Monthly Archives: October 2013

“A Consecration Prayer/Poem to the Immaculate Heart of Mary”

Image

I actually post this with some amount of anxiety.  I do not often post poems.  I guess I think that most do not appreciate them or understand them–or worse yet, that it will simply not be very good.

Inspired by Pope Francis’s re-consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I was inspired to try writing one in verse form.  It seems to me that the most beautiful woman in the universe deserves a consecration that at least attempts at being beautiful itself.  The poem is meant to be prayed as a consecration or reconsecration to Mary (or sung if there is someone who has the gift of music and wants to find a tune for it–hint, hint….)

Each stanza roughly follows a certain concept/mystery that is vital to either consecration or devotion to Mary:  offering, renunciation, Annunciation, Visitation, reparation, conversion, the Wedding at Cana, and Crucifixion.  It is only a rough pattern, and I mention it just for the sake of interested parties who are curious about the theological structure of the poem.  Other theological concepts are, of course, woven throughout.  Thus, I testify as priest and teacher of the church that this poem contains the essential elements of consecration and may be used as authentic prayer.  If the prayer is somehow found lacking by legitimate authorities, I will humbly change or retract it.

The consecration is what I call a “Perfect Octave”–it consists of eight stanzas of eight lines apiece, and even each line has eight syllables (a few have nine and the following or preceding line has seven, still essentially completing the requirement of eight).  Theologically, keeping in mind that the world was created in seven days, “the eighth day” represents the new day of creation and rebirth that will be brought about when Jesus comes again–i.e., the final day, the 8th day.

Alas, but much of the poetry that I write is sad.  I have often used poetry as my primary medium for working through those emotions.  For many reasons–completing a dissertation being not the least of them–I really haven’t penned many prayers lately.  The following poem tries to make up for this injustice.  After praying for awhile in front of the Blessed Sacrament, a very gentle, feminine voice welled up in my soul:

Basil, I miss you.  And you owe me a poem.”

I began to cry.  What could I do?  Refuse?  Not likely.  I read the consecration prayers of Sts. Louis de Montfort and Maximilian Kolbe then read some devotionals of Margaret Mary and Blessed Pope John Paul the Great, and this prayer of my own poured forth.

I am a Knight of the Immaculata.  And I hope this prayer is worthy of her.  Whether or not it is inspired is not for me to judge, but to the hearts that hear it.

I am a Knight of the Immaculata.  And I hope this prayer is worthy of her.  Whether or not it is inspired is not for me to judge, but to the hearts that hear it.

Consecration to the Immaculata

by

Rev. Dr. Basil D. Burns

My lady, Mother of my heart

I offer you my nights and days,

My thoughts and deeds, my doubts and art,

The dreams I’ve sought, each joy and plight

I lay before your feet as flowers

Wilted, simple as they are

To be transformed by your meek power

Into armaments of war.

Echo heaven with my promise!

Tremble hell!  For one more soul

Has sworn to overthrow the darkness

By entering the bles’sed fold

Of she who will crush Satan’s head

For I renounce his pomp and lies

Entrusting to the one who bled

For me my heart as His sole prize.

What happened when angelic fire

Awoke the pure simplicity,

Placed in your womb by God’s desire

From heaven into history?

In your surrender became wife

Of God and Mother of the Lord–

So be it done unto my life

According to thy tender word.

A sword has pierced thy purest heart

So it may learn to tender be.

When we are burned and torn apart

We become tender just like thee–

The portal of the Eucharist,

Our sacrifice borne from your womb;

Immortal let me bear the kiss

That conceived God, then kissed his wounds.

For pain when blessed is holiness

And hurts harm not when full of grace.

“Alone” need not mean “loneliness”

When they are warmed by your embrace.

I offer to my Lady Sorrow

For the insults to thy Son

In reparation for all woe

My pain, that pain might be undone.

Immaculata, Queen of Mercy,

Make of me a temple pure

That in my heart the Majesty

Of Jesus Christ will reign secure.

Please take these gifts with your clean hands

I offer with mere words and art

From the altar that silent stands–

The shrine that is my broken heart.

My lady, I have no more wine.

I’ve drunk enough–the night’s far gone–

And there is precious little time

To unlearn this rough, bitter song

So I surrender to your word.

(You only sing what Jesus sings)

In whispers of the Spirit heard–

The duet with the King of Kings.

