Powerful Sermon: Martyrdom on the Installment Plan February 22, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, martyrdom, priests, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
Wonderful sermon below from that priest who, for nearly two years, was much missed online as his sermons were no longer posted, but who returned late last year with good, new, relevant catechesis.
Most of us will not “get” to be red martyrs like so many of the greats from the early Church. Father relates the life and death of St. James Intercisus, a figure in the Zoroastrian court of Persia who became Catholic, apostasized under threat of loss of wealth and power, and then was martyred when he returned to the Church of Jesus Christ. Few of us will face such a dramatic test (though, the way the world is going, who knows!). One thing is for certain, those who have the strength of faith to be blood martyrs, almost universally were already experiencing many white martyrdoms in death to self as they grew in sanctity and self-denial on their path of sanctification through cooperation with God’s Grace. For those of us who will never have the final test of a blood martyrdom, these white martyrdoms – smaller or larger acts of self-denial and overcoming of attachments on a daily basis (martyrdom on the installment plan) – are all we shall have to grow in virtue, reject sin and vice, and develop in sanctity. They are thus everything for our salvation.
Put much more briefly, is something, like our faith, is worth dying for, is it not worth living for?
Men should pay particular attention to 20:30 – 23:40 where Father talks of common failures in virtue and attachments to sin, especially those men lost in addiction to porn. Even numerous, regular Mass-going Catholic men have severe problems with impurity, self-abuse, and addiction to porn. That addiction can be all but impossible to overcome if a man walks around with a little porn theater in his pocket (smart phone). Far from fleeing it, he literally carries his near occasion of sin with him.
Father notes that such men, even if they go to Confession, likely do not receive absolution, because so long as he carries this deadly occasion of sin with him everywhere he goes, and sleeps with it next to his bed at night, perhaps, he is constantly involved in a near occasion of sin that, practically speaking, invalidates any act of contrition he attempts to make.
I should add, increasingly, this mass moral scandal afflicts not only men but even some women. Exposure to porn and involvement in the moral sewer of the hookup culture and so much of today’s society has even reduced what was once the mighty bulwark of feminine propriety to the level of what would have been the most lust-addled, out of control man from a few decades ago.
As an aside, I think that is part of the reason why Trump’s “p*$$y” comment set so many women off it precipitated some of the largest demonstrations this nation has ever seen. Trump did not say he does this, nor that he advocates others go about “grabbing” certain regions of the anatomy – he said women would even let him do that, because he is so rich and famous. He was certainly bragging and probably exaggerating, but how many of those women out there demonstrating, if they found themselves alone with one of the richest, most powerful men in the world, would really reject his advances? How many have already given themselves away at firesale prices (heck, often for free, nothing more than the cost of a brief phone call or a couple of texts) to just regular ol’ dudes, if not outright losers? I think the reaction against that offhand, supposedly off-the-record comment reveals far more what women think of themselves, than it says of what they think of Trump. You could see this in the unhinged behavior at many of the protests and especially the proliferation of women, publicly, reducing themselves to nothing more than a small part of their anatomy. But I digress.
Having said that, there is a line between a man struggling to come to terms with whether he has a porn addiction, or occasionally/rarely falling into the sin of porn viewing on his smart phone, and one who is so lost that he can no longer make a valid act of contrition so long as he keeps his smart phone. There is a potential to err on the side of harshness, here, but I’m glad Father said what he did because very few men are aware of the fact that they could fall into a state this dire.
Also note, it is not simply sins against the 6th and 9th Commandments that create conditions where contrition is invalidated. ANY severe attachment to a repetitive sin – drunkenness, contraceptive use, actual adultery, etc., – can involve such constant contact with sin/a near occasion of sin that it places great questions on having true contrition. I wouldn’t freak out about this, but it’s something to be cognizant of and watch against. Are our phones worth losing salvation? For many men, they may well be.
