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HOW THE BEAUTY OF A CHRISTIAN SOUL ENRAPTURES HIM WHO BECAME ITS SPOUSE BY BAPTISM

HOW THE BEAUTY OF A CHRISTIAN SOUL ENRAPTURES HIM WHO BECAME ITS SPOUSE BY BAPTISM

RAISE YOUR EYES TO THE REGIONS OF INFINITE LOVE: THERE YOU WILL FIND THE SECRET OF YOUR TEARS

Alas! we always forget that the object of our love is beloved also by another, and that God is called in the Holy Scriptures a jealous God. In our affections we forget Him Who loves more than all creatures together, and Who, lest they should find any reason to complain of Him, has willed to die for them, eternal as He was by His nature. Raise your eyes to the regions of infinite love, there you will find the secret of your tears. You will see wrapped in the embrace of God the soul which divided itself so equally between God and you, that not even the attractions of Heaven would have torn it from you, if it had not received an indisputable order. You will see the reason of this command, which seems so cruel, and understand how the beauty of a Christian soul enraptures Him Who became its Spouse by baptism.

DEATH IS THE PORTAL OF LIFE

Unhappy that we are, we do not believe these divine mysteries! We call birth and life by the name of death; we make a tomb of the portal of heaven, we weep there, like men who have no hope?

– Lacordaire, from Laverty & Sons (eds), Leeds, 1905

 

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NEW WEBSITE: “THE ART OF DYING WELL”

NEW WEBSITE: “THE ART OF DYING WELL”

This new website has been set up by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Sections include: What is dying well? Talking about death. Facing death personally. Losing a loved one. Caring for the dying. The address of this new website is http://www.artofdyingwell.org (external link).

 

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TO NEGLECT OUR DUTY IS TO COMPLAIN OF GOD, OR TO MURMUR AGAINST HIS WILL

TO NEGLECT OUR DUTY IS TO COMPLAIN OF GOD, OR TO MURMUR AGAINST HIS WILL

“The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job1:21b)

A courageous woman was surprised, with her eyes full of tears, by one of her nieces who had brought a joyous band of children to visit her in order to amuse them.

What is the matter, aunt?

Affectionately embracing her niece, she replied: The weight on my heart is the blow which killed my son on such a day as this.

Oh, aunt! is to-day, then, the anniversary of his death? If you had told us so, we should not have worried you with our gaiety.

God forbid that I should make you bear the burden which oppresses me! That would be unjust. Poor children; is it because I am sad that you must not amuse yourselves?

And can you spend a day like this engaged in your ordinary occupations?

But, my child, is not fulfilling the duties of my state the best means of submitting my will to God, and thus securing a little consolation?

Know, my child, that when God sends us a cross, He wishes that we should bear it without neglecting on its account any of our duties, no matter how trifling they may be.

To neglect our duty is to complain of God, or to murmur against his will.

– From: Golden Grains, Little Counsels for the Sanctification and Happiness of Every-Day Life, H. M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN KILLED ON OUR ROADS

We pray for those who have been killed on our roads and for those who grieve their loss. We remember also all who have been injured in body and mind and those who care for them.

Loving God, use us as we are able, to comfort and support those who suffer and what we cannot do for them be pleased yourself to do so that in the mystery of your love they may find peace and healing. Amen.

– Don Maclean, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Catholic Universe newspaper, issue 14th November 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com (external link)

 

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TODAY’S PSALM (PSALM 87)

(Week 26 of the year: Tuesday)

R. Let my prayer come into your presence, O Lord.

1. Lord my God, I call for help by day;
I cry at night before you.
Let my prayer come into your presence.
O turn your ear to my cry. (R.)

2. For my soul is filled with evils;
my life is on the brink of the grave.
I am reckoned as one in the tomb:
I have reached the end of my strength. (R.)

3. Like one alone among the dead;
like the slain lying in their graves;
like those you remember no more,
cut off, as they are, from your hand. (R.)

4. You have laid me in depths of the tomb,
in places that are dark, in the depths.
Your anger weighs down upon me:
I am drowned beneath your waves.

ALLELUIA

Alleluia, alleluia!
Bend my heart to your will, O Lord,
and teach me your law.
Alleluia!

