Monday, June 27, 2016

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

It is the feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
In dangers, in hardships, in every doubt,
think of Mary, call out to Mary.
Keep her in your mouth, keep her in your heart.
Follow the example of her life
and you will obtain the favour of her prayer.

~St. Bernard

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Fr. Peter and the Immaculate

I was blessed as a young Carmelite to be taught by Fr. Peter. Here is a magnificent conference by Fr. Angelo about Fr. Peter's Marian writings. To quote:
At the Symposium titled "Sursum Actio" at Notre Dame Univ. from Jun 8-9, 2015, in honor of the life work of Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, F.I., Fr. Angelo Geiger, FI, from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, gives the thirteenth conference which he titles, "In the Counsels of the Immaculate: Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner’s Contribution to the Renewal of Franciscan Immaculatism". He points out how much Fr. Peter has contributed to renewing the great Marian tradition of the Franciscan Conventuals and how this is the way they will regroup and fulfill their mission of renewing the Church. Fr. Peter did this primarily by bringing to light the great patrimony of St. Maximilian Kolbe in promoting total consecration to Mary in the Church as a way of bringing to fruition the declaration of the Immaculate Conception as a dogma in 1854. (Read more.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

St. Eliseus the Prophet

"In his life he did great wonders, and in death he wrought miracles" (Ecclus., xlviii, 15).

Today on the Carmelite calendar, it is the feast of the prophet of God St. Eliseus, also known as Elisha, the disciple of St. Elias. More HERE.

Here is a homily on the call of St. Elisha:
 God gave Elijah three tasks: he was to anoint Hazael to be king over Syria, to anoint Jehu to be king over the northern kingdom of Israel, and to appoint Elisha to be prophet in his place. In today's first reading, Elijah carries out the third task, manifesting his prompt obedience to God's word.

The appointing of Elisha looks forward to an episode in the New Testament, when Jesus calls a man to follow him. Elisha says to Elijah: "Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you". And Elijah allows him to do so. In the Gospel of Matthew, one of the disciples says to Jesus: "Lord, let me first go and bury my father". But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead" (Matthew 8:21-22). The Gospel of Luke reads: "To another he said, 'Follow me'. But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father". But Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:59-60).

Since, children were responsible for mourning and burying their parents and other relatives (Tobit 1:16-20; 4:3; 6:15), it could seem like Jesus violates the Fourth Commandment to honor one's parents. This, however, is not the case, for two reasons. First, Jesus is calling men and women to a new family, the family of God. The new family is formed by adherence to Jesus himself, to his Law; communion with Jesus is filial communion with the Father - it is a yes to the fourth commandment on a new level. It is entry into the family of those who call God Father, of those who are united with Jesus and, "by listening to him, united with the will of the Father, thereby attaining to the heart of the obedience intended by the Torah" (Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth vol. I, 115-117).

Second, Jesus is the new Moses and brings the old law to perfection. Jesus' authority to interpret the law in a new way rests on his divine sonship. He has divine authority and transfers the ten commandments into the context of God's universal family. He brings the God of Israel to all nations. He is the "new Moses", the prophet-like-Moses that God raised up (Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth vol. I, 122; Deuteronomy 18:15).
Jesus, then, can do what Elijah cannot: there is something greater than Elijah here. We also get the sense of the urgency and radicality of Jesus' call. His hour is approaching; the time of the Kingdom is here.

In today's Gospel, we see how Jesus brings the law to fulfillment. Not making false oaths is the bare minimum. Jesus, however, invites his followers to not swear an oath at all, to not place themselves unnecessarily in a position of divine judgment. In everything they say and do, Jesus' followers are to be truthful.

When Jesus calls us to follow him, he is inviting us to say with the Psalmist: "You, O Lord, are my portion and cup; you, O Lord, are my inheritance". This inheritance makes us sons and daughters of God who share in eternal life. Our souls are not abandoned to the netherworld for we will rise to life with the Son. (Read more.)

Monday, June 13, 2016

If, then, you ask for miracles....

It is the feast of St Anthony the Wonderworker. In spite of the claims of Protestants and some modernist Catholics, it is not superstitious to ask St Anthony for help in finding lost articles. I could write a book about all the things he has found for me; things that I thought were gone forever. But it is not only in finding what is lost that St Anthony excels; he is a big brother and comforter in every kind of trial, especially in spiritual struggles. It is hard to explain to non-Catholics and "progressive" Catholics how a saint can be a friend; I would not even know where to begin. One must have trust, a child-like faith, and a sense of the Communion of Saints. The saints are our friends, our needs are their concerns and nothing is too small for their intercession.

Here is some information about St Anthony's Chapel in Pittsburgh, one of the most amazing and overlooked shrines in the world.

Today is also the anniversary of the second apparition of Our Lady at Fatima in 1917. Our Lady told the three children that Our Lord wished to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart. She showed them her heart encircled with thorns and said: "I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God." To ponder such words in the depths of contemplation is to share in the wonder of the mystery of God's mercy.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Immaculate Heart of Mary


"My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God." (Psalm 83:4)

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has grown along side of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, for the heart of the Mother can never be separated from that of her Son. According to the visionary St. Bridget of Sweden (14th century), Our Lady said: "As Adam and Eve sold the world for one apple, so my son and I redeemed the world, as it were, with one Heart." (Sign of Her Heart by John Haffert)

St. John Eudes, who in the 17th century promoted devotion to the Two Hearts, reported to have heard Our Lord saying: "I have given you this admirable heart of My dearest Mother which is but one with Mine, to be truly your heart also, in order that the children may have but one heart with their Mother...." (Ibid.)

