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“SACRIFICE YOURSELVES FOR SINNERS”

“SACRIFICE YOURSELVES FOR SINNERS”

“Do you wish to know a secret?” Pope Pius IX asked, in referring to La Salette. “This is it: Unless you do penance, you shall all perish.”

At Lourdes, Bernardette repeated our Lady’s plea for “Penitence! Penitence!”

At Fatima, our Lady asked the children: “Do you wish to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings that He may choose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and ask for the conversion of sinners?” When Lucia answered that they did, our Lady said: “Then you will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will assist you always and bear you up.”

THE GRACE OF GOD WILL ASSIST YOU ALWAYS

“Sacrifice yourself for sinners,” our Lady said on another occasion at Fatima, “and say many times, especially when you make sacrifices: ‘O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'”

The following words of Our Lady of Fatima put a great responsibility upon all of us: “Pray, pray a great deal and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray for them.”

In 1925 the Child Jesus and our Lady both appeared to Lucia in the convent and asked for acts of reparation to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.

At Beauraing, Belgium, in 1932, our Lady said, “Sacrifice yourself for me.”

“THEY HAVE NO ONE TO PRAY FOR THEM” 

How are we to make sacrifices? The three children of Fatima asked this very question of the angel who appeared to them the year before they were favoured by the apparitions of our Lady. The angel had just asked the children to “offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High.”

“How are we to make sacrifices?” asked nine-year-old Lucia. – “You can make sacrifices of all things,” the angel replied. “Offer them in reparation for the sins that offend God, and beg of Him the conversion of sinners. In this way, try to draw down peace on your country…  Above all, accept and bear humbly the sufferings which the Lord will send you.'”

HOW ARE WE TO MAKE SACRIFICES? 

“You can make sacrifices of all things…” The words were meant as much for us as for the children of Fatima. The three children heeded the request of the angel and made sacrifices of all things. They offered all their everyday actions to God through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In the spring of 1942 Lucia wrote: “This is the penance which the good Lord now asks: the sacrifice that every person has to impose upon himself is to lead a life of justice in the observance of His Law. He requires that the way be made known to souls. For many, thinking that the word penance means great austerities and not feeling in themselves the strength or generosity for these, lose heart and rest in a life of lukewarmness and sin.

“Last Thursday, at midnight, while I was in the chapel with my superior’s permission, Our Lord said to me: “The sacrifice required of every person is the fulfilment of his duties in life and the observance of My Law. This is the penance I now seek and require.'”

This is the very most that is asked of us: the sacrifice required of every person is the fulfilment of his duties in life and the observance of God’s law. This is heartening when we tend to become discouraged, and when we think we are not doing enough.

THE MORNING OFFERING

The most effective way to make sacrifices of all things is to make the Morning Offering: “O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer thee all my prayers, works and sufferings of this day for the intentions of thy Sacred Heart, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all our associates and in particular for the intention of the Holy Father.” If we are in the state of grace, the Morning Offering turns all our actions for the day into meritorious acts.

The Act of Total Consecration has this same effect. To a person who has consecrated himself completely to Jesus through Mary, the Morning Offering is simply a daily renewal of that consecration.

THE TOTAL CONSECRATION

“Above all, accept and bear humbly the sufferings which the Lord will send you.” When the civil administrator put the children of Fatima in jail with the hardened criminals, they offered their suffering in reparation for the sins of the world. When Jacinta was undergoing great agony on her deathbed, she murmured through her pain: “It is for love of You, my Jesus. Now You can convert many sinners, for I suffer much.”

All of us have our sufferings, small ones and big ones; the extra tasks we have to perform, the slights we receive, the plans that go wrong, the severity of the weather, the loss of a loved one, a severe illness, a financial reverse. Like Jacinta, we can offer these in reparation for sins and for the conversion of sinners.

“ABOVE ALL, ACCEPT AND BEAR HUMBLY THE SUFFERINGS WHICH THE LORD WILL SEND YOU”

Offering their everyday actions and their sufferings to Jesus through Mary was not enough for Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. They were constantly thinking up voluntary sacrifices. When they went out to tend the sheep, they gave their lunches to children poorer than themselves, and they ate unripe olives. Under their clothes they wore shaggy ropes which chafed their skin.

All of us can make voluntary sacrifices in addition to the minimum penance which our Lord says he requires, although our sacrifices are not likely to take such extreme forms.

