Sunday, December 25, 2016

What Child is This?

This Child is God.

(Picture from Holy Cards)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Fatima Jubilee Indulgence

From the National Catholic Register:
For the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, Pope Francis has decided to grant a plenary indulgence opportunity throughout the entire anniversary year, which began Nov. 27, 2016, and will end Nov. 26, 2017. The rector of the Fatima Shrine in Portugal, André Pereira, explained to CNA that the plenary indulgence can be obtained during the entire jubilee year. There are three ways of obtaining the indulgence, detailed in a statement on the shrine’s website. To obtain the plenary indulgence, the faithful must also fulfill the ordinary conditions: Go to confession and Communion, be interiorly detached from sin, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father. (Read more.)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Oblation of Saint Thérèse

On June 9, 1895, at the Carmel of Lisieux, Saint Thérèse made the Act of Oblation to Merciful Love. In her autobiography she said: "I received the grace to understand, more than ever, how much Jesus desires to be loved." Instead of offering herself as victim to the justice of God, as did other religious, taking upon themselves the "punishment reserved for sinners," Saint Thérèse decided to offer herself as a victim to the Merciful Love of God. She asked to be consumed as a holocaust in the fire of the Sacred Heart, in order to console that Heart and save souls. "Fire transforms all things into itself, " the saint wrote in her Act of Oblation. "I know that the fire of love is more sanctifying than the fire of Purgatory."
 
With her Act of Oblation, Saint Thérèse did not expect sufferings to go away. "I wish to suffer for Love's sake and for Love's sake even to rejoice...I will sing always, even if my roses must be gathered among thorns...." In a letter to her sister Celine, she explained: "The burden of our song is suffering. Jesus offers us a chalice of great bitterness. Let us not withdraw our lips from it, but suffer in peace. He who says peace does not say joy, or at least sensible joy....Do not think we can find love without suffering...."

Through her Oblation to Merciful Love, Saint Thérèse gained a deep insight into her Carmelite vocation. "I understand that love embraces all vocations, that it is all things, and that it reaches out through all ages, and to the uttermost limits of the earth, because it is eternal....In the heart of the Church my Mother, I will be love." She prayed that after her death she be allowed to "return to earth" to keep saving souls. She said: "I want to spend my heaven doing good upon earth."

"You will look down from Heaven, will you not?" asked her sister when Saint Thérèse was mortally ill. 

"No," replied the dying young woman. "I will come down." Another time she said: "After my death, I will let fall from Heaven a shower of roses." On September 30, 1897, in great mental and physical agony, the twenty-four year old nun, gasping for breath, proclaimed: "I do not regret having surrendered myself to Love." A few hours later, her last words were: "My God, I love You."

The miracles which followed her death took the Church and the world by storm.

(All quotations are from the book Soeur Thérèse of Lisieux, The Little Flower, 1912)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Michaelmas

Happy Michaelmas Day!

To St. Michael in Time of Peace

Michael of the Morning,
Michael of the Army of the Lord,
Stiffen thou the hand upon the still sword, Michael,
Folded and shut upon the sheathed sword, Michael,
Under the fullness of the white robes falling,
Gird us with the secret of the sword.
When the world cracked because of a sneer in Heaven,
Leaving out for all time a scar upon the sky,
Thou didst rise up against the Horror in the highest,
Dragging down the highest that looked down on the Most High:
Rending from the seventh heaven the hell of exaltation
Down the seven heavens till the dark seas burn:
Thou that in thunder threwest down the Dragon
Knowest in what silence the Serpent can return.

Down through the universe the vast night falling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning!)
Far down the universe the deep calms calling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Sword!)
Bid us not forget in the baths of all forgetfulness,
In the sigh long drawn from the frenzy and the fretfulness
In the huge holy sempiternal silence
In the beginning was the Word.

When from the deeps of dying God astounded
Angels and devils who do all but die
Seeing Him fallen where thou couldst not follow,
Seeing Him mounted where thou couldst not fly,
Hand on the hilt, thou hast halted all thy legions
Waiting the Tetelestai and the acclaim,
Swords that salute Him dead and everlasting
God beyond God and greater than His Name.

Round us and over us the cold thoughts creeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the battle-cry!)
Round us and under us the thronged world sleeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Charge!)
Guard us the Word; the trysting and the trusting
Edge upon the honour and the blade unrusting
Fine as the hair and tauter than the harpstring
Ready as when it rang upon the targe.

He that giveth peace unto us; not as the world giveth:
He that giveth law unto us; not as the scribes:
Shall he be softened for the softening of the cities
Patient in usury; delicate in bribes?
They that come to quiet us, saying the sword is broken,
Break man with famine, fetter them with gold,
Sell them as sheep; and He shall know the selling
For He was more than murdered. He was sold.

Michael, Michael: Michael of the Mustering,
Michael of the marching on the mountains of the Lord,
Marshal the world and purge of rot and riot
Rule through the world till all the world be quiet:
Only establish when the world is broken
What is unbroken is the Word.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Holy Name of Mary

On September 12, the fifth day within the octave of the Nativity of the Virgin, in 1683, the army of the Turkish Sultan, 300,000 strong, was miraculously defeated at the gates of Vienna after an attempt to sweep across Europe. The King of Poland, Jan Sobieski, had come to the aid of the Habsburg Emperor Leopold, and they attributed the victory to the fact that they had put the name of Mary on their banners, thus invoking the aid of the Mother of God. The triumph, won against overwhelming odds, saved Europe from becoming a Moslem colony, and September 12 became the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary.

"Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, as terrible as an army set in array?" Canticle of Canticles 6:9

"And the virgin's name was Mary...." St. Luke 1:27

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Little Way

From Vultus Christi:
My way is one of gentleness, of mercy, and of compassion. I offer My Cross to souls, but I never impose it, and when a soul begins to say “Yes” to the sweet and terrible exigencies of My love, I fit My Cross to her shoulders and, then, help her to carry it step by step, increasing its weight only as that soul grows in love and in the fortitude that comes from the Holy Spirit.

Conversions that are sudden and excessive are not My habitual way of leading souls in the way of holiness. I prefer to see souls advance by little steps along a way of spiritual childhood, trusting in Me to bring them to Calvary and to the fullness of joy in My presence and in the presence of My Father.

This way is no less demanding than the high road along which, by reasons known to Me alone, I lead certain other souls. The little way, marked by little steps, is, nonetheless, the way I prefer, because it perfects souls quickly in the image of My own littleness, My poverty, and My abandonment to the Father’s will. (Read more.)

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.)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Gabrielle de Bossis

From Mystics of the Church:
Gabrielle Bossis (1874-1950) was a Catholic Mystic and layperson who lived in France in the 20th century. Born in Nantes, France in 1874, she was the youngest child of a family of four children. As a child in a well to do family, she was taught and raised in proper social graces and etiquette, and she grew up to be a graceful, happy and high spirited young woman, but as from her childhood she possessed a strong yearning for God and the things of the Spirit. She obtained a Degree in Nursing, and enjoyed the fine arts of that time, including sculpting, painting, illuminating and music. Later in life she discovered that she had another talent- that of writing moral plays and also acting. From that point on until two years before her death she traveled extensively in France and abroad, producing her own plays and acting in the principal role. Those who still remember her remark about her infectious laughter and her unfailing charm.

On very rare occasions in her early life, Gabrielle had been surprised by a Mysterious Voice, which she heard and felt with awe, and sometimes anxious questionings, which she perceived to be the Voice of Christ. It was only at the age of 62, however, that this touching dialogue with the "Inner Voice" began in earnest, continuing (at least in her notes) until two weeks before her death on June 9, 1950.

The journal that she kept of her dialogue with the Inner Voice has been published in numerous languages under the title "He and I" (see note above) and has become a source of deep inspiration and edification for those who read it. Below are a few excerpts from this extraordinary dialogue between "the Inner Voice" and Gabrielle. (Read more.)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lough Derg and Croagh Patrick

Local tradition, as well as substantiated historical evidence and artifacts, prove that Saint Patrick did pray in seclusion on the island of Lough Derg, performing penances for his new flock of wayward Irish converts. It is called "Saint Patrick's Purgatory" because of the cave that was supposed to lead to the nether world. People are still able to make pilgrimages at this holy site, going barefoot and fasting on tea and toast, while sleeping in bee-hive cells, just like the old monks. It would be an interesting place for a retreat.

We often forget what St. Patrick endured to bring the faith to Ireland. The Irish had such a reputation for fierceness and piracy so that most missionaries were afraid to go there. Saint Patrick had suffered as a slave in Ireland (he would make a great patron of the enslaved) after being kidnapped from his home. That he would have the courage to return to the place of his degradation is amazingly heroic in itself. Once in Ireland as a missionary, Saint Patrick had many ordeals. The druids hated him and tried to kill him at least once; he was often hunted like an animal. In order to recollect himself and gain strength and grace for his apostolic endeavors, he would retreat to a mountain called "Croagh Patrick."

According to New Advent:

A mountain looking out on the Atlantic ocean from the southern shore of Clew Bay, in the County Mayo, and called "the Sinai of Ireland." In pagan times it was known as Cruachan Aigli. It rises in a perfect cone to a height of 2510 feet. The account given below is taken from sources that post-date the saint's death by three hundred years. There are, however, good reasons to believe that the traditions they embody are genuine, St. Patrick was careworn and fatigued when he came to this remote part of the country. He longed to retire for a while to refresh his soul in solitude, and for that purpose on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday in the year 441, he betook himself to the mountain top. Here he spent the days of Lent, chastising his body with fasts, pouring out his heart to God, and entreating Him with prolonged importunity and with tears that the Faith may not fail in the land of Erin. The "Book of Armagh" mentions that God summoned all the saints of Erin, past, present and future, to appear before their father in the Faith to comfort him with a vision of the teeming harvest his labours would produce, and to join him in blessing their kinsmen and their country.
It is good to know that even the great saints had times when they had to fight discouragement. They rejuvenated themselves by being alone with God. Croagh Patrick is still a place of pilgrimage.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The True Light of Epiphany

From Vultus Christi:
If one wants to know what God is offering one on any given day, one must open one’s missal and there, in the prayers of the Mass, discover those things for which the Church is asking. One may want other things. One may have other ideas. One may think one needs certain graces. The Church, however, in the sacred liturgy always asks for exactly the things one needs. To receive these things one must practice a certain abnegation. One must say to one’s soul:
My soul, thou hast thy desires; leave them all aside and enter into the desires of God. Thou hast thy plans and thy dreams; let go of them and lay hold of the plan of God so as to fulfil His dreams for thee. Thou hast thy preoccuptions, thy worries, thy anxieties, and thy needs; seek to discover what God would give thee, and ask for that thing. If thou askest for what God already desireth to give thee, thou art asking rightly and will be heard promptly, for God is quick to grant the things for which He Himself moveth us to ask.
(Read more.)
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