Saturday, August 18, 2018

St. Helena the Empress


My patron saint. She discovered the True Cross. Don Marco says:
Saint Helena was not merely collecting relics for posterity. Her discovery of the True Cross saved the Orthodox Catholic faith from being submerged in a sea of speculative philosophies that denied the true Flesh and Blood of Christ. Saint Helena’s discovery points to the God who became man and suffered death on a real cross in a particular place at a precise moment in history. Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles was the herald of Christ’s resurrection; Saint Helena became the herald of the mystery of the Cross. (Read more.)


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

54-day Rosary Novena

From August 15 until Oct 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Let us join in prayer for our country, especially for the November elections. From Roman Catholic Man:
The novena consists of five decades of the Rosary (one set of mysteries) each day for twenty-seven days in petition; then immediately five decades each day for an additional twenty-seven days in thanksgiving, regardless of whether or not the request has been granted yet. So began six novenas of Rosaries — which became known as the 54-day Rosary Novena. To do the novena properly — one must pray the Rosary for 54 consecutive days, without missing a day, and must pray the particular Mystery indicated for that day following the correct sequence. That is, the first day of the novena always begins with the Joyful Mysteries (regardless of what day of the week the novena is started); the second day, the Sorrowful Mysteries are prayed; and the third day of the novena, the Glorious Mysteries are prayed. The fourth day of the novena begins again with the Joyful Mysteries and continues on in that sequence throughout the 54 days of the novena...(Read more.)

The Assumption of Mary

"And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars...." (Apocalypse 12:1)

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII in the bull Munificentissimus Deus defined the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The teaching that the Immaculate Mother of God was taken body and soul into heaven at the close of her earthly existence has been the constant belief of the universal Church, as ancient liturgical manuscripts bear witness. "Everything tends to indicate that the privilege of the Assumption was explicitly revealed to the Apostles...and that it was transmitted subsequently by the oral tradition of the Liturgy," wrote Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange in The Mother of the Saviour and Interior Life.

It was not until the middle of the twentieth century, a century so traumatized by genocide, mass murders, world wars, the breakdown of modesty, morality, and family life; the spread of false ideologies such as communism, socialism, and feminism, which promise to liberate but in reality only enslave and destroy, that the pope was moved to declare the dogma. "The political, social, and religious atmosphere in the middle of the twentieth century influenced greatly the decision of the Pope" so that "mindful of the human misery caused by war, of the ever present threat of materialism and the decline of moral life, and of the internal problems that disturbed the Church, [he] turned to Mary, confident of her intercession." Pope Pius XII "believed...that calling attention to the bodily Assumption of Mary would remind all men and women that the human body is sacred, that the whole person is holy and destined to live forever." (Fr. Kilian Healy, O.Carm. The Assumption of Mary)

For those who struggle to offer to God hearts free from all stain of actual sin, who strive to experience even in this life the joys of union with God through contemplation, the mystery of the Assumption is one which characterizes a way of life. According to Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. in his classic work Divine Intimacy:
Mary's Assumption shows us the route we must follow in our spiritual ascent: detachment from earth, flight towards God and union with God....It is not enough to purify our heart from sin and attachment to creatures, we must at the same time to direct it towards God, tending toward Him with all our strength...Mary's Assumption thus confirms in us this great and beautiful truth: we are created for and called to union with God. Mary herself stretches out her maternal hand to guide us to the attainment of this high ideal.
On our journey to Heaven, we confidently grasp the hand of our merciful Mother, the Mediatrix of all Grace. As St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus wrote a few months before her death: "It is true that no human life is exempt from faults; only the Immaculate Virgin presents herself pure before the Divine Majesty. Since she loves us and knows our weakness, what have we to fear?" (Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, Vol II, trans. by Fr John Clarke, O.C.D.) How fitting that the acclamation from the Book of Judith is so often applied to Our Lady: "Thou art the glory of Jerusalem, thou art the joy of Israel, thou art the honor of our people." (Judith 15:10)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Prayer, Mortification and Fraternal Charity

On the feast of the Franciscan martyr St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe it is a privilege to read one of his homilies translated from Polish by Fr. Angelo. In the words of the heroic priest-martyr:
Prayer, above all prayer, is the effective weapon to use in the fight for the liberty and happiness of souls. Why?

