Saturday, December 25, 2021

The Joy of Wonder

From iBenedictines:
For me that mystery is expressed in the line about the Church being filled with wonder at the nearness of her God. Wonder is not fashionable. It has no street cred. It is the reverse of ‘cool’, yet wonder is one of the most generous and joyful of emotions. We are surprised with wonder at the unexpected or even the familiar seen or heard as for the first time. It is not dependent on our circumstances. I remember once being moved almost to tears by the luminous beauty of a raindrop slowly coursing down a window-pane. At the time, I was busy with many things, distracted and irritable, but my attention was suddenly held and a rainy day transformed by that glimpse of loveliness. Christmas Day is a little like that. At one level, it is a day like any other; at another, it is a day out of time, a day that allows us a glimpse of eternity and of God himself. 
Today we are invited to wonder at the miracle of God made man, the mighty Word reduced to a baby’s wail. This we can celebrate no matter where we are or the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Too much family or too little, feasting or forced to fast, our God is near to us. All glory, honour and praise be to Him for ever and ever! (Read more.)

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Faith, Reason and the Virgin Birth

It is the ancient and constant teaching of the Church that Our Lady gave birth without loss of her virginity. In the words of Father Angelo:
In the Catholic view of things, faith and reason are mutually compatible, although through faith we are able to know things that we could not know by reason alone.  Hence, faith is both reasonable and transcends reason, just as grace builds on nature but also transcends it.  Reason shows us that what God has revealed is compatible with nature.  In other words, God is not arbitrary.  The natural law written in our hearts is confirmed by supernatural revelation not contradicted by it....

Among Catholics there is much confusion as to the precise meaning of the Virgin Birth.  It is not to be confused with the Virginal Conception of Our Lord.   The Church, from the earliest times, has articulated the Perpetual Virginity of Our Lady as pertaining to three distinct moments:  before the birth of Jesus (ante partum), during the birth of Jesus (in partu), and after birth of Jesus (post partum).  Virtually every time the magisterium has spoken on the subject, this threefold distinction is made.  This teaching is derived from the early fathers of the Church, who maintained, defended and made the teaching a universally held truth of the Catholic Church.

The Virginity of Our Lady “before the birth of Jesus” (ante partum) refers to the Virginal Conception, namely, that Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, and not by the seed of man.  That is fairly clear.  It is also clear that the Virginity of Our Lady “after the birth of Jesus” (post partum) refers to the fact that Our Lady never had sexual relations, even after the birth of Jesus, a fact that many Protestants deny.  For many Catholics, unfortunately, these two points say everything that is to be said about the Virginity of Our Lady and such Catholics proceed to explain away the Virginity of Our Lady “during the birth of Jesus” (in partu).  They say that the Virginity of Our Lady in partu, just refers to her “spiritual virginity,” an idea that is contrary to magisterial clarifications.  Or, they say, that the “Virgin Birth” is a misnomer for “Virginal Conception.”

But the middle moment of Our Lady’s Perpetual Virginity is real and its reality is the only viable reason why the Church would continue to insist on a threefold distinction as opposed to a twofold one.  In fact, unless the Virginity of Our Lady in partu means exactly what the Fathers of the Church said it means, namely, miraculous birth, then it means nothing at all and as a statement of faith is completely superfluous and meaningless.

Theologians can speculate all they want on what does or does not belong to the essential matter of the Church’s definition of the Perpetual Virginity, but the only reason anyone would doubt that the birth of Jesus is any less miraculous than the conception is a lack of faith.  People will cite this or that theologian, whose convoluted explanation of the Virgin Birth allows for a natural birth, including pain and afterbirth, but they cannot cite any ancient authorities or magisterial affirmations.  They do not want to believe the full truth of the Virgin Birth because it is hard to believe—and because it is not convenient doctrine for Apologetics. (Read entire post.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Spanish Privilege

 

From The Liturgical Arts Journal:

Blue vestments are frequently a topic of very great interest -- so much so, one wonders why the Church doesn't simply permit this colour since it pretty clearly seems to be a development that is not only well situated with the precedent of custom but also the manifest desire of the lay faithful; but I digress. If you want a general guideline for 'decoding' blue vestments it is this: not all blue vestments are in fact blue (liturgically speaking); blue was sometimes meant to function liturgically as purple or even occasionally black. (For example, purple sometimes has strong blue undertones and when you look at it, you can see how it could be interpreted as either colour. Likewise, some blues are so dark, navy blue for example, it could easily function as black. To extend this further, some blues have green tones in them and could even be intended to function as liturgical green.) A good general starting point is this: the lighter the colour of blue -- and thus the less arguably able to function as purple or black -- the more likely it was specifically blue, or Marian, in its liturgical intent. The permission that was given for blue does in fact specify the shade of blue known as cerulean. (Read more.)

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Guide to Confession

 

For Catholics Striving for Holiness:

When our Lord speaks about the Apostles being clean, now, just before the institution of the Blessed Eucharist, he is referring to the need for the soul to be free from sin if it is to receive this Sacrament. St Paul repeats this teaching when he says:

“Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27).

On the basis of these teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, the Church lays down that anyone who is conscious of having committed a grave sin, or who has any positive doubt on that score, must go to Confession before receiving Holy Communion.
If one has not gone to confession first,  one must  NOT receive Holy Communion if HE OR SHE IS GUILTY of having committed  the following  MORTAL sins, KNOWING that they are GRAVE and in spite of that, FREELY CHOSE to do it:

1. Having MISSED a SUNDAY or HOLY DAY MASS WITHOUT a valid reason (i. e., out of laziness, giving priority to sports, shopping, parties etc.) (Read more.)


Sunday, November 14, 2021

The Word of the Lord Remains Forever!

From Monsignor Charles Pope:

Yes, we know very well that the Day of Judgment is coming. Too easily, though, we dream on and do not follow the prescribed priority. Wealth, fame, and glory are all uncertain and  passing, but death, judgment, Heaven, and Hell are certain and remain forever. We too easy fiddle on with things that are uncertain and passing while neglecting what is certain and eternal. Ridiculous!

It would be foolish to book passage on a sinking ship. Similarly, it is imprudent to make this world and its demands our fundamental priority. It is wise to set our sights on, and lay hold of, the Kingdom that lasts forever. It is sad that so many spend people their time “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” of this world. What are our priorities? Frankly, most of our priorities are not things that matter to God. Even if we attain the passing things for which we strive, they will all ultimately slip through our fingers. We obsess over passing things like our physical health while neglecting enduring things like our spiritual health. We should care for our bodies, but even more should we care for our souls. If we would expend as much effort looking for a time and place to pray as we do searching for a restaurant for dinner, we would be spiritual heavyweights rather than physically overweight.

