St Rita

Saint Rita’s feast is celebrated on May 22 in the universal church.

Saint Rita is a patron for many women, including women enduring hardships of marriage, motherhood, domestic violence and more. She lived her life always praying and finding hope in God for many of the challenges she faced. 

Rita was born in the year 1381 in the village of Roccaporena, near Cascia, Italy. From a young age she was drawn to the Augustinian nuns in Cascia although her parents had arranged for her to marry. In obedience to them she was married and spent 18 years in a challenging marriage, as her husband was cruel and harsh, often becoming abusive towards her. Through faith and constant prayer, Rita was able to convert her husband into a better person.  Her husband’s family was one of the two Aristocratic families in the 14th century and consequently her husband was murdered by the opposing family. Rita feared that her sons would seek revenge, she tried hard to guide them and was unable to convince them, so she prayed to save their soul and that God would take her sons before they committed any sin, her sons fell sick and died before committing any crime. 

After the deaths of her husband and sons, Rita sought to enter the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene in Cascia but was turned away as the nuns were afraid of being associated with the family feud that had her husband murdered. Rita prayed and was persistent until she was permitted to enter the Augustinian monastery. She lived a prayerful life in the monastery and strongly desired to suffer with Christ. At age sixty, while praying before the crucifix she received a visible wound on her forehead. She bore this suffering with Christ for the next fifteen years and offered up her pain for others. The last four years of her life, she was confined to her bed, a relative from her hometown visited Rita and when asked what she desired, she only requested a single rose from her parents’ garden. Although, the roses were not in bloom in January, the woman returned to find one single rose in the garden and brought it back to Rita who was grateful. Henceforth, Saint Rita became associated with roses and impossible causes. 

Novena-to-Saint-Rita

Rita died peacefully at age seventy-six on May 22, 1457. She lived a difficult life but remained hopeful in the Lord. Rita prayed and had faith in God.

We pray that Saint Rita will intercede for all those suffering hardships in their lives, may they find comfort in the Lord. 

In our life we may come across people who are suffering, one common Christian response to them is to endure the suffering like the saints did. While we must all strive to be like the saints, they are from a different time. Rita endured her suffering as she had no other means to find help and the society she lived in did not have the sufficient support she would have needed to deal with family violence. As Christians we are called to help those who are most vulnerable within the community. No one should remain in their struggle when in our modern society we have so many resources to help. 

In Australia there are many services ready to help

1800RESPECT

1800 737 732 is a 24 hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk.

Christina Maksisi

Saint Timothy and Mora – May 3

Saint Timothy and Mora, a married couple who suffered persecution for their faith.

Timothy, a deacon from Upper Egypt was charged with possession of Christian books, the emperor ordered to be confiscated and burned. Timothy was tortured and this resulted in his loss of his eyesight. Timothy gave thanks to God for the torture and remained faithful. His wife Mora was also brought in and to be tortured. Mora also endured the suffering with joy and also thanked God. Seeing the great faith the couple had, the governor Arian ordered them both to be crucified. They hung on crosses facing one another for ten days.

Saint Moura is well venerated in the Maronite Church. Several churches have been dedicated to the Martyr in Lebanon, including a monastery in Ehden. It is in this monastery that the Lebanese Maronite Order was founded in 1694 by three Maronite young men from Aleppo, Syria under the patronage of Patriarch Estephan El Douaihy.

On this feast, we pray for married couples, may their union be strengthened by your love. Guide them in their struggles and protect them from things that may divide their marriage. Bringing them together in your name, may Saint Timothy and Mora be an example of a good Christian marriage, trusting one another in even the toughest trials they face.

Christina Maksisi

The Way of the Cross – LivingMaronite

The Way of the Cross (sometimes referred to as Stations of the Cross) is a form of meditative prayer which is often said on Fridays in Lent. It is a reflection on Christ’s way on the road to the Cross of Salvation. It is a great way to pray with your family and Parish and remember Christ’s suffering for us.

At the link, see a specialised LivingMaronite copy of The Way of the Cross for you to pray and meditate to. You can download it or view it below.

[Hymn tunes coming soon]

Way of the Cross

The thirst is real

The topic I have for us this week is ‘Being Thirsty to the Word of God’, and yes, the thirst is very real. 

Everyone, no matter who you come across is thirsty for something that seems to be unquenchable. I don’t mean the type of thirst you feel when you’re done with your 12 sets after leg day, the type where you’re scrolling through insta and see bae’s beach day post or the thirst to keep that iPhone updated with every release. 

I mean the type of thirst you feel when you want the truth. The truth of Christ, the words that God spoke when on earth. We weren’t there when Jesus came down to earth. We didn’t camp out with him and his mates having a fish and bread BBQ. We didn’t get to travel around and witness him roasting pharisees and performing mind boggling miracles. 

It’s hard for us. How do we know what we’re doing now is right? Is whatever we are doing what God wanted? We are always asking these questions because we’re thirsty for that deeper connection, that deeper understanding of God. 

One thing you can do is quite obvious. Go to mass. Seriously. Go in (not late, make some effort) and actually concentrate on the words in the liturgy. One of the liturgies have this sentence in it: ‘Living without you is death, and dying with you is eternal life’…. someone upload that to Pinterest right now. (heart eyes emoji). Our Maronite Liturgy is such a tall glass of water for us. Our chants and hymns, if engaged in properly will get you on some great vibes. What I mean by ‘engaged in properly’ is by us singing it, understanding the words and learning the tunes here. Thank you for such a great resource, Fr Geoffrey Abdallah. These hymns have been carried through the ages to us today. They connect us right to the start of our Maronite Faith. 

