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IS SORROW FOR OUR SINS, BECAUSE BY THEM WE LOSE HEAVEN AND DESERVE HELL, SUFFICIENT WHEN WE GO TO CONFESSION?

IS SORROW FOR OUR SINS, BECAUSE BY THEM WE LOSE HEAVEN AND DESERVE HELL, SUFFICIENT WHEN WE GO TO CONFESSION?

281. What is the Sacrament of Penance [Reconciliation] ?

Penance is a Sacrament whereby the sins, whether mortal or venial, which we have committed after Baptism are forgiven.

282. Does the Sacrament of Penance increase the grace of God in the soul?

The Sacrament of Penance increases the grace of God in the soul, besides forgiving sin; we should, therefore, often go to confession.

283. When did our Lord institute the Sacrament of Penance?

Our Lord instituted the Sacrament of Penance when he breathed on his Apostles and gave them power to forgive sins, saying: ‘Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven.’ (Jn20:23)

284. How does the priest forgive sins?

The priest forgives sins by the power of God, when he pronounces the words of absolution.

285. What are the words of absolution?

The words of absolution are: ‘I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’.

286. Are any conditions for forgiveness required on the part of the penitent?

Three conditions for forgiveness are required on the part of the penitent – Contrition, Confession, and Satisfaction.

287. What is Contrition?

Contrition is a heartfelt sorrow for our sins, because by them we have offended so good a God, together with a firm purpose of amendment.

288. What is a firm purpose of amendment?

A firm purpose of amendment is a resolution to avoid, by the grace of God, not only sin, but also the dangerous occasion of sin.

289. How may we obtain a hearty sorrow for our sins?

We may obtain a hearty sorrow for our sins by earnestly praying for it, and by making use of such considerations as may lead us to it.

290. What consideration concerning God will lead us to sorrow for our sins?

This consideration concerning God will lead us to sorrow for our sins; that by our sins we have offended God, who is infinitely good in himself and infinitely good to us.

291. What consideration concerning our Saviour will lead us to sorrow for our sins?

This consideration concerning our Saviour will lead us to sorrow for our sins; that our Saviour died for our sins, and that those who sin grievously ‘have wilfully crucified the Son of God and openly mocked him.’ (Heb6:6)

292. Is sorrow for our sins, because by them we have lost heaven and deserved hell, sufficient when we go to confession?

Sorrow for our sins, because by them we have lost heaven and deserve hell, is sufficient when we go to confession.

293. What is perfect contrition?

Perfect contrition is sorrow for sin arising purely from the love of God.

294. What special value has perfect contrition?

Perfect contrition has this special value; that by it our sins are forgiven immediately, even before we confess them; but nevertheless, if they are serious, we are strictly bound to confess them afterwards.

295. What is confession?

Confession is to accuse ourselves of our sins to a priest approved by the Bishop.

296. What if a person wilfully conceals a serious sin in confession?

If a person wilfully conceals a serious sin in confession he is guilty of a great sacrilege, by telling a lie to the Holy Spirit in making a bad confession.

297. How many things have we to do in order to prepare for confession?

We have four things to do in order to prepare for confession: first, we must heartily pray for grace to make a good confession: secondly, we must carefully examine our conscience: thirdly, we must take time and care to make a good act of contrition: and fourthly, we must resolve by the help of God to renounce our sins, and to begin a new life for the future.

298. What is satisfaction?

Satisfaction is doing the penance given us by the priest.

299. Does the penance given by the priest always make full satisfaction for our sins?

The penance given by the priest does not always make full satisfaction for our sins. We should therefore add to it other good works and penances, and try to gain Indulgences.

300. What is an Indulgence?

An Indulgence is a remission, granted by the Church, of the temporal punishment which often remains due to sin after its guilt has been forgiven.

