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Category Archives: Words of Wisdom

WE ARE SAVED BY FAITH NOT BY ARGUING

WE ARE SAVED BY FAITH NOT BY ARGUING

Many a man seems to have no grasp at all of doctrinal truth. He cannot get himself to think it of importance what a man believes, and what not. He tries to do so; for a time he does…

Yet though he thinks so one day, he changes the next; he holds the truth, and then lets it go. He is filled with doubts… Reasonings do not convince him; he cannot be convinced; he has no grasp of truth.

Why? Because the next world is not a reality to him; it only exists in his mind in the form of certain conclusions from certain reasonings. It is but an inference; it can never be more, never can be present to his mind, until he acts instead of arguing.

– Bl. John Henry Newman, We are saved by faith not by arguing; P. S. IV, 231

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Posted by on October 9, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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THROUGH PRAYER, A MAN IS NO LONGER WHAT HE WAS BEFORE

THROUGH PRAYER, A MAN IS NO LONGER WHAT HE WAS BEFORE

I say, then, it is plain common sense that the man who has not accustomed himself to the language of heaven will be no fit inhabitant of it… The case is like that of a language or style of speaking of this world; we know well a foreigner from a native…

[S]o a habit of prayer, the practice of turning to God and the unseen world, in every season, in every place, in every emergency (let alone its supernatural effect of prevailing with God) – prayer, I say, has what may be called a natural effect, in spiritualising and elevating the soul.

A man is no longer what he was before; gradually, imperceptibly to himself, he has imbibed a new set of ideas, and become imbued with fresh principles.

– Bl. John Henry Newman, Moral effects of Communion with God, P. S. IV, 229-30

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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HOW CAN I BE GOOD?

HOW CAN I BE GOOD?

Dear little souls, God loves, you and your sufferings are not unknown to me; you who so ardently feel the happiness of devoting yourselves to others, but are unable to do so, because the occasions seem to fly from you; you who so often try to devote yourselves, but are suddenly held back by timidity and the fear of not being accepted – it is for you that I have collected these little occupations, which permit you to taste, without coming from under the shadow of silence and obscurity, the joys of a devotion known to God alone, of a benevolence all the sweeter to the heart of him who exercises it because no one thinks of thanking him.

THE SWEET OFFICE OF MEDIATOR

This little occupation consists in never suffering two hearts in a family or community to remain for any length of time at variance.

It seems a most natural thing to extend your hand to a friend who is offended, saying simply, with that friendly smile which brightens the whole countenamce: Let us love each other as we did before.

The wounded heart closes, retires, and shrinks back upon itself, exaggerating the injuries inflicted on it by a friend and its own wrongs, and it remains estranged; it desires to revive the old friendship, but it knows not how to commence.

Oh! if some advance were only made.

Make it, you who accept the sweet office of mediator. Go from one to the other; be the bearer of a simple good morning; tell him who is offended that you have seen his friend sad.

Is there a reparation to be made, a pardon to be asked? Take it upon yourself, arrange an interview, cause a smile, a tear. Do not become weary until you have re-established the union between these two hearts.

And then quietly resume your ordinary life, as if you had done nothing, and await some new occasion of being useful.

Oh! what account will not God take of your steps and your words.

– From: Golden Grains, A Collection of Counsels for the Sanctification And Happiness of Every-Day Life, M. H. Gill & Son, Dublin, 1889

MORE WAYS TO BE GOOD

The Repairer of Neglects

 

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THIS HOME IS AN EXAMPLE OF MARRIED LIFE AND OF VIRGINITY

THIS HOME IS AN EXAMPLE OF MARRIED LIFE AND OF VIRGINITY

ST ANNE, THE MOTHER OF OUR LADY

The home of Anne is set before us, giving an example at once of married life and of virginity, the first in the person of the mother, the second in that of the daughter; of whom the one has just been freed from sterility, and the other, a little later on, is to bring forth Christ in a supernatural birth, adapted by a divine artifice to the circumstances of our nature. Therefore, filled with the divine Spirit, her soul happy and joyous, deservedly does Anne cry aloud: “Rejoice with me, for from my sterile womb I have borne the bud of promise, and, as I had desired, I feed at my breast the fruit of blessing. I have put off the mourning-garment of sterility, and put on the joyful raiment of fruitfulness. Let that other Anne [Hannah], the rival of Phenenna, rejoice with me this day, and let her celebrate with me this new and unexpected miracle, which has been wrought in me, as it was in her.

