RSS

Tag Archives: loneliness

HOW TO OVERCOME LONELINESS

LONELINESS

The feeling of loneliness may be considered one of the afflictions of this present life. There are some who try to escape it by mixing with the world’s crowds among whom they hope to find recreation and distraction and to get away from themselves.

“GETTING AWAY FROM ONESELF”

No one can always get away from himself however much he may try to do so. There are times when he will realise that even amid a crowd he is in some respects a solitary and sees himself isolated and alone in a world, which in most cases is not very aware of his presence and entirely forgets him when he is absent or dead. As men and women get older and lose by death one after another of their close relations and intimate friends, this sense of loneliness is apt to be felt more and may give rise to a certain sadness and a disposition to repine that there is no one left on whose sympathy and understanding they can depend.

FEELING ALONE IN SPITE OF BEING SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE

But at all times of life loneliness is a feeling to which all are liable, irrespective of age and the circumstances and conditions of life. True and lasting, for instance, as may be the love that exists between husband and wife, creating close companionship and a certain intimacy of thought and feeling, yet there will always remain in each of them secret recesses unknown and unexplainable to the other, which produces at times a feeling of loneliness. Owing to the complex nature of the human heart and mind and to the varying moods to which men are subject, the fact is that nobody can be thoroughly and perfectly understood by another, even by his closest companion and most intimate friend.

LONELINESS IS A FEELING TO WHICH ALL OF US ARE LIABLE

And it is in God’s design that this should be so. He has created us for Himself, to find in Him the only complete happiness and satisfaction. All men consciously or – more commonly – unconsciously are ever seeking and striving after this Supreme Good. If they think to find it in creatures, they are sooner or later disillusioned and disappointed. It is then they feel most lonely. The Catholic poet, Aubrey de Vere, has expressed this in the following poem which he entitled Reality:

Love thy God and love Him only

And thy breast will ne’er be lonely.

In that one great Spirit meet

All things mighty, grave, and sweet.

Vainly strives the soul to mingle

With a being of our kind:

Vainly hearts with hearts are twined,

For the deepest still is single.

An impalpable resistance

Holds like natures still at distance.

Mortal, love that Holy One

Or dwell for aye alone.

When we are told to love God only, the meaning, of course, is not that we should not love others who are, and should be, naturally dear to us, but that our love for them should be entirely subordinate to our love of God, so that we love them only in God and for God. If we make God our absolute and supreme love, merging and therefore ennobling in it all other love, we shall become increasingly aware of God’s constant presence and so effect such a close union with Him as to make us indifferent to the loneliness sometimes experienced on earth among our fellow beings.

THE PROCESS OF BECOMING ENTIRELY INDIFFERENT TO THE LONELINESS ONE “USUALLY” WOULD EXPERIENCE

But to arrive at such a love of God is not the work of a day. It may take a lifetime to reach it in its fullness and perfection. It means a life of daily self-sacrifice and mortification, the renunciation of all things to which we are inordinately attached. An inordinate affection for any person or thing, even when there is no sin, is enough to exclude that very close union which should subsist between the Creator and the creature. In short, we are not complying fully with the terms of God’s first and greatest commandment, which says: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind”; and until we do so love God, we must feel loneliness of heart.

THE NEED TO GET RID OF INORDINATE AFFECTION

So it becomes plain that to possess a perfect love of God, we must not only get rid of all sin but of all affection to sin or of anything that may lay open the way to sin, such as an inordinate affection. As we know, this can only be done by the grace of God, which is obtained by prayer and the sacraments. By the right use of the Sacrament of Penance we will gain a truer knowledge of ourselves and our weaknesses, a greater sorrow for, and an ever-increasing horror of, sin. What helps still more effectually to the love of God is the frequent, and if possible daily, reception of the Body and Blood of Our Lord in the great Sacrament of the Eucharist. As there, Christ, the God Man, out of His infinite Love gives Himself entirely to us, and that at the price of His death upon the Cross, so we should give ourselves entirely to Him, continually making sacrifices as a proof of the love we bear Him.

