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Saint Aloysius Gonzaga on the Practice of Humility June 6, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in attachments, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Grace, mortification, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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If you’re anything like me, you may have a hard time practicing humility.  I don’t think blogging as an enterprise is well-suited for the development of humility, but it doesn’t have to be incompatible with the practice of this virtue.

In this era of exaltation of the self and the cult of instant gratification, probably few virtues aside from purity have been more trammeled on and disregarded than humility.

Mostly I fail in humility in preferring my own thoughts, plans, and opinions to others.  But I also do so in myriad other ways.  Probably most readers are stronger in this virtue than I am.  If so, please pray for me.

On the other hand, if you feel you could use some help in the growth of the practice of humility, you might consider the counsel given by the great Saint Aloysius Gonzaga. There are no great mysteries or deep behavioral insights below, but I have found that imploring the Lord, the Blessed Virgin, and the Saints for their help in acquiring this virtue can reap great rewards. Especially focus on those Saints known for their humility, such as St. Teresa of Avila and Saint Mary Magdalene dei Pazzi. Also, St. Joseph, especially for men, is our model of humility.  He is barely mentioned in the Gospels, because he married exceedingly well the practice of humility with his role as protector and provider of the two holiest creatures who have ever trod the earth. I find this an especial challenge for fathers, marrying humility with right family leadership, not asserting what I want because of my role, but also not failing in my God-given duty as leader of our domestic church and family.  It is a difficult balance, one I cannot say I always practice with perfection.

Intro aside, here are Saint Aloysius Gonzaga’s two rules for making progress in humility:

The first means is to remember that although this virtue is most becoming to man, on account of his lowliness, nevertheless it does not grow upon our earth, but must be obtained from Heaven by prayer to Him, from Whom every best gift and every perfect gift comes.  Since, then, you are proud, force yourself to ask this virtue of the infinite Majesty of God, its first Source, with all the humility of which you are capable, and ask it through the merits and intercession of the deep humility of Jesus Christ, Who, when He was in the form of God, emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant.

The second means is to have recourse to the intercession of those Saints who have especially excelled in this virtue.

Remember, first, that if the Saints while on earth merited to obtain this virtue in such a high degree, they must certainly now be still more worthy and deserving, since in Heaven they are far more pleasing to God than they ever were on earth. And as they no longer need to humble themselves for their own sake, since by this virtue they have already won their way to the heights of Heaven, beg of them to obtain for you from God this virtue of humility.

Secondly, consider that on earth everyone naturally tries to help those who follow the calling in which he has distinguished himself.  For example, a great general who frequents the King’s Court will recommend to his royal master those who devote themselves to service in the army; a distinguished man of letters will patronize those who follow a literary vocation………So too in Heaven those who excelled in some particular virtue more than in others, whilst they lived on earth, will most favor and help those who are striving most to acquire these virtues, and who seek their intercession in order to obtain them.  These considerations should encourage you, in the first place, to have recourse especially to the Blessed Virgin Mother of God, for she excelled in the virtue of humility far beyond any other mere creature.  Then hasten to the holy Apostles, to St. Peter, who said of himself “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man), and to St. Paul, who, although he had been rapt into the third heaven, had such a humble opinion of himself that he said: “Jesus came to save sinners, of whom I am the chief.”

The first of these two thoughts will help you to understand how powerful these Saints are with God in obtaining for  you this virtue; and the second will show you not only how much they are able to do, but also how willing they are to do it.

———-End Excerpt———–

Saint Alphonsus’ 16 Principal Means for Attaining Sanctity June 1, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, mortification, religious, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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The world may seem to be falling down around us, but our duty is to practice virtue and work towards the attainment of the greatest sanctity possible regardless.  From The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, Saint Alphonsus’ 16 means to the attainment of sanctity.

This list, as it goes along, becomes quite challenging, but it is held up as an example of how to attain perfection, to whatever degree we are capable in cooperation with Grace:

  1. Strong and ardent desire to become a saint.
  2. Great confidence in Jesus Christ and in His Holy Mother.
  3. To avoid every deliberate sin or defect, and after a fault not to lose courage, but to make an act of contrition for it, and then resume  your ordinary occupations.
  4. To cut off all attachment to creatures, to self-will, and self-esteem.
  5. To resist continually your own inclinations. [4 and 5 are very difficult, and will take many a lifetime even to begin, but we are talking about attainment of practical perfection, to the degree humans aided by Grace are capable of such.  The thing is to do  your best and, most importantly, always be advancing, never retreating]
  6. To observe with exactness the rules governing your state in life.
  7. To perform your ordinary duties with all possible perfection
  8. To communicate often – with the permission of your director/priest; to make long and frequent meditations,  and to perform all the mortifications which he will permit
  9. To prefer, on all occasions, those actions which are most agreeable to God, and most opposed to self-love.
  10. To receive all crosses and contradictions with joy and gladness from the hands of God.
  11. To love and serve those who persecute you. [10 and 11 are also very difficult. They are so contrary to our fallen natures. But again we are talking about working towards perfection]
  12. To spend every moment of your time for God.
  13. To offer to God all your actions in union with the merits of Jesus Christ.
  14. To make a special oblation of yourself to God, that He may dispose of you and of all you possess in whatever way He pleases.
  15. To protest continually before God that His pleasure and love are the only objects of your wishes.
  16. Lastly, and above all, to pray continually, and to recommend yourself, with unbounded confidence, to Jesus Christ and to His Virgin Mother and to entertain a special affection and tenderness towards Mary.

