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Beautiful Exegesis on St. Joseph as Patron of Family and Educators November 29, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Good St. Joseph, Grace, Interior Life, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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As to educators, that most certainly includes homeschooling parents.

From a long book called A Manual of Practical Devotion to St. Joseph by Fr. Patrignani, SJ (don’t worry, the book was published in 1865, a century forty years before the Jesuits lost their minds), some excerpts from pp. 48-51 on the benefits of cultivating a strong devotion to St. Joseph.  I know I have extolled the virtues of such devotion on many occasions, but it never  hurts to hear a reminder.  From personal experience, I can attest to the incredible efficacy of St. Joseph’s intercession in numerous matters, but especially those related closely to the family and raising of children.  I pray you find this little meditation useful!  It also contains discussion on turning to Saint Joseph as both a model and intercessor for a successful Catholic marriage.  Would that more couples had made recourse to such devotion over the past 60 years or so, the Church (and world) would not be in the terrible shape it is in, where the Catholic (or “Catholic”) divorce rate exceeds that of the general population!

At any rate, begin excerpt:

The world may be compared to a vast ocean, agitated by a tempest, and the most dangerous rock within its bosom is the marriage state, for scarcely a day passes on which we do not therein witness some new wreck; whence it follows, that those who are exposed to such a danger, would require a good pilot to conduct them safely into port; and where meet a more experienced one than our glorious Saint, who, in accordance with the designs of God, embraced that state, and is a model for those who desire to render it conducive both to their temporal and their eternal welfare?  Scripture informs us that the patriarch Joseph brought down the benediction of Heaven not only on Potiphar’s household, but also on Pharaoh’s court and the entire kingdom.  This prosperity continued as long as the king followed the advice of Joseph, his prime minister; but when, on the accession of a new sovereign, Joseph was dismissed from office, how changed was the scene!  “A new king over Egypt, that knew not Joseph” (Ex i).

Does not this metaphor clearly indicate to all Christian families, that God will give a special blessing to those who duly honor the second Joseph, who is as superior to the former, as the substance is to the shadow?  You then, heads of families, if you wish your children to be well brought up, if you wish to ensure peace in your married state, fidelity in your servants, patience in tribulations, in a word, if you desire that your household should be well regulated, and live in peace and tranquility, place it under the protection of him whom God has constituted head of the Holy Family.  Let Joseph be your counselor, your steward, your example; God Himself has appointed him such for those who are engaged in the married state……

……Those who are charged with the instruction and education of children, are particularly called upon to choose St. Joseph as their guide and patron in an employment so useful to religion; since having been the master and guardian of the Most High, he has received from Him peculiar graces and favors for the protection of youth.  The young Tobias had an angel as his guardian,but Jesus would have no other guardian than St. Joseph [no other earthly guardian recorded in Scripture, aside from being ministered to by angels during His agony. Beyond that, there is a great deal of speculation regarding the degree to which Heaven aided Christ at various points in His ministry, and whether, or to what degree, He enjoyed special/supernatural protections or aid].  Hence, the brothers of the Christian schools, and many other societies, have placed their schools, especially those for young children, under the special protection of St. Joseph. The interpreters of Scripture and ecclesiastical writers, have given him various names, as those of father, foster-father, guardian, guide of Jesus Christ.  All these functions which he fulfilled towards an Infant-God, he still continues to exercise in favor of those colleges and seminaries which are entrusted to his paternal vigilance. Superiors and masters may learn of him the charity, prudence, vigilance, and the other virtues, requisite for governing well. On their side, likewise, the pupils may receive from the Child Jesus the most perfect examples of docility, respect, and love, towards their masters and superiors.

———–End Quote————

I can only repeat the great personal benefits I have received through devotion to St. Joseph, in both the material and spiritual sense.  I cannot stress enough what great benefits derive from St. Joseph’s intercession, and what an ideal model he makes for fatherhood and as a husband.  If you want to implement Ephesians v:25 appropriately, there is no greater model than St. Joseph.  He loved Our Lady as perfectly as a man can, through His love for his Son, Jesus Christ.

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Start Novena to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Tomorrow! November 28, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Interior Life, Novenas, Our Lady, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
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That’s tomorrow, 11/29/17.  Or you can start on the 30th and finish on the Feast day itself, instead of the vigil.

Prayer of the Novena of the Immaculate ConceptionHeart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners, pray for us Bouasse Lebel

Immaculate Virgin Mary, you were pleasing in the sight of God from the first moment of your conception in the womb of your mother, St. Anne. You were chosen to be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I believe the teaching of holy Mother the Church, that in the first instant of your conception, by the singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race and beloved Son, you were preserved from all stain of original sin. I thank God for this wonderful privilege and grace he bestowed upon you as I honor your Immaculate Conception.

