Patrons and Devotions

Divine Mercy (painting by Kazimirowski - the first version)
Divine Mercy (painting by Kazimirowski - the first version)

The Divine Mercy
As you can see from the background image on this blog, my primary personal devotion is to the Divine Mercy of Our Blessed Lord as privately revealed by Jesus to St. Faustina Kawolska between 1931 and 1938. The image or icon of the Divine Mercy was commissioned by St. Faustina at the request of Our Blessed Lord so that it may “venerated, first in the Sisters’ chapel, and then throughout the world” (thedivinemercy.org). However, before the icon came the Chaplet of Divine Mercy of which the icon is a tool for the faithful. 

This Chaplet can be prayed daily (Christ stated the best time is at 3pm, especially before Him in the Blessed Sacrament) and/or part of a novena, usually started nine days prior to Divine Mercy Sunday. It was on that Sunday that I became particularly aware of this devotion. 

I was a two-week detail for my employer at their field office in New Orleans and heard about this on the radio prior to flying down. Once there, I found that the Archbishop of New Orleans was going to celebrate Mass that Sunday at the downtown parish of St. Joseph and bless Divine Mercy images, I made it a goal to attend. That was perhaps the most moving experience at church I had ever experienced. And from then on, His Divine Mercy is what I hang on to and hope to share with all I come in contact with.

Saint Joseph with the Infant Jesus, Guido Reni (c. 1635)
Saint Joseph with the Infant Jesus, Guido Reni (c. 1635)

Patron of Fathers
A man always needs a mentor. This is one thing that many outside (and some inside) the Church do not understand. Aside from living mentors such as dad or grandpa we often turn to sports figures, war heroes and spiritual directors. Catholics take it up a notch, seeking to imitate Christ, look for the intercession and example set forth by those who lived the Faith before them (meaning the person alive today). These people are most often called saints. 

Saints (derived from the word sanctus or holy) are those persons who find themselves in Heaven, living in the presence of God. Take not that I said living. You see, when we die it is our bodies that are separated from our souls which causes the flesh to become intimate but because our souls are immortal, we continue to live. And if we live in Christ, dying in a state of Grace – we are assured Heaven whether directly or through Purgatory. By the power of infallibility granted the Church by Jesus through the Holy Spirit, the bride of Christ (the New Israel) proclaims, or better stated confirms, the existence of certain persons as being present before God. These are those we know as Saints or Blessed. 

As a father, I always need an earthly role model to guide and intercede for me on those particular issues. This is why Saint Joseph is the one whom I feel is the best person for me to consider my personal patron. God-willing, I will take the name Joseph as my confirmation name at the apportioned time. I do this not only to honor him who is the foster-father of Jesus but also to honor my father and brothers who are his namesakes.

"Mater Divinae Providentiae," by Scipione Pulzone
"Mater Divinae Providentiae," by Scipione Pulzone

Virgen de la Providencia
Many countries, especially in Latin America, have a special devotion to Our Blessed Mother. Such is the case for the country of my birth, Puerto Rico. (Debates on whether Puerto Rico can be considered its own country due to it being an U.S. territory can be left for another place and time.) The title of Our Lady of Divine Providence is given to Mary due to her particular relationship with God. Most prominent of these is Mary’s maternal role, she is theotokos or God-bearer – the Mother of God (the Son). The Blessed Virgin is also called the Daughter of the Father and Spouse of the Holy Spirit. All three of these terms are used to describe Our Lady’s relation to the Divine Providence of the Most Holy Trinity – three Persons, one Divine Nature.

Our Blessed Mother is someone who we should all look towards for she is the Most Perfect Creation of God being the first person saved by Christ and the first Christian.

St John the Baptist, Titian, 1542
St John the Baptist, Titian, 1542

Patron of Puerto Rico
The primary patron of Puerto Rico is Saint John the Baptist (San Juan is the capital). I am uncertain as to why he was selected to be the patron of Boriken but it is fitting. Puerto Rico was “discovered” by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage and has since been known as the gateway to the Caribbean or Indies. To me, John’s role as the herald of the Lamb is similar in nature. John’s preaching of repentance is, in essence, a gateway to Christ.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen by Greg Hildebrandt
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen by Greg Hildebrandt

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Fulton Sheen just plain rocks! As an avid listener to Catholic radio I could not avoid hearing the rebroadcasts of his talks. But it was after reading Life of Christ that I knew Bishop Sheen would play a pivotal role in my re-formation as a Catholic and my inspiration for blogging and evangelizing.

It is to Bishop Sheen that I look to for consistent and explanations of our Faith that are both simple yet rich with theology and love. Bishop Sheen was the first televangelist and was around before and after Vatican I, which means he was present when the culture of death was beginning to take a stranglehold on our great nation. 

Won’t you all join me in praying for his cause?

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