“IT IS ONLY BY SACRIFICE AND SUFFERING – OFFERED AS PENANCE – THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, TO CONVERT HIM”

St John Mary Vianney, the Cure of Arms, lived a life of heroic self-denial, penance and reparation. Because of these virtues he was able to convert an entire parish, the members of which had given up their practice of religion.

One day a neighbouring pastor said to Father Vianney: “I have a hardened old sinner in my parish. Years ago he fell away from the faith. I’ve tried everything to convert him. I’ve pleaded with him: I have prayed for him: I’ve asked others to pray for him. But it’s no use. He seems determined to die in his sins. What can I do?”

“You say, Father,” replied the Saint, “that you have pleaded with him and have prayed for him. But have you tried fasting for him? It is only by sacrifice and suffering – offered as penance – that you will be able, by the grace of God, to convert him.”

PRAYER AND FASTING 

Similarly, with the grace of God, we can accomplish stupendous things by our sacrifices. The stakes are high. We can win peace on earth. We can win a Catholic Russia. We can win peace of mind and peace of soul. We can achieve the unity of the Mystical Body all over the world. We can bring about a rebirth of the moral values so long deadened by the forces of materialism.

What sacrifices shall we make? We can make them in all categories: everyday actions, sufferings and voluntary acts of self-denial. Here are a few suggestions. We can:

  • Get up an hour earlier every morning and go to Mass.
  • Do that unpleasant task we have been shirking.
  • Be kind to someone who has slighted us.
  • Be pleasant at home and at work, even when we have severe provocation to be otherwise.
  • Bear our aches and pains in quiet patience.
  • Go out of our way to help others.
  • Live up to the duties of our religion, even when doing so is very inconvenient.
  • Give up something we want very much in order to give the money to the missions.

These are only a few ways in which we can answer Mary’s call for sacrifices. With good will we should be able to think of many more ways of carrying out the wishes of the Mother of God. If made in the proper spirit, such sacrifices will help restore the world to Christ, and will help put the world on the road to true peace.

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

 

 

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THE BLUE SCAPULAR OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

THE BLUE SCAPULAR OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

This scapular was revealed by Our Divine Lord and the Blessed Virgin to the Ven. Ursula Benincasa, of the Order of Theatines, at Naples,

  1. to honour the Immaculate Conception
  2. to obtain the conversion of sinners.

Those invested in this scapular can gain all the Indulgences granted to any Religious Order, or to any person or place. By reciting six Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glorias, in honour of the Most Holy Trinity, and our Immaculate Lady, may be gained all the Indulgences of Rome, of the Portiuncula, of Jerusalem, and of St James of Compostella.

– From: St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2019 in Devotions

 

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MAY THIS WAY OF SOWING CHARITY FIND MANY IMITATORS!

I know a person, passionately desirous of doing good, who used to apply a tenth of her alms to buy something which might be of service to souls.

Service to needy souls

Sometimes it was a little treatise on judgment, on the divine mercy, on the presence of God; sometimes, perhaps, a pious pamphlet or medal. For a shilling she often could buy a hundred of these trifles, which she selected in bright colours, red or blue… She let them fall, as if accidentally, along the road, so that they might be picked up by some child, young girl, or labourer returning from his work. Perhaps these few sentences, already heard at catechism, would awaken remorse or recall some forgotten resolution.

Pious seed

Oh! who can calculate what a holy harvest she has thus down? She never went on a journey without “forgetting” in the trains and diligences, those alms for souls! She never pretended to hear when anyone called after her to restore them.

She “lost” a great many of them by leaving them accidentally between the leaves of books borrowed by her, and in those which she lent.

She used them as wrappers when she had occasion to send parcels, and sometimes she gave a penny to some poor child to scatter them in public places.

A holy harvest

She never knew the good which sprung up from this pious seed, sown thus in some thousands of souls. Many grains were indeed trodden under foot, treated with contempt; but is it impossible to imagine that none of them took root?

Continue ceaselessly your labour, in silence and obscurity, industrious sower. God, who sees everything, God, who counts all your steps, writes it down in the book of life. May the publicity which I give to your zeal find you many imitators!

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

 

 
 

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SOME SUGGESTIONS HOW TO MORTIFY THE FLESH AND THE SENSES IN THIS DAY AND AGE (CHRISTIAN MORTIFICATION)

THESE EXERCISES ARE SUGGESTIONS, NOT MANDATORY. SOME FIND THEY REALLY HELP, THOUGH, TO FOCUS MORE ON THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT, THE LOVE OF OUR LORD JESUS, IN OUR DAILY LIVES.

