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Monthly Archives: March 2017

SUPREME JOY

SUPREME JOY

ABNEGATION (poem)

 

To love the loving when skies above

Love’s heaven are fair; to see the bloom

Of flowers we plant from our hearts of love

In hearts that pity our days of gloom;

 

To know in a world where all forget

A love unchanging – are joys supreme

For the loving soul; but they fill not yet

The measure fair of a Christian’s dream.

 

For generous souls seek other bliss

Than love rewarding love; their hope

Has loftier flight and broader scope,

And finds fruitition not in this

 

In self-forgetfulness they live,

In sacrifice their dream is wrought,

Believing that, receiving naught,

Their highest pleasure is to give.

 

– Golden Grains, Sanctification and Happiness of Every-Day Life, Eighth Edition, M.H. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

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HOW THE BEAUTY OF A CHRISTIAN SOUL ENRAPTURES HIM WHO BECAME ITS SPOUSE BY BAPTISM

HOW THE BEAUTY OF A CHRISTIAN SOUL ENRAPTURES HIM WHO BECAME ITS SPOUSE BY BAPTISM

RAISE YOUR EYES TO THE REGIONS OF INFINITE LOVE: THERE YOU WILL FIND THE SECRET OF YOUR TEARS

Alas! we always forget that the object of our love is beloved also by another, and that God is called in the Holy Scriptures a jealous God. In our affections we forget Him Who loves more than all creatures together, and Who, lest they should find any reason to complain of Him, has willed to die for them, eternal as He was by His nature. Raise your eyes to the regions of infinite love, there you will find the secret of your tears. You will see wrapped in the embrace of God the soul which divided itself so equally between God and you, that not even the attractions of Heaven would have torn it from you, if it had not received an indisputable order. You will see the reason of this command, which seems so cruel, and understand how the beauty of a Christian soul enraptures Him Who became its Spouse by baptism.

DEATH IS THE PORTAL OF LIFE

Unhappy that we are, we do not believe these divine mysteries! We call birth and life by the name of death; we make a tomb of the portal of heaven, we weep there, like men who have no hope?

– Lacordaire, from Laverty & Sons (eds), Leeds, 1905

 

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PRAYER ON GIVING ST ANTHONY’S BREAD

PRAYER ON GIVING ST ANTHONY’S BREAD

O glorious Wonder Worker, father of the poor, who by a miracle didst discover the heart of a miser buried in his gold, and who was endowed with a heart ever ready to help the distressed and afflicted – thou who dost ensure a hearing for our prayers by offering them thyself to the Lord; accept in token of our gratitude the alms which we lay at thy feet for the relief of the poor sick children.

May this alms do good to those who suffer and to ourselves. Come to their aid and to ours with the accustomed kindness; help us in our temporal needs, but still more in our spiritual necessities, now and at the hour of our death.

[Indulgence of 100 days, once a day, applicable to the souls in Purgatory.]

– Composed by Cardinal Parocchi

 
 

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ST ANTHONY’S BREAD

ST ANTHONY’S BREAD

The recent growth in devotion to St Anthony of Padua has become so marked as to call forth exclamations of astonishment from even the Catholic Press. This new fervour towards the great wonder worker of the Franciscan Order is one of the most consoling signs of the times, and it seems, moreover, to supply a special need of our day. Nowhere has this increase of devotion been more marked than in France, where it has taken the form of a new charity, known as “St Anthony’s Bread“.

How did it all start?

The origin of this charity, the fame of which is spreading rapidly throughout all the world, is thus described.

One morning in November, in the year 1892, Mlle. Bouffier, a poor shop-keeper of Toulon, found it impossible to open her shop door. The safety lock seemed broken, and she called a locksmith. After trying all the keys on his ring, he gave up in despair, saying there was no resource but to break open the door. While the locksmith went in search of other tools, the shop-keeper prayed fervently to St Anthony, that the door might be opened without violence, promising, if her request should be granted, to distribute a certain number of loaves to the poor in his honour. She then begged the locksmith to make another effort with his keys, and, taking one at random, the door flew open without the slightest difficulty.

