Sunday, October 18, 2020

Feast of St Luke Evangelist

ST LUKE EVANGELIST Luke was born in Antioch to pagan Greek parents. St. Paul met him at Troas and invited him to accompany him into Macedonia where they traveled first to Samothrace, Neapolis, and finally Philippi about the year 51. Later, he became the constant companion of St. Paul, following him everywhere. He alone remained with Paul when he was imprisoned in Rome about the year 61. After St. Paul's death, St. Luke left Rome. There are conflicting reports about where he went. Some say he preached in Greece, others in Gaul. He wrote his Gospel with the aim of attracting the Gentiles to the goodness and mercy of the Lord. A little later he wrote the Acts of the Apostles. He died without shedding his blood, but the Church honored him with the title of martyr for the long sufferings and mortifications he endured for the cause of the Gospel.  
Joy in temporal goods. How a person should direct it to God. 1. We listed the first kind of goods as temporal.[1] By temporal goods we mean: riches, status, positions, and other things claiming prestige; and children, relatives, marriages, and so on. All these are possible objects of joy for the will. But the vanity of rejoicing over riches, titles, status, positions, and other similar goods after which people usually strive is clear. If people were better servants of God by being richer, they would be obliged to rejoice in riches. But riches are rather the occasion of their offending God, as the Wise Man teaches: Son, if you be rich you shall not be free from sin [Ecclus. 11:10]. Though it is true that temporal goods of themselves are not necessarily the cause of sin, yet, because of the weakness of its tendencies, the human heart usually becomes attached to them and fails God, which is sin. Thus the Wise Man says you will not be free from sin. This is why the Lord in the Gospel calls them thorns; the one who willfully handles them will be wounded with some sin [Mt. 13:22; Lk. 8:14]. In St. Luke's Gospel the exclamation – which ought to be greatly feared - asserts: How difficult will it be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of heaven (those who have joy in them), and demonstrates clearly a person's obligation not to rejoice in riches, since one is thereby exposed to so much danger [Lk. 18:24; Mt. 19:23]. In order to turn us from this danger, David also taught: If riches abound, do not set your heart on them [Ps. 62:10]. St John of the Cross, ‘Ascent of Mt Carmel’, Book 3. Ch 18. 
The picture of St Luke the Evangelist is from fresco in Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence, 1486-90
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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Feast of St Teresa - "Mystery of the Church" excerpts from the book by Fr P. Marie-Eugene, OCD 'I am a Daugther of the Church' - Practical Synthesis of Carmelite Spirituality

Union of the will (which is granted to the soul through the perfection of charity) transform the soul and places it at the treshold of a new world, which appears still in a semi-brightness while only partly revealing its grandeur. But the full brightness and splendour of the new world will be reached by the soul in the next mansion. What are these lights that form part of the riches of the union of will...

Zeal for souls.
"The very soul does not know itself (Vth Mansion, 2:255), writes St Teresa. The change is attended with surprise and even anxiety, when it is produced suddenly by mystical grace. The little white butterfly that has come out of the cocoon, whose wings has grown, no longer has a resting place, for it feels itself "a stranger to things of earth. But where will the poor little creature go?" (Ibid, ;256)

This confusion is not merely the effect of a passing bewilderment . It comes upon a soul already established in detachment, a soul stirred by new and deep desires. True, it may long to return to those obscure regions whence it has come with the certitude: "that God has been in it and it has been in God," (ibid, 1:251) but there is now a burning and painful solicitude for God and for souls, which it had not known before to so intense a degree:
Only a few years since - perhaps only a few days - this soul was thinking of nothing but itself. Who has plunged it into such grievous anxieties? (ibid, 2:257) I know that the torment which a certain person of my acquaintance has suffered, and suffers still, at seeing the Lord offended, is so intolerable that she would far sooner die than suffer it (ibid; 258)

This is a new trait that the Saint wants to point out. At some length she reflects upon the Passion of our Lord, who "saw everything and was continually witnessing the great offenses which were committed against His Father," (ibid) and upon jer own ardent desire to suffer and die for the salvation of sinners. This suffering of the soul, due proportion kept, resembles that of Christ; and Saint Teresa says it is essential mark of this spiritual stage:

If anyone told me that after reaching this stage he had enjoyed continual rest and joy, I should say that he had not reached it at all. (ibid; 256)

In these pages where the Saint is treating, with her characteristic logic, of union of will - not with the formal logic of thought but the logic of description which embraces all that is before it - she speaks of the immense work of conversion effected by great saints who had received such favours and corresponded with them (ibid 4:266). Without any doubt, the prayer of union gives the soul  a deep concern for the salvation of souls. This is an important fact that we must remember.
Whence comes this zeal? Saint Teresa answers:

I will tell you. Have you not heard concerning the bride (I said this a little while back, though not with reference to the same matter) that God put her in a cellar of wine and ordained charity in her? Well that is the position here. (ibid 2:257). 

