Sunday, December 25, 2022

What Child is This?

From the late Father Angelus Shaughnessy:
This child is God.

Our Heavenly Father knows how hard it is for us to love somebody we cannot get our arms around. We are supremely happy because our God did become a little bundle of 7 or 8 pounds, so we could get our arms around His Divine Son, to hold Him tight and love Him right.

God is Love! Jesus is Love wrapped in flesh for keeps, forever, for all teach us how to love. He came with the irresistible charm of a snuggling infant. His argument still challenges: I loved you first, love me back! He would do anything to get our love, to steal our hearts, even to sneak out of heaven to do so. The only thing this Baby-God would have done more to show His love happened 33 years later: those limbs now fully grown, pinned back to the wood of the cross. You see: He came into this world not to live (He already had life from all eternity) but to die -- for each one of us. He is Jesus, our Saviour.

For us who really believe this Christmas message, every other story about Him is almost easy to believe. Just think what Christmas means: God to become man, Heaven to come down to earth, eternity to invade time, God to take on the human condition (a human soul and a human body) and to keep it even after returning to heaven at His Ascension, in a glorified yet human state. (Read more.)

Saturday, December 24, 2022

The Miraculous Birth of Christ

An explanation of the ancient and constant teaching of the Church of Our Lady's painless delivery of Christ. To quote:
...There have questions about whether Mary’s delivery of Christ was: A) painless, and B) left her physical virginity intact. Some have felt that it somehow undermines the humanity of Christ to assert these Catholic beliefs. We must recall that Christ walked on water, was transfigured on Mount Tabor, exited the sepulcher before it was opened, and walked through locked doors. None of these facts undermine the humanity of Christ. Consequently, to believe that Christ exited the womb of the Blessed Mother in a mysterious way is neither credulous or impious. Rather, it is the conviction of the holiest and brightest saints of the Catholic Church. For anyone who would deny the painless and intact nativity of Christ, let us challenge you to produce a citation from any saint or pope who teaches otherwise – that is a text that affirms that the nativity of the Christ Child caused pain to Mary and broke her physical virginity.

After a little research I discovered that of the 33 Doctors of the Church, none deny the painless and intact nativity of Christ. Moreover, at least 20 of the Doctors of the Church explicitly affirm that the birth of Christ was painless and miraculously left Mary’s physical virginity intact. Again, it all goes back to Isaiah 66:7: “before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.” This prophecy refers to Christ plain and simple.
I have assembled the most important texts from the Sacred Scriptures, Fathers, Doctors, Councils, and Popes below. (Read more.)

Saturday, December 3, 2022

St. Francis Xavier

From New Advent

 Born in the Castle of Xavier near Sanguesa, in Navarre, 7 April, 1506; died on the Island of Sancian near the coast of China, 2 December, 1552. In 1525, having completed a preliminary course of studies in his own country, Francis Xavier went to Paris, where he entered the Collège de Sainte-Barbe. Here he met the Savoyard, Pierre Favre, and a warm personal friendship sprang up between them. It was at this same college that St. Ignatius Loyola, who was already planning the foundation of the Society of Jesus, resided for a time as a guest in 1529. He soon won the confidence of the two young men; first Favre and later Xavier offered themselves with him in the formation of the Society. Four others, Lainez, Salmerón, Rodríguez, and Bobadilla, having joined them, the seven made the famous vow of Montmartre, 15 Aug., 1534. (Read more.)

Thursday, December 1, 2022

St. Edmund Campion

Here is the Agnus Dei of the English Jesuit and martyr St. Edmund Campion, whose feast is today. To quote:
....The Agnus Dei [was] carried by St. Edmund Campion on his clandestine missions, and a gift of Pope Gregory VIII. Campion was found hiding in Lynford Grange, Berkshire on July 17, 1581, and was hanged, drawn, and quartered five months later. The Agnus Dei was found wrapped in a list of indulgences stuffed in the rafters of Lynford Grange when the roof underwent renovation in 1959. Fr. Nicholas Schofield has blogged of Stonyhurst's collection here.


Monday, November 28, 2022

Of Relics

Incorrupt Body of St. John Vianney in Ars, France

 From Catholicism:

It is no surprise that in [St. John Damascene's] other masterpiece, On the Orthodox Faith , this eighth-century apologist gives us a beautiful defense of saints’ relics based on the fact that “through their minds God has also dwelt in their bodies.”

What’s the common thread uniting icons and relics? It is that God has sanctified stuff — matter, as we call it — and has chosen to give us divine assistance through its use. In his defense of relics, St. John goes on to cite the same passage from First Corinthians that the fathers of the Council of Trent did, in this excerpt from the Council’s 25th session: “the holy bodies of holy martyrs and of others now living with Christ — which bodies were the living members of Christ and ‘the temple of the Holy Ghost’ (I Cor., vi, 19), and which are by Him to be raised to eternal life and to be glorified, are to be venerated by the faithful85”

Like St. John, who points out miracles worked through the relics of the saints, the Council goes on to state a reason why the relics are to be honored: “for through these [bodies] many benefits are bestowed by God on men85” The fact that relics were used by God to bestow benefits on men is clearly to be seen in the inspired history of the Bible.

In the Fourth Book of Kings (or Second Kings, in Protestant Bibles), the story is told of Elias (Elijah) the Prophet being taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot. Eliseus (Elisha) the Prophet, who inherited his spiritual father’s “double spirit” — the legal prerogatives of firstborn son — took up the mantle of Elias which had fallen in the violence of the whirlwind. “And he took up the mantle of Elias, that fell from him: and going back, he stood on the bank of the Jordan; and he struck the waters with the mantle of Elias, that had fallen from him, and they were not divided. And he said: Where is now the God of Elias? And he struck the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, and Eliseus passed over” (4 Kings 2:13-14 / KJV: 2 Kings 2:13-14 ).