In today’s Gospel the Lord stands before the Temple: an impressive building, a symbol of power and of worldly glories. Impressed by it though the Apostles are, the Lord is not impressed with passing things. He counsels us to get our priorities straight and to focus on things that last: His Word, which never passes away, and our ultimate destiny, where we will spend eternity. (Read more.)

Saturday, October 16, 2021

St. Hedwig

So young a queen.
Born, 1371. Died, 17 July 1399 during child birth. Hedwig was the youngest daughter of King Louis I of Hungary. Because she was great-niece to King Casimir III of Poland, she became Queen of Poland in 1382 upon her father‘s death. She was engaged to William, Duke of Austria, whom she loved, but broke off the relationship in order to marry Jagiello, non-Christian Prince of Lithuania, for political reasons.

In 1384, upon the death of Louis I of Hungary and Poland, the Polish nobles, having crowned his daughter Hedwig, decided that as the new queen was but fifteen years old, she must be provided with a consort capable of protecting her dominions. Their choice fell upon Jagiello, or Jagello, the Prince of Lithuania, whose hostility to the Teutonic Order made him their natural ally. (Read entire post.)

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Cumbre Vieja and Sr. Lucia's 1944 Tuy Apparition

 From Unveiling the Apocalypse:

A lot of people have been contacting me recently, to ask my thoughts on the recent eruption of Cumbre Vieja in the Canary Islands, on 19th Sept, 2021 - the feast of Our Lady of La Salette. Some are worried that this could potentially result in the cataclysm that Sr. Lucia seen in a vision, during an apparition of Our Lady in 1944. It was during this apparition that the Blessed Virgin instructed Sr. Lucia to write down the contents of the Third Secret of Fatima. During a recent podcast with Fr. Richard Heilman and Doug Barry, I tried to explain how I'm not expecting the catastrophe seen in Sr. Lucia's 1944 apparition anytime soon, because of the significance of the katēchon of 2Thes 2:6-7 - the "restraining force" which holds back the appearance of the Antichrist. See around the 41 minute at this link: The Katechon and the Binding of Satan .

In my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, I argue that Sr. Lucia's vision of the angel touching the earth with a flaming lance is connected with the eschatological earthquake described in Rev 16:

The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. (Rev 16:17-19)
I felt my spirit flooded by a light-filled mystery which is God and in Him I saw and heard: the point of the flame-like lance which detaches, touches the axis of the earth and it [the earth] shakes: mountains, cities, towns and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, rivers and clouds leave their bounds, they overflow, flood and drag with them into a whirlpool, houses and people in a number unable to be counted; it is the purification of the world from the sin it is immersed in. Hatred, ambition, cause destructive wars 
(Sr. Lucia, Tuy, 1944. See Sr. Lucia's official biography by the Carmelites of Coimbra - A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary)
The event seen by Sr. Lucia in her 1944 Tuy apparition is specifically connected with the fall of "Babylon", which is symbolized by an angel throwing a millstone into the sea in Rev 18:21:
Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: "With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again."
This scriptural passage is in turn associated with the "great mountain, burning with fire" which St. John seen being thrown into the sea in Rev 8:8. In my book, I attempt to demonstrate that this burning mountain is closely associated with the seven burning mountains described in the Book of Enoch, which are identified with the Canary Islands. (See the blog post The Seven Burning Mountains of Enoch and the Canary Islands for further details).

As I state in the above podcast, I don't think that the events described in Sr. Lucia's 1944 vision will happen anytime soon, since they are concerned with the very end time itself. In the Book of Revelation, the fall of "Babylon" is directly connected with the rise to power of the Antichrist, who ascends to world dominance as a result of the power vacuum created by the downfall of the world's leading superpower. (Read more.)

 

More HERE.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Our Holy Mother St. Teresa and Fr. Domingo Bañez

On St. Dominic's day we cannot forget how much his spiritual sons helped Our Holy Mother St. Teresa in her spiritual struggles, in her writings and in her foundations of monasteries. The friar who perhaps helped St. Teresa the most was Fr. Domingo Bañez. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:
In another way, Bañez in his prime was rendering memorable service to the Church as director and confessor of St. Teresa (1515-82). Her own words mark him as the spiritual adviser who was most relied upon as a guide and helper, both in her interior life and in her heroic work of the Carmelite reform. "To the Father Master Fra Dominie Bañez, who is now in Valladolid as Rector of the College of St. Gregory, I confessed for six years, and, whenever I had occasion to do so, communicated with him by letter. . . . All that is written and told, she communicated to him, who is the person with whom she has had, and still has, the most frequent communications." (See "Life of St. Teresa of Jesus, by herself", tr. by David Lewis, 3d ed., London, 1904, Relation VII, 448, 450.) Of the first foundation of the reform, St. Joseph's Monastery at Avila, she wrote that Bañez alone saved it from the destruction resolved upon in an assembly of civil and religious authorities (op. cit., ch. xxxvi, 336 sqq.). He did not then know the saint, but "from that time forth he was one of her most faithful friends, strict and even severe, as became a wise director who had a great saint for his penitent." He testifies, in the process of her beatification that he was firm and sharp with her, while she herself was the more desirous of his counsel the more he humbled her, and the less he seemed to esteem her (op. cit., p., xxxvi). He looked for the proof of her love of God in her truthfulness, obedience, mortification, patience, and charity towards her persecutors, while he avowed that no one was more incredulous than himself as to her visions and revelations. In this his mastery of the spiritual life was shown to be as scientific as it was wholesome and practical. "It was easy enough to praise the writings of St. Teresa and to admit her sanctity after her death. Fra Bañez had no external help in the applause of the many, and he had to judge her book as a theologian and the saint as one of his ordinary penitents. When he wrote, he wrote like a man whose whole life was spent, as he himself tells us, in lecturing and disputing" (ibid.).
The Holy Mother had earlier gone through a great deal of persecution and calumnies from certain religious who did not understand her gifts and accused her of being either crazy or possessed by the devil. The sound judgment and discernment of directors such as Fr. Bañez helped her not only to grow in sanctity but probably saved her as a person.

Of the Saint's Autobiography, Fr. Bañez penned the following words:
Of one of her books, namely, the one in which she recorded her life and the manner of prayer whereby God had led her, I can say that she composed it to the end that her confessors might know her the better and instruct her, and also that it might encourage and animate those who learn from it the great mercy God had shown her, a great sinner as she humbly acknowledged herself to be.
Then as now, there is no replacement for a learned and holy priest. Let us pray for those priests who persevere in their vocation to shepherd and guide us.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

St. Thomas the Apostle

From Catholic Culture:
There is very little about the apostle Thomas in the Gospels; one text calls him the "twin." Rarely during Jesus' lifetime does he stand out among his colleagues. There is the instance before the raising of Lazarus, when Jesus was still in Perea and Thomas exclaimed: "Let us also go and die with Him." Best-known is his expression of unbelief after the Savior's death, giving rise to the phrase "doubting Thomas." Nevertheless, the passage describing the incident, had as today's Gospel, must be numbered among the most touching in Sacred Scripture.

