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ST EPHREM THE SYRIAN

ST EPHREM THE SYRIAN

ST EPHREM THE SYRIAN; DEACON, CONFESSOR, AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH – MEMORIAL: JUNE 9

Ephrem was of Syrian descent and the son of a citizen of Nisibis. While yet a young man, he went to the holy Bishop James, by whom he was baptised. In a short while, he made such progress in holiness and learning that he was appointed teacher of a flourishing school at Nisibis, a Mesopotamian city. He was ordained deacon of the Church of Edessa, and refusing the priesthood out of humility, he was conspicuous with the splendour of every virtue and strove to acquire piety and religion by professing true wisdom.

HE WAS CONSPICUOUS WITH THE SPLENDOUR OF EVERY VIRTUE

His works, taken as a whole, are so infused with the bright light of his learning, that this holy man, even while yet living, was held in great honour and even considered a Doctor of the Church. He was noted, above all, for his great and tender devotion to the Immaculate Virgin. Full of merits, he died at Edessa in Mesopotamia on the fourteenth of the Calends of July [373], in the reign of Valens. Pope Benedict XV declared him, by a decree of the Congregation of Sacred Rites, to be a Doctor of the Universal Church.

PRAYER:

O God, who willed to enlighten your Church by the wondrous learning and glorious merits of the life of blessed Ephrem, your Confessor and Doctor, we humbly pray you that, by his pleading, you will shield her with your lasting power against the snares of error and evil. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 [bold headings added]

 

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THE QUICKEST METHOD OF EMPTYING ONESELF OF “SELF”

THE QUICKEST METHOD OF EMPTYING ONESELF OF “SELF”

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: WITHOUT HUMILITY, LIKENESS TO MARY IS IMPOSSIBLE

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

As an Army of Mary, we are engaged in the battle for souls. The first battle begins in our own soul, and it is the battle against pride and self. It never ceases, no matter how exhausting it is.

To the end of his earthly life, the Child of Mary strives to conquer the root of evil within himself, ever purifying his intention more and more. Unaided, he is quite unable to succeed in even this first battle. So he leans on Mary with complete trust. He soon learns that the quickest method of emptying himself of self and filling himself with God, is through true devotion to Mary.

Our dependence on God’s grace

United with Mary, we rid ourselves of self-exultation. In Mary, we see the Mirror of Justice endowed with unbounded power in the realms of grace.

The perfect purity of intention exemplified in Mary drives from the soul of the Child of Mary any feelings of smug self I satisfaction and any desire for self-advancement. He works only that God may triumph in souls through Mary. His dependence on grace makes him distrust the prompting of his own inclinations and so rids him of self-will and every other impediment to the maternal influences of Mary. She takes over, developing in him from day to day the supernatural energies and sacrifices She expects from a good soldier of Christ.

– 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 1)

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2017 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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WITHOUT HUMILITY, LIKENESS TO MARY IS IMPOSSIBLE

WITHOUT HUMILITY, LIKENESS TO MARY IS IMPOSSIBLE

He hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. (Lk1:48)

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: OUR WARFARE IS NOT OF THIS WORLD

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

Humility is necessary for that union with Mary upon which the apostolate relies for its supernatural efficacy. It is more essential in Mary’s soldiers than are courage, intelligence and physical fitness in the soldier of worldly armies.

A man may be determined to be a good soldier, to play a worthy part in the battles in which his country’s forces are engaged and, yet, through the absence of the necessary qualities, be unable to do so. A paralysed man may long to walk, but even the most vehement longings will not give him the capacity he does not physically possess.

So it is, the Children of Mary are bound to be rendered ineffective unless they are rooted in true humility. Without this virtue HOLINESS, the source of all apostolic action is impossible. Without it, there can be no real likeness to Mary.

– 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 1).

 

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OUR WARFARE IS NOT OF THIS WORLD

OUR WARFARE IS NOT OF THIS WORLD

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: TOWARDS THE PASTORS OF THE CHURCH, WE SHOW ALWAYS THAT LOYALTY AND OBEDIENCE WHICH SPRING FROM GENUINE CHARITY

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

If personal holiness, the perfection of charity, is the object of the Child of Mary, humility is the root and instrument of his apostolic action. The Children of Mary are an army and speak to their members in terms of battles and warfare; they are dedicated to Her who is terrible as an army set in battle array.

They are stimulated to carry out all their work with the seriousness of trained and faithful soldiers. Nevertheless, the warfare in which they engage is not of this world; it must be waged according to the tactics of Heaven. The whole system of this army is designed to implant in hearts lowly and unworldly qualities, the chief of which is true humility. Rightly understood, it confers a strange nobility and unique strength upon all who join it.

A strange nobility and unique strength

Only from true humility of heart does the Child of Mary derive the gentle, unassuming manners upon which he relies for the effecting and developing of the personal approach to souls that is such an essential factor in his work.

