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Category Archives: Words of Wisdom

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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“THE HOLY GHOST I TAKE TO WITNESS…”

“THE HOLY GHOST I TAKE TO WITNESS…”

PRAYERS SAID IN THE 14th/15th CENTURY 

“This creature, of whom is treated before, used, for many years, to begin her prayers in this manner:

First, when she came to church, kneeling before the Sacrament, in the worship of the Blessed Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God and Three Persons), of that Glorious Queen of Mercy Our Lady, Saint Mary, and of the twelve Apostles, she said this holy hymn, ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’, with all the verses belonging thereto, that God should illuminate her soul, as He did His Apostles on Pentecost Day, and indue her with the gifts of the Holy Ghost, that she might have grace to understand His will, and perform it in working, and that she might have grace to withstand the temptations of her ghostly enemies, and eschew all manner of sin and wickedness.

THE HOLY GHOST I TAKE TO WITNESS 

When she had said ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’, with the verses, she said on in this manner: ‘The Holy Ghost I take to witness, Our Lady, Saint Mary, the Mother of God, all the Holy Court of Heaven, and all my ghostly fathers here on earth, that, though it were possible that I might have knowledge and understanding of the secrets of God by telling of any devil in hell, I would not.

GOD MAY HELP ME IN ALL MY WORKS, THOUGHTS, SPEECH… 

‘And as surely, as I would not know, hear, see, feel or understand in my soul in this life, more than is the will of God that I should know, so surely God may help me in all my works, in all my thoughts and in all my speech, eating and drinking, sleeping and waking.

‘As surely as it is not my will nor my intent to worship any false devil for my God, nor any false faith, nor to have any false belief, so surely I defy the devil and all his false counsel, and all that I have ever done, said, or thought after the counsel of the devil thinking it had been the counsel of God and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

GOD, WHO HATH KNOWLEDGE OF ALL MEN’S HEARTS… 

‘If it hath not been so, God, Who hath insight and knowledge of the secrets of all men’s hearts, have mercy on me therefor, and grant me in this life, a well of tears springing plenteously, with which I may wash away my sins through thy mercy and thy goodness.

‘And, Lord, for thy high mercy, all the tears that may increase my love, and make more my merit in Heaven, and help and profit my fellow Christian souls, alive or dead, visit me with, here on earth.

‘Good Lord, spare no more the eyes in my head than thou didst the blood in thy Body which thou sheddest plenteously for sinful men’s souls, and grant me so much pain and sorrow in this world that I be not delayed from thy bliss, and the beholding of thy glorious Face when I shall pass hence.

… THAT I BE NOT DELAYED FROM THY BLISS… 

‘As for my crying and sobbing, and my weeping, Lord God Almighty, as surely as thou knowest what scorn, what shame, what despite, and what reproof I have had therefor, and, as surely as it is not in my power to weep either aloud or in quiet, for any devotion or for any sweetness, but only by the gift of the Holy Ghost, so surely, Lord, excuse me against all this world to know and trow that it is thy work and thy gift for magnifying thy Name and for increasing other men’s love to thee, Jesus.'”

– The Book of Margery Kempe (modernised text 1936)

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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IF MAN REALLY UNDERSTOOD THIS MYSTERY, HE WOULD DIE OF LOVE

IF MAN REALLY UNDERSTOOD THIS MYSTERY, HE WOULD DIE OF LOVE

THE HOLY MASS

All good works added together are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, for they are the work of man, and the Mass is the work of God. Martyrdom is nothing in comparison. It is the sacrifice which man makes to God of his life; the Mass is the sacrifice which God makes to man of His Body and Blood.

GOD’S WORK

At the voice of the priest Our Lord descends from heaven, and encloses himself in a little Host. The glance of God is arrested at the altar. “This,” He says, “is my Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. He can refuse nothing to the merits of the offering of this Victim.

THE GOOD GOD IS PRESENT

How beautiful to think that after the Consecration the good God is present, as He is in Heaven! If man really understood this mystery, he would die of love. God considers our weakness… Oh! if we had faith, if we understood the value of the Holy Sacrifice, we should be much more zealous in assisting at it.

– Bl. Cure d’Ars, from: Laverty & Sons (eds.), 1905

 

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“ARISE MY LOVE, MY BEAUTIFUL ONE, AND COME”

“ARISE MY LOVE, MY BEAUTIFUL ONE, AND COME”

ST DOMINIC SAVIO’S PREDICTION CONCERNING ENGLAND

A prediction which Dominic Savio made about England: The message was relayed to Pope Pius IX by St John Bosco.

Dominic Savio was born in 1842 and died in 1857, a month before his fifteenth birthday. He was declared a Venerable in 1933 and was beatified in 1951.

