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GOD IS OUR PROMISED SHELTER AND OUR SHADE

God is our promised shelter and our shade. To him we pray:

R. Protect us from all harm.

In the midst of life’s tribulations,
– strengthen our hope in your promised kingdom. (R.)

In the midst of physical ailments,
– grant us trust in your healing power. (R.)

In the midst of worry and distress,
– send us peace of heart. (R.)

(Personal intentions)

Our Father…

May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, descend on us and remain with us for ever. Amen.

 

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IS YOUR MARRIAGE ON THE ROCKS?

“THINKING ABOUT SEPARATION OR DIVORCE?

Is your marriage or that of a relative or friend heading for divorce? Do you know how to save that marriage? Or do you feel helpless?

Retrouvaille (pronounced retro-vi with a long I) is designed to help troubled marriages regain their health.

It helps spouses uncover or re-awaken the love, trust and commitment that originally brought them together. The programme is highly successful in saving hurting marriages, even bringing reconciliation to couples that have already separated or divorced.

For confidential information about or to register for the programme beginning with a weekend on the 28th – 30th March 2014, email info@retrouvaille.org.uk; call or text 0797 338 0443 or visit http://www.retrouvaille.org.uk (external link).

 

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“FIRST AID” FOR THE SOUL

BY ST LOUIS DE MONTFORT

Are you in the miserable state of sin? Then call on Mary and say to her: AVE, which means “I salute thee with the most profound respect, thou who art without sin” and she will deliver you from the evil of your sins.

Are you groping in the darkness of ignorance and error? Go to Mary and say to her: HAIL MARY; which means “Hail thou who art bathed in the light of the Sun of Justice” – and she will give you some of her light.

Have you strayed from the path leading to heaven? Then call on Mary, for her name means “Star of the Sea, the North Star which guides the ships of your souls during the voyage of this life,” and she will guide you to the harbour of eternal salvation.

Are you in sorrow? Turn to Mary, for her name means also “Sea of Bitterness which has been filled with sharp pain in this world but which is now turned into a Sea of the Purest Joy in heaven,” and she will turn your sorrow to joy and your afflictions into consolation.

Have you lost the state of grace? Praise and honour the numberless graces with which God has filled the Blessed Virgin and say to her: THOU ART FULL OF GRACE and filled with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and she will give you some of these graces.

Are you all alone, having lost God’s protection? Pray to Mary, and say: “THE LORD IS WITH THEE – and this union is far nobler and more intimate than that which He has with saints and the just – because thou art one with Him. He is thy Son and His Flesh is thy flesh; thou art united to the Lord because of thy perfect likeness to Him and by your mutual love – for thou art His Mother.” And then say to her: “The Three Persons of the Godhead are with thee because thou art the Temple of the Most Blessed Trinity,” and she will place you once more under the protection and care of Almighty God.

Have you become an outcast and have you been accursed by God? Then say to Our Lady: “BLESSED ART THOU ABOVE ALL WOMEN and above all nations, by thy purity and fertility; thou hast turned God’s maledictions into blessings for us,” and she will bless you.

Do you hunger for the bread of grace and the bread of life? Draw near to her who bore the Living Bread Which came down from heaven, and say to her: BLESSED BE THE FRUIT OF THY WOMB Whom thou hast conceived without the slightest loss of thy virginity, Whom thou didst carry without discomfort and to Whom thou didst give birth without pain. Blessed be Jesus Who has redeemed our suffering world when we were in the bondage of sin, Who has healed the world of its sickness, Who has raised the dead to life, brought home the banished, restored sinners to a life of grace and Who has saved men from damnation.” Without doubt, your soul will be filled with the bread of grace in this life and of eternal glory in the next. Amen.

 
 

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“CROSSES UNITE US TO OUR LORD; THEY HELP US THROUGH THIS EARTHLY LIFE JUST AS A BRIDGE HELPS ONE TO CROSS OVER THE WATER”

THOUGHTS ON THE CROSS BY THE HOLY CURE OF ARS

• “We complain when we suffer; but we would have more reason to complain if we did not have anything to suffer, since nothing else renders us more similar to Our Lord. Oh what a beautiful union of the soul with Our Lord Jesus Christ, through our love for His cross!”