VIVIFYING AND PRACTICAL REALITIES

These are familiar truths which we have often heard or read, and the mere repetition of them, as with other spiritual truths, will have little or no effect upon us unless we pray earnestly to the Holy Spirit of God that they may sink very deeply into our mind and heart and become vivifying and practical realities.

THE NOBLE PURPOSE OF FEELINGS OF LONELINESS, DISILLUSIONMENT AND DISAPPOINTMENT WITH FELLOW HUMANS

That feeling of loneliness that sometimes comes to us is one of God’s ways of drawing us more closely to Himself, as every kind of suffering which falls upon us is permitted for a like reason. God is ever pursuing us with His love to gain ours, and so He wishes to disentangle us and free us from that love of creatures that apart from Him can never satisfy us but, so often, can only hurt. So that another Catholic poet, Francis Thompson, in his great religious lyric, The Hound of Heaven, has rightly attributed to God, the “tremendous Lover”, the words:

All which I took from thee I did but take,

Not for thy harms,

But just that thou might’st seek it in my arms.

All which thy child’s mistake

Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home.

Rise, clasp my hand and come.

During and since the days of war, of how much of those things we have been stripped in which once we found our pleasure, comfort, and consolation. But we may reflect that even when we had them, often enough we experienced that feeling of loneliness which nothing of this earth can always dispel. It is in God’s loving design that from all our losses and afflictions we should draw good, and thereby be led always to turn to Him, the Supreme Good, in the perfect love of whom all sense of loneliness disappears.

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

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 1, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

TODAY’S BIBLE READING (JEREMIAH 14:17-22)

REMEMBER, LORD, DO NOT BREAK YOUR COVENANT WITH US.

“Tears flood my eyes
night and day, unceasingly,
since a crushing blow falls on the daughter of my people,
a most grievous injury.
If I go into the countryside,
there lie men killed by the sword;
if I go into the city,
I see people sick with hunger;
even prophets and priests
plough the land: they are at their wit’s end.”

“Have you rejected Judah altogether?
Does your very soul revolt at Zion?
Why have you struck us down without hope of cure?
We were hoping for peace – no good came of it!
For the moment of cure – nothing but terror!
Lord, we do confess our wickedness
and our fathers’ guilt:
we have indeed sinned against you.
For your name’s sake do not reject us,
do not dishonour the throne of your glory.
Remember us; do not break your covenant with us.
Can any of the pagan Nothings make it rain?
Can the heavens produce showers?
No, it is you, Lord.
O our God, you are our hope,
since it is you who do all this.”

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

MAKE THE LIFE OFFERING TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS THROUGH THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY TODAY!

“My Children! I am calling you to apostolic privilege…”

THE PRAYER OF THE LIFE OFFERING TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS THROUGH THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY:

“My dear Jesus, before the Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most precious Holy Blood and Your sacrifice on Calvary, hereby I offer my whole life to the intention of Your Holy Heart and to the Holy Heart of Mary.
Together with my life I place at Your disposal all the Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the sufferings of my entire life for the adoration and supplication of the Holy Trinity, for unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and the priests, for good priestly vocations, and for all the souls until the end of the world.
O my Jesus, please accept my life sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death. Amen.”

This life offering must be done with humble heart, firm resolution, and clear intent. All prayer, good deeds, suffering, and work done with pure intention has great merit, if it is offered together with the merits, the sufferings, and the blood of Jesus Christ.
It is recommended to do this life offering as soon as you feel ready, and renew it from time to time.

THE FIVE PROMISES OF OUR HEAVENLY MOTHER TO THOSE WHO OFFER THEIR LIVES TO HER:

1. Their names will be written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, inflamed by love.

2. Their life offerings, together with the infinite merits of Jesus, can save many souls from damnation. All souls who will live until the end of the world will benefit from their life offerings.

3. None of their family members will go to hell, even if it seems otherwise, because they will receive in the depths of their souls the graces of sincere contrition before the soul departs from their bodies.