But it’s certainly not just the lay people with problems. Priests, bishops, and most others with formal apostolates in the Church do not act as if they believe any substantial part of the Doctrine of the Faith. They don’t act as if Christ is really present in the Eucharist, nor that damnation can happen to lots of people, that hell exists, that God is really concerned about all of our individual acts, etc. They believe a politically correct, politically motivated, societally-acceptable version of the faith. And they lead souls to hell by their millions through their failures.
There’s so much here that I could write several thousand words but hopefully you’ve gotten a flavor for what’s in the sermon. Let me know what you think.
People always ask me what this priest’s name is. I won’t tell you, but folks, if you’re really interested and you listen to more than a few of his sermons with any degree of attention, he pretty much ID’s himself. Don’t write it here, but you’re smart, I’m sure you can figure it out.
Fr. Rodriguez Gives Catechesis on the Message of Our Lady of Fatima February 22, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, family, Father Rodriguez, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Our Lady, persecution, priests, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
I’m seriously behind so I have not been able to watch more than a little of this, but it’s Father Rodriguez, so I have no compunction about giving this a clear endorsement even though acting a bit from ignorance at this point. I will listen to it sometime this week, God willing.
This is another lecture intended for children but judging from the comments I’ve seen adults derive as much or more value from it than the kids. I wanted to get this out while it was new and before I forgot about it. I’ve literally got about 20 pages open right now on stuff I’d like to post, plus a whole slew of excerpts from a book on the writings of Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, probably the best theologian this nation has ever produced.
So forgive me if I don’t provide an encapsulation of this video, I simply haven’t the time right now.
If readers watch it please leave comments and let us know what you think! I’ll try to update the post once I do get a chance to watch more than the first few minutes.
Many people, even Texans, are not be aware that by far the most influential/powerful office in Texas state government is that of Lieutenant Governor. The Lieutenant Governor sets the legislative agenda and has a powerful rule-making position in the state senate. The office of governor is much more of a figurehead position that holds only limited powers, the ability to veto legislation being probably the foremost of these.
With that in mind, it is significant that legislation was proposed last month for the upcoming legislative session that would allow private enterprises to set their own policies with regard to this insane “let’s let deranged grown men use the same bathroom as little girls” issue that came to the fore last year under heavy pressure from the Obama administration. Schools and some other public entities would be required to maintain single-sex restrooms.
Shortly after the most recent Super Bowl, which took place in Texas, the NFL decided to huff and puff over this grievous offense to their increasingly radical left-wing sensibilities. An NFL official threatened that should the bill pass, the NFL would block awarding future Super Bowls to the state. Many noted the irony of the timing – they only spoke out after the Super Bowl occurred.
Was Lt. Governor, a stalwart pro-lifer, going to be swayed by this attempted influence? No, no he was not:
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told the National Football League to “get out of politics” and “not tell states what their public policy is” Wednesday after the NFL warned the state about moving forward with a transgender bathroom bill.
Just one week after the NFL held the Super Bowl in Houston, league spokesman Brian McCarthy issued a statement advising the state of Texas to carefully consider whether or not to pass Senate Bill 6, also known as the Texas Privacy Act. The bill, which was proposed in January, allows businesses to choose their own bathroom policies while prohibiting schools from allowing students to use bathrooms or locker rooms whose specified gender does not match their biological sex.
“The NFL needs to get out of politics. They need to stick to their business,” Patrick said Wednesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.” “Does [NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell, who didn’t care about people not respecting the national anthem, who took a while to come down on domestic violence — does he support boys and girls showering together in the 10th grade? Is that what the NFL is for?”
Although the bill was proposed in January, the NFL conveniently waited until the Super Bowl occurred in Texas a month later before issuing its political statement……..
……….But because the NFL is not a school, the Texas Privacy Act would allow the league to institute its own bathroom policies as it sees fit…………”We’re a free enterprise state. If a business wants to be as stupid as Target and run off their business and see their stock drop 25 percent, let them do it,” Patrick said, referencing Target’s decision last year to announce that its patrons could use whichever restroom they wished. [Nice. Thank you.]“We say that no school can have a policy that boys and girls share showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms. So the NFL thinks that’s discriminatory?” Patrick said. “If Roger Goodell is worried about our bill, then why doesn’t he announce that next season every stadium in the NFL is going to allow men in the ladies’ room? I don’t think that would fly with any of the NFL owners. The NFL needs to just stand on the sideline and not tell states what their public policy is.”
