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Monthly Archives: January 2013

HAVE YOU ALSO NOTICED THAT, AFTER HOLY MASS, SOME PEOPLE SEEM TO LEAVE STRAIGHT AWAY WITHOUT PERSONAL THANKSGIVING PRAYER?

The Mass might end with “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord”, but this does not imply that everyone must immediately dash off into the marketplace. On the contrary, spending time in gratitude for the gift of Christ in the Eucharist is entirely appropriate liturgically and officially encouraged by the Church: “They may do this during the celebration with a period of silence, with a hymn, psalm or other song of praise, or also after the celebration, if possible by staying behind to pray for a suitable time” (Inaestimable Donum, 17).

St John Chrysostom wrote that, “When we have received the precious Body of Jesus Christ, we should take care not to lose its heavenly flavour by turning too soon to the care and business of the world.” St Teresa of Avila counselled her sisters not to rush out after Mass but to value the opportunity for thanksgiving: “Let us detain ourselves lovingly with Jesus and not waste the hour that follows Communion.

The time of thanksgiving will vary from person to person, but Cardinal Arinze once pointed out in one of his talks: “‘Father is doing his thanksgiving after Mass and will be available to us about ten minutes later’. And why should this not be applicable to the congregation too? Reverence is not automatic. It has to be nurtured, to be built up, to be kept up.”

There are several causes, I suggest, that explain the slipping of this prayerful custom in some places. First, the epidemic of activism – the idea that if I’m not doing something, I’m not being productive. Second, the loss of the sense of the sacred: sacred time and sacred space. You can be a wonderful witness to the reality of the sacred presence and help reverse these trends by persevering in your thanksgiving after Mass, even in the midst of bustle and action. That’s love in action!
– From “Don Bosco’s Madonna”, July 2012 issue. Contact for subscriptions or to support Seminarians: Shrine of Don Bosco’s Madonna, Matunga – Mumbai – 400 019 – India, email: dbmshrine@gmail.com

A PRAYER AFTER MASS
I. From the depths of my heart I thank You, dear Lord, for Your infinite kindness in coming to me. How good You are to me! With Your most holy Mother and all the Angels, I praise Your mercy and generosity toward me, a poor sinner. I thank You for nourishing my soul with Your Sacred Body and Precious Blood.

I will try to show my gratitude to You in the Sacrament of Your love, by obedience to Your holy commandments, by fidelity to my duties, by kindness to my neighbour, and by an earnest endeavour to become like You in my daily conduct.

II. O God, Your mercies are without number and Your goodness is an infinite treasure. I render thanks to Your most gracious Majesty for the gifts You have bestowed upon us.

At the same time, I also implore Your mercy, that as You grant the prayers of those that ask You, You will never forsake them, but will prepare them for the future reward. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 
 

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NINE DAILY PRAYERS AND REFLECTIONS FOR A NOVENA TO THE ROSA MYSTICA

Maria Rosa Mystica, Mystical Rose, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, you came down on earth to call upon us children of this earth to love each other, to unite; and live in peace. You request from us to be involved in charity, prayer, and penance. We thank God from the bottom of our hearts that He has given you to us as Our Mother and Mediatrix in all our needs. Mary, full of grace, please help me, I beseech you, and grant me my special intention (mention your request). You promised us your motherly protection, full of graces: “I want always to be very close to you for your motherly love.” Rosa Mystica, Immaculata, Mater Dolorosa, please show me that you are my Mother, Bride of the Holy Ghost, and Queen of Heaven and earth. Amen. (Hail, holy Queen…)

FIRST DAY:

Consider the extreme opposite to the Rosa Mystica: the worst and most gruesome thing going on in the world; the ugliness, the desecration of God by man in modern art, by the mass media, the press, on radio and television; the destruction of all values and order before and in marriage, in education and at school, shameless fashion taken to extreme excesses; all this being carried right into our churches and to the holiest places.
PRAYER: Maria, Rosa Mystica, please protect us from shamelessness and degeneration, preserve in us the sense of good and evil; prepare us to do battle in defence for all that is pure. Maria, Rosa Mystica, graciously hear us and pray for us. (3 Hail Marys)

