Friday, July 10, 2020

Mt. Carmel Novena, Day 4-- "Mother of Fair Love"

"I am the Mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue." Ecclesiasticus 24: 24-25

In the Roman rite there are many beautiful votive Masses in honor of Our Lady. One of them is "Mother of Fairest Love." I once heard it celebrated around the feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, and in the homily the priest quoted St. John of the Cross saying that if one wants to have a great love, all one must do is desire a great love, in order to possess it. When our hearts feel cold and dry, and it seems we have no love of God within us, much less love of neighbor, then we can love with the Heart of Mary. Her love can supply for what we lack, and this can happen just by willing it, since love is not a feeling, but an act of the will, a decision.

In the words of St. Louis Grignion de Montfort in True Devotion: "Mary is the sanctuary and repose of the Holy Trinity, where God dwells more magnificently and more divinely than any other place in the universe, not excepting his dwelling between the Cherubim and Seraphim." Before receiving the Eucharist, the saint counsels: "You must implore that good Mother to lend you her heart, that you may receive her Son there with the same dispositions as her own....You will ask her for her heart by these tender words: 'I take thee for my all. Give me thy heart, O Mary.'"

Novena Prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel:

O most beautiful Flower of Mt Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart, to succor me in this my necessity, there are none that can withstand your power.

O show me herein you are my Mother.

Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us that have recourse to thee. (3 times)

Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands. (3 times) AMEN.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Mt. Carmel Novena, Day 3-- "Star of the Sea"

"I made that in the heavens there should rise light that never faileth...I compassed the circuit of heaven...and have walked in the waves of the sea." Ecclesiasticus 24:6,8

"And seeing the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy." St Matthew 2:10

During his first crusade to free captive Jerusalem, St Louis IX the King of France was sailing with his retinue when a fierce storm overwhelmed the vessel. They were not far from the shores of Palestine when through the tempest the bells from the chapel of the hermits on Mt. Carmel could be heard. The holy king fell to his knees, imploring the Blessed Virgin to spare his family and his companions from drowning. The ship did not founder; the storm ceased. King Louis, with a heart full of gratitude, decided to visit the "Brothers of Our Lady" on Mt. Carmel, where they lived in prayer and penance in imitation of the Prophet Elias. So impressed was he with their austerity and devotion, that he arranged for some of them to go to France, thus bringing the Carmelite order to that country where it flourished for centuries. The fact that many of the Brothers went to Europe preserved the Carmelite Order from extinction, since those hermits living on Mt. Carmel were eventually massacred by the Moslems.

Our Lady is the star whose light pierces the darkest clouds to guide the ship of the Church, as well as the ship of the soul, through the most tumultuous storms. The ancient icons of the Virgin often show her adorned with a star; the title "Star
of the Sea" is very old, a symbol of royalty and power, of help and mediation. The hymn Ave Maris Stella ("Hail, Star of the Sea") has often been sung in times of crisis, as mentioned in the lives of many saints; we know that on the path to Heaven even the holiest souls feel overwhelmed and discouraged in times of darkness and persecution.

In the words of the Franciscan Wonder-Worker St Anthony of Padua: "We are far from God, tossed at every moment by storms. We lie at the very jaws of spiritual death, and so we cry out, 'Hail Mary!' ''

Star of the Sea, pray for us!

Novena Prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel:

O most beautiful Flower of Mt Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart, to succor me in this my necessity, there are none that can withstand your power.

O show me herein you are my Mother.

Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us that have recourse to thee. (3 times)

Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands. (3 times) AMEN.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Mount Carmel Novena, Day 2: "The Immaculate Conception"

"Go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of an abundance of rain." 3 Kings 18:41

The Carmelite Order always defended the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. It is an ancient tradition that the holy prophet Elias, leader and father of Carmelites, saw from Mt Carmel with his mystic sight a vision of the Immaculate Virgin in the small cloud that rose out of the sea, heralding the end of the long drought which had afflicted Israel. (3 Kings 18:44) As physical life was renewed, so through the mediation of Our Lady with her Son, the life of the spirit, the life of grace is given fruition. When the Virgin gave birth to the Son of God, the new creation, which will be fully revealed at the end of time, had already begun. In the words of St Anselm:

Blessed Lady, sky and stars, earth and rivers, day and night ---everything that is subject to the power or use of man--- rejoice that through you they are in some sense restored to their lost beauty and are endowed with inexpressible new grace....Truly the Lord is with you, to whom the Lord granted that all nature should owe as much to you as to himself. ( Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Novena Prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel: 
O most beautiful Flower of Mt Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart, to succor me in this my necessity, there are none that can withstand your power.

O show me herein you are my Mother.
Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us that have recourse to thee. (3 times)
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands. (3 times) AMEN.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

It begins today. There will be little meditations offered here for everyday of the novena. The Carmelite Scapular was given to the world as a symbol of the protection and help of the Holy Mother of God when no earthly help is available, particularly at the hour of death. As Our Lady stood at the foot of the Cross, she stands with the Church in the present ordeals; she stands with each of us. Let us pray for all the children of the world, especially those who are in danger. Let us pray for the freedom of the Church, that Our Lady Immaculate may deliver us. And please pray for some special intentions of mine.
O most beautiful Flower of Mt Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart, to succor me in this my necessity, there are none that can withstand your power.