• “If the good God sends us crosses, we become discouraged, complain, murmur. We are such enemies of all that goes against us, that we would wish always to be wrapped up in cotton wool.”

• “If someone should say to you: ‘I would willingly become rich, what do I have to do?’, you should reply in this way: ‘It is necessary to work.’ Well! in order to get to Heaven, it is necessary to suffer.”

• “We should never look to see where the crosses came from: they came from God. It is always God Who gives us this means to prove our love for Him.”

• “There are two ways in which to suffer: to suffer loving and to suffer without loving. The Saints suffered everything with patience, joy and perseverance because they loved. We suffer with anger, vexation and tedium because we do not love. If we were to love God, we would be happy to suffer for love of Him Who accepted to suffer for us.”

• “He who goes to meet the cross walks in the opposite direction of the crosses: he meets them, perhaps, but he is happy to meet them. He loves them and bears them with courage. They unite him to Our Lord. They purify him. They detach him from this world. They remove obstacles from his heart and help him to pass through this life, just as a bridge helps one to cross over the water.”

 
 

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HOW CAN I FIND GOD?

“The question is so simple – so profound! Allow me to answer it by reflecting on my own journey of faith and how I came to find God.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER

My life is not so very different from your own. My specific responsibilities as a pastor may vary from yours, but I have to face the same basic human issues that you do. I get caught up in the maelstrom of my work or ministry. I am sometimes bewildered and perplexed by rapid changes within society and around the world. So it is just as easy for me to get lost on the Christian journey as it is for anyone else!

‘IS THIS ALL THERE IS TO LIFE?’

Like you, I have sometimes wondered, ‘Is this all there is to life?’ My 44 years as a priest and 30 as a bishop have been marked by a search for the Lord, by a sincere concern to live in accordance with His Gospel. But so often, my search seemed to lead me into darkness rather than light. I felt buffeted and bombarded by problems associated with my ministry. I often felt I was walking alone.

‘LET TIME LACK FOR EVERYTHING ELSE, BUT NEVER FOR PRAYER’

One day, while I was still archbishop of Cincinnati, I realised that I was constantly exhorting others to pray – frequently, daily. I was preaching often about the importance of prayer, about the significance of having a close relationship with God. But I was not investing adequate time for prayer in my own life. A short time later, I had dinner with some priest friends of mine, who were themselves prayerful people. I shared my dilemma with them, and they advised me to act on my desire for adequate, quality time for prayer, affirming that this was, indeed, essential for the Christian life.

A FIXED PRAYER ROUTINE, WHATEVER THE EXTERNAL PRESSURES

Fortunately, I followed their advice. With their encouragement and support, I resolved to devote an hour each day to prayer – the first hour each morning before the pressures of my ministry could get at me. Besides reciting the Rosary and praying the Liturgy of the Hours, I have recourse to Scripture as a point of departure for meditative prayer.

DON’T TRY TO SHOULDER ANY BURDENS ON YOUR OWN

During the early days of this new habit of prayer, I began to realise how often I had looked elsewhere for God rather than right in the midst of each day’s journey. I became aware that often I sought escape from the difficulties and the suffering that I encountered daily in my ministry. I tended to think that my ministry was mine alone, rather than the Lord’s.

DRAWING NEAR TO OUR LORD IN THE EUCHARIST WITH YEARNING

In short I came to recognise that I do not walk alone! God is with me. Through his Word He helps me to keep on the right path. Through the Breaking of Bread each day the risen Lord leads the deepest hungers of my heart and spirit. And the Holy Spirit gives me what I need to carry out my pastoral ministry effectively.

EXPERIENCING THE LORD’S PRESENCE ACTIVELY AND PROFOUNDLY

I can assure you that my search for God continues, but I no longer search so far and wide. My quest takes me into the deepest recesses of my heart, where I have learned to be still and listen to the Lord speaking to me in the events and people around me. I have come to understand the Lord’s presence where, often before, I had experienced His absence. I have come to know myself – and accept myself – much more because of prayer.

HEIGHTENED AWARENESS

I have also learned to recognise Him in the ‘strangers’ I encounter on my journey, that is, in my fellow pilgrims, in all my brothers and sisters. I know that they share my search, my dilemmas and my deepest desires. From some of them I learn more about the Lord Jesus and His Gospel. To others I proclaim the good news that I have heard and continue to hear.

