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THE TEARS OF ST MONICA WERE A SACRIFICE

“Tears are the heart’s blood. This is a beautiful thought of Saint Augustine’s, which he applies to his mother. ‘My God” he cries “my mother’s tears, this blood of her heart, which flowed night and day, rose to thee in sacrifice for me’.

‘The soul’, said the ancients, ‘is in the blood’. It carries at least part of life; it rolls with our impressions, our thoughts, our desires, our sorrows, our joys, our hopes; for in reality man’s blood is not merely a scarlet liquid which circulates in his veins and constantly repairs his forces. Tears are also a form of blood, and when they rise, they contain as it were drops from the heart, which thus fall to the ground.

O Christian souls, you, like Saint Monica, have dear ones, to whom you cling with all your strength! Have you not often shed tears for them before the Lord? And did you not feel that those tears were the very blood of your inner nature, and that this blood, the shedding of which so tore your heart, was like a sacrifice, a veritable martyrdom? Oh! do not regret it; rejoice in this sacrifice; this it was, perhaps, which restored peace and piety in your family. Continue to pray, to shed tears before God. Each one of these drops is taken up by angels, and when they reach the throne of God, Heaven knows what metamorphosis they have undergone in the transit – they are all changed into pearls, whose price serves to purchase the redemption of those who are dear to you.

One day a poor woman was weeping in a church for her sins. A Bishop who was on the altar saw a dove collecting her tears in order to bear them to heaven.”
– Laverty&Sons, Leeds, 1905

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HERE IS ONE WAY HOW PEOPLE WHO TRY TO GET AWAY FROM THE “ANGRY, PUNISHING GOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT” CAN EMBARK ON A LOVING, TRUSTING RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR HEAVENLY FATHER

“This habitual idea that we form of God is the key to our inner life, not only because it rules our conduct towards Him, but also because, in many cases, it determines God’s attitude towards us: God treats us as we treat Him.”

THE HEART OF CHRIST

[The Sacred Heart is the symbol of the love with which Jesus continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings without exception.]

“Just as the Holy Spirit does not call all souls to shine in the same manner with the same virtues, likewise with regard to particular devotions, He leaves them a holy liberty. There are souls who feel themselves urged to especially honour the mysteries of the infancy of Jesus; others feel drawn to the delightful intimacy of the hidden life; others still to meditation upon the Passion. However, it is devotion to the Sacred Heart which must be amongst those which are dearest to us.

THE LOVE OF JESUS

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of those which should be especially dear to us. And why? Because it honours Christ Jesus not only in one of His states or particular mysteries, but in the generality and totality of His love, of that love wherein all His mysteries find their deepest meaning. Although being a clearly defined devotion, devotion to the Heart of Jesus bears something that is universal. In honouring the Heart of Christ, it is no longer to Jesus as an Infant, Youth or Victim, that our homage is especially addressed. It is the Person of Jesus in the plenitude of His love that we especially linger.

Moreover, the general practice of this devotion tends, at the last analysis, to render Our Lord love for love: ‘Movet nos ad amandum mutuo’ (Leo XIII, ‘bollata – Annum sacrum’); to penetrate all our activity with love in order to please Christ Jesus. The special exercises of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus are but so many means of expressing to our Divine Master this reciprocity of love.

OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE DEPENDS ON OUR IDEA OF GOD

It is a truth, confirmed by the experience of souls, that our spiritual life depends, in great part, on the idea that we HABITUALLY have of God. Between us and God there are fundamental relations, based upon our nature as creatures; there exist moral relations resulting from our attitude towards Him; and this attitude is, most often, conditioned by the idea that we have of God.

IF WE FORM A FALSE IDEA OF GOD…

If we form a false idea of God, our efforts to advance will often be vain and barren, because they will not be to the point; if we have an incomplete idea of Him, our spiritual life will be full of imperfections and shortcomings; if our idea of God is true – as true as is possible here below to a creature living by faith, – our souls will expand safely in the light.

This habitual idea that we form of God is the key to our inner life, not only because it rules our conduct towards Him, but also because, in many cases, it determines God’s attitude towards us: God treats us as we treat Him.

SOME CONSIDER GOD AS THE ISRAELITES REGARDED HIM

Thus, you may meet with some who habitually consider God as the Israelites regarded Him. God revealed Himself to the Israelites amidst the thunders and lightnings of Sinai (Ex 19:16). For this ‘stiff-necked people’ (Dt 31:27), inclined to infidelity and idolatry, God was only a Lord Who must be adored, a Master Who must be served, a Judge Who must be feared… Such souls act with God only at a distance, they treat Him only as a great Lord, and God treats them in consequence according to this attitude. He does not give Himself fully to them; between them and God, personal intimacy cannot exist; in them, inward expression is impossible.

Other souls, more numerous perhaps, habitually regard God as a great benefactor, they act as a rule only ‘in view of the Reward’: ‘Propter retributionem (Ps 119).

