Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Novena Prayer to St Joan of Arc for America

In honor of the saint's birthday on January 6.
O Maid of Orleans, Savior of France, light of patriots, and strength of the Church Militant, hear our prayers for this great nation, the United States of America! Come to our aid now, as you did for France in your day. Help those of us who love this country to stand firm in the battle for what is right until the very end. Grant us strength to continue the fight for all that is sacred as we defend our nation from those who would tear it apart. Numerous forces of evil and dissolution threaten our very lives and culture. Vanquish them by your mighty intercession. Fortify our faithful people with your zeal and righteous fervor. Give virtue to our works and grace to our hearts so that we can look to the future with hope. Above all, bless our President and his allies in their struggles against the increasing darkness that is taking possession of our beloved homeland. Make him the point of the sword that purges this clear and present evil from our midst. Come with your assistance, holy Joan of Arc, friend of warriors and patron of our spiritual battle, and present our needs to the great Shepherd of souls, Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with the Father and Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.


Monday, December 28, 2020

Epiphany Novena

From Fish Eaters:

Novena to the Magi in anticipation of the Epiphany
This Novena is especially prayed beginning on 28 December (the Feast of the Holy Innocents) and ending on 5 January (the Vigil of the Epiphany).

28 December:
O holy Magi! You were living in continual expectation of the rising of the Star of Jacob, which would announce the birth of the true Sun of justice; obtain for us an increase of faith and charity, and the grace to live in continual hope of beholding one day the light of heavenly glory and eternal joy. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

29 December:
O holy Magi! who at the first appearance of the wondrous star left your native country to go and seek the newborn King of the Jews; obtain for us the grace of corresponding with alacrity to every divine inspiration. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

30 December:
O holy Magi! who regarded neither the severity of the season, nor the inconveniences of the journey that you might find the newborn Messiah; obtain for us the grace not to allow ourselves to be discouraged by any of the difficulties which may meet us on the way of salvation. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

31 December:
O holy Magi, who, when deserted by the star in the city of Jerusalem, sought humbly, and without human respect, from the rulers of the Church, the place where you might discover the object of your journey; obtain for us grace to have recourse, in faith and humility, in all our doubts and perplexities to the counsel of our superiors, who hold the place of God on earth. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

1 January:
O holy Magi, who were gladdened by the reappearance of the star which led you to Bethlehem; obtain for us from God the grace, that, remaining always faithful to Him in afflictions, we may be consoled in time by His grace, and in eternity by His glory. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

2 January:
O holy Magi, who, entering full of faith into the stable of Bethlehem, prostrated yourselves on the earth, to adore the newborn King of the Jews, though he was surrounded only by signs of poverty and weakness; obtain from the Lord for us a lively faith in the real presence of Jesus in the blessed Sacrament, the true spirit of poverty, and a Christ-like charity for the poor and suffering. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

3 January:
O holy Magi, who offered to Jesus Christ gold, incense, and myrrh, thereby recognizing Him to be at once King, God, and Man; obtain from the Lord for us the grace never to present ourselves before Him with empty hands; but that we may continually offer to Him the gold of charity, the incense of prayer, and the myrrh of penance and mortification. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

4 January:
O holy Magi, who, when warned by an angel not to return to Herod, traveled back to your country be another road; obtain for us from the Lord, the grace that, after having found Him in true repentance, we may avoid all danger of losing Him again. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

5 January:
O holy Magi, who were first among the Gentiles called to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and who persevered in the faith till your deaths, obtain for us of the Lord the grace of living always in conformity to our baptismal vows, ever leading to a life of faith; that like you we may attain to the beatific vision of that God Who now is the object of our faith. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end..

Holy Innocents

Hail, martyr flowers!
On the very threshold of your life
Christ's persecutor destroyed you,
As a whirlwind does the budding roses.
Salvete flores martyrum
According to Butler's Lives:
Our Divine Redeemer was persecuted by the world as soon as he made his appearance in it. For he was no sooner born than it declared war against him. Herod, in persecuting Christ, was an emblem of Satan and of the world. That ambitious and jealous prince had already sacrificed to his fears and suspicions the most illustrious part of his council, his virtuous wife Mariamne, with her mother Alexandra, the two sons he had by her, and the heirs to his crown, and all his best friends. Hearing from the magians who were come from distant countries to find and adore Christ that the Messias, or spiritual king of the Jews, foretold by the prophets, was born among them, he trembled lest he was come to take his temporal kingdom from him. So far are the thoughts of carnal and worldly men from the ways of God, and so strangely do violent passions blind and alarm them. The tyrant was disturbed beyond measure and resolved to take away the life of this child, as if he could have defeated the decrees of heaven. He had recourse to his usual arts of policy and dissimulation, and hoped to receive intelligence of the child by feigning a desire himself to adore him. But God laughed at the folly of his short-sighted prudence, and admonished the magians not to return to him. St. Joseph was likewise ordered by an angel to take the child and his mother, and to fly into Egypt. Is our Blessed Redeemer, the Lord of the universe, to be banished as soon as born....
Fr. Mark writes of the Passion of the Infant Christ, HERE. To quote:
I can never celebrate this feast of the Holy Innocents without returning to a book written many years ago by Caryll Houselander: The Passion of the Infant Christ. Writing in London during the Second World War — literally “under the bombs” — she was inspired to speak of the Passion of the Infant Christ. Seeing the sufferings of her own life and of those she loved with the pure vision of one become a child in Christ, she recognized in both cradle and cross wood hewn from the same tree.
The way to begin the healing of the wounds of the world is to treasure the Infant Christ in us; to be not the castle but the cradle of Christ, and in rocking that cradle to the rhythm of love, to swing the whole world back into the beat of the Music of Eternal Life. It is true that the span of an Infant’s arms is absurdly short; but if they are the arms of the Divine Child, they are as wide as the reach of the arms on the cross; they embrace and support the whole world; their shadow is the noonday shade for its suffering people; they are the spread wings under which the whole world shall find shelter and rest (Caryll Houselander, The Passion of the Infant Christ).
Houselander understood that nothing of the paschal mystery of Christ is locked in an irretrievable past. The liturgy is the passion of the Infant Christ made present to us and for us, here and now, in all its fullness. Are you in Egypt, “groaning under bondage” (Ex 2:23), learning to pray in suffering? Are you wandering in a desert waste, tortured by hunger and thirst, a prey to temptations and terrors of the night? Have you crossed over into that good and broad land where milk and honey flow? Through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the Infant Christ is with you, his prayer in yours, and yours in his: a prayer that says “Yes” to the wood of the cradle, to the wood of the Cross, and to everything that lies in between. (Read more.)

