Friday, January 31, 2020

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

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


Friday, January 24, 2020

St. Francis de Sales

Today is the feast of Saint Francis de Sales. He is a saint very close to my heart. Here is one of his best-known sayings:
Do not look forward to the mishaps of this life with anxiety, but await them with perfect confidence so that when they do occur, God, to whom you belong, will deliver you from them. He has kept you up to the present; remain securely in the hand of his providence, and he will help you in all situations. When you cannot walk, he will carry you. Do not think about what will happen tomorrow, for the same eternal Father who takes care of you today will look out for you tomorrow and always. Either he will keep you from evil or he will give you invincible courage to endure it. Remain in peace; rid your imagination of whatever troubles you.
Fr. Mark writes on confidence and peace according to St. Francis de Sales.
Once we have accepted that all things are in the hand of God, and that the great events of history, like the smallest details of our own lives, are willed or permitted by Him, we begin to experience an unassailable peace of heart. “In everything, says Saint Paul, God works for good with those who love Him” (Rom 8:28). Worry has never advanced the kingdom of heaven. Worry has never made anyone holy. Panic, fretting, and anxiety are not fruits of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost produces confidence in God, trust in His mercy, abandonment to His designs, surrender to His will and, always, peace.
Control
Again, Saint Francis de Sales has a word for people who have the need always to be in control:
When we let go of everything, our Lord takes care of all and manages all. If we hold back anything — this shows a lack of trust in Him — He lets us keep it. It is as if he said, “You think yourself wise enough to handle this matter without me; I allow you to do so; you will see how you come out in the end.”
It is a sound observation of human psychology that the more one feels that the big things in one’s life are spinning out of control, the more one grasps at the little things, trying desperately to control what one can. (Read more.)

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Espousals



 
On the traditional Carmelite calendar, today is celebrated the Espousals of Mary and Joseph. According to Archbishop Sheen:
Mary and Joseph brought to their espousals not only their vows of virginity but also two hearts with greater torrents of love than had ever before coursed through human breasts. No husband and wife ever loved one another so much as Joseph and Mary. Their marriage was not like that of others, because the right to the body was surrendered; in normal marriages, unity in the flesh is the symbol of its consummation, and the ecstasy that accompanies a consummation is only a foretaste of the joy that comes to the soul when it attains union with God through grace. If there are satiety and fed-up-ness in marriage, it is because it falls short of what it was meant to reveal, or because the inner Divine Mystery was not seen in the act. But in the case of Mary and Joseph, there was no need of the symbol of the unity of flesh, since they already possessed the Divinity. Why pursue the shadow when they had the substance? Mary and Joseph needed no consummation in the flesh, for, in the beautiful language of Leo XIII: "The consummation of their love was in Jesus." Why bother with the flickering candles of the flesh, when the Light of the World is their love? Truly He is Jesu, voluptas cordium. When He is the sweet voluptuousness of hearts, there is not even a thought of the flesh. As husband and wife standing over the cradle of their newborn life forget, for the moment, the need of one another, so Mary and Joseph, in their possession of God in their family, hardly knew that they had bodies. Love usually makes husband and wife one; in the case of Mary and Joseph, it was not their combined loves but Jesus Who made them one. No deeper love ever beat under the roof of the world since the beginning, nor will it ever beat, even unto the end. They did not go to God through love of one another; rather, because they went first to God, they had a deep and pure love, one for another. To those who ridicule such holiness, Chesterton wrote:
That Christ from this creative purity
Came forth your sterile appetites to scorn.
Lo! in her house Life without Lust was born
So in your house Lust without Life shall die
. (Read more.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

