Sunday, June 30, 2019

Quo Vadis


Quo Vadis by the Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz is a jewel of historical fiction. While the 1951 film is excellent, it is dated; the novel, however, transcends time. The heartrending and vivid portrait of Roman life in the days of Nero combines a romance with the acta sanctorum amid breathtaking historical accuracy. The feelings of the young tribune Marcus Vinicius for the Christian maiden Ligia Callina are transformed by sacrifice and suffering from mere lust into profound love and devotion. In the meantime the early Church prepares to face a grueling ordeal at the hands of Nero. The brutality and decadence of Imperial Rome stand in glaring contrast to the indefatigable new sect, guided and instructed by Peter and Paul. The Christians must deal not only with the violence of the pagans but with some of their own members who betray and deceive. Indeed, part of the impact of the novel is the way it conveys continuity of the past with the present. Followers of Christ must struggle with their own sins and weaknesses as much as with the outside world which seeks to destroy them. It was not easy then; it is not easy now.

Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916) received the Nobel Prize for Quo Vadis. He was writing to encourage his Polish countrymen in their many difficulties, and combined superb story-telling with painstaking historical research. Although I prefer the book to the movie, I do not hesitate to recommend the latter. Among 1950's Biblical epics, Quo Vadis is outstanding. Peter Ustinov's performance as Nero is truly something worth watching; few actors could capture the same balance of comedy, pathos and unmitigated depravity. The sets are magnificent as well, and the flow of drama, quite piercing. It is a good way to glean both history and inspiration while being entertained.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Immaculate Heart of Mary


"My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God." (Psalm 83:4)

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has grown along side of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, for the heart of the Mother can never be separated from that of her Son. According to the visionary St. Bridget of Sweden (14th century), Our Lady said: "As Adam and Eve sold the world for one apple, so my son and I redeemed the world, as it were, with one Heart." (Sign of Her Heart by John Haffert)

St. John Eudes, who in the 17th century promoted devotion to the Two Hearts, reported to have heard Our Lord saying: "I have given you this admirable heart of My dearest Mother which is but one with Mine, to be truly your heart also, in order that the children may have but one heart with their Mother...." (Ibid.)

The Belgian mystic Berthe Petit (1870-1943) experienced several revelations concerning the "Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary." She recorded Jesus as saying:
This devotion to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of My Mother will restore faith and hope to broken hearts and to ruined families...it will sweeten sorrow. It will be a new strength for My Church, bringing souls not only to confidence in My Heart, but also to abandonment to the Sorrowful Heart of my Mother. (Prayers and Heavenly Promises by Joan Carroll Cruz)
The 1917 apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal led to Pope Pius XII instituting the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Originally kept on August 22, the memorial of the Immaculate Heart is presently kept on the day after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart.

The mystery of the Immaculate Heart is the mystery of the Mercy of God; the mercy He showed to Mary by preserving her from all stain of original sin; the mercy He bestows on us through the prayers of the Mother of Mercy, the Mediatrix of all Graces, on our behalf. It is a mystery of compassion, for Mary's heart was pierced with sorrow at the foot of the cross. The brown scapular of Carmel is a sign of one's personal consecration to Our Lady, as well as of the compassionate intercession we hope to receive from her at the hour of death.

Sr. Lucy of Fatima said: "Our Lady wants all to wear the scapular." (Haffert) The scapular is an exterior sign of interior abandonment to the Heart of Mary. The Carmelite Venerable Michael of St. Augustine wrote:
We can live in Mary if we strive, in all our deeds and omissions, in our penances and trials and afflictions, to preserve and promote within ourselves a filial, tender inclination of soul towards Mary....Our love will then flow, as it were, from God to Mary and from Mary back to God. (Life with Mary by Ven. Michael of St. Augustine)

What Fairer Light?

For the last few days I have been thinking on and off of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, whose martyrdom is celebrated today in the universal church, and of how two men with such different personalities would come to share a similar fate. St. Peter was a robust and practical fisherman from a small town. St. Paul was more cosmopolitan, a scholar, a pharisee, and a Roman citizen. They were both killed in a public and grisly manner far, far from their homeland. One was crucified, the other was beheaded.

How easy it would have been to have retired to some safe corner somewhere where they would not have bothered anyone! To just give up preaching, and writing all those letters, and generally harassing the pagans and correcting lax Christians...surely they had already done and suffered enough! Didn't they have a right to live their own life, and find some peace and quiet? After all, they had given up all for God, and now they were old...why couldn't they obscurely die in bed?


Ask St Peter, as he was fleeing from Rome, where Nero was burning Christians at his garden parties, and suddenly he ran into Our Lord, Who was walking along the Appian Way in the opposite direction.

Quo vadis, Domine? "Where are you going, Lord?" asked St Peter.

"To Rome, to be crucified again," Jesus replied. And St. Peter knew what he had to do...he had to go back. He was arrested and crucified, upside down, at his own request, for he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as his Master. He was always deeply humbled by the memory of his past denial.

Here are some words from the ancient and beautiful hymn for this feast, "What fairer light?"

Rejoice, O Rome, this day; thy walls they once did sign
With princely blood, who now their glory share with thee.
What city's vesture glows with crimson deep as thine?
What beauty else has earth that may compare with thee?

Friday, June 28, 2019

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus


"I have come to cast a fire on the earth: what will I, but that it be kindled?" (Luke 12:49)

During the first millennium of Christianity, many saints wrote with unction of the pierced side of Our Lord, from which flowed "blood and water" (John 19:34), symbolizing the sacraments of the Church. It was not until the later ages, "when the charity of many [had] grown cold" (Matthew 24:12), that Our Lord chose to reveal the hidden treasures of His Sacred Heart. The gnostic excesses of the Manicheans, the upheavals of the Protestant revolt, and the chilling exaggerations of Jansenism required as an antidote the gradual but compelling manifestations of the love and mercy of the Heart of God.