Monday, December 7, 2020

Tota pulchra es Maria

From Fr. Mark:
The Divine Office gives me the very words that the Holy Ghost would have us pronounce and the very melody that best carries them. I have only to take a breath, and sing what the Church wants me to sing. Her words, not mine: words crafted by the Church under the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost; words for all of Eve’s hapless children who know not how to pray as they ought.
Tota pulchra es Maria, et macula originalis non est in te. “Thou art all fair, O Mary, there is no spot of original sin in thee” (Ct 4, 7). Tota pulchra: all fair, all lovely, all beautiful or, to use the words of the Angel Gabriel, gratia plena, full of grace. In Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot,” one of his characters comments on the portrait of a woman named Nastassya Filippovna, saying, “One could turn the world upside down with beauty like that.” The beauty of the Immaculate Conception does not turn the world upside down; it is more radical than that. It is the beginning of a new world. It is the beauty of a new genesis, of paradise reinvented in a little girl conceived, as Bernanos put it, “younger than sin.”

Immaculate beauty crushes the head of the ancient serpent. Read Genesis 3: 9-15, 20. The human race receives in the person of the Immaculate Conception a new “mother of all the living.” The heartbeat of hope begins its rhythm in the womb of Saint Anne. Nothing will ever again be the same.
The second antiphon describes Mary as she appeared to Bernadette in 1858, in the grotto overlooking the Gave River: Vestimentum tuum candidum quasi nix, et facies tua sicut sol. Thy raiment is white as snow, and thy countenance as the sun (Ct 1:3, 4). It was 155 years ago that the young woman robed in white, with her countenance indescribably radiant, said to Bernadette, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The Virgin revealed to Bernadette the mystery of her identity hidden in God from before the creation of the world and unspoiled in time, untouched by the ravages of sin. (Read more.)

Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Four Introits of Advent

Fr. Mark discusses the joy of the Advent liturgy.
He who is to come is already here, near to us, close at hand. God is present, and from his presence streams all grace, all loveliness, all joy. Paul draws a very practical conclusion from this: “Nothing must make you anxious” (Phil 4:6). Were God absent, had God not yet come in His Christ and in the gift of His Holy Spirit, we would have reason to worry, reason for anxiety, and for fear. Worry and anxiety are an affront to the graciousness of God, a denial of His nearness to us, a turning from Him who has turned His Face towards us. Self-indulgence in fretting and anxiety is a sin that does not often appear on the radar screen of our consciences, and so it is a sin that, more often than not, goes unconfessed.

A thousand reasons not to follow the Apostle’s mandate come to mind. It is easy to listen to the voices of our fears, our insecurities, our need to arrange, rearrange, and attempt to control even things beyond our control. The Apostle says, “Have no anxiety about anything,” but we hold ourselves excused, saying, “Is not a little anxiety, just a little bit of worry reasonable and right?” Saint Paul is not moved by our rationalizations. “Nothing must make you anxious” (Phil 4:6). (Read more.)

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Advent Begins

From Fr. Mark:
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
In less than four weeks time we will be singing the opening antiphon of First Vespers of Christmas: Rex pacificus magnificatus est, cujus vultum desiderat universa terra, “The King of Peace is magnified, whose countenance the whole world desires [to see]“. Christ is the King of Peace. At His birth the choirs of angels filled the skies over Bethlehem, singing “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will” (Luke 2:14). The angels knew that the Son of God had come to establish peace between heaven and earth. Whereas Adam’s sin had set earth against heaven, and caused heaven to weep over the sin that devastated the face of the earth, Christ, by His coming, fulfilled the psalmist’s prophecy that earth would be be inhabited by peacemakers, and that He would give peace to all who would welcome Him into their hearts and allow Him to rule over them as King. “The meek shall inherit the land, and shall delight in abundance of peace” (Psalm 36:11). (Read more.)