 

• “Suffer peacefully an affront done to you, a disparaging event or incident, or any type of humiliation, for the sake of the Heart of Jesus that was so humiliated for you. Take any ornament off your clothes that is a sign of worldly importance and make a sacrifice for the Sacred Heart.

• Make every effort to correct the vice you are most prone to indulge in, practise the virtue you are most in need of. Mortify your senses [i.e. drink plain water instead of fizzy drink, take coffee without the usual sugar, wash your hands with cold instead of warm water, etc.] to repair the damage you have done to the divine Heart when you have been too free.

• Accept from the hand of God, willingly and with love, the pains and troubles of this day, offering them to the Sacred Heart as the payment for your sins. Meditate for a quarter of an hour on the Passion of Jesus.

• Put on a medal or an image of the Sacred Heart. If you already have this laudable habit, try to carry it with a real, renewed spirit of faith and devotion. Work to spread, as best as you can, medals, images and other items of the Sacred Heart, so that at least one image is received and exhibited in a house where there were none before.

• In order to imitate the zeal and divine glory that are present within the Sacred Heart do not embark on any action without first putting it before the Lord, renewing, as often as these words are long, your pure intention by repeating, “Everything for you my God, everything for you.” Recite the Creed five times during the day, and make five offerings for the conversion of the millions who do not yet know Jesus Christ.

• Fast from food, mortify your stomach, and stay in uncomfortable positions or postures. Say five ‘Our Fathers’, ‘Hail Marys’ and ‘Glory Bes’ in honour of St Margarita Maria Alacoque, that she may obtain for you the spirit of Christian mortification.

• Do not judge or suspect your neighbour. Keep your distance from any shadow of murmuring. Do not give any reason for discord and avoid any type of argument. Visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and ask fervently from His Heart, love for those around you.

• Make allowances for the imperfection of others, and excuse their defects. Bear patiently with those who are annoying or difficult. Perform a good act for those who you dislike or have an innate distaste for.

• Forgive any of your enemies; bless those – through prayer if it cannot be done in any other way – who have offended you. Visit the Sacred Heart, either through an image or the Blessed Sacrament, and ask that all wicked Christians, who have forgotten the ultimate law of love for the enemy, mend their ways.”

– Mons. Nicola Tafuri

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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“GOD IS A GOOD GOD, HE WILL NOT LET ME LOSE HEAVEN FOR THIS SIN I AM COMMITTING”

No love, no heaven

“Early in childhood we learned that God is all-powerful. He can do anything. Later we came to understand that, although God can do anything, He cannot do a no-thing. For example, He cannot make a square circle. The words ‘square’ and ‘circle’ are contradictory words. They cancel each other out. A square circle is not a something; it is a nothing, and God does not do nothings.

This is a truth to be remembered if and when we may be tempted to commit a grave sin. No one who is in his right mind and who believes in heaven and hell, would want to jeopardise his eternal happiness for the sake of a present and very temporary pleasure or gain. Unfortunately, however, many persons have a mistaken and sentimental understanding of God. They may not put it into words, but in the act of sinning their unconscious reasoning is, ‘God is a good God. He will not let me lose heaven for this thing which I am doing.’

Sin is a denial to God of our love

What such persons fail to understand is that heaven, which is the possession of God in a union of love, and sin, which is a denial to God of our love, are contradictory concepts. They cancel each other out. Without love for God we are as incapable of possessing God in heaven as a man without eyes is incapable of seeing the colour of flowers.

But why cannot God make us love Him?

But why cannot God make us love Him? Why cannot He put love into us if we are lacking in love? Here again we encounter the same difficulty: a contradiction in terms. Love for another person cannot be forced upon us. If love is not freely given, it is not love at all. ‘Forced’ and ‘love’ cancel each other out. A forced love is not a something, it is a nothing.

God gives us a margin of freedom

Fortunately for us, God does His best, with countless graces, to instill and preserve in us a love for Himself. He wants our love. He wants to have us with Himself in heaven. Indeed, without His help, we would be incapable of making an act of love for Him. But, however powerful the graces He may give us, there remains to us a margin of freedom. We must make the choice. We must want to love Him, with a love expressed by our acceptance of His will. ‘What God wants, I want’; this, and not any sentimental imitation, is the real act of love. Our opportunity for making this act of love, this surrender of self to God, ends at death.

When a photographer is developing his films, there comes a point where he plunges the film into a chemical bath called a fixer. The fixer immediately stops the process of development. From that moment on, the film remains permanently unchanged. Whatever the contrasts of light and shadow, they are irrevocably set.