Elias had, previous to his being taken up, worked the same miracle using his mantle (2:8). This is how the two prophets ended up on the side of the Jordan they were on when the fiery chariot came. After Elias’ prodigious departure, the relic of his mantle became Eliseus’ “passport” to get back to the other side. Here is a concrete instance of God bestowing a benefit on men through a relic.

The next Old Testament relic apologetic also involves Eliseus. Here, the relic is not a garment, but the prophet’s dead body: “And Eliseus died, and they buried him. And the rovers from Moab came into the land the same year. And some that were burying a man, saw the rovers, and cast the body into the sepulchre of Eliseus. And when it had touched the bones of Eliseus, the man came to life and stood upon his feet” (4 [KJV:2] Kings 13:20-21).

There is no denying that the inspired history relates a cause-and-effect relationship between the dead man’s body touching the corpse of Eliseus, and that man’s resurrection.

Before proceeding to the New Testament, we cite one more B.C. proof: God chose to work many and great miracles through the Ark of the Covenant. What did the Ark contain? Relics. In it were found the tablets of the Law, the Rod of Aaron, and a jar of manna from the Israelites’ wandering in the desert. (Read more.)

Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Pilgrims

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Laudem Gloriae discusses the origins of our American Thanksgiving. To quote:

Queen Elizabeth had little patience for the Catholics, but even less for the Calvinists, who complained the Church of England remained too papist. In their desire to complete the Reformation and purify religion of popish trumperies, the Puritans broke from the Anglican Church, rejected the Book of Common Prayer, and preferred the anti-royalist Geneva Bible to the King James version. They instituted an independent congregationalist ideal that upheld the notion of the common priesthood of all believers, and thus granted an equal say among congregants in the election of the minister (some claim the roots of American democracy lie here). All of this naturally brought down upon them the wrath of the Crown. A number of Puritans sought refuge in Holland, where they lived in religious freedom for a dozen years, after which they chose to emigrate to America. After meeting another group of Puritans in Southampton, all boarded the Mayflower on September 16, 1620. Sixty-five days later, they sighted Cape Cod. The first Thanksgiving celebration (which lasted three days) took place in 1621 with about ninety Native Americans, and wasn't celebrated again until some years later, when in 1863 Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday. (Read more.)

More HERE.
The persistence of American Thanksgiving customs is impressive. While cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie may not have been on the menu at Plymouth in 1621, when venison and an unspecified "fowle"; graced the communal table, Americans have celebrated their unique holiday for giving thanks to God in ways that are highly recognizable from generation to generation, from century to century.

Friday, November 18, 2022

The Creation of Adam and Eve

From CNA:

The ceiling frescoes show the creation of the heavens and the earth, the creation of Adam and Eve, their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the great flood, and the rebirth of humankind through Noah. Lev cited St. John Paul II’s description of Michelangelo’s work in his poem “Meditations on the Book of Genesis at the Threshold of the Sistine Chapel.”

“It is the book of the origins — Genesis,” the pope said. “Here, in this chapel, Michelangelo penned it, not with words, but with the richness of piled-up colors. We enter in order to read it again, going from wonder to wonder.”

Lev reflected on the first three panels depicting the creation of the world. These show “the mighty dynamic figure of God the Father at work.”

“It’s not what God creates, it’s that God creates,” she said. Michelangelo broke ground in portraying God as “physically engaged in creation.” For Lev, this offers “a preview of the Incarnation.”

Turning to Michelangelo’s famous depiction of the Creation of Adam, Lev noted that the artist depicts “just God and the creature formed in his likeness.” Adam is shown as “somewhat listless” in contrast with God’s energy. Adam is “sentient and awake but he has no will or strength or purpose to rise,” she said. “He looks completely passive and dependent despite that incredibly beautiful form.”

“It’s God who reaches towards man,” she continued. For Lev, the outstretched finger of God makes the viewer “almost lean forward in his seat waiting for that final Act of Creation, the divine spark, the Breath of Life that will release that latent energy and allow Adam to take his place as the greatest of creations.”

“This is the joy in humanity that permeates the Renaissance,” Lev said. (Read more.)

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Novena to St. Raphael Kalinowski

 St. Raphael of St. Joseph was a Polish Carmelite saint greatly venerated by St. John Paul. His feast is November 19. From Aleteia:
Born Joseph Kalinowski to a noble Polish family in 1835, the future saint lost his mother when he was just a baby, then his stepmother when he was 10. His father’s third wife became a great influence in his life, encouraging him spiritually as well as in his remarkable academic career. He graduated from the boarding school his father taught at, then headed to the improbably-named Hory Horki for university. Equally good, it seems, at a variety of sciences, he chose to study zoology, chemistry, agriculture, and apiculture (beekeeping).
But Kalinowski’s love of creation didn’t extend to a love of the Creator; gradually he drifted further and further from the faith of his youth. For him, knowledge and worldly success were enough. He had no particular need, he felt, of the things of God. Despite his aptitude, Kalinowski’s options were limited because of his ethnicity; Poles at the time were only permitted to pursue graduate studies if they were members of the Russian army. So Kalinowski enlisted in the Imperial Russian Army and began to study engineering. He spent some time as a math professor before beginning his work designing the railroad that would connect Kursk to Odessa.
It was during this time that the call of the Lord began to penetrate Kalinowski’s heart. As he worked on the railroad, he had many hours to spend in solitude. There, in the silence, God began to draw the young engineer back. He began to realize the need for an interior life, but still he remained far from the sacraments, seeing God more as an idea than as a lover.
Meanwhile Kalinowski was rising through the ranks, but his heart wasn’t with the Russian cause. He sympathized with the plight of his oppressed Polish brethren and when he was 27 he made the difficult decision to become a traitor—or, rather, a patriot.
After he defected to the Polish rebels during the 1863 January Uprising, Kalinowski’s brilliant mind was put to good use as minister of war. But while he had left behind the Russians, he still hadn’t left behind his sin. For 10 years, Kalinowski had been away from the sacraments; finally, his younger sister and his stepmother told him they would only get a particular gift for a friend of his if he would go to confession. Though not at all eager, Kalinowski went; in that moment, he experienced profound grace, mercy, and fullness of conversion. “After 10 years of apostasy,” he said, “I have returned to the bosom of the Church.” (Read more.)
More HERE.