Charity has been ordered by God Himself in the soul, toward its twofold object: God and neighbour. And, commenting on the double precept, the Saint writes:

The surest sigh that we are keeping these two commandments  is, I think, that we should really be loving our neighbour....And be certain that, the farther advanced you find you are in this, the greater the love ou will have for God. (ibid 3:261)

The importance that the Saint now attaches to love of neighbour, even to the point of sacrificing one's devotions for acts of charity (ibid; 263) is an indication of a new state of a soul. It is not long since Teresa was signalizing as a grave danger for the soul the urge to distribute the fruits of its garden. The recipient of that advice had drunk of the third water of perfect quiet, which is the sleep of the powers (Life, 17). After the grace of union, the soul, "having now a clear realization that the fruits of this prayer are not its own, can start to share them and yet have no lack of them itself." (ibid 19). 

Even more is to be said: the soul thus strengthened not only can but must give of its riches, although still with prudence. It feels an urgent need to do so. To explain this profound change by saying that God has ordered the soul's charity this way does not seem sufficient. Why does the ordering of charity actually require that the soul now turn towards its neighbour? Saint Teresa does not explicitly  say why, for she disclaims being a theologian and having the ability to give reasons for many things that she has observed. Yet she gives us the key to the problem. In developing the analogy of the silkworm, she makes this remark, singular at first sight:

When it is full grown, then, as I wrote at the beginning, it starts to spin its silk and to built the house in which it is to die. This house may be understood here to mean Christ. I think I read or heard somewhere that our life is hid in Christ, or in God (for that is the same thing), or that our life is Christ. (The exact form of this is little to my purpose.) (V Mansions, 2)

This surprising statement, connected in no way with what the Saint has previously said, obliges her to explain what we can do, so that "His Majesty Himself [may] be our Mansion as he is in this Prayer of Union"; (ibid) it seems to introduce a new element, increasing the complexity of the description. but this thought is dispelled on a moment's reflection. Actually the statement reveals to us a spiritual experience, most important and of great interest. Saint Teresa was aware that in the prayer of union she entered into the living Christ, and that thereafter Christ was to be the dwelling place where her life would be hidden. What else is this than the discovery of her incorporation into the mystical body of Christ, the Church; the awareness of her belonging to the whole Christ. That incorporation into Christ should be experienced by her at this time as a living reality obscurely grasped is truly a great thing. We can understand the consequent change of attitude in her soul, which we have observed; and we shall not be surprised at a new orientation of her life. A mystery of union, a mystery of darkness, yet the source of resplendent light! Let us pause here a moment to give it thought.

The mystery of the Church
The prayer of union, or union of will, is a seizure of the will by loving Wisdom. The soul thereafter bears the impress of a divine seal, (5th Mansion ii;257) which although not indelible is nevertheless permanent; and it produces a state of self-abandonment and suppleness. We may explain the symbol by saying that Holy Wisdom dwells habitually in the will, to reign there as Mistress. 
Holy Wisdom can reign for no other purpose than to realize the thought of God. She is herself the Thought of God. She extends her conquest, acts, acts and initiates action, only to show forth God's thought for the world, living and concrete, in events and in souls. Through the apostle St Paul we know what is this eternal purpose of God:

...the dispensation of the mystery, which has been hidden from eternity in God, who created all things...which in other ages was not known to the sons of men, as now it has been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; namely, that the Gentiles are joint heirs, and fellow members of the same body, and joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus. (Eph 3:5-11)

God design is to save all men without distinction by making them all one with Christ Jesus, in the unity of His mystical body.
Already in eternity, God contemplated the whole Christ, the Church, and took His delight in it as in the masterpiece of His mercy. In the exterior works of His creation God moved through all the vicissitudes of the works of His love, toward the realization of His Christ, His Anointed One. Finis omnium Ecclesia, the Church is the end of all things, according to Saint Epiphanius. The very vicissitudes, the fall of the angels, the sin of man, were permitted by God only as an occasion and means for showing forth the whole strength of His arm, the full measure of the love that He would give to the world. Did not Saint Augustine say that God permitted the fall of the of the angels so as to create man? And the sin of man is a felix culpa, a "happy fault," (Liturgy for the Holy Saturday, Exultet) that won for us Christ the Redeemer.
it is through Christ Jesus that God is going to realize His mystery of mercy; through Christ who is generated eternally, for he is the World of God.

