of Montfort’s work, “I understood that I could not exclude the Lord’s Mother from my life without neglecting the will of God-Trinity”.

Click the image to purchase on Amazon for under $6! (Other versions can be found for as low as a dollar even).

Each paragraph in the booklet is numbered and I will cite the paragraph number that contains the line I am quoting.

Part I
The Secret of Mary

11. As in the order of nature, a child must have a father and a mother, so likewise in the order of grace, a true child of the Church must have God for his Father and Mary for his Mother.

14. St. Augustine even says that during their present life all the elect are hidden in Mary’s womb and that they are not truly born until the Blessed Mother brings them forth to life eternal. Consequently, just as the child draws all its nourishment from the mother, who gives it in proportion to the child’s weakness, in like manner do the elect draw all their spiritual nourishment and strength from Mary.

21. Let us not imagine, then, as some do who are misled by erroneous teachings, tha tMary, being a creature, is a hindrance to our union with the Creator. 

22. This does not mean that he who has found Mary by a true devotion will be exempt from crosses and suffering. Far from it; he is more besieged by them than others are[.] But along with their crosses she also imparts the grace to carry them patiently and even cheerfully[.]

24. There are several true devotions to Our Lady:

25. [F]ulfilling our Christian duties, avoiding mortal sin, acting more out of love than fear, praying to Our Lady.

26. [E]ntertaining for Our Lady more perfect feelings of esteem and love, of confidence and veneration. It leads us to [pray the] Holy Rosary[,] to honor Mary’s images and altars[.]

29. We should choose a special feast-day on which we give, consecrate and sacrifice to Mary voluntarily, lovingly and without constraint, entirely and without reserve: our body and soul, our exterior property[;] and also our interior and spiritual possessions[.]

30. We leave to her disposal all […] our good works, so that after we have made the sacrifice of them […] we are no longer the masters of any good works we may do; but Our Lady may apply them, sometimes for the relief or the deliverance of a soul in Purgatory, sometimes for the conversion of a poor sinner, etc.

35To give ourselves to Jesus through Mary is to imitate God the Father, Who has given us His Son only through Mary, and Who communicates to us His grace only through Mary.

36. To go to Jesus through Mary is truly to honor Jesus Christ, for it denotes that we do not esteem ourselves worthy of approaching His infinite holiness directly by ourselves because of our sins; that we need Mary, His holy Mother, to be our advocate and Mediatrix with Him, our Mediator.

39. [T]o give oursleves thus to Our Lady is to practice charity towards our neighbor in the highest possible degree.

40. (Quoting St. Benedict) When you follow Mary, you will not go astray; when you pray to her, you will not despair; when you think of her, you will not err; when she sustains you, you will not fall; when she protects you, you will not fear; when she leads you, you will not become tired; when she favors you, you will arrive safely.

46. [W]e must place ourselves as instruments in the hands of Mary that she may act in us and do with us and for us whatever she pleases, for the greater glory of her Son, and through the Son, for the glory of the Father[.]

47. She will be […] the oratory of our soul, in which we offer up all our prayers to God, without fear of not being heard; she will be a Tower of David, in which we take refuge from all our enemies; a burning lamp to enlighten our interior and to inflame us with divine love[.]

49. In everything we do we must renounce our self-love, because very often self-love sets itself up in an imperceptible manner as the end of our actions.

50. Beware of believing that it is more perfect to go straight to Jesus, straight to God. [I]f you to to God through Mary, y our work will be Mary’s work, and consequently it will be sublime and most worthy of God.

56. [S]he produces in the soul wherein she dwells, purity of heart and body, purity of intention and of purpose and fruitfulness in good works.

Now buy the book yourself and read it in 15 minutes!

St Montfort, PRAY FOR US!

St. Louis de Montfort
St. Louis de Montfort

Avoiding ‘Just Going Through the Motions’ – Part 1: Daily Catholic Life

“There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”

-Venerable Fulton Sheen

Fulton Sheen is correct in the oft-quoted statement above. Lack of understanding damages the Church’s image with non-Catholics. This lack of understanding is due to our own lack of understanding though. If less Catholics joylessly ‘went through the motions’ in their daily life, our Christian brothers and sisters would have more people to answer their questions and provide more witness to positive examples of Catholic life.

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