Saturday, October 20, 2018

A Very Great Silence

Anne of Austria doing penance with Mother Mectilde and the nuns
From Fr Mark:
Catherine–Mectilde de Bar (1614 –1698) lived in times no less troubled and troubling than our own. The life of the Church in her day was marked by worldliness; lust for power; shameful compromises with Mammon; scandals among the clergy and in cloisters; desecrations of the Most Blessed Sacrament; and not a little dabbling in the occult. At the same time, the Church was blossoming prodigiously; a true spiritual springtime followed the Council of Trent. Immense graces were in evidence everywhere: the reform of priestly life; zeal for missionary labours; the institution of good seminaries; the reform of ancient Orders; the foundation of new ones; and underlying it all, a wonderful application to prayer by people in every state of life.

Monasteries have always been listening posts. One might imagine that, given the monastic enclosure — a real and effective separation from the world — and the investment of so many hours of the day in divine worship, work, study, and solitary prayer, little of what generates controversy in the wider Church would impinge upon the silence of the cloister. Not so, not so. Clergy and layfolk alike learned centuries ago that monks are good listeners. Although we monks have neither television nor newspapers, although we have rigorous norms with regard to the use of the internet, and exercise discretion and prudence in such things as reading blogs and frequenting the hubs of the “Catholic” internet, we often find ourselves in the awkward position of being well informed! What then? We choose silence over discourse, prayer over debate, and praise and adoration over what the psalmist calls, “the contradiction of tongues” (Psalm 30:21). Still we “hear tell of wars, and rumours of war” (Matthew 24:6) even within the Church. What is our response? (Read more.)

Do it as you can and as God will permit you to do it.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Novena to St. Jude

It's that time of the year again. It is time to go to the Apostle and Martyr St. Jude Thaddeus with petitions for his aid in some hopeless and desperate situations and for certain hopeless and desperate persons (including myself).

Novena Prayer
Saint Jude, glorious apostle, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor has caused you to be forgotten by many. But the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of difficult and desperate cases, of things despaired of. Pray for me who am so miserable. Make use, I implore you, of that particular privilege accorded to you to bring visible and speedy help where help was almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations and sufferings, particularly — (here make your request) — and that I may bless God with you and all the elect throughout all eternity.

I promise you, O blessed JUDE, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor you as my special and powerful patron and do all in my power to encourage devotion to you. Amen.

Saint Jude, pray for us and for all who honor you and invoke your aid.

(Say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father, 3 times.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Paray-le-Monial, 1689


In 1689, St. Margaret Mary confided in a letter to her superior Mother de Saumaise about a vision of Our Lord she had recently experienced. Here are the words of Our Lord concerning France and the consecration to the Sacred Heart as she recorded them:
He desires, then, it seems to me, to enter with pomp and magnificence into the palaces of kings and princes, therein to be honored as much as He has been despised, humiliated, and outraged in His Passion. May He receive as much pleasure therein at seeing the great ones of the world abasing and humbling themselves before Him as He once felt bitterness at beholding Himself annihilated at their feet!
Here are the words that I heart on this point: 'MAKE KNOWN TO THE ELDEST SON OF MY HEART,' SPEAKING OF OUR KING, 'THAT AS HIS TEMPORAL BIRTH WAS OBTAINED THROUGH DEVOTION TO THE MERITS OF MY HOLY CHILDHOOD, IN THE SAME MANNER HE WILL OBTAIN HIS BIRTH OF GRACE AND ETERNAL GLORY BY THE CONSECRATION THAT HE WILL MAKE OF HIMSELF TO MY ADORABLE HEART, which wishes to triumph over those of the great ones of the world. IT WISHES TO REIGN IN HIS PALACE, TO BE PAINTED ON HIS STANDARDS AND ENGRAVEN ON HIS ARMS, IN ORDER TO RENDER HIM VICTORIOUS OVER ALL HIS ENEMIES.'