Thursday, November 26, 2020

In Thanksgiving to God

From a homily by Fr. Mark:
   The Mayflower Puritans, you will remember, fled Europe to put far behind them, once and for all, altar and priest, chalice and paten, saints, feast-days, and every Popish trapping and Romish invention.  The Puritans of Plymouth and of New Haven deemed the Mass an abomination.  They judged even the Protestantized Communion Service of the Church of England by far too Catholic.  The Puritans grasped the link between thanksgiving and fruitfulness but, having rejected the Mass, they had no way to express it sacramentally.  The Thanksgiving festival emerged in a Eucharistic void, in a culture bereft of altar and of priest.  The Puritans of Plymouth and of the New Haven Colony would be horrified to see their “Thanksgiving” observed today in a Papist nunnery with the Romish Sacrifice of the Mass!

     For our part, being incurably Papist and given to everything Romish, Thanksgiving Day falls within the greater Catholic rhythm of a life measured by thy Holy Sacrifice.  We live from Mass to Mass, from one Great Thanksgiving to another.  To be Catholic is “always and everywhere to give thanks.”  To be Catholic is to live eucharistically, drawn into the prayer of Christ to the Father and the fruitfulness that comes from the Holy Spirit.

     The Eucharistic life is a ceaseless thanksgiving; it is thanksgiving, semper et ubique, always and everywhere.  Saint Benedict teaches us the same thing: to bless always giving primacy to the praise of God, to forswear grumbling and murmuring, so as to enter, day after day, into the thanksgiving of Christ to the Father.

     We go the altar today, as we did yesterday and as we will tomorrow: to enter into the Great Thanksgiving of Christ our Eternal High Priest.  We go to the altar because there is no other way for us to be fruitful, no other way to bear “fruit that will abide” (Jn 15:16).  May he take us to himself, and draw us after him, beyond the veil (cf. Heb 6:19), into the presence of the Father.  There it is always Thanksgiving; there is made ready for us a feasting that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived” (1 Cor 2:9), the wedding feast of the Lamb (cf. Rev 19:9). (Read entire homily.)

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Octave Day of All Saints

From Dom Gueranger at Sensus Fidelium:

How could we more appropriately conclude the teachings of this Octave, than by quoting the words used by the Church herself in today’s Liturgy? “Strangers as we are and pilgrims on the earth, let us fix our hearts and our thoughts on the day which will give to each of us a home, and restore us to Paradise. Who, that is on a voyage, would not hasten to return to his country! Who, that is on the way home, would not eagerly desire a favorable wind, that he might the sooner embrace his dear ones! Parents, brothers, children, friends in multitudes impatiently await us in our heavenly fatherland; blessed crowd! already secure of their own eternal happiness, they are solicitous about our salvation. What joy for them and for us, when at length we see them and they may embrace us!

“How great the delight of that heavenly kingdom: no more fear of death; but eternal and supreme happiness! Let all our earnest desires tend to this: that we may be united with the Saints, that together with them we pay possess Christ.”

These enthusiastic words, borrowed from St. Cyprian’s beautiful book “On Mortality,” are used by the Church in her second Nocturn; and in the third she also gives us the strong language of St. Augustine, consoling the faithful, who are obliged still to remain in exile, by reminding them of the great beatitude of this earth: the beatitude of those who are persecuted and cursed by the world. To suffer gladly for Christ, is the Christian’s glory, the invisible beauty which wins for his soul the good pleasure of God, and procures him a great reward in heaven.

He that hurteth, let him hurt still, says our Lord; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is just, let him be justified still; and he that is holy, let him be sanctified still. Behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to every man according to his works. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Patience, then, Christians! Patience, all who are now despised, for time is short; the fashion of this world passeth away! It is in the light of our Baptism that we must look upon those foolish men, who think themselves strong, because they are violent; who call themselves wise, because pleasure is their only law. When the Man-God, with the spirit of his mouth, shall take vengeance on Satan their leader, their lot will be the indignant sentence heard by the Prophet of Patmos: Without are dogs, murderers, every one that loveth and maketh a lie. Meanwhile the whole creation, which they made the unwilling slave of their corruption, will answer to their disgraceful fall by a triumphant song of deliverance. Itself will be transformed into new heavens and a new earth. It will partake of the glory of the children of God, delivered like itself, and will be worthy to contain the new Jerusalem, the holy city, where in our flesh we shall see God; and where, seated at the right hand of the Father in the Person of Jesus Christ, our glorified human nature will enjoy forever the honors of a bride. (Read more.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Prayer of Thanksgiving after Election Day

 Let us join in giving thanks to God for His mercies to our country, which we have enjoyed and hope to continue to enjoy. In times of scandal and fraud, the only recourse left to honorable souls is hope and trust in God. Let us thank God for the victory which belongs to President Trump even though scoundrels are trying to steal it. The American people have chosen. We trust in the judgments of God. From Psalm 117, according to the Vulgate:

Confitemini Domino. The psalmist praiseth God for his delivery from evils: putteth his whole trust in him; and foretelleth the coming of Christ. Alleluia.

[1] Give praise to the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. [2] Let Israel now say that he is good: that his mercy endureth for ever. [3] Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. [4] Let them that fear the Lord now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. [5] In my trouble I called upon the Lord: and the Lord heard me, and enlarged me.

[6] The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man can do unto me. [7] The Lord is my helper: and I will look over my enemies. [8] It is good to confide in the Lord, rather than to have confidence in man. [9] It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to trust in princes. [10] All nations compassed me about; and in the name of the Lord I have been revenged on them.

[11] Surrounding me they compassed me about: and in the name of the Lord I have been revenged on them. [12] They surrounded me like bees, and they burned like fire among thorns: and in the name of the Lord I was revenged on them. [13] Being pushed I was overturned that I might fall: but the Lord supported me. [14] The Lord is my strength and my praise: and he is become my salvation. [15] The voice of rejoicing and of salvation is in the tabernacles of the just.

