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ST JOHN CANTIUS, CONFESSOR

ST JOHN CANTIUS, CONFESSOR

ST JOHN CANTIUS, CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: DECEMBER 23

John was born in the diocese of Cracow in the town of Kenty, from which he took his surname Cantius. His parents Stanislaus and Anna were holy and respectable people. From his infancy, his sweetness of disposition and innocence gave hope of the greatest virtue.

HE BECAME A PRIEST 

After becoming a priest, he increased his ardour for Christian perfection. For some years he administered the parish of Ilkusi with great efficiency. Whatever time was left from his studies he devoted partly to the salvation of his neighbour, especially preaching sermons on sacred subjects, and partly by prayer.

ON FOOT, HE MADE FOUR VISITS TO ROME

He made four visits to Rome, travelling on foot and carrying his own luggage, both to show honour to the Apostolic See and, as he used to say, to save himself from the punishments of Purgatory through the indulgences obtainable there daily.

HE ABSTAINED ENTIRELY FROM MEAT

He guarded his virginal purity most vigilantly, and for about thirty-five years before his death abstained entirely from flesh-meat. On Christmas Eve [1473], his soul took flight to heaven. Pope Clement III added him to the list of the saints, and he is honoured as one of the foremost patrons of Poland and Lithuania.

PRAYER:

Grant, we beseech you, almighty God, that by following the example of blessed John, your Confessor, we may advance in a knowledge of holiness and, by showing pity for others, obtain your forgiveness through his merits. Through our Lord…

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

 

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ALCOHOL – DAILY TEMPERANCE PLEDGE

ALCOHOL – DAILY TEMPERANCE PLEDGE

O God, my Father, to show my love for thee, to make reparation to thy wounded honour, to obtain the salvation of souls, I firmly propose to take this day neither wine nor beer, nor any intoxicating drink.

I offer thee this act of mortification, in union with the sacrifice of thy Son Jesus Christ, Who daily offers Himself a Victim on the altar for thy greater glory. Amen.

[300 days’ Indulgence. – Pius X., Br., March 29th, 1904.]

 

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SOME SUGGESTIONS HOW TO MORTIFY THE FLESH AND THE SENSES IN THIS DAY AND AGE (CHRISTIAN MORTIFICATION)

THESE EXERCISES ARE SUGGESTIONS, NOT MANDATORY. SOME FIND THEY REALLY HELP, THOUGH, TO FOCUS MORE ON THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT, THE LOVE OF OUR LORD JESUS, IN OUR DAILY LIVES.

 

• “Suffer peacefully an affront done to you, a disparaging event or incident, or any type of humiliation, for the sake of the Heart of Jesus that was so humiliated for you. Take any ornament off your clothes that is a sign of worldly importance and make a sacrifice for the Sacred Heart.

• Make every effort to correct the vice you are most prone to indulge in, practise the virtue you are most in need of. Mortify your senses [i.e. drink plain water instead of fizzy drink, take coffee without the usual sugar, wash your hands with cold instead of warm water, etc.] to repair the damage you have done to the divine Heart when you have been too free.

• Accept from the hand of God, willingly and with love, the pains and troubles of this day, offering them to the Sacred Heart as the payment for your sins. Meditate for a quarter of an hour on the Passion of Jesus.

• Put on a medal or an image of the Sacred Heart. If you already have this laudable habit, try to carry it with a real, renewed spirit of faith and devotion. Work to spread, as best as you can, medals, images and other items of the Sacred Heart, so that at least one image is received and exhibited in a house where there were none before.

• In order to imitate the zeal and divine glory that are present within the Sacred Heart do not embark on any action without first putting it before the Lord, renewing, as often as these words are long, your pure intention by repeating, “Everything for you my God, everything for you.” Recite the Creed five times during the day, and make five offerings for the conversion of the millions who do not yet know Jesus Christ.

• Fast from food, mortify your stomach, and stay in uncomfortable positions or postures. Say five ‘Our Fathers’, ‘Hail Marys’ and ‘Glory Bes’ in honour of St Margarita Maria Alacoque, that she may obtain for you the spirit of Christian mortification.

• Do not judge or suspect your neighbour. Keep your distance from any shadow of murmuring. Do not give any reason for discord and avoid any type of argument. Visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and ask fervently from His Heart, love for those around you.

• Make allowances for the imperfection of others, and excuse their defects. Bear patiently with those who are annoying or difficult. Perform a good act for those who you dislike or have an innate distaste for.