Help me to drink the bitter cup

Prepared for me in my dark hour.

Stand by me with your mother’s love!

Console me with your gentle pow’r!

I’ve roamed this valley dark for years–

An exile in my sin and grief.

John made a home for you in tears —

In joy, please make a home in me.

Rev. Dr. Basil D. Burns

Completed October 21, 2013

The 13th Anniversary of my Diaconate Vows

**Photo by Akiane Kramarik, an inspired child prodigy, when she was only 12 years old.  Please see:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ealRd0XJUq0

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Religious Liberty 2013!!

This gospel ends with one of the most convicting, chilling questions that Jesus Christ ever asks in Sacred Scripture:  “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”  And what is this parable about?  You know what?  I don’t have to tell you what this homily is about because St. Luke tells us flat out:  “Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.”  That’s a quote.  I’m not making it up.  And Jesus asks that question he asks like he’s really wondering whether or not he’s going to find real faith when he comes again.  What is real faith?  Real faith prays without ceasing.  Real faith suffers for what it believes.  Real faith defends itself when it comes under attack.  And in our time, we find our freedom to live a Christian life under attack.

 

This is the third of the 4th week that we speak about church social teaching, and this weekend concentrates on religious freedom.

 

What do we mean when we say the phrase, “Religious Freedom”?  I mean, if someone were to ask you the random question whether or not you supported religious freedom, the chances are you would say, “Yes.”  But what are we really talking about?  Does it mean simply the right to worship the way we want?  Or is it broader than this?  Does it mean that we should be free to create laws based on morality, or maybe it is the freedom to escape the shackles of religion so that we might do as we please?  I hope this last possibility sounds wrong to you, but that is precisely how modernists are defining the right to religious freedom.  For them, it isn’t the freedom to worship as we would like, it is rather the freedom to be free from religion. 

 

The Declaration of Independence declares that we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights–life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  The right to religious freedom was considered so important that it was simply understood that it was the first among rights.  It was the right that established life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  James Madison, one of the chief architects of the Founding, described religious freedom as “the most sacred of all property.”  Our nation was essentially established by Christians who did not want the government to interfere with which religion you decided to have.  The “Separation of Church and State”–which is not a principle found in the Declaration or the Constitution by the way–is meant to protect the various churches from harassment by the state.  But more and more, atheists and enemies of religion are pushing religion so much to the margins that they are redefining this “separation of church and state” to mean that the only right that religions have is to worship as they please:  “but we had better not see any evidence of your religion anywhere else or we will smash it.” 

 

(Following paragraph from an article):  During the signing of Texas’ “Merry Christmas Bill” just a couple of months ago, Gov. Rick Perry (R) made a rather shocking claim:  “Religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion,” Perry declared at the State Capitol building in Austin before signing HB 308, which allows public schools to display scenes and symbols of “traditional winter holidays.”  “People of faith too often feel they can’t express their faith publicly. And if they dare display it, they find themselves under attack from individuals and organizations that have nothing to do with them or their communities for that matter,” Perry continued, nodding toward a group of Kountze High School cheerleaders, who had come to show support after winning a landmark case where a state district judge allowed them to display Bible verses on banners during football games.  The new law, which will go into effect in Texas schools in September, allows schools to have religious displays as long as more than one religion is being represented (or there’s a secular symbol next to a display of one religion). The bill also allows teachers to say things like “Merry Christmas” and “Happy hannukah.”[1]

 

The problem is why making laws like this is even necessary.  Why is it possible for people to be fired for wishing somebody “Merry Christmas” during the holidays? 

 

Why is it that in Massachusetts, Catholic Charities was forced to stop finding adoptive homes for foster children because it could not place children with same-sex partners? 

 

Why is it that states have tried to strip pharmacists of their licenses because of the pharmacist’s religious obligation not to provide abortion-causing drugs? 

 

Why is it that in a vote of 8-3, The San Antonio city council just passed a law that bars from political office or employment anyone who holds the position that same-sex marriage is against God’s plan–really?  It was passed on the basis that the people who hold such views discriminate against gays.  At the same time, of course, this law completely discriminates against those who have traditional Christian views and it utterly violates religious freedom, making a very dangerous precedent for anyone holding those values. 