Look graciously upon me as I implore this special favor:(mention your request).

Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from your throne in heaven turn your eyes of pity upon me. Filled with confidence in your goodness and power, I beg you to help me in this journey of life which is so full of dangers for my soul. I entrust myself entirely to you, that I may never be the slave of the devil through sin, but may always live a humble and pure life. I consecrate myself to you forever, for my only desire is to love your divine Son Jesus. Mary, since none of your devout servants has perished, May I too be saved. Amen.

Another version of the Novena is below, so that you may have your choice:

O most pure Virgin Mary conceived without sin, from the very  first instant, you were entirely immaculate. O glorious Mary full of grace, you  are the mother of my God – the Queen of Angels and of men. I humbly venerate you  as the chosen mother of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords chose you for the  singular grace and honor of being His beloved mother. By the power of His Cross,  He preserved you from all sin. Therefore, by His power and love, I have hope and  bold confidence in your prayers for my holiness and salvation.

I pray first of all that you would make me worthy to call you  my mother and your Son, Jesus, my Lord.

I pray that your prayers will bring me to imitate your  holiness and submission to Jesus and the Divine Will.

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are  you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother  of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Stunning

Stunning

Now, Queen of Heaven, I beg you to beg my Savior to grant me  these requests…

(Mention your  intentions)

My holy Mother, I know that you were obedient to the will of  God. In making this petition, I know that God’s will is more perfect than mine.  So, grant that I may receive God’s grace with humility like you.

As my final request, I ask that you pray for me to increase in  faith in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in hope in our  risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in love for the risen  Jesus!

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are  you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother  of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

Finally, the Saint Andrew 25 day Novena for Christmas also starts tomorrow 11/30.  The prayer is below, though I know you already know it:

The 25 day St. Andrew Novena starts today, Nov. 30.  The prayer is as follows, pray it 15 times a day through Christmas Eve:

HAIL AND BLESSED BE THE HOUR AND MOMENT IN WHICH THE SON OF GOD WAS BORN OF THE MOST PURE VIRGIN MARY, AT MIDNIGHT, IN BETHLEHELM, IN PIERCING COLD.
IN THAT HOUR, VOUCHSAFE, O MY GOD,  TO HEAR MY PRAYER AND GRANT MY PETITIONS,

(MENTION YOUR INTENTIONS HERE)

THROUGH THE MERITS OF OUR SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST AND OF HIS BLESSED MOTHER.  AMEN.

I typically just make an en bloc petition for the day for all 15 recitations. If you say them all together, it only takes a few minutes.

lourdes-immaculate-conception-2

St. Louis Martin Novena for Anxiety, Depression, and Mental Disorders November 9, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Interior Life, Novenas, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Lordy I’ve been having my share of anxiety lately with a heart that goes bumpity bump, so this Novena is quite timely for me.  My wife found this and sent it in.

UPDATE:  Well, shame on me, I only read the first couple of days of the Novena before posting. Yikes, what a train wreck that turned out to be.  I don’t know who is responsible for crafting this Novena, but it had some seriously deranged material.  Rather than throw it all out, I edited out the objectionable content.  I don’t know where anyone would get the idea that St. Therese either lost her faith – she never even came close, but she did experience extreme spiritual dryness, which is something altogether different – or that she contemplated suicide. Please.  I read through it quick to edit it, if I find any more problems, I’ll scrap the whole thing.

Whatever problems one may have with the post-conciliar canonization process, especially John Paul II’s elimination of the office of devil’s advocate and requiring only a single miracle, I don’t think anyone can doubt the great sanctity of Monsieur Martin, patriarch of one of the holiest families in recent Church history.  I’ve long had a devotion to most members of the family.  I have great faith in his intercessory abilities.

The Novena is one of those lengthy ones with different prayers every day (and it’s really sad that Aleteia would turn this Novena into click bait, requiring hitting 9 different links (each one with an autoplay video and so many ads the page barely loads even in Chrome!) to get through it.  C’mon folks, are we Catholic, or are money grubbing worldlings? To save the effort and frustrate a morally dubious tactic,  I’m going to just post the whole thing).

This Novena is not tied to any particular feast; it can be prayed at any time.