• Forgive any of your enemies; bless those – through prayer if it cannot be done in any other way – who have offended you. Visit the Sacred Heart, either through an image or the Blessed Sacrament, and ask that all wicked Christians, who have forgotten the ultimate law of love for the enemy, mend their ways.”

– Mons. Nicola Tafuri

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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DISTRACTIONS DURING PRAYER? HOW TO MORTIFY NOT JUST THE FLESH, BUT THE BRAIN AS WELL

How to stay joyful and serene when things ‘go wrong’

“To preserve our cheerfulness amid sicknesses and troubles is a sign of a right and and good spirit.

A man should not ask tribulations of God, presuming on his being able to bear them: there should be the greatest possible caution in this matter, for he who bears what God sends him daily does not do a small thing.

They who have been exercised in the service of God for a long time, may in their prayers imagine all sorts of insults offered to them, such as blows, wounds, and the like, and so in order to imitate Christ by their charity, may accustom their hearts beforehand to forgive real injuries when they come.

Let us think of Mary, for she that unspeakable Virgin, that glorious Lady, who conceived and brought forth, without detriment to her virginity, him whom the width of the heavens cannot contain within itself.

The true servant of God acknowledges no country but heaven.

When God infuses extraordinary sweetnesses into the soul, a man ought to prepare for some serious tribulation or temptation. When we have these extraordinary sweetnesses, we ought to ask of God fortitude to bear whatever he may please to send us, and then to stand very much upon our guard, because there is danger of sin behind.

One of the most excellent means of obtaining perseverance is discretion; we must not wish to do everything at once, or become a saint in four days…

A man should not so attach himself to the means as to forget the end; neither must we give ourselves so much to mortify the flesh as to forget to mortify the brain, which is the chief thing after all.”

– St Philip Neri

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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“ROLLING AROUND IN STINGING NETTLES – DO WE REALLY HAVE TO IMITATE THE SAINTS ALL THE WAY?”

“The types of sanctity present within the Church are varied but, howsoever numerous and whatsoever may be their characteristic, the Saints are all heroes. Though it is not always possible to imitate them – points out Cardinal Newman – they all show us the invisible world and reveal to us the way which leads to Heaven.

TEMPTATIONS IN THE WILDERNESS

‘There was St Benedict, who, when a boy, left Rome, and betook himself to the Apennines in the neighbourhood. Three years did he live in prayer, fasting, and solitude, while the evil one assaulted him with temptation. One day, when it grew so fierce that he feared for his perseverance, he suddenly flung himself, in his scanty hermit’s garb, among the thorns and nettles near him, thus turning the current of his thoughts, and chastising the waywardness of the flesh, by sensible stings and smarts.

THE MINISTER OF SATAN PAID HIM A VISIT IN HIS STUDY

There was St Thomas, too, the Angelical Doctor, as he is called, as holy as he was profound, or rather the more profound in theological science, because he was so holy. Even from a youth he had sought wisdom, he had stretched out his hands on high, and directed his soul to her, and possessed his heart with her from the beginning; and so, when the minister of Satan came into his very room, and no other defence was at hand, he seized a burning brand from the hearth, and drove that wicked one, scared and baffled, out of his presence.

BY THE SOVEREIGN GRACE OF GOD

Not all Saints have been such in youth: for there are those on the contrary, who, not till after a youth of sin, have been brought by the sovereign grace of God. Others have been called, not from vice and ungodliness, but from a life of mere ordinary blamelessness, or from a state of lukewarmness, or from thoughtlessness, to heroic greatness; and these have often given up lands, and property, and honours, and station, and repute, for Christ’s sake.

KINGS HAVE DESCENDED FROM THEIR THRONES

Kings have descended from their thrones, bishops have given up their rank and influence, the learned have given up their pride of intellect, to become poor monks, to live on coarse fare, to be clad in rough cloth, to rise and pray while others slept, to mortify the tongue with silence and the limbs with toil, and to awow an unconditional obedience to another. In early times there were the Martyrs, many of them girls and even children, who bore the most cruel, the most prolonged, the most diversified tortures, rather than deny the faith of Christ.