It was in the thirteenth century that mystic souls such as St. Bonaventure, St. Mechtilde, and St. Gertrude began to write explicitly about devotion to the Sacred Heart, focusing on the infinite love which pursues and surrounds us.St. Gertrude the Great relates that in one of her many visions St. John the Evangelist said to her:
To these latter times was reserved the grace of hearing the eloquent voice of the Heart of Jesus. At this voice the time-worn world will renew its youth, be roused from its lethargy, and again be inflamed with the warmth of Divine Love. ( Love, Peace and Joy by the Reverend André Prévot)
 Our Lord told St. Mechtilde:  
In this wound of love, so great that it embraces Heaven and earth, unite thy love to My Divine Love, that it may be perfect; and even as iron glowing with fire becomes, as it were, one with it, so let your love be transformed and absorbed into Mine. (Ibid.)
In the early 1600's, St John Eudes and St Francis de Sales, among others, promoted the cult of the Sacred Heart. However, it was the famous apparitions of Jesus Christ to St. Margaret Mary in the 1670's and 80's that led to the widespread, public homage of the Savior's heart. Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary His desire for the establishment of a feast in honor of His Heart, to be held on the Friday after the Corpus Christi octave, as a day of reparation. He promised special graces to those who receive Holy Communion in a spirit of reparation and penitence on the First Friday of nine consecutive months.

Jesus further requested that France, the eldest daughter of the Church, be consecrated by her king to the Sacred Heart, in order to spare the kingdom from future cataclysmic events. For several reasons, the consecration was not performed until France was in the throes of a bloody and anti-Christian revolution. In 1791, the imprisoned King Louis XVI secretly made the consecration. However, it seems the formal, public consecration of France has never taken place.

In 1856, Pope Pius IX placed the feast of the Sacred Heart on the universal calendar. Meanwhile, the storm of modernism, communism, socialism, and secular humanism broke upon the Church and the world. Our Lord said to St. Margaret Mary in 1689: "It will take time, but I will reign despite Satan and his supporters." (The Sign of Her Heart by John Haffert)

While we prayerfully await the public acknowledgment of Christ the King by the nations, let us imitate the Carmelite saints in making Jesus the King of our hearts, immersing ourselves into the unfathomable mystery of His love. In the words of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: 
If I to see Thy glory would aspire
Then I must know Thy crucible of flame

Thy burning love, Heart of my God, I claim.

Then when my soul wings upward like a dove,

Called from the earth to heaven's home of light,

May it go forth in one pure act of love,
 
Plunge to Thy Heart in one unswerving flight.
(Carmelite Proper of the Liturgy of the Hours)

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

It is the feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
In dangers, in hardships, in every doubt,
think of Mary, call out to Mary.
Keep her in your mouth, keep her in your heart.
Follow the example of her life
and you will obtain the favour of her prayer.

~St. Bernard

A history of the feast.
As our Queen, she cradles the royal Child Jesus in her left arm while her right hand gently clasps the Savior’s little hands. A single sandal dangles from one of His bare feet in anticipation of the welcome He would give to the nails that would pierce them. Yet, the face of Jesus is more mature than His little frame should allow. It is the way of the icon. The icon painter follows a regimen that is laid out by a long tradition of masters. The idea is to teach divine truth in the work of art. In the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Mary is central. On account of its similarity with Saint Luke’s painting of Our Lady and Child (the Moslem Turks ripped the original to pieces when they took over Constantinople in 1453) icon scholars believe that the original painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was based on a copy of Saint Luke’s painting. Our Lady is looking out straight ahead in the picture. Her eyes seem to be pleading for her Son, whom she knew was to die a terrible death in atonement for sin. The Child Jesus is turned toward one of the angels, Michael, who holds forth a cross like a standard; the other angel, Gabriel, carries the spear. Some interpret the face of Our Lord as expressing fear. I think that they are right. 
The central figure in eastern iconography, be it the Theotokos, the Hagia Sophia (the Son of God as Wisdom), or a saint, looms larger than the other figures in the painting, if there are any. There is in fact disproportion between the central figure, whose face is always luminous, rather than illumined, and whoever else is honored in the icon. With Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lord is smaller than would be the case if the artist intended to draw a “picture.” What one immediately sees in looking at an icon is that the sanctity of the person drawn comes from within. To be sure, westerners must be educated when it comes to viewing an icon; the image is not meant to be gazed at for created beauty, but read for enlightenment of Faith. Icons reveal divine mystery more than just what appears to the physical eye. 
The history of this painting, its origin, its journeys, its miracles, its survival of persecution, its popularity, and its life in Rome for the past six centuries, is wonderful. No one knows who painted it. That is because it was the work of an eastern Catholic artist and icons are never signed. It is believed to have been composed in the thirteenth century in Crete. Notice, I chose to use the word composed rather than drawn. As I said, icons are meant to be read. Sharing the scene with Our Lady, whose title Mother of God is written beside her in abbreviated Greek letters, and Jesus, are the two angels, Michael and Gabriel, who are also named in abbreviated Greek characters The painting was a treasure cherished by the faithful of the Greek island who came to venerate it where it hung above the main altar of a cathedral, perhaps in the capital city of Candia. 
Near the end of the fifteenth century, a wealthy Venetian merchant managed to steal the painting and, hiding it in his possessions, he took it to Italy where he planned to sell it. However, while he was on business in Rome he became very ill. When it appeared that he would not recover, he somewhat repented for having taken the icon and, apparently, made a resolution to bestow it to a church. As he was dying he revealed to a friend where he had hid the work. Strangely, however, and no doubt providentially (for its original home in Crete was soon after overrun by the Turks), he asked his friend to give the image to any church in Rome. That is how the icon arrived at the Augustinian Church of Saint Matthew in the Eternal City. However, that did not happen right away. After the death of the “good thief” his friend showed the painting to his wife. The woman would not part with it. Her husband proved to be a wimp and he failed to fulfill the request of his dying friend out of fear of upsetting his wife. His wife’s father also got involved, encouraging his daughter to keep it, for it was truly an exquisite work of art and would be worth a lot of money. It took an apparition of Our Lady to this woman’s daughter and mother to convince her that she must let the holy icon go. Our Lady said to the little girl: “Go and tell your mother and your grandfather: Our Lady of Perpetual Help bids you to take her away from your house; otherwise, you will all die.” There you have it, Mary herself chose the title Our Lady of Perpetual Help! The devil tried again and again, even using a sceptical neighbor, to prevent the icon from leaving the merchant’s house. But he was vanquished in the end and the image was eventually enshrined in the humble Church of Saint Thomas, near the Basilica of Saint Mary Major on the Esquiline hill. (Read more.)