In the Breviary lessons Pope St. Gregory the Great makes the following reflections: "Thomas' unbelief has benefited our faith more than the belief of the other disciples; it is because he attained faith through physical touch that we are confirmed in the faith beyond all doubt. Indeed, the Lord permitted the apostle to doubt after the resurrection; but He did not abandon him in doubt. By his doubt and by his touching the sacred wounds the apostle became a witness to the truth of the resurrection. Thomas touched and cried out: My Lord and my God! And Jesus said to him: Because you have seen Me, Thomas, you have believed. Now if Thomas saw and touched the Savior, why did Jesus say: Because you have seen Me, Thomas, you have believed? Because he saw something other than what he believed. For no mortal man can see divinity. Thomas saw the Man Christ and acknowledged His divinity with the words: My Lord and my God. Faith therefore followed upon seeing."

Concerning later events in the apostle's life very meager information exists. The Martyrology has this: "At Calamina (near Madras in India) the martyrdom of the apostle Thomas - he announced the Gospel to the Parthians, and finally came to India. After he had converted numerous tribes to Christianity, he was pierced with lances at the king's command."

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Against doubt; architects; blind people; builders; construction workers; Ceylon East Indies; geometricians; India; masons; Pakistan; people in doubt; Sri Lanka; stone masons; stonecutters; surveyors; theologians. (Read more.)


Monday, June 28, 2021

Prophecies of St. Irenaeus

From Against the Heresies:
He [The Antichrist] shall sit in the Temple of God as if he were Christ, and leading astray those who worship him. For when he is come, and of his own accord concentrates in his own person the apostasy, and accomplishes whatever he shall do according to his own will and choice, sitting also in the Temple of God so that his dupes may adore him as the Christ...By means of the events which shall occur in the time of Antichrist it is shown that he, being an apostate and a robber, is anxious to be adored as God; and that although a mere slave, he wishes to be proclaimed as a king. For he being endued with all the power of the devil, shall come, not as a righteous king, not as a legitimate king obedient to God but as an impious, unjust, and lawless one; as an iniquitous and murderous apostate; as a robber, concentrating in himself a satanic apostasy, and setting aside idols to persuade men that he himself is God....The disciples of the apostles say (from oral tradition) that they (Elias and Enoch) whose living bodies were taken up from this world have been placed in an earthly paradise where they will remain until the end of the world...At the time of his reign Antichrist will command that Jerusalem be rebuilt in its splendor and will make it a great and populous city, second to none in the world and will order his palace to be built there. (Read more.)
~ Saint Irenaeus of Lyons

 

More HERE.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Peace of Mind


 From The Missive:

Our Lord’s first appearance to the Apostles manifests these two elements of the one true Church: Christ stands triumphant amidst this motley crew of failures and the word Peace rings out. Breathing upon them, He then says Receive ye the Holy Ghost, giving them all the real power to forgive sins; that is, to restore a soul to grace and establish peace within it, a power continued in the Church through Confession until the end of the world. And it is noteworthy that the word for breath is the same as when God breathed life into Adam – both these instances deal with a life established by and rooted in God.

Therefore, in this first meeting of the Risen Lord with His Apostles do we see the harmonization of the Church’s doctrine and morality: the belief required in the absolute truth of Christ’s teachings and commandments as indicated in the presence of the risen Lord, the conduct of life demanded from belief in those teaching as indicated by the power to forgive sin, thus the establishing of a complete and perfect order for a plan of true peace.

It should be no wonder then that the response for one who claims belief in Christ must be a true interior assent to all the Church proposes for belief as summed up in the Creed, together with a loving submission to the Church’s lawful moral authority which alone has its origin in Christ. No one has any authority to isolate any teaching of Christ and then say peace can be based upon that alone. (Read more.)

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Future of the Liturgy


From The Missive:

We attend the Latin Mass because it is, to us, where Holy Mother Church feels most alive and most like Herself: a wise Mater et Magistra unaffected by passing fads and cheap, trendy gimmicks but beautiful and wonderful and complicated as life itself.

I am not a child or young person, so I’m not sure how I would fare under Fr. Reese’s proposal. But I suspect he wouldn’t appreciate that my registering at an FSSP parish is not out of nostalgia. I was born in the early 1970s after the liturgical change. I have no memory whatsoever of the traditional Mass. In fact, I was initially quite resistant to it and once argued the superiority of the new liturgy to my future wife–quite unsuccessfully, I might add.

My love for the Mass of the Ages came by lived experience, by attending it and then sorting out in my own mind whether the Missal of 1962 or the Missal of 1970 was best suited to my Catholic life.  Nor am I the only one that had this transformative experience; at every traditional community one will find people and families who could tell very similar stories.

We laity of the traditional movement have gotten used to being the black sheep of the larger Catholic world. On a personal level that may be a frustrating space to inhabit, yes, but it seems a small price to pay for the spiritual treasures we have discovered in our parishes. Think us weird all you like–just let us sing the Asperges and sit in quiet reverence during the Roman Canon.

Apparently, though, the “live and let live” philosophy we hear bandied about ad nauseam nowadays can’t quite suffer us to continue existing.

To some, we are more than an oddity: we are a constant irritation. It is not enough that many traditionalists are walled off into dedicated liturgical ghettos, separated from our fellow Catholics by whispers, suspicions, and distrust of those crazy people who go that church. It is not enough that we have, effectively, a grand total of 3 FSSP parishes that can adequately serve us in the entirety of eastern Pennsylvania–and we’re even lucky to have that many.

Apparently, the ghettos need to be dismantled, and the 3 parishes need to be zero.

Perhaps Fr. Reese is not aware of the depth of the laity’s commitment to the traditional liturgy. So let me state it quite directly. As for my wife and I, we plan on attending the traditional Latin Mass until we lie in repose under the solemn tones of the Requiem and the Dies Irae. Moreover, as long as our own “children and young people” are under our parental care, they will be at every Latin Mass with us: serving at the altar, wearing veils, and learning the language that is their liturgical birthright and that my wife is diligently teaching them. I am not sure why anyone thinks they are capable of not “allowing” my children to do all this. But as an indication of our familial resolve, permit me to quote another character from the Narnia series:

“My own plans are made….While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.”

(Read more.)