4. On the day they offer their lives, their loved ones suffering in Purgatory will be released.

5. I will be with them in the hour of their deaths. They will not know Purgatory. I will carry their souls straight to the presence of the Glorious Trinity, where they will live with me in a special place created by God and will rejoice forever.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE LIFE OFFERING:

Our Lady illustrates symbolically what her Holy Son is asking from us: Let us give our hearts completely to our heavenly Mother who will place them into the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Eucharist, into the centre of unity of love. Thus, through our total abandonment, we will be united with the sacrifice of Jesus, and in this way His work of redemption will be perpetually continued for our souls and for the glory of God.

The messages, prayers, and promises published in this Blog post were received by a privileged Hungarian nun, a consoling soul, who in her humility and obedience to her spiritual director wishes to remain anonymous. Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion daily, or at least weekly, to offer their lives to the glory of God and to save souls, that the souls of sinners may not be damned but receive, at least in their last hour, the graces of eternal life.

WHAT TO DO NEXT:

OUR HEAVENLY MOTHER SPEAKS: “My children who offer your lives, make the act of contrition every day! Make it not only for yourselves but for all men. This will continually weaken the power of evil to tempt and will help all souls to free themselves from the slavery of sin. If you continually practise contrition for others, this will act as an antiseptic to arrest the spread of the “virus” of sin. It will stop the infection, illness and death of souls. See how great the force is in a deep contrition if it comes from the depths of the heart? It can heal, cleanse and save the life of the soul.
In addition to contrition for the whole humanity, unite yourself with my Immaculate Heart to petition with prayer, reaching to heaven, for the pardon of sins. Thus you will become united with me and become genuine and intimate helpers of Jesus as fishers of men.”

PRAYER OF CONTRITION:

“O my Jesus, I love You over and above everything!
For the love of You I am sorry for all my sins.
O merciful love, I ask pardon for all my sins and for all the sins of my brothers and sisters that have been and will be committed until the end of the world. My dear Jesus, united with Your Holy Wounds I offer my life to the Eternal Father according to the intention of the Sorrowful Mother.
Virgin Mary, Queen of the world, Mediatrix of humanity, our only refuge and hope, pray for us!”

OUR LADY’S MESSAGES TO THOSE WHO OFFER THEIR LIVES:

If the Eternal Father chooses a soul to the grace of being among the elect, He will order that soul to become similar to His Only begotten Son while on earth, but in what way should this soul be like His Son?

In love and acceptance of sufferings.

If you follow your Jesus in these two ways then the Eternal Father will recognise His Holy Son in you.

The souls chosen by the Eternal Father to offer their lives, must strive to save as many other souls as possible. This can be done through fervent prayer, through the practising of love, through meekness, humility and self denial, but above all through the patient acceptance of sufferings.
I believe that my motherly Heart will find among my children souls who love God with the love of the martyrs. “My children, even in the time of the greatest trials, hold my motherly hand with unbounded trust. Come together with me to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He is your strength in your earthly pilgrimage. Thus, strengthened by Him daily, you will march toward your eternal dwelling place of happiness where you will recognise each other in glorious ecstasy, you who sacrificed your lives for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Then my Holy Son will embrace you to His flaming Heart, and He will immerse you in the ectasy of the united love of the Trinity. In this state of eternal bliss you will rejoice forever together with those souls who were able to gain eternal life because of your selfless life sacrifice.”
“My children! Hope and love, because God is with you. My children, each offered life is pleasing to God. Therefore do not limit your sacrifice. This should be your life slogan: Give more and love better!”
The design of my Holy Son included the deeds of the elect. He is eagerly waiting to see if they fulfil His plan or cross it. He could realise His plan without them, but in His merciful goodness He wants them to participate in the distribution of the fruits of redemption throughout the world. Do you know why I am telling all this? Because I watch with great anguish the fight of the souls in the Church. It is very painful for my motherly Heart that there are many among even the elect who do not believe that God can do not believe that God can do whatever He wants! Unfortunately, they are using their knowledge not to increase faith and unity, but to encourage disbelief. You, however – my life offering children – you should believe with a living faith. You should strive to increase in your hearts the flame of faith, because when faith becomes stronger it will increase your hope and love too.