More HERE and HERE.

Confidence and Abandonment

...Abandonment is, I may dare to say, the principle virtue of souls devoted to the Sacred Heart....By abandonment He offers them a means by which they are enabled to participate in His almighty power. He opens to them them the treasures of His Heart, which undertakes to supply for all the shortcomings of souls abandoned to Him, and to perfect all their works. He makes them docile instruments, who place no obstacles to the action of God, and faithfully give Him the glory in all....Confidence by itself can easily obtain all things.

~ Love, Peace and Joy by the Reverend André Prévot

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Pious reader, you, who have followed us throughout, what is your most earnest desire? To honor the hearts of Jesus and Mary His Mother; to work for the conversion of poor sinners; to cooperate according to your means in the work of reparation? Well, you may attain all these ends in the surest, sweetest way, by Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. She will lead you with a mother's gentle hand. You will see and feel by a happy experience that, in abandoning yourself to her guidance, you will do more for the glory of God, your own sanctification, and the salvation of others, than by any other means....Have no fear to attribute to Mary too great a power over the Heart of her Son. Beyond all thought or expression, she is Queen of this Heart; for thus does Jesus love to honor His Mother.

~ Love, Peace and Joy by the Reverend André Prévot

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

"I am Meek, and Humble of Heart"

From Vultus Christi:
The humility of the Heart of Jesus so impressed itself on Saint Peter that, years later, he enjoined the sheep of his flock to remain humble and trusting when visited by suffering:
Be you humbled under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in the time of visitation casting all your care upon Him, for He hath care of you. (1 Peter 5:6–7)
The Epistle begins with the 6th verse of Chapter 5, but one who applies himself to his lectio divina will discover that it is the 5th verse of the same Chapter that casts light over all that follows:
In like manner, ye young men, be subject to the ancients. And do you all insinuate humility one to another, for God resisteth the proud, but to the humble he giveth grace. (1 Peter 5:5)
The quaint expression, “do you all insinuate humility one to another” may strike one as curious, given the modern slightly negative connotation of the verb “to insinuate”, but the word, understood according to its etymology is exactly right. Insinuate contains the two Latin words, in sinu, meaning in the bosom, in the breast, or in the heart. The man who insinuates humility takes it deeply into himself. Saint Peter would have the young men, whom he is addressing, hold humility in their hearts. What humility? The humility of Jesus, Peter’s Divine Master, who presents Himself to us as meek, and humble of heart. Every time one receives Holy Communion, it is an insinuation (a taking into the deepest part of oneself) of the humility of Jesus. The soul who abides silent and receptive before the Most Blessed Sacrament will, over time, experience an insinuation of the silence of the Host, of the humility of the Host, of the hiddenness of the Host. (Read more.)

Monday, June 24, 2019

Carmel and St. John the Baptist

St. John the Baptist has long been a favored saint among Carmelites not only because of his kinship to Jesus and Mary, but because of his connection with the Prophet Elias as well. As one history of the Carmelite Order says:
The date of the foundation of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has been under discussion from the fourteenth century to the present day, the order claiming for its founders the prophets Elias and Eliseus, whereas modern historians, beginning with Baronius, deny its existence previous to the second half of the twelfth century. As early as the times of the Prophet Samuel there existed in the Holy Land a body of men called Sons of the Prophets, who in many respects resembled religious institutes of later times. They led a kind of community life, and, though not belonging to the Tribe of Levi, dedicated themselves to the service of God; above all they owed obedience to certain superiors, the most famous of whom were Elias and his successor Eliseus, both connected with Carmel, the former by his encounter with the prophets of Baal, the latter by prolonged residence on the holy mountain. With the downfall of the Kingdom of Israel the Sons of the Prophets disappear from history. In the third or fourth century of the Christian Era Carmel was a place of pilgrimage, as is proved by numerous Greek inscriptions on the walls of the School of the Prophets: "Remember Julianus, remember Germanicus", etc. Several of the Fathers, notably John Chrystostom, Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, and Jerome, represent Elias and Eliseus as the models of religious perfection and the patrons of hermits and monks. These undeniable facts have opened the way to certain conjectures. As St. John the Baptist spent nearly the whole of his life in the desert, where he gathered around him a number of disciples, and as Christ said he was endowed with the spirit and virtue of Elias, some authors think that he revived the institute of the Sons of the Prophets. (Read more.)

The Life of Joy

A life of joy is the most delightful fruit of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.... "We only do that well which we do with joy" (St. Thomas). If, then, we wish to serve God and love our neighbor well, we must manifest our joy in the service we render to Him and to them--"servite in laetitia." Oh, let us do this, and not change the nature of things--God is joy; true devotion is joy; love is joy; sacrifice is the source of joy; the Cross itself is the condition of solid joy. Let us, then, open wide our hearts. It is joy which invites us. Press forward, and fear nothing. Let us always rejoice and ever advance in love and in joy.

~ Love, Peace and Joy by the Reverend André Prévot

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Midsummer's Eve

It is St. John's Eve. Tomorrow is the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, born without the stain of original sin. It was a tradition in the days of Christendom to have a bonfire in honor of the saint who was a "burning and shining light." (John 5:35) In some places, they still do; my father always had a bonfire in honor of the Birthday of the Baptist. In the Middle Ages, there were St. John carols (carols were not just for Christmas), dancing, and everyone would burn rubbish and old bones as a sign of the end of the old covenant. Houses would be decorated with St. John's Wort, and young girls would sleep with wildflowers under their pillows in the hope that they would dream of their future spouse. Fish Eaters, which has the details about the festivity, also discusses how the Vespers hymn for St. John's Day is the origin for "Do, Re, Mi:"
Another interesting thing about the Feast of St. John: the Breviary's hymn for this day, Ut queant laxis -- the hymn sung or recited during the blessing of the bonfire -- is the source of our names of musical notes -- Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do. The hymn, attributed to Paulus Diaconus (Paul the Deacon, ca. A.D. 720-799), was noted by a monk to rise one note in the diatonic C-Scale with each verse. The syllables sung at each rise in pitch give us the names of our notes (the "Ut" was later changed to "Do" for easier pronunciation):
Ut queant laxis
Re
sonare fibris
Mi
ra gestorum
Fa
muli tuorum,
So
lve polluti
La
bii reatum,
Sanc
Te Ioannes.