[16] The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength: the right hand of the Lord hath exulted me: the right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength. [17] I shall not die, but live: and shall declare the works of the Lord. [18] The Lord chastising hath chastised me: but he hath not delivered me over to death. [19] Open ye to me the gates of justice: I will go into them, and give praise to the Lord. [20] This is the gate of the Lord, the just shall enter into it.

[21] I will give glory to thee because thou hast heard me: and art become my salvation. [22] The stone which the builders rejected; the same is become the head of the corner. [23] This is the Lord's doing: and it is wonderful in our eyes. [24] This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein. [25] O Lord, save me: O Lord, give good success.

[26] Blessed be he that cometh in the name Lord. We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord. [27] The Lord is God, and he hath shone upon us. Appoint a solemn day, with shady boughs, even to the horn of the altar. [28] Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, and I will exalt thee. I will praise thee, because thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. [29] O praise ye the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Monday, October 26, 2020

A Prayer Against Spells


From CBN News:
As CBN News has reported, witches have been regularly trying to cast spells against Trump since his inauguration in 2017. They even worked to hex his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

In addition to this year's Halloween spell, one of the people using the Bind Trump (Official) Facebook page also called for magic to be performed against the President for his final debate on Thursday night with Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

A person identified as Terri Wonder wrote about their strategic plan in a post to the page: "Trump needs to go off the rails again in the third and last debate. This will drive the election home--and him out in the landslide our nation and the world so urgently needs. There are some state(s) where Biden has turned the tide in polling and a range of others where another successful debate could cause another shift in those red and blue lines, swinging the state polls decisively in Biden's favor. Think Florida, Georgia, North Carolina. Let's work our magic hard."

Facebook shows the public group has more than 6,100 members. (Read more.)

Here is Fáed Fíada, "The Cry of the Deer" or "St. Patrick's Breastplate," a prayer attributed to the great Apostle of Ireland.  Let us pray for President Trump and his family, especially on All Saints' Eve and Election Day. It is good to confess and receive Holy Communion when engaging in spiritual warfare.
 I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation. I arise today through the strength of Christ with His Baptism,
through the strength of His Crucifixion with His Burial
through the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.

I arise today through the strength of the love of Cherubim
in obedience of Angels, in the service of the Archangels,
in hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
in prayers of Patriarchs, in predictions of Prophets,
in preachings of Apostles, in faiths of Confessors,
in innocence of Holy Virgins, in deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through the strength of Heaven:
light of Sun, brilliance of Moon, splendour of Fire,
speed of Lightning, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea,
stability of Earth, firmness of Rock.

I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me,
God's host to secure me:
against snares of devils, against temptations of vices,
against inclinations of nature, against everyone who
shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.
I summon today all these powers between me (and these evils):
against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose
my body and my soul,
against incantations of false prophets,
against black laws of heathenry,
against false laws of heretics, against craft of idolatry,
against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
against every knowledge that endangers man's body and soul.
Christ to protect me today
against poison, against burning, against drowning,
against wounding, so that there may come abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right,
Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length,
Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of Christ. May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Venerable Carlo Acutis

Many saints have decayed, including St.Thérèse. They also had to fix St. Bernadette's face even though she is genuinely incorrupt. He will be beatified on October 10. From Angelus:

The tomb of Venerable Carlo Acutis was opened for public veneration Thursday ahead of the computer-programming teen’s beatification.

A spokeswoman for Acutis’ beatification told CNA that the entire body was present, but “not incorrupt.”

“Today we … see him again in his mortal body. A body that has passed, in the years of burial in Assisi, through the normal process of decay, which is the legacy of the human condition after sin has removed it from God, the source of life. But this mortal body is destined for resurrection,” Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi said at a Mass at the opening of the tomb Oct. 1.

The bishop explained that Acutis’ body was “reassembled with art and love.”

Acutis, who died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15, was known for his computer-programming skills, and love of the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary. (Read more.)


More HERE.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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.)

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Call of Saint Matthew

Fr. Mark analyzes the painting by Caravaggio in light of the Scriptures:
The call of Matthew, as recounted in his Gospel and as portrayed in Caravaggio's painting, is more than the story of one man's experience of Jesus Christ over two thousand years ago. It is your story and mine. It concerns each one of us just as much as it concerns Saint Matthew, for the Lord Jesus says: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. . . . For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mt 9:12-13). (Read entire post.)

Saturday, August 15, 2020

A Mystery Bigger Than Ourselves

In meditating upon the mystery of the Assumption we remember that nothing is impossible with God.
Gaudeamus!...Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at whose Assumption the angels rejoice and all together praise the Son of God. This is no mere earthly joy; it is the joy of heaven spilling over, cascading down through the choirs of angels until, having reached us here below, it again takes flight heavenward, leaving us surprised by joy.

The joy of today's festival descends from heaven and returns to heaven. It leaves us caught up in a mystery bigger than ourselves, obliges us to set our sights "on the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God" (Col 3:1). It is as if the Virgin Mother herself, borrowing the words of the Apostle, speaks to us out of that glory in which she is "hidden with Christ in God" (Col 3:3), and says, "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth" (Col 3:2). The Assumption of the Mother of God is a jubilant "Sursum corda!"(Read entire article.)

