Day 4 of Saint Aloysius Novena (and my fun Italian family)

A.M.D.G.
J.M.J.
A.T.C.

Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in Aeternum! Amen.

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

I love stained glass images of Saint Aloysius

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary

Well, tonight was the night of the big Italian get together.  We usually have it either every year or every other year.  The purpose is for when some of my cousins come back to Michigan from California.  It’s amazing.  We meet at another cousin’s house (Italians have a lot of cousins) and we have lots of food, lots of conversations and catching up, and the tradition of doing toast shots to various persons and events sometimes accompanied by a family inside joke that must be said in Italian or it’s invalid and illicit.  I did not learn what it meant until another cousin’s wedding a couple years ago.  Part of me is kinda happy to finally be “in on it” but the other part of me is … what?  I won’t share it since it’s a family tradition that must be honored.  Needless to say that regardless of what vocation to which I am called, if there is ever a gathering to celebrate it: consecration, profession, wedding, or spinster shin-dig; it will be done … repeatedly and at the most random of times.

I did learn something tonight about myself though.

I like whisky (no, I am not an alchie … I have too many horrendous experiences with that to ever ever ever even contemplate going down that road).  Srsly.  One of my cousins (don’t even bother asking what degree of kindred) said I could pick between Crown Royal or Amaretto for my shots.  My grandfather/father/cousin said “You don’t want the girly stuff, Allie, go for the Crown Royal.”  Okay.  So he gives me this huge shot glass filled with Crown Royal.  I smell it.  Not bad.

Then my other cousin begins the whole schtick.  Much like the Mass there is a set way of doing it, “Say the black, do the red,” if you will.  After a few cheers, he shouts the Italian phrase the simultaneously makes me lol and shudder with awkward-ness … but it’s a good kind of awkward.

Bottoms up!

I down that sucker in a nanosecond.

Dang.  Not bad.  I felt really good going down my throat.

My mother looks at me with surprise.  “ALLISON!  You did that whole shot in one try?”

My father looks at her and says, “Ummmm, yeah.  She can take her whisky like the rest of them.  She did go to college you know!  160k spent on Theology and bar tabs … and she graduated with honors!”

My father can have this tendency to make it seem like I was a party animal in college.  I wasn’t.  My friends and I spent a lot of time hanging out at Mulligan’s, the bar within walking distance of campus.  NVM the fact that my friends and I used to flirt with the cute bartender to get less ice and more booze (mind you, I was usually attired in a t-shirt, hoodie, and a pair of jeans … we didn’t go the skanky way … we were college students through and through).  Five dollar Long Island Pitchers are better with less ice and more fire water.  Just sayin’.  Beside, it was a blast to watch Wings games there.  Drunk people watching hockey games can be entertaining.  When someone would request Lady Gaga or any of that other crap, the boo-ing and slurred commentary amused us.

Then when some of us (not usually me … I have a high tolerance … had a high tolerance) needed to sober up, we’d walk (some would stagger) over to Yesterdog, the hot dog place that was open until about three in the morning and where vandalizing the walls and tables was encouraged.  My name and “Teh Nun” are carved into the wooden wall somewhere there for all eternity.  It was college.  You do random things to get over the pain of over-synapsing brain cells.

I also have a funny story involving an “spirited” friend, TMI conversations, Yesterdog, and a Victoria’s Secret bag but I’ll spare you the details.  Needless to say that whenever my friends and I get together, we often use “VICTORIA’S SECRET BAG!!!!” instead of “CHEESE!” when taking pictures.  The smiles and hysterical laughter make them look more genuine.

VICTORIA'S SECRET BAG!

My friend on the left has successfully blocked out that memory. My other friend and I, not so much. I  love that dress.

Coming back to the original story …

My mother was all surprised that I could handle that. I was puzzled by why and then my father informed me that what I had just consumed was a rather sizable shot of whisky.

I thought I would not like whisky.  It’s actually not that bad.  Ha.

