Monday, July 27, 2015

Sacred Fire: Practicing Devotion to the Heart of Jesus

Sacred Fire by Philip Michael Bulman is a gem of a book about the development of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus among the Catholic faithful. From the words of Jesus Himself and the piercing of his Heart to the mystic writings of St. Gertrude and St. Margaret Mary, to the Carmelite saints and ending with St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy revelations, the author shows how the Sacred Heart devotion is firmly rooted in Scripture and Tradition. Not only has the devotion long been a part of the piety of the faithful but in times of crisis the symbol of the Heart of Our Savior has emerged with special power. The back of the book has many prayers, litanies and other devotions. Sacred Fire is a book for every Catholic household.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Elias as a Type of Our Savior

From St. Augustine:
Brethren dearly beloved, in the Lessons which are now being read to us day by day, I have warned you that we must not follow the letter which kills, and thereby abandon the quickening spirit.  For it is thus that the Apostle says: “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”  If we desire to understand only what is in the letter, we shall get little or no edification from our readings in the sacred Scriptures.  All those things whereof we hear were types and images of things to come; and those things which were foreshadowed in the history of the Jews are, by the gift of God, fulfilled in us.
The blessed Elias, for instance, was a type of the Saviour.  Just as Elias was rejected by Jewry, so was the true Elias, even our Lord, rejected and despised by Jewry.  Elias went away out of his own country, and Christ must needs leave the synagogue.  Elias went into the desert, and Christ has come into the world.  Elias, when he was in the desert, was fed by ravens, and Christ in the desert of this world is comforted by the faith of the Gentiles.

For the ravens which, at the command of the Lord, ministered to Elias, may be understood as a type of the flock of the Gentiles.  Wherefore also it is said for the Gentile Church: “I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem.”  Why is the Church black but comely?  She is black in the natural order but comely by grace.  Because she must own this truth: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”  Why is she comely by grace?  Because she can go on and say: “Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Read more.)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

St. James the Greater

This is the day to make a mystical pilgrimage to Compostela, to kneel at the tomb of the son of Zebedee, the tomb of Santiago, whose name was the battle cry of Spain.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Blessed Martyrs of Guadalajara

There were many atrocities perpetrated upon priests and religious in Spain during the bloody Civil War of the 1930's. In 1936, three Carmelite nuns were shot. Today is their feast, and here is their story. (More HERE, via The Inn at the End of the World)

"Soeur Espagne, sainte Espagne... tu as choisi!
Onze évêques, seize-mille prêtres massacrés... et pas une apostasie!"


~ Paul Claudel, "Aux martyrs espagnols"

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

St. Mary Magdalen

In the materialistic society in which we must work out our salvation, we have forgotten, if we ever knew at all, what it is to truly fall in love with God. The woman of Magdala, the courtesan of the Roman resort, knew the unhappiness and degradation of being exploited and used. The love of the Son of God, restoring her human dignity with His words and glance, caused her to throw herself at His feet, even as she shattered the jar of alabaster. With the precious ointment she gave her entire self in a complete oblation.

...And the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.
(John 12:3) The fragrance of her repentant love continues to emanate throughout the entire Church, the house of God, especially in the person of the consecrated religious, and all those who kneel in awe before the Blessed Sacrament.


The ancient tradition of the church tells of how the Magdalen, after Our Lord's Ascension into Heaven, went to the South of France and lived in solitude and contemplation in a cave on a mountain. It is that region in which was born the culture of chivalry and courtly love, St. Mary Magdalen was named the patroness of lovers, not of unsanctified love but of chaste love, of the love that requires sacrifice, unselfishness and renunciation in which to thriv
e. She represents the spiritual love which enhances the beauty of the union of bride and groom, that union which foreshadows nothing less than the union of Christ with His Bride the Church in the Paradise of eternity.

In the Litany of the Saints, St. Mary
Magdalen's name appears before the list of all the virgins, so highly prized is her humility and repentance by the Church. May she pray for all woman and girls who are being exploited and for our society, enslaved by its worship of license, a license which is opposed to true freedom. May she pray for my ongoing conversion, and accept this small virtual votive light for all the intentions I offer her today.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Gertrud von le Fort and the Martyrs of Compiègne

I have long been an admirer of Gertrud von le Fort and her novel Song at the Scaffold, about the Blessed Martyrs of Compiègne. Baroness von le Fort's short but powerful depiction of the sixteen Carmelite nuns guillotined in 1795 during the Reign of Terror was the inspiration for the play by Bernanos and the opera by Poulenc, Dialogues des Carmelites. To Quell the Terror by William Bush is an excellent historical treatise on the martyrdom of the Carmelites. It is not widely known that Queen Marie-Antoinette provided a dowry for a poor, pious girl named Mademoiselle Lidoine, so that she could enter the Carmel of Compiègne. Mademoiselle Lidoine became the Mother Prioress of the heroic Martyrs of Compiègne, who like Marie-Antoinette, died on the guillotine during the French Revolution.

