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“I HAVE BEEN PRAYING FOR AGES FOR THE CONVERSION OF MY SON/DAUGHTER, BUT GOD DOESN’T SEEM TO REACT”

Poor mother! poor wife!

Poor mother! poor wife! go and prostrate yourself before the Blessed Sacrament and tell the good God, or even in the privacy of your own chamber, tell Him all that you dare not say to him whom you love, and who causes you so much suffering.

Bear the sick soul into the presence of Jesus, as formerly they carried the paralytic, who could not, perhaps “would not” drag himself thither.

Soften the anger God feels towards him, as you would appease the anger of an earthly master on whom depended his temporal prosperity, beseech our Lord simply to “bear with him a little longer.”

Ask Him what you must say

Confide to the good God alone all your anxieties, your discouragements, and the means which you employ in order to succeed. Ask Him what you must do, what you must say. A word suggested by Him during prayer is more efficacious for the conversion of a soul than all human contrivances.

Such a word will escape us unconsciously; we may not know when we have said it, but it will work its way into the soul, and, having taken root there, will silently do its work.

It will silently do its work

You are at times astonished to see such little results after so many years! Ah! you do not know how to consider it… Do you know what you have obtained for the poor, erring soul?

The results of your prayers up to this point

In the first place you have obtained “time”, and very often a “physical impossibility of sinning”, which causes annoyance and is attributed to chance, but it is Providence that has brought it about. And is one sin less in a lifetime nothing?

A physical impossibility of sinning

“A vague uneasiness” which destroys repose. “An involuntary confidence” which permits you to enter into that soul. “A greater liberty is permitted to your pious influence;” your pious practices no longer are met with “a smile of disdain”. Is all this nothing?

If only you could see the struggles in the soul you are praying for!

Ah! if while on your knees in your chamber, praying for that soul which you wish to win to God, you could see what passes therein – the struggles it has to sustain, the remorse which it seeks to stifle; if you could witness the operations of God which gently and firmly seek to triumph over his will, without, however, forcing it – how fervently would you not continue to pray!

In such an hour as this you command, and God works for you.

Refrain from being exacting

Have patience to wait, and perseverance sufficient to prevent your growing weary.

Even God finds the conversion of a stubborn soul, in one sense, not an easy thing.

It is because she does not know how to “wait” that the pious woman is often exacting towards the soul which she wishes to reclaim.

“The more haste we make,” says a wise man, “the less do we progress;” the more we try to exact, the more we expose ourselves to refusal. Men like to move apparently without restraint and have themselves the merit of their virtues.

It is because she does not know how to “persevere” that the work always seems as if it were commenced anew.

Courage, then!

Courage, then! The cultivation of the ground is very difficult, but each prayer offered to God is like a drop of dew. The marble is very hard, but each prayer is a cut of the chisel which shapes it by slow degrees.

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

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WHEAT AND WEEDS GROWING SIDE BY SIDE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

“Wheat and weeds growing side by side until the harvest. That’s how Christ described his Church. Good and bad, saints and sinners, would all be part of his kingdom on earth.

And that is the way it has been from the beginning. Indeed the history of the Church is so full of sin and sinners that the wonder of it all is how it survived, how it continued to exist, how, despite its frailty and sinfulness, it managed to continue to be such a mighty force for good in the world up to the present time.

How did it survive the scandals, the weaknesses of its leaders and its members? The answer of course is that Christ never abandoned, never left his Church. ‘I will be with you always until the end of time’ he promised. Jesus knew his Church would not be perfect here on earth, that ultimate perfection will only come about in the next life. During his short life here on earth his enemies denounced him for ‘eating and drinking with sinners’. In doing so he made it clear that his love embraces everyone, saint and sinner.

Sinful and imperfect as we are, this teaching comforts us. Christ nevertheless calls on us to keep trying to grow and improve, to keep up the struggle. He tells us to be ‘perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect’. We don’t become perfect overnight. It is a lifetime process but Christ is with us all the way, carrying us in times of weakness, urging us on when we are complacent and tempted to be content with our lukewarm state. We pray for the grace of perseverance and a deeper awareness of his loving and helpful presence in our lives.”

– This article was published in St Martin Magazine, issue July 2015. For subscriptions please visit http://www.stmartin.ie (external link)

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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WE SHOULD PARTICULARLY ASK GOD’S HELP IN RESISTING TEMPTATIONS

The best method

“It consists in praying constantly; that is in recommending ourselves on all occasions to Jesus Christ, and in invoking the intercession of our Angel guardian, of our holy patrons, and above all of the Blessed Virgin; for all God’s graces pass through her hands.

Our whole welfare depends on prayer

Our whole welfare depends on prayer. Every day we should specially ask God for perseverance in grace. He who prays for perseverance obtains it; he who does not pray for it does not obtain it, and is lost for all eternity. We should also ask from Jesus Christ the grace of His divine love, as well as perfect conformity to His holy will. And to obtain these graces, we must rely above all on the merits of Jesus and the intercession of Mary.