SECOND DAY:

It is not enough to observe how desolate the general situation is. One must oneself be prepared not only to refuse to go with shameless fashions, but as a penance, to put up with something that is not really required of you, and to go without something enjoyable to you even if it is not sin. You ought to consider that you could also be guilty of a sin committed by others, by setting a bad example to them or by not speaking up against it.
PRAYER: Maria, Rosa Mystica, grant that you will give us the true spirit of atonement, to fight the current evil, to accept more often and voluntarily all the unpleasant things in life to atone for others that fail you. Maria, Rosa Mystica, graciously hear us and pray for us. (3 Hail Marys)

ST PAUL: “I make up in my own body what is still missing in the sufferings of Christ!”

THIRD DAY:

Pious people in particular should note: “The reason prayers often do not bring the expected answer is because too little penance is done with the prayer.” People complain about little daily inconveniences. What would Mary say to this?
PRAYER: Maria, Rosa Mystica, grant that we do not forget true penance and reparation with all our prayers, at home and on journeys! Please grant us the right spirit when we come to you. Maria, Rosa Mystica, graciously hear us and pray for us. (3 Hail Marys)

FOURTH DAY:

How to achieve all the things that are needed of you:
Make an effort to take time off to think and pray, move away from too much television, celebrations, leisure; learn to do without things, exercise moderation in food, drink, and sleep. Meditate on the Sacraments on the Holy Rosary, the Holy Scriptures and the life of Saints. In addition, a truly religious and pious father confessor is needed as a spiritual director. This would be a way of one’s own effort, of “active cleansing”. God Himself will help us through His Grace and His Guidance even in sorrow when we are humiliated, disappointed and suffer setbacks. Become totally free for God; break away from all attachment to the world and be free for the incomprehensible Glory of God.
PRAYER: Maria, Rosa Mystica, grant that you may help us and lead us in our efforts. Maria, Rosa Mystica, graciously hear us and pray for us. (3 Hail Marys)

FIFTH DAY:

When God takes everything away from man which blocks the path to God; when He helps you to leave everything; when He takes one’s close attachment to people and things, even one’s consolations; when He leads you into the very darkest “night of the spirit” without any consolation; when there is nothing but darkness and sorrow, and when one can still say like little St Therese or Padre Pio: “I believe”, then all natural things and created things are removed, and God is able to let flow the abundance of His Graces, knowledge and charism into one’s body and soul without hindrance…
PRAYER: Let us dare to say this prayer with its full weight and accept its possible consequences as Brother St Klaus, the patron saint of Switzerland, once prayed: “My Lord and My God, take everything from me, everything that may prevent me from coming to you. Give me everything that brings me close to you. Take me and do with me as you please!” (3 Hail Marys)

SIXTH DAY:

Together with Brother Klaus and the great Carmelites, St John of the Cross, Teresa the Great, and little Therese, we are now on the right path of our true devotion of Mary, the veneration of the Rosa Mystica, the Mystical Rose, and we may speak the words of St Louis de Montfort: “The quickest and easiest way to mysticism is Mary – the Rose of Mysticism”.
At the same time we must, however, prevent ourselves from falling under the widely-spread misunderstanding to believe that so-many. Rosaries together with so-many pilgrimages and devotions give us a secure way to Heaven, let us not deceive ourselves!
St Louis de Montfort knows very well how to differentiate between faked and genuine Marian devotion; not just any way leads to mysticism! A whole list of wrong ways of Marian devotions are mentioned by him: e.g. the anxious way, the impertinent way, the superficial way, the selfish way (how much selfishness there is in spiritual intentions!), etc.
Devotion to Mary must be genuine, needs inner preparation and cooperation; it needs devotion that is not just reciting many prayers and “devotions”, but taking in the real spirit of Mary; to pray “with Mary, in Mary, for Mary”; to ask oneself consciously and with your innermost heart: What does Mary need from me?
What would She do in my place? How can I please Her? What would She disagree with? – What changes would occur in the world, in the life of a person, in families, in societies, and in nations if one were really prepared to be led by Mary!
PRAYER: Maria, Rosa Mystica, help us to get to know you more and more, lead us and guide us that we may be able to find the path to your mysticism. Amen. (3 Hail Marys)