St. Agnes


Today is the birthday of a virgin; let us imitate her purity. It is the birthday of a martyr; let us offer ourselves in sacrifice. It is the birthday of Saint Agnes, who is said to have suffered martyrdom at the age of twelve. The cruelty that did not spare her youth shows all the more clearly the power of faith in finding one so young to bear it witness.
~from a treatise "On Virgins" by Saint Ambrose, bishop, in the Roman breviary.
More HERE:
Of all the virgin martyrs of Rome none was held in such high honour by the primitive church, since the fourth century, as St. Agnes. In the ancient Roman calendar of the feasts of the martyrs (Depositio Martyrum), incorporated into the collection of Furius Dionysius Philocalus, dating from 354 and often reprinted, e.g. in Ruinart [Acta Sincera Martyrum (ed. Ratisbon, 1859), 63 sqq.], her feast is assigned to 21 January, to which is added a detail as to the name of the road (Via Nomentana) near which her grave was located. The earliest sacramentaries give the same date for her feast, and it is on this day that the Latin Church even now keeps her memory sacred.
Since the close of the fourth century the Fathers of the Church and Christian poets have sung her praises and extolled her virginity and heroism under torture. It is clear, however, from the diversity in the earliest accounts that there was extant at the end of the fourth century no accurate and reliable narrative, at least in writing, concerning the details of her martyrdom. On one point only is there mutual agreement, viz., the youth of the Christian heroine. St. Ambrose gives her age as twelve (De Virginibus, I, 2; P.L., XVI, 200-202: Haec duodecim annorum martyrium fecisse traditur), St. Augustine as thirteen (Agnes puella tredecim annorum; Sermo cclxxiii, 6, P.L., XXXVIII, 1251), which harmonizes well with the words of Prudentius: Aiunt jugali vix habilem toro (Peristephanon, Hymn xiv, 10 in Ruinart, Act. Sinc., ed cit. 486). Damasus depicts her as hastening to martyrdom from the lap of her mother or nurse (Nutricis gremium subito liquisse puella; in St. Agneten, 3, ed. Ihm, Damasi epigrammata, Leipzig, 1895, 43, n. 40). We have no reason whatever for doubting this tradition. It indeed explains very well the renown of the youthful martyr.
The Amo Christum is an ancient Responsory for the feast of Saint Agnes, also used at religious professions:
I love Christ, into whose chamber I shall enter, whose Mother is a virgin, whose Father knows not woman, whose music and melody are sweet to my ears. When I love Him, I remain chaste; when I touch Him, I remain pure; when I possess Him, I remain a virgin. With His ring my Lord Jesus Christ has betrothed me and He has adorned me with the bridal crown.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Saint Sebastian

From SQPN:
Son of a wealthy Roman family. Educated in Milan. Officer of the Imperial Roman army, and captain of the guard. Favorite of Diocletian. During Diocletian’s persecution of the Christians, Sebastian visited them in prison, bringing supplies and comfort. Reported to have healed the wife of a brother soldier by making the Sign of the Cross over her. Converted soldiers and a governor to Christianity.
Charged as a Christian, Sebastian was tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and left for dead. He survived, and with the help of Saint Irene, recovered, and returned to preach to Diocletian. The emperor then had him beaten to death.
During the 14th century, the random nature of infection with the Black Death caused people to liken the plague to their villages being shot by an army of nature’s archers. In desperation, they prayed for the intercession of a saint associated with archers, and Saint Sebastian became associated with the plague. (Read more.)

Friday, January 17, 2020

Our Lady of Hope

On this day in 1871 the heavens opened at Pontmain in France. Once again, the Blessed Mother gave hope to her children. According to Fr. Mark:
Before the beautiful Lady appeared a blood red crucifix. At the top of the cross, on a white crosspiece, the Name of Jesus Christ was written in red letters. The beautiful Lady grasped the crucifix in both hands and showed it to the children while a small star lit the four candles in the blue oval. Everyone prayed in silence. They sang the Ave Maris Stella. The red crucifix disappeared. The beautiful Lady extended her hands in a gesture of welcome. A small white cross appeared on each shoulder. Everyone knelt down in the snow. A white veil, like a great sheet, covered the beautiful Lady from foot to head. “It’s finished,” said the children. Eleven days later the armistice was signed. The Prussians never entered Laval. (Read more.)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Why Mass is Cheapened by Socializing

The house of God should be a place of prayer, as Jesus said. When people are chatting then those who seek to pray cannot. In the presence of Our Lord there should be silence and awe, for we participate in a profound mystery. From Life Site:
The liturgy of the Church has for its primary aim to honor and glorify God, and in so doing, to sanctify our souls, leading us to an ever deeper intimacy with Jesus Christ. In accomplishing these aims, the liturgy furthers the brotherhood of man: it enables fellowship to exist, for there is common brotherhood only in the common adoration of the Father through His Son. The problem with the notion of “fraternity” is not that it is completely false, but that it has been sundered from the only context in which it makes any sense, the only source from which it can actually come.
Sometimes people of “liberal” or “progressive” persuasions accuse traditionally-minded Catholics of so overemphasizing the transcendent and divine aspects of worship that we neglect the immanent and human aspects—that God gave liturgy to us for our benefit (“the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath”), and that it is a communal activity that expresses and builds up our social bond with one another.
Now, there is no question that liturgy is a public and communal action, and that it redounds to our benefit; God is already absolutely perfect and unchangeably good in every way and cannot be improved by anything we do for Him. It is good and fitting for us to pray to God as a people and to be conscious of our neighbors as fellow citizens of the household of God. (All the same, the public character of the liturgy consists not in any number of people being present, but because of the action of Christ the High Priest as Head of His Mystical Body that extends through time and space; this is why even a “private Mass” offered by a priest alone is still a public and corporate act.) This being said, we must make sure that our grasp of the meaning of community is sufficiently in tune with the real nature of the Church.

First and foremost, when we worship we are in the presence of God and of His angels and saints. Reverence, solemnity, and majesty belong to worship precisely because it is no mere human gathering, but a momentary opening up of our world to the life and grace of the heavenly Jerusalem. We are joined to all the saved who have worshiped in the past, with all who worship in the present (whether next to us in the pew or anywhere else in the world), and, in a way hidden in God’s foreknowledge and predilection, with all who will worship for ages to come. It is not just “our” worship, the action of this particular local community; it always has a cosmic, universal, transtemporal dimension to it. (Read more.)

 From Virgo Potens:
The central act of Catholic worship is what we’re doing right now. The Mass. Now you know that I'm like a broken record, I don't come up with a lot of original stuff so I’m constantly droning on and on about how the Mass isn't about you, it’s about God. You've heard that from me a million times. What the Mass is, is the self sacrifice of Jesus to His father on Calvary re-presented in ritual form. That ritual form is the perfect act of the virtue of religion, whereby we pay to God the worship that is His due and it is perfect because it is God Himself in the person of the Son, who pays worship to the Father. 
That is why whenever we come to Mass, even if we don't receive Communion, our participation in it is still the perfect act of worship. It is the most pleasing thing we can ever offer to God, because we are offering Him His very own Son. Jesus died on the cross and that sacrifice of propitiation was completed, which is why the priest who stands in the person of Christ at the altar receives the entire contents of the host and the chalice to symbolize the consummation and completion of the sacrifice. You know even if there were a million people at Mass, the priest has to consume the sacrifice, the victim even if not one other person receives. If I drop dead after the consecration, eventually get around to calling the funeral home, but before then another priest has to come in to complete the sacrifice. In that sacrifice the symbolism of its completion is by the consuming of the elements by the priest.
There is a priest who celebrates the Latin Mass somewhere else in the diocese and I won’t say who he is but he got the flu and he was sicker than a dog and he was like, “I have to say Mass. I can’t do this.” So right after the consecration he literally just faints because he was so sick and so of course everyone was all kind of flustered because Father is laying on the ground in front of the altar and he’s grabbing on to the altar saying, “I have to finish the sacrifice! I have to finish it.” So he was like fighting people off of him so that he could finish the Mass and then go home and go to bed for several weeks.  (Read more.)

Monday, January 13, 2020

We Have Seen the True Light

Baptism of Christ by Grigory Gaagarin
The Baptism of the Lord. From Vultus Christi:
Very few Catholics grasp the reality of their divine sonship by adoption. For too many, the great baptismal grace that is divine adoption remains something notional. something vague and, as it were, something obscure in the back of one’s mind. This is why, in every age, God raises up saints, and doctors, and mystics to call us back to what makes Christianity different from every other religion, philosophy, ethical system, and mystical meandering on the planet: divine sonship by adoption. We are, by grace, what Jesus is by nature. All the Fathers taught this. The Doctors scrutinised it and marveled at the divine condescension. Mother Mectilde seized upon this in the 17th century and wrote about it in her letters. Saint Thérèse, Blessed Abbot Marmion, Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity, and the Venerable Itala Mela, all of these were raised up in modern times to say to souls: You are not mere seekers after wisdom, you are not slaves in submission to a remote divinity, you are not keepers of a moral order; you are sons in the Son. This is so stupendous a mystery that many put it aside and prefer to concentrate on things less unsettling.

We bring Thee offerings, O Lord, for the appearing of Thy new born Son, humbly beseeching Thee that, as He is the author of our gifts, so also He may mercifully receive them. (Secret of the Mass) (Read more.)
(Image source.)

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Baptism of the Lord

Today in America. From Catholic Culture:
And Jesus being baptized, forthwith came out of the water; and lo, the heavens were opened to Him and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him. And behold a voice from heaven saying, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased."
Jesus stoops so low as to mingle with the multitude of sinners, and forthwith the heavens are opened to magnify Him — He acknowledges Himself worthy of the strokes of divine justice, and behold, the Father declares that He takes all His delight in Him: Humiliavit semetipsom... propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum.
It is at this moment that the mission of Jesus, as One sent by God, is declared authentic. The Father's testimony accredits, so to speak, His Son before the world, and hence this testimony relates to one of the characters of Christ's work as regards ourselves. The mission of Jesus has a double aspect: it bears at the same time the character of redemption and of sanctification. It is to redeem souls, and, this done, to infuse life into them. That is the whole work of the Savior.
Christ in His Mysteries by Dom Columba Marmion
 More HERE.

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Shrine of the Magi

From The Reliquarian:
The relics of the three kings remained in Milan until the twelfth century when the city of Milan rebelled against the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick I, also known as Frederick Barbarossa. In need of assistance against the Milanese, the emperor appealed to Rainald von Dassel, Archbishop of Cologne, who recaptured Milan and delivered the city to the emperor. In gratitude, and “at the Archbishop’s great entreaty,” the emperor transferred the relics to the Archbishop in 1164. The Archbishop, “with great solemnity and in procession,” carried the bodies of the three kings from Milan to Cologne, where they were placed in the church of Saint Peter. “And all the people of the country roundabout, with all the reverence they might, received these relics, and there in the city of Cologne they are kept and beholden of all manner of nations unto this day.” The Historia concludes, “Thus endeth the legend of these three blessed kings—Melchior, Balthazar, and Jasper.”14 (Read more.)

Thursday, January 9, 2020

St. Andrew Corsini

A thaumaturge of the Carmelite order and a Bishop of the Church. January 9 is his feast on the Carmelite calendar.
St. Andrew was born at the beginning of the fourteenth century in Florence and before his birth, his holy parents offered him to the Blessed Virgin as the first fruits of their marriage.  On the night in which he was born, his mother, Peregrina, had a dream which filled her with alarm.  It seemed to her, as if she had brought forth a wolf, who, fleeing to a church, was changed into a lamb.  This was a picture of what was afterwards to happen to Andrew.  His pious parents employed every care and precaution, to bring him up in the fear of God; but, as too often happens, through the influence of bad company, an immoderate desire of play, and neglect of duty, he fell into the greatest disorders. Dissipation hurried him from one vice to another until he was without affection for his parents,whom he disobeyed without remorse; so that all who knew him were full of apprehension for the future.
Meanwhile, his mother, mindful of her dream, sought consolation from Mary by continual prayer. Andrew, while one day preparing for a party of pleasure, expressed himself to his mother in a very disrespectful manner and she burst into tears and told him the depth of her affliction.  She told him about her dream and that before his birth she had offered him to the Blessed Virgin.  This made such an impression on Andrew that he was unable to sleep during the following night.  The thought that he had been dedicated to the Mother of God occupied his mind.  At that point, he exclaimed "Virgin Mother, because I am thy servant, I will unceasingly serve thee."

The following day, he went to the church of the Carmelites, and prostrating himself before an image of Mary, offered himself up to this merciful Mother, and bade her change this wolf into a lamb. He frequently repeated this prayer and it was heard.  He made great advances in virtue and was subsequently ordained a priest. (Read more.)

(Picture source)

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

St. Peter Thomas

Here is a biographical account of a phenomenal saint, including a prophecy he received from Our Lady: “Peter, fear not, the Order of Carmel will endure unto the end of the world; Elias has obtained this from my Son.” To quote:
. . . . .He was appointed Bishop of Patti and Archbishop of Candia. Charged by Innocent VI with no less than fourteen important embassies, he was sent to the Court of Louis, King of Pouille, to the Emperor Charles IV, and to John VI, Emperor of Constantinople. This City he reconciled to the See of Rome. In 1356, he was sent as Legate to the East and Examiner on questions of faith. In 1360 he anointed Peter I of Lusignan, King of Cyprus and Jerusalem, and the following year the pestilence attacked the Isle of Cyprus. The population were in consternation at the horrors they witnessed; death everywhere and in a horrible form. Peter multiplied himself, and his devotion during the pest has become a tradition in the Order. He was everywhere and everything; consoler, physician, father to the sick, to the dying, and to those who wept and could not die, for death was easier than life amid such scenes. His history would require a large volume, and through all his embassies, missions and legations, we see the humble servant of Our Lady, the Saint, moving obdurate hearts, inspiring heroic deeds, advancing the interests of the Holy See, and shrinking from the honors that were thrust upon him.
In the midst of the splendor of the times and with his rank as Bishop and Legate, he lived simply like his Brethren; went on foot when possible, lived in his own Monasteries whenever he could, though his presence was claimed as an honor by Kings and Princes.

In 1365, he was made Legate and sent to preach the Crusade against the Turks. He blessed the fleets of the Crusaders amid repeated cries of “Live, Peter of Jerusalem!” “Live, the King of Cyprus against the Saracens!” Thanks to his prudence and prayers, the army of the infidels was routed, and the city of Alexandria taken October 4, 1365. As was his wont, after the battle he went at once to the Carmelite Monastery of Famagusta, to remain for the celebration of Christmas. He had been wounded during the siege, by a Turkish arrow, and this was the cause of his lingering death. (Read entire post.)

(Image)

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Mysteries of the Epiphany

The Wedding at Cana
From Fr. Mark:
The Five Mysteries of the Epiphany correspond to the five great Epiphany Gospels given us by the Church (in the traditional calendar and Liturgy) on the day of the Epiphany, 6 January; on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, 13 January; and on the Second, Third, and Fourth Sundays after Epiphany. Each of these Gospels presents a particular manifestation of the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Matthew 2:1-12, Our Lord makes himself known to the Magi by means of a star, and receives their adoration in Bethlehem.
And behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him. (Mt 2:9-11)
2. John 1:29-34 — At His Baptism in the Jordan by John, the Holy Ghost descends in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father reveals Jesus as His Beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased.
Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened; And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon him; and a voice came from heaven: Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (Lk 3:21-22)
3. John 2:1-11 — At the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee, Jesus, at His Mother’s bidding, changes water into wine.
And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye. (Jn 2:3-5)
4. Matthew 8:1-13 — Jesus, with a word, cleanses a leper.
And behold a leper came and adored him, saying: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus stretching forth his hand, touched him, saying: I will, be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. (Mt 8:2-3)
5. Matthew 8:23-27 — Jesus calms the raging sea.
And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but he was asleep. And they came to him, and awaked him, saying: Lord, save us, we perish. And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm. (Mt 8:24-25)
 (Read more.)

More HERE.

Birthday of St. Bernadette

Another French saint born on the Epiphany is Saint Bernadette (1844-1879). During the 1858 apparitions, Our Lady said to fourteen-year-old Bernadette: "I cannot promise to make you happy in this world, only in the next." St. Bernadette had a life of suffering indeed, but it was suffering infused with love. Her childhood was spent in destitution and she was afflicted with a lifetime of bad health. The apparitions intensified her trials. Her spirit was never broken, which is no small victory. As one article says:
What, apart from this bare chronology, can we know about Bernadette Soubirous? One thing is certain: she strove with all her might to fulfill the vocation announced to her by the Virgin at Massabielle-----to do penance, to pray and suffer for sinners. And she did suffer. The Mother Superior at Nevers testified, "It took her an hour to find a bearable position, during which her face changed and she became as if dead. Even when asleep, the faintest movement of her leg made her cry out. Such sharp cries that her companions in the dormitory could not sleep. She shrank to nothing." In fact, she had tuberculosis. Bernadette did not 'enjoy' suffering, though she spoke of it as 'my job'. And she once said, "I pray to St. Bernard, but I do not imitate him. St. Bernard liked suffering, but I avoid it if I can."
Apart from her physical pain, she bore much personal grief. Her mother died early, at forty-one. Her sister Toinette's first child, also named Bernadette, died in February of 1871, to be followed by her father a month later. In fact all five of Toinette's babies died and Bernadette wrote to her: "I like to imagine that dear little group praying in Heaven for us poor exiles on this miserable earth."
Bernadette suffered, too, from the interrogations of religious historians who tried to make her offer elaborate theological explanations for her visions. But she replied, "It is best for people to speak and write very simply. It is more moving to read the Passion than to have it explained."
In the last stages of her final illness, she requested to be left only with the crucifix sent to her by Pope Pius IX. When she became too weak to hold it, she had it fastened to her breast. After her death she was first beatified in 1925 and then canonized as St. Bernadette in 1933.
St. Bernadette suffered greatly at school and later in the convent at the hands of Sister Vauzous, whose jealousy and revulsion for the simple peasant was so great she was unable to contain it. How sad that the saint's greatest tormentor was not a pagan but her own sister in Christ! Too often, we Christians make life miserable for each other; it usually boils down to jealousy, envy and the refusal to forgive. As one biographical account relates:
Acting under the quite unfounded notion that Bernadette's visions and all the attendant publicity might have made the young woman vain or self-important, Sister Marie Therese Vauzous, now novice-mistress at Nevers, was very severe with her former pupil. Although she made life difficult for Bernadette, the little novice met all tests with perfect humility. She cheerfully performed the menial tasks assigned to her, at first in the convent kitchen, although this work must have taxed her strength. Later, when it was noted that her sympathetic manner made her a favorite with sick people, she was appointed assistant infirmarian. Her step and touch were light, and her very presence brought comfort. But during these years, Bernadette was suffering from the chronic disease which was slowly draining her life away. She was finally given work in the sacristy, where cleverness with the needle made her work admired and cherished. She displayed a real gift for design and color in embroidering the sacred vestments. To all tasks she brought a pure grace of spirit and an utter willingness to serve.
Through St. Bernadette's patient endurance many miracles, cures, and conversions occurred. She allowed herself to be an instrument of God, and God used her offering of herself to bring joy and faith to others. We are not all called to suffer in the same degree as a victim soul like Bernadette, but we can each participate in the redemption of the world by uniting our trials with those of Jesus on the cross.

Birthday of La Pucelle

The great feast of Epiphany coincides with the birthday of Saint Joan of Arc, who called herself La Pucelle, "The Maid." Here is a link to some of her most famous quotations, in addition to those included below.
Je me attens a Dieu, mon createur, de tout; je layme (l'ayme) de tout mon cuer.
"I place trust in God, my creator, in all things; I love Him with all my heart."

Je suis cy envoiée de par Dieu, le roy du ciel.
"I am sent here by God, the King of Heaven".

Je me attens a mon juge, cest (c'est) le roy du ciel et de la terre.
"I trust in my Judge, who is the King of Heaven and Earth".

Monday, January 6, 2020

Epiphany of the Lord

 Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for thy light us come....And the gentiles shall walk in thy light, and kings in the brightness of thy rising....All they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense, and showing forth praise to the Lord. (Isaias 60, 1-6)
Here is a quote on the Epiphany from Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen's Divine Intimacy:
A star often appears in the heaven of our souls; it is the inspiration from God, clear and intimate, urging us to greater generosity and calling us to a life of closer union with Him. Like the Magi, we too must always follow our star with faith, promptness and selfless generosity. If we allow it to guide us, it will certainly lead us to God; it will bring us to the One whom we are seeking.
The Magi did not give up their quest, although the star- at one point- disappeared from their sight. We should follow their example and their perseverance, even when we are in interior darkness. This is a trial of faith which is overcome only by the exercise of pure, naked faith. I know that He wills it, I know that God is calling, and this suffices for me: Scio cui credidi et certus sum (2 Timothy 1:12); I know whom I have believed. No matter what happens, I shall trust Him. (Divine Intimacy, pp. 122-123)

Abbot Gueranger discusses the mystery of the Magi, HERE
.


(Artwork:
Journey of the Magi, 1902 by James Tissot)

Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Invisible Star of Grace

From Mother Mectilde de Bar:
...The feast of the Epiphany...signifies the manifestation of Jesus to the holy Magi Kings, who sought Him in the manger of Bethlehem to offer Him their respect and their adoration. This feast must bring us a special devotion because it corresponds more than any other to the spirit of our vocation which deputes us to adore the same Christ Jesus, whom the Magi adored, in the august Sacrament of the Altar, the mystery that contains within itself all the other mysteries of His holy life. For this reason, you can adore there [in the Most Holy Sacrament] the little Child of the manger; you can adore Him together with the Holy Kings and you can say even as they did, “We have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him” (Matthew 2:2). The call to to the Institute [of Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar] was your star, and even though you did not see a visible star, as the Magi did, you have had nonetheless the interior inspiration of grace, which is by far more secure than outward signs.

God Has Chosen Us
You have, then, seen His star, and you have come to adore Him. But what duration and extent must such adoration have? Every instant of our life, and with all our being. We are called  . . . of Perpetual Adoration. Oh, let us not bear so beautiful a name in vain; let us not be illusory adorers, let us correspond with all our capacity to this calling and to God’s choice of us to adore Him continually. Has He need of us for this, poor and miserable creatures [that we are] who can do nothing good of ourselves unless we be moved by His grace? Has He not millions of angels and heavenly spirits who ceaselessly render Him perfect adoration even in our churches, which are altogether full of them? Although we do not see them, this is the truth. All the same, He has chosen us and wants us to have the privilege of adoring Him as they do, and of being His perpetual adorers. We must, in a holy manner, glory in so lofty a vocation! But to carry out such a vocation, it is not enough to spend an hour or some in His presence in choir.

In Spirit and in Truth
Our adoration must be perpetual because the same God whom we adore in the Most Holy Sacrament is always present to us in every place.  We must adore Him in spirit and in truth. In spirit, by means of a holy interior recollection; in truth, by acting in such wise that all our observances become a continual adoration, and this by giving ourselves faithfully to God in all that He asks of us, because as soon as we fail in fidelity, we stop adoring.
Our Institute was created uniquely to make perpetual adorers of us. You have been called to this; it is, therefore, up to you to realise its grace and holiness by becoming authentic adorers who adore in spirit and in truth. Yes, such must be your care and diligence in adoring this God of majesty in spirit and in truth, so as to correspond to His choice of you. In spirit, by the certainty of your faith, believing all that He is in Himself, even without understanding it. His divine greatnesses and perfections deserve your homage, your respect, your adoration. In truth, by adoring Him with your whole being, in such wise that there be nothing in you that you do not wish to hand over and sacrifice to Him in order to adore Him as perfectly as possible according to your capacity and with all your heart. (Read more.)