These prayers should be said on rising in the morning

These prayers should be said on rising in the morning. We should return to them during the day, in our devotions, at Holy Communion, in visiting the Blessed Sacrament, and, finally, at our evening examination of conscience.

We should particularly ask God’s help in resisting temptations, above all temptations against chastity. We shall be unable to resist, unless we constantly invoke the holy names of Jesus and Mary. He who prays, triumphs; he who does not pray is overcome.

He who prays triumphs

Yes, O my Jesus, how many times I have fallen, because I neglected to call upon You! Doce nos orare. O teach me Yourself to pray, and to recommend myself to the maternal care of our Blessed Mother!”

– St Alphonsus

 

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ARE WE TURNING TO GOD ONLY WHEN WE NEED SOMETHING?

A BREATH-TAKING QUESTION

“‘What wouldst thou have me do for thee?’ This is the question which Jesus put to the blind man who besought mercy of our Lord as He passed by on His way to Jerusalem. It was a breath-taking question. It was a blank check on the infinite power of God. ‘Anything you want you may have,’ Jesus is saying. ‘What is your choice?’

The blind man had his answer ready. He was obsessed by a single consuming desire – to be able to gaze upon the world about him. ‘Lord, that I may see!’ he begged. Instantly his prayer was granted. ‘Receive thy sight,’ Jesus replied, ‘thy faith has saved thee.’

‘THY FAITH HAS SAVED THEE’

If Jesus suddenly were to appear before us with a similar question, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ what would our answer be? Better health? Success on the job? Money to pay off the bills? Solution of a personal or family problem?

It is to be hoped that we would have the discernment to pass over all such lesser needs and to ask for the gift which surpasses all others in importance: the grace of final perseverance, the grace of a happy death. ‘Lord, that I may love You, and love You to the end!’ This surely would be our answer if we had but one opportunity to draw upon God’s bounty.

Fortunately we are not limited to one opportunity. Jesus does not appear visibly before us, but His ears are permanently attuned to us. His invitation is never withdrawn, His benevolence is never exhausted. ‘What wouldst thou have me do for thee?’

JESUS’ INVITATION IS NEVER WITHDRAWN

God knows our wants, of course, even better than we know them ourselves. It would seem that in temporal matters the more perfect prayer of petition would be simply, ‘Give me whatever You know to be best for me, Lord; whatever is most in accord with Your will.’

Still, it pleases God to have us turn to Him in our particular needs. In every prayer of petition there is an implied act of adoration. By our requests we acknowledge God’s infinite goodness and power. We would not be turning to Him if we did not believe He cares for us and that He can help us.

GOD’S INFINITE WISDOM

If our entreaty is to be effective, however, it must also include an acknowledgement of God’s infinite wisdom. We must concede that, in the end, only God knows what is best for us and for those whose lives are intertwined with ours. His must be the final decision as to whether another grace must be substituted instead.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF PRAYER: THE HIERARCHY OF IMPORTANCE

As we well know, petitions are the least essential of our prayers. In the hierarchy of importance, prayers of adoration are at the top of the list. These are the prayers in which we salute God’s infinite greatness and holiness. We concede our own nothingness apart from Him. We assure Him of our faith in Him, our trust in Him and, above all, of our love for Him.

Next come prayers of thanksgiving for the love and the care which God has lavished upon us. Adoration and gratitude then naturally lead to prayers of contrition, as we grieve for our pettiness and our disobedience to a God so holy and good.

It is only after these three steps that we are prepared for prayer of petition. This does not mean that every time we give ourselves to prayer we must mechanically tick off praise, thanksgiving and contrition before daring to ask God for anything. It means only that we must maintain a sense of proportion in our prayers and not think that when we have asked for our daily bread, we can let the rest of the Lord’s prayer go by the board.

PRAYERS PLEASING TO GOD

In our petitions, too, there is a gradation of importance. Unselfish prayers, prayers offered for the needs of other persons, are especially pleasing to God. In praying for ourselves, it is our spiritual petitions which God most welcomes. When we plead, ‘Please, God, help me to keep from sin.’ ‘Please, God, help me to do Your will always,’ or ‘Please, God, help me to grow in love for You,’ there is no need to add the condition, ‘If it be Thy will’. In such petitions, we KNOW that our will is at one with God’s. Offered with sincerity and perseverance, these requests infallibly will be granted.”
– Fr Leo J. Trese, 1966

 

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15th MARCH, RESPONSORIAL PSALM (PSALM 118)

R. They are happy who follow God’s law!

1. They are happy whose life is blameless,
who follow God’s law!
They are happy those who do his will,
seeking him with all their hearts. (R.)

2. You have laid down your precepts
to be obeyed with care.
May my footsteps be firm
to obey your statutes. (R.)

3. I will thank you with an upright heart
as I learn your decrees.
I will obey your statutes;
do not forsake me. (R.)

ACCLAMATION

Blessed are those who, with a noble and generous heart, take the word of God to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.