SEVENTH DAY:

There is very little written in the Scriptures about mysticism in Mary’s life on earth, and in Her transformation. Some general remarks only: “Blessed, full of grace”. The conception in Her womb – judging by the text in the Bible She can only be surmised with deepest reverence; in any event something extremely great and mysteriously enchanting happened when the infinite, eternal love was unified with the most loving human heart that ever existed, and will ever exist; united in order to create a tiny yet infinitely great being. However, we do not only possess the Bible; the dogmas, the meditations and writings of the Church, the revelations to mystics, whether male or female – all of them open the seed for us which is already contained in the Holy Scriptures, full of meaning. With what deep amazement do we read Mary of Agreda’s book about the “Mystical City of God”, how fascinating the way in which she tells us about the Divine Powers and the ability of knowing, helping and loving, the ecstasies and raptures; glories that often remain hidden from many worldly “experts”. There are still the many different apparitions of Our Lady in the world, and Her revelations. There would be no end if we wanted to recount all the wonderful results and consequences which happened as a result of them: Her knowledge of the human heart, of a single person, of whole groups, nations and ideologies (e.g. Communism); Her insight into world politics; Her blinding beauty and overwhelming goodness; Her geniality and knowledge of languages…just incredible; high and exalted above all artists and Nobel prize winners… The results of mysticism are powerful.
PRAYER: Maria, Rosa Mystica, grant that mankind may find its way to the most beautiful things, to the glories of the supernatural that surpasses nature itself. Please give us the fervour to seek this wonderful Divinity and to lead others to it so that they may learn to recognise how poor the delights and desires of this world are compared with Mary, the Rosa Mystica. (3 Hail Marys)

EIGHTH DAY:

The effects of the Rosa Mystica in us:
The more we are prepared to walk the path with Mary, the path She walked Herself, with inner devotion, with merciless self-control, in renunciation of all superficial pleasures, the more we work apostolically in Her spirit; the more we imitate what is contained in the mysteries of the Holy Rosary and mentioned in the Church’s prayer for the Feast of the Holy Rosary, the more we shall then “receive what they promise”. This then is our request, our prayer:
PRAYER: O God, whose only begotten Son has prepared for us the treasures of eternal salvation through His Life, His Death and Resurrection, grant, we beseech You that when we meditate on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the most blessed Virgin Mary and imitate what they contain, we shall receive what they promise through Christ, Our Lord. Amen. (3 Hail Marys)

NINTH DAY:

The special intention of the Mother of God: vocations to priesthood and religious life. Even if every Christian is called to holiness and mysticism, it is of even greater meaning and importance for the priests and religious. They should venerate and imitate their ideal, Mary, the Rosa Mystica, in a special way; and this is something that is missing quite often. It ought, therefore, to be a special apostolate to spread the purpose and meaning of this devotion in all our seminaries, monasteries and convents, for nowhere more saints and mystics are needed than there. The task of the laity will be to replace what is missing, through their own apostolate and a more zealous imitation of the Rosa Mystica! (3 Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, 3 Glory be – for the sanctification of priests, bishops, and religious; for special guidance and strength for the Holy Father.)

FINAL PRAYER:

Lord Jesus Christ, You have sent us Your Mother as a wonderful example of holiness and mysticism and especially as an ideal and patroness for the priests and religious. We ask You, grant us Your help to imitate Your most holy Mother more and more, to become souls of expiation and victim souls for those priests and religious who fail You: You who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

 
 

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OUR HEARTS ARE HARDENED BY OUR MANY SINS – HOW DO WE REMAIN IN CHRIST’S LOVE?

