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OUR DAILY APOSTOLIC WORK AND PRAYER-LIFE

OUR DAILY APOSTOLIC WORK AND PRAYER-LIFE

MARY’S ARMY

Previous chapter: TAKING ON BOARD THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS PARALYSES THE POWERS OF ACTION

HOLINESS THROUGH MARY

Courage is shown not only in the performance of the Child of Mary’s apostolic work but also in his prayer-life. His devotion to the means of grace appointed by the Church and fidelity to prayer have a quality of heroism and are models and inspirations to the rest of the faithful. Only thus will he attain the degree of courage expected of him in his work for souls.

Courage

Natural timidity and fear, false or well-grounded, must be overcome. Every member amongst the most wretched and dejected of the population must not only be visited but known personally and intimately. This is the goal, and his courage must rise to attain it. He always remembers that his search for each individual member of the degraded classes may be their only chance of eternal life. How intense, how earnest, how courageous must that search be!

Natural philanthropy is not love and requires no courage

Natural philanthropy serves humanity for humanity’s sake; but that is not love and it requires no courage. The apostolate sets itself to devoted and universal attention to the “down-and-out,” the hopeless, the impossible, the unlovely, the repulsive elements of the population that those who see it at work are amazed at the courage of such love and recognise in it a confounding of the materialistic systems which offer but a counterfeit of Christian charity. The effect is electrifying; even the irreligious are startled into a new seriousness towards religion; modes of thought are changed, and new and nobler ways of living begin to show themselves.

Beyond the prudence of the flesh

Through the strictly disciplined system of the apostolate, the member is thoroughly trained in the spirit and practice of prudence. He is warned against a common fallacy of the present day which confounds the Christian virtue of prudence with what is merely natural – the prudence of the flesh.

The Gospel must be preached to every creature

In the first place, exercise of prudence demands a mature deliberation of which the best means to attain the end in view may be discovered, and a wise judgment as to the means likely to be most effectual. Secondly, it requires that the plan adopted be executed without delay, but with foresight, discretion and necessary caution. The Gospel must be preached to every creature. That supreme wish must swallow up every difficulty and overcome every obstacle.

Apostolic outlook

The Child of Mary is trained in such a way that his outlook will invariably be apostolic. The apostolic spirit enters his soul and reigns there as master. By a judicious mixture of prudence and courage, he sets himself against the spirit of cowardliness which seems to prevail even amongst the good. His training fits him to undertake difficult work and the system reduces the possibilities of harm to the absolute minimum. When it is known that a work is difficult and dangerous, but yet it is necessary if certain souls are to be saved, everything possible is done in the interest of safety and the attack goes on with appropriate materials. He does not stand by and look on while souls are being plunged into hell.

– 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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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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