In The Life of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque the Right Reverend Emile Bougaud comments thus:
To comprehend Almighty God's request with regard to the standard, we must recall that, from the earliest ages, France had always had a sacred standard, one that was not borne to vulgar combats; one that rested in the sanctuary of St. Denis under the shadow of the country's holy protectors. It was removed from its sacred shrine only when the monarch headed the army, when it was solemnly sought in the hour of the greatest danger, or when it was to be carried afar to the holy wars. It symbolized the religious soul of France, and floated like a sacred prayer amid the nation's banners. It was a standard of this kind that God had given to Joan of Arc. He had prescribed its form and emblems, and communicated to it the secret virtue that roused exhausted France to unhoped-for triumphs. Today, through the lips of the virgin of Paray, God asked of the king of France something of the same kind, a sacred standard which was to symbolize an act of faith. It was to be borne side by side with the nation's flag, and, in a voice that could be distinctly heard above the proverbial bravado of her enemies, proclaim that France places her trust in the blessing of God.
When St. Margaret Mary did not hear from her superior, she wrote again:
Live + Jesus!
August, 1689,
The Eternal Father, wishing to repair the bitterness and agony that the Adorable Heart of His Divine Son endured in the palaces of earthly princes, amidst the humiliations and outrages of His Passion, wishes to establish His empire in the heart of our great monarch, of whom He desires to make use in the execution of His designs, which is to have an edifice erected in which shall be a picture of His divine Heart, to receive the consecration and homage of the king and all the court.
Moreover, this divine Heart wishes to make itself the defender of the sacred person of the king, his protector against all his enemies. Therefore has it chosen him as its faithful friend, to have the Mass authorized by the Holy Apostolic See, and to obtain all the other privileges that ought to accompany devotion to this divine Heart.
It is by this divine Heart that God wishes to dispense the treasures of His graces of sanctification and salvation, by bestowing His benediction on the king's undertakings, according a happy success to his arms, and making him triumph over the malice of his enemies
.
Fr. Bougaud makes the following assessment:
We have not Mother de Saumaise's answer to his letter of August, 1689. She who had known how to reach Rome and arouse the thoughts of the Sovereign Pontiffs would neglect nothing to to reach even Louis XIV. We know that she had recourse to the Superioress of the Visitation of Chaillot, the refuge of Mlle. de la Fayette, where dwelt the queen of England, and which held, so to say, its door open to the court of Louis XIV. Might it happen that Pere de la Chaise would not dare to speak of it to the king? Might it happen that Louis XIV's soul would not be sufficiently humble to comprehend the Christian grandeur of such a thought? Be that as it may, those tender and magnanimous advances to the Heart of Jesus were not understood, and Margaret Mary's last admonitions were without avail, were lost in oblivion. They were, indeed, her last words, we are at the close of 1689, and she was nearing her death.
1689! Involuntarily we pause at this date, for it evokes another, 1789! A century has just rolled by between the epoch in which the humble virgin, hidden in the depths of a cloister, pointed out to Louis XIV the ark of salvation prepared for him by the goodness of God, and that other epoch in which arose the storm that was to sweep away the monarchy, and with it all other monarchies. If told in the days of his splendor of the perils in store in France, of the necessity of seeking a remedy, a shelter far above man, yea, even in the Adorable Heart of Jesus, Louis XIV would have smiled incredulously. And yet this was true. From Louis XIV France descended to Louis XV, from Louis XV to Voltaire, from Voltaire to Robespierre and Marat; that is to say, from pride to corruption, from corruption to impiety, and from both the one and the other to a hatred of God and man which was to bring about her universal punishment. (Right Reverend Emile Bougaud, The Life of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. Published in 1890 by Benziger Brothers. Re-printed by TAN Books and Publishers, 1990, pp. 267-273.)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Feast of Our Holy Mother St. Teresa


The following is an account of the death of the Great Teresa on October 4, 1582 at Alba de Tormes, by her secretary Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew.
Two days before she died, she asked to be given the Most Holy Sacrament, for she knew now that she was dying. On seeing that they were bringing it to her, see sat up in bed in such a spirited way that it looked as if she were going to get up, so they had to restrain her. Then she said, with great joy: "My Lord, it is time to set out...." She gave hearty thanks to God that she was a daughter of the Church and was dying as such, saying that through the merits of Christ she hoped to be saved, and she asked us all to beseech God to pardon her sins and to look, not at them, but only at His own mercy. With great humility she asked pardon of all, telling them not to take into account the things she had done and the bad example she had set them.
When the sisters saw that she was dying, they begged her to say something to them that would be to their profit, and she entreated them, for the love of God, to keep strictly to their Rule and Constitutions. There was nothing that she wished to add to this. Afterwards, she said little more save for repeating again and again that verse of David which says: Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus; cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies ("A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit, a humble and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise." Psalm 50:19, The Vulgate) Especially the phrase cor contritum-- this she kept repeating till she could say no more. Before this she had asked for Extreme Unction which she received with great devotion.

On St. Francis' Day, at nine o'clock in the evening, Our Lord took her to be with Him and left us all in such sorrow and grief that, if I had to describe it here, there would be a great deal to say. I heard a few things which the Holy Mother said before she expired, but so wonderful are they that I shall not set them down here. My superiors can relate them if they think it well to do so.


(from Msgr. Doheny's Selected Writings of St. Teresa)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Rosary: Our Greatest Weapon

From U Catholic:
Amid this dark persecution, Pope Saint Pius V reminisced about King David who raised his eyes, weeping but full of hope, to the Lord of refuge:

“A song of ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2).

And so, Pope Pius urged all Christians across Europe to invoke Our Lady’s intercession through the rosary: Following the example of our predecessors, seeing that the Church militant, which God has placed in our hands, in these our times is tossed this way and that by so many heresies, and is grievously troubled and afflicted by so many wars, and by the depraved morals of men, we also raise our eyes, weeping but full of hope, unto that same mountain, whence every aid comes forth… (Pope Saint Pius V, Consueverunt Romani Pontifices, 17 September 1569).