Start 90 Day Special Devotion for Fatima Apparition TODAY (02/13/17) February 13, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Latin Mass, mortification, Novenas, Restoration, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
This special Novena was put together by Fr. Richard Heilman of the Diocese of Madison, WI. This is a 90 day Novena running from the start of Septuagesima to May 13, the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. Fr. Heilman has set up a special website for this effort (Nineveh 90), but, unfortunately, it seems to be down right now, at least for me. However, much of the same content has gone up on his blog. I’ll let Father explain the purpose of this special 90 day effort of prayer and mortification, which runs through Septuagesima and Lent and on into Easter:
Nineveh 90 – the 90 days from February 13 to May 13 – is inspired by the excellent program – Exodus 90 – designed exclusively for men by Fr. Brian Doerr and others. I strongly encourage men to sign-up for Exodus 90 (sign-up HERE), and use it for our 90-day journey.
For our Nineveh 90 journey, which includes both men and women, we are embracing the great values of mortification, a support system, and the research in the behavioral sciences that says 90 days is about the time needed to change bad habits. We will also be using some of the tried and true supernatural elements. Namely, the Brown Scapular, 54 Day Rosary Novena, and the 33 Day Preparation for Marian Consecration.
THE NINEVEH 90 CHALLENGE BEGINS FEBRUARY 13
“Consecration Day” will be on May 13, the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima.
Nineveh 90 – Ten Elements
- For these 90 days, resolve to let go of repetitive sin you struggle with (e.g., masturbation, over-eating, alcohol, etc.)
- Wear Brown Scapular (Scapular Medal allowed) – Akin to Sackcloth
- Daily Mass (This is more of an encouragement, as many cannot do this)
- Confession (at least once a month … immediately following grave sin)
- Support System: Create or join a “Nineveh 90 Squad” of 3-8 people. Meet 1-3 times per week (in person or online). Join together with an “Accountability Buddy.” Meet daily or, at least, 3 times a week. [That’s……..really frequent. I don’t have a problem with having some accountability but I think this might be a bit aggressive for busy families]
- Daily Prayer
- Morning Offering
- Angelus (6,Noon,6)
- Holy Hour (or at least 20 minutes)
- Bedtime Prayers
- For 90 Days, Commit to …
- Regular and intense exercise (this may be one of the greater challenges for many)
- Seven hours of sleep is essential
- No alcohol
- No desserts & sweets
- No eating between meals
- No soda or sweetened drinks
- No television or movies (news allowed)
- Only music that lifts the soul to God
- No televised sports (one per week allowed)
- Limit recreational computer time (only use for personal needs and fulfillment. May be needed for Nineveh 90 too)
- 54 Day Rosary Novena (Basic Training in Holiness) – February 13 to April 7
- 33 Day Preparation for Consecration – April 10 (Monday of Holy Week) to May 12
- Marian Consecration – May 13, 2017. 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima
Prayer Intention for 54 Day Rosary Novena: Personal Holiness and for the Roman Catholic Church.
Sundays and Solemnities: may be a day of relaxed discipline, but not abandoned. (Sleep in an extra hour, cream in your coffee, a dessert, a beer, etc.)
Fasting: Wednesdays and Fridays (Water/Juice and bread only, if medically allowed, otherwise as is outlined by the USCCB)
Father Heilman claims 10,000!! have signed up to take part in this. That’s some serious penance and prayer going on. I didn’t officially sign up but plan on joining my wife in doing most all of the above. Internet will be hard, along with the 2 days of old school fasting. I will try one and see how it goes. I’m soft, I know. Actually in the past I’ve let myself do more “positive” penances – go and do a bunch of extra things, do good works, etc! – rather than “negative” ones in taking things away, though I’ve done my share of that, too, especially relative to the comfy chair Church of today.