Novena for Our Nation: August 15 – October 7

From August 15 until Oct 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Let us join in prayer for our country, especially for the conversion of America. From Roman Catholic Man:
The novena consists of five decades of the Rosary (one set of mysteries) each day for twenty-seven days in petition; then immediately five decades each day for an additional twenty-seven days in thanksgiving, regardless of whether or not the request has been granted yet. So began six novenas of Rosaries — which became known as the 54-day Rosary Novena. To do the novena properly — one must pray the Rosary for 54 consecutive days, without missing a day, and must pray the particular Mystery indicated for that day following the correct sequence. That is, the first day of the novena always begins with the Joyful Mysteries (regardless of what day of the week the novena is started); the second day, the Sorrowful Mysteries are prayed; and the third day of the novena, the Glorious Mysteries are prayed. The fourth day of the novena begins again with the Joyful Mysteries and continues on in that sequence throughout the 54 days of the novena...(Read more.)


More from Fr. Heilman: 

“When people say the Rosary together, it is far more formidable to the devil, than one said privately. Because in this public prayer, it is an army that is attacking him. He can often overcome the prayer of an individual, but if this prayer is joined to other Christians, the devil has much more trouble in getting the best of it.” -St Louis de Montfort.

We are calling all “believing” Catholics to join in a powerful campaign of spiritual warfare, entitled, “Novena for Our Nation” (August 15 to October 7). The United States Grace Force has grown to nearly 68,000 Special Forces Prayer Warriors, and we want to get larger and stronger!!

Cardinal Burke has joined in calling us all to get in the fight …

“There is no question that we are living in the most troubled times. Fundamental truths about human life about marriage and the family and about the conscience are being called into question by threatening the lives of individuals and of our society. But we are full of courage because we know that our Lord is with us. He’s called us to be His soldiers on the ground, working with Him for the salvation of the world." (Read more.)

Monday, August 10, 2020

St Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr

Fr. Mark's reflections are worth reading year after year. Father gives us a lesson in the meaning of sacred art as well as of the life of the saint. To quote:
I wish that I could put you all in a bus today and accompany you to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City just to see there the small round glass medallion dating from the fourth century that depicts Saint Laurence. The medallion bears the simple inscription: “Live with Christ and Laurence.” What some would see as a simple cultural artifact is for us a witness to the unchanging faith of the Church. The saints are those who have passed into eternal life with Christ. “Live with Christ and Laurence.” To live with Christ is to live in the society of the saints. Not only do we remember each year the anniversary of their birthday into the life of heaven; we seek their intercession and rely on it. We make our pilgrimage through this life in their company, having “over our head,” as the Letter to the Hebrews says, “so great a cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1).

I also wish that I could transport all of you to the Chapel of Pope Nicholas V in the Vatican to see there the series of frescoes that Blessed Fra Angelico painted to depict the life of Saint Laurence. This in itself is remarkable: a saint painting a saint.

In one scene of the series he shows Saint Laurence coming out of a basilica to meet the poor who are waiting for him. Laurence is youthful; he is dressed as a deacon for the liturgy. His dalmatic is deep rose in colour, suggesting joy, and trimmed in gold, hinting at the glory that is already transforming him. On the ground in front of him is a crippled man holding out his hand and begging for alms. To his right is an old man with a white beard, quite bent over, and leaning on his walking stick; he too is asking for alms. To Laurence’s left stands an impoverished widow in a dark dress and, just behind her, a young mother with a baby in her arms. Again to his left, is a man in need of medicine, pointing to a wound in his knee. On both sides of Laurence are little children; two of them, having already received their alms, are walking away, while a third is still waiting to receive something. (Read more.)

Saturday, August 8, 2020

St. Dominic and the Triumph of Grace

From Vultus Christi:
If Saint Dominic preached the rosary and prayed it, it was because he knew it to be a prayer capable of winning every grace. The rosary is a prayer of repetition. It is a prayer of confidence. It helps one to persevere in supplication, bead by bead, and decade by decade. Our Lord finds the rosary irresistible because His own Mother “subsidizes” it. She stands behind it. The rosary is the voice of the poor, the needy, the downtrodden, and the weak. Persevere in praying the rosary and one day you will hear Our Lord say to you what He said to the woman of the Gospel: “Great is thy faith! Be it done for thee as thou wilt” (Mt 15:28). Saint Dominic shows us that, with the rosary in hand, we will experience the triumph of grace. (Read more.)