Day 1

St. Louis, you knew great happiness and deep suffering, and in both you remained strong in faith. Help us to keep God in sight through our trials, even when we cry out with the Psalmist:

How long, O Lord?
Wilt thou forget me for ever?
How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13)

O Lord, through the intervention of St. Louis Martin, lift up those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, dementia, and other mental problems and lead them out of the darkness and into Your light.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Amen

Day 2

St. Louis, along with Zelie you filled your household with such love that it produced saints, but even great piety does not spare us from loss and the sadness that accompanies it. With those who mourn and grieve, we say

My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! (Psalm 119)

O Lord, through the intervention of St. Louis Martin, lift up those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, dementia, and other mental problems and lead them out of the darkness and into Your light.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Amen

Day 3

St. Louis, you knew the challenge of a suffering soul. Carry our prayers to our Father in heaven that we may have peace in our hearts and in our lives.

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32)

O Lord, through the intervention of St. Louis Martin, lift up those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, dementia, and other mental problems and lead them out of the darkness and into Your light.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Amen

Day 4

St. Louis, your daughter Therese suffered a period of deep suffering and loss of spiritual consolations, yet she remained stalwart in faith. May we be there for others even in our own trials.

Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. (Psalm 31)

O Lord, through the intervention of St. Louis Martin, lift up those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, dementia, and other mental problems and lead them out of the darkness and into Your light.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Amen

Day 5

St. Louis, may those around us remember what your daughter St. Therese wrote: “A word or a smile is often enough to put fresh life in a despondent soul.” Give strength to the loved ones and caregivers of those who struggle with mental problems.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God. (Psalm 42)

O Lord, through the intervention of St. Louis Martin, lift up those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, dementia, and other mental problems and lead them out of the darkness and into Your light.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Amen

Day 6

St. Louis, like you, may we unite our suffering to that of Christ, and be close to Him as we carry our own crosses.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34)

O Lord, through the intervention of St. Louis Martin, lift up those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, dementia, and other mental problems and lead them out of the darkness and into Your light.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Amen

Day 7

St. Louis, your family, fiends, and caretakers gave you support and loving kindness through your illness. Help those around us — strangers and friends — to open their eyes to those suffering mental anguish and reach out with the love of good Samaritan to bind their wounds and lift them up.

I am bowed and brought to my knees.
I go mourning all the day long.
Spent and utterly crushed,
I cry aloud in anguish of heart.
O Lord, do not forsake me!
My God, do not stay far off!
Make haste and come to help,
O Lord, my God, my savior! (Psalm 38)

O Lord, through the intervention of St. Louis Martin, lift up those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, dementia, and other mental problems and lead them out of the darkness and into Your light.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Day 8

St. Louis, you trusted in the Lord although it must have seemed at times that He was silent in the face of your trials. May we always trust that the God of love can never forget us, even when we feel most forgotten.

But I have trusted in thy steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13)

O Lord, through the intervention of St. Louis Martin, lift up those who are suffering from depression and lead them out of the darkness and into Your light.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Day 9

St. Louis, pray for us, and for all those who suffer depression, mental illness, and anxiety, as well as for those who care for them.

I will heal my people and lead them;
I will give full comfort
To them and to those who mourn for them,
I, the Creator, who gave them life.
Peace, peace to the far and the near,
Says the Lord;
And I will heal them. (Isaiah 57)

O Lord, through the intervention of St. Louis Martin, lift up those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, dementia, and other mental problems and lead them out of the darkness and into Your light.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Ligouri on the Necessity of Humility and Suffering Humiliation As Means of Attaining Sanctity September 28, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, religious, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Some additional excerpts from The True Spouse of Jesus Christ by the great Moral Doctor St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori on the vital role humility, especially in the form of patiently and joyfully bearing humiliations, plays in the process of sanctification/growth in the interior life.

I cut and paste various exerpts from pp. 335-341 below:

Some, says St. Francis of Assisi, imagine that sanctity consists in the recital of many prayers or in the performance of works of penance: but, not understanding the great merit of patience under insult, they cannot bear an injurious word.  You will acquire more merit by meekly receiving an affront than by fasting ten days on bread and water.  It will sometimes happen that a privilege that is refused to you will be conceded to others; that what you say will be treated with contempt, while the words of others are heard with respectful attention; that while the actions of others are the theme of general praise, and they are heaped with honors, you are passed by unnoticed and your whole conduct is made a subject of derision.  If you accept in peace all these humiliations, and if, with a sincere affection, you recommend to God those from whom you receive the least respect, then indeed, as St. Dorotheus says, it will be manifest that you are truly humble. To them you are particularly indebted, since by their reproaches they cure your pride – the most malignant of all diseases that lead to spiritual death.  Because they deem themselves worthy of all honors, the proud convert their humiliations into an occasion of pride.  But because the humble consider themselves deserving only of opprobrium, their humiliations serve to increase their humility.  “That man,” says St. Bernard, ” is truly humble who converts humiliation into humility.”

