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Monthly Archives: December 2012

IF THE “SONG OF SONGS” IN THE BIBLE SEEMS TOO “SEXY” TO US, WE HAVE PERHAPS BECOME CONTAMINATED WITH MODERN DAY DECADENCE

THE SONG OF SONGS PUT AT THE CENTRE OF LONGINGS THE ASPIRATIONS TO TRUE LOVE IRRADIATING FROM GOD, AND THE EARLIER MONKS HAD NO PROBLEM WITH THAT.

“The Song of Songs is a poem. Do not at first try to understand: let the text take hold and it will open up a universe to us. The Song awakens our own experience, going straight to the heart since it is about the Lover and the Beloved. It is a poem about a love encounter. The author let this encounter happen as in a dream in order to unveil its mystery; the call of love comes from elsewhere. Search, meeting, flight are enchanting and are true inasmuch as they reveal a mystery: Someone else draws us. This explains the title of the book: The Song of Songs. In Hebrew, it is one of the forms of the superlative: The Song par excellence or the Sublime Song. In the Song, just as in the great prophets, although with different words, the experience of God-Love is what inspired the entire dream and what invited human images.

The Song is not a song about human love which was put in the Bible after having received a religious interpretation: Jewish tradition considered it to be the song of divine love from the beginning. The fact that God is not mentioned is intentional: he is present from beginning to end, but this One Alone at the same time Love and Lover is far different from the “God” of human religions. In Christian countries, the monks took possession of the Song. They who had given up human love passed over the mystery of the love encounter in ordinary life. They saw the song as an allegory, a picture of spiritual experience. The expressions of carnal love in no way embarrassed them: it helped them to understand how strong the love relationship with the One Alone can be, how heady and devouring.

In fact they were to give back to Christianity a treasure they had found. The Song reread and commented by the monks gave rise to awareness of the mystery of love. The love songs and stories, fairly crude at the beginning, were gradually replaced by the literature of ‘courtly love’. From then on, century after century, the primacy of married love would be affirmed. At times, it is said rather cynically that love ends in marriage and that is what movies and television never cease to repeat whenever a decadent culture only acknowledges love when it promises but fleshly gratification and things it will not fulfil. The Song of Songs put at the centre of longings the aspiration to true love: this always irradiates from God and, like himself, is faithful until death and beyond.”

 
 

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HOLY ST JOSEPH, HELP THE NEEDY OF THE WHOLE WORLD

Holy St Joseph, you were always most just; make us relish what is right. You sustained Jesus and Mary in time of trial; sustain us by your help. You provided for all the needs of Jesus and Mary; help the needy of the whole world.

You rescued Jesus from Herod who sought to kill Him; save us from our many sins. You were the foster father of Christ, the priest-victim; make priests faithful to their calling. You were the foster father of Christ, the Divine physician; sustain the sick and obtain relief for them. You died the holiest of deaths in the arms of Jesus and Mary; intercede for the dying.

You were the intrepid guardian of the Holy Family; protect all Christian families. You cared for Jesus with true fatherly love, protect all children in the world. You were a dedicated and honest worker in your trade as carpenter; teach us to labour for Jesus. You were the faithful and chaste spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary; preserve in all hearts a love of fidelity and purity. You were a model single person and a model father later on; help all human beings to imitate your virtues. Amen.

 
 

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MY LORD AND SAVIOUR, IN YOUR ARMS I AM SAFE

My Lord and my Saviour, in Your arms I am safe; keep me and I have nothing to fear; give me up and I have nothing to hope for. I pray You not to make me rich, I pray You not to make me very poor; but I leave it all to You, because You know and I do not.

If You bring pain and sorrow on me, give me the grace to bear it well. If You give me health and strength and success in this world, keep me ever on my guard lest these great gifts carry me away from You.

Give me ever to aim at setting forth Your glory; to live to and for You; to set a good example to all around me; give me to die just at that time and in that way which is most for Your glory, and best for my salvation. Amen.

– Bl. John Henry Newman

 
 

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LET MY HEART NEVER REST UNTIL IT FINDS YOU

O loving Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ,
You move hearts that are harder than rock,
You melt spirits that are colder than ice,
and You reach souls that are more impenetrable than diamonds.
Touch my heart with Your sacred wounds
and permeate my soul with Your Precious Blood,
so that wherever I turn
I will see only my Divine Crucified Lord,
and everything I see
will appear coloured with Your Blood.

Lord Jesus,
let my heart never rest until it finds You,
Who are its centre, its love, and its happiness.
By the wound in Your Heart,
pardon the sins that I have committed
whether out of malice or out of evil desires.
Place my weak heart in Your own Divine Heart,
continually under Your protection and guidance,
so that I may persevere in doing good
and in fleeing evil until my last breath.
Amen.

