Tag Archives: sacraments



Dearest Jesus, all thy creatures are more worthy of thy grace

Than the vile and wretched sinner who now kneels before thy Face.

Yet one claim I have upon thee, which thou never wilt deny:

In the bounds of thy creation, no one needs thee more than I!


Other souls have been more faithful, and have served thee better far,

Many spotless hearts more fitting for thy gracious Presence are,

Many lips devout a greeting far more fervent can supply,

But, dear Master, well thou knowest: no one needs thee more than I.


Many loving hands have carried richer offerings to thy Shrine,

Many generous hearts have loved thee with a purer love than mine;

These thy chosen ones approach thee, as the doves to covert fly,

I am utterly unworthy, but none need thee more than I!


Sins unnumbered, unatoned for, have made havoc in my soul,

And against me stands, as witness, the Recording Angel’s roll;

All untilled has been my vineyard, and its soil is hard and dry,

O my God, my only refuge, no one needs thee more than I!


For without thee I am helpless, fast in sin’s strong fetters caught.

Blinded by my evil passions, swayed by impulses untaught:

I could do no good unaided, it were worse than vain to try;

Come thyself to me, sweet Jesus! no one needs thee more than I!


Thou didst leave thy Father’s bosom, to reclaim and save the lost,

Thou didst take upon thee freely our redemption’s awful cost,

Thou thyself hast called me to thee, thou wilt hearken to my cry,

In the bounds of thy creation, no one needs thee more than I!

– St Anthony’s Treasury, Laverty&Sons, Leeds, 1916


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O my God, I love thee above all things.

I hope, by the merits and Passion of Jesus Christ, to obtain pardon of my sins.

I grieve from the bottom of my heart for having by them offended thy infinite goodness. I detest them more than all imaginable evils.

I unite my grief for them to that by which Jesus Christ was oppressed in the Garden of Olives. I firmly resolve, by the assistance of thy grace, never more to offend thee.

(Whenever you will have said this prayer, with the requisite determination of avoiding all sin, go in peace to Confession, without scruple and without fear. St Liguori)

– St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916


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Mary is our Mother. – Most of us realise this fact in a vague sort of way. We have heard it since we were old enough to remember. We have been accustomed to referring to Mary as our Blessed Mother.

Yet, do we really believe it? We have a mother who brought us into the world. Perhaps she is still living. If not, we probably have vivid memories of her. We can’t have two mothers, can we? Mary is our mother in a figurative sense, she is called our mother because she has taken such an interest in us.

That is the way many of us would express our thoughts on the matter if we should ever stop to analyse them.

This attitude, however, is not correct. We do have two mothers, a mother in the natural order and a mother in the supernatural order.

Mary is our mother in the supernatural order. She is really and truly our mother, just as much so as is our mother in the natural order.


A mother is one who gives life. Our earthly mother gave us our life in this world, our natural life. Mary has given us the life that elevates our life in this world and flowers in the next, our supernatural life.

After the sin of Adam, our souls were deprived of supernatural life. This life was restored through the Redemption of Christ and Baptism. Mary made it possible for us to receive this life. She did this at Nazareth, on Calvary and at our Baptism.

At Nazareth the angel Gabriel brought to Mary the most wonderful news that has ever been given to any human being. He told her that she had been chosen to be the Mother of God. Mary’s consent was needed, before the Incarnation could take place. She thought of us at that moment. By answering “No” she could have left us in death. By answering “Yes”she could give us life. She gave her consent and the Word was made Flesh. Our Redemption had been made possible.


About 34 years later Mary stood on the hill of Calvary beneath the cross on which her divine Son was giving His life for us. He was dying that we might be delivered from sin and death. Mary united her sacrifice with His. She thought of us, her children, at that moment. She bravely and generously offered her Son to the Father for our salvation. Never did any creature make such a sacrifice. And she did it for us. Mary, ever Virgin, experienced only joy when she brought Jesus into the world. When she gave us our spiritual birth, she underwent the most agonising sorrow.

Again at Baptism Mary gave us spiritual life. It was by her intercession that we had the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Baptism fruitfully .


Because of Mary, then, we can hope to enjoy the eternal happiness of heaven. She has given us our life in the next world. This “is not a passing life like your terrestrial one, but a life without end,” says Father Emil Neubert, S. M., in My Ideal-Jesus, Son of Mary. “Not a life full of imperfections and anguish like our present existence, but a life incomparably happy; not a created life, human or angelical, but – and understand it well – a participation in uncreated life, in the very life of God, the life of the Most Blessed Trinity. And that is why this life will be endless and incomparably happy, because it is a sharing in the eternity and in the beatitude of God.”