SUFFERING UNITED WITH OUR LORD JESUS’ SUFFERINGS

In the past several years I have constantly tried to enter into closer communion with God through prayer, so that no part of my life, no part of myself, would be excluded from my relationship with the Lord. This search for union has been an exciting, life-giving, sustaining experience. In the last two-and-a-half years in particular, daily prayer has sustained me through two very different experiences, both widely known.

YET ANOTHER CASE OF A FALSELY ACCUSED CATHOLIC PRIEST

The first was an accusation that, several years earlier, I had sexually abused a college seminarian. While I knew the accusation was false, within hours it became a cause celebre in the US and around the world. Despite my innocence, I was totally humiliated and embarrassed. The false accusation put my ministry in jeopardy, at least until the accusation was dropped.

‘FACING DEATH IN A WAY THAT I NEVER DID BEFORE’

The second event occurred when I learned that I had a malignant pancreatic tumour. Within days I underwent radical surgery followed by intensive radiation and chemotherapy. The unexpected news that I had an aggressive form of cancer meant that I had to face directly the prospect of an early death. While I remain cancer-free at this time, my perspective on my life and ministry has deepened because I have faced death in a way that I never did before.

‘I WILL NOT ABANDON YOU, I WILL WALK WITH YOU AND HELP YOU’

Basically, it was my faith that made it possible for me to cope positively with these two events. As I faced these traumas, I literally felt God’s presence. It was as if God was saying to me: ‘I will not abandon you. I will walk with you and help you through all of this.’ This has made an enormous difference in my life. I have continued to find God in the events and persons of my daily life, and especially in moments of fear, anxiety, pain and suffering. The crucified and risen Lord Jesus has become an intimate part of my daily life, the source of my strength, courage and hope.”
– This article by The Late Cardinal Bernardin was published in “The Crusader”, issue June 2013 [headings in CAPITALS in the text added by the administrator of this blog]. For subscriptions and donations please contact: The Crusader, All Saints Friary, Redclyffe Road, Manchester M41 7LG, United Kingdom

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (2 CORINTHIANS 4:7-15)

HE WHO RAISED JESUS TO LIFE WILL RAISE US WITH JESUS IN OUR TURN, AND PUT US BY HIS SIDE AND YOU WITH US.

We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure, to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us. We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair; we have been persecuted, but never deserted; knocked down, but never killed; always, wherever we may be, we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may always be seen in our body. Indeed, while we are still alive, we are consigned to our death every day, for the sake of Jesus, so that in our mortal flesh the life of Jesus, too, may be openly shown. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

But as we have the same spirit of faith that is mentioned in scripture – I believed, and therefore I spoke – we too believe and therefore we too speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus to life will raise us with Jesus in our turn, and put us by his side and you with us. You see, all this is for your benefit, so that the more grace is multiplied among people, the more thanksgiving there will be, to the glory of God.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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THE HEART OF JESUS IS WITH YOU, AND IT HAS FORMED NUMBERLESS SAINTS

YOU ARE SMALL AND FULL OF FAULTS? COURAGE!

The Heart of Jesus not only calls us to perfection and is the model thereof, but also gives it to us. It is the Heart of a God-Man, which as a man, shows us what virtue is, and as God, gives us the grace to emulate Him. This Heart is not only pure, but is itself infinite purity that purifies all hearts, it is not only just, but is itself infinite justice that justifies all hearts, it is not only holy, but is itself infinite holiness that sanctifies all hearts.

Therefore courage, O Christian! Desire truly to imitate that Heart, even if your own part is small, do it lovingly, He, seeing your decision, will do the rest Himself.

Courage! If you do not have the strength, if the way is arduous, and the obstacles and dangers you encounter are great, you will win through by virtue of that omnipotent and divine Heart!

Courage! You will receive everything you need to overcome your passions, the besting of your spiritual enemies and for making great advances in evangelical perfection.

Courage! The Heart of the Saint of saints is with you, and it has formed numberless saints.
PRAYER: Cor Iesu virtutum omnium exemplar, da mihi cor novum.

O holiest Heart, mirror of God, I ask you, through the gifts
of holiness and fervour, give me a heart that is new.
– Mons. Nicola Tafuri

 

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