On the need to always be advancing in sanctity, and never retreating, a further excerpt:

“Not to advance,” says St. Augustine, “is to go back.” St. Gregory beautifully explains this maxim of spiritual life by comparing a Christian who seeks to remain stationary in the path of virtue to a man who is in a boat on a rapid river, and striving to keep the boat always in the same position………Since the fall of Adam man is naturally inclined to evil from birth……..Because, in the way of God, a Christian must either go forward and advance in virtue or backward and rush headlong into vice.

In seeking eternal salvation, we must, according to St. Paul, never rest, but must run continually in the way of perfection, that we may win the prize and secure an incorruptible crown.  So that you may obtain (I Cor ix:24). If we fail, the fault will be ours; for God wills that all be holy and perfect.  This is the will of God – your sanctification (I Thess iv:3). He even commands us to be perfect and holy.  Be you therefore perfect, also your Heavenly Father is perfect (Matt v:48). Be holy because I am holy. [Lest we think God demands more of us than is possible……..] He promises and gives, as the holy Council of Trent teaches, abundant strength, for the observance of all His commands, to those who ask it from Him.  “God does not command impossibilities; but by His precepts He admonishes you to do what you can, and to ask what you cannot do; and He assists you, that you may be able to do it.”

———-End Quote———–

Earlier in the week we had the four practices that principally sanctified Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.  St. Alphonsus breaks those down into more detailed steps with a bit different emphasis.  There are many mansions in the Father’s house. There are many paths to sanctity.  But all revolve around constant prayer, devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady, self-denial, practice of virtue, and eschewing all sin.  Not difficult to understand, but extremely difficult to practice.

Especially in this fallen age.  But it has always been such, I suppose.

The Four Sacred Devotions that Drove Saint Aloysius Gonzaga to Great Sanctity May 30, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, Eucharist, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, manhood, mortification, religious, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, thanksgiving, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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From the Life of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Patron of Christian Youth by Maurice Meschler, SJ, the four pious practices the Saint felt were most efficacious in achieving great sanctity and practice of devotion to our Blessed Lord.  None of  these particular devotions will be strange or unfamiliar to readers, but the passion and fervor with which they were practiced were spectacular.  Our Catholic Faith is not difficult to comprehend – many wholly uneducated people have  become hidden saints – but it is very difficult to put into practice.  That is why the Lord has blessed His Church with many canonized Saints, to provide us with direct examples of how to conduct lives pleasing to Him:

The practice of the various Catholic devotions is an important point, and an excellent means of promoting the spiritual life.  Aloysius had four special devotions.  The first of these was the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  In his father’s house and in the midst of his life in the world, it had been a joy to him to serve Mass; and now in the novitiate he could do this to his heart’s content.  Very often during the day he visited the Blessed Sacrament in the church, or in an adjoining chapel.  In order to prepare well for Holy Communion, he divided the week into two parts, the first of which he devoted to thanksgiving for his last Communion, and the second to preparation for the next. [Back then, even such obvious Saints as Aloysius Gonzaga could only receive weekly, if they were fortunate.  Today we can the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar daily, but do we really adequately prepare ourselves, or render due thanksgiving, for this unspeakable Gift? Do we sometimes, or perhaps often, take it for granted, or allow the concerns of the world and the flesh to crowd our souls and cause us to receive the Sacrament in a blasé fashion? While we may not have the time or the gift of such immense sanctity to make such preparations or thanksgivings as Gonzaga did, perhaps we could do a bit more?]    On the eve of his Communion day he would speak with touching piety of the happiness in store for him the next morning.  Many of his companions, and even those who were already priests, who wished to prepare well for Holy Mass, sought to be with him on such days, in order to be moved to greater fervor by his piety and the ardent love which his words displayed.  On the morning of the day itself, his first thought was of the Savior he was about to receive, and he passed the whole hour appointed for meditation in pious reflections upon the Blessed Sacrament.  He sought out a quiet corner of the church to make his immediate preparation and thanksgiving, and his heart overflowed with the sweetest consolation. Many other worshippers who saw him, but did not know him, concluded merely from the sight of his fervor that he must have a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and even that he must be a Saint.  He spent the whole morning after his Communion in silence and recollection, praying and reading passages from St. Augustine or St. Bernard. [If Saint Aloysius devoted days and hours to preparation and thanksgiving, perhaps we could arrive to Mass a 10 or 15 minutes early (or more) to properly prepare ourselves, and not move to depart the church the instant Mass ends?] Thus the precious seed, planted by Saint Charles Borremeo in the child’s heart at his First Communion, had grown into a beautiful tree that enriched his whole life and character with its blossoms and fruits.  [For it was from this Saint that Aloysius Gonzaga received his First Communion]….And the Church herself has raised an imperishable memorial to this beautiful trait of his piety, in the Collects of the Mass for his feast, in which she commemorates his excellent method of preparation and thanksgiving for Communion, and begs God to grant us the grace to ever appear at this heavenly banquet adorned with the wedding garment of Grace, whose beauty Aloysius enhanced as with pearls of inestimable value by his pious preparation and copious tears.

