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Tag Archives: love of God

HOW CAN I BE GOOD?

HOW CAN I BE GOOD?

Dear little souls, God loves, you and your sufferings are not unknown to me; you who so ardently feel the happiness of devoting yourselves to others, but are unable to do so, because the occasions seem to fly from you; you who so often try to devote yourselves, but are suddenly held back by timidity and the fear of not being accepted – it is for you that I have collected these little occupations, which permit you to taste, without coming from under the shadow of silence and obscurity, the joys of a devotion known to God alone, of a benevolence all the sweeter to the heart of him who exercises it because no one thinks of thanking him.

THE SWEET OFFICE OF MEDIATOR

This little occupation consists in never suffering two hearts in a family or community to remain for any length of time at variance.

It seems a most natural thing to extend your hand to a friend who is offended, saying simply, with that friendly smile which brightens the whole countenamce: Let us love each other as we did before.

The wounded heart closes, retires, and shrinks back upon itself, exaggerating the injuries inflicted on it by a friend and its own wrongs, and it remains estranged; it desires to revive the old friendship, but it knows not how to commence.

Oh! if some advance were only made.

Make it, you who accept the sweet office of mediator. Go from one to the other; be the bearer of a simple good morning; tell him who is offended that you have seen his friend sad.

Is there a reparation to be made, a pardon to be asked? Take it upon yourself, arrange an interview, cause a smile, a tear. Do not become weary until you have re-established the union between these two hearts.

And then quietly resume your ordinary life, as if you had done nothing, and await some new occasion of being useful.

Oh! what account will not God take of your steps and your words.

– From: Golden Grains, A Collection of Counsels for the Sanctification And Happiness of Every-Day Life, M. H. Gill & Son, Dublin, 1889

MORE WAYS TO BE GOOD

The Repairer of Neglects

 

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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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SEND A GOOD THOUGHT WHICH WILL TELL OF GOD’S GOODNESS

SEND A GOOD THOUGHT WHICH WILL TELL OF GOD’S GOODNESS

YOU WISH TO PERFORM CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY, BUT…

You wish to visit prisoners and the sick, to console those who weep, to speak of God to little children who do not know Him… but your duty keeps you within the narrow precincts of a cell, a room, or a family; send a good thought which will tell of God’s goodness, which will speak of the happiness and the merit of suffering, and will show how, perhaps in a few days, it is followed by the sweet repose of Paradise… This thought will give birth to hope, to a smile, to some act of love, … and God will be indebted to you for regaining to Himself a soul that perhaps had forgotten Him.

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

 

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HOW MANY HAVE LOITERED ON THE ROAD, FRIGHTENED BY THE SELF-DENIAL REQUIRED BY THE GOSPEL!

The Heart of Jesus is an ever-guarding love.

Thou dost not see it, O my soul! but it is about thee, enveloping thee in its affection like a strong amour, covering thee with its love, as the hen covers her chickens with her wings.

Walk forth fearlessly into life; thou art not alone, and He who is with their is called the strong God, the Almighty God.

If thou dost hesitate, look back upon the years which are past.

How numerous were those who walked by thy side in the beginning of life; but they have loitered on the road, frightened by the self-denial required by the Gospel, or attracted by sinful pleasures… and thou art continuing thy march towards a happy eternity. Who has strengthened thee against discouragement?

How numerous were those, later in their enthusiastic youth, worked with thee! … But they have fallen, vanquished by human respect [what some people think of them] or by the pleasures of the world, and dost continue in peace to still fight bravely for the Lord… Who has sustained thee against these incessant attacks? Go forward and fear not.

Oh, how great is the vigilance of a mother over the cradle of her little child! The solicitude of a father guiding his son through a tumultuous crowd. The assiduous care of a friend devoting himself to the protection of a friend!

The Heart of Jesus is an ever-giving love.

It is He who says to me each day, Ask, my child, and I will give to thee. It is He who says in touching accents of regretful complaint, But, my child, thou hast asked me for nothing as yet. It is He, who, seeing me sometimes discouraged by delay, repeats, Ask again, beseech, importune. It is He who, in spite of my indifference, gives me a new grace almost every moment.

That word of encouragement which was said to me this morning when my courage was failing – it was Jesus who inspired it.

That unexpected joy – it was Jesus who procured it for me.

That person who received me with kindness when I feared to be treated coldly and repelled – it was Jesus who made her kind to me.