Into the Silence of Mary and of the Host

From Vultus Christi:
The silence of Mary leads one into the silence of the Host. Of this silence of the Host I have spoke to you before. Friends and lovers speak one to the other to express what they hold in their hearts; once these things have been expressed, it is enough for them to remain united one to the other in the silence that is the more perfect expression of their love. So many souls are afraid of the silence into which Our Lord would lead them if only they would let Him. Fear is what causes souls to hide behind a barrage of words and concepts. Our Lord’s desire is to unite us directly to Himself by means of faith, hope, and especially, of love. The theological virtues do not require words. Words, in fact, can impede the pure expression of the theological virtues in a prayer that seeks to rise above them. (Read more.)

Of Fatima, the King of France, and the Consecrations

Let us revisit a post by Fr. Richard Heilman on Roman Catholic Man:
On Sunday May 13th, 1917, the children were pasturing their flock as usual at the Cova da Iria, which was about a mile from their homes. They were playing when suddenly a bright shaft of light pierced the air. The lady spoke to them and said: “Fear not! I will not harm you.” “Where are you from?” the children asked. “I am from heaven” the beautiful lady replied, gently raising her hand towards the distant horizon. “What do you want of me?”, Lucia asked. ” I came to ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day, at this same hour. I will tell you later who I am and what I want.”

It was Mary’s final appearance, on Oct. 13, 1917 (exactly 33 years, to the day, after Pope Leo XIII’s vision), that became the most famous. An estimated 70,000 people were in attendance at the site, anticipating the Virgin’s final visit and with many fully expecting that she would work a great miracle. As everyone gazed upward, and saw that a silvery disc had emerged from behind clouds, they experienced what is known [as] a ‘sun miracle.’ Not everyone reported the same thing; some present claimed they saw the sun dance around the heavens; others said the sun zoomed toward Earth in a zigzag motion that caused them to fear that it might collide with our planet (or, more likely, burn it up). Some people reported seeing brilliant colors spin out of the sun in a psychedelic, pinwheel pattern. The whole event took about 10 minutes.

With these apparitions at Fatima, God asked for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope in union with all of the bishops of the world. Our Lady of Fatima said that if the Consecration of Russia was done, Russia would be converted and there would be peace. However, if the Pope and the bishops did not obey the request, Our Lady said that Russia would spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church and of Holy Father, the martyrdom of the good and the annihilation of nations. I find it interesting that Our Lady appeared in Fatima with these warnings exactly 100 years before the 500th anniversary of the Protestant revolt (1517-2017).

[...]

At Rianjo, Spain in August 1931, Our Lord communicated to Sister Lucy His dissatisfaction with the Pope’s and the Catholic bishops’ failure to obey His command to consecrate Russia. He said:
Make it known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My requests, they will follow him into misfortune. It is never too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.
In another text Lucy wrote that Our Lord complained to her:
They did not wish to heed My request! Like the King of France they will repent of it, and they will do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread its errors in the world, provoking wars and persecutions against the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer.
 The reference by Jesus to the King of France’’s disobedience and punishment is as follows:
On June 17, 1689 the Sacred Heart of Jesus manifested to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque His command to the King of France that the King was to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart. For 100 years to the day the Kings of France delayed, and did not obey. So on June 17, 1789 the King of France was stripped of his legislative authority by the upstart Third Estate, and four years later the soldiers of the French Revolution executed the King of France as if he were a criminal. In 1793 France sent its King, Louis XVI, to the guillotine. He and his predecessors had failed to obey Our Lord’s request that France be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and thus misfortune had befallen both the King and his country. (Read more.)
Now it must be noted that Louis XVI, with the consent and guidance of his confessor, the Eudist priest Fr. Hebert, made a Vow to the Sacred Heart in the spring of 1791 when he and his family were under house arrest at the Tuileries Palace in Paris. To quote from the Vow:
O Jesus-Christ! divine Redeemer of all our iniquities, it is in Your Adorable Heart that I want to deposit the overflowing of my afflicted heart. I call upon the help of the tender Heart of Mary, my majestic protector and my mother, and the assistance of Saint Louis, my most famous patron and of my ancestor. O adorable Heart, by the so pure hands of my powerful intercessors, receive with kindness the wishes that confidence inspires in me and that I offer to You like the humble expression of my feelings. If, by an effect of the infinite kindness of God, I recover my freedom, my crown and my royal power, I promise solemnly:
1. To revoke as soon as possible all the laws which will be indicated to me, either by the Pope, or by a Council, or by the four Bishops chosen among most enlightened and most virtuous of my kingdom, with the purity and the integrity of the faith, the discipline and the spiritual jurisdiction of Holy Catholic, Apostolic Church, Roman, and in particular to revoke the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. (Read more.)
The King was killed before he could fulfill his Vow. There are more details in my biography of Louis's wife, Marie-Antoinette.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Burke has called for Russia to be consecrated in the manner requested by Our Lady of Fatima:
“It is evident that the consecration (of Russia) was not carried out in the manner requested by Our Lady,” said Vatican Cardinal Raymond Burke in his keynote address marking the highlight and conclusion of the Fatima Centennial Summit held over the weekend.

“I do not doubt for a moment the intention of Pope St. John Paul II to carry out the consecration on March 25, 1984,” said Cardinal Burke. He noted that Sister Lucia stated that “Our Lady had accepted it.”

He continued nonetheless, “Recognizing the necessity of a total conversion from atheistic materialism and communism to Christ, the call of Our Lady of Fatima to consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart in accord with Her explicit instruction remains urgent.”

The former head of the Vatican’s highest court reissued his call, first made at the Rome Life Forum in May, for the faithful to pray and work for the consecration of Russia according to Our Lady’s specific instruction. He quoted the end of the famous secret to the children where Our Lady Herself predicted: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.” With some 700 attendees, the conference was the largest Fatima centennial celebration in North America. To a standing ovation both before and after he spoke, Cardinal Burke delved deeply into the message of Our Lady of Fatima, her predictions and the consequences of failing to heed her warnings to the world. The Cardinal drew a direct line from the famous Third Secret of Fatima’s dire predictions for the massacre of priests, religious and the death of the Pope to the current crisis in the Church.