He also called upon all the Christian princes of Europe to unite against this imminent threat and form the Holy League – to be commanded by the 24-year-old Don John of Austria. But on October 7, 1571, the morning of the Battle of Lepanto, the odds were stacked against the Holy League. Not only were they severely outnumbered by the Ottoman army, but the wind was against them. Clinging to their last glimmer of hope, Don John and his army turned to prayer. Suddenly, by the end of the day, the wind shifted in favor of the Holy League who defeated the Ottomans and liberated the 12,000 Christian slaves.

The powerful weapon of the rosary saved Christendom from the clutches of the Ottoman invaders. And so, Pope Pius V established that October 7 would be the feast day in honor of Our Lady of Victory as their triumph was attributed to the Virgin Mary’s intercession.

Our Lady’s powerful role in fighting the battles of the Lord and conquering evil through fortitude and patience is beautifully depicted in the private revelations of Venerable Mary of Agreda (1602-1665), a Spanish Franciscan nun. After Jesus’ death, Our Lady, accompanied by St John, was on her way to the Council of Apostles. During the voyage from Ephesus to Jerusalem, Mary of Agreda saw how Satan and his terrifying army of demons appeared before Our Lady to threaten her. But she defeated them.
“Lucifer and his demons with increasing fury threatened the powerful Queen by telling her that she would perish in this sea and not escape alive. But these and other threats were but spent arrows and the most prudent Mother despised them, not even listening to them, or looking upon the demons, or speaking to them a single word. They themselves, on the other hand, could not bear even to glance at her face on account of the virtue of the Most High shining from it. And the more they strove to overcome this virtue, the weaker they became and the more were they tormented by those offensive weapons, with which the Lord had clothed his most holy Mother” (Mystical City of God, Book 8, Chapter 2).

And in the same way, Our Lady is a powerful intercessor for us, especially when we invoke her protection through the Holy Rosary. How did this ancient weapon come to be? (Read more.)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Dance of the Sun

October 13 marks the 101th anniversary of the final apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, when the sun swirled in the sky, a phenomenon witnessed by thousands of people. The three children-- Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta-- saw Our Lady appear as the joyful Virgin Mother, the Sorrowful Mother, and finally as Our Glorious Lady of Mount Carmel. They also saw St. Joseph in the sky, holding the Child Jesus. In his book entitled St. Joseph, Fatima, and Fatherhood, Monsignor Joseph A. Cirrincione offers some thought-provoking reflections.
The role of the priest in relation to Christ is strikingly analogous to the role of St. Joseph in relation to God the Father. Just as the Eternal Father willed to share His Fatherhood with St. Joseph...so Jesus willed to share His Fatherhood with the priest.... (p.28)
Likewise, "the sun stands out in a special way as a symbol and figure of God, and also of His Church...." Monsignor goes on to say that at Fatima "the 'miracle of the sun' represents not so much a threat of evils to come as it does a foreshadowing of the dethronement of God the Father, and an intimation of the appalling consequences inevitably to follow." One month after the "dance" of the sun in Fatima, the Communists took control of Russia.
The combination of atheism and secularism-- which practically speaking amounts to the universal and official rejection of the Fatherhood of God by mankind across the entire face of the earth....And I believe it was foreshadowed by the 'miracle of the sun' at Fatima in 1917.

[....]
Rejection of the Fatherhood of God by the vast majority of mankind inevitably has set in motion a chain reaction of consequences affecting fatherhood under every aspect that we have considered here. The notion of fatherhood in many families, for example, has been reduced to a biological fact. And the role of the father as the head of the family has completely gone out of style...the disintegration of the family inexorably and inevitably is leading to the disintegration of society itself....But the spirit of anti-fatherhood has entered even the Catholic Church. Recognition of the fatherhood of the Vicar of Christ...has eroded to an alarming degree...the role of priestly fatherhood is now coveted by women, seeking to escape the noble destiny which God has prepared for their sex, but which nevertheless they are taught to regard as drudgery. (pp.40-41)
Our Lady of Fatima's remedy for societal and moral ills is return to God throug the prayer of the rosary, consecration to her Immaculate Heart (symbolized by wearing the brown scapular), and the loving performance of our daily duties. It is becoming increasingly more difficult for Christians to perform the most basic duties of their individual states of life. Yet it is the fulfillment of our ordinary duties upon which our salvation depends. Let us have an ever increasing confidence in the prayers and protection of the Mother of Mercy.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Our Lady of the Pillar

"I dwelt in the highest places, and my throne is in a pillar of cloud." Ecclesiasticus 24:7
On this feast day, Columbus first glimpsed the New World, bringing with him a great devotion to Our Lady, as Plinthos explains:
The ship that brought Columbus was Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Spanish Catholics have had a clear and unrelenting devotion to the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary for at least five hundred years.

Just thirty nine years later Our Lady herself from Guadalupe converted millions in New Spain to faith in Jesus Christ. There were countless tireless and very effective Spanish missionaries in the first century of the evangelization of America, including the Apostle of South America. It is no accident that the patroness of USA, therefore, is The Immaculate Conception. She was brought here on Columbus Day!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Montjoie Saint Denis!



