You long-time readers will know that when there is a hurricane or some natural phenomenon like storms that spawn tornadoes coming along I plead with bishops and priests to put on their gear and pray against the storms using the traditional Rituale Romanum. There are prayers that can be included in the Litany of Saints for the aversion of many ills.
For my own part, when I had a place deep in northern midwest farmland, there were tornado threats. Once, as I was watching on TV as one such storm was heading towards our area, the weather radar showed the direction but also the time that tornados could arrive superimposed on a map. I realized that something nasty was heading literally straight at me, exactly to where I was on that map. I put on my gear, went out on the porch facing the storm, and started up the prayers. When I went back inside, the weather man was saying something like, “This is really strange… I’ve never seen anything like this before. It looks like the storm split in two and is diverging in different directions.” True story.
Coincidence? I think not.
Today The Great Roman™ sent a story about bad flooding taking place in central Italy.
Bad weather in Abruzzo, the river overflows: the priest blesses it and stops the flood
Don Gaston of the church of San Salvatore di Silvi (Teramo) prayed on the Piomba bridge so that nature “would not bring devastation and death”. Many passers-by who stopped to join in the ritual.
Some of the comments under the story are, translated into American, are along the lines of “Maybe he could go to Congress? … He could do something about the Dems.”
VIDEO from Corriere. You can hear that the priest is praying IN LATIN.
Anyway, these are REALITIES we face. God has given us through the Church MIGHTY spiritual helps in times of material calamity. This is why we bless bells and have Rogation processions and hold FORTY HOURS DEVOTION.
I know that there are bishops out there, quite a lot of you, who read these pages.
Your Excellencies …
…when something is up, don’t do it by halves. Get out there in your gear with the real killer book, the old one, tried and true and JUST DO IT. You don’t have to make press statements. You don’t have to do it in public (though I think you should and so do all your faithful). JUST DO IT. Pray for your flock and use the very best. And we all know what the very best is. The traditional ways.
In 2020, that same priest don Gaston, went through the streets with a relic in COVID Theatre time. Facebook.
(“Don” is how you address a diocesan priest in Italy.)
This immediately reminded me of an episode from the life of St. Benedict. Relevantexcerptfrom Butler:
“St. Gregory relates a remarkable circumstance of the last [visit of St. Benedict to his sister St. Scholastica] Scholastica having passed the day as usual in singing psalms, and pious discourse, they sat down in the evening to take their refection. After it was over, Scholastica perhaps foreknowing it would be their last interview in this world, or at least desirous of some further spiritual improvement, was very urgent with her brother to delay his return till the next day, that they might entertain themselves till morning upon the happiness of the other life. St. Benedict, unwilling to transgress his rule, told her he could not pass a night out of his monastery: so desired her not to insist upon such a breach of monastic discipline. Scholastica, finding him resolved on going home, laying her hands joined upon the table and her head upon them, with many tears begged of Almighty God to interpose in her behalf. Her prayer was scarce ended, when there happened such a storm of rain, thunder, and lightning, that neither St. Benedict nor any of his companions could set a foot out of doors. He complained to his sister, saying: “God forgive you, sister; what have you done?” She answered: “I asked you a favor, and you refused it me: I asked it of Almighty God, and he has granted it me.” St. Benedict was therefore obliged to comply with her request, and they spent the night in conferences on pious subjects, chiefly on the felicity of the blessed, to which both most ardently aspired, and which she was shortly to enjoy. The next morning they parted, and three days after St. Scholastica died in her solitude. St. Benedict was then alone in contemplation on Mount Cassino, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he saw the soul of his sister ascending thither in the shape of a dove. Filled with joy at her happy passage, he gave thanks for it to God, and declared her death to his brethren; some of whom he sent to bring her corpse to his monastery, where he caused it to be laid in the tomb which he had prepared for himself.”
Okay, so it’s kind of the opposite thing, but still.
Our parish priest walked through every street in our parish’s territorial boundary during Covid times with the Blessed Sacrament several times.
And I have four blessed St Benedict medals at the four corners of my property and we have avoided things. Once a neighbor’s large tree fell and landed partially onto our property but did no damage at all, missing all important things. Such things are not coincidences.
I’ve had two similar instances.
One I was sitting in my apartment on a hot summer’s day minding my own business when out of nowhere it got really dark and really windy suddenly. The forecast hadn’t said anything about the possibility for a thunderstorm, but I checked my weather app. There was a tornado warning for my area of the city. I didn’t know what to do (no basement or underground parkade in my building), so I got out my pectoral crucifix full of first class relics and a piece of the Agnus Dei sacramental, got out my Pieta App that has a prayer for diverting storms, held up my crucifix, and with as much conviction as possible, held up my crucifix and recited that prayer. About 30 seconds after I finished, the wind calmed down completely and the sun came out. (A small tornado did touchdown in a field outside the city, but there was no damage).
Another time was out camping with my friend and all it did was pour. We had to cook on the fire so our weekend consisted of reciting the aforementioned prayer before every meal so that the rain would stop long enough for us to start a fire, cook, eat, clean up, and get back in the tent before the rain started again. Worked like clockwork.
At one Fraternity parish, the “Wettersegen” which is essentially an excorcism for protection from lightening, hail and storms, for calm in the heavens and to destroy the evil powers of the air was prayed with a relic of the True Cross after every Low Mass from the Feast of St. Mark on April 24 through September 14, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. It begins with, “A fulgure, grandine, et tempestate, libera nos, Domine Jesu Christe.” Go for it priests, especially in tornado alley in the Midwest! No wonder Europe has been blessed until recently with fewer such storms. Lack of prayers has consequences.
What were the results?
Re: the Italian news story, it said that the river went back down just a few hours later, so everything was okay.
Re: tornadoes, it can’t hurt. I’m not terribly saintly and I’m definitely not a priest, but I prayed one of those lay prayers to avert storms during the Memorial Day Tornado, and… the tornado went around my parents’ street and the nursing home over their fence, and it didn’t hit the apartments and houses further over in the other plat, and it didn’t destroy the woods up the street, and it went around my brother’s house too (just touching his driveway).
Maybe if we were all really saintly, God would spare us all these things; or maybe a certain amount is sent to try us, and we will get the answer “No.” But it doesn’t hurt to pray.