A rapidly growing devotion

After this simple evidence of St Anthony’s power, his clients increased so rapidly in Toulon that Mlle. Bouffier, with the assistance of her friends, founded a work of charity called the “Bread of St Anthony”. In the room behind the shop they placed a statue of the Saint with a lamp burning before it, and under the lamp two boxes – one to receive the written requests and promises made to St Anthony, and the other to receive money to buy bread for the poor.

A humble oratory

From the beginning, large crowds flocked to this humble oratory. Soldiers and officers knelt to pray; and naval captains, before setting out for a long cruise, came to commend themselves and their ships. Mothers came to beg health for their children or other favours for grown sons and daughters. Many came to implore the conversion of a soul dear to them, while servants or work-women without employment came to beg the Saint’s protection.

Amazing miracles

In the fullness of time rumours of the wonders wrought through St Anthony’s intercession at Toulon reached Paris, Lyons, Bordeaux, Marseilles, and other large towns, and many chapels in these cities very soon contained the two boxes for the offerings which have now well nigh universal throughout France.

How to do this yourselves

“St Anthony’s Bread” is obtained in a simple way. All a member of any Congregation has to do is to write his or her request on a piece of paper, adding a promise that if by the expiration of a given time such the Saint should secure the fulfilment of request a certain sum of money will be placed in the collection box to buy bread for the poor. These written requests may be either of a spiritual or a temporal character. They may properly include requests for success in any legitimate enterprise, the grace to overcome the proneness to commit a certain sin, the conversion of a relative or friend to the true faith, etc., etc. The request may have reference to the writer only, or to relatives, friends, or even strangers.

Bread and other goods/services for the poor 

When the favour is obtained, the sum of money promised – with an addition of course if desired – is to be deposited in the box. This money is devoted to purchasing and distributing “St Anthony’s Bread”. By this latter is understood as meaning not only food, but also clothing and medical attendance – in fact, everything necessary for the relief of the poor and of the suffering poor in particular.

– St Anthony’s Treasury, Laverty & Sons Ltd., Leeds, 1916

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2017 in Devotions

 

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HOLD ON TO THE GOOD AND STAY IN THE FOOTPRINTS OF YOUR PIOUS ANCESTORS – ST NICHOLAS OF FLUE

HOLD ON TO THE GOOD AND STAY IN THE FOOTPRINTS OF YOUR PIOUS ANCESTORS – ST NICHOLAS OF FLUE

“[On]…21st March one of the saints celebrated by the Church is St Nicholas of Flue, known also as Brother Klaus. He was born in 1417 in the Swiss canton of Unterwalden. At the age of 21 St Nicholas entered the army and took part in the Battle of Ragaz, distinguishing himself as a soldier. He became a member of the lay organisation called the Friends of God. Members sought closeness to Jesus through a disciplined life, especially meditation on His Passion.

Closeness to Jesus

At the age of 30 St Nicholas married Dorothy Wissling, and during twenty years of happy marriage they had ten children. St Nicholas left the army at the age of 37, having always carried his rosary beads with him wherever he travelled. After leaving the army he became a councillor and a judge for his canton.

His Divine Calling

At the age of 50 St Nicholas sensed the call of God to lead a more contemplative life. His wife and children believed that he had this divine calling and did not oppose him. St Nicholas left his family and spent the next 20 years in a remote cottage in Ranft. He prayed most of the night, but in the afternoon was happy to receive visitors.

He prayed most of the night

Although unable to read or write, St Nicholas had the gift of spiritual counsel and natural good judgement. Even top leaders sought his direction on spiritual, personal or political matters. In 1481 St Nicholas played a major role in solidifying the unity of Switzerland through his advice given to those involved in this endeavour. St Nicholas died on 21st March 1487 in Ranft after a short illness. He was beatified in 1669 and canonised by Pope Pius XII in 1947. He is the Patron Saint of Switzerland and of the Swiss Guards who protect the Pope.