Well, then we decided that we needed to do another in honor of our dearly departed great-grandmother who was the matriarch of the family until she died.

Another shot of Crown. Just as big as the last one. My Italian family never chintzes on booze.  Never.  They always seem to give me a lot.  Am I more entertaining when I drink?  I typically have really random theological conversations and/or, if I have had enough, will start to sing the Latin Declension Song (my level of tipsy-ness is typically indicative of how far I get and how well I recite it).

Who am I kidding?  I sing this thing when sober too. It gets stuck in my head. Such a nerd.

Then the party goes on a bit longer sans shots until we decide that we need to honor Fathers’ Day!

Something of which I am totally in favor.

Another rather generous shot is given to me.  My mother is all “Dang, Allie.  Didn’t realize you could do this.”

I go, “Pssht, you should have seen college.  We’d get a round of tequila shots and then end it with some Dirty Girl Scouts.”  Why do drinks have such inappropriate namess?  lolz.

My mother: “I don’t think I want to know.”

“Yes, mother, I drank myself under the table as I wrote out twenty page Theology papers in Chicago style.  Totally what I did.”

We then do our traditional toast and then … bottoms up again!

Down that baby went.  Nice.

My mother is just surprised I could handle it.  It was amusing.  I am not that much of a lightweight.

Anywho …

Now that I have described to you a bit of my fun evening.  I think we can move onto day four of our Saint Aloysius Novena.

First, let’s pray the novena prayer:

O Holy Mary, my Mistress,
into thy blessed trust and special keeping,
into the bosom of thy tender mercy,
this day, everyday of my life and at the hour of my death,
I commend my soul and body;
to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life,
that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits,
all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son.
Amen.

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us!

Today, we are going to take a break from his biography and look at a litany dedicated to Good Saint Aloysius.  Needless to say that when I first found this online, I was beaten down with gids.  I actually have a few prayers to Saint Aloysius.  I will probably share those later on in this novena.

Let’s have a look at the novena:

The Litany of St. Aloysius Gonzaga

For Private Use Only.

Lord have mercy on us.
Christ have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.

Holy Mary,
pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins,
pray for us.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga,
pray for us.
Beloved child of Christ,
pray for us.
The delight of the Blessed Virgin, [There is a story that he received his vocation from Our Lady … more about that later]
pray for us.
Most chaste youth, Angelic youth, [Lord knows youth need that kind of a role model at this time and with the “role models” they are given by the culture.]
pray for us.
Most humble youth, [Aloysius teaches all of us the meaning of being humble before God and others.]
pray for us.
Model of young students, [He was devoted to his studies both in secular life and in religious life.]
pray for us.
Despiser of riches, [He doffed the wealth of the Marquisate for the poverty of religious life.]
pray for us.
Enemy of vanities, [He did not like wearing expensive and opulent clothes and would wear worn-out clothes when he was permitted.]
pray for us.
Scorner of honors, [He gave up the glory of being a powerful marquis and the potential glory that could come with being a ranking secular cleric.]
pray for us.
Honor of princes, [Aloysius taught what it meant to be rich in virtue and to show love for one’s neighbor.]
pray for us.
Jewel of the nobility, [He gave up the crown of passing temporal glory for the crown of eternal glory in Heaven.]
pray for us.
Flower of innocence, [He preserved his innocence in the midst of a decadent ad vicious court culture and world.]
pray for us.
Ornament of the religious state, [He desired to live his vocation to the best of his God-given ability.]
pray for us.
Mirror of mortification, [He is one who knew the true value and beauty of penance and self-denial.]
pray for us.
Mirror of perfect obedience, [He followed what his superiors (both secular and religious) even if it meant delaying his own personal desires since he took the desires of his superiors as the will of God.]
pray for us.
Lover of angelical poverty, [Having lived in a world of privilege and wealth, he embraced holy poverty as a way of imitating Christ Who emptied Himself of His heavenly glory and humbled Himself by being born of human estate.]
pray for us.
Most affectionately devout, [His piety was genuine.  Not a veneer.  His acts of charity were out of a genuine desire to do good for his neighbor.]
pray for us.
Most zealous observer of rules, [He was obedient to rules because he knew that no matter what, God’s will would be done.]
pray for us.
Most desirous of the salvation of souls, [He loved every person he encountered.  He treated all persons as Christ … even the poor and victims of the Plague.]
pray for us.
Perpetual adorer of the Holy Eucharist, [He knew that it was in the Real Presence that he would derive his strength and all the grace he needed to perservere in living a life of virtue totally in line with the will of God.  No matter what the cost to him.]
pray for us.
Particular client of Saint Ignatius, [Though he contemplated becoming a missionary, he decided that the Lord was calling him to serve Him and His Church as a Jesuit.]
pray for us.

