Thursday, September 29, 2016

Who is like God?

It is the feast of St. Michael the Archangel. The name "Michael" means "Who is like God?" It is a name which contains in itself the simplicity of the angelic being, for in those words the ineffable supremacy of God is magnified. It is a name which signifies the dark night of the soul in its ascent to God, for as St. John of the Cross says: "All the beauty of creatures compared to the infinite beauty of God is the height of ugliness." (The Ascent of Mount Carmel) In the eternal question "Who is like God?" many truths can be boiled into one: there is no one like God; He is our end, He is our ultimate and only goal, there is nothing else worth striving for if it is outside of Himself. While in our human nature it is impossible to obtain anything resembling the unwavering angelic attention and single-mindedness, it is possible in Christ to strive to model the dedication of St. Michael to the cause of God.

The Archangel Gabriel said to the Prophet Daniel: "And, behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me . . . and none is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince."(Daniel 10:13) In the midst of the present battle, may St. Michael be our champion, our brother, our protector, not only of individual souls but of the whole Church, the people of God.

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.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Novena to the Little Flower

It begins today. Here are some lovely recommended prayers:
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus,
Please pick a rose for me
From the heavenly gardens
And send it to me
As a message of love.
O little flower of Jesus,
Ask God today to grant the favors
I now place with confidence
In your hands.
(Mention your specific requests)
St. Therese, help me to always believe, As you did, In God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day. Amen


O Glorious St. Therese, whom Almighty God has raised up to aid and inspire mankind, I implore your Miraculous Intercession. You are so powerful in obtaining every need of body and spirit from the Heart of God. Holy Mother Church proclaims you 'Prodigy of Miracles... the Greatest Saint of Modern Times.' Now I fervently beseech you to answer my petition (mention here) and to carry out your promises of spending Heaven doing good on earth...of letting fall from Heaven a Shower of Roses. Little Flower, give me your childlike faith, to see the Face of God in the people and experiences of my life, and to love God with full confidence. St. Therese, my Carmelite Sister, I will fulfill your plea 'to be made known everywhere' and I will continue to lead others to Jesus through you. Amen

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Novena to Our Lady of Mercy

I ask whoever is able to join me in this novena to Our Lady of Mercy, also known as Our Lady of Ransom, for the women and girls who are enslaved by ISIS. The novena begins today and ends on September 23. September 24 is the feast of Our Lady of Ransom, a feast especially dedicated to the deliverance of the enslaved and unjustly imprisoned.
Blessed be Thou, O Mary, the honor and the joy of Thy people! On the day of Thy glorious Assumption, Thou didst take possession of Thy queenly dignity for our sake; and the annals of the human race are a record of Thy merciful interventions. The captives whose chains Thou hast broken, and whom Thou hast set free from the degrading yoke of the Saracens, may be reckoned in the millions. We are still rejoicing in the recollection of Thy dear Birthday; and Thy smile is sufficient to dry our tears and chase away the clouds of grief. And yet, what sorrows there are still upon the earth, where Thou Thyself didst drink such long draughts from the cup of suffering! Thou alone, O Mary, canst break the inextricable chains, in which the cunning prince of darkness entangles the dupes he has deceived by the high-sounding names of equality and liberty. Show thyself a Queen, by coming to the rescue. The whole earth, the entire human race, cries out to Thee, in the words of Mordochai: “Speak to the King for us, and deliver us from death!” (Esther 15: 3)
(State your request here)
Let us Pray. O God, Who through the most glorious Mother of Thy Son wast pleased to give new children to Thy Church for the deliverance of Christ's faithful from the power of the heathen, grant, we pray Thee, that we who affectionately honor her as the Foundress of so great a work, may, by her merits and intercession, be delivered from the slavery of sin and the eternal flames of Hell. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, One God, forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.
(Source)

Our Lady of Sorrows


"Holy Mother, pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour, crucified."
~ Stabat Mater

How well do the words of the Stabat Mater reflect the words of Simeon to Our Lady: "Thy own soul a sword shall pierce." (Luke 2:35) According to many saints, the Blessed Virgin suffered throughout her life, knowing that her Son was to undergo a cruel death. Her sufferings reached their climax at the foot of the Cross. As Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity wrote: "O Queen of Virgins, you are also the Queen of Martyrs; but it was written within your heart that the sword transpierced you, for with you everything took place within your soul."