– From the Penny Catechism, Imprimatur: John Cardinal Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster, 18th July 1971

 

 

 

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THE DEGREE OF GRACE OFFERED TO ANY SOUL IS GOD’S SECRET

THE DEGREE OF GRACE OFFERED TO ANY SOUL IS GOD’S SECRET

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: ZEAL FOR SOULS IS SIMPLY LOVE IN ACTION

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

In working for souls, the Child of Mary is constantly aware that he is working for Christ. The secret of his influence over others is simply his own love of God overflowing upon them. His is no apostolate of mere philanthropy or natural pity for the unfortunate ones of the world. Written on his heart are the words of the Master: “So long as you did it unto one of these my least brethren, you did it to Me.

In this light, he sees all mankind, even the most repulsive, the thankless, the despised, the ungrateful, the selfish, the stupid, the afflicted, the vicious. To one and all, as to the least of Christ’s brethren, he strives to render a princely and reverential service. In each of them, he sees neither an equal nor an inferior, but one as superior to himself as is Christ. He approaches each one as he would Christ Himself, humbly, respectfully, reverently. Never does he deliver a lecture or ask a multitude of questions. He enters the cottage of the poorest in exactly the same spirit as he would enter the palace of the greatest.

Through the exercise of supernatural charity, his one aim is to sow the seeds of that eventual intimacy which will, one day, open the floodgates of grace. He regards it to be the special glory of charity to understand others. When they are deliberately rude to him, he submits meekly, remembering that such conduct often springs from a sense of neglect which most people suffer. He is never critical; he never sits in judgment on those for whom he works; he never sets up his own standards of conduct as those to which all must conform. When some differ from him, oppose him or refuse to receive him, he remembers his obligation to love and banishes the thought that they are necessarily less worthy than he. Even when he comes across lives that are unsightly with sin, he remembers that God alone can see the heart and judge as to its real position. The degree of grace offered to any soul is God’s secret and none will be asked for any return save that which has been given to him.

– Excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part I).

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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HE KNOWS THAT, FOR EVEN THE MOST SERIOUS EVILS, THERE IS A REMEDY, AND ONE ONLY WHICH GOD WILLS HIM TO EMPLOY

HE KNOWS THAT, FOR EVEN THE MOST SERIOUS EVILS, THERE IS A REMEDY, AND ONE ONLY WHICH GOD WILLS HIM TO EMPLOY

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: IT IS EVER GOD’S WAY TO PERFECT HIS GREATEST PROJECTS WITH INADEQUATE INSTRUMENTS

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

There is no room for timidity in the work of a Child of Mary who trusts fully in God and the might of His Grace. What the world calls heroism is mere formality and, if persevered in, has an electrifying effect upon the accepted standards of a community.

As for difficulties and dangers, a little courage, nurtured on supernatural trust, shows that they resemble a forest which, at a distance appears solid and impenetrable, but when approached is found easy on entry.

In fact, he is trained for this difficult work and his vocation is to penetrate to the utmost depths his search for the lost sheep, to establish personal contact with every member of underprivileged groups, to reach each of the lapsed and uplift all of the most wretched and dejected of the population. So great is his trust in God, through Jesus and Mary, that he pursues his search for souls to the bitter end with far more zeal and earnestness than those who search for the rare and precious things of the earth.

[Enemies not of flesh and blood, but principalities and powers: the rulers of this world of darkness (Ep6:12)]

[THE ARMOUR OF GOD: ]

No matter how long and drawn-out the battle, how toilsome the labours, how severe the rebuffs, how hardened the cases, how hopeless the prospect, the Child of Mary is buoyed up with unfailing confidence in the omnipotence of grace. He knows that for even the most serious evils, there is a remedy, and ONE only, which God wills him to employ: the intense and patient application of the whole religious system of the Catholic Church.

