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THE RISE OF THE ROSARY

THE RISE OF THE ROSARY

It was the time when the impious heresy of the Albigensians was spreading throughout the district of Toulouse, striking its roots more deeply day by day. Saint Dominic, who had but recently laid the foundations of the Order of Preachers, threw all his strength into the task of extirpating the wicked error.

HE THREW ALL HIS STRENGTH INTO EXTIRPATING THE WICKED ERROR

To make his victory the more certain, he sought constantly and in earnest prayer the aid of the most blessed Virgin Mary, whose dignity had been most shamefully attacked by the heretics. It is given to her to destroy all heresies throughout the world.

PREACHING DEVOTION TO THE ROSARY 

Dominic was admonished by her – as everyone will recall – to preach devotion to the Rosary as a special weapon against heresy and vice. It is astounding with what great fervour of soul, and with what happy results he carried out this assignment. The recitation of the Rosary has a fixed pattern, in which fifteen decades of the Angelic Salutation are separated by the Lord’s Prayer , which is inserted between each decade. During each decade, we meditate upon a particular mystery of our redemption. From the time of the Albigensian heresy onwards, this holy method of prayer began to be marvellously propagated and promoted by Saint Dominic. The sovereign Pontiffs, themselves, in encyclical letters have, from time to time, confirmed the fact that Dominic was the founder and author of the Rosary.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2019 in Devotions

 

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SERMON FROM THE AQUEDUCT

SERMON FROM THE AQUEDUCT

The word was made flesh and now dwells among us. He dwells in our memory, he dwells in our thoughts. He comes down even to our imagination.

“How?” you ask. By lying in a manner, by nestling at his mother’s breast, preaching on the mountain, praying throughout the night, hanging on the Cross, growing pallid in death, free among the dead, triumphant in hell. He does it by rising on the third day, by showing the Apostles the print of the nails, the marks of his victory, and finally by ascending before their very eyes into the mysterious heights of the heaven. Of which of these can we not think truly, lovingly, piously, holily?

Of whichever one I think, I think of God; and he is my God through them all. I call it wisdom to meditate upon them, I judge it prudent to recall the memory of their sweetness. From such seeds the priestly rod put forth buds; Mary, drawing their nurture from celestial depths, brought forth the flowers. She who received the Word from the heart of the Father himself, was on a supernal plane, higher even than the angels.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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HOW, IN THE ROSARY, WE ARE FORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF JESUS

HOW, IN THE ROSARY, WE ARE FORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF JESUS

(To learn how to pray the Holy Rosary, please click here: How to meditate on Our Lord Jesus’_life / the Gospels with the Rosary  )

To know, love and imitate Our Lord Jesus Christ – such is the principle of Christian life, the secret of perfection. True perfection consists formally in the love which unites us to Jesus, but as one cannot love without acquaintance, and affectionate acquaintance engenders imitation – one is anxious to resemble those whom one loves – it follows that the imitation, as well as the knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ, form, as it were, the integral parts of that perfection, the essence of which is love.

The Rosary is the school where Mary trains us daily in the Christian life. There, not only does this divine Mother fill our understanding with the knowledge of Jesus and our hearts with love of Him, but she completes her work by imprinting on us, by imitation, the image of Him who is the First-born of all the elect. To this last point I would particularly direct your attention.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the First-born of all the elect.

Created as we are to the image of God, we feel the need of perfecting with us this divine image, of drawing out all its splendour, by imitating more and more closely our sovereign model. In the beginning, the angel and the man, intoxicated with foolish pride, wished to push the divine resemblance beyond all limits, even to the extent of absolute independence, which is the attribute of God alone. Avenging His slighted rights, God struck down Lucifer, and severely punished the first man. The punishment of the latter, however, was not untempered with mercy. God raised Adam and Eve anew, and once more showing Heaven to them, revealed to their eyes through the distance of ages One whose imperfect image they were henceforth to bear, till they at length resumed His glory.

Jesus Christ, the perfect image of God the Father, appears at the centre of the new creation as the finished model which we all must copy, which we must all resemble if we are to be counted among the children of God. To the Blessed Virgin, who formed this divine exemplar, is allotted the task of reproducing His likeness in each one of the elect. The Rosary is the mould into which she casts souls, to form them to the divine image; or let us say, rather, that with the Rosary, as with a chosen instrument, this admirable artist sculptures, paints, and imprints the image of her Son. She sculptures it in the neophytes, paints it in souls more advanced, and imprints it in hearts which are responsive to the lightest touch of grace.

The purgative, illuminative and unitive life 

Spiritual authors tell us that in the work of perfecting us, and forming us in the likeness of Jesus Christ, it is necessary, first, to take away, like the sculptors, then to add, like the painters, and finally to apply and unite closely, like the printers.