Voluntary humiliations, such as to serve the sick, to kiss the feet of those who imagine, even unjustly, that we have offended them, and similar acts of humility, are very profitable; but, to embrace with cheerfulness, for the love of Jesus Christ, the humiliations that come from others, such as reproofs, accusations, insults, and derisions, is still more meritorious……..As gold is tried in the fire, so a man’s perfection is proved by humiliation.  St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi used to say that “untried virtue is not virtue.” He who does not suffer contempt with a tranquil mind shall never attain the spirit of perfection…….[Working out our salvation is not easy.  Contrary to American protestant claims of “one and done” conversions, which are so typical of the modern American drive-through convenience mentality, God desires of us a total conversion from our fallen human nature, our endless pride and selfishness, to a being dead to self and living only for God and through His Grace.  This is terribly hard, but God has given us great guides in the Saints to show that it is possible, and, even more, how to do it.  It’s simply a matter of dying to ourselves and living for God through good works done to others. Suffering humiliations tranquilly is a powerful means of dying to self.]

………St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi used to say that crosses and ignominies are the greatest favors that God is accustomed to bestow on his beloved spouses[Once again, contrary to protestant, especially modern American protestantism, which preaches that God just wants to shower ease and wealth and comfort on His chosen ones…….is that what He did to His son?  Is His Son and Our Lady the exemplars par excellence God has given us on both how to live our lives, and what to expect from the world when we live in accord with His Will?  I know even some Catholics who equate being pious with being blessed with happiness, comfort, ease, freedom from illness or financial difficulty, but this is very, very wrong.]

……….The Saints have not been made Saints by applause and honor, but by injuries and insults.  St. Ignatius Martyr, a bishop, and an object of universal esteem and veneration, was sent to Rome as a criminal, and on his way experienced from the soldiers who conducted him nothing but the most barbarous insolence.  In the midst of his suffering and humiliations he joyfully exclaimed: “I now begin to be a disciple of Christ.” I now begin to be a true disciple of my Jesus, who endured so m any ignominies for my sake……

.Let us then be persuaded that to be persecuted in this life confers the highest excellence on the Saints. “And,” says the Apostle, “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Tim iii:12). The Redeemer says, “If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (Jn xv:20).

————-End Quote————-

We live in an especially difficult time to acquire the virtue of humility.  More than in any past period, today we have paraded before our eyes constantly, especially if we have not yet destroyed our TVs, powerful images extolling pride and denigrating almost all virtue, but especially humility.  True humility is an almost unknown quantity in our mass media culture, and tranquil acceptance of humiliations is utterly baffling, especially for Americans, who have been taught for decades that having everything the way they want it this instant is a practical constitutional right. Vast numbers of the younger generations coming of age literally have zero conception of what life is like for the vast majority of humanity today, and, even more, the sufferings and privations involved in existence even a few short decades ago in anyplace but America.  Heck, my dad grew up without running water and electricity, and I was born in the 70s!  That just one tiny example.  Wealth, ease, and comfort are in many ways inimical to growth in virtue: and, of course, our task is made even harder still by the crisis in the Church.  It’s a terrible triple whammy.

But God is infinitely greater in his rewards, than what He asks of us in sacrifice.  Those who are able to cooperate with Grace in these increasingly dark times, what great Saints they will be, and what inspirations to future generations!

I pray such Saints may be found from among the readership of this blog.  As for the author, it is best to do as I say, not as I do…….

A Happy Change of Pace from FrancisDoom: Various Quotes from St. Catherine of Siena September 20, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, fightback, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, religious, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Thinking about Francis and the Rome Plow he is taking through the Church can quickly get depressing.  Plus, it’s always good to be encouraged.  I find few Saints more encouraging than St. Catherine of Siena.  The following quotes are rather random, but they all contain great spiritual direction and solid catechesis.  I pray you enjoy!

Quote 1:

O Charity, you are the sweet, holy bond uniting the soul to its Creator; you unite God to man and man to God.  you kept the Son of God nailed to the wood of the Holy Cross.  You unite those whom discord keeps apart. You enrich  with virtue those who are poor, because you give life to all the virtues.  You bring peace and suppress hatred and war.  You give patience, strength, and perseverance in return for every good and holy work.  You are never weary, you never turn aside from the love of God and neighbor, either because of weariness, pain, contempt, or insult.