It is the feast of St. Denis the martyr, whose name was the battle-cry of France. Montjoie Saint-Denis referred to the oriflamme, the ancient banner of the kings of France.The Carmel of St. Denis was where Blessed Thérèse of Saint Augustine sought the rigors and joys of the monastic life. The Basilica of Saint Denis is where St. Denis was buried along with most of the kings and queens of France, until the tombs were despoiled during the French Revolution.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Venimus, Vidimus, Deus Vicit!

From Roman Catholic Man:
By the grace of God, and the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, evil sees its power diminishing and, as a result, we are seeing a gigantic temper tantrum from every force of evil. While tens of thousands prayed the 54 Day Rosary Novena from August 15 (Feast of the Assumption) to October 7 (Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary), more and more evil was being revealed. On the eve of Day One (August 15) of the 54 Day Rosary Novena, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on Catholic Church sex abuse went public. Seven days later, on the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, Archbishop Vigano penned his explosive 11-page letter exposing cover-up of sexual abuse in the Church at the highest levels.

It was during the final 9-days of the 54 Day Rosary Novena that we were exposed to some of the worst of evils. Radical secular forces were willing to destroy a man’s life – Judge Kavanaugh – in order to preserve their great sacrament of baby killing. It was during this time that we all called upon St. Michael and his army of angels, by way of the very powerful Chaplet of St. Michael. As horrifically evil this attack was, truth and goodness won out.

On October 6, the First Saturday of the month, Vice President Pence made it official – Senate vote in favor of Judge Kavanaugh – at precisely 3:00pm CST. Also, this was “exactly” 24 hours, to the minute, before the Worldwide Rosary. This is monumental, as it is possibly the most conservative constitutional Supreme Court since 1934. This means that, for a generation to come, radical secular forces will not be able to abuse the Supreme Court to implement their evil anti-God agenda. (Read more.)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Our Lady of Victory


Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth....for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God....Thou art the glory of Jerusalem, thou art the joy of Israel, thou art the honour of our people....(Judith 13:23-25, 15:10 )
It is the anniversary of the battle of Lepanto, now known as the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Victory. The young girl holding the dagger and kneeling before Our Lady in the painting is St. Justina the Virgin-Martyr, on whose feast was the day of the victory.

Here is a history of the rosary.

Don Marco discusses the comfort of the beads.
Sacramentals should be things of beauty. The soul thrives in an environment of chaste loveliness, harmony, and order. Finely crafted beads invite to prayer. There is no shame in going to God by means of the senses He has given us. The Word became flesh so that we, in our flesh and not in spite of it, might be able to go to God. (Read more.)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

St. Francis of Assisi


It is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and so let us pray for Our Holy Father on his name-day. Here is an excerpt from one of his letters:
It was through his archangel, Saint Gabriel, that the Father above made known to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary that the worthy, holy and glorious Word of the Father would come from heaven and take from her womb the real flesh of our human frailty. Though he was wealthy beyond reckoning, he still willingly chose to be poor with his blessed mother. And shortly before his passion he celebrated the Passover with his disciples. Then he prayed to his Father saying: Father, if it be possible, let this cup be taken from me. 
Nevertheless, he reposed his will in the will of his Father. The Father willed that his blessed and glorious Son, whom he gave to us and who was born for us, should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made, but for our sins. It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in his footsteps. (Read more.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Feast of the Guardian Angels

Here is a brief history of the liturgical feast of the Holy Guardian Angels:
This feast, like many others, was local before it was placed in the Roman calendar.... Paul V placed it (27 September, 1608) among the feasts of the general calendar as a double "ad libitum" (Bäumer, op. cit., II, 277)....At the request of Ferdinand of Austria, afterwards emperor, he made them obligatory in all regions subject to the Imperial power; to all other places he conceded them ad libitum, to be celebrated on the first available day after the Feast of the Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel. It is believed that the new feast was intended to be a kind of supplement to the Feast of St. Michael, since the Church honoured on that day (29 September) the memory of all the angels as well as the memory of St. Michael.... Among the numerous changes made in the calendar by Clement X was the elevation of the Feast of Guardian Angels to the rank of an obligatory double for the whole Church to be kept on 2 October, this being the first unoccupied day after the feast of St. Michael....Finally Leo XIII (5 April, 1883) favoured this feast to the extent of raising it to the rank of a double major.
The following is an old English bed-time prayer for children, of which there are many variations:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
Bless this bed that I lay on.
Before I lay me down to sleep,
I give my soul to Christ to keep.
Four corners to my bed,
Four angels 'round my head,
One to watch, one to pray,
And two to bear my soul away.
I go by sea, I go by land,
The Lord made me with his right hand,
If any danger come to me,
Sweet Jesus Christ, deliver me.
For he's the branch and I'm the flower,
Pray God send me a happy hour,
And if I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Needless to say, the belief in angel guardians is of ancient origin and has a strong Biblical foundation, as the Book of Exodus bears witness:
20 Behold I will send my angel, who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. 21 Take notice of him, and hear his voice, and do not think him one to be contemned: for he will not forgive when thou hast sinned, and my name is in him. 22 But if thou wilt hear his voice, and do all that I speak, I will be an enemy to thy enemies, and will afflict them that afflict thee. 23 And my angel shall go before thee.... (Exodus 23:20-23)
Recta Ratio has some pictures and some thoughts as well. More HERE.