The purgative life

In the purgative life, in which the soul divests itself of its vices and bad habits, it is necessary above all to cut away. In the Rosary, therefore, Mary sculptures certain souls, refining them by the practice of poverty, of mortification, of ever increasing detachment. In the joyful mysteries, she takes from us the love of earthly treasures by showing us Jesus poor and shelterless; in the sorrowful, she destroys our love of ease, our desire for pleasure, by opposing to our sensuality the terrible sufferings of our Saviour; in the glorious mysteries, she severs the last ties which bind us to earth, elevating our hearts by the spectacle of Jesus ascending into heaven.

As the sculptor first rounds off a block of marble, then gradually outlines the statue, and finally completes it with little touches of the chisel, so the Blessed Virgin, after the sinful habits, removes the small defects, even to the last lingering imperfections of a soul which generously penitent abandons itself entirely to her.

The illuminative life

In the illuminative life, in which the soul devotes itself particularly to progress in virtue, Mary resembles the painter who adds colour to colour, mixing and blending them suitably, in order to produce an accurate and life-like portrait. When the soul, purified of its faults, presents, as it were, a spotless surface, the immaculate Virgin complacently deposits on this stainless background the colours of all the virtues, spreading perpetually a new layer of grace; and the Rosary is the rich palette from which she draws the tints which contribute to the perfection of the image, which she wishes to produce. Under the brush of this incomparable artist the dazzling whiteness of faith, the celestial radiations of hope, the soft crimson of charity, the shades and reflections of all the virtues mingle on the countenance of the soul, formerly gloomy and darkened, and stamp upon it the supernatural expression which distinguishes the children of God.

Ah! could we, by a life of piety and habitual recollection, by frequent meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary, keep our soul always ready, spread forth to its utmost limit, like a precious canvas, on which Mary might exercise her divine art by completing in us the image of her Son!

The unitive life

In all cases there is no better way to obtain a perfect resemblance in a short time than to reproduce the model itself by applying it to the surface on which it is to be represented. The image shows itself immediately, distinguished by an accuracy far greater than could be obtained by endless touches of the brush.

When a soul has arrived at the punitive life, that is, at such a degree of love for God as excludes all return to self, and justifies the words of the great apostle: “It is no longer I who live, but Jesus Christ who lives in me” – then Mary imprints Jesus in this soul, as on soft, pure wax. In a moment the celestial image appears, no longer merely in outline; it is reflected each day more faithfully in the affections, in the desires, in every act. Pone me ut signaculum super cor tuum, ut signaculum super brachium tuum. Jesus is set like a seal on the heart and on the arm, in the intention and in the deed.

The contemplative soul, closely united to God by love, receives, in passing through the mysteries of the Rosary, the impression of this divine seal. Mary herself applies it, and, according to the mystery, she reproduces Jesus humble, gentle, obedient, Jesus in His wisdom, power, goodness and infinite grace; or again, as in those modern portraits which light produces with such exactitude, Mary, admirable light emanating from the Sun of Justice, transmits in perfection the features of the divine model, imprinting them with the utmost fidelity to the depths of the heart.

An imperishable resemblance to the Father who is in heaven

Who then, faithful to this Rosary, would not allow himself to be worked upon by Her who knows so well how to mould a soul, how to paint and imprint Jesus on it? Let us dispose ourselves daily by a life of mortification, of recollection and intimate union with God, to aid Mary in her admirable work, unquestionably more admirable than all the works of nature, for the material creation even in its most beautiful manifestations, offers only a distant reflection of God, while the soul devoted to the Rosary, closely united to Christ, bears an imperishable resemblance to the Father who is in Heaven.

– Laverty & Sons, 1905

 

 

 

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MY SPIRITUAL THERMOMETER

MY SPIRITUAL THERMOMETER

During a visit which we made to a learned and pious friend, writes a religious, we found among the books which lay on his table, “The Glories of Mary,” by St Alphonsus de Liguori, and as we were looking at it, he remarked to us:

“That is my spiritual thermometer. When I am faithful to grace, a page of this book enlightens me, animates me, makes me happy; when I am careless or lukewarm, it scarcely suits me at all; it becomes, as it were, too much for me; it wearies me; I no longer understand it; it is not the brilliancy of the light which has become less, it is rather the eye of my soul which can no longer bear it. I labour then to restore to that eye its purity and its strength, and soon the thermometer rises, or rather my soul mounts and finds itself in unison with the praises of the Blessed Virgin.”

THE PURITY OF THE EYE OF THE SOUL

How precious are these words! Is it not well to be able to discern “where the life of our poor heart is?” These hours of weakness are so long and so alarming.

This we may know through “the love we feel for Mary.” It grows or lessens in proportion as innocence increases or diminishes in our hearts.