So the life that Mary has given us is much greater than the life we are now living. She is truly our spiritual mother.


St Stanislaus Kostka used to repeat with great happiness, “Mater Dei, Mater mei” – “God’s Mother is my Mother.” Each of us can repeat this tremendous truth.

Mary’s Immaculate Heart was fashioned by her Creator so that God made Man could receive the perfect love of the perfect mother. Mary loves us with the same Immaculate Heart.

Because she loves us so much, she watches over us always. She guards the supernatural life which she has given us. If we should lose our supernatural life by falling into mortal sin, she can obtain for us the grace to recover it…

“God’s Mother is my Mother.” What a world of meaning in those words! What a depth of consolation and hope! If we but heed her pleas, if we but join our prayers with hers, we need have no fears.

From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954



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Jesus, my Lord and my God, Whom I behold with eyes of faith in the Sacrament of the Altar, what may I not hope from thee! Thou art the Almighty who canst ever succour us; thou art our all-loving and merciful God Who wilt gladly help us, Whose delight is to dispense grace and blessing.

Thou knockest at the door of our hearts yearning to enter and lavish upon us the fulness of thy grace. What canst thou withhold, O my loving Redeemer, when thou givest me thyself with all that thou art and all that thou hast? Thou art my refuge, my hope, my salvation, my life, my beatitude!

Thou hast promised refreshment to all who are weary and heavy burdened; thou hast the words of eternal life, and thou wilt fulfil these words in me. Thou hast prepared this holy table against all that afflicts me, against all the enemies of my salvation; I hope, therefore, to be strengthened at thy table for the struggle against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Thou hast given me this food as the pledge of immortality; through it I hope for eternal life. Bless, O Lord, all that hope in thee. Increase my hope and let it not be in vain.

– St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916


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There is no room for timidity in the work of a Child of Mary who trusts fully in God and the might of His Grace. What the world calls heroism is mere formality and, if persevered in, has an electrifying effect upon the accepted standards of a community.

As for difficulties and dangers, a little courage, nurtured on supernatural trust, shows that they resemble a forest which, at a distance appears solid and impenetrable, but when approached is found easy on entry.

In fact, he is trained for this difficult work and his vocation is to penetrate to the utmost depths his search for the lost sheep, to establish personal contact with every member of underprivileged groups, to reach each of the lapsed and uplift all of the most wretched and dejected of the population. So great is his trust in God, through Jesus and Mary, that he pursues his search for souls to the bitter end with far more zeal and earnestness than those who search for the rare and precious things of the earth.

[Enemies not of flesh and blood, but principalities and powers: the rulers of this world of darkness (Ep6:12)]


No matter how long and drawn-out the battle, how toilsome the labours, how severe the rebuffs, how hardened the cases, how hopeless the prospect, the Child of Mary is buoyed up with unfailing confidence in the omnipotence of grace. He knows that for even the most serious evils, there is a remedy, and ONE only, which God wills him to employ: the intense and patient application of the whole religious system of the Catholic Church.

– 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 13, 2016 in Prayers to Our Lady


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There is perhaps nothing that should give us more comfort in these troubled times than the thought that we are members of the one true Church  instituted by Christ, who said to His disciples: “I shall be with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” [Mt 28:20]. Whatever may happen in this world, however great may be the disasters that befall it, however many the difficulties, hardships and sufferings that life at any time may present, there remains the indubitable fact that Christ, the Son of God, is ever in our midst to support and to guide by His omnipotent strength and unerring wisdom His Church and all who are members of it.

“Behold, I shall be with you all days” (Mt28:20b)

But it is not every Catholic who fully understands or realises what this means, and so he fails in a greater or less degree to profit by and to enjoy the immense consolation that might be his. Let him reflect that being a Catholic makes him a member of the great Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, the Head of which is Christ Himself, and which embraces not only all Catholics upon earth but the countless multitude of the saints in heaven, as well as all the suffering souls in purgatory, who, although unable to help themselves, can – as most theologians teach – most efficaciously help us by the assistance of their prayers.

Christ is the Head and we His Body – the Mystical Body, the Church, is as real and true as any physical body

The Catholic must conceive of this Mystical Body that though by its nature supernatural and spiritual it is none the less a very real and true Body, as real and true as is any physical body. It derives its life not only, though principally and essentially, from its Divine Head, but from all its members as well, who work together for the good of the whole. Every member of the Body is bound to contribute his share, great or little as it may be, to the general benefit of the other members, just as every member of a physical body is necessary for its complete health and maintenance. When any member or part of a human body is hurt or sick, the rest of the members of that body come to its relief and help to its restoration and renewed health, whenever and as far as this is possible.