He is the image of the Invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For in him were created all things in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, or Powers. All things have been created through and unto him, and he is before all creatures, and in him all things hold together. (Col I: 15-7)

After the fall of man, the Word became incarnate; and in the new plan of the redemption God gave to Him, to Christ Jesus, the primacy and plenitude of all things:

He is the head of his body, the Church; he, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he may have the first place. For it has pleased God the Father that in him all his fullness should dwell, and that through him he should reconcile to himself all things, whether on the earth or in heaven, making peace through the blood of his cross. (ibid; 18-20)

The Epistle to the Ephesians testifies also to the eternal plan of God to unite all things in Christ: that he may make known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure. And this his good pleasure he purposed in him to be dispensed in the fullness of the time: to re-establish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth. (Eph I:9-10)

In His eternal thought God sees only His Christ; and in Him He sees each one of us, because in Him He has placed us:

Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish in his sight in love. He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ as his sons, according to the purpose of his will, unto the praise of the glory of his grace, with which he has favoured us in this beloved Son. In him, I say, in whom we also have been called by a special choice, having been predestined in the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, to contribute to the praise of his glory, we who before hoped in Christ. (Eph I:4-6, 11-2)

And so, this divine decree that tells us of the eternal love of the Father for His beloved Son, and for us in Christ, causes to surge up from our hearts a hymn of thanksgiving:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing on high in Christ. (Eph I:3)

Christ Jesus came on earth to accomplish this divine decree. (On coming into the world Christ had said: "Behold, I come to do thy will, O God."Heb. 10:7)

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Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Our Lady of the Rosary

The feast of the Holy Rosary was instituted by Pope Pius V to celebrate the anniversary of the defeat of the Turkish fleet at the battle of Lepanto on the first Sunday in October 1571, which ended the threat of Muslim domination of the Mediterranean and was ascribed in part to the prayers and processions of the Rosary confraternity in Rome. Later the feast was moved to the fixed date of 7 October.

I sought out solitude to pray my devotions, and they were many, especially the rosary, to which my mother was very devoted; and she made us devoted to it too.  (St Teresa of Avila, The Book of her Life, ch 1)
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Sunday, October 04, 2020

NOVENA TO ST TERESA OF AVILA starts today, Oct 6 - click to pray!

My God and my infinite Wisdom, measureless and boundless and beyond all the human and angelic intellects! love that loves me more than I can love myself or understand! Why, Lord, do I want to desire more than what You want to give me? Why do I want to tire myself in asking You for something decreed by my desire? For with regard to everything my intellect can devise and my desire can want You've already understood my soul's limits, and I don't understand how my desire will help me. In this that my soul thinks it will gain, it will perhaps lose. For I ask You to free me from a trial, and the purpose of that trial is my mortification, what is it that I'm asking for, my God? If I beg You to give the trial, it perhaps is not a suitable one for my patience, which is still weak and cannot suffer such a forceful blow. And if I suffer it with patience and am not strong in humility, it may be that I will think I've done something, whereas You do it all, my God. If I want to suffer, but not in matters in which it might seem unfitting for Your service that I lose my reputation - since as for myself I don't know of any concern in me about honour - it may be that for the very reason I think my reputation might be lost, more will be gained on account of what I'm seeking, which is to serve You.

Instruction on the Prayer of Recollection, in St Teresa's own words:

IT is called the Prayer of Recollection because in it the soul collects, or gathers together, all her powers, and enters into her own interior with God. I wish I knew how to describe to you this holy intercourse which, with out disturbing in the least her perfect solitude, is carried on between the soul and her Divine Spouse and Companion, the Holy of Holies, and which takes place as often as ever she pleases to enter into this interior paradise in company with her God, and to shut the gate to all the world besides. I say, as often as she pleases ; for you must understand that this is not altogether a supernatural thing, but is quite within our own power, and we can do it whenever we chose ; I mean, of course, with God s help, for without this we can do nothing at all, not so much as have a single good thought. For you must observe that this recollection is not a suspension of the powers of the soul, but only a shutting them up, as it were, within ourselves.