Prayer in honor of Saint Raphael:
Lord God, You made Your Priest St. Raphael strong in adversity and filled Him with a great love in promoting Church unity. Through his prayers make us strong in faith and in love for one another, that we too may generously work together for the unity of all believers in Christ. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

A Prayer for America on Election Day

A psalm for David. Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man. For thou art God my strength: why hast thou cast me off? and why do I go sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me? Send forth thy light and thy truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto thy holy hill, and into thy tabernacles. And I will go in to the altar of God: to God who giveth joy to my youth. To thee, O God my God, I will give praise upon the harp: why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me? Hope in God, for I will still give praise to him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God. —Psalm 42 (The Vulgate)

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Novena for Election Day

Let us pray a novena in honor of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the United States of America, for our country on election day.
  Ave Maris Stella

Hail, you Star of Ocean!
Portal of the sky,
Ever Virgin Mother,
Of the Lord most high.

O! by Gabriel's Ave,
Uttered long ago,
Eva's name reversing,
Establish peace below.

Break the captive's fetters;
Light on blindness pour;
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.

Show yourself a mother;
Offer him our sighs,
Who for us Incarnate
Did not you despise.

Virgin of all virgins!
To your shelter take us;
Gentlest of the gentle!
Chaste and gentle make us.

Still as on we journey,
Help our weak endeavor,
Till with you and Jesus
We rejoice forever.

Through the highest heaven,
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son, and Spirit,
One same glory be.

In Latin:

Ave, maris stella,
Dei mater alma,
atque semper virgo,
felix cœli porta.

Sumens illud «Ave»
Gabrielis ore,
funda nos in pace,
mutans Evæ nomen.

Solve vincla reis,
profer lumen cæcis,
mala nostra pelle,
bona cuncta posce.

Monstra te esse matrem,
sumat per te precem
qui pro nobis natus
tulit esse tuus.

Virgo singularis,
inter omnes mitis,
nos culpis solutos
mites fac et castos.

Vitam præsta puram,
iter para tutum,
ut videntes Jesum
semper collætemur.

Sit laus Deo Patri,
summo Christo decus,
Spiritui Sancto
tribus honor unus. Amen
 Music, HERE.

Tota Pulchra Es
 You are fair, O Mary: the original stain is not in you. You are the glory of Jerusalem. You are the joy of Israel. You are the great honor of our people. You are the advocate of sinners. O Mary, O Mary, Virgin most prudent, Mother most merciful, pray for us. Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
And here is an excerpt from the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, much of which is based on Sacred Scripture:
Holy Mary, Mother of God, I firmly believe in thy Immaculate Conception. I bless God for having granted thee this glorious privilege. I thank Him a thousand times for having taught it to me by the infallible voice of the Church. Receive my heart, O Immaculate Virgin; I give it to thee without reserve; purify it; guard it; never give it back to me, preserve it in thy love and in the love of Jesus during time and eternity. AMEN.

V. Thy name, O Mary, is as oil poured out.
R. Thy servants have loved thee exceedingly.

Let us pray.
O God, Who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, did prepare a worthy habitation for Thy Son: we beseech Thee, that as in view of the death of that Son, Thou didst preserve her from all stain of sin, so Thou wouldst enable us, being made pure by her intercession, to come unto Thee. Through the same Christ Our Lord. AMEN.

I am adding this prayer to St. Joseph to the novena:
O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.  
O Saint Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, so that, having engaged here below your heavenly power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. O Saint Joseph, I never weary in contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.  Saint Joseph, patron of departing souls - pray for me. Amen

The Miserere (Psalm 50, The Vulgate) is a good idea, too.
1] Unto the end, a psalm of David, [2] When Nathan the prophet came to him after he had sinned with Bethsabee. [3] Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy. And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity. [4] Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. [5] For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.
[6] To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee: that thou mayst be justified in thy words and mayst overcome when thou art judged. [7] For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. [8] For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me. [9] Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. [10] To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.
[11] Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. [12] Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels. [13] Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me. [14] Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit. [15] I will teach the unjust thy ways: and the wicked shall be converted to thee.
[16] Deliver me from blood, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol thy justice. [17] O Lord, thou wilt open my lips: and my mouth shall declare thy praise. [18] For if thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted. [19] A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. [20] Deal favourably, O Lord, in thy good will with Sion; that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up.
[21] Then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations and whole burnt offerings: then shall they lay calves upon thy altar.


Judica me, Deus (Psalm 42, The Vulgate)

[1] A psalm for David. Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man. [2] For thou art God my strength: why hast thou cast me off? and why do I go sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me? [3] Send forth thy light and thy truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto thy holy hill, and into thy tabernacles. [4] And I will go in to the altar of God: to God who giveth joy to my youth. [5] To thee, O God my God, I will give praise upon the harp: why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me?

[6] Hope in God, for I will still give praise to him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The Dominican Mind of St. John Paul II

 Of course, we know that St. John Paul was a Carmelite tertiary. From Dominicana:

Metaphysical realism elevated by faith enables the Christian to attain a wisdom that pierces through our complicated experience of sin and suffering in order to behold the saving power of God at work in all things. It was this realist Christian wisdom—even more than his great personal charisma and apostolic zeal—that so equipped John Paul both to warmly proclaim from the pulpit, “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ,” and then to charitably specify in his magisterium what this opening-wide to Christ entails on the most contested moral questions of our age.