A true “team effort”

So he who would have a right understanding of what it means to be a Catholic must bear in mind that he is a member of a Body where all, without exception, who make up that Body are concerned to bring about his spiritual and eternal well-being, as well as their own. The mistake for any one to make is to look upon himself as isolated and apart from the other members, independent of them and capable of procuring his final salvation without their aid. Such a one has not grasped the meaning of the Communion of Saints: he does not see that if he be finally saved, he will be saved not as one individual, aloof from all others, but as being a living member of the whole Body which is saved. So when a sinner repents and turns to God, it is primarily and chiefly because Christ, the Head of the Church, died for him on the Cross, but also because other members of Christ’s Body by their holy lives and prayers are continually making intercession for all sinners, so that Christ’s redemptive work may have its desired effect.

“You are always on our mind…”

This, then, is one of the consolations a Catholic can enjoy, that though he is often tempted and sometimes falls into sin, yet he is ever in the mind of Christ and the faithful fellow members of Christ’s Body, who, if he will only avail himself of their help, will bring him back to spiritual life and the privileges of grace of which they are the possessors.

Certain and glorious victory

It is the thought of this immense and unlimited strength upon which he can draw that gives a Catholic confidence and courage to go on with his struggle against evil and to advance ever more in a life of holiness in the service of God. He knows that he is not alone but is attended by untold millions of holy men and women in heaven and on earth, who recognise in him one of their own great body and are ready at his every moment and step to proffer him help. He is in truth one of a vast and all-conquering army in whose certain and glorious victory he can share, if only he will identify himself with that army and strive to be a faithful soldier in its ranks. What matter if the campaign be a hard one, fought amid all the evils of a disrupted and ruinous world, when he can be persuaded that the struggle is a comparatively very brief one and that at the end, with the rest of his fellow soldiers, he will join their great Leader who already by His own life and death has secured the victory and is waiting to give him a share in His own everlasting glory and happiness.

“Go ye and teach all nations”

These, to the Catholic who will think, are not empty words, the effervescence of a poor rhetoric. They are the exact and solemn truth, the teachings of his Faith. With that great blessing of Faith, for which he can never thank God enough, he knows to that together with all the other members of Christ’s Mystical Body there is offered up for him every day and all day the sacrifice of the Mass, which continues the great sacrifice of the Cross and bears equal merit and fruit. In addition he has the help of the Sacraments, especially those of the Holy Eucharist and Penance; and he may hope that when he is dying he may receive Extreme Unction, to be forgiven his sins, to be strengthened and consoled, and to be admitted sooner to the unclouded and full vision of God. All these are undoubted blessings, the thought of which serve to console a Catholic amid the difficulties that confront him to-day. He is the more grateful for the gift of Faith when he sees around him so many who are without that support and know not where to turn to find relief in their miseries. Their unhappy condition ought to be a spur to his zeal. The Church is a great missionary organisation, as its Divine Founder declared when He said to His disciples, “Go ye and teach all nations,” and every Catholic is a member of it and is called upon, at least by his example and prayers, to further its purpose, which is none less than the conversion of the world. He should know that he will best promote his own interests by forgetting and sacrificing himself for the good of others; by taking an intelligent interest in the welfare of the Church in general and of his own parish in particular; by participating, as far as his opportunities and conditions of life allow, in all that active work which aims at the spread of Catholic truth and at bringing within Christ’s fold those irreligious and unbelieving souls who form, alas! such a large part of the world to-day.

The virtue of charity, the distinguishing mark of every genuine follower of Christ

To act this way is to exercise the great virtue of charity, which must be the distinguishing mark of every genuine follower of Christ. On the other hand, it will be seen how radically false is the piety of those who, though they frequent church, are so absorbed in themselves and their spiritual welfare as never to consider the needs of others or to raise a little finger to help them. Indeed they may be noted for their uncharitable conversation and their harsh condemnation of others.

The good Catholic will make no such grievous mistakes. He will realise how spurious is a [“faith”] that is not infused with the love of God and of his neighbour; and he will be suspicious of all [“faith”] that concentrates almost solely on self and has no remembrance in prayers and good works for the Church as a whole, the Mystical Body of Christ, of which he is privileged to be a member. In recounting the consolations his religion affords him – the certainty of its truth, the help of the Sacraments, the hope of eternal felicity – he will let no day pass without thanking God for the blessing of being Catholic.

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


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Behold, it was the cruel horde

Of our proud sins that smote the Lord,

And drove the undeserved dart

To wound God’s innocent, pure heart.


They guided the uncertain spear

The Roman soldier wielded, near;

The direful iron he thrust within

Was pointed by our mortal sin.