Friday, April 16, 2021

The Song of Bernadette (1943)


The Song of Bernadette is one of my favorite films. The bleak poverty, the depth of winter, the chilling remoteness of the Pyrenean village are captured magnificently, so that Lourdes appears as the most unlikely spot for miracles that would shake the world. There are few more majestic moments in cinema than when the dying baby is plunged into the newly dug spring at the grotto of Massabielle, to come forth with a hearty, healthy cry. (Such a miracle did happen at Lourdes. I always cry at that scene.) Jennifer Jones becomes St. Bernadette; she resembles her a great deal, other than the divergence in height. The tall Jennifer communicates quite masterfully the littleness of the petite Bernadette, as well as her purity and simplicity. Charles Bickford's portrayal of the crusty, skeptical Abbé Peyramale, who becomes Bernadette's indefatigable champion, inspired me to visit the Abbé's tomb in the crypt of the parish church of Lourdes. The Abbé died two years before Bernadette, and so was not at her deathbed as shown in the movie.

The film was based upon the novel by Franz Werfel, one of the greatest Catholic novels written by a non-Catholic. When Werfel, who was Jewish, was escaping the Nazis, he and his wife (the notorious Alma Mahler) stopped in Lourdes on their way to Spain. Werfel found a great deal of spiritual consolation in Lourdes, and promised the long dead Bernadette that he would write down her story. The novel and film romanticize some aspects of Bernadette's life; a few historical liberties are taken. But the portrayal of Bernadette and her family, particularly her horrified parents, already overwhelmed by trials, is fairly accurate, as is the recounting of the amazing events at the grotto.

Remarkably, both the book and film emphasize that it was not the apparitions that made Bernadette into a saint. Rather, it was how she accepted the trials sent by God, from the humiliations in the convent to the debilitating and agonizing health problems that killed her. In the final scene, the faith of a dying nun illuminates a darkening world. I rejoice that her moment of light is artistically captured on film for posterity.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Purity of Mary

Over the years I have had any number of discussions with various friends and acquaintances about the Blessed Virgin Mary in regards to the concupiscence of the flesh. Let us begin with the definition of concupiscence as given in the Catholic Encyclopedia:
In its widest acceptation, concupiscence is any yearning of the soul for good; in its strict and specific acceptation, a desire of the lower appetite contrary to reason. To understand how the sensuous and the rational appetite can be opposed, it should be borne in mind that their natural objects are altogether different. The object of the former is the gratification of the senses; the object of the latter is the good of the entire human nature and consists in the subordination of reason to God, its supreme good and ultimate end. But the lower appetite is of itself unrestrained, so as to pursue sensuous gratifications independently of the understanding and without regard to the good of the higher faculties. Hence desires contrary to the real good and order of reason may, and often do, rise in it, previous to the attention of the mind, and once risen, dispose the bodily organs to the pursuit and solicit the will to consent, while they more or less hinder reason from considering their lawfulness or unlawfulness. This is concupiscence in its strict and specific sense. As long, however, as deliberation is not completely impeded, the rational will is able to resist such desires and withhold consent, though it be not capable of crushing the effects they produce in the body, and though its freedom and dominion be to some extent diminished. If, in fact, thewill resists, a struggle ensues, the sensuous appetite rebelliously demanding its gratification, reason, on the contrary, clinging to its own spiritual interests and asserting it control. 'The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh.'
According to Fr. John Hardon, S.J. in his classic work The Catholic Catechism: "From the time of her conception, Mary was freed from all concupiscence and also (on attaining the use of reason) free from every personal sin during the whole of her life." (The Catholic Catechism, p.158) In The Glories of Mary, St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church, writes of Mary:
Mary certainly could not be tormented at death by any remorse of conscience, for she was always pure, and always free from the least shade of actual or original sin, so much so, that of her it was said: 'Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee.' From the moment that she had the use of reason, that is, from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception, in the womb of Saint Anne, she began to love God with all her strength, and continued to do so, always advancing more and more, throughout her whole life, in love and perfection. All her thoughts, desires, and affections were of and for God alone: she never uttered a word, made a movement, cast a glance, or breathed, but for God and His glory; and never departed a step, or detached herself for a single moment, from the Divine love. (The Glories of Mary, p. 351)
Here are excerpts of what the Fathers wrote of Mary and her purity (one gets the distinct impression that they did not view her as a typical teenage girl):

Patristic writings on Mary's purity abound.
  • The Fathers call Mary the tabernacle exempt from defilement and corruption (Hippolytus, "Ontt. in illud, Dominus pascit me");
  • Origen calls her worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, most complete sanctity, perfect justice, neither deceived by the persuasion of the serpent, nor infected with his poisonous breathings ("Hom. i in diversa");
  • Ambrose says she is incorrupt, a virgin immune through grace from every stain of sin ("Sermo xxii in Ps. cxviii);
  • Maximus of Turin calls her a dwelling fit for Christ, not because of her habit of body, but because of original grace ("Nom. viii de Natali Domini");
  • Theodotus of Ancyra terms her a virgin innocent, without spot, void of culpability, holy in body and in soul, a lily springing among thorns, untaught the ills of Eve, nor was there any communion in her of light with darkness, and, when not yet born, she was consecrated to God ("Orat. in S. Dei Genitr.").
  • In refuting Pelagius St. Augustine declares that all the just have truly known of sin "except the Holy Virgin Mary, of whom, for the honour of the Lord, I will have no question whatever where sin is concerned" (On Nature and Grace 36).
  • Mary was pledged to Christ (Peter Chrysologus, "Sermo cxl de Annunt. B.M.V.");
  • it is evident and notorious that she was pure from eternity, exempt from every defect (Typicon S. Sabae);
  • she was formed without any stain (St. Proclus, "Laudatio in S. Dei Gen. ort.", I, 3);
  • she was created in a condition more sublime and glorious than all other natures (Theodorus of Jerusalem in Mansi, XII, 1140);
  • when the Virgin Mother of God was to be born of Anne, nature did not dare to anticipate the germ of grace, but remained devoid of fruit (John Damascene, "Hom. i in B. V. Nativ.", ii).
  • The Syrian Fathers never tire of extolling the sinlessness of Mary. St. Ephraem considers no terms of eulogy too high to describe the excellence of Mary's grace and sanctity: "Most holy Lady, Mother of God, alone most pure in soul and body, alone exceeding all perfection of purity ...., alone made in thy entirety the home of all the graces of the Most Holy Spirit, and hence exceeding beyond all compare even the angelic virtues in purity and sanctity of soul and body . . . . my Lady most holy, all-pure, all-immaculate, all-stainless, all-undefiled, all-incorrupt, all-inviolate spotless robe of Him Who clothes Himself with light as with a garment . . . flower unfading, purple woven by God, alone most immaculate" ("Precationes ad Deiparam" in Opp. Graec. Lat., III, 524-37).
  • To St. Ephraem she was as innocent as Eve before her fall, a virgin most estranged from every stain of sin, more holy than the Seraphim, the sealed fountain of the Holy Ghost, the pure seed of God, ever in body and in mind intact and immaculate ("Carmina Nisibena").
  • Jacob of Sarug says that "the very fact that God has elected her proves that none was ever holier than Mary; if any stain had disfigured her soul, if any other virgin had been purer and holier, God would have selected her and rejected Mary". It seems, however, that Jacob of Sarug, if he had any clear idea of the doctrine of sin, held that Mary was perfectly pure from original sin ("the sentence against Adam and Eve") at the Annunciation.
Paul Haffner in his book The Mystery of Mary offers a brilliant discussion about Mary and concupiscence which I recommend reading in full. Haffner says: "Not only was Our Lady freed from original and actual sin, but also from concupiscence....The Angelic Doctor offers the various opinions of absence of concupiscence in Mary....Either that concupiscence was entirely taken away from her by her first sanctification or it was fettered." (The Mystery of Mary, pp 93-94)