 

Why is it that certain religions are exempt from getting into Obamacare and mainstream Christians and Jews are not? Muslims, for example, believe that health insurance is ‘haraam,’ or forbidden; because they liken the ambiguity and probability of insurance to gambling. This belief excludes them from any of the requirements, mandates, or penalties set forth in the bill. Other excluded groups include Amish, Native Americans, and Christian Scientists.”[2]  If you are a Christian hospital or other institution who does not support abortion because You believe it is murder, you are still forced into Obamacare.  No exemption.  Really?  Really?

 

In the last five years, private Catholic schools (not public) in Quebec, Canada have been forbidden from teaching Catholic courses on religion and morality. Instead, they have been forced to teach the “secular” and “neutral” world religions course designed by the government. Parents and schools seeking exemption from the course based on religious freedom have brought their cases to the country’s highest court, but have consistently failed in their bid.  Quebec continues to go to great lengths to distance itself from its Catholic heritage, forcing its citizens to follow suit. Quebec has most recently proposed a controversial Charter of Values that would forbid public employees, from judges down to daycare workers, from wearing “overt and conspicuous” religious symbols.[3] Culturally, we are not far behind them, I’m afraid. 

 

My friends, I could cite you thousands of cases like these. It isn’t necessary.  But my God, we need to wake up.

 

The enemies of religion are, in the name of protecting their freedom, imposing their beliefs on me.  They have a religion too–their religion is atheism.  Did you know that atheism is really a religion when you think about it.  I mean, it takes faith to be an atheist.  Can they prove there is no God?  No, they can’t.  So they believe there is no God.  And they base their actions on a belief.  Well, that makes atheism a religion in my book.  A religion with no spirit.  And their religion is taking over this country.  They say that we cannot legislate morality or make laws based on Christian morality, so while they say that from one side of their mouth they make laws establishing THEIR religion with the other side of their mouth.  It should not be tolerated.  This trend should be fought with every means at our disposal. 

 

Some of you would rather not hear a homily about what seems to be a political topic.  Let me respond by saying that I wish to God that I weren’t giving this homily.  But what happens when it becomes illegal for me to say the things that I am saying now?  What would you think about this homily then?  The fact is that our government is making traditional Christian believers into second-class citizens, and from that spot, it will turn us criminals.  Then, I suppose it will be time to separate those who have faith from those who do not.  Catholicism once flourished, for example, in Ireland.  The Penal Laws, established first in the 1690s, assured the Church of England control of political, economic and religious life. The Mass, ordination of Catholic priests and the presence in Ireland of Catholic Bishops were all banned, although some did carry on secretly. Catholic schools were also banned, as were all voting franchises. Violent persecution also resulted, leading to the torture and execution of many Catholics, both clergy and laity.  In France—once considered the most Catholic country in the world and the defender of the faith–during the French Revolution the world looked on in horror as literally thousands of priests and nuns were dragged to the guillotine and beheaded.  Why?  Because they were Catholic.  The people who committed these acts were supposedly civilized, extremely educated people who were fighting for what?  Their motto was LIBERTY, EQUALITY, AND BROTHERHOOD.  Wow.  Really?  And the enemies of religion in our country are attacking religious freedom with virtually the same battle cry on their lips.

 

Our first reading and our gospel is about perseverance.  Constancy.  Patience in prayer.  The Older monks called this virtue by a name I think is beautiful:  LONGSUFFERING.  Despite the odds, we must continue going.  As a matter of fact, it is when we are at our lowest that faith must become our most important treasure, not number ten on the list of values.  Please get more involved in this issues.  And keep praying for our country.  If every single person in this room began offering up prayers and sacrifices to the Immaculate heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it could possibly tip the scales to the side of goodness.  I believe that.  I really do.

 

When I was praying to the Lord about my vocation, I did so for years.  I bothered him for so long that I eventually thought he wasn’t listening.  But all at once–on December 6, 1994, as a matter of fact–God “cashed in” all those prayers.  I think that this is the way God works.  If you have been praying for something for awhile, don’t expect God to work gradually.  He keeps all those prayers in a vault in Heaven, and pours them all out AT ONCE in a moment of grace that alters a life and puts you on a new plane, a new playing level.  So be patient with yourself.  Be patient with your petition.  Be patient in prayer for our country.

It takes some patience.  Some LONGSUFFERING as the old and wise monks once said.  “But when the son of man comes, will he find any faith left on earth“?  Let’s hope that He finds that light still burning in us….

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized