Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Padre Pio

padre_pio_galeria_050.jpg
Priest and victim.
Almost immediately after the Second Vatican Council, a terrible identity crisis of enormous proportions began to overtake the Catholic priesthood and thousands of priests left the active ministry with or without the requisite permission. Still others became genuinely confused about the nature of their priesthood. Unfortunately, the disorientation still remains in many ways. Its causes, no doubt, are quite complex and ultimately we must confess that "An enemy has done this" (Mt. 13:28).
But recognizing a Satanic onslaught against the Lord's anointed ones does not prevent us from also seeking to discover some of the immediate contributing causes of this tragic state of affairs. In this regard Father André Feuillet makes what I believe to be some very astute observations:
Some writers claim that Vatican II is itself partly responsible. As they see it, Vatican II, in its desire to act against Roman centralization and an overemphasis on papal primacy, glossed over the problem of priesthood. In any case, it certainly intended to highlight the role of the college of bishops as successors of the Apostles. Moreover, on the basis of Scripture, it proclaimed a truth that had hitherto been too often overlooked: the sharing of all the baptized in the priesthood of Christ. By these two emphases, the Council seems to have spoken as if the bishop and the people of God were the only necessary elements of a priestly Church. In so doing, it somewhat neglected the place of the simple priest (or presbyter).1 (Read entire article.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

St. Jeanne Jugan

She cared for the poor in spite of the French Revolution.
When Jeanne was three and a half years old, her father, a fisherman, was lost at sea. Her widowed mother was hard pressed to raise her eight children (four died young) alone. At the age of 15 or 16, Jeanne became a kitchen maid for a family that not only cared for its own members, but also served poor, elderly people nearby. Ten years later, Jeanne became a nurse at the hospital in Le Rosais. Soon thereafter she joined a third order group founded by St. John Eudes (August 19).

After six years she became a servant and friend of a woman she met through the third order. They prayed, visited the poor and taught catechism to children. After her friend's death, Jeanne and two other women continued a similar life in the city of Saint-Sevran. In 1839, they brought in their first permanent guest. They began an association, received more members and more guests. Mother Marie of the Cross, as Jeanne was now known, founded six more houses for the elderly by the end of 1849, all staffed by members of her association—the Little Sisters of the Poor. By 1853 the association numbered 500 and had houses [in] England. (Read entire post.)

Novena To Mary for Employment

In honor of Our Lady's birthday, let us join in praying for all those who seek employment and deliverance from financial troubles and debt, especially a certain family I know. (Via Esther.)
This novena starts on August 30 and ends on September 7
To be recited everyday:
V. O God, come to my assistance
R. O Lord, make haste to help me
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
R. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

First Day:
Heavenly Child, lovable Mary, the Eternal Father delights in your birth, for He beholds in your coming into this world one of His creatures who is so perfect that she will become the worthy Mother of His divine Son. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining for me from the heavenly Father, the pardon of my sins, and an abiding sorrow for them.

Hail Mary...
Second Day: O Chosen One among the daughters of Adam, admirable Mary, the Son of God delights in your birth, for He beholds the one chosen to be His Mother, and oh! such a beloved Mother. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining from your divine Son the grace to be born again spiritually to a holy life, perfectly conformed to yours, so that I may merit to obtain eternal glory.

Hail Mary...

Third Day: O Chosen One among the daughters of Adam, lovable Mary, the Eternal Word takes delight in your birth, for He sees the source of His Immaculate Blood. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining for me from the Word made Flesh, the grace to find in this Divine Blood the eternal happiness of my soul.

Hail Mary...
Fourth Day: O Chosen One among the daughters of Adam, admirable Mary, the Redeemer, promised to mankind from the beginning of the world, takes delight in your birth, for He sees the one who is destined to become the Co-redemptress of souls by uniting her tears to the Blood shed on the Cross to save mankind.
Hail Mary... 
Fifth Day: Resplendent Lily of Paradise, lovable Mary, the Holy Spirit takes delight in your birth for He sees in you the soul never stained by sin, which would forever be His worthy Temple. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining for me from the Holy Spirit His divine love and final perseverance.
Hail Mary...


Sixth Day: Most Beautiful Branch of the tree of David, most admirable Mary, whose birth was such a consolation to St. Joachim and St. Anne who were delighted to be the parents of so holy a child, may your birth be the consolation of my soul, by obtaining for me from God, victory over the world and detachment from all the things of this earth.
Hail Mary...

Seventh Day: Resplendent Morning Star, lovable Mary, your birth was the cause of great joy to the angels, for they beheld in you the Mother of the Redeemer of the world, who by His Death would repair the loss sustained by the fall of rebellions angels in paradise. May your birth give joy to my soul also, by obtaining for me from God, victory over the infernal enemy, deliverance from all his snares, and the grace to be associated in glory with the angels in heaven.
Hail Mary...

Eighth Day: Brilliant Aurora of Heaven, lovable Mary, your birth brought great consolation to the souls of the saints detained in limbo, for it announced the approach of the Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ, who would enlighten their darkness and then conduct them to paradise. May your birth give joy to my soul also, and obtain for me from God, patience in all adversities, a perfect and constant conformity to His most holy will.
Hail Mary...
Ninth Day: Mediatrix between God and mankind, admirable Mary, by your birth you perfected the joy of all the children of Adam, who, through you, have received the Author of Grace, for He has made you the treasurer of all the graces which are imparted to us. May your birth be a special cause of joy to my soul by obtaining for me from God, eternal salvation and all the graces necessary to obtain it.
Hail Mary...


The prayer of each day is ended by the following:

Antiphon: Your Nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, was the herald of joy to the whole world; since from you arose the Sun of Justice, Christ our God, who, destroying the curse, bestowed the blessing, and confounding death, rewarded us with life everlasting.
V. Let us celebrate with joy the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
R. That she may intercede for us with Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.
Grant to us your servants, we beseech you, O Lord, the gift of Your heavenly grace, that as our salvation was begun in the child-bearing of the Blessed Virgin, so from this solemn festival of her Nativity may we obtain an increase of peace. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


Nihil Obstat: Iacobus P. King, I.C.D. Censor Deputatus. Imprimatur: Bryan Iosephus McEntegart, D.D., LL.D. Episcopus Bruklyniensis.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Priest in Union with Christ

A quote from Father Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.:
Every follower of Christ -- but especially His priests ‚-- are invited to worship Him in the Eucharist, but there are some who receive a special vocation to this devotion -- the Eucharistic vocation. "Nobody can come to Me without being attracted towards Me by the Father who sent Me" (John 6, 44). And the Father attracts everyone to salvation but not necessarily along the same path.
What is this Eucharistic vocation, in the opinion of Saint Peter Julien Eymard? It is a special attraction of grace, gentle but compelling -- as if Christ were saying to the soul: Come to my sanctuary. Provided no resistance is offered, this attraction gradually becomes supreme.
The faithful soul responding to this invitation finds peace, as though it had discovered at long last its natural home and spiritual food: "I have found my resting place." Books and conferences no longer give the help required; this can only be found in more intense prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. (Read More.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blessed Maria Restituta Kafka

From the EWTN website:
BL. MARIA RESTITUTA KAFKA was born in Brno (in what is now the Czech Republic) on 10 May 1894, the sixth daughter of a shoemaker, and was given the name Helena at Baptism. She grew up with her family in Vienna and was employed as a salesgirl and later as a nurse. As a nurse she came into contact with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity (known as the "Hartmannschwestern") and entered their congregation in 1914, taking the name of an ancient martyr, Restituta.
 
From 1919 she worked for 20 years as a surgical nurse and soon gained the reputation not only of a devoted and capable nurse but one who was particularly close to the poor, the persecuted and the oppressed. She even protected a Nazi doctor from arrest which she thought was unjustified.

When Hitler took over Austria, Sr Restituta made her total rejection of Nazism quite clear. She called Hitler "a madman" and said of herself: "A Viennese cannot keep her mouth shut". Her reputation spread rapidly when she hung a crucifix in every room of a new hospital wing. The Nazis demanded that the crosses be removed, threatening Sr Restituta's dismissal. The crucifixes were not removed, nor was Sr Restituta, since her community said they could not replace her. Sr Restituta was arrested and accused not only of hanging the crosses but also of having written a poem mocking Hitler.

On 28 October 1942 she was sentenced to death for "aiding and abetting the enemy in the betrayal of the fatherland and for plotting high treason". She was later offered her freedom if she would leave her religious congregation, but she refused. When asked to commute her sentence, Martin Bormann expressly rejected the request, saying: "I think the execution of the death penalty is necessary for effective intimidation.

While in prison she cared for the other prisoners, as even communist prisoners later attested. After various requests for clemency were rejected by the authorities, Sr Restituta was decapitated on 30 March 1943.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Grace of Every Moment


The way to the possession of Jesus is in each hourly duty assigned to us. It is the thousand details and actions of daily life. We have only to bring to each of them a spirit of faith, and each moment will hold for us a grace, and will hold for us God.

It is God's desire to manifest Himself to us, but He wills to take created forms for this manifestation- forms of persons, events, circumstances, which call for faith if we are to recognize Him, a faith that can discern the divine through and in the human.

For each one of us, the star shining in the heaven of our souls is pointing out to us the place where we shall find Jesus. It is the star of grace contained in the Will of God of every moment, that Will which leads us to God.

~Fragrance from Alabaster
by Mother Aloysius of the Blessed Sacrament, OCD

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Special Novena for a Priest Unjustly Accused

From Esther:
I would ask that you join me in praying a novena for Father Gordon MacRae. As you know, he is the priest who was falsely accused of abusing a minor.  He was convicted and has been imprisoned for many years because he would not plead guilty to something he did not do.  There is a specific reason why I will be praying this novena for Father Gordon's special intentions. Without giving out too many details, I share the following statements with you. (Read entire post.)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Amen.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Actions and Deeds


From Holy Cards for your Inspiration:

Our actions have a tongue of their own;
they have an eloquence of their own,
even when the tongue is silent.
For deeds prove the lover more than words.
~St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Clothing Ceremony

Christine of Laudem Gloriae describes the ceremony in which she was clothed in the Scapular of Carmel.
In a simple ceremony last Sunday, I was invested with the scapular of the Secular Discalced Carmelites, and am now officially a novice. It isn't the same as the brown scapular that many wear; it's larger, with two patches of brown cloth about a foot square each, laid over the chest and back, much like that in the photo to the right. After the novitiate, one proceeds to make temporary promises, and three years after that, definitive promises. If one wishes, one may afterwards make simple vows (according to one's state).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Catechesis on Human Love

Fr. Angelo quotes an extraordinary interview with Bishop Jean Laffitte, secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, saying:
There is a danger of vulgarizing here a crucial truth of our Faith that needs rather to be contemplated.   It requires a silence. Sometimes in reading Blessed John Paul II’s Catecheses, you read only half of a page and then have to stop … you cannot continue … because it provokes within you a kind of loving meditation of what God has made. You enter into the mystery. . . .
The beauty of the body reflects the presence of the spirit, which is a mystery. And yet, we still have to contend with the reality of sin. Man and woman have sinned, and in our bodies we bear the consequences of this wound in our nature. That’s why it’s unrealistic – even a kind of angelism – to imagine that we can discuss or express our sexuality in an indifferent manner. (Read entire article.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Contemplative Life

A beautiful reflection.
With most intense and sacrificial prayer, decided upon a project to fight against the enemies of the Church, under the command of the universal Queen, of the invincible Warrior:  the Immaculate Virgin.His close friend, Fr. Paul, gives this testimony: "Fr. Maximilian’s hope in Our Lord was unshakeable and infinite since it was strengthened by a great trust;  because just as one can easily arrive through Mariam ad Jesum, in the same way, one may obtain everything from Jesus per Mariam.  From the beginning, he had founded the Militia Immaculatae on the same hope with which he would often greet Our Lady: cunctas haereses interemisti in universo mundo." (Read entire article.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Darkness

Bl. Teresa of Calcutta experienced the "reparatory" dark night of the soul, which is unusual even among the greatest saints. I was once told that The Little Flower also experienced the darkness that is beyond the dark night. According to Zenit:
[Bl. Teresa's] experience of darkness within union is very rare even among the saints because for most, the end is union without it.

Her suffering, then, to use the Dominican theologian Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange's term, is reparatory, much more for the sins of others, not purificatory, for her own sins. She is united to Jesus in enough faith and love to share in his experience in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross.

Mother Teresa made the comment that the suffering in the Garden was worse than the suffering on the cross. And now we understand where that was coming from, because she understood Jesus' longing for souls.

The important thing is that it is union, and as Carol Zaleski pointed out in her article in First Things, this kind of trial is a new kind of trial. It is a modern kind of experience for the saints over the last 100 years or so, to suffer the feeling that one does not have any faith, and that religion is not true.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Priest-Adorers

How to renew not only the Church but the face of the earth.
Saint Peter Julian entertained the idea of founding a society of diocesan priest-adorers, not unlike the Oblates associated with monasteries: "I want to form . . . secular priests, to bind them together by prayer, by determinate statutes, and to sanctify them by the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. This work is ours, but I do not want to undertake now on a large scale. Oh, when will the time come! Priests sharing in the life of the Blessed Sacrament, should live according to the Eucharistic life of Jesus, which consists above all in self-abnegation and the love of sacrifice. . . . They should perform all their duties under the protection of the Blessed Virgin, the Adoratrice of the Cenacle, for through that sweet Mother we more easily approach Jesus. Their studies, their energy, and their piety they should direct to the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. They should bear in mind that adoration is their chief duty: Nos autem orationi instantes erimus -- But we will give ourselves continually to prayer" (Acts 6, 4). (Read entire post.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Adoration and Reparation

A meditation from Mother Mechtilde de Bar.
It is this spirit of prayer that will give them the key of the treasures of the knowledge and the glory of God, enclosed and hidden in the Most Holy Sacrament. It will give them entrance to the cellar of the adorable Bridegroom's delicious wine; there they will drink great draughts of it and become inebriated with its sweetnesses and ineffable consolations. This spirit of prayer will give them the prerogative and privilege of all those virgins who follow the Lamb in all the tabernacles wheresoever He is encountered. (Read entire post.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

St. Alphonsus Liguori

Today is his feast. Here is an excerpt from his book The Glories of Mary:
And here we say, that although Mary, now in heaven, can no longer command her Son, nevertheless her prayers are always the prayers of a Mother, and consequently most powerful to obtain whatever she asks. "Mary," says Saint Bonaventure, "has this great privilege, that with her Son she above all the Saints is most powerful to obtain whatever she wills." And why? Precisely for the reason on which we have already touched, and which we shall later on again examine at greater length, because they are the prayers of a mother. And therefore, says Saint Peter Damian, the Blessed Virgin can do whatever she pleases both in heaven and on earth. She is able to raise even those who are in despair to confidence; and he addresses her in these words: "All power is given to thee in heaven and on earth, and nothing is impossible to thee, who canst raise those who are in despair to the hope of salvation."

And then he adds that "when the Mother goes to seek a favor for us from Jesus Christ" (whom the Saint calls the golden altar of mercy, at which sinners obtain pardon), "her Son esteems her prayers so greatly, and is so desirous to satisfy her, that when she prays, it seems as if she rather commanded than prayed, and was rather a queen than a handmaid. Jesus is pleased thus to honor His beloved Mother, who honored Him so much during her life, by immediately granting all that she asks or desires. This is beautifully confirmed by Saint Germanus, who addressing our Blessed Lady says: "Thou art the Mother of God, and all powerful to save sinners, and with God thou needest no other recommendation; for thou art the Mother of true life." — From
Glories of Mary, Chapter VI.
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