As for the relationship of Our Lady and St. Joseph, St. Augustine of Hippo (who was not the first Calvinist as some people seem to think, but a Father, Doctor, Bishop and Saint of the Church) remarks that theirs was a true marriage, albeit unconsummated according to the flesh. To quote St. Augustine (I know, he would not be popular on the preaching circuit today):
The entire good, therefore, of the nuptial institution was effected in the case of these parents of Christ: there was offspring, there was faithfulness, there was the bond. As offspring, we recognise the Lord Jesus Himself; the fidelity, in that there was no adultery; the bond, because there was no divorce. [XII.] Only there was no nuptial cohabitation; because He who was to be without sin, and was sent not in sinful flesh, but in the likeness of sinful flesh, Romans 8:3 could not possibly have been made in sinful flesh itself without that shameful lust of the flesh which comes from sin, and without which He willed to be born, in order that He might teach us, that every one who is born of sexual intercourse is in fact sinful flesh, since that alone which was not born of such intercourse was not sinful flesh. Nevertheless conjugal intercourse is not in itself sin, when it is had with the intention of producing children; because the mind's good-will leads the ensuing bodily pleasure, instead of following its lead; and the human choice is not distracted by the yoke of sin pressing upon it, inasmuch as the blow of the sin is rightly brought back to the purposes of procreation. This blow has a certain prurient activity which plays the king in the foul indulgences of adultery, and fornication, and lasciviousness, and uncleanness; while in the indispensable duties of the marriage state, it exhibits the docility of the slave. In the one case it is condemned as the shameless effrontery of so violent a master; in the other, it gets modest praise as the honest service of so submissive an attendant. This lust, then, is not in itself the good of the nuptial institution; but it is obscenity in sinful men, a necessity in procreant parents, the fire of lascivious indulgences, the shame of nuptial pleasures. Wherefore, then, may not persons remain man and wife when they cease by mutual consent from cohabitation; seeing that Joseph and Mary continued such, though they never even began to cohabit?
St Alphonsus Liguori has a more poetic approach (which is why I long ago took him for my spiritual father) especially when discussing anything to do with the Most Holy Virgin. Of Our Lady's marriage to St. Joseph he says:
By reason of her purity, the Blessed Virgin was also declared by the Holy Ghost to be beautiful as the turtledove : 'Thy cheeks are beautiful as the turtle-dove's.'7 'Mary,' says Aponius, 'was a most pure turtle-dove.'8 For the same reason she was also called a lily : 'As the lily among the thorns, so is my love among the daughters.' 9 On this passage Denis the Carthusian remarks, that Mary was compared to a lily amongst thorns, because all other virgins were thorns, either to themselves or to others ; but that the Blessed Virgin was so neither to herself nor to others, for she inspired all who looked at her with chaste thoughts. This is confirmed by Saint Thomas, who says, that the beauty of the Blessed Virgin was an incentive to chastity in all who beheld her. Saint Jerome declared that it was his opinion, that Saint Joseph remained a virgin by living with Mary ; for, writing against the heretic Helvidius, who denied Mary's virginity, he says, ' Thou sayest that Mary did not remain a Virgin. I say, that not only she remained a Virgin, but even that Joseph preserved his virginity through Mary.'3 An author says, that so much did the Blessed Virgin love this virtue, that to preserve it, she would have been willing to have renounced even the dignity of Mother of God. This we may conclude from her answer to the archangel: 'How shall this be done, because I know not man ?'3 and from the words she afterwards added: 'Be it done to me according to thy word,'4 signifying that she gave her consent on the condition that, as the angel had assured her, she should become a Mother, only by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost. (The Glories of Mary, pp. 457-458)
I think we are safe in assuming that the love Our Lady and St. Joseph had for each other was the love of true spouses but the love which spouses share in heaven. Because of Mary and Joseph's unique mission as parents of the Son of God, they began to live the life of Heaven even amid the many perils, trials, and sufferings of earth.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Knock: A Marian and Eucharistic Shrine


 From Unveiling the Apocalypse:

In the year dedicated to St. Joseph, Pope Francis has recently announced that the shrine of Our Lady of Knock, in Mayo, Ireland, will be granted special status as an international Marian and Eucharistic Shrine, on March 19th, 2021 - the feast of St. Joseph.  The fact that the Holy Father has announced that Knock Shrine will be bestowed with this special honour just a few days after his pilgrimage to Iraq, where he visited the site of ancient Nineveh at Mosul, bears a striking parallel to the material in my book on the Knock apparition.  As most readers of this blog will be aware, in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, I argue that the symbolism of the Knock apparition is directly based on the opening of scroll sealed with seven seals described in chapter 5 of the Book of Revelation:

Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals." (Rev 5:1-5)

(Read more.)

Monday, March 1, 2021

Set Apart


From Fr. Paul Scalia at The Catholic Thing:

We have been set apart. We thus have to push against the temptation to adapt ourselves and our faith to the world. Like the Apostles, we must allow ourselves to be led apart by ourselves, away from the unreality of the world – no matter what discomfort, pain, and persecution that may bring.

And yet, our being set apart is not an end in itself. It is for union with God. As with Abraham, Moses, and Elijah, the Apostles are led up the mountain so that they can encounter God. On a mountain, God calls out to Abraham, gives Moses the Law, and comes to Elijah in a “still small voice.” (1 Kgs 19:12) And for the Apostles on Mount Tabor, our Lord “was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.” He brings them from the world to be with Him.

So also we detach ourselves from the world and its allurements so that we can become more attached to God and His promises. Indeed, without this purpose of separation, the detachment and sacrifices involved make no sense and soon become an unreasonable burden. Our being set apart is more for God than from the world.

Now, this applies first to our private prayer. We need to flee from the noise and news of the world in order to encounter the silence and truth of God. Unless we make the difficult ascent up the mountain by turning off the world’s distractions and temptations, our prayer will never take off. Likewise, our manner of worship should be apart from the world and for God. For us to benefit from Christ’s Eucharistic presence, the Mass must not be shaped by any of the world’s noise and superficiality.