Few are called to physical martyrdom, but all Christians are called to compassionate the Saviour at the foot of the Cross. Like the heart of Mary, the heart of the Holy Mother St. Teresa was also mystically pierced. We can apply to her, in a much lesser degree, of course, the Responsory from the Vespers of Our Lady of Sorrows: "Happy is she who without dying has won the martyr's crown." (Roman Breviary)

(Art courtesy of Vultus Christi)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Holy Cross Day

Today we celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. We are marked by the sign of the cross at our baptism. For the Christian, there is no escaping the cross. We elude one cross only to find another. And yet with God's help we can bear it with joy, for the cross is the ladder to paradise. If we have been given a few "light" crosses, than it is so that we have the strength to pray for those whose crosses are unbearable.

Here is the "Litany of the True Cross" (For Private Recitation Only).

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

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Nativity of Our Lady


"One is my love, my perfect one...she is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her."
~Canticle of Canticles 6: 8
 The month of September, the month of Our Lady of Sorrows, brings us the sacred day when the daughter of St. Joachim and St. Anne, conceived "full of grace," was born into this earth of sin and sorrow. Her birth was the dawn of salvation for all humanity, longing for the coming of the Redeemer. Few persons were aware that in the Child Mary, free from all stain of original sin, God had begun His work of the new creation.
Truly a better paradise than the first is given us at this hour. Eden, fear no more that man will endeavor to enter thee; thy Cherubim may leave the gates and return to heaven. What are thy beautiful fruits to us, since we cannot touch them without dying? Death is now for those who will not eat of the fruit so soon to appear amid the flowers of the virgin earth to which our God has led us." (Dom Gueranger, The Liturgical Year, Vol XIV)
 The child whose birth we celebrate on the eighth of September would one day be crowned Queen of the Universe by the Most Blessed Trinity. The earthly life of our Queen was characterized by poverty, by manual labor, exile, suffering and humiliation. The greatest, most important woman who ever lived spent her days busy with the thousand mundane, dreary tasks of an ordinary housewife in a backwater town, member of a despised people, living in a conquered nation. Although she was of the Davidic line, her royal descent, and that of her spouse St. Joseph, was seemingly forgotten.

Nevertheless, by reason of her Immaculate Conception, in the least action of the Blessed Virgin Mary there was an unfathomable glory, a treasury of merit which all the collective merits of all the angels and saints could not begin to equal. How contrary to the ways of the world, that such sublimity was veiled from the eyes of men.

In the words of Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD:
Our Lady's origin is wrapped in silence, as was her whole life. Thus, her birth speaks to us of humility. The more we desire to grow in God's eyes, the more we should hide ourselves from the eyes of creatures. The more we wish to do great things for God, the more we should labor in silence and obscurity. (Divine Intimacy, 1964)
 "And the virgin's name was Mary." (Luke 1: 27) Let the holy name of Mary, along with that of her divine Son, be an antidote to the poison of vainglory, a light for the darkness of sin and the moral ambiguities which so obstruct the paths of those striving for Christian perfection. May the humility and littleness of the Child Mary be the mark of her children. "O Mary my Mother, teach me to live hidden with you in the shadow of God." (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen's Divine Intimacy)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

St. Theresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus


One dawn at the Discalced Carmelite chapel in Florence, a lovely, fair-haired girl of seventeen, in white veil and bridal dress, walked slowly down the aisle, candle in her hand. Anna Maria Redi, the beloved eldest child of a noble Tuscan family, offered herself as spouse to the King of Heaven. In doing so, she exchanged wealth and comforts for poverty and humiliations. Joyfully, she gave up her silk dress for the rough brown habit of Our Lady, and undertook to serve Our Lady by adoring her Eucharistic Son.

Re-named "Theresa Margaret," she strove to console the Heart of Christ by performing many penances. One day at Vespers, the words Deus Caritas Est (God is love) sank deep into her soul. She realized that love (not hairshirts) was what counted most. "You know, my God," wrote St. Theresa Margaret, "that my one desire is to be a victim of your Sacred Heart, wholly consumed as a holocaust in the fire of your holy love...dispose of me according to your good pleasure...." she struggled to give up her own will, to be humble and obedient, even when it meant performing duties that were unpleasant, such as caring for a nun who had gone insane.

On March 7, 1770, at age 24, she died after 18 hours of agony due to a mysterious intestinal infection. The incorrupt body of St. Theresa Margaret lies in a glass coffin in the monastery chapel where she once entered as a bride.
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