 

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PRAYER FOR PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE

PRAYER FOR MORE PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE

Bless us, Lord, as we realise
the grace of patience and perseverance
in our life of faith.
Bless us as we meet challenges to our faith,
as it speaks a language that does not always
sit easily with modern thought.
Bless us, during this Season of Lent,
as we overcome the temptation
to give up or give in.
Amen.

 

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THE WHOLE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS BASED UPON THE CROSS – THE FOUR DIMENSIONS OF THE CROSS

THE MYSTERY OF THE CROSS IN THE FOUR DIMENSIONS

“The cross, the glory of the divine Redeemer, must be the boast also of his disciples, as St Paul admonishes and – St Augustine continues – it must be so since all of us ‘are upon it.’ The whole of the Christian life is based upon the cross, as upon a firm edifice, and the Bishop of Hippo, by his marvellous contemplation, takes pleasure in revealing the mystical meaning of the four dimensions of that blessed wood: the width, length, height and depth.

[By St Augustine of Hippo]

‘Listen to the Apostle saying to you, ‘But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Let us too make it our boast, if only because we lean totally upon it. Let us all glory in it, o good brethren; in it may we glory. Perhaps it is there that we shall find both width, and length, and height, and depth. These words of the Apostle, you see, somehow set up the cross before our very eyes. It shows, in fact, the width in which the hands are nailed; it shows the length, as the trunk inclines from there to the ground; it also shows the height, since from the same transversal trunk to which the hands are nailed, it protrudes somewhat and there the head of the Crucified One is placed; it shows also the depth, which means to say, the part that is fixed into the ground and which remains unseen. Consider the great mystery. From that depth, which is unseen, is raised on high all that may be seen.

THE WIDTH, THE LENGTH AND THE HEIGHT OF THE CROSS

So where is the width? Turn your mind to the life and behaviour of the Saints, who say, ‘Far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ We find in their way of life and behaviour the width of charity; which is why the Apostle himself gives this advice: ‘Open yourselves wide, lest you should be bearing the yoke with unbelievers.’ And from the moment that he exhorted them to open their hearts, listen to what he adds: ‘Our mouth is open towards you with sincerity, Corinthians; our heart is completely open.’ It follows, therefore, that the width means charity, which alone fulfils good works. The width shows that God loves those who give with joy. In reality if someone finds himself to be in dire straits, he will give reluctantly; if he will give and be at the same time afflicted by this, what he gives will be lost. Generosity of love, therefore, is necessary, so that your good deeds will not be lost. But because the Lord said, ‘When iniquity abounds, the charity of many will grow cold,’ he gave me also length.

What is meant by length? ‘Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.’ This is the length of the cross, where the whole body is stretched; where after a fashion it is standing, the kind of standing by which one perseveres. So if you are seeking, you that make the cross your boast, to have the width of the cross, make sure you have the virtue to do good. If you want to have the length of the cross, make sure you have the long-suffering capacity to persevere.

But if you want to have the height of the cross, make sure you know the meaning of the words you hear, ‘Lift up your hearts,’ and where you hear them. Well, what does it mean, ‘Lift up your hearts’? Place your hope up there, place your love up there, ask for strength from up there, look for your reward up there. Because if you do good, and give cheerfully, you seem to have the width; if in the same good works you persevere to the end, you seem to have the length. But if you don’t do any of this for the sake of the reward up above, you won’t have the height; which means you won’t have the real width and real length either. In what consists, in fact, possessing the height, if one does not have God in his mind, and that means to love him gratuitously, He Who succours, He Who looks, He Who crowns, He Who grants the reward? It consists also in considering Him as the reward, in not wanting anything from Him except He Himself? If you love, love gratuitously; if it is true that you love, He will be the reward that you love. Or is it not true, in fact, that all things are dear to you and that you despise He who has made all things?

THE DEPTH OF THE CROSS

In order that all this may be possible for us, the Apostle has bent his knee, above all so that it will be given to us. The Gospel, in fact, makes us fear with the words: ‘To you has been given to understand the mystery of the kingdom, but to them it has not been given. Thus to he who has it will be given.’ But who is he who has and to whom will it be given but to he to whom it has been given? ‘But to he who has not, from him will be taken what he has.’ Who, on the other hand, is he who has not, but he to whom it has not been given? Why has it been given to one and not to the other?

In this consists the depth of the cross and I dare to say it. From the depths, I know not what, of the judgements of God, which we are unable to penetrate and contemplate, proceeds all that which is possible for us. From the unfathomable depths of the judgements of God, which we are not able to use for the object of our contemplation and are incapable of penetrating, there proceeds all that which we can contemplate. I see that which I am able to see: I do not see that which I might be able to see; this is solely because even that which I can see I do so only to the point of recognising that it comes from God. But the fact of attributing it to one and not the other is beyond my comprehension; it is an abyss, it is the depth of the Cross.”
– This item was published in “De Vita Contemplativa” (Monthly Magazine for Monasteries) Year VII – Number 9 – September 2013.

 

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