Because only supernatural means lead to a supernatural end. Heaven—if one may say—is the divinization of the soul, a supernatural reality in the full sense of the term. Consequently, it cannot be attained by merely natural power. It is also indispensable to have a supernatural means, that is, divine grace. And this is obtained by humble and confident prayer. Grace, and only grace, which enlightens the intellect and strengthens the will, is the cause of conversion or the liberation of the soul from the bonds of evil.

But a prayer lifted up to God through the hands of the Immaculate cannot remain without effect, as it is said in the invocation of St. Bernard: "Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection was ever abandoned by You." So before all else there must be humble, confident and unfailing prayer. (Read more.)
More HERE about the saint of Auschwitz.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Mind of the Immaculate

From Fr. Angelo:
The Immaculate is a living ideal, a pattern of life to be replicated by our external comportment, and more importantly, by our interior lives. She lives enthroned, not merely in paradise, but in the hearts and minds of those who truly love Her. In this way She is alive and active in and through us, influencing directly the choices we make as a Mother who loves and nurtures us. This we must remember every time we think of Her. Here we will find true enlightenment and our feet will be led into the way of peace (Luke 1:79) to “the summits of our desired holiness,” to peaceful rest and blissful union with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But to achieve this our thought of Her must be prayerful and profound. This is only made possible by humble meditation and prayer.

Thinking about the Immaculate

St. Maximilian Kolbe was a man who during his whole life meditated and contemplated in this fashion. He was consumed by a truth in which he believed with all his mind and heart. Often he spoke of his love and zeal for the Mother of God in terms of a “fixed ideal,” and for love of Her he wished to live, work, suffer, be consumed and die.

Now, St. Maximilian was not an idealist, not a man chasing after a dream. Nor was his ideal some abstract principle formulated by philosophers, rather it was a person, the knowledge of whom had been handed on to him through infallible divine revelation. This person, the Church taught him, is the Immaculate Mother of God, given to us as our Mother by Her divine Son. Throughout the Christian era the Church had spoken about Her in the most solemn fashion, indicating the central and unique role She plays in salvation history, and defining precisely the nature of Her dignity and role in the lives of men. For this reason St. Maximilian came to fully appreciate the holiness of this Woman without stain, and the love of the Mother of God who became also our Mother.

For good reason, then, Saint Maximilian links together a disciplined reading or study habit with a filial prayer relationship with Mary. Perfectly harmonized spiritual reading or study and a prayerful dependence on grace constitute the kind of meditation, leading to contemplation that fuels progress in the interior life. This is not merely a philosophical approach to life, which deals with everything in terms of some abstract ideal, nor is it simply a convenient or consoling spiritual experience of a transcendent person. Rather, it is a deep relationship with God who reveals and saves, and who is the only theoretical and practical basis for resolving the demands of life in this world.

Truth and Life

In the person of St. Maximilian, truth and life are perfectly harmonized. A man of great apostolic works and a hero of charity, St. Maximilian is hailed by our production-preoccupied culture as a practical man. Publisher, journalist, founder, reformer, missionary, scientific and organizational genius: he was a man ahead of his times. However, his indomitable energy, productivity and his concern for his fellow man are senseless if not for his life-long contemplation of the truth. In particular, one question preoccupied his thoughts from his youth to the death cell: Who are you, O Immaculate? In his blurring activity St. Maximilian was not a fanatic, nor a superman. He was a poor banished child of Eve, like the rest of us, who had been transformed by his ideal, because this ideal was true, and because this truth was the Woman conceived without sin, who became the Mother of God and the Mediatrix of All Grace. (Read more.)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Current Crisis in the Catholic Church