– Excerpts from “Holiness Through Mary” by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s details, please visit the link above (Part I)

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2016 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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“LORD JESUS, I ACCEPT YOU AS MY LORD, GOD AND SAVIOUR”

The Miracle Prayer 

The Miracle Prayer

The Miracle Prayer

“Lord Jesus, I come before You, just as I am. I am sorry for my sins, I repent of my sins, please forgive me. In Your Name, I forgive all others for what they have done against me. I renounce satan, the evil spirits and all their works. I give you my entire self. Lord Jesus, now and forever, I invite You into my life. Lord Jesus, I accept You as my Lord, God and Saviour. Heal me, change me, strengthen me in body, soul and spirit. Come, Lord Jesus, cover me with Your precious blood and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I love You, Lord Jesus. I praise You, Lord Jesus. I thank You, Lord Jesus. I shall follow You every day of my life. Amen. Mary, my mother, Queen of Peace, all the Angels and Saints, please help me. Amen.

[From “The Secret of Happiness”, The Fifteen Prayers of St Bridget of Sweden (14th century)]

Say this prayer faithfully, no matter how you feel, until you come to the point when you sincerely mean each word with all your heart. Similar prayers like this are found on this blog; for instance the Baptismal Vows, which are prayed by all Catholic believers, and renewed by all faithful at least once a year, at Easter (the time after our Lord’s redemptive suffering, after his rising from the dead, which made it possible for us to be called and chosen (John 15:16) and to be born again of water and the Spirit (John 3:5) through faith; our faith and that of our household, which is a gift of God, a grace, and not something that we have achieved of ourselves, therefore we cannot boast of it (Ephesians 2:8,9) ), but humbly acknowledge that we cannot ever thank the Lord for his gift enough. Thanks be to God. Praise the Lord.

 

 

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MY GOD, POUR FORTH THY GRACE ON THE SOUL WHO IS ABOUT TO OFFEND THEE!

Go you also, Golden Grains, borne on the wings of zeal and friendship; carry the cry of alarm to some pious souls. Say to them that, at this hour, another soul, one of their sisters, a daughter of Jesus Christ like themselves, is just about to fall into sin.

Tell them to cry aloud: –

My God, my God, give thy grace to the soul which is on the point of offending thee!

Oh! what a beautiful mission is that of preventing a mortal sin by prayer! of keeping from falling into the abyss some poor soul, which, perhaps, was about to be for ever separated from thee, my God.

Mortal sin is committed every hour, and God is blasphemed every hour, and every hour God loses a soul.

And for some of these souls all that is wanting is one grace more, which they have not merited, and which a prayer could have obtained for them.

My God, my God, pour forth thy grace on the soul who is about to offend thee.

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

 

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FAMILY LIFE: “OH, MY GOD, MAY I BE USEFUL THIS DAY”

For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it (Mt16:25) 

Giving up one’s life for Jesus loving others without counting the cost

To be useful is very beautiful in the sight of God and of our conscience. If to be amiable, to be loved were not to be useful to others by making life sweeter to them, we never would seek to be amiable; we would content ourselves with being useful.

“It is through us that those we love are happy”

When we feel ourselves almost indispensable to the comfort of all, in the midst of a small family where we pass our life in labour, that we are able to say softly: “It is through us that those we love are happy.” “They are praised, they are esteemed, and it is we who cause it all.”

“They are content with themselves; they imagine that they do a great deal; and that they are always successful; and for this work, this success, we have furnished the materials. It is we who, by speaking well of them, praising them at proper times, pointing out their good qualities, and hiding their faults – it is we who are the cause of everything succeeding with them.”

This work of usefulness is accomplished quietly and in the presence of God alone

What a sweet thought, particularly when this work of usefulness is accomplished quietly, with little noise, and in the presence of God alone; when it never appears, and when to the eyes of all we seem to be doing no more than others! What joy for the heart, and what a harvest of merit for eternity.

Oh! my God, let me add to my morning prayers that short one, so excellent but so little known: “May I be useful to some one this day.”

But to be happy in this work of devotion accomplished in secret, and to continue it for any length of time, very much virtue is necessary; there must be, in the most practical sense of the word, “The habitual thought of God“, which takes the place of everything, and in presence of which we work, because, alas! the thought of doing good is not sufficient of itself to sustain us; we all desire to be appreciated a little.