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Millenarian Heresy

From Unveiling the Apocalypse:
The Divine Will Movement rejects the amillenialism of St Augustine in favour of a "spiritual" version of the Chiliasm held by some early Christians, and holds that the "period of peace" promised by Our Lady of Fatima is actually an "era" that is equated with the Millennium of Rev 20. During this future "era of peace", they hold that Satan will be fully chained and all evil on earth will cease to exist. This is because the freedom of choice necessitated by human free will is going to be removed, and every person on earth will live according to the "Divine Will", during the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, in fulfillment of the Lord's Prayer that "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". This notion is essentially the same as Quietism, which condemned as a heresy by Pope Innocent XI in 1687 in the papal bull Coelestis Pastor.
In his papal encyclical Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI categorically ruled out the idea that the "kingdom of the good" could be definitively established on earth because of the permanent reality of human free will and original sin:
Since man always remains free and since his freedom is always fragile, the kingdom of good will never be definitively established in this world. Anyone who promises the better world that is guaranteed to last for ever is making a false promise; he is overlooking human freedom. Freedom must constantly be won over for the cause of good. Free assent to the good never exists simply by itself. If there were structures which could irrevocably guarantee a determined—good—state of the world, man's freedom would be denied, and hence they would not be good structures at all. (para 24)
The Divine Will Movement teaches that the establishment of this terrestrial paradise will be inaugurated on earth during a "Middle Coming" of Christ to reign with the resurrected saints for the duration of the Millennium of Rev 20. They closely follow the dual-antichrist eschatology of Joachim de Fiore, and posit the arrival of two separate antichrist figures, one before and one after the Millennium. The first antichrist figure will be slain by Christ during the event of the "Middle Coming" to establish the millennial reign on earth, and the final "tail/Gog" antichrist rises up to make one last assault against the Church at the end of the Millennium, when the forces of Satan once again surround the camp of the saints before the "Final Coming" of Christ in glory. This contradicts the most authorative account on the Antichrist given by the Church Doctor St. Robert Bellarmine, who teaches that there is only one Antichrist who comes at the very end of time, and that the opinion of Lactantius...(Read more.)

Monday, July 20, 2020

The Zeal of Saint Elias

From Fr. Mark:
We see the glory of a good zeal in the prophet Saint Elijah: "And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said to him: Arise, eat: for thou hast yet a great way to go. And he arose, and ate, and drank, and walked in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights, unto the mount of God, Horeb. And when he was come thither, he abode in a cave: and behold the word of the Lord came unto him, and he said to him: What dost thou here, Elias? [10] And he answered: With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts" (1 Kings 19:7-10). The zeal of Elijah came to him with the mysterious food provided him from heaven, a figure of the Most Holy Eucharist. It disposed him to receive the Word of God, and to hear it. A good zeal never sets a man at odds with the Word of God, nor with the teachings of the Church. It is empowering -- yes-- but the power of a good zeal is deployed in the little, the lowly, and the weak. (Read entire post.)

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Prayer for the United States

From Dr. Marshall's blog.
 Almighty and Eternal God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords: graciously turn your gaze to us who invoke You with confidence. Bless us, citizens of the United States of America; grant peace and prosperity to our Nation; illuminate those who govern us so that they may commit themselves to the common good, in respect for Your holy Law. Protect those who, defending the inviolable principles of the Natural Law and Your Commandments, must face the repeated assaults of the Enemy of the human race. Keep in the hearts of Your children courage for the truth, love for virtue and perseverance in the midst of trials. Make our families grow in the example that Our Lord has given us, together with His Most Holy Mother and Saint Joseph in the home of Nazareth; give to our fathers and mothers the gift of Strength, to educate wisely the children with which you have blessed them. Give courage to those who, in spiritual combat, fight the good fight as soldiers of Christ against the furious forces of the children of darkness.
Keep each one of us, O Lord, in your Most Sacred Heart, and above all He whom Your Providence has placed at the head of our Nation. Bless the President of the United States of America, so that aware of his responsibility and his duties, he may be a knight of justice, a defender of the oppressed, a firm bulwark against Your enemies, and a proud supporter of the children of light. Place the United States of America and the whole world under the mantle of the Queen of Victories, our Unconquered Leader in battle, the Immaculate Conception. It is thanks to her, and through your Mercy, that the hymn of praise rises to you, O Lord, from the children whom you have redeemed in the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, July 6, 2020

What is the Didache?

From Aleteia:
The Greek word didache means “teaching” or “the teaching,” and is a shortened form of the full title, which is often translated as, “The Lord’s Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations.” Many scholars simply refer to it as the “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles.”

The Didache is a collection of Christian writings that is mentioned by various writers in the early Church and is often paired with the New Testament. For example, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “The Didache is mentioned by Eusebius after the books of Scripture (Church History III.25.4): ‘Let there be placed among the spuria the writing of the Acts of Paul … what are called the Teachings of the Apostles … if this be thought fit.” Furthermore, “St. Athanasius and Rufinus add the ‘Teaching’ to the sapiential and other deutero-canonical books.”

It is believed by scholars to have been written during the 1st century, and some claim it contains teachings that were handed down by the apostles. In a commentary on the Didache published in 1894, Charles Hoole explains some of the evidence that connects it to this early period of Christianity.
There existed at a very remote period, most likely before the end of the first century, a work handed down by oral tradition which was supposed to embody the verbal teaching of the first Apostles. The expression itself, “teaching of the Apostles,” occurs in Acts xi. 42, and the use of the word for teaching or doctrine is common in the New Testament, so that it would be the natural title for a collection of sayings or precepts which had been handed down by tradition as representing the verbal teaching of the Apostles. We may suppose that this work, after existing for a time in a traditional form, was embodied in writing, and used to form part of the earliest Christian books.
The contents of the Didache focus on ritual instructions regarding baptism, Holy Communion and fasting, for example. It also contains a spiritual exhortation on The Two Ways, the Way of Life and the Way of Death. (Read more.)