LET ALL THE BARREN AND CHILDLESS SING IN HARMONY TOGETHER

Let Sara rejoice, she who rejoiced in conception in her old age, and foreshadowed my conception from sterility. Let all the barren and childless sing in harmony together at my visitation made to me from heaven in a wonderful manner.” Likewise, let all mothers endowed with this fruitfulness say: “Blessed be he who granted what they wished to those who prayed to him, and who gave fruit to the sterile, and granted her to bear that most happy bud, the Virgin who was the Mother of God according to the flesh, whose womb was a heaven, in which he dwelt whom no place can contain. And let us also offer praise becoming to these very things, that she who was called sterile now stands forth as the mother of a virgin mother. Let us say to her in the words of Scripture: “How blessed is the house of David, from which you have sprung, and the womb in which God fashioned the ark of sanctification,” that is, her from whom he himself was conceived without seed.

TRULY BLESSED ARE YOU, AND THRICE BLESSED

Truly blessed are you, and thrice blessed, you who have borne an infant given you by the blessing of God, that is to say, Mary, whose very name is likewise to be honoured in the highest degree; from whom came forth Christ, the flower of life; a Virgin whose origin was glorious, and whose child-bearing was above all the world. We also congratulate you, most blessed woman, for truly you have brought forth by the divine bounty the hope of all of us, that is, the child of promise. Blessed indeed are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. For the tongues of the godly magnify your offspring, and every joyful word is spoken concerning your child. It is truly fitting indeed, and most fitting it is, to praise her, who received a revelation by the divine goodness, and brought forth for us so great a fruit, from whom came forth the sweet Jesus.

– St John Damascene (Discourse II on the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary), from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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GOD WAS PLEASED TO TAKE HUMAN FLESH OF A WOMAN

GOD WAS PLEASED TO TAKE HUMAN FLESH OF A WOMAN

To show his love for us, to bring to nothing the wisdom of men, God was pleased to take human flesh of a woman, of a virgin, that he might restore like by like, heal opposite by opposite, pluck out the poisonous thorn, blot out effectively the handwriting of sin.

EVE WAS A THORN, MARY A ROSE

Eve was a thorn, Mary a rose. Eve was a thorn that wounded; Mary a rose, soothing the passions. Eve was a thorn fastening death upon all; Mary a rose restoring all to the heritage of salvation. Mary was a rose, white in her virginity, red in her love; white in her flesh, red in her mind; white as she walked the path of virtue, red in trampling upon vice; white in the purification of her affection, red in the mortification of her flesh; white in her love of God, red in her compassion for her neighbour.

– Sermon on Our Lady by St Bernard, Abbot; from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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ALTAR SERVER – THE GREATEST OF THE WORLD ARE NOT WORTHY OF SUCH AN HONOUR

ALTAR SERVER – THE GREATEST OF THE WORLD ARE NOT WORTHY OF SUCH AN HONOUR

SERVING AT MASS

In our days this office has devolved on mere boys or pious youths, though the greatest monarchs of the world are not worthy of such an honour. St Bonaventure tells us that this is the office of angels because during the Divine Mysteries many angels are serving God in this sacred function.

THE OFFICE OF ANGELS

This is confirmed by St Nilus, who saw hosts of angels assisting the ministers when St John Chrysostom celebrated. The glorious St Mechthilde saw the soul of a lay brother after his death crowned with ineffable glory, because he had always evinced extraordinary diligence and devotion whilst serving at Mass.

CROWNED WITH INEFFABLE GLORY 

Saint Thomas Aquinas, the “Angel of the Schools,” justly appreciating the hidden treasure contained in this office, would not be content, if, after offering the Sacred Mysteries, he were not allowed to serve another Mass.

FAMOUS ALTAR SERVERS: ST THOMAS AQUINAS AND ST THOMAS MORE

Blessed Thomas More, Chancellor of England, took the greatest delight in this holy work, so much so, that on one occasion, when taunted by a minister of state, who said that the king would be offended if he learned that the Chancellor had so humbled his dignity, he replied: “My lord, the king cannot be offended with me for the service I render to his Lord, nay, to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.”

THE SERVICE TO THE LORD OF LORDS

Some persons are often reluctant to perform this holy Office, so much so, that they must be almost compelled to serve Mass. This is a great folly; for instead of being forced to serve at the altar, they ought to desire ardently the honour of performing a service so holy, which the angels themselves, and the blessed in heaven, could envy.