The Truth or Foundation on which the Prayer of Recollection rests:

You know that God is everywhere (therefore He is in our interior.) Now it is clear that wherever the King is, there the Court is too therefore, wherever God is, there is heaven ; and you can readily, believe that wherever this Divine Majesty is, all glory is with Him. Then consider what St. Augustine says : that he " sought God in many places, and found Him at last within himself."

It is, then, of the utmost importance to bear this truth in mind, that our Lord is within us, and that we ought to strive to be there with him. On a certain occasion, when I was assisting at the Divine Office with the rest of the Sisters, I became, on a sudden, thus recollected within my self: and here my own soul was presented before me, and it seemed to me to resemble a bright mirror, in which there was no darkness nor shadow, either behind or on either side, or above or below but all clear and resplendent ; and in the midst of it there appeared Christ our Lord, in the form under which I am accustomed to see Him. It seemed to me that His Image was shining forth from every part of my soul, as though reflected in the mirror ; and then, by a wonder full communication of love, which I know not how to describe, this same mirror of my soul seemed to be re produced and again represented, in a wondrous manner, within the Form of my Divine Redeemer.

[Again], on a certain occasion, it was shown to me that my soul was like a sponge in the midst of the ocean of the Divinity, and that it drank in this heavenly substance, so as, in a manner, to embrace within it the Three Divine Persons. But, at the same time, I was admonished that though I had the Divinity within my soul, yet I myself was much more contained in Him than He in me. Thus, whilst I beheld, as it were, hidden within me the Three Divine Persons, I saw that They, at the same time, communicated Themselves to all created things, without ceasing for an instant to abide in me.

On another occasion I was made to understand this truth with great clearness that all things are seen in God, and that He contains every thing within Himself. I do not know how to describe this ; but it has remained deeply impressed upon my mind, and is one of the greatest favours our Lord has ever granted me, and one that has filled me, more than any other, with confusion at the remembrance of my sins. If it had pleased our Lord to let me see this before I had sinned, or if others, who offend Him, could only have seen it, I believe that neither they nor I would have ever had the boldness to commit sin. No words that I can use can convey any idea of this sublime truth. The only notion I can give of it is this : beheld the Divinity like a most brilliant diamond, far greater than the whole world, and containing everything within itself ; and in this diamond was reflected, as it were, everything that is done here below. Wonderful it was, indeed, to behold in so short a time, within this glorious mirror, such a multitude of things assembled together ! But to see represented in this pure and unsullied brightness such foul abominations as my sins was a spectacle that fills me with the deepest sorrow whenever I call it to mind. In truth, when I reflect upon it, I know not how I can bear the thought ; and at the time when I beheld it, I was so covered with confusion that I did not know which way to turn. Now it seems to me that this vision may be of much profit to those who are practising this Prayer of Recollection, to teach them to consider our Lord in the interior of their own souls ; for, to repeat what I have so often said before, this consideration fixes the attention far better, and is far more profitable, than to represent Him in any other way. If, instead of this, we direct our thoughts to God in heaven, or if, in fine, we turn to any spot beyond ourselves, we do but weary our minds and distract our souls, and, after all, lose much of the fruit of our labour.

To read more St Teresa's Own Words - click HERE
This little book is a happy compilation of two chapters from the "Way of Perfection' and made for the use of Carmelite Sister of Darligton by their Bishop at the beginning of the last century.

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Thursday, October 01, 2020

Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels

Perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that an angel protects their little ones from dangers real and imagined. Yet guardian angels are not just for children. Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer and to present their souls to God at death. The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it. Jesus' words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father." Devotion to the angels began to develop with the birth of the monastic tradition. St. Benedict gave it impetus and Bernard of Clairvaux, the great 12th-century reformer, was such an eloquent spokesman for the guardian angels that angelic devotion assumed its current form in his day. A feast in honor of the guardian angels was first observed in the 16th century. In 1615, Pope Paul V added it to the Roman calendar.