And here is the prayer duet from the opera Hansel and Gretel.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Pray Psalm 40 for the Kavanaugh Family



Please pray Psalm 40 (or Psalm 39 in the Vulgate) for the Kavanaugh family.
... [1] Unto the end, a psalm for David himself. ... [2] With expectation I have waited for the Lord, and he was attentive to me. ... [3] And he heard my prayers, and brought me out of the pit of misery and the mire of dregs. And he set my feet upon a rock, and directed my steps. ... [4] And he put a new canticle into my mouth, a song to our God. Many shall see, and shall fear: and they shall hope in the Lord. ... [5] Blessed is the man whose trust is in the name of the Lord; and who hath not had regard to vanities, and lying follies.... [6] Thou hast multiplied thy wonderful works, O Lord my God: and in thy thoughts there is no one like to thee. I have declared and I have spoken they are multiplied above number. ... [7] Sacrifice and oblation thou didst not desire; but thou hast pierced ears for me. Burnt offering and sin offering thou didst not require: ... [8] Then said I, Behold I come. In the head of the book it is written of me ... [9] That I should do thy will: O my God, I have desired it, and thy law in the midst of my heart. ... [10] I have declared thy justice in a great church, lo, I will not restrain my lips: O Lord, thou knowest it.... [11] I have not hid thy justice within my heart: I have declared thy truth and thy salvation. I have not concealed thy mercy and thy truth from a great council. ... [12] Withhold not thou, O Lord, thy tender mercies from me: thy mercy and thy truth have always upheld me. ... [13] For evils without number have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I was not able to see. They are multiplied above the hairs of my head: and my heart hath forsaken me. ... [14] Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me, look down, O Lord, to help me. ... [15] Let them be confounded and ashamed together, that seek after my soul to take it away. Let them be turned backward and be ashamed that desire evils to me. [16] Let them immediately bear their confusion, that say to me: Tis well, tis well. ... [17] Let all that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say always: The Lord be magnified. ... [18] But I am a beggar and poor: the Lord is careful for me. Thou art my helper and my protector: O my God, be not slack.

St.Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face


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

Today is the feast 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)

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Angels Everywhere

From Fr. Mark on the feast of St. Michael:
Are we in danger of forgetting the angels? While the liturgy mentions them repeatedly, all too often we assist at the Sacred Mysteries as if the angels were not there, joining in our praises, observing our attitudes, grieving over lack of zeal, and rejoicing to see us recollected and reverent. Saint Benedict speaks explicitly of the presence of the angels in Chapter 19 of the Rule: “We must therefore consider how we should behave in the sight of the Divine Majesty and his Angels, and as we sing our Psalms let us see to it that our mind is in harmony with our voice” (RB 19:6-7).
One thing is certain. We need the angels. God created the angels for the praise of his glory and for our salvation, that is, to participate in his work of bringing us to wholeness, to peace, and to life everlasting in his presence. The angels are sent to us to comfort us in the hour of trial and affliction. Saint Luke, the evangelist most sensitive to angelic interventions, relates that an angel was sent to console Jesus during His agony in the garden (cf. Lk 22:43).
The angels are sent to bring us the healing of heavenly medicine, and the brightness of God’s deifying light. The angels are sent before every advent of the Word, to dispose our hearts and unstop our ears. The angels are sent before Christ, our Priest and our Victim, present in the offering of His Body and of His Blood. The angels are sent to bear our prayers up to heaven, and to descend to us, laden with heavenly blessings. The angels protect us in all our ways. They do all of these things gladly, joyfully, and unhesitatingly in obedience to the command of God. (Read more.)

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.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Our Lady, Undoer of Knots

Today is the feast of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, a very old and traditional devotion. Here is a novena for Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation and in preparation for the feast of Our Lady of Victory on October 7.
Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots. 
Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exist in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exists in my life. You know very well how desperate I am, my pain, and how I am bound by these knots. Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. No one, not even the evil one himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone. Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot. (Mention your requests here - especially for Judge Kavanaugh to be confirmed to the Supreme Court) I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all. You are my hope. O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution, and, with Christ, the freedom from my chains. Hear my plea. Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge! Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me. Amen.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Monsieur Vincent