GREAT VIGILANCE

Great vigilance, however, should be employed in instructing those who are permitted to serve at Mass. They must be taught to keep their eyes modestly cast down, and to observe that strict decorum, so necessary in the presence of that awful majesty of God Who is on the altar during the Adorable Sacrifice. Hence their whole exterior ought to exhibit the greatest reverence and compunction. They must, however, be taught to pronounce the words distinctly, slowly, and in such a tone as to be heard by the Priest, but not so high or loud as to distract those who are celebrating at other altars. Special care should be taken to exclude boys who cannot understand the dread function they are performing, and who may be a subject of annoyance and distraction to the celebrant and people.

MODESTY AND HUMILITY OF AN ANGEL

My earnest prayer to God is, that He will inspire men of good will to give edification to the people, by performing an office so praiseworthy and so holy; and that, like St Wenceslas, King of Bohemia, they will not only assist at several Masses every day, but also serve the Priest, as he did, with the modesty and humility of an angel.

– St Leonard of Port Maurice, O. F. M.; from: St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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THE FAMOUS ROSES OF STOCKPORT

THE FAMOUS ROSES OF STOCKPORT

From the England of today there also comes the story of the famous roses of Stockport. 

MAY CROWNING 

On the first Sunday of May, 1947, five-year-old Pauline Byrne placed a crown of roses on the statue of our Lady in St Mary’s Church, Stockport, England. The incident was similar to hundreds of May crownings taking place throughout the world.

YELLOW TEA ROSES

Rev. James Turner, D. D., pastor of St Mary’s, says that 1947 was the golden jubilee of his church. When ordering the crown for the statue, he asked the florist to choose yellow tea roses, as being the colour nearest to gold.

LOVELY, BUT TERRIBLY FRAIL

“When I received the crown on Saturday evening,” Father Turner says, “it looked lovely but terribly frail. I did not think it would remain presentable till the next day.

“Towards the middle of May I was surprised to see the roses in the crown still intact and beautiful; in all previous years the roses had fallen out after a week or ten days.

“At the end of the month I always took the statue back to my bedroom, although the people always begged me to leave the statue in the sanctuary because they loved it so much. But I was always adamant and said that June is the month of the Sacred Heart and our Blessed Mother must give in to her divine Son.

“At the end of May the roses were still intact and beautiful. I said to my parishioners: ‘Well, you have always asked me to leave the statue in the sanctuary. I will do so as long as the roses remain intact.’ Half jokingly, I added, ‘If our Lady wants to stay in her place of honour, well, it’s up to her to keep the roses as they are.’

I DO BELIEVE THAT OUR BLESSED MOTHER TOOK UP THE CHALLENGE 

“Really, I do believe that our Blessed Mother took up the challenge, because month succeeded month, and there was still no change in the roses.”

In October, a reporter heard about the roses, and the story went all over the world. Visitors came by the hundreds.

The following year, the same May queen deposited a second crown of 17 golden ophelias on top of the first. This crown also failed to fade. In May, 1949, seven-year-old Anne Carley placed a third crown on the statue.

“To this day,” says Father Turner, “there has not fallen a single petal from any one of the 50 roses.

HIS BELOVED DAUGHTER, HIS CHERISHED MOTHER, HIS CHASTE SPOUSE

“Personally I look upon the three crowns as being beautifully symbolic of our Blessed Mother being crowned by the Eternal Father as His Beloved Daughter, by the Eternal Son as His cherished Mother, and by the Holy Ghost as His chaste spouse. Again I look upon the 50 roses as symbolising the 50 Hail Marys of the Rosary.

THE FIFTY HAIL MARYS OF THE ROSARY 

“For these reasons I did not wish to superimpose a fourth crown on our Lady of the Roses, and so I decided to place a crown on Our Lady of Lourdes. To our amazement, this crown is following the example of the crowns on Our Lady of Roses.

A MIRACLE? 

A woman reporter examined this fourth crown in June, 1950, when it was more than six weeks old. She rubbed the petals and the delicate ferns between her fingers. They were completely dry, completely dehydrated; but they retained their original shape and form and virtually their original colour. They looked like living roses and living ferns, but they were not. From their dryness, one would have expected them to fall to the floor, but they did not.

The reporter could not feel the first three crowns, because they were too high. From their appearance, however, she judged them to be in the same condition.

The Church has not pronounced upon the roses of Stockport, so we do not know whether they can be considered miraculous. If the Church does declare that a miracle has taken place, England, and the entire world, will have cause for great rejoicing.

– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 
 

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