THE BENEFITS AND GRACE OF THE SUFFERINGS IN OUR LIVES

Once you surrender yourself to great sufferings of either body or soul, the experience can be a fountain of immeasurable grace. You can pay for the sins of your life, or for the things you have failed to do. Or if this has already been paid, then the merit of your patient sufferings can be applied to the conversion of hardened sinners. By that you can glorify God. The souls you save by your obedient acceptance of sufferings may even become saints.
When the weight of sufferings lies heavily on you, whether illness or suffering in the soul, think always that you are just a pilgrim on this earth. Beyond the grave there is a wonderful world that was prepared by God for His faithful children, where your happiness will be greater than that which your patient and obedient sufferings can possibly merit. As it is written: your soul will forever be immersed in such happiness that “eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those that love Him” (1 Cor 2:9).
No matter how heavy your suffering on earth, it will last but a short time. Rejoice while you suffer, because you are proceeding toward a sure goal, and at the end of this road your Heavenly Mother is waiting for you to embrace you with the eternal love of the Trinity.

“My children! I am calling you to apostolic privilege. You are chosen to suffer martyrdom of the heart for the sins of others. And by this voluntary life sacrifice coming from your good heart – God will be able to pour out the flood of His mercy. Think about that!”

“My dear children! You should burn with fervour to help save those who suffer in the slavery of sin. In life, captivity often results in freedom and uplifting of the soul.
But most prisoners of sin are more pitiable than those in real prison because they are not aware that they are imprisoned by their depravity, and thus they do not even ask for freedom. The blindness of the soul, with its darkness, is more pitiable than anyone in a dark prison.
I would like to free these souls. Since they do not want to be set free in order that I may save them, I need the help of my faithful children and their life offering, the patient acceptance of sufferings, trials, that, combined with the treasures of my Holy Son, will enable me to save not only your loved ones but a multitude of souls from everlasting darkness, even those who will be born later, until the end of the world.”

“My children! Give everything to me and I will give everything to my Holy Son united with my interceding prayers. I am the woman who sets the slaves free.”

THE RELEVANCE OF THE LIFE OFFERING IN HOSPITALS, NURSING HOMES, FOR THOSE SUFFERING IN THE COMMUNITY IN BODY OR SOUL:

“My children! Make sure that the great grace of the life offering will reach the souls who suffer greatly in body or in soul. It must reach the incurably sick, the physically handicapped, and the bedridden so that their suffering will not be in vain! This suffering can become a fund of gold for all humanity as well for yourselves, because in your hearts and souls you will receive peace, strength, relief, and satisfaction if you realise that patient acceptance of your sufferings will bring you great happiness in heaven!”

THE SEER: “I have obeyed this request of Our Lady and I communicated this request to sufferers. I can say from my own experience that their suffering was greatly lessened when they accepted the graces that accompanied the life offering. I visited the critically ill in hospitals, especially those who were neglected or ignored by their relatives and those who had no one. I saw the greatest suffering among cancer victims and others too sick even to get out of bed. Most of them knew there would be no cure for them, and they found their life and their suffering meaningless, believing no one needed them anymore.

But when they learned that they are the most precious children of Our Blessed Virgin Mother; that the Lord Jesus searches for companions, that Jesus calls them to unite their sufferings with His passion and sacrifice on the Cross as a continuation of His redemptive work; that they are the treasures of the Church; that by their suffering they can contribute to world peace; that by their sufferings they can pay for their sins and those of others; and that at their hour of death they will go straight to heaven without Purgatory: then the knowledge of this grace started to work in them immediately.
They started to cry for joy, because God and the Virgin Mary loved them so. Some had thought God was angry with them and was punishing them with sufferings, and there were atheists who wanted to commit suicide. But when they learned how great the grace is in the life offering, that a creature cannot give more to his or her Creator, they underwent a tremendous change. Their dispositions became so much better that even the nurses noticed it. They become hidden souls of the Lord and they persevered until the end on their live offerings. Some were cured, others departed quietly.