True humility of heart

In humility, he sees a virtue from which all others derive their value. One and all, they depend on grace and grace will not be given to the proud. When virtue is claimed as the result of one’s own efforts unaided by grace, it ceases to be virtue. Just as Mary’s lowliness brought the Saviour into Her womb, so the humility of Her children brings His Spirit and His Graces into their souls. The holier they are, the more they acknowledge their dependence on God; the more they receive, the greater is their debt to the Almighty. Gradually, the apostolate drives home even into the heart that is naturally proudest the hard lesson that only one’s worthlessness is one’s own. Everything else is God’s free gift. He gives it freely; He can increase it or diminish it or withdraw it entirely just as He wishes. The recognition of what one really is before God is the essence of true humility. “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.” Humble and little-sought tasks are preferred; contempt and rebuffs are readily borne and God’s holy Will is generously accepted, especially when compliance means rigorous suppression of self.

– 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 1).

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2017 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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IT IS GOOD FOR US TO HAVE OTHERS KNOW OUR FAULTS AND REBUKE THEM, FOR IT GIVES US GREATER HUMILITY

IT IS GOOD FOR US TO HAVE OTHERS KNOW OUR FAULTS AND REBUKE THEM, FOR IT GIVES US GREATER HUMILITY

Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. (Mt11:29)

HUMILITY

Be not troubled about those who are with you or against you, but take care that God be with you in everything you do.

Keep your conscience clear and God will protect you, for the malice of man cannot harm one whom God wishes to help. If you know how to suffer in silence, you will undoubtedly experience God’s help. He knows when and how to deliver you; therefore place yourself in His hands, for it is a divine prerogative to help men and free them from all distress.

It is often good for us to have others know our faults and rebuke them, for it gives us greater humility. When a man humbles himself because of his faults, he easily placates those about him and readily appeases those who are angry with him.

It is the humble man whom God protects and liberates; it is the humble whom He loves and consoles. To the humble He turns and upon them bestows great grace, that after their humiliation He may raise them up to glory. He reveals His secrets to the humble, and with kind invitation bids them to come to Him. Thus, the humble man enjoys peace in the midst of many vexations, because his trust is in God, not in the world. Hence, you must not think that you have made any progress until you look upon yourself as inferior to others.

– From: The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis

 

 

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DO YOU DESIRE TO BE GREAT?

DO YOU DESIRE TO BE GREAT?

HUMILITY

On Matthew 11:25-30 (previous post)

“Come to me, all you who labour.” And why do we all labour if it be not because we are all mortal men, frail and weak, bearing earthen vessels that distress one another for straitness? Yet, when the vessel of the flesh is straitened, let the open expanse of charity spread abroad.

Why then does he say, ‘Come to me, all you who labour, ” unless it means that you shall not labour? It is indeed clear that such is his promise; for since he calls those who labour, they will perchance ask, to what reward they are called. “And I will refresh you,” he says. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,” not how to make the world, not to create all things visible and invisible, not how to work wonders in this world and raise the dead, but: “Because I am meek and humble of heart.”

Do you desire to be great? Begin first by being the least. Do you think to raise a mighty building of great height? Think first of the lowness of the foundation. And however great a mass of building anyone may wish and design to erect, the higher he intends to raise it, the deeper he digs his foundation. And as the structure is built up, it rises heavenward; but he that digs the foundation, must dig down very low. The building, therefore, must be low before it is high, and the roof is erected only after a lowly beginning.

What is the roof of the building which we are raising? How high will its peak reach? I answer you at once: “Even to the very sight of God.” You see how high, how great a thing it is to behold God. He who desires it, will understand both what I say and what he hears. The sight of God is promised to us, the very God, God most High. This indeed is good, to see him who sees. For those that worship false gods can easily see them; but they see idols, who have eyes and see not. But to us is promised the vision of the living and the seeing God.

– St Augustine, Sermon 10 on the Words of the Lord, from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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“COME TO ME, YOU WHO ARE MEEK AND HUMBLE OF HEART”

“COME TO ME, YOU WHO ARE MEEK AND HUMBLE OF HEART”

HOW PLEASING HUMILITY IS TO GOD AND MEN.

Such is the ordinance, such the fixed design of the Eternal Wisdom: “God resists the proud, and gives his grace to the humble.” “He overturns the throne usurped by the proud, and exalts those who have been humbled.”

It pleases this great God to put forth His whole power on nothingness. For humility brings us near to nothingness; it creates in the human soul a mysterious void, which the divine goodness hastens to fill.

Nothing is more agreeable to God than humility

Nothing is more agreeable to God than this virtue, nothing is more beloved by men. The humble man, thinking himself less than everyone, does not incommode, does not wound or give offence to anyone. The humble man, discreetly casting a veil over his virtues and merits, does not make a tiresome lecture of them; but, just because he hides them, people seek them out, in order to inhale their healthful fragrance. The humble man is gentle at heart, therein imitating Him who has said to us: “Discite a me quia mitis sum et humilis corde.” That is humility.

– R. P. Monsabre

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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