– St Margaret Mary Alacoque

 
 

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A STORY OF CAUTION: PLEASE, LET’S ALL TAKE CARE NOT TO DRESS OUR MOST BELOVED LADY IN TATTERED RAGS!

Involuntary distractions during or lack of fervour despite our good intention to say our prayers nicely are one thing, this can happen and is o.k., but saying our prayers quite unconcerned in a slapdash manner is quite a different matter – let’s all make an effort to say our prayers as good as possible, irrespective of the frame of mind we are in, as the importance of prayers said properly is brought home to us in the following story:

Blessed Alan de la Roche and other writers (including Saint Robert Bellarmine) tell the story of how a good confessor advised three of his penitents, who happened to be quite elderly sisters, to say the Rosary every day without fail for a whole year. This was so that they might make beautiful robes of glory for Our Lady out of their Rosaries. This was a secret that the priest had received from Heaven.

So the three sisters said the Rosary faithfully for a year and on the Feast of the Purification the Blessed Virgin appeared to them at night when they had retired. Saint Catherine and Saint Agnes were with her and she was wearing beautiful robes that shone and all over them “Hail Mary, full of grace” was blazoned in letters of gold. The Blessed Mother came to the eldest sister and said, “I salute you, my daughter, because you have saluted me so often and beautifully. I want to thank you for the beautiful robes you have made me.” The two virgin saints who were with Our Lady thanked her too and then all three vanished.

An hour later Our Lady and the same two saints appeared to them again, but this time she was wearing green which had no gold lettering and did not gleam. She went up to the second sister and thanked her for the robes she had made Her by saying her Rosary. Since this sister had seen Our Lady appear to the eldest much more magnificently dressed she asked Her the reason for the change. The Blessed Mother answered: “Your sister made Me more beautiful clothes because she has been saying her Rosary better than you.”

About an hour later after this she appeared to the last sister wearing tattered and dirty rags, looking all drawn. “My daughter,” she said, “I want to thank you for these clothes that you have made Me. This sister was covered with shame and she called out: “O, my Queen, how could I have dressed you so badly! I beg you to forgive me. Please grant me a little more time to make you beautiful robes by saying my Rosary better.” Our Lady and the two saints vanished, leaving the woman heartbroken. She told her confessor everything that had happened and he urged her to say her Rosary for another year and to say it more devoutly than ever.

At the end of the second year on the very same day of the Purification, Our Lady, clothed in a magnificent robe and attended by Saint Catherine and Saint Agnes, wearing crowns, appeared to them again in the evening. She said to them: “My daughters, I have come to tell you that you have earned heaven at last – and you will all have the great joy of going there tomorrow.” The three of them cried: “Our hearts are ready, dearest Queen; our hearts are ready.” Then the vision faded. The same night they became ill and so sent to their confessor who brought them the Last Sacraments and they thanked him for the holy practice that he had taught them. After Compline Our Lady appeared with a multitude of virgins and had the three sisters clothed in white gowns. While angels were singing “Come, spouses of Jesus Christ, receive the crowns which have been prepared for you for all eternity,” they departed from this life.

Some very deep truths can be learned from this story:

• How important it is to have a good confessor who will counsel holy practices, especially that of the Most Holy Rosary;

• How important it is to say the Rosary attentively and devoutly;

• How kind and merciful the Blessed Mother is to those who are sorry for the past and are firmly resolved to do better;

• And finally, how generous She is in rewarding us in life, death and eternity, for the little services we render her faithfully.
– by St Louis de Montfort

 
 

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A PRAYER ON THE MEMORIAL OF ST SYLVESTER

ST SYLVESTER I, POPE; MEMORIAL: DECEMBER 31

St Sylvester became Bishop of Rome in 314, at the time of Emperor Constantine, whom he may have baptised. This was at the time of the Donatist schism and the Arian heresy, against which he defended the Church. He died in 335.

PRAYER:

Lord,
help and sustain your people
by the prayers of Pope Sylvester.
Guide us always in this present life
and bring us to the joy that never ends.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

 
 

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A MIRACULOUS MEDAL PRAYER

THIS PRAYER IS RECITED AS A NOVENA (ON NINE CONSECUTIVE DAYS).

Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and our Mother, penetrated with the most lively confidence in your all-powerful and never-failing intercession, manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal, we, your loving and trustful children implore you to obtain for us (mention your request), if it be beneficial to our immortal souls, and the souls for which we pray.

You know, O Mary, how often our souls have been the sanctuaries of your Son Who hates iniquity. Obtain for us then a deep hatred of sin and that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone so that our every thought, word, and deed may tend to His greater glory. Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial that we may recover by penance what we have lost by sin and at length attain to that blessed abode where you are the Queen of Angels and of People. Amen.

 
 

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