A second favorite devotion of the Saint was that to the Passion of Our Lord.  The life of suffering and mortification he led naturally urged him to seek in the mysteries of the Passion a model of strength and comfort.  Everyday at noon he recited an antiphon in honor of the Passion, and placed himself in spirit before the Cross of Our Savior……

…….His third devotion was his ardent love of Our Lady. Since his sojourn in Florence she had been the Queen of his heart and the guiding star of his life, and he never tired of thinking of her, honoring her, praising and loving her, especially now that he could appreciate the inestimable benefit he owed to her in his vocation.  In his letters to his mother he frequently recommends her to have a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin, holds up to her in her trials the example of the Mother of God and encourages her to be faithful in the service of the Queen of Heaven……

..Lastly, Aloysius had a special devotion to the holy Angels.  Virginal souls have a certain affinity to the Angels, and always feel attracted to them.  His veneration for these blessed spirits was so well-known to his companions that when Fr. Vincent Bruno was about to publish a book of meditations, he asked Aloysius to write the meditation on the Holy Angels, and the Saint joyfully complied.  Thus originated the little “Treatise upon the Angels, especially the Holy Guardian Angels.” After having cited the principal passages of Scripture in which the Angels are mentioned, he speaks in the first part of Angels in general, showing the necessity of devotion to them, first, from the example of the Church, secondly, from their nature and dignity, third, from their number, and lastly from their ninefold order. It is remarkable and very characteristic of Aloysius, that he unites devotion to the HOly Angels with his favorite virtue of humility in this first part of the meditation: “Consider how fitting it is, that on the feast of the invincible Arcangel the Gospel of the virtue of humility is read; for while proud Lucifer, on the one hand, was precipitated from his lofty throne in Heaven down into the depths of hell, because he presumed to arrogate divine honor to himself, the humble Archangel Michael and the whole host of the good Angels were highly honored and raised to the  highest rank, because they submitted to their Creator and full of zeal for his honor, opposed the proud serpent.”

……A colloquy with God after the meditation teaches us “to beg Him, Who bestowed such abundant graces upon the Angels, to grant unto us also through their intercession the grace to imitate their humility, clarity, and purity.”…..

…….A slip of paper has been preserved, upon which Aloysius had noted down for his own use a few “pious practices in honor of the Holy Angels”: “Imagine yourself standing in the midst of the nine choirs of Angels, as they pray to God and sing that hymn of praise: ‘Sanctus Deus, Sanctus Fortis, Sanctus Immortalis.’ Repeat this prayer nine times in union with them – Recommend yourself three times daily to the special care of your Guardian Angel.  Every morning and evening, and during the day, when you visit the church and pray at the altar, recite the prayer ‘Angele Dei.’ [Angel of God…..] Remember that you must follow the guidance of your Angel, like a blind man who does not know the way, and trusts entirely to the care of the person who leads him.”……….

……..One of the effects of his frequent and fervent prayers was an uninterrupted union with God.  It cost Aloysius more effort to put the thought of God away from his mind than it does others to turn their thoughts away from creatures to God.

———–End Quote———-

I was unfamiliar with Saint Aloysius before reading this biography, but what a great Saint he was.  And is.  A patron for Christian youth, indeed, his purity was unequaled.  He often did not even know what women he had been met numerous times before looked like, so skilled was he in practicing custody of the eyes.  His practice of prayer and penance was so immense his superiors in the Jesuit novitiate actually had to restrict his activities to some degree in these regards, so as not to so surpass his confreres as to disrupt the unity of the group nor cause discouragement in others.

I would strongly encourage parents to learn about Saint Aloysius Gonzaga and have their children do the same.  He is a great example and powerful protector in this time of gross immodesty, unchecked lusts, and a million lurking dangers for children.

The “Other” Miracle at Fatima after the Sun Danced May 24, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Our Lady, Saints, sanctity, thanksgiving, Tradition.
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Reader TE sent this to me this past week, it’s not a huge miracle but it’s an interesting follow-up to what was the most widely seen miracle in the history of the Church – at least since Pentecost or when our Blessed Lord walked this earth:

Several years ago Carl Malburg had the privilege of speaking with a woman who was present in Fatima at the Miracle of the Sun. But what she really wanted to tell him about was the second miracle she witnessed there at Fatima shortly after she and everyone saw the sun dancing in the sky, hurling toward earth, then returning to its place in the heavens.

…….While following the usual pattern of going to a diocese then traveling through parishes, hospitals, and nursing homes with that Pilgrim Virgin statue, Malburg happened to be in San Diego in 1997. There, a woman told him her mother was in Fatima and saw the miracle.  [So this was a little more than several years go.  It was more like 20.]

Malburg picks up the story. “The woman said my mother has always wished to be interviewed because she’s always wanted to tell the story. She is still living, 92 years old now. She insists Our Lady is keeping her mind sharp until someone interviews her.” 

The custodian told this daughter he didn’t know Portuguese but would get someone he knew to translate. He chuckled at this point because the woman answered him, “My mother’s lived in America since 1942. She lost all her Portuguese years ago.”

Since this was the first-ever person at the Miracle of the Sun that Malburg encountered, he asked John Haffert to go with him to talk to her. But Haffert told him to go by himself.

“I found out why she thought why she should be interviewed,” he well remembers from when he got there. “She said she was 12, and that she and the other girls — four of them — walked all the way up from the coast to Fatima.”

Malburg continued with the story as the elderly woman told it. “We were children, and we pushed our way through the crowd. We came really close to the center where the apparitions would be there, and we climbed on some rocks and blocked the view of people behind. We could look down and see [everything]. The three children [Lucia, Jacinta, Francisco] would never have gotten there unless carried on the shoulders of some big men who pushed their way through the crowds.”

Malburg didn’t go into detail about what the woman, whose name has disappeared in the annals of time and travels, said about the sun, but that “she wanted to tell me something else. She moved on because there was another miracle not in the books,” he says. [So a woman reveals a heretofore unknown, and quite significant, set of details regarding the unprecedented apparitions and miracles at Fatima, and you don’t bother to get a name?!?  Dude.]