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (JOB 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23)

(Week 26 of the year: Tuesday)

WHY GIVE LIGHT TO A MAN OF GRIEF?

After this Job opened his mouth, and cursed his day,

And he said:

Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said: A man child is conceived.

Why did I not die in the womb, why did I not perish when I came out of the belly?

Why received upon the knees? why suckled at the breasts?

For now I should have been asleep and still, and should have rest in my sleep.

With kings and consuls of the earth, who build themselves solitudes:

Or with princes, that possess gold, and fill their houses with silver:

Or as a hidden untimely birth I should not be, or as they that being conceived have not seen the light.

There the wicked cease from tumult, and there the wearied in strength are at rest.

Why is light given to him that is in misery, and life to them that are in bitterness of soul?

That look for death, and it cometh not, as they that dig for a treasure:

And they rejoice exceedingly when they have found the grave.

To a man whose way is hidden, and God hath surrounded him with darkness?

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

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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“NO MAN’S CROSS IS LAID UPON HIM FOR HIMSELF ALONE, BUT FOR THE HEALING OF THE WHOLE WORLD”

“Look at this cross, so much bigger than the man whose body will be stretched to fit it. So much higher than the height of the man who will be lifted up above the earth on it and who, being lifted up, will draw all peoples to himself. Christ receives it with joy because he knows that this is the dead weight that must have crushed humankind had he not lifted it from their backs. This is the dead wood which at his touch is transformed to a living tree. At his touch, the hewn tree takes root again, and the roots thrust down into the earth, and the tree breaks into flower…

THE TREE BREAKS INTO FLOWER

Because Christ is to be stretched to the size of the cross, those who love him will grow to the size of it, not only to the size of man’s suffering, which is bigger than man, but to the size of Christ’s love that is bigger than all suffering. Because Christ is to be lifted up on the cross, all those who love him will be lifted up above the world by the world’s sorrow. He, being lifted up, will draw all men to himself.

CHRIST CHANGED SUFFERING TO REDEMPTION

Because Christ has changed death to life, and suffering to redemption, the suffering of those who love him will be a communion between them. All that hidden daily suffering that seems insignificant will be redeeming the world, it will be healing the wounds of the world. The acceptance of pain, of old age, of the fear of death, and of death will be our gift of Christ’s love to one another; our gift of Christ’s life to one another.

JOY AND SUPERNATURAL LIFE

No man’s cross is laid upon him for himself alone, but for the healing of the whole world, for the mutual comforting and sweetening of sorrow, for the giving of joy and supernatural life to one another. For Christ receives our cross that we may receive his. Receiving his cross, the cross of the whole world made his, we receive him. He gives us his hands to take hold of, his power to make it a redeeming thing, a blessed thing, his life to cause it to flower, his heart to enable us to rejoice in accepting our own and one another’s burdens.”
– Caryll Houselander

 

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“BLESSED ARE THEY WHO MOURN” (Mt 5:4) – FOR WHAT SHALL WE MOURN?

GOD NEVER IS CLOSER THAN WHEN, HUMANLY SPEAKING, LIFE SEEMS MOST HOPELESS. UNLESS HE CHOOSES TO BLOCK GOD OUT OF HIS LIFE, NO MAN EVER CAN TRUTHFULLY SAY, ‘I SUFFER ALONE’.

“If you are of cheerful disposition and generally inclined to look on the bright side of life, you may feel a little uncomfortable as you listen to Jesus say, in His Sermon on the Mount, ‘Blessed are they who mourn.’ You may feel a twinge of guilt at the thought of your own inveterate cheerfulness, and may wonder whether it is quite Christian to feel as happy as you do. Just what does Jesus mean, anyway?

WHAT DOES JESUS MEAN, ANYWAY?

His first meaning is a literal one. He means exactly what He says. Jesus was addressing a crowd of people who, for the most part, were poor and who daily lived with sorrow. There was no social security, no unemployment insurance, no farm subsidies. There were few parents among his listeners who did not know at times the awful anxiety of being unable to provide bread for their children.

The science of medicine was rudimentary, too. There were no wonder drugs. The infant mortality rate was high. Childhood diseases and adult illnesses were too often fatal. Death and grief were frequent intruders in the homes of Christ’s hearers.