“The teaching of the Faith in its integrity and with courage is the heart of the office of the Church’s pastors: the Roman Pontiff, the Bishops in communion with the See of Peter, and their principal co-workers, the priests,” he said. “For that reason, the Third Secret is directed, with particular force, to those who exercise the pastoral office in the Church. Their failure to teach the faith, in fidelity to the Church’s constant teaching and practice, whether through a superficial, confused or even worldly approach, and their silence endangers mortally, in the deepest spiritual sense, the very souls for whom they have been consecrated to care spiritually.”

Cardinal Burke, who has suffered publicly for his defense of the faith, urged the faithful, “Let us not fail to embrace whatever suffering comes from our faithful witness to Him Who is the true Treasure of our hearts.”

“Let us not give way to discouragement but rather remember that the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary assumed into glory, never ceases to beat with love for us, the children Her Divine Son gave to Her as He was dying on the cross,” he said. (Read more.)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Two English Martyrs



 Father Mark's post on St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher is so beautiful, anything I could say would be redundant. To quote:
Men of Fire and of Light
We remember today two martyrs, one a bishop and the other a husband, father, lawyer, statesman, and philosopher: Saints John Fisher and Thomas More. Both were men of fire and of light. Both fought manfully and suffered the martyrdom of John the Baptist, the Friend of the Bridegroom of whom Our Lord said, “He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light” (Jn 5:35).
The Sun Snatched from the Universe
Saint John Fisher was alone among all the bishops of the realm to stand against Henry VIII in the “great affair” of his divorce and against the Act of Supremacy by which the King repudiated the jurisdiction of the Pope over the Church in England. The Church in England was to become the Church of England. Protestantization would follow and, above all, the suppression of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered according to the rite of the Church of Rome. Concerning Holy Mass, Bishop John Fisher had written: “He who goes about to take the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass from the Church, plots no less a calamity than if he tried to snatch the sun from the universe.” (Read more.)

The following excerpts are from St. Thomas More's A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation:
If we reflect on these things and remember them well, we shall not murmur or complain in time of tribulation. Instead, we shall first take our pain patiently and see it as something of worth. Then we shall grow in goodness and see ourselves as quite worthy of tribulation. And then we shall realize that God has sent it for our own good, and so be moved to thank God for it....
Let us, then, never hope for our life to be long. We should keep it while we can, because God has so commanded, but if God so arranges that in his good graces we may go, let us be glad of it, and long to go to him. And then shall the hope of heaven comfort our heavy hearts, and out of our transitory tribulation shall we go to everlasting glory....

Avoiding the Spirit of Criticism

It is with the moral infirmities we may see in one another- our defects of character or temperament, our faults, our failings- that I think we should try to be watchful to exercise charity in thought, word, and deed.

It is so easy and so natural to criticize; yet we cannot do so even interiorly without detriment to our soul. Such thoughts consented to, certainly retard our progress in the perfection of charity, if they do not offend God. And surely the aim of a Carmelite should be higher than to merely keep from offending God. Were we careful to live always that deep interior life that is our obligation as well as our privilege, we would realize that everyone has a right to the most delicate charity from us, and that it is a duty for each to have it for all. Let us try to bring a practical charity into our least relations with one another, never permitting the smallest criticism and always putting a charitable interpretation on the actions of others.

Let us cultivate the habit of thinking kindly of everyone and regarding as a temptation any impulse that would lead us ever to dwell upon the actions of others unless duty demands it of us, and as a greater temptation any impulse to correct them or mention them to another.

If we are watchful over our thoughts in relation to charity, our words will more easily take on a kindly tone. When our work brings us in contact with others, let us always show them the spirit of humility, respect, and deference that charity calls for, whether the persons we work with are older or younger, or in a higher or lower position that we are.

It is with this same delicate charity we should speak of one another if persons happen to to be the subject of our conversation either private or general, and this is only possible when our own spirit is being guided by the Holy Spirit Whose light would cause us to see our neighbor 'in the Sacred [Heart] of the Savior,' as St. Francis de Sales says. To be faithful to this charity means the practice of much self-denial. It will be to give place to that Spirit Who is all charity, Whose fruits are peace, joy and holiness.

~Fragrance from Alabaster
by Mother Aloysius of the Blessed Sacrament, OCD

Friday, June 21, 2019

Hidden in the Sacred Heart of Jesus

From Fr. Mark:
Devotion to the Sacred Heart, thus understood, is a manifestation in the Church of the Holy Spirit, "helping us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought" (Rom 8:26).5 The Sacred Heart is, in the life of the Church, the organ by which "the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God" (Rom 8:27).
Cardinal Ratzinger wrote: "We see who Jesus is if we see him at prayer. The Christian confession of faith comes from participating in the prayer of Jesus, from being drawn into his prayer and being privileged to behold it; it interprets the experience of Jesus' prayer, and its interpretation of Jesus is correct because it springs from a sharing in what is most personal and intimate to him".6

This is the prayer of the Sacred Heart, the prayer that filled the days and nights of Jesus' earthly life, the prayer that suffused his sufferings and ascended from the Cross at the hour of his death, the prayer that with him descended into the depths of the earth, the prayer that continues uninterrupted in the glory of his risen and ascended life, the prayer that is ceaseless in the Sacrament of the Altar....

The prayer of the Heart of Christ at the hour of his sacrifice passes entirely into the heart of the Church, where it is prolonged and actualized "from the rising of the sun to its setting" (Mal 1:11) in the Liturgy of the Hours and in the mystery of the Eucharist.

Cardinal Ratzinger asks if, after the once-for-all Pasch of Jesus, anything more is needed. "After the tearing of the Temple curtain and the opening up of the heart of God in the pierced heart of the Crucified, do we still need sacred space, sacred time, mediating symbols? Yes, we do need them, precisely so that, through the 'image', through the sign, we learn to see the openness of heaven. We need them to give us the capacity to know the mystery of God in the pierced heart of the Crucified".14

It is through the liturgy, first and above all, that we pass over into the prayer of the Sacred Heart, the word to the Father forever inscribed in his pierced side. (Read entire post.)