What often disturbs, and for a long time paralyses the ardour of poor devoted hearts is that they are unconsciously too anxious to know whether their devotion is appreciated. They have been given too much to understand that “devotion is always rewarded upon earth,” and, not receiving a recompense such as they expected, they say to themselves, We are wasting our time.

Our very dearest and best Friend Jesus sees every little good thing we do, and He is very pleased with us

Take courage, poor hearts; commence again to be cheerful and devoted. If men make you no return, either through forgetfulness, inability, or indifference, so much better! God will reward you in heaven; and is not God’s recompense worth more than that of men?

Laying up treasures in heaven where neither rust nor moth consume (Mt 6:19)

The art of being useful is not a thing that can be learned. It is a divine passion that comes into the heart through special grace, which impels less to act than to remain united to God, seeking in some way to assist God in the care which He takes of others.

Assisting God in the care He takes of others

Then there are so many ways of being useful. You are useful, who, through love of order, and with the thought of making all happy, see carefully that nothing is out of place, that nothing is wasted, and that everything is neat and orderly.

You are useful whom sickness chains to a couch, and who remain patient and resigned, praying for those who perform the work which you should do if you had your health.

You are useful who are permitted to do nothing because your ability is doubted; who are repulsed; to whom unsuitable employment is given, and who yet remain smiling, humble, and silent.

Among you all, who is the happiest and the most useful? Is it not the soul which is most united to God?

A special grace, a divine passion

“Do well to-day what Providence actually asks of you, be it ever so little,” wrote St Francis de Sales, “and when to-morrow has become for us to-day, we shall again see what we are required to undertake.”

Oh! then let us abandon all pre-occupation, and make beautiful the present moment which God has given us to embellish; after that take another, then another… a moment passes quickly, but it is easy to spend it profitably. Oh! my God, how good art thou to permit me to purchase heaven with moments!

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889 (headings in bold added)

 

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“PREACHING PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE AFAR OFF, AND PEACE TO THEM THAT WERE NIGH” (EPH.2:17)

INTERIOR PEACE

It was in November of the year 1915 that Pope Benedict XV ordained that the invocation “Queen of Peace” should be added to the Litany of Loreto. To whom, indeed, under God could the Pope have appealed with greater confidence than to that Blessed Mother who gave us the Prince of Peace, Him who, in the words of St Paul, is “our peace” (Eph. 2:14) and “preaching peace to you who were afar off, and peace to them that were nigh (Eph. 2:17) and by whom peace was brought into the world unto “men of goodwill.” As fitted the Mother of such a Son, she ever possessed within her soul and cultivated therein a deep, interior, ineffable peace, which could not be disturbed by any of the rude blasts which make for contention in the affairs of men. In her, there never was, nor could be, any trace of rebellion, inward or outward. She was exempt from all concupiscence, and therefore from all that inward turmoil that results in ourselves from the perpetual conflict of spirit with the flesh. She was free, moreover, from any guilt of actual sin, and consequently free from that gnawing sense of remorse, that everlasting prick of an outraged conscience, which makes the inspired writer assure us “there is no peace for the wicked” (Is.68:22). And that most wonderful peace of her most pure heart was reflected in the unalterable calm and harmony that reigned in her home at Nazareth, the ideal abode of mutual regard, and willing service, and love unutterable. Sorrows indeed fell to her lot in abundance. They are the badge of the servants of God, and the higher she stood in His regard, the more was it necessary that she should suffer and be tried during her sojourn upon earth. But tribulations, the most intense that have ever overtaken a creature, could not affect the deep-seated peace and tranquillity of her inmost soul. They were but on the surface: they were the ripples of the waves, if you will, which ruffle the surface wastes of the ocean, but penetrate no further and disturb not the everlasting calm of the great deep below.

The peace of Christ which surpasseth all understanding (Phil.4:7)

Whenever we recite the Litany of Loreto it is meet that we should earnestly invoke our Mother Mary by the latest title given her by the Church, that of Queen of Peace, beseeching her that she may grant us “peace in our days”, that “peace of Christ which surpasseth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7).