She told him, “A lot of people picked the twigs and leaves of the bushes to take” because they smelled so good, so aromatic. Those went quickly. “But we picked up some pebbles around the bush [by where Our Lady appeared] because they would smell good too.” Malburg was amazed that here it was 80 years later and she told him she had those pebbles in her furniture draw, making her clothes smell fresh even then.

The woman continued her miracle story. “People put their rosaries on the ground. They knew what way the Blessed Mother would face, and they put their rosaries out there in front of the place. [The pile of] rosaries were shaped like a cross. [After the apparition] There were so many that when everybody went to get their rosaries, they were all tangled up. And they were trying to find the right rosary.

“The men had the three children up on their shoulders again,” she said. Malburg adds, “Otherwise they would be buffeted and smothered — I knew that for a fact.” The woman told him about the girl’s new dresses and people pulling pieces of the lace around them. Malburg also knew about that.

“It was all adding up except the rosaries,” he says. “Then she said, One of the children saw the people had the rosaries all tangled. Then the children slid down from the shoulders, took a handful of [the tangled] rosaries and just passed them out. None were tangled! And everybody got the right rosary! We watched that happen!” she told Malburg, still in amazement.

The woman had waited to tell someone who someday in her lifetime was going to interview her that story about what she and her friends witnessed with the pile of tangled rosaries miraculously untangled, and each one immediately given to the right owner without the seer knowing who in that crowd owned which one.

“My wife and I got goosebumps listening to that,” Malburg recalls.

He immediately asked Haffert, “Are you aware people laid their rosaries in the mud hoping to get a blessing on them?” No one ever told him that, he answered.

“This lady told me a lot of rosaries were laid around the bush,” Malburg repeated, and she said “rosaries were all tangled up. She insisted they [she and her friends] were standing on the rocks, and saw the children pick the rosaries up and hand them out blindly, and everyone got their right rosary.”

Haffert answered him, “Why would you doubt it?”

About 10 years later Malburg came across a magazine article in Portugal that verified this miracle. “This truly was one of the highlights,” he says of the story of the second, little-known miracle at Fatima right after the sun danced in the sky. 

As I said, not exactly a huge miracle, but interesting.  Have you ever heard of this before?

Eucharistic Devotion of the Saints May 24, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Eucharist, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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From Eucharistic Miracles by Joan Carroll Cruz, some thoughts by great Saints on the nature and benefits of the Eucharist.  More specifically, this excerpt and the quotes contain therein highlight once again the enormous, wholly unearned and amazingly generous Gift Christ makes of the Eucharist.  What really struck me is how careful we should be in receiving the Blessed Sacrament.  Not in a Jansenist sense where an 18th century French Jansenist priest bragged there were zero sacrilegious communions at his parish that Christmas because there were NO communions at his parish!  But we’re in the opposite extreme in the Church now, where it is metaphysical certitude that people persisting in a manifest state of mortal sin are receiving Communion – literally re-crucifying Christ in a mystical way.  And not just a few people, but millions, likely tens or even hundreds of millions every day.

So if you fall into a sin make sure you make a good Confession before receiving!   There is a union there we cannot really even comprehend in this life, but we will in the next, God willing.  It is so sublime and generous on God’s part we can only dimly perceive its outer edges.  But it is not something we should ever trifle with, take advantage of, or assume we have “earned” or is our due.  It is always the most incomprehensible Gift imaginable and we should do all we can to be as little unworthy – as inoffensive, as our own “worthiness” will never happen –  as possible:

Devotion to the Holy Eucharist has been expressed in one way or another by all the Saints of the Church.  This is a statement that cannot be contradicted.  Since Our Lord instituted this holy Sacrament to unite Himself with us, to nourish our souls, and as a means of retaining His presence among us in tabernacles throughout the world, the saints have embraced this treasure with faith and love…….

Saint Alphonsus de Liguori expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the Blessed Sacrament in this way:

Our most loving Redeemer, on the last night of His Life, knowing that the much-longed-for time had arrived on which He should die for the love of man, had not the heart to leave us alone in this valley of tears; but in order that He might not be separated form us even by death, He would leave us His whole self as food in the Sacrament of the Altar; giving us to understand by this that, having given us this gift of infinite worth, He could give us nothing further to prove to us his infinite love. 

This same thought is also expressed by St. Peter of Alcantara, who wrote in one of his meditations:

No tongue is able to express the greatness of the love which Jesus bears to every soul.  Hence that His absence might not be an occasion of forgetting Him, He left to His spouse the Church, before His departure from this world, this most holy Sacrament in which He Himself remained, wishing that between them there should be no other pledge than Himself to keep alive the remembrance of Him.

St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi expresses her faith and love for the Sacrament by praying:

O Lord, You are as truly present under the sacramental species as You are in Heaven at the right hand of the Father.  Because I have and possess this great wonder, I do not long for, want, or desire any other. 

St. Teresa of Avila had the following consideration:

I cannot doubt at all at Your Real Presence in the Eucharist.  You have given me such a lively faith that when I hear others say they wish they had been living when You were on earth, I laugh to myself, for I know that I possess You as truly in the Blessed Sacrament as people did then, and I wonder what more anyone could possibly want.

St. Teresa of Avila gives us cause to consider the great wisdom and kindness of Our Savior in veiling Himself under the appearance of bread.  She prays:

How could I, a poor sinner, who have so often offended You, dare to approach You, O Lord, if I beheld You in all Your majesty?  Under the appearance of bread, however, it is easy to approach You, for if a king disguises himself, it seems as if we do not have to talk to him with so much circumspection and ceremony.  If You were not hidden, O Lord, who would dare to approach You with such coldness, so unworthily, and with so many imperfections?