The Mystic Number of Seven

From Vultus Christi:
The mystic number of seven signifies the fullness that overflows into eternity. The duties of our service, nostrae servitutis officia, are but a foretaste of heaven where our adoration and our praise will never cease. The vocation to perpetual adoration is a vocation to heaven on earth. Rightly did the Venerable Mother Caterina Lavizzari repeat, Gesù–Ostia è il nostro Paradiso in terra. This is the phrase that appears on the mementos printed after her death on Christmas day 1931.
Our obligation to the full Divine Office, by day and by night, though it be demanding of our time, of our best energies, and of our sustained attention, is the sweet duty of love. While all the community may not be present for every Hour of the Divine Office, when even a representative nucleus of the community assemble for the praise of God, they do so in communion of mind and heart with the absent brethren. The labours of the absent brethren, or their infirmity, or the duties that under obedience oblige them to be elsewhere, do not break the “charity that is the bond which makes us complete.” (Colossians 3:14). In the Epistle to the Colossians, the Apostles gives us the context of the Opus Dei. He says:
Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection: and let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God. All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:12–17)
(Read more.)

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Corpus Christi

Fr. Mark speaks of Our Eucharistic Savior, both Victim and the Priest:
As the paschal Victim, Christ allows himself to be handed over to death; as Priest he hands himself over to the Father in the Spirit. Here again is an icon of the “Eucharistic face of Christ.” “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. . . . This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:25).

A Eucharistic Inebriation

Standing before this Pauline icon of the “Eucharistic Face of Christ,” the Church bursts into song:
Sing forth, O Sion, sweetly sing
The praises of thy shepherd king,
In hymns and canticles divine.
. . . Then be the anthem clear and strong,
Thy fullest note, thy sweetest song,
The very music of the breast.
Today the sobriety characteristic of the Roman Rite becomes a Eucharistic inebriation. The Lauda Sion exploits all the possibilities of the seventh mode, the mode of ecstatic jubilation. Like a bird in flight, the praise of the Church soars and descends as if on the wings of the wind, to say, nearly breathless, in the end,
Behold, the bread of angels, sent
The bread for God’s true children meant,
For pilgrims in their banishment.
(Read entire post.)

The Joy of Charity

Charity flows abundantly from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Here is what Father Lovasik says about charity in The Hidden Power of Kindness (Sophia Institute Press, 1999):
Joy is the reward of charity. This intimate joy of the soul is distinguished from all other joys by its purity. The joy that is the fruit of charity is abiding. All earthly happiness exhausts itself, except the happiness of a loving heart that knows how to share the joys and sorrows of others. The joy of charity is one of the few joys that support you at the hour of death.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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

Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, June 19-27


Novena Prayers to Our Mother of Perpetual Help
First Prayer

Behold at thy feet, O Mother of Perpetual Help, a wretched sinner who has recourse to thee and confides in thee. O Mother of mercy, have pity on me. I hear thee called by all the refuge and the hope of sinners: be then, my refuge and my hope. Assist me, for the love of Jesus Christ; stretch forth thy hand to a miserable fallen creature who recommends himself to thee, and who devotes himself to thy service for ever. I bless and thank Almighty God, who in His mercy has given me this confidence in thee, which I hold to be a pledge of my eternal salvation. It is true that in the past I have miserably fallen into sin, because I had not recourse to thee. I know that, with thy help, I shall conquer. I know too, that thou wilt assist me, if I recommend myself to thee; but I fear that, in time of danger, I may neglect to call on thee, and thus lose my soul. This grace, then, I ask of thee, and this I beg, with all the fervor of my soul, that in all the attacks of hell I may ever have recourse to thee. O Mary, help me. O Mother of Perpetual Help, never suffer me to lose my God.
Three Hail Marys.

Second Prayer
O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke thy most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying. O purest Mary, O sweetest Mary, let thy name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me, whenever I call on thee; for, in all my temptations, in all my needs, I shall never cease to call on thee, ever repeating thy sacred name, Mary, Mary. O what consolation, what sweetness, what confidence, what emotion, fill my soul when I utter thy sacred name, or even only think of thee. I thank the Lord for having given thee, for my good so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely uttering thy name. Let my love for thee prompt me ever to hail thee, Mother of Perpetual Help.
Three Hail Marys.

Third Prayer
O Mother of Perpetual Help, thou art the dispenser of all the gifts which God grants to us miserable sinners; and for this end He has made thee so powerful, so rich, and so bountiful, in order that thou mayest help us in our misery. Thou art the advocate of the most wretched and abandoned sinners who have recourse to thee: come to my aid, for I recommend myself to thee. In thy hands I place my eternal salvation, and to thee I entrust my soul. Count me among thy most devoted servants; take me under thy protection, and it is enough for me. For, if thou protect me, I fear nothing; not from my sins, because thou wilt obtain for me the pardon of them; nor from the devils, because thou art more powerful than all hell together; nor even from Jesus, my judge, because by one prayer from thee He will be appeased. But one thing I fear: that in the hour of temptation I may through negligence fail to have recourse to thee and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me, therefore, the pardon of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace ever to have recourse to thee, O Mother of Perpetual Help.
Three Hail Marys.

Invocations to Our Lady
O Mother of Perpetual Help, thou whose very name inspires confidence.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may be victorious in the trying time of temptation.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may quickly rise again should I have the misfortune to fall into sin.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may break asunder any bonds of Satan in which I may have become entangled.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
Against the seductions of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may return to my former fervour should I ever become lukewarm.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may approach the Sacrament of Penance with a heart pierced by sorrow for my sins.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may receive and adore the Most Holy Eucharist with love, thanksgiving, and awe.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
[Priests: That I may live my holy priesthood in intimate union with thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Victim and Priest.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.]
Against my own inconstancy.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
Against my own infidelity.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
In the spiritual battle against my vices and sins.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
When the powers of darkness threaten me.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may persevere to the end in faith, hope and charity.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may never despair of the Mercy of God.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may ever love thee and serve thee and invoke thine assistance.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may make thy Perpetual Help known to others.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
That I may invite others to pray to thee and to venerate thy sacred image.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
At the hour of my death.
R. Help me, O loving Mother.
Blessing of the Sick By A Priest
V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who hath made Heaven and earth.

V. O Lord hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.
Look down, O Lord, upon Thy servants failing from bodily weakness,
and refresh their souls which Thou hast created
that being bettered by Thy chastening
they may presently feel themselves healed and saved by Thy pity.