But we do not remain at Mass. Which brings us to the final purpose of our being set apart: to return and give witness. When the great men in Scripture come down the mountain, they bring the fruit of their encounter with them. Abraham descends from Mount Moriah able to proclaim that God does not desire barbaric human sacrifice but will Himself provide the Lamb. Moses descends with the tablets of the Law of the Covenant. And Elijah returns to Israel renewed with zeal for that covenant.

The apostolic witness about the Transfiguration would be a little delayed: “He charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.” Still, the Apostles brought to others what they had encountered and received on the mountain. They descend from Mount Tabor able to bear witness to Christ, the Son of God. Peter would later write about “that unique declaration. . . .‘This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’” Then he adds, “We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.” (2 Pt 1:18) (Read more.)


Monday, February 22, 2021

Joining God in Penance and Suffering

Only someone whose spiritual eyes have been opened to the supernatural correlations of worldly events can desire suffering in expiation, and this is only possible for people in whom the spirit of Christ dwells, who as members are given life by the Head, receive his power, his meaning, and his direction. Conversely, works of expiation bind one closer to Christ, as every community that works together on one task becomes more and more closely knit and as the limbs of a body, working together organically, continually become more strongly one.

But because being one with Christ is our sanctity, and progressively becoming one with him our happiness on earth, the love of the cross in no way contradicts being a joyful child of God. Helping Christ carry his cross fills one with a strong and pure joy, and those who may and can do so, the builders of God’s kingdom, are the most authentic children of God. And so those who have a predilection for the way of the cross by no means deny that Good Friday is past and that the work of salvation has been accomplished. Only those who are saved, only children of grace, can in fact be bearers of Christ’s cross. Only in union with the divine Head does human suffering take on expiatory power.

To suffer and to be happy although suffering, to have one’s feet on the earth, to walk on the dirty and rough paths of this earth and yet to be enthroned with Christ at the Father’s right hand, to laugh and cry with the children of this world and ceaselessly to sing the praises of God with the choirs of angels this is the life of the Christian until the morning of eternity breaks forth.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Penance: A Mighty Weapon in Time of War

 From Mind and Spirit:

Fr. Zeller reminds us that there have been many entreaties for public penance in “our own time,” by way of various crises, and by direct pleas from the Pope and Our Blessed Mother. As I rested in my recliner, reading this tiny book that came to me unbidden, I was amazed by these timely words, “God uses natural means to bring about His supernatural plan, and it looks very much as if the world has been asking for punishment.” It’s not absurd to think of God punishing the world, “He’s done it before, with much the same sword. Threats of war, famine, social and economic collapse,” natural disasters, deadly plagues, and closed churches. These trials will often bring the world temporarily to its knees. 

Penance is not limited to a particular liturgical season. It is also not limited to inside of our churches, or in our homes. As a matter of fact, Fr. Zeller urges public penance. “If we listen, he says, ‘we will hear the refrain repeated time and time again…, but we do not listen. We are still dancing on the shore with our backs to the waves.’”

It is time to take formidable action, but what can we, as individuals or families do? Begin by “listening;” turn around, face the mighty waves crashing upon the shore, the waves of abortion, the breakdown of the family, the loss of society’s moral conscience, so-called Christian politicians supporting laws atrocious to God’s commands and designs, shocking sinfulness and hate and lack of Christian charity on every front. God will use His sword of punishment, if we do not unsheathe our weapons now—our mighty swords of penance! 

For those of us needing a refresher course in penance, I provide the following for your assistance as you arm yourself for battle. Penance is a three-pronged weapon, forged of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. These three elements express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “efforts at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repentance, and the practice of charity… ‘covers a multitude of sins’ (James 5:20). Conversion is accomplished in daily life by…concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, the admission of faults…, fraternal correction, examination of conscience, (joyful) acceptance of suffering, and endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one’s cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.” (CCC, paragraphs 1434-1435) (Read more.)


Saturday, February 13, 2021

A Summary of Catholic Doctrine

From The Meaning of Catholic:

Duties of your state in Life

Duties of the supernatural order: give glory to God by saving your soul; maintain your soul in a state of grace by frequenting the sacraments and fulfilling the six precepts of the Church and the Ten Commandments; overcome sin and grow in virtue; die in a state of grace.

Duties the married:
Mutual duties: mutual love of affection and service; life in common; rendering the marital debt when it is reasonably requested
Husband duties: head and protector of his family to guide his wife and children; duty to provide enough for wife to stay home and children to have proper care; to administer family property wisely.
Wife duties: show due obedience to her husband; to properly care for education of children and the home; holds the right to not be forced to work. She has a right to stay home since the children have a right to their mother full time. Grave cause may force also a mother to work if serious financial or other reasons make it truly necessary.
Children duties: show parents love, reverence, and obedience

Duties at the workplace:
Employer duties: treat employees with kindness; instruct and correct employees; provide for religious observance; pay a just wage to allow a man’s wife to care for the children at home.
Employee duties: due obedience and reverence; faithful service by never stealing employer’s time with personal matters.

(Read more.)


Friday, February 12, 2021

The Story God is Telling at the Present Time

 From A Catholic Reader:

The Christian view, in sharp counter-distinction to either of those I just mentioned, is that we already know the overall outline of all human history, and it is bound and controlled not by human effort or ingenuity but by its Author, the Divine Logos. It is the story told in the Bible, with a beginning, a middle, and an end, all conceived and written by God Himself from the beginning of Time.

The point we need to grasp today is that the birth of the Christian Church at Pentecost marks the beginning of the end of the story. Christ's Crucifixion and the salvation of souls effected by it was the climax of the Story, and everything after that is denouement or resolution. We are reluctant to recognize this, because it means our lives play out in the last chapter. In other words, in a very real sense you and I and every Christian who ever lived or ever shall live are in the End Times. As minor characters in the final chapter of a Story that is already complete in the mind of God, our role as followers of Christ entrusted with the mission of spreading the Gospel is not to "sing a new Church into being" (as one particularly heretical modern hymn enjoins) but to tell the Story and prepare the world for the very End of the Age. We should be eager to do so, because those of us who play our parts well will get to appear in the sequel, the Never-ending Story of the life of the world to come. (Read more.)