The Belgian mystic Berthe Petit (1870-1943) experienced several revelations concerning the "Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary." She recorded Jesus as saying:
This devotion to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of My Mother will restore faith and hope to broken hearts and to ruined families...it will sweeten sorrow. It will be a new strength for My Church, bringing souls not only to confidence in My Heart, but also to abandonment to the Sorrowful Heart of my Mother. (Prayers and Heavenly Promises by Joan Carroll Cruz)
The 1917 apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal led to Pope Pius XII instituting the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Originally kept on August 22, the memorial of the Immaculate Heart is presently kept on the day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart.

The mystery of the Immaculate Heart is the mystery of the Mercy of God; the mercy He showed to Mary by preserving her from all stain of original sin; the mercy He bestows on us through the prayers of the Mother of Mercy, the Mediatrix of all Graces, on our behalf. It is a mystery of compassion, for Mary's heart was pierced with sorrow at the foot of the cross. The brown scapular of Carmel is a sign of one's personal consecration to Our Lady, as well as of the compassionate intercession we hope to receive from her at the hour of death.

Sr. Lucy of Fatima said: "Our Lady wants all to wear the scapular." (Haffert) The scapular is an exterior sign of interior abandonment to the Heart of Mary. The Carmelite Venerable Michael of St. Augustine wrote:
We can live in Mary if we strive, in all our deeds and omissions, in our penances and trials and afflictions, to preserve and promote within ourselves a filial, tender inclination of soul towards Mary....Our love will then flow, as it were, from God to Mary and from Mary back to God. (Life with Mary by Ven. Michael of St. Augustine)

Novena to Saint Anthony of Padua

THE MIRACULOUS RESPONSORY OF ST. ANTHONY
By St. Bonaventure

1. If then you ask for miracles,
Death, error, all calamities,
The leprosy and demons fly,
And health succeeds infirmities.
Chorus:
The sea obeys, and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore,
Whilst treasures lost are found again,
When young and old thine aid implore.
2. All dangers vanish at thy prayer,
And direst need doth quickly flee;
Let those who know thy power proclaim,
Let Paduans say: "These are of thee."
Chorus:
The sea obeys, and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore,
Whilst treasures lost are found again,
When young and old thine aid implore.
3. To Father, Son, may glory be,
And Holy Spirit eternally.
Chorus:
The sea obeys, and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore,
Whilst treasures lost are found again,
When young and old thine aid implore.
Pray for us, St. Anthony,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
O God! May the votive commemoration of St. Anthony, Thy Confessor and Doctor, be a source of joy to Thy Church, that she may always be fortified with spiritual assistance and may deserve to possess eternal joy. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus


"I have come to cast a fire on the earth: what will I, but that it be kindled?" (Luke 12:49)

During the first millennium of Christianity, many saints wrote with unction of the pierced side of Our Lord, from which flowed "blood and water" (John 19:34), symbolizing the sacraments of the Church. It was not until the later ages, "when the charity of many [had] grown cold" (Matthew 24:12), that Our Lord chose to reveal the hidden treasures of His Sacred Heart. The gnostic excesses of the Manicheans, the upheavals of the Protestant revolt, and the chilling exaggerations of Jansenism required as an antidote the gradual but compelling manifestations of the love and mercy of the Heart of God.

It was in the thirteenth century that mystic souls such as St. Bonaventure, St. Mechtilde, and St. Gertrude began to write explicitly about devotion to the Sacred Heart, focusing on the infinite love which pursues and surrounds us.St. Gertrude the Great relates that in one of her many visions St. John the Evangelist said to her:
To these latter times was reserved the grace of hearing the eloquent voice of the Heart of Jesus. At this voice the time-worn world will renew its youth, be roused from its lethargy, and again be inflamed with the warmth of Divine Love. ( Love, Peace and Joy by the Reverend André Prévot)
 Our Lord told St. Mechtilde:  
In this wound of love, so great that it embraces Heaven and earth, unite thy love to My Divine Love, that it may be perfect; and even as iron glowing with fire becomes, as it were, one with it, so let your love be transformed and absorbed into Mine. (Ibid.)
In the early 1600's, St John Eudes and St Francis de Sales, among others, promoted the cult of the Sacred Heart. However, it was the famous apparitions of Jesus Christ to St. Margaret Mary in the 1670's and 80's that led to the widespread, public homage of the Savior's heart. Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary His desire for the establishment of a feast in honor of His Heart, to be held on the Friday after the Corpus Christi octave, as a day of reparation. He promised special graces to those who receive Holy Communion in a spirit of reparation and penitence on the First Friday of nine consecutive months.

Jesus further requested that France, the eldest daughter of the Church, be consecrated by her king to the Sacred Heart, in order to spare the kingdom from future cataclysmic events. For several reasons, the consecration was not performed until France was in the throes of a bloody and anti-Christian revolution. In 1791, the imprisoned King Louis XVI secretly made the consecration. However, it seems the formal, public consecration of France has never taken place.

In 1856, Pope Pius IX placed the feast of the Sacred Heart on the universal calendar. Meanwhile, the storm of modernism, communism, socialism, and secular humanism broke upon the Church and the world. Our Lord said to St. Margaret Mary in 1689: "It will take time, but I will reign despite Satan and his supporters." (The Sign of Her Heart by John Haffert)

While we prayerfully await the public acknowledgment of Christ the King by the nations, let us imitate the Carmelite saints in making Jesus the King of our hearts, immersing ourselves into the unfathomable mystery of His love. In the words of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: 
If I to see Thy glory would aspire
Then I must know Thy crucible of flame

Thy burning love, Heart of my God, I claim.

Then when my soul wings upward like a dove,

Called from the earth to heaven's home of light,

May it go forth in one pure act of love,
 
Plunge to Thy Heart in one unswerving flight.
(Carmelite Proper of the Liturgy of the Hours)
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