When the great temple of Solomon was being built at Jerusalem, we are told that “there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house when it was building” (3 Kings [1 Kings] 6:7). And likewise we cannot erect in our own soul, or indeed attain any spiritual comfort or happiness in this world, unless we secure real interior peace, that silence of the heart which alone enables us to hear the “still small voice of the Lord” speaking unto us, and to perceive the motions of grace working within us. Now, if we are to compass that heavenly state of mind, we have to see to it that we be at peace with God, at peace with our neighbour, and at peace with ourselves.

We must be at peace with God

First of all, then, we must be at peace with God. We must not be conscious that there is a bar or an obstacle between ourselves and our Maker, that we are living in His disgrace, that were we to die in our present condition, we should find our salvation forfeited and our lot cast for evermore with the reprobate.

It is obvious that anyone who has thus placed himself in a state of open rebellion against the dictate of the divine law has put himself out of court, as it were, and is incapable of experiencing the joys of interior peace.

Neither can there be much inward tranquillity even for one who may perhaps keep himself free from grievous sin but who is habitually careless and lukewarm, unfaithful to prayer and daily falls into venial sins, making little account of them. Such a one is in great danger of soon falling into mortal sin and he cannot but carry with him an uneasy conscience, a certain doubt as to the place he holds in God’s esteem, a fear in fact that all is not well between himself and his Creator; and such a condition of mind is easily seen to be destructive of that peace of soul which results from the knowledge that God is pleased with us and that the sunshine of His countenance is upon us. These considerations are so plain and obvious that we may pass at once to the second condition that makes for interior peace.

We must be at peace with our neighbour

We must be at peace with our neighbour. Of all passions disturbing to the soul, the passion of anger may be singled out as standing pre-eminent. Once allow it to obtain a hold of our being and to vent itself against a fellow being and straightaway all inward calm and tranquillity vanish. The physical frame itself is shaken: the face loses or adds to its colour according to temperament: the judgement is warped and we say or do things that we should never dream of saying or doing in our normal state.

Anger

And if we do not suppress the passion at once, if contrary to the warning of the Apostle, we allow “the sun to go down on our anger” (Eph. 4:36), it will soon be converted into animosity and hatred, and we have a condition of the soul from which it is difficult to be freed, for our passion then grows more and more in intensity by feeding upon a thousand false interpretations and conclusions. Never indeed does an irate man acknowledge to himself or to others that his ire is not justified.

There can therefore be no question of much interior peace in a choleric person who yields easily and frequently to the impulses of his excitable temperament. It is true that we are told in more than one place in Holy Writ that it is possible to “be angry and yet not to sin” (Eph. 4:26). Occasions may arise when it is our duty even to show indignation because of the evil doings of our subordinates, or, it may be, of those who are our equals. But we should do so with moderation, without any exhibition of temper, seriously but quietly, with due regard to Christian charity, which always claims its rights even in the midst of a just remonstrance. Our admonition will lose none of its effectiveness for being conveyed in a calm and judicial manner, whereas if we show heat and passion, our words are discounted in advance and lose much of their force in the mind of the person in the mind of the mind of the person we reprimand. As St Francis de Sales puts it, we must not be like those ushers or officers in a parliament who, whenever there is a hubbub in the house, go shouting “Order, order” in a voice louder by far than that of those whose clamour they would suppress.

Jealousy

Besides animosities and aversions, all of which spring from the same root, there is another passion having relation to our neighbour which may very appreciably disturb our peace of mind. It is jealousy; and jealousy being one of the capital sins is a universal sins is a universal vice which easily finds entrance into the hearts of even pious people. It may not reach the fierce intensity of Othello’s passion but it can be at times quite upsetting and demoralising. That “tristitia de bono alterius”, as the moralists call it, may be a very real pain, and those who have experienced it in any marked degree know full well how it gnaws at our very heart strings and leaves no respite or breathing space, so long as we allow our mind to dwell on the real or fancied preference given to another.