Sunday, February 7, 2021

Novena to the Holy Face

For the nine days before Shrove Tuesday.
O Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, through the intercession of Holy Mary, whose soul was pierced through by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of her Divine Son, we ask Thy help in making a perfect Novena of reparation with Jesus, united with all His sorrows, love and total abandonment. We now implore all the Angels and Saints to intercede for us as we pray this Holy Novena to the Most Holy Face of Jesus and for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. (Start novena)

"All those who, attracted by my love, and venerating my countenance, shall receive, by virtue of my humanity, a brilliant and vivid impression of my divinity. This splendor shall enlighten the depths of their souls, so that in eternal glory the celestial court shall marvel at the marked likeness of their features with my divine countenance." (Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Gertrude)

First Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 3-4.Have mercy on me, O God in Thy goodness, in Thy great tenderness wipe away my faults;wash me clean of my guilt, purify me from my sin.O most Holy Face of Jesus, look with tenderness on us who are sinners. Thou art a merciful God, full of love and compassion. Keep us pure of heart, so that we may see Thee always. Mary, our Mother, intercede for us; Saint Joseph, pray for us.Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to Our Almighty Father Almighty Father, come into our hearts, and so fill us with Thy love that forsaking all evil desires, we may embrace Thee, our only good. Show us, O Lord our God, what thou art to us. Say to our souls, I am Thy salvation, speak so that we may hear. Our hearts are before Thee; open our ears; let us hasten after Thy voice. Hide not Thy Face from us, we beseech Thee, O Lord. Open our hearts so that Thou mayest enter in. Repair the ruined mansions, that Thou mayest dwell therein. Hear us, O Heavenly Father, for the sake of Thine only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever Amen.(St. Augustine)Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary's, (1) Glory Be, O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)

Second Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer)Psalm 51, 5-6a. My offenses truly I know them; My sin is always before me. Against Thou, Thou alone, have I sinned;What is evil in Thy sight I have done.Most Holy Face of Jesus, we are truly sorry that we have hurt Thee so much by constantly doing what is wrong; and for all the good works we have failed to do. Immaculate Heart of Mary, Saint Joseph, intercede for us, help us to console the Most Holy Face of Jesus. Pray that we may share in the tremendous love Thou hast for one another, and for the most Holy and Blessed Trinity. Amen.Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit Come, Holy Spirit, Sanctifier, all powerful God of love, Thou who didst fill the Virgin Mary with grace, Thou who didst wonderfully transform the hearts of the apostles, Thou who didst endow all Thy martyrs with a miraculous heroism, come and sanctify us, illumine our minds, strengthen our wills, purify our consciences, rectify our judgments, set our hearts on fire and preserve us from the misfortune of resisting Thine inspirations. We consecrate to Thee our understanding, our heart and our will, our whole being for time and for eternity. May our understanding be always submissive to Thy heavenly inspirations and to the teachings of Thy Holy Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible guide; may our heart be ever inflamed with love of God and neighbor; may our will be ever conformed to the divine will, and may our whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and Thee be honor and glory forever. Amen. Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary's, (1) Glory Be.O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)

Third Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 6b-7.Thou art just when Thou passest sentence on me, blameless when Thou givest judgment. Thou knowest I was born guilty, a sinner from the moment of conception.

Prayer of Pope Pius IX O Jesus! Cast upon us a look of mercy; turn Thy Face towards each of us as Thou didst to Veronica; not that we may see it with our bodily eyes, for this we do not deserve, but turn it towards our hearts, so that, remembering Thee, we may ever draw from this fountain of strength the vigor necessary to sustain the combats of life. Amen. Mary, Our Mother, and Saint Joseph, pray for us.Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petitions, Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer of Saint Francis All highest, glorious God, cast Thy light into the darkness of our hearts, give us true faith, firm hope, perfect charity and profound humility, so that with wisdom, courage and perception, O Lord, we may do what is truly Thy holy will. Amen.

To the Angels and Saints We salute Thee, through the Holy Face and Sacred Heart of Jesus, O all you Holy Angels and Saints of God. We rejoice in your glory, and we give thanks to our Lord for all the benefits which He has showered upon you; we praise Him and glorify Him, and offer you for an increase of your joy and honor, the most Holy Face and gentle Heart of Jesus. Pray that we may become formed according to the heart of God. Amen.Pray (1) Our Father, three (3) Hail Mary's, one (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times.)

Fourth Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 8-9.Indeed Thou lovest truth in the heart; then in the secret of my heart teach me Wisdom. O purify me, then I shall be clean; O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.O Lord Jesus, who has said, learn of me for I am meek and gentle of heart, and who did manifest upon Thy Holy Face the sentiments of Thy divine heart, grant that we may love to come frequently and meditate upon Thy divine features. We may read there Thy gentleness and Thy humility, and learn how to form our hearts in the practice of these two virtues which Thou desires to see shine in Thy servants. Mary our Mother and Saint Joseph help us.Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer in Honor of the Dolors of the Blessed Virgin O Most Holy and afflicted Virgin, Queen of Martyrs! Who stood beneath the cross, witnessing the agony of Thy dying Son, look down with a mother's tenderness and pity on us as we kneel before Thee to venerate Thy Dolors, and place our requests, with filial confidence, in the sanctuary of Thy wounded heart. Present them on our behalf to Jesus, through the merits of His most sacred Passion and Death, together with Thy sufferings at the foot of the cross, and through the united efficacy of both, obtain the favor which we humbly ask. To whom shall we go in our wants and miseries if not to Thee. O Mother of Mercy, who having so deeply drunk of the chalice of Thy Son, graciously alleviate the sufferings of those who still sigh in this land of exile. Amen.

Prayer to the Souls in Purgatory My Jesus, by the sorrows Thou suffered in Thine agony in the garden, in Thy scourging and crowning with thorns, in the way to Calvary, in Thy crucifixion and death, have mercy on the souls in Purgatory, and especially on those that are most forsaken. Deliver them from the dire torments they endure. Call them and admit them to Thy most sweet embrace in Paradise. Amen. Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary's, (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)

Fifth Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 5 1, 10-11.Make me hear rejoicing and gladness, that the bones Thou hast crushed may revive. From my sins turn away Thy Face, and blot out all my guilt.Holy Face of Jesus, Sacred Countenance of God, how great is Thy patience with humankind, how infinite Thy forgiveness. We are sinners, yet Thou lovest us. This gives us courage. For the glory of Thy Holy Face and of the Blessed Trinity, hear and answer us. Mary our Mother, intercede for us, Saint Joseph, pray for us.Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to Saint Joseph Dear Saint Joseph! Adopt us as Thy children, take charge of our salvation; watch over us day and night; preserve us from occasions of sin; obtain for us purity of body and soul, and the spirit of prayer, through Thy intercession with Jesus, grant us a spirit of sacrifice, of humility and self-denial; obtain for us a burning love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and a sweet, tender love for Mary, our Mother.Saint Joseph, be with us in life, be with us in death and obtain for us a favorable judgment from Jesus, our merciful Savior. Amen.Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary's, (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)