Saint Bernard calls the Sacrament of the Altar “The Love of loves,” while St. Thomas Aquinas said that the Holy Eucharist is “a Sacrament of love and a to ken of the greatest love that a God could give us.”

Saint Lawrence Justinian tell us, “We have seen the All-Wise made foolish by an excess of love” – to which the Cure of Ars, St. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney, adds, “I tis the destiny of every consecrated Host to melt with love in a human heart.”

It is said of St. Francis of Assisi that “every fiber of his heart was kindled into love for the Sacrament of Christ’s Body,” and he constantly urged his brothers to bring others to know and love Christ living in the Blessed Sacrament.  From this love sprang  St. Francis deep reverence for priests.  He declared that if confronted  with an angel and  an unworthy priest, he would kiss the hand that had touched the Body of Christ before saluting the angel.  One day someone pointed out a priest living in notorious sin. Francis instantly knelt before him, kissing his hands and saying, “These hands have touched my Lord, and out of love for Him I honor His vicar.  For himself he may be bad; but for me he is good.”  Even before his conversion, St. Francis honored Our Lord in the Eucharist by sending costly and beautiful gifts to adorn poor churches.  He felt nothing was good enough for the dwelling place of Christ. [Contrast that with  the brutalist bathhouse design of most parishes today and of the past 70 years]

Our Lord’s words, “Take ye and eat, this is My Body……” inspired St. John Chrysostom to remark, “It is as if He had said, ‘Eat me, that the highest union may take place.’” The Saint further remarked, “To that Lord on whom the angels even dare not fix their eyes, to Him we unite ourselves, and we are made one body, one flesh.” Of this union St. Cyril of Alexandria observed that “as two pieces of melted wax unite together, so a soul that communicates is so thoroughly united to Jesus that Jesus remains in it, and it in Jesus.”

St. Francis de Sales concludes:

In no action does our Savior show Himself more loving or more tender than in this one, in which, as it were, He annihilates Himself and reduces Himself to food in order to penetrate our souls and unite Himself to the hearts of His faithful ones.

———End Quote———-

Francis at Fatima: “I am the bishop in white” May 23, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Christendom, cultural marxism, different religion, error, Francis, General Catholic, pr stunts, Revolution, Saints, scandals, Society, the struggle for the Church, unbelievable BS.
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Well, I guess that’s settled now:

Lots of good stuff from Matt, including expressions of grave doubt against the growing drumbeat towards war with Syria – yet another Mideast country where the US apparently has a grave national interest in seeing the ancient Catholic communities wiped out.

I must also agree with Matt that the very watered-down canonization process that has been implemented in the past 35 years – because the most substantial changes happened well after the Council and were in fact put in place by Pope Saint John Paul II (who wound up, in a certain sense, being a beneficiary of the changes, at least as far as his public cultus goes) – has helped contribute to a “meh, whatever” sense regarding the many canonizations to which we are now exposed.  The dilution of the requirement for miracles from 3 to 1 (or none?), the deletion of the role of the devil’s advocate – these things have I think helped trivialize the process and decrease the general affection souls have towards the Church Triumphant in Heaven.

 

Francis also expresses what must be assumed to be disbelief of several recent – and Church-approved – Marian apparitions, accosting those who believe that Mary’s intercession stays her Son’s wrathful arm as basically an invention of the mind of  some of the faithful.  Mary referred to staying her Son’s arm not only at La Sallete but also Akita.  Apparently Francis takes a dim view of those revelations.  As for imposing one’s own beliefs on the Church – project much, Francis?

There is much more, it’s well worth watching.  The video does close with some good news that the school principal who insulted, cussed at, and threatened some home schooled evangelical kids who were witnessing against abortion outside the public school he serves at has been suspended.  Whether that is with or without pay is not stated.  If it were a Catholic cussing out and threatening some little pagans arguing in favor of abortion, does anyone doubt he would have been fired on the spot?  But that’s what the Left wants, the full measure of the law or social rules (rules they invent) for you, but special kid glove treatment for themselves.  Of course they deserve that, because every leftist knows, they are just better than everyone else.

If this double standard continues, it will be the end of this country.  People will not stand to be treated as second class citizens.  Or will they?  For now, I think, a majority answers no, as the election of Trump, I think, proves.  I think these kinds of social-interaction issues played a huge role in Trump’s election.

Blessed Miguel Pro, the Cristiada, and the Synagogue of Satan May 1, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Holy suffering, Latin Mass, manhood, martyrdom, mortification, priests, Saints, sanctity, secularism, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Great sermon from Padre Not Tony Romo, on the life and suffering of Blessed Miguel Pro.  He then ties in his own apostolate trying to re-establish the authentic practice of the Faith in Latin America generally and once so devout Mexico in particular.

As is widely known, Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ, was one of many Catholic priest-martyrs of the Cristiada in Mexico, which developed after a masonic-inspired cabal of Christ-hating pseudo-revolutionaries gained control of that tortured nation’s governance.  I did not know, as Father relates, that Blessed Miguel Pro levitated during his final Mass before his capture and martyrdom, nor that his face was transfigured as on Mount Tabor.  Very interesting.

I like how Father notes the false Catholics of our time (and all times), those who, when confronted with a contradiction between the Truth of Jesus Christ and the ways of the world, choose the world over Jesus Christ.  Father does not say this, but the greatest reason for the crisis in the human element of the Church is that the vast majority of priests and prelates today are of just that type of Catholic, those who choose the world over Jesus Christ in the constant belief and practice of the Faith.  In fact, there was an entire ecumenical council that was captured, or hijacked, by this same spirit.  Or, at least, many think, and so it seems.