Grant, O Lord, we beseech Thee that these Thy servants
may enjoy continual health of body and soul,
and through the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin,
Our Mother of Perpetual Help,
be freed from their present sorrow and enjoy eternal gladness.
Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

The Lord Jesus Christ be with you to defend you;
within you to preserve you;
before you to lead you,
behind you to guide you;
above you to bless you,
Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns forever and ever.
R. Amen.

The blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit
descend upon you and remain with you always.
R. Amen

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Theology of the Sacred Heart

They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.
Theology is, first of all, God’s word addressed to us. Apply this immediately to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The pierced Heart of the Crucified is God speaking a word to us, a word carved out in the flesh of Jesus’ side by the soldier’s lance. It is the love of God laid bare for all to see: “God stepping out of his hiddeness.” When we speak of a theology of the Sacred Heart, we mean this first of all: not our discourse about love, but the love of God revealed first to us, the poem of love that issues forth from the Heart of God. This is exactly what Saint John, whom the Eastern tradition calls, “The Theologian,” says in his First Letter: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins” (1 Jn 4:10).
The difficulty here is that, in order to receive this word inscribed in the flesh of the Word (cf. Jn 1:14), we have first to stop in front of it, to linger there, and to look long at the wound made by love. “They shall look on him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37). To contemplate is to look, not with a passing glance, but with the gaze of one utterly conquered by love. Jeremiah says, “You have seduced me O Lord, and I was seduced; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed” (Jer 20:7).
The call to be an adorer of the Sacred Heart, and the call to be an apostle of the Sacred Heart is addressed to every Christian. The apostle is, in essence, the bearer of a word, one sent forth and entrusted with a message. The message that the apostle carries into the world is the one he has learned by looking long with the eyes of adoration at the pierced Heart of the Crucified.
The word of Crucified Love is hard to pronounce — hard to pronounce, I mean, not with our lips but with our lives. Adoration is the school wherein one learns how to say the Sacred Heart. It is in adoration that the apostle receives the word of the pierced Heart that, in turn, becomes his life’s message. Adoration and apostleship together model a spirituality accessible to all Christians: the word received in adoration is communicated in the dynamism of one sent forth with something to say. (Read entire post.)

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Trinity Sunday

Rublev's Holy Trinity icon
The Sunday after Pentecost is the feast of the Holy Trinity on which the Church gives for our meditation the most sublime mystery of our Faith. In the words of the Carmelite Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen: "In the presence of the unspeakable mystery of the Trinity, the highest praise is silence, the silence of the soul that adores, knowing that it is incapable of praising or glorifying the divine Majesty worthily." (from Divine Intimacy, p.587) The Trinity is one God in three Persons, as the Athanasian Creed states: "The Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is one: the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal....In like manner, the Father is Almighty, the Son is Almighty and the Holy Spirit is Almighty, and yet there are not three Almighties, but One Almighty." The threeness of God was revealed by Our Lord Jesus Christ during His public ministry, specifically at His baptism (Matthew 3:16-17), at His Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5) and before His Ascension (Matthew 28:19). Yet the mystery of the Trinity is alluded to in the Old Testament, even in the first chapter of Genesis, when God speaks in the plural: "Let us make man to Our image and likeness" (Gen. 1:28), and later when the prophet Isaias beholds the seraphim chanting their trisagion of praise: "Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God of Hosts!" (Isaias 6:3)

At Fatima, the angel taught the children the following invocation: "O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, my God, my God, I adore you in the Blessed Sacrament." We can encounter the Trinity in the Blessed Eucharist, in the depths of our souls, and through devotion to the Heart of Mary who is daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son, and spouse of God the Holy Spirit.

Friday, June 14, 2019

St. Eliseus the Prophet

"In his life he did great wonders, and in death he wrought miracles" (Ecclus. xlviii: 15).

Today on the Carmelite calendar, it is the feast of the prophet of God St. Eliseus, also known as Elisha, the disciple of St. Elias. More HERE.

Here is a homily on the call of St. Elisha:
 God gave Elijah three tasks: he was to anoint Hazael to be king over Syria, to anoint Jehu to be king over the northern kingdom of Israel, and to appoint Elisha to be prophet in his place. In today's first reading, Elijah carries out the third task, manifesting his prompt obedience to God's word.

The appointing of Elisha looks forward to an episode in the New Testament, when Jesus calls a man to follow him. Elisha says to Elijah: "Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you". And Elijah allows him to do so. In the Gospel of Matthew, one of the disciples says to Jesus: "Lord, let me first go and bury my father". But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead" (Matthew 8:21-22). The Gospel of Luke reads: "To another he said, 'Follow me'. But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father". But Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:59-60).

Since, children were responsible for mourning and burying their parents and other relatives (Tobit 1:16-20; 4:3; 6:15), it could seem like Jesus violates the Fourth Commandment to honor one's parents. This, however, is not the case, for two reasons. First, Jesus is calling men and women to a new family, the family of God. The new family is formed by adherence to Jesus himself, to his Law; communion with Jesus is filial communion with the Father - it is a yes to the fourth commandment on a new level. It is entry into the family of those who call God Father, of those who are united with Jesus and, "by listening to him, united with the will of the Father, thereby attaining to the heart of the obedience intended by the Torah" (Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth vol. I, 115-117).

Second, Jesus is the new Moses and brings the old law to perfection. Jesus' authority to interpret the law in a new way rests on his divine sonship. He has divine authority and transfers the ten commandments into the context of God's universal family. He brings the God of Israel to all nations. He is the "new Moses", the prophet-like-Moses that God raised up (Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth vol. I, 122; Deuteronomy 18:15).
Jesus, then, can do what Elijah cannot: there is something greater than Elijah here. We also get the sense of the urgency and radicality of Jesus' call. His hour is approaching; the time of the Kingdom is here.

In today's Gospel, we see how Jesus brings the law to fulfillment. Not making false oaths is the bare minimum. Jesus, however, invites his followers to not swear an oath at all, to not place themselves unnecessarily in a position of divine judgment. In everything they say and do, Jesus' followers are to be truthful.