Sixth Day(Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 12-13.A pure heart create for us O God, put a steadfast spirit within us. Do not cast us away from Thy presence nor deprive us of Thy Holy Spirit.May our hearts be cleansed, O Lord, by the inpouring of the Holy Spirit, and may He render them fruitful by watering them with His heavenly dew, Mary, the most chaste spouse of the Holy Spirit, intercede for us, Saint Joseph pray for us.Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel O Victorious Prince, most humble guardian of the Church of God and of faithful souls, who with such charity and zeal took part in so many conflicts and gained such great victories over the enemy, for the conservation and protection of the honor and glory we all owe to God, as well as for the promotion of our salvation, come, we pray Thee, to our assistance, for we are continually besieged with such great perils by our enemies, the flesh, the world and the devil; and as Thou wast a leader for the people of God through the desert, so also be our faithful leader, and companion through the desert of this world, until Thou conduct us safely into the happy land of the living, in that blessed fatherland from which we are all exiles. Amen. (St. Aloysius) Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary's, (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)

Seventh Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 14-15.Give me again the joy of Thy help, with a spirit of fervor sustain me, that I may teach transgressors Thy ways and sinners may return to Thee.Lord Jesus! After contemplating Thy features, disfigured by grief, after meditating upon Thy passion with compunction and love, how can our hearts fail to be inflamed with a holy hatred of sin, which even now outrages Thy Adorable Face! Lord, suffer us not to be content with mere compassion, but give us grace so closely to follow Thee in this Calvary, so that the opprobrium destined for Thee may fall on us, O Jesus, that thus we may have a share, small though it may be, in expiation of sin. Amen. Mary, our Mother, intercede for us, Saint Joseph pray for us.Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer in Honor of Mary Hail Mary, Daughter of God the Father! Hail Mary, Mother of God the Son! Hail Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit! Hail Mary, Temple of the Most Holy Trinity! Hail Mary, our mistress, our wealth, our mystic rose, Queen of our hearts, our Mother, our life, our sweetness and our dearest hope! We are all Thine, and all we have is Thine. O Virgin blessed above all things, may Thy soul be in us to magnify the Lord; may Thy spirit be in us to rejoice in God. Place Thyself, O faithful Virgin, as a seal upon our hearts, that in Thee and through Thee we may be found faithful to God. Grant, most gracious Virgin, that we may be numbered among those whom Thou art pleased to love, to teach and to guide, to favor and to protect as Thy children. Grant that with the help of Thy love, we may despise all earthly consolation and cling to heavenly things, until through the Holy Spirit, Thy faithful spouse, and through Thee, His faithful spouse, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, be formed within us for the glory of the Father. Amen. (St. Grignon de Montfort) Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary's, (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)

Eighth Day(Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 16-17.O rescue me, God my helper, and my tongue shall ring out Thy goodness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.Most merciful Face of Jesus, who in this vale of tears was so moved by our misfortunes to call Thyself the healer of the sick, and the good Shepherd of the souls gone astray, allow not Satan to draw us away from Thee, but keep us always under Thy loving protection, together with all souls who endeavor to console Thee. Mary, our Mother, intercede for us, Saint Joseph, pray for us.Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to Saint Peter O glorious Saint Peter, who in return for Thy lively and generous faith, Thy profound and sincere humility and Thy burning love, was honored by Jesus Christ with singular privileges, and in particular, with the leadership of the other apostles and the primacy of the whole church, of which thou was made the foundation stone, do thou obtain for us the grace of a lively faith, that shall not fear to profess itself openly in its entirety and in all of its manifestations, even to the shedding of blood, if occasion should demand it, and to the sacrifice of life itself in preference to surrender. Obtain for us likewise a sincere loyalty to our Holy Mother the Church. Grant that we may ever remain most closely and sincerely united to the Holy Father, who is the heir of Thy faith and of Thy authority, the one true visible head of the Catholic Church. Grant, moreover, that we may follow, in all humility and meekness, the Church?s teaching and counsels and may be obedient to all her precepts, in order to be able here on earth to enjoy a peace that is sure and undisturbed, and to attain one day in heaven to everlasting happiness. Amen.Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary's, (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)

Ninth Day (Console Holy Face and recite Daily Preparatory Prayer) Psalm 51, 18-21.For in sacrifice Thou takest no delight, burnt offering from me Thou wouldst refuse, my sacrifice a contrite spirit. A humbled, contrite heart Thou wilt not spurn. In Thy goodness, show favor to Zion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem Then Thou wilt be pleased with lawful sacrifice, holocausts offered on Thine altar,Sacred Face of our Lord and our God, what words can we do to express our gratitude? How can we speak of our joy? That Thou hast deigned to hear us, that Thou hast chosen to answer us in our hour of need. We say this because we know that our prayers will be granted. We know that Thou, in Thy loving kindness, listened to our pleading hearts, and will give, out of Thy fullness, the answer to our problems. Mary, our Mother, thank you for Thy intercession on our behalf. Saint Joseph, thank you for your prayers.Through the merits of Thy precious blood and Thy Holy Face, O Jesus, grant us our petition, Pardon and Mercy.

Prayer to the Holy Trinity Most Holy Trinity, Godhead indivisible, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our first beginning and our last end. Since Thou hast made us after Thine own image and likeness, grant that all the thoughts of our minds, all the words of our tongues, all the affections of our hearts and all our actions may be always conformed to Thy most Holy Will, so that after having seen Thee here on earth in appearances and in a dark manner by the means of faith, we may come at last to contemplate Thee face to face, in the perfect possession of Thee forever in paradise. Amen.Pray one (1) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary's, (1) Glory Be. O Bleeding Face, O Face Divine, be every adoration Thine. (Three times)

Act of Consecration O Lord Jesus, we believe most firmly in Thee, we love Thee. Thou art the Eternal Son of God and the Son Incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Thou art the Lord and Absolute Ruler of all creation. We acknowledge Thee, therefore, as the Universal Sovereign of all creatures. Thou art the Lord and Supreme Ruler of all mankind, and we, in acknowledging this Thy dominion, consecrate ourselves to Thee now and forever. Loving Jesus, we place our family under the protection of Thy Holy Face, and of Thy Virgin Mother, Mary most sorrowful. We promise to be faithful to Thee for the rest of our lives and to observe with fidelity Thy Holy Commandments, We will never deny before men, Thee and Thy Divine rights over us and all mankind. Grant us the grace to never sin again; nevertheless, should we fail, O Divine Savior, have mercy on us and restore us to Thy grace. Radiate Thy Divine Countenance upon us and bless us now and forever. Embrace us at the hour of death in Thy Kingdom for all eternity, through the intercession of Thy Blessed Mother, of all Thy Saints who behold Thee in Heaven, and the just who glorify Thee on earth, O Jesus, be mindful of us forever and never forsake us; protect our family. O Mother of Sorrows, by the eternal glory which Thou enjoyest in Heaven, through the merits of Thy bitter anguish in the Sacred Passion of Thy Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for us the grace that the Precious Blood shed by Jesus for the redemption of our souls, be not shed for us in vain. We love Thee, O Mary. Embrace us and bless us, O Mother. Protect us in life and in death. Amen.Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
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