Dominic told Don Bosco several times that he wished he could see the Pope. Don Bosco asked him why.

“If I could only talk to the Holy Father,” Dominic replied, “I would tell him that in spite of the great trials which he has to suffer at present, he should not lose heart in his solicitude for England. God is preparing a great triumph for Catholicism in that country.”

“What makes you say such a thing?” questioned Don Bosco.

“I’ll tell you,” replied the boy, “but don’t mention it to the others or they might think it foolish. But if you go to Rome tell Pius IX for me. This is why I think so. One morning, during my thanksgiving after Communion, I had a distraction, which was strange for me. I thought I saw a great stretch of country covered in a thick for, and it was filled with many people. They were moving about, but like men not sure where to put their feet. Somebody nearby said, ‘This is England.’ I was just about to question the man when I saw His Holiness, Pius IX, as I had seen him in pictures. He was richly dressed and carried a bright torch with which he approached the multitude, as if to enlighten their darkness. As he drew near, the torch seemed to disperse the fog, and the people were left in broad daylight. ‘This torch,’ said the man near me, ‘is the Catholic religion, which is to illumine England.’ ”

Don Bosco told the Pope about the incident in 1858. The Holy Father said: “What you have told me confirms me in my resolution to do all that is possible for England, which has long been the object of my special care. What you have related is, to put it at its lowest estimation, the counsel of a devout soul.”

“THE COUNSEL OF A DEVOUT SOUL”

It was Pope Pius IX who had re-established the hierarchy in England in 1850, after a lapse of 300 years.

In 1852, Dr John Henry Newman, later Cardinal, delivered his famous sermon in which he referred to the restoration of the Church in England as “The Second Spring”. In the course of the sermon he said: “Arise my love, my beautiful one, and come. It is time for thy Visitation. Arise, Mary, and go forth in thy strength to that north country, which once was thy own, and take possession of a land which knows thee not. Arise, Mother of God, and with thy thrilling voice speak to those who labour with child, and are in pain, till the babe of grace leaps within them. Shine on us, dear Lady, with thy bright countenance, like the sun in his strength, O stella maturing, O harbinger of peace, till our year is one perpetual May. From thy sweet eyes, from thy pure smile, from thy majestic brow, let ten thousand influences rain down, not to confound or overwhelm, but to persuade, to win over thine enemies. O Mary, my hope, Mother undefiled, fulfil to us the promise of this Spring.”

THE POSITION OF THE CHURCH WAS JUST BEGINNING TO IMPROVE AFTER CENTURIES OF SUPPRESSION

When Newman preached his sermon, The Second Spring, in 1852, the position of the Church was just beginning to improve after centuries of suppression. The Church in England has had a remarkable growth since then. Some authorities say that one Englishman out of every ten today is a Catholic, although it is impossible to secure exact figures. If we count only practicing members, the Catholic Church is the largest religious body in England today, larger even than the Church of England. In the past century Catholics have wielded an influence out of proportion to their numbers. Newman has enriched our spiritual life and our literature. Chesterton has trumpeted merry defiance to modern paganism. Bellow, Knox, and many others have given us cause to be grateful. Three of the most prominent of all living novelists – Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh and Bruce Marshal – are British Catholics. Yes, England is having its Second Spring. Throughout the country devotion to the Blessed Mother has spread greatly. This is true not only among Catholics, but among Anglicans and other Protestants as well. For centuries our Lady was virtually exiled from England, but that is true no longer.

“When England goes back to Walsingham, our Lady will come back to England.” England, it would appear, is well on its way back to Walsingham. We may hope that under our Lady’s guidance and protection England’s Second Spring will soon give way to full summer.

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

 

 

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SERMON FROM THE AQUEDUCT

SERMON FROM THE AQUEDUCT

The word was made flesh and now dwells among us. He dwells in our memory, he dwells in our thoughts. He comes down even to our imagination.

“How?” you ask. By lying in a manner, by nestling at his mother’s breast, preaching on the mountain, praying throughout the night, hanging on the Cross, growing pallid in death, free among the dead, triumphant in hell. He does it by rising on the third day, by showing the Apostles the print of the nails, the marks of his victory, and finally by ascending before their very eyes into the mysterious heights of the heaven. Of which of these can we not think truly, lovingly, piously, holily?

Of whichever one I think, I think of God; and he is my God through them all. I call it wisdom to meditate upon them, I judge it prudent to recall the memory of their sweetness. From such seeds the priestly rod put forth buds; Mary, drawing their nurture from celestial depths, brought forth the flowers. She who received the Word from the heart of the Father himself, was on a supernal plane, higher even than the angels.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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