This earthly life is our time of development

For us, this life is the time of development. This is the period during which we generate in ourselves a love for God and, it is to be hoped, grow in that love. Death is the fixer. The moment that death intervenes, the direction of our will is permanently set – toward God or away from God, love or no love. Whichever it is, it will be that way forever.

Sin is the opposite of love

Once we possess God in heaven and are possessed by Him, we no longer can refuse Him our love. He is so infinitely lovable that, seeing Him, it would be impossible not to love Him. But, to achieve this happy destiny we must here and now kindle and nourish the feeble spark of love which, when it bursts into full flame in heaven, will all but tear us apart with ecstasy.

It would be a tragedy of the most horrible kind if a person were to choose self over God (which is sin) in the expectation that God, being good, would somehow set things right. God is infinitely good and all-powerful as well; but He cannot do a no-thing. He cannot equate heaven, which is love, with sin, which is love’s opposite.”

– Fr Leo J. Trese, “One Step Enough”, 1966

 

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SPIRITUAL EXERCISES FOR THIS WEEK

(These suggested acts are grouped together, so that one can choose the ones which best answer one’s needs, and whichever one is most able to put into practice.)

• Try to find out, through prayer, what the Heart of Jesus desires for you, and do not delay in fulfilling His request, even if it is costly [or inconvenient] for you. Devoutly carry out the Way of the Cross in order to receive from the infinite mercy of the Sacred Heart, for those who loved Jesus and then betrayed that love, the possibility of returning to Him.

• In order to imitate the zeal and divine glory that are present within the Sacred Heart of Jesus do not embark on any action without first putting it before the Lord, renewing, as often as these words are long, your pure intention by repeating, “Everything for you my God, everything for you”. Recite the Creed five times during the day, and make five offerings for the conversion of the millions who do not yet know Jesus Christ.

• Do a visible act of humility, that virtue so loved by the Sacred Heart, [such as kissing the Church floor or the earth], serving the poor, or showing your defects. Choose to do [the tasks] you least like to do. Do every action of the day as if it were done in the presence of gentle Jesus.

• Suffer peacefully an affront done to you, a disparaging event or incident, or any type of humiliation, for the sake of the Heart of Jesus that was so humiliated for you. Take any ornament off your clothes that is a sign of worldly importance and make a sacrifice for Jesus.

• Show that you are not attached to what you think about yourself: do not defend yourself in front of others, even if you are being falsely accused. Do not speak about yourself or of that which can turn to your advantage. The important thing is to be humble of heart because that is what the Sacred Heart desires for you.
– From: Mons. N. Tafuri

 

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“THAT I MAY NEVER WORK HENCEFORTH EXCEPT FOR YOUR GLORY” – ABOUT ST COLETTE

One of the saints remembered by the Church this Wednesday, 6th March, is St Colette. She was born in 1381 and at the age of 17, when both her parents died, St Colette joined the Franciscan Third Order. She lived for eight years as a hermit at Corbie Abbey in Picardy, France. Towards the end of this time St Colette had a vision of St Francis who charged her to restore the Order of Poor Clares to their original austerity. When Friar Henry de Beaume came in 1406 to confirm her mission, St Colette had the door of her hut torn down, a sign that her solitude was now over and her work had begun. And then she prayed her commitment:

‘I dedicate myself in health, in illness, in my life, in my death, in all my duties, in all my deeds so that I may never work henceforth except for your glory, for the salvation of souls, and towards the reform for which you have chosen me. From this moment on, dearest Lord, there is nothing which I am not prepared to undertake for love of you.’

St Colette’s first efforts to reform convents met with vigorous opposition. She then sought the approval of Pope Benedict XIII, who professed her as a Poor Clare and put her in charge of all convents she would reform. Thus equipped, she launched her reform in 1410. St Colette spent every Friday meditating on the Passion of Christ and prayed daily for the conversion of sinners. She personally brought many sinners back to God and His Church.

Before St Colette’s death in 1447, the saint had founded or renewed 17 convents and several friaries throughout France, Savoy, Burgundy and Spain. St Colette died at the age of 66 at her convent in Ghent, Flanders.

One of St Colette’s prayers: ‘O good Jesus! O Jesus our redeemer, do not abandon us nor punish us as our sins deserve, but hear our humble prayer and grant what we ask, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and for the glory of your holy name. Amen.’
– From: ‘Spititual Thought from Fr Chris’

 

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