Tag Archives: St John Vianney


St John Mary Vianney, Confessor

Let us pray. Almighty and merciful God, you made blessed John Mary remarkable for his pastoral zeal and constant love of prayer and penance; grant that by virtue of his example and intercession, we may win for Christ the souls of our brethren and attain with them eternal glory. Through the same Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.


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By St John Vianney

Our great enemy

“Sin is the executioner of the good God, and the assassin of our souls. Sin is it, which snatches us from heaven to cast us into hell. And yet we love it! What folly! If we reflected well upon it, we should have such horror of sin that we would not commit it.

O my children, how ungrateful we are! God wishes us to be happy, and we will not! We turn from Him and give ourselves to the demon! We fly from our friend and seek the executioner!

We commit sin; we bury ourselves in the more, and once caught there we cannot rise. If it was a question of our worldly fortune, we should contrive to escape from the difficulty; but as it concerns only our soul, we stay there.

I am going to the same place as you, to be crucified anew

What has God done to us, then, that we afflict Him thus, even crucifying Him again in a sense – Him, Who has redeemed us from hell? If all sinners, when betaking ourselves to their guilty pleasures, met Our Lord on the way as Saint Peter did, and if He said to them: ‘I am going to the same place as you, to be crucial died there anew’ – perhaps that would make them reflect a little.

Oh! how insensate we are! We employ in damning ourselves the time which God has given us to save our souls! We make war on Him with the instruments He has given us for His service!

Is it not utter folly to earn hell, by allying ourselves with the devil, in preference to tasting even in this life the joys of heaven, by uniting ourselves to God in love? It is impossible to fully comprehend such madness, or to bewail it sufficiently.”

– St John Vianney

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Posted by on August 4, 2015 in Words of Wisdom


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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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Troubles melt away before a prayer well said, like snow before the sun

“Our heart is small, but prayer enlarges it and renders it capable of loving God… Prayer is a foretaste of heaven, an exhalation from paradise. It never leaves us without comfort. It is a honey; which flows into the soul and sweetens everything.

Troubles melt away before a prayer well said, like snow before the sun. Prayer is a fragrant dew; but we must pray with a pure heart to feel this dew.

See, my children, the Christian’s treasure is not on earth, but in heaven. Well, our thoughts should be where our treasure is.

Man has a grand function – to pray and to love… You pray, you love – herein lies man’s happiness on earth!

You pray, you love – herein lies man’s happiness on earth!

Prayer is nothing else than a union with God. When our hearts are pure and united to God, we feel within ourselves an intoxicating balm, a dazzling light. In this intimate union God and the soul are like two pieces of wax melted together; they cannot be separated. It is a beautiful thing, this union of God with His poor creature. It is happiness beyond our comprehension.

Those who do not pray tend towards earth, like a mole making a hole in which to hide

Prayer makes the time pass very rapidly, and so pleasantly that we do not notice its flight. The more we pray, the more we want to pray.

Some souls lose themselves in prayer like a fish in water, because they belong wholly to God. There is no division in their hearts. Oh! how I love these generous souls! … Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Colette spoke to God, as we speak to each other. And we – how often we enter the church not knowing what we are going to do, or what we want to ask!

Those who do not pray tend towards earth, like a mole making a hole in which to hide. They are wholly worldly and besotted, thinking only of temporal things…

He who does not pray is like a bird which cannot rise in the air; if they fly a little they soon fall again

Again, he who does not pray is like one of those cumbrous birds which cannot rise in the air; if they fly a little they soon fall again. The man of prayer, on the contrary, is like an intrepid eagle soaring into the skies, as if he wished to approach the sun. Thus it is with the devout Christian on the wings of prayer! Oh! what a grand thing is prayer! The man who is in the grace of God does not need to be taught how to pray; it comes to him naturally.

Like an intrepid eagle soaring into the skies

God has no need of us. If He commands us to pray, it is because He desires our happiness, and in no other way we can attain it. When He sees us coming, He bends down towards His poor creature, like a father who stoops to listen to his little child.

In the morning we should do as a child does in his cradle. Immediately he opens his eyes, he looks around everywhere for his mother…

There are two means of uniting ourselves to God

There are two means of uniting ourselves to God, and saving our souls: prayer, and the sacraments. All who have become saints have frequented the sacraments and raised their souls to God by prayer.”

– Blessed Cure d’Ars


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“Below are some words written by St John Vianney. I share them for your prayerful reflection:

• This is a good rule of conduct – to do nothing but what we can offer to the good God. We cannot offer to Him slanders, calumnies, injustice, anger, blasphemy, impurity. We must reflect that we have a soul to save, an eternity awaits us. This world, its riches, pleasures and its honours will pass away.