There is more HERE from The Inn At The End of the World.

HERE is the final scene from Poulenc's opera.

Here is a short account of Gertrud von le Fort's life: 
Baroness Gertrude von Lefort (1876–1971) is the author of over 20 books (poems, novels and short stories), honorary Doctor of Theology and «the greatest contemporary transcendent poet». Her works are appreciated for their breath-taking profoundness and virtuosity, beauty and actuality of her ideas, and for the sophisticateGertrud von le Fortd refinement of the form. Hermann Hesse, who evaluated her talent, proposed her as a candidate for the Nobel Prize. 
Von le Fort was born in Westphalia, Germany, and studied at the Universities of Heidelberg and Berlin. A Protestant of Huguenot descent, von le Fort converted early to Catholicism.Her novel Die Letze am Schafott (The Last or Song at the Scaffold), by far her most famous work, was the basis for Dialogues of the Carmelites. Set during the time........... of the French Revolution, the von le Fort novel tells the story of a troubled, frightened, and strange girl, Blanche de la Force, who has lived in fear from the moment of her birth. To overcome her affliction, she decides to become a nun of Carmel. Little does she know that she is no safer from fear at this convent than in the secular world.
The character of Blanche was von le Fort’s creation, but the other nuns in the story historical figures. Notice the similarity of "von le Fort" to "de la Force." This was no coincidence: much of Gertrud von le Fort’s inspiration for her novel came from her own experiences during World War II and her hatred of Nazism.
She recorded the origin of her 1931 novel: "The point of departure for my creation was not primarily the destiny of the sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne but the figure of the young Blanche. In a historic sense she never lived, but she received the breath of life from my internal spirit, and she cannot be detached from the origin, which is hers. Born in the profound horror of a time darkened by the signs of destiny, this figure arose before me in some way as the embodiment of the mortal agony of an era going totally to its ruin."

Monday, July 6, 2015

Our Lady of America

Here is the story of the approved apparitions:
 It was on the eve of the feast of the North American martyrs, September 25, 1956, that Our Lady appeared to Sr. Mildred Mary Neuzil during a private Holy Hour in the chapel at Kneipp Springs in Rome City, Indiana. In 1938, Sr. Mildred began to have spiritual experiences. She thought little of them, presuming all religious have them. With their increase over the next ten years, she decided to bring them to her confessor who warned her of a possible over-active imagination. As these visits took on the nature of a specific program of devotion to Mary which Sr. Mildred was asked to propagate, she then turned to her bishop, Paul F. Leibold, as Our Lady had directed. Bishop Leibold, later Archbishop of the Cincinnati, Ohio archdiocese, would be her spiritual director from 1940 to 1972 when he died an untimely death due to an aneurysm. Archbishop Leibold had become so convinced of the authenticity of this message that he approved Sr. Mildred's Diary and placed his imprimatur on the sketch of the medal Our Lady had asked Sr. Mildred to have struck, a medal that would bear the image of Our Lady of America on the front and the symbol of the Christian Family and the Blessed Trinity on the back.

Our Lady promised that greater miracles than those granted at Lourdes and Fatima would be granted here in America, the United States in particular, if we do as she desires. Sr. Mildred Mildred stated that Our Lady called herself Our Lady of America in response to the love and desire that reached out for this special title in the hearts of her children in America. This title is a sign of Our Lady's pleasure in the devotion of her children of America towards her, and this visit is a response to the longing, conscious or unconscious, in the hearts of her children in America.