Many of those who choose the world over Christ lambaste those who still cling to Christ and His Truth as extremists, fanatics. Amazingly, guns are no longer needed to persecute the Faith out of Catholics, Catholics have largely voluntarily lost their faith under the bad example of so many priests and prelates, the errors taught since 1965, and the practice of all manner of immodesty, unchastity, and personal filthiness.  That is to say, the reason men like Plutarco Calles used violence was to force Catholics of the time to lose their faith through exposure to evils like pronographic sexual education in the state schools that replaced parochial schools.  Today, people happily partake of far worse of their own volition.

Good sermon:

I have had the privilege of meeting this priest and I follow his apostolate with some closeness.  I continue to be impressed with his devotion to the many souls in his care and efforts to restore the Catholic Faith in Mexico, which never really

Sorry if this is too many sermons for one day!

Saint John Eudes on the Admirable Heart of Mary                        April 10, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Our Lady, Saints, sanctity, thanksgiving, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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From one of the relatively few of the great mass of writings of the great Saint John Eudes that have been translated into English and survived to the present day (many were lost in the French Revolution against God), comes this excerpt of The Admirable Heart of of Mary.  We are in Holy Week, a very appropriate time for pondering on the wonders of our Immaculate Mother.  Saint John Eudes had enormous devotion to Our Lady and in some respects may be said to have pushed knowledge of Our Lady and veneration of her Immaculate Heart to new heights.  I can say with certainty that the ecumaniacal faction at Vatican II, which went to such pains to limit conciliar statements on the glory of the Blessed Mother, would find some of his statements quite objectionable.  But that says far more about them, than it does this holy man.

From pp. 4-5,7, an exegesis centering on a passage from the Apocalypse (and the amazingly efficacious apparition at Guadalupe) that reveals the wondrous nature of the Holy Mother of God and her admirable heart:

Among the divinely inspired passages of Sacred Scripture I select one from the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, which is a compendium of all the great things that can be said or thought of our marvelous Queen: “A great sign appeared in Heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars” (Apoc xii:1).

What is this great sign?  Who is this miraculous woman?  Saint Epiphanius, Saint Augustine, Saint Bernard, and many other holy doctors agree that the woman is Mary, Queen among women, the Sovereign of angels and men, the Virgin of virgins.  She is the woman who bore in her chaste womb the perfect man, the God-man. “A woman shall compass a man” (Jer xxxi:22).

Mary appears in Heaven because she comes from Heaven, because she is Heaven’s masterpiece, the Empress of Heaven, its joy and its glory, in whom everything is heavenly. Even when her body dwelt on earth, her thoughts and affections were all rapt in Heaven.

She is clothed with the eternal sun of the Godhead and with all the perfections of the divine essence, which surround, fill, and penetrate her to such an extent that she has become transformed, as it were, into the power, goodness, and holiness of God.

She has the moon under her feet to show that the entire world is beneath her.  None is above her, save only God, and she holds absolute sway over all created things.

She is crowned with twelves stars that represent the virtues which shine so brightly in her soul.  The mysteries of her life are as many stars more luminous by far than the brightest lights of the sky.  The privileges and prerogatives God has granted to her, the least of which is greater than anything shining in the firmament of Heaven, as well as the glory of the saints of Paradise and of earth, are her crown and her glory in a much fuller sense than the Philippians could be said to be the crown and joy of Saint Paul (Phil iv:1).

But why does the Holy Ghost call Mary “a great sign?”  It is simply to tell us that everything in her is wonderful, and that the marvels that fill her being should be proclaimed to the entire world, so that she may become an object of the admiration of the inhabitants of Heaven as well as for mankind on earth, and so that she may be the sweet delight of angels and men.

This is likewise the reason why the Holy Ghost inspires the faithful throughout the world to sing in her praise: Mater admirabilis.  “O Mother Most Admirable.” Moreover, according to the testimony of several trustworthy authors, a holy Jesuit who once asked the Mother of God to reveal to him which of the many titles in her Litany was most pleasing to her received this same answer: Mater admirabilis.

Mary is truly admirable in all her perfections and in all her virtues.  But what is most admirable in her is her virginal heart.  The heart of the Mother of God is a world of marvels, an abyss of wonders, the source and principal of all the virtues which we admire in our glorious Queen: “All the glory of the king’s daughter is within.”  It was through the humility, purity, and love of her most holy heart that she merited to become the Mother of God and to receive the graces and privileges with which God enriched her on earth.  These same sublime virtues of her Immaculate Heart have rendered her worthy of the glory and happiness that surround her in Heaven, and of the great marvels that God has wrought in and through her.

Do not be surprised if I say that the virginal heart of the Mother of Fair Love is an admirable heart indeed.  Mary is admirable in her divine maternity because as Saint Bernadine of Siena says, “to be Mother of God is the miracle of miracles,” miraculum miraculorum.  But the august heart of Mary is also truly admirable, for it is the principle of her divine maternity and of the wonderful mysteries this privilege implies………

Now a prayer composed by the Saint for the blessing of Our Lady on his work, but which I thought many would find worth making their own:

O most holy Mary, Thy divine Son, Jesus, hath created thy heart, and He alone knows the great treasures He has hidden therein.  He it was who lit the fire burning in this furnace, and none but He can measure the heights reached by the flames which leap from its abyss.  He alone can measure the vast perfections with which He has enriched the masterpiece of His all-powerful goodness, or count the innumerable graces He has poured into this ocean of grace: “He created her in the Holy Ghost, and saw here, and numbered her, and measured her” (Eccl i:9).