Intentions behind this effort, apart from desperately needed personal sanctification, are the restoration of the Faith and the overcoming of the many threats which seem to be coming together in this most significant of years, 2017. Join in these prayers and penances (many of which I know most of you already perform regularly, or would as part of Septuagesima and Lent) to offer up graces for the conversion of Church leadership and the reinstitution of sanity and piety at all levels of the Church.
I do know some may have concerns about continuing hard penances beyond Lent and into Easter. I, too, have some trepidation over that, especially during the Octave itself, when every day is a literal continuation of the greatest, most glorious solemnity in the Church. I think those who are troubled at the prospect of rigorous penance and self-denial during this holiest, most joyful season of the year could substitute more positive acts or switch over to more prayer and less penance. This is perhaps something to review with your particular confessor/spiritual director as the time nears. For now, all the activities listed above are eminently suited for Septuagesima and Lent and I highly encourage your partaking in them.
I may try to run the penance during Easter bit past Fr. Rodriguez to see what he counsels. I’ll report back anything I learn.
My Son Is Home and Doing Well February 13, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Domestic Church, family, Glory, Grace, thanksgiving.
Miraculously well, in fact. He appears perfectly normal now. Such a miracle. We have a very long road to travel but at this point it is smooth and happy. May God be pleased to allow it to remain so.
Not much to update from my last one, Benedict has a tumor, it will be characterized and understood and checked for changes, but if nothing negative occurs no dramatic intervention will be undertaken. For now just a whole bunch of tests and doctor’s visits and regular monitoring. He experienced no problems at all with his anti-seizure meds, so Deo Gratias for that. There have been no seizures since Monday.
We did have a scare shortly after coming home. He ate some nuts, to which he has developed a really severe allergy, apparently, and he had severe stomach cramps and vomited. Of course, we couldn’t know for certain at the time whether this sickness was due to the tumor, medication, or what he had eaten. Turns out to have been the latter.
Since then, he’s been golden. He had a great weekend playing with friends and siblings. Doctors say he can be fully normal, no kid gloves required. His feet, over which so many doctors and nurses remarked because they were so calloused, scarred, and dirty (something they don’t see so much anymore), went right back to being black. IOW, normal for a 7 year old boy.
In short, he’s doing great, it’s a miracle, and your prayers and support have been more appreciated than I can possibly convey. Please keep praying for my little buddy, as I know you will, this is not a situation that is likely to resolve itself quickly. Right now we’re just trying to really enjoy every moment. We’ve had some very good times the past few days.
Some Nice Traditional Catholic Culture For You February 3, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, sanctity, thanksgiving, Tradition, Virtue.
From the great guys at JMJHF Productions, some beautiful chant sung in an old church in Juarez around Christmas. Wish I could have been there. Chant like this is very rarely heard in Mexico in these days, especially northern Mexico, always so deleteriously influenced by these United States. I’m sure it was even more amazing in person. Even though Christmas season officially ended yesterday, we’re still in Epiphany and Septuagesima does not start until next week, so enjoy!
Happy Story – Mom with Cancer, Told She Could Not Conceive, Has Natural Quadruplets February 2, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, sanctity, Tradition, Victory, Virtue.
A little happy news for a change, what with riots in Berkeley with dozens attacked and the left-wing Berkeley admin and cops just standing by watching it happen because, meh, they’re only Nazis and evil capitalist businesses getting hurt, so who cares, right?
Pining for the days when Reagan was governor and he called out the National Guard for situations like these. But to the good news, a mom with cancer, told she probably couldn’t conceive, gave birth to 4 naturally conceived quadruplets. Mom is under treatment for cancer and the kids are still in the NICU:
A Tennessee military family received a huge outpouring of support recently after the mother was diagnosed with cancer while carrying quadruplets.
Sgt. Charles Gaytan and his wife, Kayla, welcomed the naturally conceived quadruplets into the world on Dec. 30, but their birth was bittersweet. Doctors delivered the babies early by cesarean section because their mother needed immediate cancer treatment.