O Christ, sweet Jesus, give me this holy charity, that I may persevere in doing good and never give it up; for he who possesses charity is founded on You, the living rock, and by following Your example, he learns from  You how to love his neighbor.  In You, O Christ, I read the rule and doctrine which are right for me, for You are the way, the truth, and the life.  If I read You, I shall follow the right path and shall occupy myself solely with the honor of God and the salvation of souls.

Quote 2:

I give You thanks, O eternal Father, because You have not despised Your creature, nor turned away Your face from me, nor ignored my desires. You, who are light, did not despise my darkness; You, who are life, did not go far away from me who am death; nor did You, the physician, fail to heal my wounds.……Your wisdom, mercy, and infinite goodness have not looked with scorn at all these and the infinite number of other evils and faults that are in me. What forced You to love me and to grant me so many graces? It was not my virtues but only Your charity. May I always keep Your favors in mind, and may my will burn with the fire of Your charity.

O inestimable Love, how admirable are the things You have done in Your creature! O my wretched, blind soul, where is your cry of gratitude, where are the tears you should shed in the sight of your God who is unceasingly calling to you?  Where are all my yearning desires in the sight of divine mercy? They are not in me because I have not yet lost myself, for if I were lost and had sought only You, my God, only the glory and the praise of Your Name, my heart would have thrilled in a hymn of gratitude.

Thanks be to You, o eternal, most high Trinity!  I am she who is not and You are He who is. Glorify Yourself by enabling me to praise You.  Pardon me, O Father, pardon me who am miserable, and ungrateful to You for the immense benefits I have received. I confess that Your goodness has preserved me, Your spouse, although because of my many defects I have often been unfaithful to You.

Quote 3:

O God, You have seen the weakness of our human nature; You know how weak, frail, and miserable it is; therefore, You, the sovereign Provider, Who in all things have provided for all the needs of Your creatures, You, the perfect repairer, who have given a remedy for all our ills, You gave us the rock and fortitude of will to strengthen the weakness of our flesh.  This will is so strong that no demon or creature can conquer it if we do not will it, that is, if our free will, which is in our own hands, does not consent.

O infinite Goodness, where does such great strength in Your creature’s will come from?  From You, sovereign, eternal Strength, because it shares in the strength of Your will.  Hence, we can see that our will is strong to the degree in which it follows Yours, and weak to the degree in which it deviates from Yours because You created our will to the likeness of Your Will, and therefore being in Yours, it is strong.

In our will, O eternal Father, You show the fortitude of Your Will; if You have given so much fortitude to a little member, what should we think Yours to be, O Creator and Ruler of all things?

It seems to me that this free will which You have given us is fortified by the light of faith, for in this light it knows Your will, which wishes nothing but our sanctification.  Then our will, fortified and nourished by our holy Faith, gives life to our actions, which explains why neither good will nor lively faith can exist without works.  Faith nourishes and maintains the fire of charity, because it reveals to our soul Your love and charity to us, and thus makes it strong in loving You.

Quote 4, especially important in light of Francis and all the travails afflicting the Church and pious souls:

O eternal God, grant me the virtue of perseverance; without it, no one can please You nor be acceptable to You.  This virtue brings to the soul an abundance of charity and the fruit of every effort.  Oh! how happy I should be, Lord, if You would give me this virtue, because even here on earth it will make me enjoy a pledge of eternal life. But Your light reveals to me that I cannot attain it unless I suffer much, because this life cannot be lived without suffering.  he who would escape suffering woulf deprive himself of holy perseverance. 

Finally, a bonus from St. Bernard:

No one is so presumptuous that he thinks his justice or holiness is enough to assure his salvation [Unless he is a protestant, or Francis but I repeat].  For this reason I hasten to You, O Jesus: Your Passion is my supreme refuge and sole remedy!  It comes to help us when our wisdom fails, when our justice is weak, and the merits of our holiness are useless.  When my strength grows weak, I shall not be discouraged.  I know what I must do: “I shall take the chalice of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.” Open by eyes, O God, that I may always know what is pleasing to You and then I shall be wise. Pardon the faults of my youth and ignorance, and I shall be just.  Lead me, O God, on Your path, and I shall be holy.  But if Your Blood does not intercede for me, I shall not be saved.

———-End Quote———

That’s it!

Saint Alphonsus on Maintaining Virtue Amidst Sin September 19, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, religious, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Given the moral sewer in which we are condemned to swim in this culture, sin is something we are constantly confronted with.  It’s very easy to fall into a sharply condemnatory attitude towards those visibly lost in sin, especially when they attempt to subvert the very Truth of Jesus Christ in the furtherance of their sin.  When they do so, this hurts us, and we see the destruction the success they have in their attempt causes.  Of course, all sin must be repudiated and opposed. Of course error must be plainly pointed out and decried. But how to deal with the sinner himself has always been a more complex issue.  Another even greater danger than just writing off the sinner is exalting ourselves above those we see lost in sins that are maybe more visible or “worse” than our own.  This, according to Saint Alphonsus, is a most pernicious form of pride and one we should be wary of.  But all have sinned, and none can merit salvation outside the saving Grace of Jesus Christ.