From Fr. Heilman:
On October 7, 2017, over one million Catholics in Poland rose up and grabbed their rosaries and, mainly on their borders, called out to God with the powerful intercession of Our Lady....This was a grassroots effort that was, in essence, saying, “The demonic secular forces of this world are not welcome on our soil!” While not immune to the infiltration of modernism in Poland’s Catholic Church, they remain one of the strongest on the planet. In St. Faustina’s diary, she relates how our Lord told her,
“I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming” (Diary, 1732)
Inspired by Poland — Ireland, the British Isles and Australia followed suit in praying for their respective countries with rosaries in hand (all “grassroots” efforts of the laity). The United States has been praying this way since 2016 (and the lead up to the Presidential election), with Novena for Our Nation, with over 40,000 USA Catholics praying the miraculous 54 Day Rosary Novena from August 15 (Feast of the Assumption) to October 7 (Our Lady of the Rosary). With the inspiration of Poland, we (USA) have reframed the concluding October 7 prayer campaign with the new title of “Rosary Coast to Coast” (Go to rosarycoasttocoast.com). Now, many nations have accepted the clarion call, and will be praying together on October 7, 2018 in what we now call the “Holy League of Nations” (Go to holyleagueofnations.com).
In the lead up to our launch of this 2018 enormous “Rosary Coast to Coast” nation-wide (now worldwide) prayer campaign (We launched on March 31, 2018), our planning team sought the support of all of the USA bishops. I warned the team that we would not get many to respond, much less support. And, as I predicted, only a handful responded and what support we received was timid (barring a few, including my own Bishop Morlino, Bishop Conley and Cardinal Burke). Why did I accurately predict this? Because I knew full well the “condition of our prelates in America.” I knew we would be received as more “dangerous” than “beneficial” to the Church in America. Why? Let me explain …
There was one reply, in particular, that still rings (stings) in my mind and heart, nearly on a daily basis, that, sadly, truly expressed this “condition of our prelates.” It came from a very prominent prelate who will remain nameless. Here was his reply …
“Father, I’m not fond of these national campaigns.  I don’t know that they accomplish a whole lot and because of that, I just haven’t been willing to offer endorsements.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Tens of thousands of people joined together in prayer to call out to God, through the powerful intercession of our Lady, to protect and heal our nation does not “accomplish a whole lot.” St. Louis de Montfort once wrote:
“When people say the Rosary together, it is far more formidable to the devil, than one said privately. Because in this public prayer, it is an army that is attacking him. He can often overcome the prayer of an individual, but if this prayer is joined to other Christians, the devil has much more trouble in getting the best of it.” -St Louis de Montfort.
You see? This is the “problem” … this is the “condition” of the vast majority of our prelates. To them, St. Louis de Montfort and all of those crazy saints were just that … “crazy.” You see? WE have arrived on the scene and, thank God, WE are here now to take the “crazy” out of Catholicism. No more of this silly hocus pocus superstitious nonsense, under our watch. No more of this ridiculous belief in the supernatural power of God and the power of prayer, as long as we are here. In fact, those who advocate “the supernatural” are to be considered “dangerous” in our Church. Also, anyone who would actually defend the teachings of the Church is to be considered “dangerous.”
(Read more.)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Saint Clare

Today is the feast of the great Holy Mother St. Clare. Fr. Mark reflects:
There is something singularly appealing about Saint Clare of Assisi. In many ways she resembles her brother and father in Christ, Saint Francis, and yet Clare is Clare . . . fearless, spontaneous, unconventional, and strong-willed. She could have satisfied the expectations of her family and of society by marrying some promising young nobleman. Or she could have entered some respectable and established monastery; with her family background and her personal gifts, she would certainly have become a grand Lady Abbess and wielded the crosier over a comfortable little monastic domain, but Clare cared little for conventions and respectability. She did not hesitate to put behind her “houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children and land” (Mt 19:29) for the sake of Jesus Christ and of His Gospel. (Read more.)
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