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.
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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mysteries of the Epiphany

From Vultus Christi:
The Five Mysteries of the Epiphany correspond to the five great Epiphany Gospels given us by the Church (in the traditional calendar and Liturgy) on the day of the Epiphany, 6 January; on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, 13 January; and on the Second, Third, and Fourth Sundays after Epiphany. Each of these Gospels presents a particular manifestation of the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Matthew 2:1-12, Our Lord makes himself known to the Magi by means of a star, and receives their adoration in Bethlehem.
And behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him. (Mt 2:9-11)
2. John 1:29-34 -- At His Baptism in the Jordan by John, the Holy Ghost descends in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father reveals Jesus as His Beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased.
Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened; And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon him; and a voice came from heaven: Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (Lk 3:21-22)
3. John 2:1-11 -- At the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee, Jesus, at His Mother's bidding, changes water into wine.
And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye. (Jn 2:3-5)
4. Matthew 8:1-13 -- Jesus, with a word, cleanses a leper.
And behold a leper came and adored him, saying: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus stretching forth his hand, touched him, saying: I will, be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. (Mt 8:2-3)
5. Matthew 8:23-27 -- Jesus calms the raging sea.
And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but he was asleep. And they came to him, and awaked him, saying: Lord, save us, we perish. And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm. (Mt 8:24-25)
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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy Birthday, St.Thérèse!


With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts. (3 Kings 19:10)~Motto of the Carmelite Order

Today is the birthday of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (1873-1897), whom Pope Pius XI hailed as being "the greatest saint of modern times." Her Little Way of love and self-surrender is vital to our modern materialistic age because she, like the sister of Lazarus, sought the "one thing necessary." (Luke 10:42) As she wrote to her sister Celine in 1889:
There is only one thing to do during the night, the one night of life which will come only once, and this is to love, to love Jesus with all the strength of our heart and to save souls for Him that He may be loved! (General Correspondence, Vol.I, ICS Publications, p.588)
In order to save souls, she was willing to embrace every suffering that came her way, from the petty annoyances of daily existence, to the physical and mental torments of the last months of her earthly life. In a letter to Celine, she exclaims:
Sanctity does not consist in saying beautiful things, it does not consist in thinking them, in feeling them!...It consists in suffering and suffering everything...A day will come when the shadows will disappear, and there will remain only joy, inebriation...Let us profit from our one moment of suffering...Let us see only each moment!...A moment is a treasure...one act of love will make us love Jesus better...it will bring us closer to Him during the whole of eternity...! (Ibid. pp 557-558)
Part of Saint Thérèse's secret of sanctity is that she kept the thought of eternity ever before her. "Just as this year passed, so also will our life pass, and soon we shall say: 'It is gone.' Let us not waste our time, soon eternity will shine for us." (Ibid, p.602)

Her profound realization of the shortness of life and her zeal for souls combined with a thirst for martyrdom. Through God's grace, she found the courage to face humiliations and disappointments that would have embittered lesser souls. Her father's mental deterioration and his committal to an asylum was a heavy trial for the teenage nun. Nevertheless, she wrote to Celine:
Let us die as martyrs! Unkown martyrdom, known to God alone, which the eye of the creature cannot cannot discover, a martyrdom without honor, without triumph....That is love pushed to the point of heroism....Let us hurry to fashion our crown; let us stretch forth our hand to seize the palm. And if we love much, if we love Jesus with a passion, He will not be so cruel as to leave us for a long time on this earth of exile....Celine, during the short moments that remain to us, let us not lose our time...let us save souls! (Ibid, p.578)
During her fatal illness, Saint Thérèse reflected upon upon a glass of brightly covered but foul-tasting medicine, comparing it to her own life.
My life in the eyes of others must have seemed to be filled with the most pleasant colors....To them, I seemed to be drinking an exquisite draft, but in reality it was bitterness. I say bitterness and yet my life has not been bitter, for I have been able to find joy and sweetness in all that bitterness. (Father Jamart, The Complete Spiritual Doctrine of St. Therese , p.217)
Truly her love for Christ and souls was heroic. In her autobiography, St. Thérèse wrote: "When thinking of the torments which will be the lot of Christians at the time of the Anti-christ, I feel my heart leap with joy, and I would like these torments to be reserved for me." (The Story of a Soul, trans. by Father John Clarke, p. 193) Such zeal led her to offer herself as a victim to the Merciful Love of God in order to save souls, longing to spend her heaven "doing good upon earth." (Ibid, p.263)

God has honored the desires of His Little Flower. The efficacy of her intercession has been experienced in every part of the globe; her writings have been pondered by popes, saints, and scholars; she has drawn many souls to holiness by her prayer and example. Her Christ-like humility is the antidote for the intellectual pride of our time. Her zeal counteracts our sloth and dullness of mind, so suffocated are we by an excess of comforts and stimuli. She is a prophet of eternal beatitude; a guide to heaven for those on the brink of despair. She is Carmel's gift to modern man. How appropriately a Carmelite nun expressed it in one of the hymns for October 1:
Yet joy itself could not portray
The surge of her immense desire

Nor cloister walls have strength to stay

A love that swept the world like fire.

(Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit, OCD)
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