• The crosses we meet on the road to heaven are like a fine stone bridge on which you can cross a river. Christians who don’t suffer, cross this river on a shaky bridge that’s always in danger of giving way under their feet.

• Never forget, my good friends, that the tongue has been given to you to praise God; that it had been consecrated to Him in holy Baptism and Holy Communion. What makes the sin of cursing and swearing all the worse is this: if parents are in the habit of committing this sin, the children will acquire the same habit and the vice will become hereditary in the family. If there are so many houses which harbour unhappiness and are the lurking place of the evil spirit, you will find the explanation in the blasphemies and curses which have descended in these families from generation to generation.


• The person who doesn’t pray is like a chicken or a turkey, which can’t rise into the air. They may fly a little, but as soon as they come down, they scratch the earth and get deeper and deeper in it, they cover their heads with it and they don’t seem to take pleasure in anything else. The person who prays, on the other hand, is like a fearless eagle, and seems always to want to get closer to the Sun.

• O how bitterly shall we regret at the hour of death the time we have given to pleasures, to useless conversations, to repose, instead of having employed it in mortification, in prayer, in good works, in thinking of our misery, in weeping over our sins. Then we shall see that we have done nothing for heaven.

– From: “Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris”


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O most holy Virgin Mary, who stands for ever before the Most Holy Trinity; and to whom it is granted at all times to pray for us to your most beloved Son; pray for me in all my needs; help me, beg and obtain for me the pardon of all my sins.

Help me especially at my last hour; and when I can no longer give any sign of the use of reason, then encourage me, make the sign of the cross for me, and fight for me against the enemy. Make in my name an act of faith; favour me with a sign of my salvation, and never let me despair of the mercy of God.

Help me to defeat the wicked enemy. When I can no longer say, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I place my soul in your hands”, say it for me. When I can no longer hear human words of consolation, comfort me.

Do not leave me before I have been judged, and when my soul needs purifying from sin in purgatory, pray for me without ceasing, and inspire my friends on earth to pray for me, so that I may soon enjoy the blessed sight of God. Lighten my sufferings, deliver me quickly, and lead my soul into heaven with you, so that united with you and all the saints, I may bless and praise God for all eternity. Amen.
– St John Vianney


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“Our Lord said, ‘Anything that you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.’ We should never have thought of asking God for His own Son. But what man could not have conceived, God has done. What man could not say or imagine, and what he should never have dared to desire, God in His love has said, conceived, and executed.

Without the Blessed Eucharist there would be no happiness in the world. Life would be insupportable. When we receive Holy Communion, we receive joy and happiness.

The good God, wishing to give Himself to us in the sacrament of His love, has given us a desire so great, so immense, that He alone can satisfy it… Before this divine Sacrament we are like a person dying of thirst beside a river; yet he has only to bend his head! … like a person remaining impoverished beside impoverished beside a vast treasure; he has only to stretch out his hand!

Oh! if Christians could only understand Our Lord when He says to them: In spite of your misery, I wish to see close at hand this beautiful soul, which I have created for Myself. I have made it so great that I alone can fill it. I have made it so pure that nothing but My Body can nourish it.

My children, there is nothing so great as the Eucharist! Put all the good works in the world beside one communion well made; they will be as a grain of dust beside a mountain.

If we could understand all the blessings comprised in Holy Communion, the heart of man would ask nothing more. The miser would no longer seek for treasure, nor the ambitious man for fame. Every one would shake off the dust of earth, and leave it for ever to fly to heaven.

The communicant is lost in God, as a drop of water in the ocean. The two can no longer be separated. If someone says to us after communion: ‘What are you bringing into your house?’ we could answer: ‘I am bringing heaven.’ A saint used to say that we are the bearers of God. It is quite true, but we have not faith enough. We do not appreciate our own dignity. When we leave the Holy Table we are as blessed as the magi would have been, if they could have brought the Infant Jesus away with them.

Take a vessel full of liquor and cork it well – you can preserve the liquor as you like. In the same way, if after communion you keep Our Lord with you by recollection, you will feel for a long time that consuming fire which will inspire in your heart a leaning towards good and a repugnance of evil.

I do not like the practice of beginning to read at once on returning from the Holy Table. Oh! no; of what value are the words of men, when God Himself is speaking? We must listen to what God is saying to our hearts.”
– Blessed Cure d’Ars


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