BY ST GREGORY OF NAREK, A MEDIEVAL MONK

Mix and unite Your commandments
with the sound of the bell [Your call to obedience],
so that my callous heart, hard as a diamond,
might again bear the fruits of Your word.
May the sound of the bell strike and pierce
my worn heart and forsaken soul
and like a sharp stake of wonder,
reinforce and shore them up,
upright and steadfast,
while softening the hardness of my soul…
O God who loves mankind,
through this venerable wooden bell
remind me of the gifts of your cross
by which You did things beyond words.

Lift away from me, Giver of life,
the weight of my sins
by the glorious yoke of Your new tabernacle.
By Your will, Almighty,
may the ears of my stubborn heart be opened
to the sound of life.
By this tiding of Your magnificent good works,
may the ears of the deaf hear.
Through this bell may the tongues of the dumb speak.
May the sight of the eyes be restored,
that they may look upon You purely in unwavering adoration.
May the weary wills of men be refreshed,
that they might repent and return to You.

In my turmoil, O Lord,
grant me the rain of tears.
Let this be from You to us
a message of joy,
a jubilant shout,
a tranquil song,
a thing of bliss,
a means of salvation,
an occasion for pardon,
a banishment of grief,
an extrication from entanglements,
an easing of anxiety,
a ceasing of cares,
a dispelling of sighs,
an alleviation of groaning,
an assurance of necessities,
a discipline of passions,
a cure for pains,
an immunisation against backsliding,
a contemplation of things invisible.
Amen.

 
 

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THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH: TO FORM ISLANDS OF FAITH IN TODAY’S WORLD

THE HOLY FATHER SEES THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH TODAY AS THAT OF FORMING ISLANDS WHERE FAITH IN GOD AND THE INTERIOR SIMPLICITY OF CHRISTIANITY ARE ALIVE AND RADIANT

…Time and again the Pope has insisted that we need to understand the Church as ‘Communion’. The root of this communion comes from the personal holiness of all the individual Christians. Sometimes people mistakenly think that holiness belongs to a particular group in the Church, such as the clergy or the consecrated religious, but ‘Lumen Gentium’ spoke of a universal call to holiness proper to each member of the Church. Thankfully holiness doesn’t depend on our own personal strength or goodness. ‘Lumen Gentium’ speaks of holiness in a realistic way when it says that “the followers of Christ are called by God, not because of their works, but according to his own purpose and grace. They are justified in the Lord Jesus, because in the Baptism of faith they truly become sons of God and sharers in the divine nature. In this way, they are really made holy.” Ultimately therefore holiness depends on how fully we accept the Lord’s call in our everyday lives.

THREE PATHS TO HOLINESS

If we want to know how to respond to the Lord’s call in a fruitful way, not surprisingly the Pope suggests a number of traditional paths to this holiness. In his first encyclical, ‘Deus Caritas Est’ he proposes the three fundamental activities of the Church as paths to holiness, “proclaiming the Word of God, celebrating the sacraments and exercising the ministry of charity.” The proclamation of the Word of God entails not just giving catechesis or preaching to people. It is mainly in the way we live our lives, in the phrase attributed to St Francis, we need to preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary to use words. Likewise, it is through our active participation in the sacraments that we can become holy. If we are nourished by the Eucharist and by prayer then we can live holier lives. This will necessarily be reflected in our works of Christian charity towards our brothers and sisters.

Indeed the true mission of the Church is to be a sacrament of salvation, as Pope Benedict said in a homily in Berlin in September 2011, “the Church as the Second Vatican Council expresses it, is the ‘universal sacrament of salvation’, existing for sinners, for us, in order to open up to us the path of conversion, healing and life. That is the Church’s great perennial mission, entrusted to her by Christ.