Every night I pray together with my good Heavenly Mother that this message will reach more and more suffering souls with the tremendous grace of the life offering that could mitigate their suffering and bring the strength, peace, and acceptance to bear their suffering on earth in the hope of everlasting happiness in heaven. Our Heavenly Mother prays for those, too, who have already received the grace of the life offering, that with a living faith they will persevere in it until death.”

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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)

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“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.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

“SPRING CLEANING” IN THE NOOKS AND CRANNIES OF OUR CONSCIENCE IN NOVEMBER

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NOVEMBER

“November is the month when we pray for the dead. I have always liked the feast of All Souls, with its reminder that the Church is one and indivisible.

The Church will always pray for us, even when, perhaps we might say, especially when, we are dead.

A TABOO SUBJECT FOR SOME

It is not fashionable to think about death or dying. You are more likely to hear about someone’s ‘bucket list’ of things they want to see and experience before they die than someone’s efforts to put their lives in order, as the old phrase has it, and prepare for death.

Death is not welcome. We rail against it, try to put it off as long as possible. That is natural, but we are called to be more than ‘natural’.

WE ARE CALLED TO BE MORE THAN ‘NATURAL’

Death is what we are born for, and just as there is no escape, so there is no need to be afraid or reluctant to face it. Maybe it’s because I’m a Benedictine and St Benedict exhorts us to keep death daily before our eyes… I think the idea of preparing for death rather attractive.

EARNEST REPENTANCE

If I’m granted a deathbed, I know I won’t be spending it going over old wrongs or lamenting the fact that I never got to drive a Ferrari or own a Monet.

I won’t be wasting my time with arguments about liturgy or speculating about what’s going on in the Vatican. I’ll be lamenting my sins, the ways I’ve failed God and other people, and I suspect my repentance will have an earnestness it has never quite achieved before.

I KNOW THE CHURCH ALWAYS PRAYS FOR ME

It is in that moment, when I am about to face God, that the prayers of the Church will mean most to me; and when I have died, the fact that the Church will continue to pray for me as I undergo Purgatory will, surely, be a consolation and source of strength.

If I feel thus about my own dying and death, how can I refuse to pray for others as they face their final moments on earth? How can I not want to pray for souls in Purgatory? It may not be fashionable, but it is still necessary; so is preparing for death.

CONFESSION AND SATISFACTION

Regular readers know I am an enthusiast for the Sacrament of Penance. I think November is a good month to take stock of our lives and bring the broken and bruised bits of them to the Lord for healing and forgiveness. Then it is a question of doing what we can to make amends for the wrongs we have done.

DON’T FACE A SUDDEN DEATH OR ANY DEATH BADLY PREPARED

On the eve of the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, every Jew asks forgiveness of others for any wrongdoing towards them of which he has been guilty.

That is a practice we could usefully adopt, but what do we do in situations where there is no one to ask? That is where I think doing penance, small, simple acts of self-denial and active charity, comes into play.

PENANCE

For all the times we’ve spoken hasty or angry words, we could devote a few minutes listening to others. There are lonely people everywhere. Many of them mask their loneliness with a pretence of self-sufficiency, but I’ve never met anyone, young or old, who doesn’t like talking about themselves and what matters to them. Being a ready listener is an act of charity but it can be penitential, too!

For all the times we’ve been greedy or selfish, we could try to be more generous. Food banks ought not to be necessary in a rich country like Britain, but they are. The next time we shop, we could include an item for them. It doesn’t have to be huge; it doesn’t have to be expensive; just something given with love and in reparation for our sins.

It is the same with all our other sins and shortcomings. There is always something we can do; but if through age or poverty we feel that there is nothing left that we can offer, we can still give the most precious gift of all: the awareness of our need and our trust in God to supply the want.

HERE AND NOW

Preparing for death is not something to leave until our last gasp. It is something to do here and now.
– This article by Sr Catherine Wybourne entitled “Preparing for death every day of our lives” was published in “The Catholic Universe” issue Sunday 3rd November 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com (external link).

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,