And now I beseech thee, O most Blessed Virgin Mary, through thy heart and for the honor of that very heart to offer me to thy beloved Son and pray that He may annihilate my personality and set Himself in the place of my nothingness, so that not my voice but His may be heard.  May Jesus Christ be the author of all my works, and I but the instrument of His surpassing love for thee and of the zeal with which He watches over the honor of thy most worthy heart.  May He inspire the thoughts He wishes to see expressed by me and the very words I should use.  May His blessing rest in fullest measure on all who do the same, and may He transform so that hearts may be purified, enlightened, and inflamed with the sacred fire of His love.  In a word, may they become worthy to live according to God’s heart and to be numbered among the children of the maternal heart of God’s own Mother.

———–End Quote————-

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga – Model of Christian Youth April 4, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Restoration, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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A little excerpt from Saint Aloysius Gonzaga: Patron of Christian Youth by Fr. Maurice Meschler, SJ, which concerns the first great flowering of sanctity in the youth of 10 (pp. 34-5), when he made the decision to consecrate his purity to Our Lady for his entire life.  While this Saint certainly enjoyed the benefit of particular Graces and his example, while an incredible case of sanctity, is one that is vital for young people of all times to strive to emulate, especially in this fallen age.  Not all may be called to his very nearly perfect practice of chastity and purity, but all will benefit from attempting to conduct their lives in accord with his example, especially the young who face so many temptations, and who lack the experience of life that many wiser, older, sadder souls have obtained – much to their pain:

About this time a book on the Rosary, by Fr. Caspar Loarte, SJ, fell into the hands of Aloysius.  It so increased his love and devotion to Our Lady, tha this heart overflowed with consolation when he reflected upon the mysteries of her life, and he was seized with an ardent longing to do something that would please her and give her great honor, that he might thus win her love and favor.  One day, as he was kneeling in rapt devotion before the picture, he was inspired with the thought of consecrating his virginity to Our Lady, as the most acceptable gift that he could offer her.  Acting quickly on this inspiration, with a heart filled with love and joy, he solemnly consecrated himself to her by a vow of perpetual chastity.  Mary accepted the offering of his innocent heart, and in return, as he afterwards acknowledged to his confessor, obtained for him from God the extraordinary Grace of never experiencing throughout his entire life the slightest breath of a temptation against the virtue of holy purity.

This is a most unusual favor, seldom granted even to the Saints, and the more wonderful, seeing that Aloysius’ life was passed in the higher circles and at princely courts, where there are so many dangers and temptations.  it is true that he had had from his earliest childhood a natural aversion to the very shadow of anything impure, and even to any intercourse whatever with persons of the opposite sex; but this gives us all the more reason to wonder that, after taking his vow….he redoubled his precautions and had recourse to all kinds of means in order to guard his purity against the slightest shadow of danger.  It might be thought that he, who enjoyed such privileges, would have contented himself with the ordinary care prescribed to all Christians; on the contrary, he it is who most exceeds most, even of the Saints, in precautionary measures such as flight from the very slightest occasion of sin, and mortification of the flesh.  He, who was preserved by a special grace of God from any temptation of this kind, went on his way through life as though he had been threatened on all sides by special dangers.

From this time he accustomed himself to never raise his eyes, either in company or when going through the streets.  He not only avoided all intercourse with women more scrupulously than ever, but he withdrew from all games and amusements, although his father would have wished him to take part in them.  He now began to inflict all kinds of austerities upon his innocent flesh.  Aloysius’ vocation was that he should be a striking and a bright example for youth, in the preservation of angelic purity.  What was unnecessary for himself, was to be done by him for the sake of those who were to follow him – for the general welfare of Christian youth.

The young are not proof agaisnt danger as he was, and yet they often rush thoughtlessly into it; the fire of concupiscence burns within them, and they willfully add fuel to it; they are not so blameless as Aloysius, and yet they will not hear of mortification, vigilance, and seclusion.  The picture of this holy youth is a warning, an earnest admonishment to the world of frivolous, self-indulgent  young people, bent upon the enjoyment of sensual pleasures.

———-End Quote———

Raising children in the moral sewer of the fatally corrupted culture with which we are confronted is especially challenging.  In centuries past, there were cultural/societal norms in many places and times that helped keep many temptations to concupiscence in check.  Parents then did not have to deal with the mass availability of pornography and other destructive forces brought directly into the home.  They did not have to tell their children to avert their eyes from scandalously pernicious advertisements or scantily clad individuals.  There was no mass media bringing temptations to lust, perversion, self-abuse, and destructive behaviors of every kind into the home, the car, the school, etc., on a constant basis.  There were certainly temptations in those days, to be sure, but these past several decades have seen the attack on innocence rise to levels never seen before in history.

It can be a difficult line to walk, shielding children from dangerously seductive immoral influences, while at the same time not keeping them under practical lock and key.  There are certainly reasonable and prudent steps that can be taken: homeschooling, having a good internet filter/reporting system installed on ALL computers, not just the one(s) you think your kids access, not subscribing to cable or satellite TV systems, monitoring children’s friends and social engagements, carefully choosing what music kids are exposed to, etc.  All these things are good and reasonable.  Even more, parents should guard against perceptions of hypocrisy in frequently allowing for themselves what they deny their children.

One might think in this age it is not possible to go too far in efforts to preserve their innocence, but even here there can be danger. Tightening the apron strings too much can lead to its own form of rebellion.  I have seen this happen several times, and have heard numerous cautionary tales from priests, of parents who placed such a tight hold on their children they eventually rebelled and slipped through their fingers. In fallen creatures, protection can unintentionally turn to severity, good intentions can morph into forced submission to the parents’ will in all matters.