The Daily Mail reports the Fort Campbell, Tennessee family is doing relatively well. Kayla currently is undergoing cancer treatments, and the four babies are in the neo-natal intensive care unit. Doctors said the four siblings should be well enough to go home in a few weeks.
Their story attracted national media attention, and a donation fund for the family has received more than $1 million to support them, according to the report.
“It renews my faith in humanity,” Kayla told People. “To know that people that don’t even know us just wanted to help our family is amazing.”
Before the quadruplets were conceived, Kayla was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, according to the report. The young mother said she went through five months of chemotherapy and was in remission.
Not long after that, the couple was overjoyed to learn that they were pregnant – something doctors told Kayla might never happen. Not only that, but they had conceived quadruplets naturally. Later into her pregnancy, Kayla said she began noticing symptoms of cancer again. Doctors confirmed it, her Hodgkin’s lymphoma had returned.
Though relatively treatable, the cancer can be serious if it returns, according to the report. Doctors gave the Tennessee mother a 50-percent chance of living five years, she said.
“With four babies on the way, I just couldn’t wrap my head around how it could come back,” she said. “I thought I had beat it the first time.”
When she was 30 weeks pregnant, Kayla gave birth to her babies in an emergency C-section. The babies, Lillian, Victoria, Michael and Charles were born weighing between 2 pounds, 8 ounces and 3 pounds, 2 ounces, according to the report.
Doctors immediately began Kayla’s cancer treatment. She said she will have a stem cell treatment and a 16-month round of chemotherapy.
The Gaytan family said they are not giving up hope. With the quadruplets and two older children to care for, Kayla said she and her husband are trusting in God to handle the situation.
“We know that He’s gotta have a different plan up there for us, and surely everything’s gonna work out in the end,” Kayla said.
I have a brother-in-law that went through a similar situation. His first wife, a convert to the Faith who developed enormous virtue, was diagnosed with cancer after conceiving her 6th child. The doctors wanted her to abort and start cancer treatment immediately. They gave her a very grim prognosis if she did not. But she carried her daughter to full term even as her health badly deteriorated. That daughter was born healthy and is still fine today, but Missy died as a result of the delayed treatment. I never met Missy, though her widowed husband has spoken of her many times. He believes his deceased wife to be a saint. Around the same time Missy died, one of my wife’s sister’s husband suddenly died. She was left with 7 children, all of them young.
At any rate they two got together and had 5 more kids and are now the parents of 18 children. Things haven’t always been easy, but they remain faithful and keep trying. They’ve had some particular difficulties and I’m certain they would appreciate your prayers. If you would, in your charity, please pray for J and F and their family.
Now maybe I’ll do a post about last night’s calamity in Berkeley.
St. Francis de Sales on Dealing with the Sins of Others February 1, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, reading, Restoration, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
Another excerpt from Finding God’s Will for You, a collection of letters sent by the great Doctor of the Church over the course of his exceptional apostolate. This one deals with how to deal with the sins of others, and not falling into despair because we can’t “save” all we would like to see saved. From pp. 102-5:
God has supreme hatred for sin, and yet He most wisely permits it. This is to allow rational creatures to act according to their natural condition; it is also to render the good more worthy of commendation when they do not violate the law, even though they are able to violate it. Let us therefore adore and bless this holy permission. [I have heard priests describe the gift of free will as “strange,” even hard or cruel, because why didn’t God just create everyone as mindless followers of His Will and thus to be saved. St. Francis informs us as to why: because He didn’t, we should not have been made in His image if we did not have free will, and because he wanted us to freely choose Him and His Love from among all the enticements and pleasures of the flesh.]
However, since the same Providence that permits sin has infinite hatred for it, let us together with Providence detest and hate it, desiring with all our power that sin permitted may never become sin committed. As a result of this desire, let us use all possible remedies to prevent the birth, growth, and domination of sin. In this let us imitate our Lord, who never ceases to exhort, promise, threaten, prohibit, command, and inspire us in order to turn our will away from sin as far as possible without depriving us of liberty.