There is much in the excerpt below some will find challenging.  Of course, this writing must be understood in context.  I am certainly not presenting this as a condemnation of anyone here.  In fact, I post it as an accusation against myself, as I am very guilty of preferring myself to others, and in holding myself in high esteem in not being the publican in the corner pounding my breast, when I should be.  Take it for what it is: some worthy catechesis from an eminent source for your consideration.

From The True Spouse of Jesus Christ pp. 314-6:

Should you ever see another commit some grievous sin, take dare not to indulge in pride, nor to be surprised at their fall; but pity their misfortune, and trembling for yourself, say with holy David: “Unless the Lord had been my helper, my soul had almost dwelt in hell” (Ps xciii:17).  If the Almighty had not been my protector, I should at this moment be buried in hell.  Beware of even taking vain complacency in the exemption from faults that you perceive in your companions [or those in the world around us?]; otherwise, in chastisement of your pride the Lord will permit you to fall into the sins which they have committed.  Cassian relates that a certain young monk, being for a long time molested by a violent temptation to impurity, sought advice and consolation from an aged father.  Instead of receiving encouragement and comfort he was loaded with reproaches.  “What!” said the old man, “is it possible that a monk should be subject to so abominable thoughts?!?” In punishment of his pride the Almighty permitted the Father to be assailed by the spirit of impurity to such a degree that he ran like a madman through the monastery.  Hearing of this miserable condition, the Abbot Appollo told him that God had permitted this temptation to punish his conduct towards the young monk, and also to teach him compassion for others in similar circumstances.  The Apostle tells us that in correcting sinners we should not treat them with contempt, lest God should permit us to be assailed by the temptation to which they yielded, and perhaps to all into the very sin which we were surprised to see them commit.  We should, before we reprove others, consider that we are as miserable and as liable to sin as our fallen brethren. [That is, fallen brethren.  This book was written specifically for religious.  Obviously in such an environment everyone should be considered of the best faith and motives.  In the world, it’s a bit different.  That does not mean we should exalt ourselves above those we believe sin.  But it does mean that the degree of confrontation and the meekness with which it is carried out can be different from the cloistered environment.] Brethren, if any man be overtaken in a fault….instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted (Gal vi:1).  The same Cassian relates that a certain abbot called Machete confessed that he himself had miserably fallen into three faults, of which he had rashly judged his brethren.

Consider yourself the greatest sinner on earth.  They who are truly humble, because they are most perfectly enlightened by God, possess the most perfect knowledge not only of the Divine perfections, but also of their own miseries and sins.  Hence, notwithstanding their extraordinary sanctity, the Saints, not in the language of exaggeration, but in the sincerity of their souls, called themselves the greatest sinners in the world.  St. Francis of Assisi called himself the worst of sinners; St. Thomas of Villanova was kept in a state of continual fear and trembling by the thought of the account he was one day to render to God of his life; which, though full of virtue, appeared to him very wicked.  St. Gertrude considered it a miracle that the earth did not open under her feet and swallow her up alive, in punishment of her sins.  St. Paul, the first hermit, was in the habit of exclaiming: “Woe to me, a sinner, who am unworthy to bear the name of a  monk!” In the writings of Fr. M Avila we read of a person of great sanctity who besought the Lord to make known to her the state of her soul.  Her prayer was heard, and so deformed and abominable was the appearance of her soul, though stained only with the guilt of venial sins, that struck with horror, she cried out: “For mercy’s sake, O Lord, take away from before my eyes the representation of this monster!”

Beware, then, of every preferring yourself to any one.  To esteem yourself better than others, is abundantly sufficient to make you worse than all.  “Others,” says Tritemius, “you have despised: you have therefore become worse than others.” Again to entertain a high opinion of your own desserts, is enough to deprive you of all merit.  Humility consists principally in a sincere conviction that we deserve only reproach and chastisement.  If, by preferring yourself to others, you have abused the gifts and graces which God has conferred upon you, they will only serve for your greater condemnation at the hour of judgment.  But it is not enough to abstain from preferring yourself to any one: it is, moreover, necessary that you consider yourself the last and worst of all……First, because in yourself you see with certainty so many sins; but the sins of others you know not, and their secret virtues, which are hidden from  your eyes, may render them very dear in the sight of God.  You ought to consider also, that by the aid of the lights and graces which you have received from God you should at this moment be a Saint.  If they had been given to an infidel, he would perhaps have become a seraph, and you are still so miserable and full of defects………as St. Thomas teaches, the malice of sin increases in proportion to the ingratitude of the sinner.