Pope Saint John Paul II was not a Dominican. But his enduring conviction that metaphysical realism is essential to the preaching of the Gospel places him squarely within the intellectual and spiritual tradition of the Dominican Order. Once asked about the most important word in the New Testament, John Paul immediately replied: “Truth.”

Only truth, in the end, is pastoral. Only truth saves. (Read more.)

Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Church and the Arts

On his feast day, some powerful thoughts from St. John Paul II's 1999 "Letter to Artists":
Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God. It must therefore translate into meaningful terms that which is in itself ineffable. Art has a unique capacity to take one or other facet of the message and translate it into colours, shapes and sounds which nourish the intuition of those who look or listen. It does so without emptying the message itself of its transcendent value and its aura of mystery.

The Church has need especially of those who can do this on the literary and figurative level, using the endless possibilities of images and their symbolic force. Christ himself made extensive use of images in his preaching, fully in keeping with his willingness to become, in the Incarnation, the icon of the unseen God.

The Church also needs musicians. How many sacred works have been composed through the centuries by people deeply imbued with the sense of the mystery! The faith of countless believers has been nourished by melodies flowing from the hearts of other believers, either introduced into the liturgy or used as an aid to dignified worship. In song, faith is experienced as vibrant joy, love, and confident expectation of the saving intervention of God.

The Church needs architects, because she needs spaces to bring the Christian people together and celebrate the mysteries of salvation. After the terrible destruction of the last World War and the growth of great cities, a new generation of architects showed themselves adept at responding to the exigencies of Christian worship, confirming that the religious theme can still inspire architectural design in our own day. Not infrequently these architects have constructed churches which are both places of prayer and true works of art. (Read more.)

In the footsteps of St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called artists the "custodians of beauty" in 2009:
Unfortunately, the present time is marked, not only by negative elements in the social and economic sphere, but also by a weakening of hope, by a certain lack of confidence in human relationships, which gives rise to increasing signs of resignation, aggression and despair. The world in which we live runs the risk of being altered beyond recognition because of unwise human actions which, instead of cultivating its beauty, unscrupulously exploit its resources for the advantage of a few and not infrequently disfigure the marvels of nature. What is capable of restoring enthusiasm and confidence, what can encourage the human spirit to rediscover its path, to raise its eyes to the horizon, to dream of a life worthy of its vocation -- if not beauty? Dear friends, as artists you know well that the experience of beauty, beauty that is authentic, not merely transient or artificial, is by no means a supplementary or secondary factor in our search for meaning and happiness; the experience of beauty does not remove us from reality, on the contrary, it leads to a direct encounter with the daily reality of our lives, liberating it from darkness, transfiguring it, making it radiant and beautiful.

Indeed, an essential function of genuine beauty, as emphasized by Plato, is that it gives man a healthy "shock", it draws him out of himself, wrenches him away from resignation and from being content with the humdrum -- it even makes him suffer, piercing him like a dart, but in so doing it "reawakens" him, opening afresh the eyes of his heart and mind, giving him wings, carrying him aloft. Dostoevsky's words that I am about to quote are bold and paradoxical, but they invite reflection. He says this: "Man can live without science, he can live without bread, but without beauty he could no longer live, because there would no longer be anything to do to the world. The whole secret is here, the whole of history is here." The painter Georges Braque echoes this sentiment: "Art is meant to disturb, science reassures." Beauty pulls us up short, but in so doing it reminds us of our final destiny, it sets us back on our path, fills us with new hope, gives us the courage to live to the full the unique gift of life. The quest for beauty that I am describing here is clearly not about escaping into the irrational or into mere aestheticism.

Too often, though, the beauty that is thrust upon us is illusory and deceitful, superficial and blinding, leaving the onlooker dazed; instead of bringing him out of himself and opening him up to horizons of true freedom as it draws him aloft, it imprisons him within himself and further enslaves him, depriving him of hope and joy. It is a seductive but hypocritical beauty that rekindles desire, the will to power, to possess, and to dominate others, it is a beauty which soon turns into its opposite, taking on the guise of indecency, transgression or gratuitous provocation. Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond. If we acknowledge that beauty touches us intimately, that it wounds us, that it opens our eyes, then we rediscover the joy of seeing, of being able to grasp the profound meaning of our existence, the Mystery of which we are part; from this Mystery we can draw fullness, happiness, the passion to engage with it every day. In this regard, Pope John Paul II, in his Letter to Artists, quotes the following verse from a Polish poet, Cyprian Norwid: "Beauty is to enthuse us for work, and work is to raise us up" (no. 3). And later he adds: "In so far as it seeks the beautiful, fruit of an imagination which rises above the everyday, art is by its nature a kind of appeal to the mystery. Even when they explore the darkest depths of the soul or the most unsettling aspects of evil, the artist gives voice in a way to the universal desire for redemption" (no. 10). And in conclusion he states: "Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence" (no. 16).

These ideas impel us to take a further step in our reflection. Beauty, whether that of the natural universe or that expressed in art, precisely because it opens up and broadens the horizons of human awareness, pointing us beyond ourselves, bringing us face to face with the abyss of Infinity, can become a path towards the transcendent, towards the ultimate Mystery, towards God. Art, in all its forms, at the point where it encounters the great questions of our existence, the fundamental themes that give life its meaning, can take on a religious quality, thereby turning into a path of profound inner reflection and spirituality. This close proximity, this harmony between the journey of faith and the artist's path is attested by countless artworks that are based upon the personalities, the stories, the symbols of that immense deposit of "figures" -- in the broad sense -- namely the Bible, the Sacred Scriptures. The great biblical narratives, themes, images and parables have inspired innumerable masterpieces in every sector of the arts, just as they have spoken to the hearts of believers in every generation through the works of craftsmanship and folk art, that are no less eloquent and evocative.