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Hard Sayings of Our Lord

A third hard saying of the Lord’s destroys a notion that is, to most moderns, practically a dogma: that just about everyone is going to Heaven. It is one of the most damaging ideas in modern times because it removes the necessary sense of urgency in earnestly seeking our salvation, in staying on the narrow road that leads to salvation. In direct opposition to this destructive and presumptuous notion of practically universal salvation Jesus says,
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How small the gate and narrow the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few (Matt 7:12-13).
Pay close attention to the word “few.” We need to be sober and come to the biblical understanding that our salvation must be earnestly desired and sought. God’s love for us is not lacking, but our love for Him often is. In contrast, Jesus says that “many” are on a path of indifference or outright rejection of the Kingdom, which leads to destruction. 
The Kingdom of God is not some abstraction. It’s not a golf course or a playground up in the sky. The Kingdom of God is the full realization of God’s will and His plan. It includes values like justice, mercy, kindness, chastity, and love of God and neighbor. It is clear that many (to quote Jesus) live in opposition or indifference to these values, while only a few (to quote Jesus) come to appreciate and are willing to receive them into their life wholeheartedly. 
Yes, this is a hard saying. Many are on the path to destruction while only a few are on the road to salvation. The Lord is telling us the truth—not in order to panic us, but to jolt us into earnestly desiring our own salvation and seeking it from Him with devotion. It is also to make us sober about the condition of others. We must stop making light of sin and indifference; we must work urgently to evangelize and to call sinners to repentance. (Read more.)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Seventh Seal

From Unveiling the Apocalypse:
In a few days time from now, there is going to be yet another alignment of all seven of the classical planets known to the ancients, on 4th July, 2020, the American Day of Independence. In my book, Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, I attempt to show how such the description of Christ holding the seven stars in right hand in order to symbolize the "keys to death and Hades" represents a series of planetary alignments connected to the timing of the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the "thousand years", when the gates of Hell are unleashed in an attempt to destroy the Church....Could this planetary alignment, coming so closely on the back of a great liturgical silence falling upon the Church during the corona virus pandemic, represent the closing of the Abyss and thus herald the ultimate reversal of the fortunes of the Bride of Christ? We can only hope and pray that the terrible stains that have sullied the garments of the Church during the unbinding of Satan will soon be cleansed, and that the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary promised at Fatima will restore Christ's Bride to her former glory. It is perhaps worth noting that St. Bonaventure had linked the restoration of the Church with a "time of quiet" before the coming of the Antichrist, which sounds remarkable similar to the "silence in heaven" at the opening of the seventh seal...(Read more.)

Monday, June 15, 2020

Recovering Reverence for the Lord

From Monsignor Charles Pope:
Liturgically in the last fifty years we have also reflected and reinforced a casual and overly familiar relationship with God. People used to dress up for church, keep a reverent silence prior to Mass, and be more serious about the state of their soul before approaching Holy Communion. Today, much of this is gone. Today many people dress casually at Mass, barely reflect on their worthiness to receive Communion, and seem more focused on the human dimension of the liturgy. Beginning in the 1960s the emphasis was on the Mass as a meal and so it should look and be like one. Thus, altars were turned around and made to look like tables (frankly not nearly as nice as my mother’s dining room table), and sacrificial language was lost. It also seemed a rather casual meal at that. The chalices were gone, replaced by pottery and ceramic vessels; the hosts got bigger and more “pita-like.”

Much of this was based on a mistaken notion that the Mass is a representation or reenactment of the Last Supper—it is not. It is the making present of the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ. Even at the Last Supper, Christ pointed beyond it, to the cross and resurrection. And even if the Last Supper is recalled, we ought to remember that the Passover meal (the context for the Last Supper) was no casual affair. Only the best was used; formality and ancient customs prevailed for this night that was different from every other night. (Read more.)
And Monsignor Pope also writes of the call to integrity in worship:
 Our worship can lack integrity. That which is supposed to glorify God and bring forth in us a holy obedience can become lip service. God seeks hearts that are humble, docile, loving, and repentant. We cannot satisfy Him just by singing a few hymns, saying some prayers, or attending Mass. These things, good though they are, are meant to bring about a conversion in us that makes us more loving of both God and neighbor, less violent, more just, more merciful, more generous, and more holy. Our worship should effect change in us such that we cease doing evil, learn to do good, strive for justice, address injustice, and defend and help the poor, the unborn, the elderly, the dying, and the helpless.

An additional problem with our worship today is that God has become almost an afterthought. Much of our liturgy is self-centered, self-congratulatory, and anthropocentric (rather than theocentric). We are “the aware, gathered community celebrating itself.” While the Mass should focus on God and summon us to humility and joy before Him, too often it seems more an exercise in self-congratulation. We are very narcissistic, even in a communal setting. God cannot be pleased with all of this. Even if our worship is rightly ordered, we are not going to buy Him off that easily. God wants an obedient heart more than sacrifice. Sacrifice without obedience is a sham.

We need God to restore our integrity and give us a new heart. We are “dis-integrated,” in the sense that pieces of our life that should be together (e.g., worship and obedience, liturgy and healing) are not. Too often our worship does just the opposite of what it should. Instead of drawing us more deeply into the love and obedience of God, it becomes the very occasion of keeping Him at a distance and seeking to placate Him with superficial gestures. This makes our worship a lie and an insult to Him. God doesn’t mince words in the passage above when He says how displeased He is. We need God to give us a new heart, one that loves Him as well as the people and things that He loves. Only then will our worship will truly reflect the heart that God seeks: a loving, humble, and generous one. (Read more.)