O show me herein you are my Mother.

Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us that have recourse to thee. (3 times)

Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands. (3 times) AMEN.

Monday, July 6, 2020

What is the Didache?

From Aleteia:
The Greek word didache means “teaching” or “the teaching,” and is a shortened form of the full title, which is often translated as, “The Lord’s Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations.” Many scholars simply refer to it as the “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles.”

The Didache is a collection of Christian writings that is mentioned by various writers in the early Church and is often paired with the New Testament. For example, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “The Didache is mentioned by Eusebius after the books of Scripture (Church History III.25.4): ‘Let there be placed among the spuria the writing of the Acts of Paul … what are called the Teachings of the Apostles … if this be thought fit.” Furthermore, “St. Athanasius and Rufinus add the ‘Teaching’ to the sapiential and other deutero-canonical books.”

It is believed by scholars to have been written during the 1st century, and some claim it contains teachings that were handed down by the apostles. In a commentary on the Didache published in 1894, Charles Hoole explains some of the evidence that connects it to this early period of Christianity.
There existed at a very remote period, most likely before the end of the first century, a work handed down by oral tradition which was supposed to embody the verbal teaching of the first Apostles. The expression itself, “teaching of the Apostles,” occurs in Acts xi. 42, and the use of the word for teaching or doctrine is common in the New Testament, so that it would be the natural title for a collection of sayings or precepts which had been handed down by tradition as representing the verbal teaching of the Apostles. We may suppose that this work, after existing for a time in a traditional form, was embodied in writing, and used to form part of the earliest Christian books.
The contents of the Didache focus on ritual instructions regarding baptism, Holy Communion and fasting, for example. It also contains a spiritual exhortation on The Two Ways, the Way of Life and the Way of Death. (Read more.)

Saturday, July 4, 2020

God Save America


And I set my face to the Lord my God, to pray and make supplication with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and I made my confession, and said: I beseech thee, O Lord God, great and terrible, who keepest the covenant, and mercy to them that love thee, and keep thy commandments. We have sinned, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly, and have revolted: and we have gone aside from thy commandments, and thy judgments. (Daniel 9: 3-5)

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Fr. Hardon on the Precious Blood

From Abbey-Roads:
There are certain words and phrases in the revealed statement that we have just read that we should begin to unravel in order to understand something of the depth of meaning behind those two simple words, Precious Blood. Peter begins by reminding the faithful to remember the hardest thing in this life for us is to remain mindful of the truths of faith. Because what we believe on God's revealed Word is twice removed from the common experience that we have in this world. What we believe is first of all not immediately perceptible to the senses. Moreover, what we believe is not even penetrable to the naked reason. The word, remember, is an imperative: keep in mind. Arouse your faith in what and how you were redeemed. And it is the how we were redeemed that is the foundation stone of the mystery of the Precious Blood. God took on a human nature so that in that human nature He could die. In order to die, the soul had to separate from the body. But for the Body to have the soul separate, the body itself had to be deprived of His Blood. Theologically speaking and physiologically speaking, the All-Holy Son of God who became Man to redeem us could only have died by being drained of His Blood. Christ, listen, could not have died of some disease. Christ could not have died because of some mortal illness. All illness, disease, the natural debilitating of the body is the result of sin. Let me emphasize this. All our illness, our disease, our sickness, our wasting away of our body for all of us this is our faith - is the result of our sinful nature. Not so with Christ. That draining of the human body of His Blood was the one way that Christ, Sinless Son of God and Son of Mary that He was, the one way that He could die.

Why does Peter identify the Blood of the Lamb of God as “Precious?” Well, it is surely Precious because it is the Blood of no human being. It is the Blood of the living God who took on human nature, capable of shedding His Blood. Why was the Blood of Christ Precious? Because it is the Blood of God who took on human nature in order to be able to suffer and to bleed and, let us add, in order to bleed to death. Why Precious? Because it is the Blood of the living God.

Devotion to the Precious Blood is not a spiritual option, it is a spiritual obligation, and that not only for priests, but for every follower of Christ. I really believe, and I hesitate even saying this, but I really believe that one of the symptoms of modern society (and I would even include, sadly, modern Catholic society) one of the symptoms of a growing, gnawing secularism is the lessening and the weakening of devotion to the Precious Blood. Devotion, as we know, is a composite of three elements: It is first- veneration, it is secondly- invocation, and it is thirdly- imitation. In other words, devotion to the Precious Blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who was slain, is first of all to be veneration on our part, which is a composite of knowledge, love and adoration. We are to study to come to a deeper understanding of what those two - I am afraid for many people - casual words, Precious Blood, really mean.

To understand the meaning of the Precious Blood we must (otherwise the mystery will be lost on us), we must get some comprehension of the gravity of sin, of the awfulness of offending God, because it required the Blood of the Son of God to forgive that sin. We are living in an age in which to sin has become fashionable. But we believe that we are here for only a very short time. We further believe that Christ when He told us the way that leads to damnation is broad and many there are who walk that way, that the way that leads to eternal life is narrow and there are few who walk that way. I am watching every syllable I am saying. The Church has never pronounced infallibly on the number lost and the number saved, but she has canonized St. John of the Cross and made him a Doctor of the Church. Says John of the Cross: "I believe that the majority of the human race will be lost." - Devotion to the Precious Blood
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