In this regard, one may speak of a via pulchritudinis, a path of beauty which is at the same time an artistic and aesthetic journey, a journey of faith, of theological enquiry. The theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar begins his great work entitled The Glory of the Lord -- a Theological Aesthetics with these telling observations: "Beauty is the word with which we shall begin. Beauty is the last word that the thinking intellect dares to speak, because it simply forms a halo, an untouchable crown around the double constellation of the true and the good and their inseparable relation to one another." He then adds: "Beauty is the disinterested one, without which the ancient world refused to understand itself, a word which both imperceptibly and yet unmistakably has bid farewell to our new world, a world of interests, leaving it to its own avarice and sadness. It is no longer loved or fostered even by religion." And he concludes: "We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name as if she were the ornament of a bourgeois past -- whether he admits it or not -- can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love." The way of beauty leads us, then, to grasp the Whole in the fragment, the Infinite in the finite, God in the history of humanity. Simone Weil wrote in this regard: "In all that awakens within us the pure and authentic sentiment of beauty, there, truly, is the presence of God. There is a kind of incarnation of God in the world, of which beauty is the sign. Beauty is the experimental proof that incarnation is possible. For this reason all art of the first order is, by its nature, religious." Hermann Hesse makes the point even more graphically: "Art means: revealing God in everything that exists." Echoing the words of Pope Paul VI, the Servant of God Pope John Paul II restated the Church's desire to renew dialogue and cooperation with artists: "In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art" (no. 12); but he immediately went on to ask: "Does art need the Church?" -- thereby inviting artists to rediscover a source of fresh and well-founded inspiration in religious experience, in Christian revelation and in the "great codex" that is the Bible. (Read more.)


More on St. John Paul's life, HERE.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Maintaining Peace of Heart

From Catholic Exchange:

"Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” St. Francis de Sales’ words encompass the core of the spiritual life because they urge us to always remain not only in a state of grace, but also to constantly keep our hearts patiently awaiting God’s word. We must maintain inner peace if we want to advance in the love of God. 

This peace does not arise from participating in the so-called “meditation,” which is quite popular in today’s society. These and other practices search for peace from the self or from the world. But that true inner peace which the world cannot give comes from God alone (cf. Jn 14:27). With this peace we do not permit evil thoughts to assail us. We are like soldiers ready to hear the Lord’s command and do it. 

We lose this inner peace if we commit mortal sin; we must go contritely to confession before regaining it. However, we can lose this peace while remaining in a state of grace when we ruminate on our sins, particularly when attempting to discern whether or not we consented mortally to some sin. But if we try to examine our conscience when its waters are muddied, we will never gain clarity. Rather, in these moments, we ought to simply stop thinking about sin, divert our attention away from ourselves, and turn to God. Our Lord commanded us to do exactly this through Servant of God Dolindo Ruotolo, when He revealed the Surrender Novena to him. If we confidently turn our attention away from sin and ourselves and toward God, the devil has no way of infiltrating our reasoning and emotions. By maintaining an inner docility to the Holy Spirit, we allow Him to guide us to do His will.

In the case of those battling with scrupulosity, or those who otherwise lack sincere trust in God, acquiring and maintaining this inner peace can be far more difficult. If we examine our consciences when we think we have at least some clarity and we think we have committed no mortal sin, then we can trust that we have not committed any. These temptations, though, as well as temptations to despair, can keep afflicting us day after day. But this should not trouble us in the least. In fact, the Lord enables those whom He wants to bring to deeper communion with Him to experience these trials, so that they will attach themselves to Him alone. “The Lord scourges those who draw near to him, in order to admonish them” (Jdt 8:27).

For all of us, then, but especially for the scrupulous, we lose our inner peace when we are attached to something other than God. In some cases, these attachments are easily identifiable: food, sexual pleasure, money, praise. But in other instances, they can be subtler. For example, the scrupulous person may be obsessed with having clarity about his soul’s state so that he can feel spiritually confident. However, even this desire is an attachment to something other than God, and therefore can cause us to lose inner peace. Maintaining true peace, then, goes hand in hand with detaching ourselves from everyone and everything earthly, to the point that we do not rely on anyone but the Lord. 

In moments of severe temptation, no matter how frequent or for how long they occur, we often try to give ourselves peace of mind and heart – something we cannot do. For this inner peace which we seek “surpasses all understanding,” and thus is solely God-given (Phil 4:6). Hence we should not strive to attain it by ourselves, especially in moments of temptation, when our emotions and even our reason may be compromised. Rather, we should resist these temptations the best we can, surrender our struggles to the Lord and Our Lady, Queen of Peace, and then move on. If the devil cannot induce us to sin directly, he will try to get us to fall by anxiety over having some temptation, then by having anxiety over having had anxiety about the temptation, and so on. We cannot break this vicious cycle on our own. That requires a genuine surrender of our will to God’s, and a wholehearted trust in His mercy. (Read more.)

Saturday, October 15, 2022

St. Teresa of Avila and Our Lady

The French Carmelite Père Joseph de Saint Marie, OCD, in some of his conferences on St. Teresa and in his book Notre Dame du Mont-Carmel remarks about the fact that many of the significant events in St. Teresa's life happened on or around the feast of the Assumption. Her vision of hell, which inspired her to begin the monastic reform, occurred in the month of August, as did the foundation of St. Joseph's monastery in Avila. Two magnificent visions of Our Lady took place, in different years, on August 15. In her Life, St. Teresa describes the visions. Of the first one she writes:

...In a rapture there was pictured to me [Our Lady's] ascent into Heaven and the joy and solemnity with which she was received in the place where she now is. To explain how this happened would be impossible for me. Exceeding great was the glory which filled my spirit when it saw such glory. The fruits of the vision were wonderful and I was left with a great desire to serve Our Lady, because of her surpassing merits....