… RATHER THAN DENY THE FAITH OF CHRIST

Then came the Missionaries among the heathen, who, for the love of souls, threw themselves into the midst of strangers, risking or perhaps losing their lives in the attempt to extend the empire of their Lord and Saviour, and who, whether living or dying, have by their lives or by their deaths succeeded in bringing whole nations into the Church. Others have devoted themselves in the time of war or captivity, to the redemption of Christian slaves from pagan or Mahometan masters or conquerors; others to the care of the sick in pestilences, or in hospitals; others to the instruction of the poor; others to the education of children; others to incessant preaching and the duties of the confessional; others to devout study and meditation; others to a life of intercession and prayer.

THEIR VERY VARIETY IS A TOKEN OF GOD’S WORKMANSHIP

Very various are the Saints; their very variety is a token of God’s workmanship; but however various, and whatever was their special line of duty, they have been heroes in it; they have attained such noble self-command, they have so crucified the flesh, they have so renounced the world; they are so meek, so gentle, so tender-hearted, so merciful, so sweet, so cheerful, so full of prayer, so diligent, so forgetful of injuries; they have sustained such great and continued pains, they have persevered in such vast labours, they have made such valiant confessions, they have wrought such abundant miracles, they have been blessed with such strange successes, that they have been the means of setting up a standard before us of truth, of magnanimity, of holiness, of love.

THE SAINTS POINT TO CHRIST

They are not always our examples, we are not always bound to follow them; no more than we are bound to obey literally some of our Lord’s precepts, such as turning the cheek or giving away the coat; no more than we can follow the course of the sun, moon, or stars in the heavens; but, though not always our examples, they are always our standard of right and good; they are raised up to be monuments and lessons, they remind us of God, they introduce us into the unseen world, they teach us what Christ loves, they track out for us the way which leads heavenward. They are to us who see them, what wealth, notoriety, rank, and name are to the multitude of men who live in darkness, – objects of our veneration and of our homage.’”
– Bl. John Henry Newman. This article was published in “De Vita Contemplativa” (Monthly magazine for Monasteries), Year V – Number 7 – July 2011

 
 

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OH, HOW GOD LOVES THESE LITTLE MORTIFICATIONS WHICH NO ONE SEES!

WHEN WE ARE IN THE STREETS, LET US FIX OUR GAZE ON OUR SAVIOUR, CARRYING HIS CROSS BEFORE US…

“Oh, how I love these little mortifications, which no one sees, such as rising a quarter of an hour earlier, or rising to pray for a short while during the night; but there are some who think only of sleeping.

HOW AND WHY PRACTISE LITTLE MORTIFICATIONS?

We can refrain from warming ourselves; if we find ourselves badly placed, we can refrain from seeking a better place; if we are walking in our garden, we can deprive ourselves of some fruit, which we would like. We can abstain from eating any little things that we come across in the course of our household duties, or from looking at some pretty thing which attracts our gaze, especially in the streets of the large towns. When we are in the streets, let us fix our gaze on our Saviour, carrying His cross before us, or on the Blessed Virgin who is looking at us, or on our guardian angel who is by our side.

‘THY WILL BE DONE’, NOT MINE – GIVING UP OUR OWN WILL

Again, it is a very good thing to give up our own will. The life of a poor servant, who has no will but that of her mistress, may be, if she knows how to turn this renunciation to her profit, just as pleasing to God as that of a nun, who is always confronted with her rule.

Even in the world, at all times, we can renounce our own will: for example, by denying ourselves a visit which would give us pleasure, by performing an act of charity which wearies us, by retiring to rest a few minutes later, or by rising a few minutes earlier: by giving the preference to whichever thing pleases us less, when there is a choice of two things to be done, etc. etc.”
– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 

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“THY WILL BE DONE”

CONFORMITY TO THE WILL OF GOD

“We should bear patiently all the trial of life – infirmities, sufferings, reverses of fortune, family losses, affronts, persecutions, in a word, all adversities. Understand this well: the evils of this life are so many proofs that God loves us, and wishes to save us.

Let us understand also that involuntary mortifications, such as He Himself sends us, are more meritorious in the eyes of God than those which we undertake of our own choice.

Let us, then, be patient and resigned in sickness. This is the devotion of devotions. If we cannot meditate at such a time, let us look upon Jesus crucified, offering Him our sufferings in union with His own. And when we are warned of the approach of death, let us accept it calmly, in a spirit of sacrifice, that is, declaring that we are willing to die to please Jesus Christ. We should not desire to live longer in order to do penance. Let us accept death with perfect resignation; this is the best of all penances.”
– Laverty & Son (eds), 1905

 

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