That contradiction which prevented my doing as I wished, but it spared me a personal embarrassment, as I learned afterwards – it was Jesus who caused it.

That trial which I bore with resignation – it was Jesus who sent it to me in order to give me an opportunity of merit…

Oh! if I but knew how to love, how much better would I not understand all things.

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

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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WHY IS OUR LOVE OF GOD HIGHER, PURER AND STRONGER THAN EARTHLY LOVE?

OUR LOVE OF GOD

The marvellous success that attended the labours of the Apostles was due to the fact that “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost”. But what does this mean? It means that they had been so well prepared for His coming – praying, getting rid of self – that they were now filled with the love of God. The Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Love, was so dwelling in them that His was not a mere passive presence but an active one, that excited in them a reciprocal love of God.

The Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Love

It is a truism to say that love is the most powerful force that can move men to action. Poets and writers of all ages and countries have told us so. It is the theme of much of their writing. The poet Coleridge goes so far as to say:

All thoughts, all passions, all delights,

Whatever stirs this mortal frame,

All are but ministers of love,

And feed his sacred flame.

And we may say this is true if you take love in its widest sense and include all spurious forms of it. But the best love, the truest love, the only certain love, in which all other lawful human love must be found, is the love of God. We are speaking here not of God’s love of us, which is the Holy Ghost dwelling in us by sanctifying grace, but of our love for God which the Holy Ghost promotes and sets in motion.

Love is the most powerful force that can move men to action

When we love God we love Him with our intellect and will. There is not necessarily any feeling in it. The object of emotion which stirs up the feelings is something akin to our own nature and has a material or physical appeal of some sort. The love that a man has for a woman may contain a spiritual quality, but it is the physical beauty or attractiveness that stirs up the senses. This sort of love is capable of causing some of the greatest struggles and upheavals that the world has ever witnessed. We remember Marlowe’s lines about Helen of Troy: “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium?” The love into which passion enters very deeply and overturns reason is the love that has been chiefly extolled by men. But we need not accept the cynical remark of George Bernhard Shaw, that outstanding dramatist of our time, who writes: “When we want to read of the deeds that are done for love, whither do we turn? To the murder columns.”

The Supreme Good

But our love of God is infinitely higher, purer, stronger than any earthly love. To this love we are led first of all by our intellect. Once we are convinced that there is a God, we see in Him the “Summum Bonum” (The Supreme Good), the absolute good that has no measure, and as the origin and fount of all created good, He attracts us just in the degree that we attain an increasing knowledge of Him.

St Ignatius, in that culminating point of his Spiritual Exercises which he entitles “Contemplation for obtaining love”, bids us to see “how all good things and all gifts descend from above, as my limited power from the Supreme and Infinite Might on high; and in the same way justice, goodness, pity, mercy, etc., just as the rays descend from the sun and waters from the spring”. In fine, what we are to do is to make an assemblage of all lovely and attractive objects in this world, in rational, animate and inanimate nature, consider every beauty and perfection, and then reflect that all these have their origin in God, of whom they are but the faintest and dimmest reflection, and of themselves unable to give us anything approaching an adequate idea of Him or to satisfy our hearts, created by, and for, the Infinite God “in whom alone they can find their rest”.

“One only is good, God”

“One only is good, God,” said Our Lord, by which words of course He meant that God is the only absolute and all-sufficient good, and all the good there is in His creation is derived from Him and is by comparison a most attenuated form of His goodness.

Now when under the guidance of the Holy Ghost – because not merely naturally but supernaturally must the subject be treated – the intellect has grasped these truths and seen that God because of His infinite perfections is the One supremely lovable Being, when we have once entirely convinced ourselves that if we could see Him as He is we should have no freedom but to love Him, it is then that with the whole strength of our will we are determined to love Him and Him only and all creatures only in Him and for Him.

“Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Your love”

But it is here that we must turn in earnest prayer to the Holy Spirit that He will enkindle this love in us. By our own reasoning alone we should never get to that knowledge of God which arouses our love. We depend upon the Holy Spirit to see “the things that are of God”. Our blessed Lord said to His apostles,

“Now this is eternal life: That they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

The Holy Ghost is, in our souls, the force which originates, and maintains, and intensifies the movement towards knowledge and love of God.