Epiphany Eve

It is the Twelfth Night. Tomorrow in Rome the Holy Father will be celebrating the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. In the U.S.A. we  will celebrate the great manifestation of Our Lord to the nations on Sunday. In the meantime, Fish Eaters has a splendid article about Epiphany Eve.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Mountain of Grace

One winter I made a retreat about ten miles from the tomb of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born citizen to be canonized. Today is her feast-day. She was a beautiful, cultured, educated lady who suffered the loss of husband, two children, and social standing. Shunned by most of her family after she converted to Catholicism, Saint Elizabeth started a community of teaching nuns in what was called Saint Joseph's valley at the foot of Saint Mary's mountain near Emmitsburg, Maryland. I often went to Emmitsburg during my childhood and young adulthood, visiting the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

The grotto is a popular pilgrimage site and has a miraculous spring. My mother once injured her foot after she dropped a motor bike on it. We took her to the grotto. After bathing her foot in the icy water the pain disappeared, even as she was walking back to the car. There are many other healings that have happened there, both physical and spiritual. The daily Mass is in the glass chapel on the side of the mountain. Through the tall trees can be seen the blue expanse of Frederick County, "fair as the garden of the Lord," as the poet Whittier said. (Well, at least it used to be; now it is a bit congested.)

At the grotto is the rock where Mother Seton would come every Sunday and teach the children, those of the neighborhood and her own, the catechism, explaining the truths of the faith with clarity and love. Mother and her nuns would walk up from the valley, rain or shine, to spend Sunday on the mountain. It was in the first decades of the nineteenth century, before the Lourdes apparitions in France, but the grotto was seen as a venerable and holy place by Mother and the French priests who assisted her. Walking there in the twenty-first century one is still overwhelmed by the sense of being on holy ground.

Friday, January 3, 2020

St. Geneviève

Today is the feast of Saint Genevieve, Patroness of Paris. She was a virgin consecrated to God from her earliest childhood, and displayed wisdom and courage. She guided kings, fed and taught the poor, worked miracles, cast out demons and courageously withstood the Franks and Atila the Hun. She encouraged the people of Paris to pray and do penance in order to avert the plague. She died in 512 and her tomb was for centuries a sight of pilgrimage and healings for all of France. Louis XV began to build a new church in her honor in 1764 after he was healed through her intercession. During the Revolution the church was converted into a pagan temple called the Pantheon. Most of the Saint's relics were destroyed in 1791.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Holy Name of Jesus

From New Advent:
We give honour to the Name of Jesus, not because we believe that there is any intrinsic power hidden in the letters composing it, but because the Name of Jesus reminds us of all the blessings we receive through our Holy Redeemer. To give thanks for these blessings we revere the Holy Name, as we honour the Passion of Christ by honouring His Cross (Colvenerius, "De festo SS. Nominis", ix). At the Holy Name of Jesus we uncover our heads, and we bend our knees; it is at the head of all our undertakings, as the Emperor Justinian says in his law-book: "In the Name of Our Lord Jesus we begin all our consultations". The Name of Jesus invoked with confidence
  • brings help in bodily needs, according to the promise of Christ: "In my name They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover". (Mark 16:17-18) In the Name of Jesus the Apostles gave strength to the lame (Acts 3:6; 9:34) and life to the dead (Acts 9:40).
  • It gives consolation in spiritual trials. The Name of Jesus reminds the sinner of the prodigal son's father and of the Good Samaritan; it recalls to the just the suffering and death of the innocent Lamb of God.
  • It protects us against Satan and his wiles, for the Devil fears the Name of Jesus, who has conquered him on the Cross.
  • In the Name of Jesus we obtain every blessing and grace for time and eternity, for Christ has said: "If you ask the Father anything in my name he will give it you." (John 16:23) Therefore the Church concludes all her prayers by the words: "Through Our Lord Jesus Christ", etc.
So the word of St. Paul is fulfilled: "That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth" (Philippians 2:10).

The devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus is linked to the Holy Face devotion, HERE.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Tolkien's Poem to Our Lady

From uCatholic:
The ancient dome of heaven sheer
Was pricked with distant light;
A star came shining white and clear
Alone above the night.
In the dale of dark in that hour of birth
One voice on a sudden sang:
Then all the bells in Heaven and Earth
Together at midnight rang.