THE MEANING OF SUFFERING

Jesus wanted them (and us) to know that God is not indifferent to the sorrows of His children. Indeed, there is nothing which exerts a more powerful claim upon God for His compassionate attention than does the mental anguish of persons of good will. This is the type of suffering which is closest to the agony of God’s own Son.

God will give the strength to survive sorrow. God will give the grace to make grief a purifying and sanctifying force and a sure path to heaven. God never is closer than when, humanly speaking, life seems most hopeless. Unless he chooses to block God out of his life, no man ever can truthfully say, ‘I suffer alone.’ And in heaven there surely will be, very close to the martyrs, a degree of glory and happiness reserved for those who have been burdened with mental distress.

MORE THAN JUST THE LITERAL SENSE

When Jesus said, ‘Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted,’ He meant His word to be taken literally, but He did not l i m i t His meaning to the literal sense. No matter how free from other grief we may be, we all have the obligation to mourn for our sins, to sorrow for the times we have rejected God’s love and for the graces we have wasted. From this type of grief – tempered by our confidence in God’s mercy – we never must be free.

THOSE WHO REJECT GOD OR DO NOT KNOW HIM

There is still another kind of sorrow to which the Christian must not be a stranger. This is the sorrow engendered in us by the suffering – spiritual, mental and physical – of others.

We should be deeply concerned, for example, that so many of our brothers and sisters live their lives completely divorced from God. We should be concerned that so many choose to make sin a way of life. We should be concerned that so many have not yet heard of the Gospel message of God’s love and Christ’s redemption. We should be concerned that there are so many divisions among Christians. We should be concerned that there is so much hatred in the world, so many people at one another’s throats. We should be concerned that millions of our fellow men do not have decent shelter or enough to eat.

WE ARE LESS MOVED TO WEEP THAN TO TAKE ACTION

There is more than enough reason for us to mourn if we have the sense of responsibility for our neighbour which, as members of Christ’s Body, we must have. This is a type of grief which expresses itself less in the emotions than in the will. We are less moved to weep than we are to take action.

THE GRIEF WE SHARE WITH CHRIST AT THE MISERY OF OTHERS

What action we can take, either individually or as a member of a group, will vary with each of us. We shall pray for sufferers, of course, but we may not be content with prayer alone if there is something we can d o . The grief which we share with Christ at the misery of others is a dynamic force. It seeks for an outlet, for a deed to be done, and is not content until it has found that outlet.

If we have to confess, ‘I have done nothing during this past month (or two months or a year) to alleviate human suffering,’ we have reason to feel uneasy. We can hardly qualify for Christ’s promise: the promise of God’s healing and comforting embrace, here and hereafter, for all who mourn.”
– Fr Leo J. Trese, 1966

 

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JAMES BOND STAR: THE ONLY THING THAT KEPT ME GOING IS MY CATHOLIC FAITH

“Former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan has said the only thing that kept him going when his first wife and her daughter died was his Catholic faith.

Both died of ovarian cancer. His wife, Cassandra Harris, died in 1991 aged 43; Charlotte, her daughter, whom Brosnan adopted in 1986, died last year aged 41.

‘My faith has always helped me. I’m Catholic,’ he told the German newspaper ‘Bild’ last week.

‘That’s all you have left when your heart is just a dark hole at four in the morning and you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. No one can escape life’s pain. That’s life.’

In an interview with RTE three years ago he said that ‘prayer helps me to be a father, to be an actor and to be a man. It always helps to have a bit of prayer in your back pocket. At the end of the day, you have to have something and for me that is God, Jesus, my Catholic upbringing, my faith.’

He continued: ‘My faith has been good to me in the moments of deepest suffering, doubt and fear. It is a constant, the language of prayer. Recalling being taught by the Christian Brothers as a child in Ireland he said: ‘I certainly got a strapping amount of faith.'”
– This article by David V Barrett entitled “Brosnan: faith kept me going in dark time” was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue February 21 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 

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PRAISE THE LORD! – IF GOD DOES “SEND” SUFFERING, IT IS MORE LIKELY TO BE TO A SAINT THAN TO A SINNER, BECAUSE THE SAINT IS BETTER “QUALIFIED”

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me (Mat 1:38).