But when a sin has been committed, we must do all in our power to have it wiped away. We should be like our Lord, who assured Carpus, as has already been noted, that if it were needful, He would submit to death a second time in order to deliver a single soul from sin. But if the sinner is obstinate…..in company with the Savior of our souls, let us weep, sigh, and pray for him………
……Meanwhile, no matter how obstinate sinners may be, we must never lose courage in aiding and serving them. How do we know whether perhaps they will do penance and be saved? Happy is he who, like St. Paul, can say to his neighbor, “day and night I did not cease with tears to admonish every one of you. Therefore I am innocent of the blood of all, for i have not shrunk from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” As long as we are within the limits of hope that the sinner can amend, and they are always of the same extent as those of his life, we must never reject him, but rather pray for him and help him as far as his misfortune will permit. [Thus, many of our corrections and blandishments of those many lost in sin and error in the Church must continue, so long as there is hope that they may repent.]
But at the very end, after we have wept over the obstinate and have rendered them our duty in charity of trying to reclaim them from perdition, we must imitate our Lord and the apostles. That is, we must turn our mind from them and place it on other objects and tasks more useful to God’s glory. “It was necessary that the word of God should be first spoken to you,” said the Apostles to the Jews, “but since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy,” of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, “behold, we turn to the Gentiles.” [A true and hard saying, but one that must be borne in mind. There are many fields for the spread of the Gospel, if not turns out to be sterile, we must move onto another. That is incredibly sad, especially when it involves someone we love, but if we tried and prayed and wept for years over loved ones no progress, our efforts may be put to better use elsewhere.]
“The Kingdom of God,” says the Savior, “shall be taken from you and shall be given to a nation yielding its fruits.” We cannot spend too much time weeping over some men without losing time suitable and necessary to procure the salvation of others. True, the Apostle says that he has a “continuous sorrow” over the loss of the Jews, but this is the same as when we say that we bless God at all times, which means simply that we bless Him very frequently and on every occasion. In the same manner, the glorious St. Paul has a continuous sorrow in his heart because of the reprobation of the Jews, since on every occasion he lamented their misfortune.
For the rest, we must always adore, love, and praise God’s avenging and punitive justice, just as we love His mercy, since both are daughters of His goodness. [Well now, isn’t that contrary to the church of infinite mercy and zero justice we hear preached today. In point of fact, mercy cannot be separated from justice. If it is, it becomes mere weakness and sentimentality. Those who wish to replace justice with a false sense of mercy will get neither, but will only gather a harvest of rank indifference and moral decline – which may well be what the purveyors of the church of infinite mercy want in the end, anyway] By His Grace, He wills to make us good, for He is good, yes, supremely good. By his justice, He wills to punish sin because He hates it, and He hates it because, being supremely good, He hates that supreme evil which is iniquity.
In conclusion, note that God never withdraws His mercy from us except by the most equitable vengeance of His punitive justice, and that we never escape the rigor of His justice except by His justifying mercy. Always, whether He punishes or gives grace, His good pleasure is worthy of adoration, love, and everlasting blessing. Always, whether He punishes or gives grace, His good pleasure is worthy of adoration, love, and everlasting blessing. Hence, “the just man” who sings the praises of God’s mercy over such as shall be saved likewise “shall rejoice when he shall see vengeance.” With joy the blessed shall approve the judgment of damnation passed on the reprobate as well as that of salvation on the elect.
Since the angels have exercised their charity toward the men they had in their keeping, they shall remain in peace when they see them obstinate or even damned. Therefore, we must acquiesce in God’s will and kiss the right hand of His mercy and the left hand of His justice with equal tenderness and reverence.
Now this is a Francis I can really get behind. Too bad there aren’t more like him around these days.
Start Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes Tomorrow Feb 2! February 1, 2017Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Novenas, Our Lady, Restoration, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
Start Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes tomorrow, Feb 2. She Is The Immaculate Conception!