Mary sang in this world below:
They heard her song arise
O’er mist and over mountain snow
To the walls of Paradise,
And the tongue of many bells was stirred
in Heaven’s towers to ring
When the voice of mortal maid was heard,
That was mother of Heaven’s King.

Glad is the world and fair this night
With stars about its head,
And the hall is filled with laughter and light,
And fires are burning red.
The bells of Paradise now ring
With bells of Christendom,
And Gloria, Gloria we will sing
That God on earth is come.
(Read more.)

Honoring the Mother of God

Caravaggio (1571-1610) - Rest on the Flight into Egypt (Detail)
Here is a meditation on Our Lady by a Catholic writer who wishes to be known as Mi Amigo.
All Christians, Protestants and Catholics, as the Christian family seems to be divided, or defined, these days, have one thing in common: all believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. In the matter of honoring his mother, Mary, with devotion and imitation, however, the commonality dissolves. Why?

All believe that In the beginning was the Word, that the Word is God, that woman and man are creatures made in the image and likeness of the Word, and that the Word incarnated on earth as a man in the fullness of God, as Jesus, born of a virgin known as Mary, to save us by the forgiveness of sins.
Mothers, imagine your child is the incarnation of the Word. An angel appears to you, and tells you that you are favored by God, for He sees that you are full of grace, so that He will overshadow you by His Spirit and bless you with His Presence so that you will bear....wait....Himself?….yes, Him.
Mothers, imagine that your child is born, and you are visited by kings, wise men, who bow down to your child and present Him with gifts representing royalty, prophecy and priesthood.

Mothers, imagine that your child is presented to the High Priest in the temple, and he looks you directly in the eyes with love and compassion, with thankfulness that you have blessed him with the opportunity to hold your child in his arms, and he tells you that your child will be a stumbling block to your nation, even while a Savior of the world, and that you, yourself, will be pierced in the soul.

Mothers, who are you? Who is Mary? You are the bearers, teachers, protectors, nurturers of the bodies of humanity bearing His breath of life, of us bearing his image and likeness, and we are eternally grateful in love to you for you. Mary was also the bearer, the teacher, the protector, the nurturer of a child: He who made you and us, your children, He from whom, in whom, and through whom we were made and now exist, and have the promise of eternal life.

Mothers, your children listen to you, follow you, and obey you (at least ideally, or for the most part hopefully!). Jesus did the same in respect of his mother. How much more proper was it that Mary listened to, followed, chased after even, and obeyed her Lord? Mother, here is your son, and son, here is your mother.

Mothers, imagine knowing, not only because the angel of God told you before your child was born, but because you saw with your own eyes, and touched with your own hands and soul, every day of your child's life, from infancy to young adulthood, the blind given sight, the lame walking, the feeding of thousands with only a few loaves, the dead brought back to life, the condemned forgiven....imagine knowing that your child, yes the child to which you gave birth, is God come to save us.

Mothers, imagine witnessing, before your own eyes, your child condemned by false witness, He who was Truth, whipped, bruised and battered, and then nailed to a cross, hanging in front of you on the trunk of a tree, praying for his persecutors, thirsting, fulfilling His purpose.

Mothers, can you imagine that this child is yours?

Why? Again, I ask, why? It seems to me that only the one of us who stands in Mary’s shoes has any standing to respond with any considerable answer. Anybody? Why?

As brothers and sisters, at least, certainly, we can recognize Mary our common mother, because, if for no other reason, Jesus is our brother.

We honor Mary with singular devotion because no ark has ever borne the Covenant like she did.

Octave-day of Christmas

It is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.
Your blessed and fruitful virginity is like the bush, flaming yet unburned, which Moses saw on Sinai. Pray for us, Mother of God. (Antiphon for Vespers of January 1)
We recall that on the eighth day after His birth, Our Lord shed His first drops of blood for the redemption of the world. Fr. Blake reminds us that this feast was formerly known as "The Circumcision of the Lord."  
Up until recently today's feast had the title of the "The Circumcision of the Lord", it must have been incredibly embarrassing for nuns to explain to little girls, but today it seems a shame that we do not remember this very Jewish aspect of the Lord's life, such glorious material to preach on, especially when according to the Jewish Council of great Britain there is a rise of anti-semitism in Europe and the US. The Circumcision reminds us of the very Jewishness of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, of the importance of Jewish ritual and Law in his life. As lovely as it is to think of the Blessed Virgin as Mother of God, Theotokos, earlier title of the Feast gives us an great deal of catechetical material. I have no knowledge of why this feast's name should be changed but it does seem paradoxical that it should happen after the Council which called us to be ever more conscious of the Jewish origins of our faith. (Read more.)
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