In the second apparition, which occurred on August 15, 1561, St. Teresa found herself transfigured, with Our Lady on her right and St. Joseph on her left. They clothed her in a mantle of great "whiteness and brightness," which meant she was "cleansed of [her] sins." According to St. Teresa's autobiography: "Our Lady suddenly took me by the hands and told me that I was giving her great pleasure by serving St. Joseph and that I might be sure that all I was trying to do about the convent would be accomplished and that both the Lord and they would be greatly served in it." Our Lady gave her a jeweled cross on a golden chain (similar to that of an abbess) signifying the saint's authority as a mother foundress. The vision left St. Teresa feeling "greatly comforted and full of peace." In such mystical experiences the strong Marian aspect of the Carmelite charism was once again emphasized, as a witness for those who would come after.

(All quotations from Msgr. Doheny's Selected Writings of St. Teresa)

The Holy Mother St. Teresa receives a veil and necklace from Our Lady and St. Joseph

Feast of Our Holy Mother St. Teresa

The following is an account of the death of the Great Teresa on October 4, 1582 at Alba de Tormes, by her secretary Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew.
Two days before she died, she asked to be given the Most Holy Sacrament, for she knew now that she was dying. On seeing that they were bringing it to her, see sat up in bed in such a spirited way that it looked as if she were going to get up, so they had to restrain her. Then she said, with great joy: "My Lord, it is time to set out...." She gave hearty thanks to God that she was a daughter of the Church and was dying as such, saying that through the merits of Christ she hoped to be saved, and she asked us all to beseech God to pardon her sins and to look, not at them, but only at His own mercy. With great humility she asked pardon of all, telling them not to take into account the things she had done and the bad example she had set them.
When the sisters saw that she was dying, they begged her to say something to them that would be to their profit, and she entreated them, for the love of God, to keep strictly to their Rule and Constitutions. There was nothing that she wished to add to this. Afterwards, she said little more save for repeating again and again that verse of David which says: Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus; cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies ("A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit, a humble and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise." Psalm 50:19, The Vulgate) Especially the phrase cor contritum-- this she kept repeating till she could say no more. Before this she had asked for Extreme Unction which she received with great devotion.

On St. Francis' Day, at nine o'clock in the evening, Our Lord took her to be with Him and left us all in such sorrow and grief that, if I had to describe it here, there would be a great deal to say. I heard a few things which the Holy Mother said before she expired, but so wonderful are they that I shall not set them down here. My superiors can relate them if they think it well to do so.

(from Msgr. Doheny's Selected Writings of St. Teresa)

Thursday, October 6, 2022

The Rosary: Our Greatest Weapon

From U Catholic:
Amid this dark persecution, Pope Saint Pius V reminisced about King David who raised his eyes, weeping but full of hope, to the Lord of refuge:

“A song of ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2).

And so, Pope Pius urged all Christians across Europe to invoke Our Lady’s intercession through the rosary: Following the example of our predecessors, seeing that the Church militant, which God has placed in our hands, in these our times is tossed this way and that by so many heresies, and is grievously troubled and afflicted by so many wars, and by the depraved morals of men, we also raise our eyes, weeping but full of hope, unto that same mountain, whence every aid comes forth… (Pope Saint Pius V, Consueverunt Romani Pontifices, 17 September 1569).

He also called upon all the Christian princes of Europe to unite against this imminent threat and form the Holy League – to be commanded by the 24-year-old Don John of Austria. But on October 7, 1571, the morning of the Battle of Lepanto, the odds were stacked against the Holy League. Not only were they severely outnumbered by the Ottoman army, but the wind was against them. Clinging to their last glimmer of hope, Don John and his army turned to prayer. Suddenly, by the end of the day, the wind shifted in favor of the Holy League who defeated the Ottomans and liberated the 12,000 Christian slaves.

The powerful weapon of the rosary saved Christendom from the clutches of the Ottoman invaders. And so, Pope Pius V established that October 7 would be the feast day in honor of Our Lady of Victory as their triumph was attributed to the Virgin Mary’s intercession.

Our Lady’s powerful role in fighting the battles of the Lord and conquering evil through fortitude and patience is beautifully depicted in the private revelations of Venerable Mary of Agreda (1602-1665), a Spanish Franciscan nun. After Jesus’ death, Our Lady, accompanied by St John, was on her way to the Council of Apostles. During the voyage from Ephesus to Jerusalem, Mary of Agreda saw how Satan and his terrifying army of demons appeared before Our Lady to threaten her. But she defeated them.
“Lucifer and his demons with increasing fury threatened the powerful Queen by telling her that she would perish in this sea and not escape alive. But these and other threats were but spent arrows and the most prudent Mother despised them, not even listening to them, or looking upon the demons, or speaking to them a single word. They themselves, on the other hand, could not bear even to glance at her face on account of the virtue of the Most High shining from it. And the more they strove to overcome this virtue, the weaker they became and the more were they tormented by those offensive weapons, with which the Lord had clothed his most holy Mother” (Mystical City of God, Book 8, Chapter 2).

And in the same way, Our Lady is a powerful intercessor for us, especially when we invoke her protection through the Holy Rosary. How did this ancient weapon come to be? (Read more.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

St. Faustina's Prayer to the Mother of Mercy

Prayer of St. Faustina to Our Lady
O Mary, my Mother and my Lady, I offer you my soul, my body, my life and my death and all that will come after it. I place everything in your hands, O my Mother, cover my soul with your virginal mantle and grant me the grace of purity of heart, soul and body. Defend me with your power against all enemies and especially against those who hide their malice behind the mask of virtue. Fortify my soul that pain may not break it. Mother of grace, teach me to live by God’s power. O Mary, a terrible sword has pierced your holy soul. Except for God, no one knows of your suffering. Your soul does not break, it is brave, because it is with Jesus. Sweet Mother, unite my soul to Jesus, because it is only then that I will be able to endure all trials and tribulations and only in union with Jesus will my little sacrifices be pleasing to God. Sweetest Mother, continue to teach me about the interior life. May the sword of suffering never break me. O pure Virgin, pour courage into my heart and guard it. Amen.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Angel of the Seven Thunders

The Angel of Revelation by William Blake
Author Emmett O'Regan analyzes the Book of Revelation in the light of the writings of St. Bonaventure, as well as Scripture and history. To quote:
St. Bonaventure's contention that the "time of great peace" which takes place at the start of the seventh age would be marked with the shout of the seven thunders is noteworthy in the fact that the sound produced by the angel here is described as being like a "roaring lion". In the earlier post The Third Secret of Fatima and the Angel with the Flaming Sword, we have already discussed how the prophecy of the angel of the seven thunders can be connected to the terrible events of 9/11. We shall discuss this in some more detail shortly below. The link between the shout of the angel of the seven thunders and the attacks on the World Trade Centre recalls some remarkable private revelations given to Venezuelan mystic Maria Esperanza (1928-2004), who was proclaimed a Servant of God by Bishop Paul Bootkoski in 2010. (Read more.)

