Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Visitation


For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land....Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come....Show me thy face, let thy voice sound in my ears: for thy voice is sweet.... (Canticle of Canticles 2:11-12, 13-14)
 How appropriate that the month of May is crowned with the joyful feast of the Visitation. At the voice of Mary greeting her cousin Elizabeth, the infant St. John the Baptist received sanctifying grace and was cleansed of original sin. As St. Alphonsus Liquori wrote in The Glories of Mary those blessings were "the first graces which to our knowledge the Eternal Word granted on earth after His incarnation...thenceforward God made Mary the universal channel...through which all the other graces which which Our Lord is dispensed to us should pass." She whom the angel hailed as "full of grace" would be for all ages to come the "Mediatrix of Grace." "In me is all grace of the way and of the truth." (Ecclesiasticus 24:25)

We, too, are visited by Our Lady. Her prayers obtain for us many moments of actual grace. In the words of St. Francis de Sales in his Sermons on Our Lady: "Our Lady wants to visit us very often but we do not really want to receive her." Responding to grace means renunciation. To quote St. Francis de Sales again:
Transformation is the true mark of divine visitation. We would like to have revelations, but as a form of recreation...because they are sweet and pleasing. Now, God does not give them for that; always they must cost us something....We must then be firmly determined to suffer. And what? Dryness, aridity, disgust. It sometimes seems to us that we have been abandoned by God. You must endure all that if you wish to share in these visits, for to think we can be devout without suffering is a delusion. Where there is more difficulty, there is more virtue. (Sermons on Our Lady)
When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, Miriam, the sister of Moses, led the women in song: "Let us sing to the Lord, for He is gloriously magnified." (Exodus 15:20-21) At the Visitation, Mary carries the Hidden God within her. She is the new Ark of the Covenant. As the Ark of the Lord led the ancient armies of Israel to victory, so the Blessed Mother goes before the pilgrim church to the Promised Land of Heaven. At evening prayer, the Church daily recites the Canticle of Mary: "My soul doth magnify the Lord." (Luke 1:46) Her song of praise has become our own, even in the land of exile.

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.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sacred Heart Novena

Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

I. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of...... (here name your request)
Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father....Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of.......(here name your request) Our Father...Hail Mary....Glory Be To the Father....Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of.....(here name your request) Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father...Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.

Say the Hail, Holy Queen and add: St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.


-- St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pentecost

"For our God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:29

The fiftieth day after the Pasch is Pentecost. In the old dispensation Pentecost commemorated the fiery theophany on Mt. Sinai when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, establishing the Law for the Chosen People. (Exodus 19, 20) For Christians, the solemnity celebrates the birth of the New Israel, the Church, on the day when the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, accompanied by tongues of flame, upon the Apostles. The frightened, ordinary men were given the fortitude and courage to preach the Gospel in unknown tongues and to endure suffering and death for the name of Jesus. (Acts 2) "The Holy Spirit appeared under the form of fire because He consumes the dross of our sins, drives the darkness of ignorance out of our souls, melts the icy coldness of our hearts, and inflames us with the love of God and love of our neighbor...." (Fr. Spirago The Catechism Explained, p.220) The Third Person of the Blessed Trinity has never ceased to be poured out upon the Church; He is the soul of the Church, guiding her throughout the ages.

The Holy Spirit comes to each of us at our baptism and later at our Confirmation, which is our own personal Pentecost. There is much discussion today of the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as the gift of tongues, of prophecy, of discernment of spirits, of visions, etc. but they are extraordinary gifts given in special circumstances to benefit the Church and souls. The "ordinary" gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to each of us through the sacraments and it is for us to use and develop them. The seven gifts are wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord; it is these gifts which will make us into saints. They increase in proportion to the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. In the words of St. John of the Cross: "For the purer and the more refined in faith is the soul, the more it has of the infused charity of God; and the more charity it has, the more it is illumined and the more gifts of the Holy Spirit are communicated to it, for charity is the cause and means whereby they are communicated to it." (Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Book II, Ch. 29)

It is through prayer, the sacraments, and good works that we nourish the precious gifts of the Holy Spirit, invoking the Divine Paraclete Himself to inflame us with the fire of perfect charity. "If we do not become saints, it is not because the Holy Spirit does not will it-- He was sent to us and comes to us for this very purpose-- but it is because we do not give full liberty to His action." ( Fr Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD, Divine Intimacy, p.563) The Holy Spirit will Himself remove all obstacles to His work from our souls if we ask Him with perseverance and confidence. "Thus you, O Holy Spirit, when You come down from Heaven with the fiery dart of your divine love, You do not repose in proud hearts or in arrogant spirits, but You make Your abode in souls that are humble...in their own eyes." (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi, quoted in Divine Intimacy, p.559)

O Lux beatissima Reple cordis intima! "O Most Blessed Light, fill the inmost hearts of Thy faithful!" (The Golden Sequence, Veni Sancte Spiritus)
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