O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comfort to the Afflicted,
you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, whence you dispense your favors; and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal.
I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. (mention your intentions here)
Through gratitude for favors, I will endeavor to imitate your virtues that I may one day share your glory.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us. Amen.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.)
Another nice accompanying prayer:
Two prayers to prepare the universal celebration of Our Lady of Lourdes, on February 11
In the often obscure depths of our lives,
in the depth of the world where evil is so powerful,
return our confidence!
Guide us to the source of true life.
Make us pilgrims going forward with your Church,
whet our appetite for the Eucharist,
the bread for the journey, the bread of life.
The Spirit brought about wonders in you, O Mary :
by his power, he has placed you near the Father,
in the glory of your eternal Son.
Look with kindness
on our miserable bodies and hearts.
Shine forth for us, like a gentle light,
at the hour of our death.
Together with Bernadette, we pray to you, O Mary,
as your poor children.
May we enter, like her, into the spirit of the Beatitudes.
Then, we will be able, here below,
begin to know the joy of the Kingdom of Heaven
and sing together with you :
Glory to you, Virgin Mary,
blessed servant of the Lord,
Mother of God,
dwelling place of the Holy Spirit!
There are actually nine counsels in total, but that would make far too long of a post, so I picked a few I thought might be common temptations people experience when trying to focus on prayer and/or meditation. I pray you find this commentary useful, they come from pp. 136-9 of St. Peter’s Treatise on Prayer and Meditation:
Against temptations to infidelity, the remedy for a man is to reflect on the littleness of human nature, on the one hand, and on the greatness of God on the other. Let him think of the Commandments of God without being curious to scrutinize His works, since much that we see altogether exceeds our understanding. As for one who would enter into this sanctuary of the works of God, let him approach with great humility and reverence and lift up the simple eyes of the dove, not those of a malevolent serpent, and let his heart be as that of a disciple and not as that of one ready to judge rashly. Let him become as a little child, for to such does God declare His secrets. Let him not strive to know the why of the works of God; let him close the eye of his understanding and open that of his faith, for this is the instrument with which to examine the works of God. For studying the works of man, it is excellent, this eye of human reason; but for seeing those that are divine, there is nothing more completely unfit.
As this temptation is also usually most trying……..so is the remedy the same – viz;, to make light of it. It is a trial rather than a fault. There can be no fault where the will is opposed, as we have already declared.
Some people, when the set themselves to pray alone and by night, are harassed by terrifying imaginations. The remedy for this temptation is to do violence to oneself and to persevere in one’s exercises. Our fear increases if we fly from it, while our courage grows stronger as we resist. It is well to reflect that neither the devil nor any power at all can devise anything to our harm without Our Lord’s permission. Useful also is it to remember that we have by our side our Angel Guardian and that he is even nearer to us in prayer than at other times, for then he stands by to help us and to bear our prayers heavenwards and to shield us from the enemy, who thus is powerless to do us any harm.
…….As for temptations to distrust and to presumption, these being contrary vices, differing remedies must naturally be applied. For distrust, the remedy is to consider that in this business success is not to be achieved by personal efforts alone, but by the Grace of God, which is secured all the more promptly in proportion as a man is distrustful of his own strength and confident in the sole goodness of God, to whom all is possible.
For presumption, the remedy lies in remembering that there is no surer sign of being far away from God than fancying one is near, for on this journey those who cover the more ground are those precisely who are the quicker to see how very much is still wanting to them. Hence they make little of what they have when they compare it to what they long for. Use the lives of the Saints and of other holy persons still living as you would a mirror; consider yourself therein, and finding that compared to them you are like a dwarf in the presence of a giant, you will no longer be filled with presumption.
I especially like that last one. If souls striving to be devout have a weakness, it might be towards presumption or self-exaltation. Thank God I am not like those dirty sinners over there. Being always cognizant of our own sins and failings is, as Saint Peter relates, a great means to overcome this particular temptation to pride.
This book is very good. I strongly recommend it.