———–End Excerpt———–

It is true that many Saints considered themselves the worst of sinners.  They did this not only for the reasons given above, but also because of the extraordinary sensitivity of their consciences.  We who are more dead to ourselves are also more dead to the reality of the sins we commit.  Not exactly a pleasant thought to consider, but a necessary one, and one I pray I may dwell on more and more – and that this may lead to a growth in my own sanctity, which is the point of it all, anyway!

This does not mean we should not point out sin and error when we see it, especially when sin and error are presented as virtue and truth, and even more so, when evil is presented as good within the Church herself.  But we must be careful not to exalt ourselves as above these things, nor to condemn those we see as lost in sin as somehow beneath us.  That’s a very easy trap to fall into, and one satan has probably fooled me with more than a few times.  Meekness and humility are key to the practice of virtue, correspondence with Grace, growth in the interior life, and thus, our salvation. It is precisely absence of these cornerstone virtues that paved the way – in my estimation – for the crisis that has afflicted the Church these past several decades.  It was pride and self-exaltation that caused lowly men to judge that God, and their saintly predecessors, had it all wrong for centuries, or that the Truth that made Saints of innumerable sinners over generations, somehow no longer applied to “modern man.”

What the Church needs a great heaping dose of right now, is, humility and meekness, with regard to the saving Truth of Jesus Christ.  That starts with me (but I’ll probably blow it tomorrow – God have mercy!).

Briefest Reminder Posts – Assumption and Kolbe Novenas August 7, 2017

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The Assumption Novena properly started yesterday, but you can start today and finish on the feast.  The Novena for Maximilian Kolbe started Saturday but better late than never.

Brief Assumption Novena below:

Mary, Queen Assumed into Heaven, I rejoice that after years of heroic martyrdom on earth, Thou hast at last been taken to the throne
prepared for Thee in heaven by the Holy Trinity.

Lift my heart with Thee in the glory of Thy Assumption above the dreadful touch of sin and impurity. Teach me how small earth becomes when viewed from heaven. Make me realize that death is the triumphant gate
through which I shall pass to Thy Son, and that someday my body shall rejoin my soul in the unending bliss of heaven.

From this earth, over which I tread as a pilgrim, I look to Thee for help. I ask for this favor:

(State your intention here…)

When my hour of death has come, lead me safely to the presence of Jesus to enjoy the vision of my God for all eternity together with Thee.

Novena to St. Maximilian Kolbe:

O St. Maximilian Kolbe,

faithful follower of St. Francis,

inflamed by the love of God

you dedicated your life to the practice of virtue

and to works of the apostolate.

Look down with favor upon us

who devoutly confide in your intercession, especially for:

(here mention your special requests)

 

Having consecrated yourself to the Immaculate Virgin Mary,

you inspired countless souls to a holy life

and various forms of the apostolate

in order to do good to others

and to spread the kingdom of God.

Obtain for us the grace by our lives and labors

to draw many souls to Christ.

 

In your close conformity to our Divine Savior

you reached such an intense degree of love

that you offered your life to save a fellow prisoner.

Implore God that we,

inflamed by such ardent charity,

may through our living faith and our apostolic works

witness Christ to others,

and thus merit to join you in the blessed vision of God.

Amen.

Praying as a family has such enormous spiritual efficacy!  Perhaps you could have as an intention for your Novena the conversion of this nation and our fallen world – or maybe better yet the conversion of the leadership of the Church and the restoration of the Church’s human element.

Whatever your intention, Novenas as a beautiful aspect of Catholic Tradition!

Catholic Tradition in Prayer: Saint Patrick’s Breastplate August 3, 2017

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According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote this hymn in AD 433 for divine protection before successfully converting the Irish king Leoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity.  The breastplate of course references Ephesians vi:12-18, wherein St. Paul describes the various armaments we must take on (those of prayer and virtue) in order to do battle with the principalities and powers of this world.  So the name is quite apropos for the combat the great Saint of Ireland engaged in in converting a violent pagan country to the sweet yoke of Jesus Christ.

Some dispute whether the prayer really is that ancient, but at any rate it is beautiful, and since I had never come across it before reading The Gentle Traditionalist, I figured you may not be familiar with it, either.  Or maybe it’s widely known, I really don’t know.  At any rate, here it is:

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

———-End Quote————

It’s rather pretty and, I would say, quite lyrically Irish, is it not? I like it quite a bit. I hope to add this regularly to my prayer rotation.  God willing.

