Sunday, September 29, 2019

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.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Bring Back the Saint Michael Prayer

From The Irish Catholic:
When I spoke about my book Freedom from Evil Spirits on the Late Late Show in February, I said to Ryan Tubridy that there are reasons in contemporary Ireland to think that a tsunami of evil is threatening to overwhelm us.

Aware that this is so, it is not surprising that recent Popes have encouraged Catholics to recite the prayer to St Michael in private. In 1994 St John Paul II said: “May prayer to St Michael strengthen us for the spiritual battle that the Letter to the Ephesians speaks of: ‘be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might’.” (Eph. 6:10)

Leo XIII certainly had this picture in mind when, at the end of the last century, he brought in throughout the Church a special prayer to St Michael. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world. (Read more.)

Friday, September 27, 2019

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.

Monsieur Vincent et Mère Mectilde

From Vultus Christi:
When they returned to Saint-Mihiel, it was obvious to all who saw Mother Mectilde and her two companions that they had received extraordinary graces; they seemed transfigured. Much later, Mother Mectilde let slip a few words that intimated that, in the sanctuary of Benoîte-Vaux, Our Lady revealed to her God’s designs on her life. A few days later, a commissary of Monsieur Vincent, named Mathieu Renard, asked to see the prioress and, with no preliminaries, said, “I have come, Mother, to take two of your religious to Montmartre, I have orders to do this, and Madame the Duchess of Aiguillon has provided me with money for the journey.” What happened at Montmartre that caused the Abbess to have so complete a change of heart? On the very night that Mother Mectilde and her companions were praying at the sanctuary of Benoîte-Vaux, the Lady Abbess of Montmartre woke up all of a sudden and summoned the two religious who slept in her bedchamber to look after her in illness. The Abbess was in a dreadful state of fright. She said that it seemed to her that she saw the Most Holy Virgin and her Divine Son reproaching her for her lack of hospitality to the poor homeless Benedictines in the Lorraine; they threatened her with a rigourous judgment should they, through her fault, perish in their misery and need. The next day the Abbess convened her senior religious; all agreed that they had to execute the manifest will of God. (Read more.)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

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!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

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 20, 2019

Novena to St. Michael

Let us unite in praying together the Novena to St. Michael the Archangel.
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.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

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 15, 2019

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 St. 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)

Saturday, September 14, 2019

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).

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Children of Fatima and the Fifth Apparition

Today is the 102nd 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.)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Holy Name of Mary

On September 12, the fifth day within the octave of the Nativity of the Virgin, in 1683, the army of the Turkish Sultan, 300,000 strong, was miraculously defeated at the gates of Vienna after an attempt to sweep across Europe. The King of Poland, Jan Sobieski, had come to the aid of the Habsburg Emperor Leopold, and they attributed the victory to the fact that they had put the name of Mary on their banners, thus invoking the aid of the Mother of God. The triumph, won against overwhelming odds, saved Europe from becoming a Moslem colony, and September 12 became the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary.

"Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, as terrible as an army set in array?" Canticle of Canticles 6:9

"And the virgin's name was Mary...." St. Luke 1:27




Sunday, September 8, 2019

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)

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Always Wear Your Scapular

From Aleteia:
One day a French priest on pilgrimage was walking to the local church to celebrate Mass. As he was near the church the priest realized he forgot something. While putting on his clothes in the morning, the priest had forgotten his Brown Scapular that typically went underneath his clothing.
This disturbed him and he couldn’t think of offering Mass without honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Brown Scapular. However, he would be late for Mass if he went back to his lodging. The priest decided to run back and put on his scapular, preferring to celebrate Mass with his scapular.
The booklet, Garment of Grace, narrates what happens next.
Later, as he was offering the Holy Sacrifice, a young man approached the altar, pulled out a gun, and shot the priest in the back. To the amazement of all, the priest continued to say the prayers of the Mass as though nothing had occurred. It was at first presumed that the bullet had miraculously missed its target. However, upon examination, the bullet was found ADHERING TO THE LITTLE BROWN SCAPULAR which the priest had so obstinately refused to be without. 
The story does not have any other details, such as the name of the priest, date or location, but it is not the first time that someone was saved from a bullet by a holy item they were wearing (such as a World War I soldier who was saved by his Bible). It highlights the faith of the individual and how their faith literally saved them from danger. While these stories do not guarantee someone will be saved if they wear something holy, it does reinforce the need to have an authentic faith in God, trusting that he will protect them during their time of need. If we have an authentic trust in God, anything is possible. (Read more.)

Monday, September 2, 2019

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.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

St. Theresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus


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

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

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