A document from that time preserved St Nicholas’ fundamental wisdom:

Always put God first… do not mix in the affairs of others or ally yourself with a powerful stranger. Guard against discord and self-interest… do not let grow among you self-interest, jealousy, hatred, envy and factions, or these will work against you… don’t let innovations and roguery seduce you. Hold on to the good and stay on the road in the footprints of your pious ancestors. If you do that, neither storm nor tempest can harm you and you will overcome much evil.”

– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr. Chris 3/2017

 

 

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TAKING ON BOARD THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS PARALYSES THE POWERS OF ACTION

TAKING ON BOARD THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS PARALYSES THE POWERS OF ACTION

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: THE QUICKEST METHOD OF EMPTYING ONESELF OF “SELF”

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

Human respect, often called common prudence, respect for the opinions of others, and the like, paralyses the powers of action of those who are called to be apostles and reduces works for souls to triviality.

Living in the midst of great communities of pagans or non-Catholics or the lapsed, the faithful make little or no effort to convert them and the graces God offers are returned unused.

Aware of this, the Army of Mary sets itself to a deliberate campaign against the operation of the spirit of human approval in its members. The principal means employed are insistence upon sound and strict discipline and constant indoctrination of the fact that human respect in a Child of Mary is comparable to cowardice in a soldier. Love, loyalty and discipline, if they are genuine, will certainly result in sacrifice and courage. “What a shame to be the delicate member of a Thorn-crowned Head!”  … words of St Bernard which the member must constantly apply to himself.

“If you fought only when you felt ready for the fray, where would be your merit?” asks St Therese of Lisieux.

“What does it matter even if you have no courage, provided you behave as though you were really brave? If you feel too lazy to pick up a bit of thread, and yet do so for the love of Jesus, you gain more merit than for a much nobler action done on an impulse of fervour. Instead of grieving, be glad that, by allowing you to feel your own weakness, Our Lord is furnishing you with an occasion of saving a greater number of souls.”

– Excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part 1)

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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PSALM 49 – DEUS DEORUM

PSALM 49 – DEUS DEORUM

The coming of Christ: who prefers virtue and inward purity before the blood of victims.

A psalm for Asaph.

The God of gods, the Lord hath spoken: and hath called the earth.

From the rising of the sun, to the going down thereof: out of Sion the loveliness of his beauty.

God shall come manifestly: our God shall come, and shall not keep silence.

A fire shall burn before him: and a mighty tempest shall be round about him.

He shall judge heaven from above, and the earth, to judge his people.

Gather ye together his saints to him: who set his covenant before sacrifices.

And the heavens shall declare his justice: for God is judge.

Hear, my people, and I will speak: O Israel, and I will testify to thee: I am God, thy God.

I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices: and thy burnt offerings are always in my sight.

I will not take calves out of thy house: nor he goats out of thy flocks.

For all the beasts of the woods are mine: the cattle on the hills, and the oxen.

I know all the fowls of the air: and with me is the beauty of the field.

If I should be hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof.

Shall I eat the flesh of bullocks? or shall I drink the blood of goats?

Offer to God the sacrifice of praise: and pay thy vows to the most High.

And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

But to the sinner God hath said: Why dost thou declare my justices, and take my covenant in thy mouth?

Seeing thou hast hated discipline: and hast cast my words behind thee.

If thou didst see a thief thou didst run with him: and with adulterers thou hast been a partaker.

Thy mouth hath abounded with evil, and thy tongue framed deceits.

Sitting thou didst speak against thy brother, and didst lay a scandal against thy mother’s son: these things hast thou done, and I was silent.

Thou thoughtest unjustly that I should be like to thee: but I will reprove thee, and set before thy face.

Understand these things, you that forget God; lest he snatch you away, and there be none to deliver you.

The sacrifice of praise shall glorify me: and there is the way by which I will shew him the salvation of God.

 

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