THE FILIAL CONFIDENCE OF THE NEW COVENANT

This is why – without losing view of the fear of outraging God Who created us, although this must not be the fear of the slave who dreads punishment; without putting aside the thought of the reward which awaits us, if we are faithful, – we ought to seek to have habitually towards God that attitude, composed of filial confidence and love, which Christ Jesus revealed to us as being that of the New Covenant.

THE REALITY OF OUR HEAVENLY ADOPTION

This fundamental attitude responding to the reality of our heavenly adoption is particularly furthered by devotion to the Heart of Jesus. In causing us to contemplate the human love of Christ for us, this devotion admits us into the secret of divine love; in inclining our souls to answer to it by a life whereof love is the motive power, it maintains in us those dispositions of filial piety which we ought to have towards the Father.

When we receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, we possess within us that Divine Heart which is a furnace of love. Let us ask Him earnestly that He will Himself grant us to understand this love, for in this, one ray from on high is more efficacious than all human reasoning; let us ask Him to enkindle within us the love of His Person.

LET US ASK HIM TO ENKINDLE WITHIN US THE LOVE OF HIS PERSON

‘If, by Our Lord’s grace,’ says St Teresa, ‘His love is imprinted one day in our heart, all will become easy to us; very rapidly and without trouble we shall come, by this means, to the works of love.’

If this love for the Person of Jesus is in our heart, our activity will spring forth from it. We may meet with difficulties, be subject to great trials, undergo violent temptations; if we love Christ Jesus, these difficulties, these trials, these temptations, will find us steadfast: ‘Aquae multae non potuerunt extinguere caritatem’ (Ct 8:7); for when the love of Christ urges us, we shall not wish any longer to live for ourselves, but for Him Who loved us and delivered Himself up for us: ‘Ut et qui vivunt iam non sibi vivant, sed ei qui pro ipsis mortuus est’ (2 Cor 5:15).”
– Bl. Columba Marmion

 

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O LORD, LET OUR FAITH BEAR FRUIT

O Lord,
increase my faith
and let it bear fruit in my life.
Let it bind me fast to other Christians
in the common certitude
that our Master is the God-Man
who gave His life for all.
Let me listen in faith
to the Divine Word that challenges me.

Help me to strive wholeheartedly
under the promptings of my faith
in the building of a world ruled by love.
Enable me to walk in faith
toward the indescribable future
that You have promised
to all who possess a productive faith in You.
Amen.

 

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ACTS OF FAITH AND ADORATION AFTER HOLY COMMUNION

ACT OF FAITH:

Dear Jesus,
I firmly believe that You are present within me
as God and Man,
to enrich my soul with graces
and to fill my heart
with happiness of the blessed.
I believe that You are the Christ,
the Son of the living God.
Amen.

ACT OF ADORATION:

With deepest humility,
I adore You
my Lord and my God;
You have made my soul Your dwelling place.
I adore You as my Creator
from Whose hands I came
and with Whom I am to be happy forever.

 

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PRAYER FOR A NEW START IN THE FAITH

O my God, I know well that so negligent a life as mine cannot please thee. I know that by my lukewarmness I have closed the door to the graces which thou dost desire to bestow upon me. O my God, do not reject me, as I deserve, but continue to be merciful toward me, and I will make great efforts to amend and to arise from this miserable state. In the future I will be more careful to overcome my passions, to follow thine inspirations, and never through slothfulness will I omit my duties, but will ever strive to fulfil them with greater diligence and fidelity. In short, I will from this time forward do all I can to please thee and will neglect nothing which I know to be pleasing to thee.

Since thou, O my Jesus, hast been so liberal with thy graces toward me and hast deigned to give thy Blood and thy Life for me, I am sorry for having acted with so little generosity toward thee, Who art worthy of all honour and all love. But O my Jesus, thou knowest my weakness. Help me with thy powerful grace; in thee I confide. O Immaculate Virgin Mary, help me to overcome myself and to become a Saint. Amen.

 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (JOHN 16:5-11)

UNLESS I GO, THE ADVOCATE WILL NOT COME TO YOU.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Now I am going to the one who sent me.
Not one of you has asked, ‘Where are you going?’
Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this.
Still, I must tell you the truth:
it is for your own good that I am going
because unless I go,
the Advocate will not come to you;
but if I do go,
I will send him to you.
And when he comes,
he will show the world how wrong it was,
about sin,
and about who was in the right,
and about judgement
about sin:
proved by their refusal to believe in me;
about who was in the right:
proved by my going to the Father
and your seeing me no more;
about judgement:
proved by the prince of this world being already condemned.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (JOHN 14:27-31)

MY OWN PEACE I GIVE YOU.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I bequeath you,
my own peace I give you,
a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me say:
I am going away, and shall return.

If you loved me you would have been glad that I am going to the Father,
for the Father is greater than I.
I have told you this now before it happens,
so that when it does happen you may believe.
I shall not talk with you any longer,
because the prince of this world is on his way.
He has no power over me,
but the world must be brought to know that I love the Father
and that I am doing exactly what the Father told me.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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