Perhaps this prayer might be invoked with the great evangelist Saint Patrick that the Church might be gifted with men of similar faith, devotion, and willingness to speak the truth in our own age.  The Church desperately needs some new Saints to reinvigorate the remaining faithful and begin converting the fallen away masses.

PS there are shorter versions of this prayer.  They basically are limited to the last half of the above.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori on How to Perform Our Actions Well      July 19, 2017

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In performing our actions well, the Saint means in the manner most pleasing to God.  This excerpt is from The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, a book originally intended for religious, but this section in particular has great relevance for all souls, not only those specifically consecrated to God in religious life (pp. 187-9).

Many times, we may get bogged down with the seemingly dull routine of life. We might find our job less than satisfying. We may be tempted to find as many distractions to get us through the day as possible (like, say, blogging).  We might find raising and educating kids very tiresome after 5 or 10 or even 2 years.  We might find it a lot more appealing to spend the afternoon on Facebook rather than do the laundry and check the kid’s math homework.

Even though our daily actions may not seem glamorous, even though they may eventually come to seem to be a tiresome routine, these constitute (for laity) the duties of our vocation in life and the means God has given us to grow in Grace and virtue.  We should not only perform these duties with great diligence, but we should even thank God for these means  He gives us to draw nearer to Him in this life.

Begin excerpt:

The following are the means to perform our actions well:

The first means is to preserve during the discharge of our duties a lively sense of the presence of God, that thus every act may be worthy of His divine eyes.

The second means is, to perform every work as if it were the only duty you had to fulfill. When at prayer, let your sole care be to pray well; when you say the Divine Office [which is not enjoined as precept on laity, but which is an extremely beneficial devotion], direct all your attention to the devout recitation of it; when engaged in any employment, your soul concern should be to discharge it well.  Think of nothing but the duty in which you are occupied. To examine, during the time of prayer, how you will direct a certain work, or to reflect on the mans of performing some other duty, is a temptation of the enemy.  “When,” says Saint John of Avila, “any unseasonable thought enters your mind, say: God does not will that I think at this moment on such a subject; and therefore it is not useful for me to reflect upon it: when He commands  me, I shall attend to it.”

The third means is, to perform every action as if it were the last of your life.  St. Anthony frequently recommended this means to his disciples. “In every work,” says St. Bernard, “let each one say to himself: If I were about to die, would I do this?”  Would I it in in this manner? Were this the last Mass that I should hear, with what devotion would I be present at it?………Were this my last Communion or my last meditation, with what fervor would I perform it?  When, says St. Basil, you discharge the duties of the morning, imagine that you shall not live till evening; when night approaches, think that you shall not see morning……….

Four, to think each day only on the labors of the day, is another means which greatly assists weak souls to discharge their duties with fervor.  The apprehension of the pains to be endured, in living till death with so much exactness, and in continually resisting self-love, is one of the causes which make many lose courage in the way of God.  The best means of conquering this temptation is to imagine each morning that you have but one day to live.  Whoever represents to himself that only one day of life remains, will certainly perform all the actions of that day with great perfection.  This means is very profitable for weak souls, but strong and perfect Christians do not require to conceal from themselves the labors necessary for the attainment of sanctity; they rejoice in suffering, and pant for opportunities of pleasing God.

Fifth, and finally, to those beginning to walk in the way of perfection it will be very useful to consider that what is in itself difficult and painful will by habit soon become easy and agreeableI will, says the Holy Ghost, lead thee by the paths of equity; which, when thou shalt have entered, shall not be straightened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not meet a stumbling block (Prov iv:11-12).  I will, says the Lord, first conduct  you into the narrow paths of virtue; but you shall soon walk through a broad and pleasing way, and there you shall run without difficulties or obstacles. “At first,” says St. Bernard, writing to Pope Eugenius, “some duty will seem intolerable; if you accustom yourself to it, in process of time it will not appear so difficult; afterwards you shall not feel it; and in the end you will delight in it.” Behold with your eyes, says Ecclesiasticus, how I have labored a little, and have found much rest to myself (Eccl li:35).

———-End Quote———–

Do you find it difficult to present to yourself each day or night as your last? This is something I – I’m not sure struggle with is the right phrase – I have not developed the habit of or accustomed myself to.   It seems something very much worth trying, for both embracing some of my more prosaic duties and overcoming some attachments I have so far been unable to separate myself from.  If you have experience with these methods, please share, or if you try them, let me know how they work out.

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

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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———–