As long as we remain pure, there exists a close relation between us and the Blessed Virgin, which manifests itself by a thrill of joy each time that our mind can ponder on her goodness, or our lips murmur a prayer in her honour.

Then we search for all that recalls Mary to us; the prayers which we prefer are those addressed to Mary; books please us less if they do not speak a little of Mary. The rosary is for us a special source of peace, and the joy of our heart is even manifested in our countenance.

THE WORLD’S CONTAGION

Should we become “less pure”, even though we do not sink into real sin, we feel a coldness towards Mary; we find it very irksome to say our rosary; the pious practices of others who love her more than we do, appear exaggerated; we leave off some of our accustomed prayers – “we no longer have time for them…”

This condition, if we do not relieve our heart of its encumbrances, cannot remain long a state of innocence… The priest trembles when a soul tells him, “I have ceased to say my rosary.” The rosary is the first prayer one abandons.

It is your care or negligence in reciting it which specially serves as a thermometer to indicate the life of the soul.

A 100% RELIABLE SAFEGUARD

The rosary is more even than all this – it is a “safeguard.” As long as you recite it, despite your weariness, your distaste, your occupations, you will never wander entirely away. You will either cease to say it, or you will end by being touched and frightened; you will be LED to the priest in order to make to him the confession of your faults and commence a new life.

Devotion to Mary is like a beacon-light erected on the road which leads to God. It reassures and encourages; withdraw it, and though you know with certainty where God is, and the road which leads to Him, yet you are timid and have no longer the courage to follow that path.

Thus the devotion to Mary is not a “simple ornament or embellishment” of Catholicism, nor even “a help” among many others, of which we may avail ourselves or not, as we will: it is an integral part of our religion. Jesus Christ deigned to come to us only through Mary. It is through her that we should go to Him. As one seeks the heart’s pulsations in order to assure himself that there is life, so in like manner, in order to find if a soul still lives, seek to discover whether the name of the Blessed Virgin thrills it or is heard with indifference.

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

 

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KNOW YOUR ENEMY – MANUAL FOR SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Aids in Battle

[‘Manual for Spiritual Warfare’, Paul Thigpen PH.D.] is divided into two parts. The first, entitled Preparing for Battle, looks at the Biblical and and theological foundations for the ongoing warfare between humanity and the devil.

Overcoming the Enemy’s attacks in one’s own surroundings

The second, Aids in Battle, offers aids to help believers in this struggle, including scriptural texts and prayers. As Paul Thigpen indicates in his introduction, the ‘primary purpose of this manual… is to help everyday Catholics recognise, resist and overcome the Enemy’s attacks in their own lives and the lIves of those for whom they bear responsibility.’

Keep the Enemy out of the Camp

The chapter headings for the first part include titles such as ‘Know your Enemy’, ‘Know your Commander and Comrades’, and ‘Keep the Enemy out of the Camp’, while the second part focuses on Church teaching, the lives of the saints, and various prayers, and various prayers, devotions and hymns as aids against demonic or diabolical influence.

Prayers and hymns against demonic or diabolical influence

The author begins by stating that belief in the devil and demons is obligatory for Catholics and Christians generally, based on the Scriptural witness, and particularly those accounts of Christ being tempted and casting out evil spirits. We can be tempted by demons, or attacked in more serious ways, such as by infestation, oppression, obsession, or most dangerous of all, possession, which is when an evil spirit takes control of the body of a victim.

We can be tempted by demons or attacked in more serious ways

Paul Thigpen cautions that while lay people can pray some prayers of deliverance, these are different from the solemn exorcisms of the Church, which should only be performed by designated Church exorcists.

Through His Passion, Death and Resurrection Jesus Christ has already defeated the devil

Through his Passion, Death and Resurrection, Christ, the ‘New Adam’ has already defeated the devil, so if we call on him when under any form of diabolical attack, he will always come to our aid. Likewise, Our Lady, the ‘New Eve’, has because of her Immaculate Conception and her obedience to God, great power over the devil and his demonic followers. As St Bonaventure said: ‘Men do not fear a powerful, hostile army as much as the powers if hell fear the name and protection of Mary. Similarly, we can always call on St Michael and our Guardian Angels for help against the devil.

Prayer is more powerful than all the demons

As the author points out, prayer is the number one weapon in our battle against Satan, and calling on the name of Jesus has been for the saints one of the best ways to defeat demonic attack. On this point, St Bernard of Clairvaux said: ‘However great may be the temptation, if we know how to use the weapon of prayer well, we shall come off as conquerors at last, for prayer is more powerful than all the demons.’ St John Vianney agreed with this saying: ‘We cab see how much the Devil fears those who pray, since there’s not a moment of the day when he tempts us more than we are at prayer.’

Assisting at Mass; prayer and fasting

Likewise, taking part in worship is important, and particularly the Mass, as is Eucharistic adoration. Fasting, too, has been recommended as a powerful weapon against the devil, and we can fortify ourselves spiritually by daily reading of the Bible.

