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Category Archives: Giving Witness Day by Day

OUR DAILY APOSTOLIC WORK AND PRAYER-LIFE

OUR DAILY APOSTOLIC WORK AND PRAYER-LIFE

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: TAKING ON BOARD THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS PARALYSES THE POWERS OF ACTION

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

Courage is shown not only in the performance of the Child of Mary’s apostolic work but also in his prayer-life. His devotion to the means of grace appointed by the Church and fidelity to prayer have a quality of heroism and are models and inspirations to the rest of the faithful. Only thus will he attain the degree of courage expected of him in his work for souls.

Courage

Natural timidity and fear, false or well-grounded, must be overcome. Every member amongst the most wretched and dejected of the population must not only be visited but known personally and intimately. This is the goal, and his courage must rise to attain it. He always remembers that his search for each individual member of the degraded classes may be their only chance of eternal life. How intense, how earnest, how courageous must that search be!

Natural philanthropy is not love and requires no courage

Natural philanthropy serves humanity for humanity’s sake; but that is not love and it requires no courage. The apostolate sets itself to devoted and universal attention to the “down-and-out,” the hopeless, the impossible, the unlovely, the repulsive elements of the population that those who see it at work are amazed at the courage of such love and recognise in it a confounding of the materialistic systems which offer but a counterfeit of Christian charity. The effect is electrifying; even the irreligious are startled into a new seriousness towards religion; modes of thought are changed, and new and nobler ways of living begin to show themselves.

Beyond the prudence of the flesh

Through the strictly disciplined system of the apostolate, the member is thoroughly trained in the spirit and practice of prudence. He is warned against a common fallacy of the present day which confounds the Christian virtue of prudence with what is merely natural – the prudence of the flesh.

The Gospel must be preached to every creature

In the first place, exercise of prudence demands a mature deliberation of which the best means to attain the end in view may be discovered, and a wise judgment as to the means likely to be most effectual. Secondly, it requires that the plan adopted be executed without delay, but with foresight, discretion and necessary caution. The Gospel must be preached to every creature. That supreme wish must swallow up every difficulty and overcome every obstacle.

Apostolic outlook

The Child of Mary is trained in such a way that his outlook will invariably be apostolic. The apostolic spirit enters his soul and reigns there as master. By a judicious mixture of prudence and courage, he sets himself against the spirit of cowardliness which seems to prevail even amongst the good. His training fits him to undertake difficult work and the system reduces the possibilities of harm to the absolute minimum. When it is known that a work is difficult and dangerous, but yet it is necessary if certain souls are to be saved, everything possible is done in the interest of safety and the attack goes on with appropriate materials. He does not stand by and look on while souls are being plunged into hell.

– 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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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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WITHOUT HUMILITY, LIKENESS TO MARY IS IMPOSSIBLE

WITHOUT HUMILITY, LIKENESS TO MARY IS IMPOSSIBLE

He hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. (Lk1:48)

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: OUR WARFARE IS NOT OF THIS WORLD

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

Humility is necessary for that union with Mary upon which the apostolate relies for its supernatural efficacy. It is more essential in Mary’s soldiers than are courage, intelligence and physical fitness in the soldier of worldly armies.

A man may be determined to be a good soldier, to play a worthy part in the battles in which his country’s forces are engaged and, yet, through the absence of the necessary qualities, be unable to do so. A paralysed man may long to walk, but even the most vehement longings will not give him the capacity he does not physically possess.

So it is, the Children of Mary are bound to be rendered ineffective unless they are rooted in true humility. Without this virtue HOLINESS, the source of all apostolic action is impossible. Without it, there can be no real likeness to Mary.

– 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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PRAYER FOR CATECHISTS

PRAYER FOR CATECHISTS

LET THEM COME TO ME, FOR OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

O Jesus, Friend of children, Who from thy most tender years didst grow visibly in wisdom and in grace before God and men; Who at the age of twelve east seated in the Temple, in the midst of the doctors, listening to them attentively, asking them questions, and exciting their admiration by the prudence and wisdom of thy discourse; Who didst receive so willingly the children, blessing them and saying to thy disciples: “Let them come to Me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven,” inspire me as thou didst inspire Blessed Peter Canisius, model and guide of the perfect Catechist, with a profound respect and a holy affection for childhood, a taste and a marked devotion for instructing them in Christian doctrine, a special aptitude in making them understand its mysteries, and love its beauties. I ask this of thee, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

[300 days, once a day. – Pius X., March 15th, 1906.]