He is a saint who reminds us of what it is to be a Catholic. Orthodoxy and true belief cannot get one very far if not accompanied by love, kindness, patience, humility, and effective intervention on behalf of the poor. St. Vincent de Paul renounced his early clerical ambition in order to become a servant of the indigent. His manner was characterized by courtesy and wisdom, tempered by shrewd insight, which made his counsel sought by bishops and kings. St. Vincent was a friend of both St. Francis de Sales and King Louis XIII. The humble priest intervened in matters of great import for Church and state, as is told here:
The great political and religious conflict known as the Thirty Years War was now raging. Vincent, on hearing of the wretchedness of the people of Lorraine, collected alms for them in Paris. He sent missionaries to other countries affected by the war. Recalling his own sorrows as a slave in Tunisia, he raised enough money to ransom some twelve hundred Christian slaves in Africa. He had influence with the powerful Cardinals Richelieu and De Retz, directors of French foreign policy; and was sent for by King Louis XIII, to minister to him as he lay dying. The king's widow, Anne of Austria, now Queen Regent, had him made a member of the Council of Conscience of the five-year-old prince, the future Louis XIV. Vincent continued to be in favor at court, and during the civil war of the Fronde, tried to persuade the Queen Regent to give up her unpopular minister, Cardinal Mazarin, to help pacify and unify the people. (Read more.)
It was St. Vincent who later appeared to St. Catherine Labouré, encouraging her to join his order. It was on his feast in 1830, formerly kept on July 19, that St. Catherine had the first of the amazing apparitions at the Rue de Bac, which were to have such immense significance to France and to the world.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Our Lady of Ransom


This is a special feast for all who suffer any type of enslavement. The origins of the Feast can be found in the little known Mercedarian Order. This was founded in the early thirteenth century by St Peter Nolasco and St Raymond of Penafort (who can both be seen at Our Lady's feet in the picture above) to ransom Christian slaves taken by the Muslims during their frequent raids on Europe. The Order's original name was the 'Order of the Virgin Mary of Mercy of the Redemption of Captives of St Eulalia' (an early martyr venerated in Barcelona). Christian captives in Muslim lands were a huge problem up until the seventeenth century. Barbary pirates even troubled English waters - 466 English ships were taken between 1609 and 1616 and a thousand people were taken captive after a raid on the West Country in 1625. We ask Our Lady of Ransom to intercede for Christians who experience hardships in Muslim countries today. Mother of Mercy, pray for us!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

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

Friday, September 21, 2018

Novena to St. Michael

Let us unite in praying together the Novena to St. Michael the Archangel for Judge Kavanaugh.
Saint Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and His people, I turn to you with confidence and seek your powerful intercession. For the love of God, Who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer. You know the value of my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and people. And since you are God's messenger for the care of His people, I entrust to you this special request: (Mention your request).
Saint Michael, since you are, by the Will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God's holy will my petition will be granted.
Pray for me, Saint Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs. Through your powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death, and reach heaven where we may praise and love God with you forever.
Amen.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Our Lady of La Salette

Our Lady wept at La Salette on September 19, 1846. It was roughly two years before another wave of revolutions would sweep across Europe, breaking down the structures what was left of Christendom. Once again, France was the site chosen by heaven for messages of supreme importance for the world. Taking God's name in vain and violating the Lord's day were not regarded as small matters by the Mother of Jesus. The Blessed Virgin spoke to two peasant children in the Dauphiné province in terms that they could understand, as the following shows:
'If my people do not obey, I shall be compelled to loose my Son's arm. It is so heavy I can no longer restrain it. How long have I suffered for you! If my Son is not to abandon you, I am obliged to entreat Him without ceasing. But you take no heed of that. No matter how well you pray in the future, no matter how well you act, you will never be able to make up to me what I have endured on your behalf. I have given you six days to work. The seventh I have reserved for myself, yet no one will give it to me. This is what causes the weight of my Son's arm to be so crushing. The cart drivers cannot swear without bringing in my Son's name. These are the two things which make my Son's arm so heavy.'
The Lady then went on to speak about the coming punishments for these sins of Sabbath breaking and blasphemy, including crop blights and famine, at one point switching from French, which the children did not understand perfectly, to the local patois. Then she spoke to Maximin alone, imparting a secret to him which Mélanie could not hear, before turning to her to give a secret that Maximin likewise could not hear. Presently she again spoke to both saying that if the people were to be converted then the fields would produce self-sown potatoes and the stones become wheat.
She then asked a significant question: 'Do you say your prayers well, my children?' They replied that they hardly prayed, and she told them they should say at least their morning and night prayers, before continuing: 'Only a few rather old women go to Mass in the summer. Everyone else works every Sunday all summer long. And in the winter, when they don't know what else to do, they go to Mass only to scoff at religion. During Lent, they go to the butcher shops like dogs.'
She then asked the children if they had ever seen spoiled wheat and when both replied that they had not, the Lady reminded Maximin that he had once seen it when on a visit to a nearby hamlet with his father; he then remembered that what she had said was true. Finally the Lady spoke to them in French: 'Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people,' before moving forward between them. She went on a few yards and then re-emphasized her message to them without turning around: 'Now, my children, be sure to make this known to all my people.'
Sources: Jaouen, A Grace called La Salette; Beevers, The Sun Her Mantle.
Here is a book about La Salette in which Louis XVII is mentioned since one of the pretenders approached Maximin, hoping for validation.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