“THE POWER OF PAIN

Pain is one of our great supernatural resources. That statement is out of line with our usual pattern of thought. We are accustomed to viewing pain as an unmitigated evil. For some persons, the existence of pain even is a source of temptation against their religious faith. ‘If God is good,’ they ask, ‘why does He permit suffering, particularly so much innocent suffering?’

‘IF GOD IS GOOD,’ THEY ASK, ‘WHY DOES HE PERMIT SUFFERING?’

Thoughtful people realise that we could not have the world we do have, without suffering. A great amount of suffering is caused by man’s own inhumanity to man. To prevent this, God would have to make man a puppet, with God pulling the strings on each man’s actions. Being no longer free, man would cease to be human.

FREE WILL AND CREATION AS WE KNOW IT

Similarly, to eliminate all pain caused by nature, God would have had a different kind of world. Fire burns. Coal tars initiate cancer. Gravity crushes. Electricity kills. The world could not be our world, as we know it, without pain.

Still, after all possible explanations of pain have been made, there does remain a large element of mystery in this question of suffering. For example, why deadly microbes, why poisonous reptiles?

THERE DOES REMAIN A MYSTERY

It helps a little to remember that God’s plan for the universe encompasses billions of years. Our own world with its pain is but one pinpoint in that vast plan and only one moment in those uncounted eons. How the phenomenon of pain may eventually contribute to God’s over-all design, we must await to discover.

‘GREATER LOVE THAN THIS NO MAN HAS, THAT ONE LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS’

The really important truth about pain, for the Christian, is the fact that it does have a meaning in the here and now. In Eden God gave to suffering its value as an atonement for sin. On Calvary Jesus Christ gave to suffering its ultimate nobility as He expressed, in the language of pain, God’s infinite love for man. ‘Greater love than this no man has, that one lay down his life for his friends.’

SHARING THE SUBLIME FRUIT OF SUFFERING

Jesus did not hoard to Himself this sublime fruit of suffering, this ability to make one’s pain count for others. In His scheme of salvation, our Lord has chosen to share with us His redemptive work. Each of us who has been baptised in Christ has the privilege of helping Him to carry His cross. Each of us has the power to atone by our sufferings for the sins of others and to crack the locks on hearts that have been closed to God’s grace.

‘WHO NOW REJOICE IN MY SUFFERINGS FOR YOU, AND FILL UP THAT WHICH IS LACKING IN THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST IN MY FLESH FOR HIS BODY’S SAKE, WHICH IS THE CHURCH’ (Colossians 1:24)

Whatever pain may be our lot, in honesty we must admit, ‘I deserve this for my sins.’ Only an innocent child can truthfully say, ‘I do not deserve to suffer.’ If God’s justice were not tempered with mercy and if we had to pay the full price of our infidelities, we should be living our whole lives in pain.

However, when suffering does come to us, it would be a mistake to conclude, ‘I am being punished for my sins.’ God is not a vindictive God. He may permit us to suffer for our spiritual good and to better assure our eternal happiness, but He does not send suffering to ‘get even’ with us for our offences against Him.

MOST SUFFERING IS THE INEVITABLE RESULT OF LIVING IN THE KIND OF WORLD THAT IS OURS

In fact, it probably is quite rarely that God positively ‘sends’ suffering to anyone. Most suffering, such as disease or accident, is simply the result of natural causes; or, it is the result of the evil will of fellow humans. Most suffering, in other words, is the inevitable result of living in the kind of a world that is ours.

If God does ‘send’ suffering, it is more likely to be to a saint than to a sinner. The saint is better qualified to use suffering unselfishly for the salvation of others.

‘I OFFER THIS CROSS, BELOVED JESUS, IN UNION WITH YOURS’

Suffering comes in all styles and sizes. It may be a simple headache, a slight cold or a minor disappointment. It may be the excruciating agony of cancer or of acute arthritis, or the mental distress of deep despondency or loneliness.

Whatever our particular pain may be, it will be a tragic waste if we refuse or forget to say, ‘I offer this cross, beloved Jesus, in union with Yours. I offer it for my own sins and especially in atonement for the sins of others. Let my suffering bring another soul to You!'”
– Fr Leo J. Trese, 1966 (text within the inverted commas; capital headings added afterwards).

(see also Mt 5:2-12)

 

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