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sacrament of Health and Sweetness

Fr. Mark quotes St. Thomas Aquinas on the institution of the feast of Corpus Christi:
In the year of salvation 1264, to the end that the faithful might celebrate the institution of so great a Sacrament with a complete festal Office, Urban IV, Bishop of Rome, was moved by his devotion thereto, to put forth a godly ordinance, to the effect that the memory of the said institution should be celebrated by all the faithful on the Thursday next after the Octave Day of Pentecost. This day was chosen in order that we, who from one end of the year to the other do use this Sacrament to our soul's health, might particularly celebrate the institution thereof at that season wherein the Holy Ghost taught the hearts of the disciples to acknowledge the mysteries thereof; for then it was, as we read, that they continued steadfastly in the Apostles' Doctrine and Fellowship, and in the Breaking of the Bread and the Prayers.
From a Sermon by Saint Thomas Aquinas
Opusculum 57
(Read more.)

Saturday, June 13, 2020

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.)

Monday, June 1, 2020

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.)

Saturday, May 16, 2020

St. Simon Stock (1165-1265)

The son of a noble family, St. Simon Stock was born in England in 1165. At the age of twelve, he became a hermit in one of the vast forests for which England was then famous. He lived in the hollow trunk of an ancient tree, whence he derived the surname "Stock." Herbs, roots, berries, and an occasional crust of bread were his sustenance. He would leave his woodland retreat to visit different shrines of Our Lady, which in those days could be found throughout the kingdom. His devotion to Mary was so great that he would carve her holy name on the trees of the forest.

The Mother of God often appeared to St. Simon. During one apparition, she told him that the holy hermits of Mount Carmel, her special sons, would come to England and he was to join their order. Years passed by, and as prophesied, the "Brothers of Our Lady" came to Aylesford in Kent. They accepted St. Simon into their ranks. After his ordination, he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where he stayed with the hermits on Mount Carmel in silence and contemplation like Elias of old. He returned to Europe to help establish the Order in the West. In 1245, the first General Chapter of the Carmelite Order in the West was held at Aylesford. St. Simon was elected Father General of the Order.

It was a formidable task. Because of the rise of Islam in Palestine, it was of vital importance that the Order become firmly established in Europe. This meant advocating a "mixed life" of prayer and active ministry, similar to the Franciscans, rather than a purely eremetical, contemplative life. St. Simon sent the young hermits to the universities to receive the training necessary to be preachers. His decision was strongly criticized by some of the hermits who thought their charism was being destroyed. Many prelates were trying to have the Carmelites completely suppressed. The very existence of the Order was threatened.

St. Simon composed a prayer to Our Lady which begins: "Flower of Carmel, blossoming vine, splendor of Heaven, Mother Divine, none like to thee." He begged Our Lady to grant his order a privilegium or pledge of protection in exchange for total loyalty and service, such as a king or queen would grant a knight or a vassal in feudal society. On the night of July 15-16, 1251, the Queen of Heaven appeared to St. Simon, the Infant Jesus on her arm, surrounded by a multitude of angels. She gave him a large brown scapular. A scapular was a monastic apron worn by monks during their manual labor to protect their habits. Our Lady said: "Receive, my beloved son, this habit of thy Order: this shall be to thee and to all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this scapular shall never suffer eternal fire." What had been an apron now became a symbol of consecration to the Virgin Mary, a sign of her constant protection.

From that night on, the fortunes of the Carmelite Order improved. They received the protection of the Pope. The brown scapular became the main part of their habit, while small scapulars were distributed among the faithful. The brown scapular has become one of the most highly indulgenced sacramentals of the Church. In the fourteenth century, after a vision of Our Lady, Pope John XXII published the"Sabbatine Bull," promising delivery from purgatory on the Saturday following one's death to all who worthily wear the brown scapular, fulfilling the prescribed conditions.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Novena to the Servant of God Élisabeth of France

The Servant of God Madame Élisabeth de France, sister of Louis XVI

Here is a novena in honor of the martyred princess of France, lasting from May 2 until May 10. From Hozana (translated from the French by Tea at Trianon):
Born on May 3, 1764, sister of Louis XVI, unmarried, after a life of prayer and service to the poor, she chose to stay with her family despite the danger and experienced imprisonment and death on the scaffold on May 10, 1794. On February 10, 1790, she dedicated France to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, while asking for the protection of poor children. In these particularly difficult times, let us entrust to her our particular intentions, the single people whom we know and who seek to give meaning to their lives and, of course, our country. (Read more.)
Prayer the Beatification of Élisabeth of France
God our Father In your great mercy You called Élisabeth of France to the offering of her life for her family at the heart of the tumult of the Revolution. Driven by an unwavering faith in eternal life she supported her companions in their ordeals and brought hope to those who were going to die with her. Unmarried, she helped the poor and the sick, supported by fervent prayer. By her intercession grant us, according to Your will, the graces that we implore. In Your great kindness, make the Church recognize soon in her an authentic witness to the Gospel, a model of celibacy, diligent in prayer and attentive to the most fragile. We ask You through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Above are votive offerings of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus from Chartres Cathedral. The Immaculate Heart is pierced with the sword of sorrow, wreathed with flowers and crowned with lilies, symbols of Mary's love and purity. The Heart of Mary is offered on behalf of the Louis XVI and the Royal Family. The Sacred Heart, wreathed in the crown of thorns and crowned with the flame of love and the cross, represent the Passion of Christ and His love for the world. The Sacred Heart is offered on behalf of the Church in France. The votives were left at Chartres Cathedral in 1790 by members of the household of Madame Élisabeth of France,  at her bidding.

More on the life of the Servant of God, HERE.
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