Sacraments and sacramentals 

In particular, the sacraments are powerful means of protection against the devil, although the power of sacramentals such as the Sign of the Cross, holy water, St Benedict medals, and blessed objects generally, should not be underestimated.

Humility is the only virtue no demon can imitate

Regarding the struggle against the devil, as St John Climacus said, the essential virtue is humility: ‘Humility is the only virtue no demon cab imitate.’ As an example of this, Thigpen includes the following account from the lives of the Desert Fathers:

Learning from the Desert Fathers

Some people brought a demon-possessed man to an old monk to exorcise him. The monk said to the demon, ‘Get out of God’s creature!’

The Demon replied: ‘I’ll go, but first I will ask you a question: Tell me, who are the goats and who are the sheep? (cf. Mt 25:31-46).

The old mab said, ‘The goats are people like me. Who the sheep are, God alone knows.’

At these words, the demon cried out, ‘Look, I must go out of him because of your humility!’

Avoiding any possibility of demonic contamination

We also have to avoid any possibility of demonic contamination through such things as Ouija boards or any form of participation in magic rituals etc., and also keep a careful watch on our thoughts.

Keeping a very careful watch on our thoughts

The second, larger part of the book opens with a chapter on Church teaching about spiritual warfare and provides a series of quotes from various Church documents to emphasise how seriously the Church takes the whole area of demonic activity.

Relevant scripture passages to read during times of temptation

Then there is a whole section on how the Bible deals with the devil and his followers, including appropriate scriptural quotations and passages which will help the reader during times of temptation.

Attempts to play down the influence of the devil

There is also a chapter entitled ‘Help from the Saints,’ which contains many striking quotations, such as this text from Thomas Aquinas: ‘When the Devil is called the god of this world, it is not because he made it, but because we serve him with our worldliness.’

Apart from the above, the Manual for Spiritual Warfare contains many useful prayers, litanies, and devotions to strengthen us against demonic attack.

A resource in the struggle against the evil which is all around us

At a time when many people, even within the Church, are playing down the influence of the devil, this book is a very valuable resource in the struggle against the evil which is all around us.”

– Donal Anthony Foley, The Catholic Times, 16th January 2015. For subscriptions please contact The Universe Media Group, Allerton House, St Mary’s Parsonage, Manchester M3 2WJ

 

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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SHORT PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF FATIMA

SHORT PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF FATIMA TO OBTAIN LOVE FOR THE ROSARY

O most holy Virgin Mary, Queen of the most holy Rosary, you were pleased to appear to the children of Fatima and reveal a glorious message. We implore you, inspire in our hearts a fervent love for the recitation of the Rosary. By meditating on the mysteries of the redemption that are recalled therein may we obtain the graces and virtues that we ask, through the merits of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

 
 

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ONCE SHE STARTED GOING TO DAILY MASS, SHE BECAME VERY CALM, BALANCED AND CHEERFUL

OUR SOULS NEED GOD

“I once knew a family whose mother was in and out of a psychiatric ward. She was not a Catholic, though the rest of the family were. It seemed to me that if she became a Catholic and started going to the sacraments she would stay calm and keep out of hospital. She was happy to become a Catholic, so I instructed her and received her into the Church and she started going to daily Mass. She soon became very calm and balanced and cheerful – she seemed almost a different person.

HER CHILDREN SAID THE ROSARY FOR HER

Then she went back to West Africa on holiday, and her mother made her go to her own local church, one, I fancy, that dabbled in witchcraft. The poor woman came back as bad as ever, and when I went to see her in her psychiatric ward she would not even speak to me. However, her children started saying the rosary for her every day, and their mother came out of hospital and resumed her sacramental life. Once more she became peaceful and contented, and all was well again. When she went to the sacraments she was fine, but when she didn’t she lost her balance completely.

WE WERE NOT MEANT TO REMAIN MERE HUMAN BEINGS

I suppose you could say that in God’s original design we were never meant to remain mere human beings. We were meant to be also living that sharing in God’s life which we call the life of grace.

SIN TIES KNOTS IN THE SOUL, KNOTS THAT NO PSYCHIATRIST CAN UNRAVEL

The sin of our first parents introduced a flaw into the product. The sacraments are the remedy, the supplement, the correction, that God has provided to make good the fault. But it’s up to us to decide whether we use it or not.

Our Lord is like the doctor of our soul when he comes to us in the sacraments. The same Jesus who went around Galilee, doing good and healing all manner of diseases, is still healing our sick souls when we turn to him for help.

Sin ties knots in the soul, knots that no psychiatrist can unravel. But God can, and he does it in the sacraments, in baptism to begin with, and then in confession.”
– Fr Hugh S. Thwaites

 

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