But not only does it torture but it also distorts, and we soon become convinced that our neighbour is unworthy of the good luck that comes to him. It may be that we find ourselves supplanted by him in the affection of those whose regard we prize or the popularity which he enjoys. Such marks of superiority over ourselves irritate and gall us, even though in reality they are mere pin-pricks.

Unfortunately when we are so affected we are prompted to seek some sort of relief in speaking in disparaging terms of those who are the objects of our jealousy, sometimes even with much bitterness and little truth. In this way we manifest the pettiness of this our jealousy, when on all counts we should be anxious to conceal it. Nothing can be more wounding to our self-love than to be accounted by others as being of a jealous disposition, and yet when they see us, thus jealous and captious, they cannot but see through us and through the miserable motives by which we are actuated.

As we hope to possess interior peace, therefore, it is necessary that we keep down within us all sentiments of resentment and green-eyed jealousy in regard to our fellow men.

We must be at peace with ourselves

To be at peace, however, with God and our fellow men, will not secure for us that priceless gift of inward peace unless we learn to be at peace with ourselves. And we may understand by this, that not only must we be free from the haunting consciousness of grievous sin, which is itself, of course, destructive of all peace, but we must have trained ourselves, to overcome at least the ordinary outbursts of human passion.

To be truly peaceful, the soul must not be the scene of an everlasting warfare, of a constant and acute conflict between the lower instincts of the body and the nobler aspirations which come to us through grace.

The flesh and body on one hand and Divine Grace on the other

If we are living lives of self-conquest and abnegation, the result should appear in a certain readiness and facility with which we guard ourselves against the first onset of temptation and turn away from whatsoever might disturb and distress the repose of the soul. There should be realised in us the words of the Apostle:

“The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but justice and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17)

Being but human beings, however, we are sure to fall into many faults, failings, imperfections, inordinations, and sins at least of a venial nature, and we must be careful not to allow these defects to interfere with the inmost peace of our soul. We may humble ourselves at the sight of our many miseries, but it must be done sweetly, calmly, in a spirit of confidence that God will assist us in the future as He has done in the past. He bears with all our imperfections and we must learn to bear with them ourselves.

We must not be surprised to find that frailty is frail, and temptation is tempting, and the slime of the earth is of an earthly nature. We may be sorry and contrite for our repeated failings, and endeavour to amend them day by day, but we need not ourselves to be troubled at their sight. We must not be like those who falling into a fit of anger become angry with themselves for being angry. Strictly speaking, they fall into a vicious circle out of which there is no logical issue.

We have to do our work without hurry, relying wholly on the Providence of God

However busy you may be, cultivate the habit of recollection and of every now and of every now and then pausing to recommend your work to God and of offering it anew to Him.

“Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things. But one thing is necessary” (Luke 10:41).

Had Martha not allowed herself to become worried and anxious she would not have drawn upon herself the gentle reproof of Our Lord. Instead of appreciating the calm restraint and tranquillity of her sister, she was always in a ferment, rushing hither and thither, and indignant when others did not help her. In order to have true peace, then, we have to do our work quietly, without hurry, relying wholly on the Providence of God, and then whether we succeed or whether we fail, we shall know that what happens is most profitable for our soul.

In the picturesque and graceful language of St Francis de Sales, we must act as little children who with one hand hold on to their father and with the other pluck berries and fruits as they proceed along the hedges. In like manner, says the Saint, we must cull and gather the good things of this world with one hand, but with the other we must always grasp the hand of our heavenly Father and turn to Him from time to time to see whether He be pleased with us and our behaviour. Above all we must be careful not to let go His hand and His protection, on the pretext that we shall thus be enabled to gather more, for then, adds the holy Doctor, we shall not go far, without “coming a cropper” – sans donner du nez en terre. (Vie Dévote, III, ch.10)

– From: Lift Up Your Hearts, Christopher J. Wilmot, The Catholic Book Club, London, 1949

 

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