A heart wholly inflamed with the fire of the Holy Ghost

Devotion to the Holy Ghost (who is the personal love that subsists between the Father and the Son and who with Them is the essence and nature of the One and indivisible God, constituting the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity) is a devotion that all who would arrive at a great love of God must assiduously cultivate and foster. There is no better prayer to Him than that of the Sequence “Veni Sancte Spiritus” which is said on Whit Sunday and throughout the octave of the feast.

In the opinion of critics it is justly regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of sacred Latin poetry. Of this hymn, Dr Gihr in his The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, p. 464, says: “The sequence for Whit Sunday can have come but from a heart wholly inflamed with the fire of the Holy Ghost. It is an incomparable hymn, breathing of the sweetness of Paradise, and regaling us with heaven’s sweetest fragrance. Only the soul buried with deepest recollection can suspect and taste the wealth of deep thought and affections this Pentecost hymn contains, and that, too, in a form remarkable for beauty as for brevity.” Those unacquainted with Latin will have no difficulty in obtaining an English Translation and it is by the use of such a prayer that we can arrive at that love of God which only His grace, begged for in constant prayer, can obtain for us.

What a consolation and comfort!

What a consolation and comfort a great love of God will afford us! It will make us indifferent to the miseries of this world in which we live. Indeed the more we love God, the more we shall be able to understand and to share the joy that the saints felt when called upon to suffer for God’s sake.

This poor world, torn and despoiled by war, is bereft now of so much that once gave us recreation and pleasure that we may be inclined to become sad and depressed. But it would be the greatest mistake to yield to such feelings. To do so only augments our weight of woe and is proof that we are far from being detached from the things of this world.

If we maintain a cheerful spirit and resign ourselves completely and gladly to the will of God, who has permitted these temporary evils to invade us, we shall not only be gaining great merit for ourselves but our example will be a help and an inspiration to others.

This splendid result we can all of us achieve, if by taking all the supernatural means that are afforded to us we grow in our love of God, who is so worthy to be served for Himself alone but who will infallibly give us a share, after this brief life is over (and how brief it is in view of eternity!) in His own all-satisfying and everlasting glory in Heaven.

Some things the love of God can accomplish in souls

What the love of God can accomplish in souls we see not only in the lives of canonised saints but in many to whom we priests in the course of our duties have been privileged to minister. Among these we may cite the example of one whose life was summarised in the following words:

“It was a great and consuming love of God that enabled one, whose name may not be given, to endure with courage and calm resignation a life-time of suffering. Blow after blow fell on her throughout her days, yet her love and her faith never faltered, nor did she ever doubt the ultimate wisdom of God.

She was in her early twenties when her betrothed died suddenly and the bright hopes of a happy future in this world vanished. Her only brother was killed in the Dardanelles in 1915, less than a month after he had sailed from England. She devoted herself more than ever to her parents. Then, when she was in her early thirties, she was stricken down by cancer. A severe operation became necessary. She made all arrangements to go into hospital and told only two people of the ordeal she was expecting. She knew what anguish it would be to her beloved parents to know of it and so she determined that they should never know. The operation was borne with fortitude and even gaiety. Her parents believed that she was in holiday while she was in hospital. Later, another operation became necessary, and that too she contrived to keep secret. Then she lost both her parents in a short period and it seemed from an earthly point of view as though life were empty of its last consolations. But her home became a centre of hope and inspiration to all who entered it. Nobody ever heard her grumble. Her gay and indomitable, but always gentle, spirit carried her unflinchingly through suffering that would have made the strongest tremble. To somebody’s amazed inquiry as to how she endured it all so happily, she said gratefully, ‘Oh, I have been so helped.’ And with a smile on her poor emaciated face, she went to her death.”

“Oh, I have been so helped”

Who can doubt but that it was an intense love of God, who loaded her with His grace, that enabled this heroic soul to live a life of such continuous sacrifice? It is in the lives of souls such as these, most of whom are utterly unknown to the world and are in the knowledge of a comparatively few men and women, that we see verified the words of Thomas a Kempis: “Love is a great thing, yea, in all ways a great good; for it alone maketh light to all that is heavy, and beareth with even mind every uneven burden while counting it no burden, and maketh sweet and of good savour every bitter thing… Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger, nothing higher or wider, nothing more joyous, nothing fuller nor better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God, and can rest only in God above all created things.”