PROTECTIVE ZONES

This universal sacrament of salvation is a true hope for today’s generation where so many people are suffering. The Church can be a place of shelter and healing. In his book ‘Light of the World’, the Pope spoke of the mission of the Church today as forming “islands where faith in God and the interior simplicity of Christianity are alive and radiant; oases, Noah’s arks, to which people can always come back for refuge.” According to the Pope, these ‘protective zones’ can be found in liturgical spaces, parishes, movements, pilgrimages and exercises of piety, and we must labour towards providing an open, vital and authentic Christianity so that these ‘protective zones’ can be available for everyone who needs them so that the Church can truly present Christ as the Light of the World to everyone in our generation.
– This is an excerpt from an article by Neil Xavier O’Donoghue, published in “Messenger of Saint Anthony”, issue January 2013. For subscriptions etc., contact “Messenger of Saint Anthony”, Basilica del Santo, via Orto Botanico 11, 35123 Padua, Italy.

 
 

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THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY SINGLE SIN: TURNING TOWARDS ONE’S OWN PLEASURE AND PRIDE, LACK OF SUBMISSION TO GOD’S WILL – QUOTES BY ST THOMAS AQUINAS

[On] 28th January, the Church celebrates the feast of the great St Thomas Aquinas, a priest and Doctor of the Church. He was born in 1225 and became a member of the Dominican Order. He travelled between Paris and Italy, teaching and writing prolifically. After he died in 1275 he has come to be esteemed as one of the greatest Catholic theologians of all time. Here are some of his words for our prayerful reflection:

• “There are two sides to every sin: the turning of the will towards fleeting satisfaction and the turning away from everlasting value. As regards the first, the principle of all sins can be called lust – lust in its most general sense, namely, unbridled desire for one’s own pleasure. As regards the second, the principle is pride – pride in its general sense, the lack of submission to God.”

• “Prayer is not made to God in order to get the eternal plan of providence changed, because this is impossible. Its purpose is that people should obtain what they desire from God.”

• “These things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what we ought to believe; to know what we ought to desire; and to know what we ought to do.”

• “The entire universe is one dominion and realm, governed by one Ruler, who is the First Mover, the First Truth, the First Truth – God, blessed forever and ever.”

• “Three conditions are necessary for Penance: contrition, which is sorrow for sin, together with a purpose of amendment; confession of sins without any omission; and satisfaction by means of good works.”

• “If, then, you are looking for the way which you should go, take Christ, because He Himself is the way.”
– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris

[A NOTE ON SINNERS AND SALVATION:
Some feel they do not ‘agree’ with the Bible’s emphasis on sin…in order to accept Jesus as Saviour (which we need to for us to get saved by what He did for us), we need to have faith, which includes consciously avoiding sin at any cost. We do so by changing all our ways by means of our free will. Jesus has opened the door to Heaven for us by His obedience to the Father’s Will. It is accomplished. Where sin put an insurmountable wall between ourselves and eternal life, we can now be saved again. If we want, so to speak. For this we need to daily submit ourselves to the Father’s Will too, in all things, if we want to be saved. Our Lord’s life was humility and service, (works) if we accept Jesus as our Saviour and have faith, we have to imitate Him daily in all things. (This is not part of the above “Spiritual Thought”, but has been added by the administrator of this blog who is a miserable sinner and at the same time worried about many sinners outside the Fold taking sin too lightly. These added lines are meant as a plea to those brethren not to trivialise sin. Please.♥)]

 
 

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ALL PEOPLE THAT ON EARTH DO DWELL (HYMN)

A HYMN BASED ON PSALM 100

All people that on earth do dwell,
sing to the Lord with cheerful voice;
him serve with fear, his praise forth tell,
come ye before him and rejoice.

The Lord, ye know, is God indeed,
without our aid he did us make;
we are his folk, he doth us feed
and for his sheep he doth us take.

O enter then his gates with praise,
approach with joy his courts unto;
praise, laud and bless his name always,
for it is seemly to do so.

For why the Lord our God is good:
his mercy is for ever sure;
his truth at all times firmly stood,
and shall from age to age endure.