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

 

 

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DEARLY BELOVED, LET EACH OF US FIGHT FOR EITHER THE WHITE CROWN OF VIRGINITY, OR THE RED CROWN OF MARTYRDOM

DEARLY BELOVED, LET EACH OF US FIGHT FOR EITHER THE WHITE CROWN OF VIRGINITY, OR THE RED CROWN OF MARTYRDOM

And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one. (1 Corinthians 9:25)

Today, dearly beloved, on one solemn day of rejoicing, we celebrate the feast of all the saints in heaven. In their communion, heaven exults; in their patronage, earth rejoices; in their triumph, holy Church is crowned with glory. Their testimony becomes more glorious with honour in proportion to the intensity of their agony. As the battle waxed fiercer, the greater was the glory which came to those who fought; the more terrible their tortures, the more illustrious the triumph of their martyrdom; the greater their torments, the greater their rewards. As our holy mother the Catholic Church – now spread far and wide throughout the whole world – has been taught by Christ Jesus her Head, not to fear shame, or the cross or death, but to become stronger and stronger, not by resisting but by enduring, so has she breathed into her children, welded by the cruel prison into a glorious band, a triumphant spirit equal to her own in its fire and in courage to carry on the conflict.

Courage

O mother Church truly holy, whose glory God deigns to illumine, whom the glorious blood of conquering martyrs adorns, whom the white robes of virgins clothe with an inviolate confession of faith, roses and lilies are not wanting to your garlands. Dearly beloved, let each one of us fight that he may gain the high dignity of one or the other of these honours, either the white crown of virginity, or the red crown of martyrdom. In the heavenly camps, both peace and war have their own garlands with which the soldiers of Christ are crowned.

The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.

For the ineffable and limitless goodness of God has provided that the time of both toil and struggle shall not be prolonged unduly, nor drawn-out and without end, but brief, and as I might say, of a moment. Therefore, although in this short and difficult life there may be labours and struggles, in that life which is eternal there are crowns and rewards of merits. The struggles are soon over, the rewards for merits last forever. God in his goodness has provided, too, that after the darkness of this life they shall see an exceedingly great radiance, they shall receive blessedness far beyond the bitterness of all their torment. The Apostle bears witness of this when he says, “The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.” [Romans 8:18]

– St Bede the Venerable, Priest, Sermon 18 on the Saints, from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
 

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IN OUR OWN AGE, THE CALL TO SANCTITY IS MORE IMPERATIVE THAN EVER

IN OUR OWN AGE, THE CALL TO SANCTITY IS MORE IMPERATIVE THAN EVER

For Part 1 please click here.

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

In our own Age, the call to sanctity is more imperative than ever, if only because our race seems to be drifting further and further from God. The Blessed Virgin has appeared, notably at Fatima, to appeal for reparation. God has raised up a great Saint like St Therese of Lisieux to recruit an army of victim souls. The Popes have called upon all members of the Church to seek after integral Catholicism, which necessarily implies the practice of the lay apostolate.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the Providence of God should in these times offer sincere souls a means of sanctity, specially designed for those who must continue to live in the world.

Mary’s Army exists primarily to sanctify its members. To accomplish this, it has devised a unique scheme of spiritual formation designed to bring its members ever closer to God through frequent reception of the Sacraments, regular prayer, the practice of all the virtues and, most of all, devotion to Our Lady.

We are well aware that no one can take the slightest step towards sanctity without grace. Mary’s Army calls all its members to have the greatest devotion to the Holy Eucharist, the very Source of Grace. The Mass is the continuation among men of the Sacrifice of Calvary, containing all that Christ offered to God and all that He acquired for men. From Calvary, every Grace flows: hence, desiring to share plenteously in the gifts of Redemption, the Child of Mary has fervent and frequent recourse to Holy Mass, which he is particularly enjoined to hear in union with and in the spirit of Mary. Through him, Mary will re-enact her prayer on Calvary, the first fruits of which were the earliest converts to the Faith. With Her, he will unite himself to Christ, to be but a single victim, offered to God for the sins of men. [to be continued]

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

 

 

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THE FINEST SERMON EVER PREACHED WAS DELIVERED BY GOD

THE FINEST SERMON EVER PREACHED WAS DELIVERED BY GOD

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

The finest sermon ever preached was delivered by God, in Person, as He sat on the slopes of a mountain over 2000 years ago: “Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Blessed are the patient; they shall inherit the land. Blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for holiness; they shall have their fill.”

Christ was challenging the world. Speaking to a group of ordinary, illiterate country people, He told them that their vocation in life was to aspire after the holiness of God Himself. “You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect… Lay up treasure for yourselves in Heaven… Make it your first care to find the Kingdom of God and His approval… Make your way in by the narrow gate.” Little wonder that St Paul, a few years later, could tell the people of Thessalonica: “What God asks of you is that you should sanctify yourselves.”

Christ lived and taught on this earth to sanctify souls. That was the reason He established His Church. He intended all men to be saints. There is not one kind of Christianity for priests, monks and nuns, and another for people living in the world. To all, St Peter addresses these words: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people God means to have for Himself; it is yours to proclaim the exploits of the God Who has called you out of the darkness into His marvellous light.”

Every Christian, in virtue of the fact that he is a Christian, is bound to seek after holiness. Monks and nuns bind themselves by vows to help them in their quest, but the vows do not make the obligation: they simply reinforce and emphasise it. The destination of the Christian life is perfection for all. In every Age of the Church, there have been saints in the world as well as in the cloister. [to be continued]

– Excerpts from Holiness Through Mary by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s contact details, please click here.

 

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