Saturday, September 24, 2022

An Icon of Our Lady of Walsingham

It is the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham. From The Catholic Herald:
In her painting of Our Lady of Walsingham (detail pictured above), the Virgin Mary is depicted dressed in Anglo-Saxon attire and holding up the Child Jesus. The image includes the coat of arms of St Edward the Confessor, a patron saint of England, and it depicts Lady Richeldis, who built a replica of the “holy house” of Nazareth following an apparition. The image also shows a frog in the place of the serpent, following a traditional Old English telling of Genesis in art. 
The icon measures 75cm by 40.5cm (30in by 16in) and is made in a traditional way. It is painted with egg tempera on gesso mounted on a birch panel, before varnish was added for protection. The value of iconography over other art forms, according to Mrs de Pulford, is the clarity of the message the painter seeks to convey. 
“Symbolism occurs in many art forms, and iconography is no exception,” she says. “But you don’t have to be able to unpick the symbolism to understand the painting because the imagery is so clear. It’s clear what is going on, it’s clear who the people are, and if you contemplate for long enough the meaning will become clear.” 
She adds: “What I hope is that for those who see it the icon will inspire a renewed sense of the overwhelming generous love which inspired God to give Himself to the world, and Our Lady to reciprocate that love with her willing cooperation.” 
Richard II’s dedication of England was carried out amid great political turmoil, with the intention that the country and her people would be set aside for the guidance and protection of Our Lady. The dedication coincided with the growth of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham into one of the four great pilgrimage destinations of medieval Europe. 
The shrine was destroyed during the Reformation and the original statute is believed to have been burned at Chelsea by Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s henchman. But it was re-established in the 19th century and the English bishops decided in 2017 that a re-dedication was desirable. 
The National Day of Dedication involves Catholics making a personal “Angelus promise” to God in union with the “yes” of Mary at the Annunciation. Communal acts of entrustment will be made in cathedrals at noon, renewing the vows of dedication made by Richard II. Schools are invited to join the re-dedication on Monday, March 30. (Read more.)

Friday, September 23, 2022

Novena to Our Guardian Angels

Here is the novena to our Angel Guardians in preparation for their feast on October 2:
O holy angels, whom God, by the effect of His goodness and His tender regard for my welfare, has charged with the care of my conduct, and who assists me in all my wants and comforts me in all my afflictions, who supports me when I am discouraged and continually obtains for me new favors, I return thee profound thanks, and I earnestly beseech thee, O most amiable protector, to continue thy charitable care and defense of me against the malignant attacks of all my enemies. Keep me away from all occasions of sin. Obtain for me the grace of listening attentively to thy holy inspirations and of faithfully putting them into practice. In particular, I implore thee to obtain for me the favor which I ask for by this novena. [Here mention your need(s).] Protect me in all the temptations and trials of this life, but more especially at the hour of my death, and do not leave me until thou hast conducted me into the presence of my Creator in the mansions of everlasting happiness. Amen.
Artwork: Juan Antonio Escalante, An Angel Awakens the Prophet Elijah (c. 1667)

Friday, September 16, 2022

Preparing for Mass

 From The Missive:

In the passage just quoted, Pius XII explains that to pray the Mass well, the faithful should have the same intentions and dispositions as Christ Himself, namely, “praise, impetration, expiation and thanksgiving.” These indicate what are commonly called the four ends of prayer: adoration (“praise”), thanksgiving, contrition (“expiation”), and petition (“impetration”). The acronym of ACTS is used as a way to remember these ends (Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication [petition]). While this is helpful, it should be noted that the four ends are not listed in this acronym according to their order of importance.

The first reason one should go to prayer is to give God the honor which is due to Him as the Supreme and Perfect Being for everything outside of God was created for this end. The giving of this honor belongs to adoration. Next, one should express thanksgiving for all things which God has granted. God has created and maintains in existence, from moment to moment, each individual and all of the goods which each possesses. This gives rise to a seemingly infinite debt which each creature owes to God – a debt which is repaid by acts of thanksgiving. Sin is an offense against God, which the sinner appeases by acts of penance (expiation) which flow from internal sorrow (contrition). In the last place, one can petition God for necessities and desires, both spiritual and material. When one goes to prayer, this hierarchy of the ends of prayer should be kept in mind and the time given to each should be proportional to where that type of prayer falls in the hierarchy. It would be improper, therefore, for one to spend the majority of one’s time asking God for things (petition) while only spending a small amount of time, if any, adoring God for His perfections.

As the Mass is a prayer – indeed the greatest of prayers – these four ends can be applied to the Mass as well, as Pius XII indicated. It is recommended, then, that before the start of Mass, one prepare by going over the four ends of prayer and indicating the various reasons one is praying and participating in this particular Mass. (Read more.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Children of Fatima and the Fifth Apparition

Today is the 105th anniversary of the fifth apparition of Our Lady at Fatima. Our Lady said: "In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe." Here is an account from the EWTN website about the three visionaries:
There Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta were born and raised in homes where the catechism was their daily bread, stories from the Bible their recreation, and the word of the village priest was law. Lucia de Jesus Santos was born, the youngest of seven children, to Antonio and Maria Rosa Santos, on 22 March 1907. She was a plain child with sparkling eyes and a magnetic personality, a natural leader to whom other children looked with confident affection. Blessed with an excellent memory, Lucia was able to learn her catechism, and make her First Communion and Confession, at age six. She herself became a catechist at nine. Lucia would be the constant guide and companion to her first cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, through the trials that accompanied the apparitions of the Blessed Mother. (Read more.)