Be merciful,
Spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful,
Hear us, O Lord.
From the concupiscence of the eyes, [They say he never looked a woman in the eyes for fear of impure/sinful thoughts.]
O Lord, deliver us.
From the concupiscence of the flesh, [He was extremely modest in his dress.  He did not like the costly extravagant clothes he sometimes had to wear.]
O Lord, deliver us.
From the pride of life, [He considered himself lowest of all though he was born into a very wealthy and powerful aristocratic family.]
O Lord, deliver us.
Through the merits and intercession of Saint Aloysius,
O Lord, deliver us.
Through his angelical purity,
O Lord, deliver us.
Through his sanctity and glory,
O Lord, deliver us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

V. Pray for us, Saint Aloysius,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray.

O God, giver of heavenly gifts, who in Saint Aloysius Gonzaga joined penitence to a wonderful innocence of life, grant through his merits and intercession, that, though we have failed to follow him in innocence, we may imitate him in penitence. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

I love litanies. My favorite being the Litany of Loreto (of the BVM) and then the Litany of Saints, and then the Litany of the Sacred Heart (Desire of the everlasting hills, what?). Some don’t like them because they find them rote and repetitive. These also tend to be the people who don’t like the Rosary because of the repetition.

What they don’t realize is that when we pray in this manner, we are unifying the mind and spirit and the body (if it’s recited aloud). It is then that we use our whole being to pray. I admit that praying a Rosary without an audio track (like my Seminary CD) can be very difficult but that’s just me. In the repeated responses/prayers, we allow ourselves to meditate on what those words mean be they the Hail Mary or the different phrases or titles to which we are responding.

Litanies allow us to learn in a succinct way, more about the focus of the litany. In the Litany of Loreto, we learn more about Our Lady and what makes her awesome. In the Litany of the Saints, we learn just a smattering of all the saints who are partaking the reward of their faithfulness in the glory of Heaven. In the Litany of the Sacred Heart, we learn the depth of Christ’s love for us and we are reminded of how He is the source of all good and virtue.

This Litany of Saint Aloysius teaches us about Aloysius. We learn about his heroic virtue and how he lived it. We learn about how he was always faithful to God. How he was a devoted son of Mary. How he was always open to the will of God even when it meant giving up wealth and power (something which he did not seem to mind). We learn about what makes him a saint. What makes him such a great role model for youth of today.

All right.  I am off to bed.  Mass in the morning and then Father’s Day dinner with family!

Happy Fathers’ Day to all fathers, godfathers, and spiritual fathers!

-Allie

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About Ms. Allie

I am a Catholic young woman who works as a Theology teacher at a Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of the Detroit. In Spring of 2015, I graduated with an MA in Theology with a concentration in Systematic Theology. My MA thesis was titled: "Mary as Woman of the Eucharist in the Theology of Pope Saint John Paul II." I also hold a BA in Theology (with a dabbling in Philosophy) and is a member of Theta Alpha Kappa (θΑΚ), the National Theology/Religious Studies Honor Society. Prayers are appreciated.
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