To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
the God whom heaven and earth adore,
from men and from the angel-host
be praise and glory evermore.
– William Kethe

 
 

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THE GREATEST GOOD OF ALL IS TO BE UNITED WITH THE HEART OF JESUS

WITHOUT GOD, WE ARE BUT MUD AND DUST

O, Christian, do you want to be truly holy and perfect? You must intimately unite your heart to the Heart of Jesus. For all perfection consists in the union between man and God, and the most perfect union is that between hearts. This union is greatly desired by the Heart of Jesus, who redeemed you with His Blood and wants You for Himself in both time and eternity, and this must also be the desire of your heart and your every care. United to this Heart, O, how much glory you will give to God, your every smallest action will add to the glory of Jesus Christ, and be directed to add to His greatness. And a host of advantages would come to you too! Because without this Heart, who are you? What can you do? What do you possess? Nothing, and united to Him who are you? What can you do? What do you possess? Everything. O, how much good you will do to everyone around you! A soul loved by God can do in an hour of prayer what others cannot accomplish with a year of labouring.

TRANQUILLITY IN THE MIDST OF STORMS

If you are united to the Heart of Jesus the angels and the saints will be with you, Mary and all of paradise will lovingly and gladly watch over you, no created thing will do you harm, and even the worst misfortunes will be turned to your good, not even the devil will be able to take you away from Jesus. Unity with His Heart will mean joy even in unhappiness, tranquillity even in the midst of storms, hope in misfortune, and you will lack nothing even if everyone abandons you. By this union, the actions you do that the world considers unimportant will be, thanks to the merits of Jesus Christ, transformed into the precious stones that will form part of your heavenly crown. By this union, all your works, prayers and sufferings, will serve to continuously elevate your throne, which you will one day sit on in your heavenly home.

JESUS TAKES AS MUCH CARE OF YOU ALONE AS HE DOES OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE

So how can this union come about? Here are the main ways. Total detachment, inviolable fidelity, interior sacrifice, perfect self control, constant generosity and complete abandon, these are the signs the divine Heart wants to see in a heart united to Him. Living faith is needed, you must also see and listen to the One who is near you, you must see all things through the Heart of Jesus, and the Heart of Jesus in all things, and remember, that Heart is King of all, watches all hearts and counts the number of beats yours makes.

TRUST IN JESUS ONLY

Trust in Him then, entrust Him with your heart, your hopes, the success of your endeavours, your health, your life and your death. Believe that He takes as much care of you as He does of the whole universe, and He wants good things for you, even more than you do yourself. With fervent love, that Heart is constantly telling you, “I love you,” and you ought to respond by saying every moment, “I love you.” As a result, acts of love done for Him will become as natural to you as breathing is. Think that He is love, and lives for love, and He is always searching for love. He really knows how to love, in every situation, and so it is by learning to love that we come to know Jesus, and the more we love Him, the more we will possess Him. Therefore, give yourself to Him without reservation and He will give Himself for you completely. May your heart be completely transformed by His, that you may share in an ever deeper union with Him, both on earth and in eternity.

WITHIN THE HOLY HEART OF JESUS

But where can this union take place? Exactly within the Heart of Jesus, here is where you must fly and remain like the loving dove. Within that Heart that is so contrite on your behalf because of your faults, you must weep for your sins and ask forgiveness of God. Within that Heart that is horrified by the smallest offence to His divine majesty, you must hate and flee from your smallest venial sins and faults. Within that Heart that was so mortified and afflicted for love of you, you must bear all your pains and mortify yourself. Within that Heart, so incomparable and incredible in its generosity, you must fight against all your vices and quell all your passions, and resist at all times the urgings of your corrupt nature.

PEACE, REST AND JOY

Within that infinitely holy Heart you must practice all virtue and good works, all your acts, both internal and external, always doing them in conformity with His holy actions. Within that Heart you will find the peace, rest and joy that comes from God, and it can become the centre of your life. So, what are you waiting for? Break every other tie and unite yourself to His Heart, enter into it and never leave it again. Remember that the greatest good to be had in heaven or on earth is to be united with the Heart of Jesus Christ, just as the greatest evil on earth or in hell is to be separated from it.
– Mons. Nicola Tafuri

 
 

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