Monday, August 29, 2022

The Passion of St. John the Baptist

From Nobility:
John, in his fetters, was attended by some of his disciples, who kept him in touch with the events of the day. He thus learned of the wonders wrought by Jesus. At this point it cannot be supposed that John’s faith wavered in the least. Some of his disciples, however, would not be convinced by his words that Jesus was the Messias. Accordingly, he sent them to Jesus, bidding them say: “John the Baptist hath sent us to thee, saying: Art thou he that art to come; or look we for another? (And in that same hour, he cured many of their [the people’s] diseases, and hurts, and evil spirits; and to many that were blind he gave sight.) And answering, he said to them: Go and relate to John what you have hard and seen: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, to the poor the gospel is preached: and blessed is he whosoever shall not be scandalized in me” (Luke, vii, 20-23; Matt., xi, 3-6). (Read more.)

Saturday, August 27, 2022

St. Monica

It is a feast for those of us who have been praying for decades for the conversion of certain people. As St. Monica found, prayers that are accompanied by tears are never in vain. From Fr. Mark:
"And when He came night to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow: and a great multitude of the city was with her” (Lk 7:12). In the dead man the Church sees an image of Augustine before his conversion. In the widowed mother the Church sees an image of the holy mother Monica. In the crowd of mourners, the Church sees an image of those who experience sin and desire to be delivered from it: “those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Benedictus). Saint Luke depicts a striking scene: two crowds, arriving from opposite directions, meet. One is the community of death. The other is the community of life: an image of the Church.

“And when the Lord saw her, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her, ‘Weep not'” (Lk 7:13). Our Lord looked upon Saint Monica just as he looked upon the mother of the man being carried out for burial. Tears were the language of Saint Monica’s prayer. Saint Augustine himself says: “Thou didst listen to her, O Lord, and Thou didst not despise those tears of hers which moistened the earth wherever she prayed” (Benedictus Antiphon).


More HERE.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Saint Angelus

 Killed by the Cathars. From Catholicism: "Saint Angelus was born at Jerusalem and was the son of Jewish parents who had been converted to Christianity. He became a Carmelite priest and worked many miracles. He was martyred by heretics at Palermo in Sicily for defending the Catholic Faith."

From Wikipedia:

He was born in Jerusalem in 1185 to the Jewish parents Jesse and Maria.[1] His mother later converted to Roman Catholicism, and both he and his twin brother John were baptised when she converted. His parents died while he was in his childhood and the Patriarch Nicodemus oversaw their education until the twins turned eighteen. He and his brother John entered the Carmelites aged eighteen at the Saint Anne convent near the Golden Gate to commence their novitiate. The two could speak Greek as well as both Latin and Hebrew.[3][1]

In 1210, he was ordained to the priesthood in Jerusalem and he travelled in Palestine.[3] Miraculous cures were attributed to him around this time and his "acta" stated that he sought to avoid fame and withdrew to a hermitage in the desert (in imitation of Jesus Christ) when he was becoming popular for his miracles. He remained as a hermit on Mount Carmel when he was instructed in 1218[4] to leave for the Italian peninsula in order to preach against the patarini as well as the Albigensians and the Bulgars. He had likewise been instructed to go to Rome to obtain from Pope Honorius III confirmation of the new and definitive rule for the order (later granted in 1226).[3]

He set off on a Genoese ship on 1 April 1219 and stopped first in Messina before heading off to Civitavecchia before he ended up in Rome to meet with the pope. The friar preached in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran while in Rome where he met both Francis of Assisi and Dominic of Osma. It is said that he foretold that Francis would receive the stigmata while Francis foretold his premature death.[1] From there, he was a guest of the Basilians in Palermo where he was for over a month before preaching in Agrigento for over a month before settling in Licata. He had healed seven lepers and the ailing Archbishop of Palermo Bernardo de Castanea while in Palermo.[2] He settled on the Sicilian island though his fame as a wonderworker caused crowds to flock to him. He also had success in converting some Jews though most Jews in Palermo came to despise him for this since he himself was once Jewish.[2]

He wanted to convert a Cathar knight named Berenger (known also in sources as Berengarius).[2] Tradition states that Berenger was living in incest and that the friar convinced the knight's companion to leave Berenger. Berenger became enraged and had him attacked in front of the church of Santi Filippo e Giacomo in Licata on 1 May 1220, and was struck with Berenger's sword five times.[1] He died of his wounds within the week of 5 May and according to tradition asked for his assassin to be pardoned while urging the faithful not to avenge his death. He was buried at Santi Filippo e Giacomo. (Read more.)

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Novena to Blessed Karl of Austria

In honor of the anniversary of the holy Emperor's death on April 1, octave day of the Annunciation.
O Blessed Emperor Karl, you accepted the difficult tasks and burdensome challenges that God gave you during your life. In every thought, decision and action you trusted always in the Holy Trinity. We pray to you to intercede for us with the Lord our God to give us faith and courage, so that even in the most difficult situations of our earthly lives we may not lose heart, but continue faithfully in the footsteps of Christ. Ask for us the grace that our hearts may be moulded into the likeness of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Help us to work with compassion and strength for the poor and needy, to fight with courage for peace in our homes and in the world, and in every situation to trustingly place our lives in the hands of God, until we reach Him, as you did, through Christ our Lord.


On Blessed Karl's surprising connection to Fatima, HERE.

Related Posts with Thumbnails