"This Little While"

 I support Archbishop Vigano and his attempt to bring some clarity to a terrible situation, while weeping for the infamy heaped upon the Chair of St. Peter. Emmett O'Regan views the calamity in the light of Sacred Scripture, the writings of the Fathers, and approved apparitions. From Unveiling the Apocalypse:
It is no coincidence that Christ's discourse on the binding of the "strong man" occurred in the immediate context of the appearance of the "Sign of Jonah" in Matt 12 (which originally took the form of a total solar eclipse over ancient Nineveh just before Jonah's arrival into the city). Or that the start of the First World War at the beginning of the period of Satan's greater power coincided with the appearance of yet another solar eclipse crossing the site of ancient Nineveh on the feast day of Our Lady of Knock, on 21st August, 1914. The fact that the end of the Sabbath Millennium discussed by the Early Church Fathers was preceded by a century of genocide foretold in the vision of Pope Leo XIII leaves us with little room for doubt that the siege of the camp of the saints at the end of the thousand years mentioned in Rev 20 began to unfold at the opening of the 20th century.
The current age of apostasy we are enduring is the fruit of Satan's unbinding at the end of the thousand years, during which he has managed to blind the minds of unbelievers to the truth of the Gospel (2Cor 4:4), and the love of many had grown cold because of the increase of evil (Matt 24:12). This evil has manifested itself most prevalently within the Church itself in the form of the clerical sexual abuse scandal, which has turned baptised Catholics away from the pews en masse, and sullied the wedding gown of the Bride of Christ.
Now just over a year on from another total solar eclipse which took crossed America on the feast day of Our Lady of Knock, on 21st August 2017 - the centenary year of Our Lady of Fatima, one of the most shocking accusations against a reigning pontiff by a high-ranking prelate in the Catholic Church took place at the site of the Knock apparition - which represents the Divine Throne Room seen in Zech 3. This accusation has rocked the Catholic Church in America, and is symptomatic of the wider rebellion that is being plotted against the Holy Father by many high-ranking officials in the Church hierarchy. Just as the sullied robes of the Jewish High Priest are removed and replaced with fresh linen after Satan makes his accusation against him, we can only hope and pray that we are on the cusp of the purification of the Church which is promised to take place before the coming of the Antichrist. (Read more.)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

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 throughout the Middle East, and for all victims of human trafficking. 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)

UPDATE: It is good to pray or sing the Ave Maris Stella during this novena.
Hail, You Star of Ocean
Hail, you Star of Ocean!
Portal of the sky,
Ever Virgin Mother,
Of the Lord most high.


O! by Gabriel's Ave,
Uttered long ago,
Eva's name reversing,
Establish peace below.


Break the captive's fetters;
Light on blindness pour;
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.


Show yourself a mother;
Offer him our sighs,
Who for us Incarnate
Did not you despise.


Virgin of all virgins!
To your shelter take us;
Gentlest of the gentle!
Chaste and gentle make us.


Still as on we journey,
Help our weak endeavor,
Till with you and Jesus
We rejoice forever.


Through the highest heaven,
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son, and Spirit,
One same glory be. AMEN.

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)

Friday, September 14, 2018

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).

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Children of Fatima and the Fifth Apparition

Today is the 101st anniversary of the fifth apparition of Our Lady at Fatima. Our Lady said: "In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe." Here is an account from the EWTN website about the three visionaries:
There Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta were born and raised in homes where the catechism was their daily bread, stories from the Bible their recreation, and the word of the village priest was law. Lucia de Jesus Santos was born, the youngest of seven children, to Antonio and Maria Rosa Santos, on 22 March 1907. She was a plain child with sparkling eyes and a magnetic personality, a natural leader to whom other children looked with confident affection. Blessed with an excellent memory, Lucia was able to learn her catechism, and make her First Communion and Confession, at age six. She herself became a catechist at nine. Lucia would be the constant guide and companion to her first cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, through the trials that accompanied the apparitions of the Blessed Mother. (Read more.)

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Finding a Safe Harbor

From Speramus:
We need life jackets to persevere and ride out the raging storm. God gave us many warnings of the current crisis we are passing through. Warnings with instructions on how to successfully pass over the raging waters. The first warnings were given in scriptures, the most relevant is the book of Jude. It is the shortest book of the Bible aptly depicting the current crisis we are living in. Read and pray over the book to see how God wants us to live through these days.

Also recall the visions of St John Bosco in the 1840s.  Remember the 2 Columns and the ship, representing the church. It was traveling in a fierce storm other ships were bombing it with canons and it almost capsized. Finally seeing two columns in the distance it made its way towards them and found safety and anchored between them. The first column was the Eucharist and the second was Our Lady.  Placing its anchor here the storm could no longer toss them about in this safe harbor. Let each one of us find that safe harbor!

We must continually work on our own faults and deepen our personal union with Jesus. Taking the speck from our own eyes first so we can see clearly how to help our brethren. Our strength will come from the Eucharist and Our Lady! 