An absolutely vital step for parents to take is to engage in family prayer, especially prayer of the Rosary.  While preserving children’s innocence is absolutely vital, the preservation will not be successful unless buttressed with a vibrant interior life.  Parents must set the example here, demonstrating to children the great value of prayer and the concrete benefits such devotion provides in the formation of a devout, pious soul.

I could go on forever.  It’s an exceedingly difficult high wire act to perform, raising kids in this age.  And sometimes, even with practically ideal family life, kids still fall away.  But if they have been given the gift of a strong interior/devotional life, odds are for most that fall will be temporary, and, God willing, the kids will return to leading a morally upright life and the practice of the Faith.

Meditation for the Annunciation: Love Our Lady in Her Sufferings March 21, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Our Lady, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Victory, Virtue.
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From The Victories of the Martyrs by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, one of my two “favorite” Saints, some excerpts from a sermon he gave  on The Dolors of Mary.  The excerpt is cut and pasted from pages towards the back of the book which are not numbered, which makes referencing them extra fun.  At any rate, with the “Little Christmas” of The Annunciation coming up this Saturday, I thought it timely to post this material, which closes with the four promises made to St. Elizabeth of Hungary by our Blessed Lord, concerning the benefits He would shower on those who develop a deep devotion of, and meditation on, the Dolors of Our Sorrowful Mother:

To understand how great was the grief of Mary we must understand, says Cornelius a Lapide, how great was the love she bore her Son.”  But who can ever measure this love?  Blessed Amadeus says that “natural love towards Him as her Son, and supernatural love towards Him as her God, were united in the heart of Mary.”  Those two loves were blended into one, and this so great a love that William of Paris does not hesitate to assert, that Mary loved Jesus “as much as it was possible for a pure creature to love Him.”  So that, as Richard of St. Victor says, “as no other creature ever loved God as much as Mary loved Him, so there never was any sorrow like Mary’s sorrow.”…….

…….St. Bernadine of Siena even says that “the sufferings of Mary were such, that had they been divided amongst all creatures capable of suffering, they would have caused their immediate death.”  Who, then, can ever doubt that the martyrdom of Mary was without its equal, and that it exceeded the sufferings of all the martyrs; since, as St. Antoninus says, “they suffered in the sacrifice of theri own lives; but the Blessed Virgin suffered by offering the life of her Son of God, a life which she loved far more than her own.”

………[L]et us be devout to the dolors of Mary, Saint Albert the Great writes, that “as we are under great obligations to Jesus Christ for His death, so also are we under great obligations to Mary for the grief she endured when she offered her Son to God by death for our salvation.”  This the angel revealed to St. Bridget: he said that the Blessed Virgin, to see us saved, herself offered the life of her Son to the Eternal Father; a sacrifice which cost her greater suffering than all the torments of the martyrs, or even death itself.  But the divine Mother complained to St. Bridget that very few pitied her in her sorrows, and that the greater part of the world lived in entire forgetfulness of them.  Therefore she exhorted the saint, saying: “Though many forget me, do not thou, my daughter, forget me.”  For this purpose the Blessed Virgin herself appeared in the year 1239 to the founder of the Order of Servites, or servants of Mary, to desire them to institute a religious order in remembrance of her sorrows; and this they did.

Jesus Himself one day spoke to Blessed Veronica of Binasco, saying, “Daughter, tears shed over My Passion are dear to Me; but as I love My Mother Mary with an immense love, the meditation of the sorrows which she endured at My death is also very dear to Me.”  It is also well to know, as Pelbart relates it, that it was revealed to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, that our Lord had promised four special graces to those who are devout to the dolors of Mary: first, that those who before death invoke the divine Mother, in the name of her sorrows, should obtain true repentance of all their sins; second, that He would protect all who have this devotion in their tribulations, and that He would protect them especially at the hour of death; third, that He would impress upon their minds the remembrance of His Passion, and that they should have their reward for it in Heaven; fourth, that He would commit such devout clients to the hands of Mary, with the power to dispose of them in whatever manner she might please, and to obtain for them all the graces she might desire.

———–End Quote———-

I have great appreciation for the all the writings of the Moral Doctor (Liguori), but I have found The Victories of the Martyrs the least best of the nine volumes of his ascetical writings that I have read to date.  Saint Alphonsus, probably due to limitations of time, focused exclusively on the early martyrs of the Roman Empire, and then skipped ahead to covering the 17th century martyrs of Japan, which he covered in detail one might describe as excruciating.  There is nothing in between, even with the martyrdom (white or red) of millions of Catholics at the hands of muslims, or Eastern Orthodox, or pagans in northern Europe, or wherever.

Certainly a volume attempting to category every major Christian martyr from every time would quickly turn into a library itself, but I was hoping that the saint might cover a bit broader range of martyrs both chronologically and geographically.  Perhaps my expectations were out of line.

Please understand, I am not saying I don’t like the book.  Only that compared to the sublime excellence of the other eight volumes I’ve read, this one was only very good.  So far, I still have probably 50-60 pages left (it’s hard to tell, with the inexplicable editorial decision not to number the last 100-odd pages).  Perhaps I’ll be blown away in the 10% or so remaining, but perhaps not.

I am looking forward to seeing other volumes by Liguori, who wrote torrentially, translated into English (or re-printed, since there are translations long out of print).  The twenty-two volumes of his ascetical works were only a small portion of his total output. Since good souls have taken on the project of translating much of Bellarmine’s writings into English (previously available only in Latin), I pray they consider delving into this saint, as well.

That is, if anyone at Mediatrix Press is listening reading.  Hint.