When Jesus calls us to follow him, he is inviting us to say with the Psalmist: "You, O Lord, are my portion and cup; you, O Lord, are my inheritance". This inheritance makes us sons and daughters of God who share in eternal life. Our souls are not abandoned to the netherworld for we will rise to life with the Son. (Read more.)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

If, then, you ask for miracles....

It is the feast of St Anthony the Wonderworker. In spite of the claims of Protestants and some modernist Catholics, it is not superstitious to ask St Anthony for help in finding lost articles. I could write a book about all the things he has found for me; things that I thought were gone forever. But it is not only in finding what is lost that St Anthony excels; he is a big brother and comforter in every kind of trial, especially in spiritual struggles. It is hard to explain to non-Catholics and "progressive" Catholics how a saint can be a friend; I would not even know where to begin. One must have trust, a child-like faith, and a sense of the Communion of Saints. The saints are our friends, our needs are their concerns and nothing is too small for their intercession.

Here is some information about St Anthony's Chapel in Pittsburgh, one of the most amazing and overlooked shrines in the world.

Today is also the anniversary of the second apparition of Our Lady at Fatima in 1917. Our Lady told the three children that Our Lord wished to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart. She showed them her heart encircled with thorns and said: "I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God." To ponder such words in the depths of contemplation is to share in the wonder of the mystery of God's mercy.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Mater Ecclesiae

The Monday after Pentecost Sunday is the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. From Northwest Catholic:
A few moments before dying, Jesus made us heirs of his most precious treasure on Earth: his own Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:26-27) Jesus knew his mother should not be alone. She needed children to look after, children who would make her feel she was their mother, who would come to her aid and who would seek refuge under her mantle. 
Jesus’ beloved disciple, representing all the beloved disciples of Jesus, welcomes Mary into his home from that day. In this way, the church embraces Mary as its mother for all ages. The apostles first, and then the entire church, will need a Mother who can summon them in love, who can help them to reconcile after a feud, who appeases them when tension arises, who consoles them when things don’t go as expected, who gives them hope when all seems lost, and who prays with them and for them. In such a way, the Mother of God becomes the mother of the beloved disciple and the Mother of the Church. (Read more.)

Days of Fire and Light

Fr. Mark has a fascinating post about how the suppression of the Octave of Pentecost in 1969 made Pope Paul VI weep. I love the octaves of the great solemnities. Certain feasts are too wonderful to be confined to one day. It takes an octave to absorb the joy and mystery which even in a lifetime we can never fully comprehend. To quote:
 The story goes that on the Monday after Pentecost in 1970 His Holiness Pope Paul VI rose early and went to his chapel for Holy Mass. Instead of the red vestments he expected, green ones were laid out for him. He asked the Master of Ceremonies, “What on earth are these for? This is the Octave of Pentecost! Where are the red vestments?” “Your Holiness,” replied the Master of Ceremonies, “this is now The Time Throughout the Year. It is green, now. The Octave of Pentecost is abolished.” “Green? That cannot be,” said the Pope, “Who did that?” “Your Holiness, you did.” And Paul VI wept.
Paul VI did not weep alone. Many wept with him. It was reported that Catherine de Hueck Doherty of Madonna House was inconsolable. Faithful the world over were speechless at the brutal removal of one of the Church Year’s most cherished moments. In some countries the hierarchy were frightfully embarrassed: the civil calendar had retained the Monday and Tuesday after Pentecost as holidays, while the Church had erased them from hers. Little by little, the voices of those seeking the restoration of the Pentecost came to be heard in high places. (Read entire post.)

Sunday, June 9, 2019

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)

Friday, June 7, 2019

Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew


Today is the feast of a Carmelite saint, Blessed Anne, the secretary and confidante of the Holy Mother St. Teresa of Avila. Here her biography:
She entered in 1570 at the age of 21, taking the religious name Sr. Anne of St. Bartholomew and becoming the first discalced Carmelite lay sister. She made her profession on August 15th 1572 and was given the duty of infirmarian. In 1574 Anne went with St. Teresa to Valladolid and Medina del Campo. After that she became ill herself and was unable to travel for two years, but Teresa thought very highly of Anne and in 1577 she became her secretary and nurse. In the last five years of her life Teresa needed help with her large correspondence as she was often too tired or too ill to write herself, but she was able to dictate her letters. Anne had still not learnt to write, so Teresa gave her two lines of her own handwriting and told her to learn. In one afternoon Anne persevered and obeying Teresa’s directive she learned to write; this was cited as one of Teresa’s miracles in the process for her beatification, though it is true that, since Anne could read, she was already familiar with letters, which no doubt helped her learn to write. In the last years of Teresa’s life Anne wrote a great many letters for Teresa at her dictation. Teresa wanted Anne to receive the black veil and become a choir nun, but Anne begged to remain a lay sister, as she did not know how to read Latin which was required for the Divine Office and she said she would prefer to serve the community in practical ways than have the burden of administration. Teresa allowed her to remain a lay sister but predicted correctly that she would eventually become a choir nun. Anne visited many monasteries with Teresa and helped her with the foundations of Villanueva de la Jara, Palencia, Soria and Burgos. She was a dedicated nurse helping Teresa through her many health problems and attending to her lovingly in her last journeys. Teresa died in Anne’s arms at Alba de Tormes in 1582. (Read more.)

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Novena to Saint Anthony of Padua

THE MIRACULOUS RESPONSORY OF ST. ANTHONY
By St. Bonaventure

1. If then you ask for miracles,
Death, error, all calamities,
The leprosy and demons fly,
And health succeeds infirmities.
Chorus:
The sea obeys, and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore,
Whilst treasures lost are found again,
When young and old thine aid implore.
2. All dangers vanish at thy prayer,
And direst need doth quickly flee;
Let those who know thy power proclaim,
Let Paduans say: "These are of thee."
Chorus:
The sea obeys, and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore,
Whilst treasures lost are found again,
When young and old thine aid implore.
3. To Father, Son, may glory be,
And Holy Spirit eternally.
Chorus:
The sea obeys, and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore,
Whilst treasures lost are found again,
When young and old thine aid implore.
Pray for us, St. Anthony,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
O God! May the votive commemoration of St. Anthony, Thy Confessor and Doctor, be a source of joy to Thy Church, that she may always be fortified with spiritual assistance and may deserve to possess eternal joy. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Related Posts with Thumbnails