Love is born of God, and can only rest in God above all created things

Inspired by the lives of the saints whose hearts and wills were wholly set upon God and by the lives too of those many holy souls who even at this hour are in our midst living only for God, let us all pray that we may be filled in our turn with a great love for Him. In that love we shall assuredly find our greatest comfort and consolation. Often during the day we may repeat that indulgenced ejaculation: “My God, grant that I may love thee, and let the only reward of my love be to love thee more and more.”[*An indulgence of 300 days (S.C. Ind., March 15, 1890; S.P. AP., March 23, 1936].

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

 

 

 

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AS CHRISTIANS, DO WE HAVE TO GIVE ANY NOSY PERSON TRUTHFUL INFORMATION ABOUT OTHERS WHEN THEY ASK?

The noble gift of speech

(by Fr. Leo J. Trese)

“It is a wonderful gift, this power of speech – this ability to communicate with our fellow men and especially with those whom we love. Sight and hearing are precious gifts, too. Yet, neither blindness nor deafness isolate us from others as much as does dumbness.

Perhaps we have encountered someone who has suffered a blood clot in the part of the brain which controls speech. If so, we know how pitiful it is to witness the frustration of such a person as he tries so hard to express what is in his mind, yet cannot.

As it is true of all God’s gifts, our power of speech must be used for God’s purposes. It must be used for good and not for evil.

Using the power of speech for good, not for evil

The noblest use to which our tongue can be put is to address God in prayer. It is a mean return we make to God for His gift if we seldom speak to Him, perhaps only on Sunday or when in need. We convict ourselves of ingratitude if we let a day pass without directing to God some words of love, praise, gratitude and repentance.

Our day may be a crowded one with no time for lengthy conversation with God. However, even the busiest day can be peppered through with brief salutations such as ‘Blessed be God,’ ‘My Jesus I love You,’ ‘Holy Spirit, guide me,’ or ‘All for You, God.’

After prayer, the most fruitful output of our vocal chords will be words spoken in charity. One of the greatest desecrations of our gift of speech is to indulge in malicious gossip and unkind criticism. It is especially offensive to God if we create unhappiness in our own home with angry, sarcastic or belittling words.

Mere absence of uncharitable speech is not enough

Mere abstinence from uncharitable speech is not enough. God expects us to use our lingual ability in positive acts of charity. We do so, for example, when we speak out in defence of someone whose character is being attacked. We do so when we cheer another with encouraging words or with words of honest praise. We do so when we give helpful guidance or instruction to another. Any dedicated teacher (especially a teacher of religion) is an outstanding example of speech well used.

The obligation to speak truthfully

After prayer and charity, the third duty which our gift of speech imposes on us is the obligation to speak truthfully. The virtue of veracity demands that there be agreement between what is in our mind and what is on our lips. We badly tarnish our Christian image if we make a lie (‘little lies,’ we say?) our standard tool for getting out of scrapes and for avoiding embarrassment or inconvenience. By our lies we make our gift of speech into a weapon to be turned against God, instead of an instrument to be used for His work.

A conflict between truth and charity?

It may seem at times that there is a conflict between our obligation to be truthful and our obligation to practice justice or charity. We may encounter a prying individual who asks questions about matters which we are not at liberty to reveal. These may be professional confidences, such as those of a priest, doctor or lawyer; or they may be matters which would be seriously harmful to another or to ourselves if revealed.

However, when questions are asked by someone who has no right to the information he seeks, the conflict between justice or charity and veracity is only a seeming conflict. Actually it is not a lie to say to the inquisitor, ‘I do not know.’ That is, ‘I do not know’ as far as this particular person is concerned.

Mental reservation

Theologians give this type of answer the name of ‘mental reservation.’ The purpose is not to deceive but simply to protect justice or charity. If there is any deception involved, it is the inquisitive person who deceives himself. If he has any intelligence, he should know that the answer means only, ‘Whether I know it or not, I cannot tell you.’

Prayerfulness, charitableness and truthfulness. If our talk always exemplifies these virtues, we shall be able to give God a good account of our stewardship. He will have no cause to regret having endowed us with the gift of speech.”

– Fr Leo J. Trese, 1966

 

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING II (ROMANS 8:35, 37-39)

NO CREATED THING CAN EVER COME BETWEEN US AND THE LOVE OF GOD MADE VISIBLE IN CHRIST.

Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us.

For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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

ALLELUIA

Alleluia, alleluia!
Man does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Alleluia!

 

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