"It is the United States that is to lead the world to peace, the peace of Christ, the peace that He brought with Him from heaven," Sr. Mildred Mildred quoted the Virgin as saying. "Dear children, unless the United States accepts and carries out faithfully the mandate given to it by heaven to lead the world to peace, there will come upon it and all nations a great havoc of war and incredible suffering. If, however, the United States is faithful to this mandate from heaven and yet fails in the pursuit of peace because the rest of the world will not accept or cooperate, then the United States will not be burdened with the punishment about to fall." "Weep, then, dear children, weep with your mother over the sins of men," said Mary. "Intercede with me before the throne of mercy, for sin is overwhelming the world and punishment is not far away." "It is the darkest hour, but if men will come to me, my Immaculate heart will make it bright again with the mercy which my Son will rain down through my hands. Help me save those who will not save themselves. Help me bring once again the sunshine of God's peace upon the world."

"If my desires are not fulfilled much suffering will come to this land. My faithful one, if my warnings are taken seriously and enough of my children strive constantly and faithfully to renew and reform themselves in their inward and outward lives, then there will be no nuclear war. What happens to the world depends upon those who live in it. There must be much more good than evil prevailing in order to prevent the holocaust that is so near approaching. Yet I tell you, my daughter, even should such a destruction happen because there were not enough souls who took my warning seriously, there will remain a remnant, untouched by the chaos who, having been faithful in following me and spreading my warnings, will gradually inhabit the earth again with their dedicated and holy lives."

On October 13, 1956, Our Lady again appeared as Our Lady of America, but instead of a lily in her hand, she held, with both hands, a small replica of the finished Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. "This is my shrine, my daughter. I am very pleased with it. Tell my children I thank them. Let them finish it quickly and make it a place of pilgrimage. It will be a place of wonders. I promise this. I will bless all those who, either by prayers, labor, or material aid, help to erect this shrine." According to Sr. Mildred Mildred, Our Lady often emphasized her desire that the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., be made a place of special pilgrimage and that she be honored there under this image and this title "Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin."

Strong warnings were repeated by Our Lady throughout 1957 and 1958, and there-after, indicating that the hour grows late and Sr. Mildred must tell the Bishops of the United States of Our Lady's desires and how she wishes them to be carried out. Our Lady spoke: "Unless my children reform their lives, they will suffer great persecution. If man himself will not take upon himself the penance necessary to atone for his sins and those of others, God in His justice will have to send upon him the punishment necessary to atone for his transgressions." (Read more.)
More HERE.

Here are some more of the messages of Our Lady of America (from a 2008 article):
 Now, at last, we come to the prophesies of Our Lady of America. Here is a several-paragraph excerpt describing one apparition. The emphasis is mine.

On the evening of the feast of the Most Holy Rosary, October 7, 1957, Our Lady again appeared. Her hands were clasped in an attitude of prayer. Her look was serious, though her countenance retained its usual deep serenity. Hanging from her right hand was a blue rosary of a glass-like quality. I was conscious of the fact that what she was about to say to me was not only very grave but of the utmost importance. Our Lady reiterated in a similar manner her first warnings:

“My beloved daughter, what I am about to tell you concerns in a particular way my children in America. Unless they do penance by mortification and self-denial and thus reform their lives, God will visit them with punishments hitherto unknown to them.

“My child, there will be peace, as has been promised, but not until my children are purified and cleansed from defilement, and clothed thus with the white garment of grace, are made ready to receive this peace, so long promised and so long held back because of the sins of men.

“My dear children, either you will do as I desire and reform your lives, or God Himself will need to cleanse you in the fires of untold punishment. You must be prepared to receive His great gift of peace. If you will not prepare yourselves, God will Himself be forced to do so in His justice and mercy.

Making the rosary a family prayer is very pleasing to me. I ask that all families strive to do so. But be careful to say it with great devotion, meditating on each mystery and striving to imitate in your daily lives the virtues depicted therein. Live the mysteries of the rosary as I lived them, and it will become a chain binding you to me forever. They who are found in the circle of my rosary will never be lost. I myself will lead them at death to the throne of my Son, to be eternally united to Him.

‘”Write these words upon your hearts, my dear children, because of the compassion I have for you in my Immaculate Heart. Oh, if you knew the punishments I am holding back from you by my pleading and intercession on your behalf!

“Will you do as I wish at last, my children?” (Read more.)
There is a movement to petition His Holiness Pope Francis to enthrone the statue of Our Lady of America at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in September of 2015.

Statement of the local Ordinary on the apparitions of Our Lady of America.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

God Save America


3 And I set my face to the Lord my God, to pray and make supplication with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes. 4 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. 5 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)
(Artwork courtesy of Holy Cards for your Inspiration)
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