Another way to quench your thirst is to read the bible. WARNING – start with the New Testament and go slow. Don’t rush it, you will have to google some parables. You will be surprised as to how much it actually relates to us today. There are parts that make you think to no end and that is exactly what God designed it to do. It forces you to look deep inside of yourself and ask ‘Wait, I do that.. Jesus just said that’s wrong…’. This helps you understand what God wants from us. It also helps you understand Christ and what he went through. Your questions and answers in searching for the truth lie in the pages of the New Testament. There are so many records of Jesus saying that he can quench our thirst with something more than earthly water. It takes faith and a trusting heart.

Prayer is also something that quenches that thirst too. If you don’t know how, feel free to join rosary sessions at church. They have booklets for you to follow along to so you’re not out there like a roo in headlights. If you aren’t confident yet, just go solo, with our guide here, find a quiet spot and either pray it or just talk to God. If you’re expecting someone to whisper an answer in your ear, it’s not going to happen, unless your little sibling is hiding there trolling you. Sometimes God gives us an answer 1 hour or 1 year later. Sometimes it never comes. If it doesn’t come then God never wanted you to have that Shadow Black 2019 Ford Mustang. Maybe God wanted you to go on a pilgrimage to Israel instead, to walk where God walked. (Life changing trip by the way). Another form of prayer is the Jesus prayer. This is a very ancient prayer from the East where you focus on saying just 1 sentence: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’. Fr Yuhanna Azize did a talk on this prayer. It is lengthy so sit back and relax. Get rid of the naughty siblings or invite them to listen too.

You can take it a step further and study theology. Study can get you far, it’s true, but don’t forget that there are many holy people who didn’t need to be ‘smart’, witty or book savvy to be saints. Many reached sainthood through simplicity and works. 

So maybe God wants you to truly quench that thirst by getting to know Christ more rather than getting to know things that distance you from God. See Sr Margaret’s short excerpt on things that distance us. Our thirst won’t be quenched until we meet God. But we can have those sips that lessen the thirst. Go to mass, pray and read some good books. St Ephrem’s ‘Hymns on Paradise’ is a perfect book to start with. Happy sipping. 

– Emily Dib

Week 7 – The Birth of Our Lord

The liturgical week’s leading up to Christmas in the Maronite Church contain a series of events. Those events are also foretold in the Old Testament. In this sixth episode of our podcasts we hear the Maronite hymns which explain the Genealogy of Jesus, the Old Testament prophesies, the Gospel for the Genealogy and a short reflection.

Narrator: Theresa Simon
Chantors: St Raymond Choir Auburn Australia. Special thanks to Fr Sam Wehbe, Joseph Wehbe and Rebecca Mansour

Week 6 – The Genealogy of Jesus

The liturgical week’s leading up to Christmas in the Maronite Church contain a series of events. Those events are also foretold in the Old Testament. In this sixth episode of our podcasts we hear the Maronite hymns which explain the Genealogy of Jesus, the Old Testament prophesies, the Gospel for the Genealogy and a short reflection.

Narrator: Theresa Simon
Chantors: St Raymond Choir Auburn Australia. Special thanks to Fr Sam Wehbe, Joseph Wehbe and Rebecca Mansour

 

Christmas Novena Day 9

The Maronite Christmas Novena, begins on 15 December and is nine consecutive days of prayer. It is a wonderful way of preparing ourselves for the birth of our Lord.

The Novena is designed to be prayed as a Parish community and includes incensing of the Blessed Sacrament, prayers, Syriac hymns and ends with Benediction of the blessed sacrament.

However, we have adapted a version on this podcast for families who can’t make it to a Church to participate at home for 9 days. It follows the inter-eparchial English format below and only requires 15 minutes per day. The text can be found at the link below and of course the podcast can’t include the benediction.

Christmas Novena Lyrics

A blessed Christmas to you all.

Christmas Novena Day 8

The Maronite Christmas Novena, begins on 15 December and is nine consecutive days of prayer. It is a wonderful way of preparing ourselves for the birth of our Lord.

The Novena is designed to be prayed as a Parish community and includes incensing of the Blessed Sacrament, prayers, Syriac hymns and ends with Benediction of the blessed sacrament.

However, we have adapted a version on this podcast for families who can’t make it to a Church to participate at home for 9 days. It follows the inter-eparchial English format below and only requires 15 minutes per day. The text can be found at the link below and of course the podcast can’t include the benediction.

Christmas Novena Lyrics

A blessed Christmas to you all.

Christmas Novena Day 7

The Maronite Christmas Novena, begins on 15 December and is nine consecutive days of prayer. It is a wonderful way of preparing ourselves for the birth of our Lord.

The Novena is designed to be prayed as a Parish community and includes incensing of the Blessed Sacrament, prayers, Syriac hymns and ends with Benediction of the blessed sacrament.

However, we have adapted a version on this podcast for families who can’t make it to a Church to participate at home for 9 days. It follows the inter-eparchial English format below and only requires 15 minutes per day. The text can be found at the link below and of course the podcast can’t include the benediction.

Christmas Novena Lyrics

A blessed Christmas to you all.