Let us renew our dedication to Christ and the Church offering our prayers and  sufferings for all the bad priests bishops cardinals who failed us. Commend them to Our Lord asking God to give them the grace to repent.
(Read more.)

Saturday, September 8, 2018

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)

Friday, September 7, 2018

A Warning from the Lord

From Monsignor Charles Pope:
We rightly speak of the Church as indefectible, for Christ said to Peter, And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:18-19).

Be careful, though: The indefectibility of the Church does not pertain to land, building, power, or glamor.

Consider, by contrast, the Church at her most victorious moment: Good Friday on an ugly hillside called Golgotha. Only one clergyman, St. John the Apostle, and four women were there with Christ. The Church was very small at that moment. There were no marble altars, no stone churches or basilicas, no papal estates or gold-embroidered vestments. It was just Jesus, the head of the body, and a few of his members. The rest of the clergy and disciples, even Peter, were hiding in fear, disavowing knowledge of him and standing a safe distance away. Yet this small gathering of the Church saw the greatest victory of all: By dying, Christ destroyed death and broke Satan’s power.

Yes, sometimes the Church gets small and seems quite powerless. Sometimes the Gospel is preached from a jail cell or at an execution site. The blood of martyrs is seed for the Church. So, we ought not to imagine the indefectibility of the Church as something rooted in external glories such as power, land, buildings, titles, golden chalices or elaborate vestments. The Liturgy of the Hours has been warning us of the possibility of disaster if we do not repent. If you think St. Peter’s Basilica could never be taken or the pope exiled from Rome (or even killed), think again. Of the first 33 popes, 30 died as martyrs. Two others died in exile. Only one died in his own bed. The Church had no basilicas or land until A.D. 313. Popes were exiled numerous times during the Middle Ages. They also took refuge in Avignon for far too long a time. If you think St. Peter’s will always be there, consider that the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, a basilica arguably as glorious as St. Peter’s, became a mosque and is now a secular museum.

Yes, God’s warnings are as real today as ever. He is more interested in our souls than our buildings. Our museums and works of art are trinkets to Him compared to the holiness of our lives, which he seeks. We are too easily mesmerized by the worldly splendor of such things and think it can substitute for the holiness and truth to which it points. During this painful crisis of clergy sexual abuse, vague leadership, and lack of accountability, the call goes out with an urgency that rivals the greatest cries of biblical times: the Church must repent. This cry is addressed to all, from the laity and the lowliest of clergy to the Pope himself. Serious sins must be acknowledged and repented of. The Church must accept a deep purification that, though sure to be painful, is necessary.

For too long we have tolerated sin and toyed with compromise and heresy. Too many Catholics, even high-ranking bishops, have sought to excuse sin and have even tried to alter the very words of Christ. Some have stayed silent or turned a blind eye to sin and dissent. Still others have “majored in the minors,” focusing on matters of lesser importance.

Reform in the Church does not usually begin at the top. That is why it is so important for the hierarchy to listen, as never before, to the cries of the lay faithful, who plead with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Vatican to take reform seriously, reassert the truth of the Gospel with clarity, and rebuke dissent. While no one in the Church lives the gospel perfectly, the outright denial of central truths of our faith without any reproof from the Church hierarchy has been a source of great scandal and confusion. Silence from shepherds, who should be chasing the wolves away, is malpractice of the worst kind. There is simply no acceptable excuse for the deafening silence that has come from too many in the hierarchy in the face of dissent and even outright heresy. It is being taught routinely, openly, and ever more boldly by renegade theologians, wandering clerics, and even certain conferences of bishops. The faithful are bewildered, saddened, and justifiably angry. (Read more.)

Thursday, September 6, 2018

St. John Bosco’s Prophetic Vision of the Church During Times of Trial

From Aleteia:
 Very grave trials await the Church. What we have suffered so far is almost nothing compared to what is going to happen. The enemies of the Church are symbolised by the ships which strive their utmost to sink the flagship. Only two things can save us in such a grave hour: devotion to Mary and frequent Communion. Let us do our very best to use these two means and have others use them everywhere. (Read more.)


Sunday, September 2, 2018

September Martyrs of the French Revolution


Let us not forget the September Martyrs, including the murder of Madame de Lamballe.
Now the gang fell upon the first priests they met and cut them down. Then they called out, “The Archbishop of Arles!” Archbishop John du Lau of Arles was praying in the chapel. When summoned, he came out and he said, “I am he whom you seek.” Thereupon, they cracked his skull, stabbed him and trampled him underfoot. Then the leader set up a “tribunal” before which the imprisoned were herded and ordered to take the oath. All refused; so, as they passed down the stairway, they were hacked to pieces by the murderers. The bishop of Beauvais had earlier been wounded in the leg. When summoned, he answered, “I do not refuse to die with the others, but I cannot walk. I beg you to have the kindness to carry me where you wish me to go.” For a moment, his courtesy silenced the assassins. But, when he, too, refused the oath, he was killed like the rest. (Read more.)
More HERE.

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