But from thy pierced side, O Christ,

Is born the Church, thy bride unpierced;

Salvation’s Ark receives a door

For all mankind, forevermore.


Unending grace, a sevenfold flood,

Flows forth from thence; wherein thy Blood.

O Lamb of God, can cleanse our stain

And wash our garments white again.


O may we not return to shame

And sin, that blessed Heart to maim;

But rather light the flame of love

Within us, like to that above.


Jesus, to thee be glory given,

Who from thy Heart dost grace outpour,

With Father and with Holy Spirit,

Through endless ages evermore. Amen.


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Previous chapter

Why such a lengthy expiation in Purgatory?

The reasons are not difficult to find.

  1. The malice of sin is very great. What appears to us small faults are in reality serious offences against the infinite goodness of God. It is enough to see how the Saints wept over their faults. – We are weak, it may be urged. That is true, but then God offers us abundant graces to strengthen our weakness, gives us light to see the gravity of our faults and the necessity force to conquer temptation. If we are still weak the fault is all our own. We do not use the light and strength He so generously offers us, we do not pray, we do not receive the sacraments, as we should.
  2. An eminent Theologian wisely remarks that if souls are condemned to Hell because of one mortal sin for all eternity, it is not to be wondered at that other souls should be detained for long years in Purgatory who have committed countless deliberate venial sins, some of which are so grave that at the time of their commission the sinner scarcely knows if they are mortal or venial. They may have committed, too, many mortal sins for which they have had little sorrow and done little or no penance. The guilt has been remitted by absolution [in sacramental confession; i.e. the sacrament of penance/reconciliation], but the pain due to the sins will have to be paid in Purgatory.

Our Lord tells us that we shall have to render an account for each and every idle word we say and that we may not leave our prison until we shall have paid the last farthing.

The Saints committed few and slight sins and still they sorrowed much and did severe penances. We commit many and grave sins and we sorrow little and do little or no penance.

  • – From: Read Me or Rue It, by E.D.M., approved of His Eminence the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon 4/6/1936, printed by Kerryman, Co Kerry, Ireland
  • Next chapter



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My grandson has not yet been baptised. I have tried to persuade my daughter to arrange this but she does not seem concerned about it. Could I secretly baptise him when I am babysitting?



The ordinary minister of baptism is the bishop, priest or deacon and baptism should be carried out in the Church according to the full rite given in the liturgical books. In an emergency, if a child is in danger of death, any person (even a non-Catholic) may baptise a child validly if they pour water on the child, say ‘I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’, and have the intention to do what the Church does.


It would be wrong to carry out an emergency baptism if there is no pressing necessity such as a serious danger to the child’s life. Baptism makes us Christians, children of God and members of the Church, with the duty of living the Christian life and living in accord with the teaching of the Church. The Church has always recognised the need for the consent of the parents and a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the practice of the faith.


If a baptism is carried out in an emergency, the parish priest should be informed so that he can offer pastoral care, and so that he can enter the details in the baptismal register. Should the child survive, he will arrange for the other ceremonies of the baptismal rite to be carried out in the Church at when convenient. The fact of baptism has important consequences in later life, especially in relation to marriage, so the parish priest should also be informed if a baptism is carried out when there was not any danger – though unlawful, such a baptism would be valid.


Many grandparents feel as you do. It is right for you to encourage the parents to have the child baptised, but you cannot force their decision. Try to show the value of the Christian faith gently, without nagging, but joyfully witnessing to the value of the Christian life.”

– This article by Fr Tim Finigan entitled “Catholic Dilemmas” was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue November 1 2013. For subscriptions, please visit (external link)


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“Unwavering fidelity”

“An international gathering of English I speaking clergy has issued a statement pledging its ‘unwavering fidelity’ to the traditional doctrines of the Church  teaching on marriage and sexuality ahead of the family synod.

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, whose members came from America, Britain, Australia and Ireland, voted unanimously on a statement which said: ‘The fathers pledge their unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality as proclaimed in the Word of God and set out clearly in the Church’s Ordinary and Universal Magisterium.’

‘Importance of upholding the Church’s traditional discipline regarding the reception of the sacraments’

The British branch of the confraternity was established following Benedict XVI’s Year for Priests in 2010 with the aim of promoting ‘fidelity to Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the Magisterium, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Holy Father’.

The confraternity statement concluded by affirming the ‘importance of upholding the Church’s traditional discipline regarding the reception of the sacraments’, adding that ‘doctrine and practice must remain firmly and inseparably in harmony.'”

– This article was published in the Catholic Herald magazine, issue 6693. For subscriptions please visit (external link)


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