The concept of an unseen companion has given rise to many childish titters about leaving room for an angel in a crowded seat and teacher-induced terrors about the danger of sudden death for a child who fails to honor the angel with prayer. But devotion to the angels is, at base, an expression of faith in God's enduring love and providential care extended to each person day in and day out until life's end.


"May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs come to welcome you and take you to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem." (Rite for Christian Burial)

Picture "Guardian Angels" by JHS Mann
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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Feast of St Therese of Child Jesus, Virgin, Doctor of the Church

Devotion to the Holy Rosary is the spiritual hallmark of the month of October. Therefore to celebrate with loving meditation the Feast of St Therese I thought of posting some of her quotes listed for the Fifth Joyful Mystery, Finding Jesus in the Temple, and gathered under the title - 'Piety' - in the book 'Sermon in the Sentence'.
You must be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect - Matt 5:48 The way of spiritual childhood, is the only means to make rapid progress in love and the only way by which saints are made. Our Lord has one great weakness. He is blind and knows nothing about arithmetics. He does not know how to add. But to blind Him and prevent Him to add the smallest sum you must take Him by His heart. This is His weak spot. Take Jesus by His Heart...It is this way that I took hold of the good Lord and that is why I shall be well received by Him. (c66). Practice all the virtue and so always lift up your little foot to mount the ladder of holiness. (c69). The Good Lord does not demand more from you than good will....He looks at you with Love. Very soon, won over by your useless efforts, He will come down and take you in His arms. He will carry you up .(c69). More love is required of those who have received more. Hence, I do my best to make my love one act of love .(c146). Live in one great act of perfect love. (c152). Words are not enough. In order to be truly a victim of love, we must give ourselves entirely. We shall be consumed by love to the extent that we surrender to love. I know that there are Saints who spent their lives practicing extraordinary mortifications....but after all there are many mansions in the house of Our Heavenly Father. Jesus told us so and that is why I follow the way He has traced out for me. (c143). The best rule is that we shoud follow what love inspires us to do from moment to moment, with the sole desire of pleasing the good Lord in everything He asks of us. (c143).
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Monday, September 28, 2020

SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL Protector of the People of God

Spiritual Bouquet: We have been made a spectacle to the world, and to Angels, and to men. I Cor. 4:9

“MI-CA-EL,” or “Who is like unto God?” was the cry of the great Archangel when he smote the rebel Lucifer in the conflict of the heavenly hosts. From that hour he has been known as Michael, Captain of the armies of God, the archetype of divine fortitude, the champion of every faithful soul in strife with the powers of evil. What is more, we see him in Holy Scripture as the special guardian of the children of Israel, their comfort and protector in times of sorrow or conflict. It is he who prepares their return from the Persian captivity, when the prophet Daniel prays for that favor (Daniel 10:12-13); who leads the valiant Maccabees to victory in battle, after the prayer of Judas Maccabeus (I Mac. 7:41-44). Ever since its foundation by Jesus Christ, the Church has venerated Saint Michael as her special patron and protector. She invokes him by name in her Confiteor, when accusing her faults; she summons him to the side of her children in the agony of death, and chooses him as their escort from the chastening flames of purgatory to the realms of holy light. Lastly, when Antichrist shall have set up his kingdom on earth, it is Michael who will unfurl once more the standard of the Cross. This we know from a prophecy of Scripture which states clearly that in those days the great prince Michael will rise up to protect the children of God. (Daniel 12:1-4)

During the plague in Rome in the 6th century, Pope Gregory the Great saw Saint Michael in a vision sheathing his flaming sword to show that he would put an end to the scourge which was ravaging the city. In 608 a church was erected in thanksgiving to Saint Michael for the help he gave.

Reflection: Saint Bernard wrote: “Whenever any grievous temptation or vehement sorrow oppresses you, invoke your Guardian, your Leader. Cry out to him and say, Lord, save us, lest we perish!”

Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

Novena to St. Michael

Glorious Saint Michael, guardian and defender of the Church of Jesus Christ, come to the assistance of His followers, against whom the powers of hell are unchained. Guard with special care our Holy Father, the Pope, and our bishops, priests, all our religious and lay people, and especially the children.

Saint Michael, watch over us during life, defend us against the assaults of the demon, and assist us especially at the hour of death. Help us achieve the happiness of beholding God face to face for all eternity. Amen.

Saint Michael, intercede for me with God in all my necessities, especially {mention special petition}. Obtain for me a favorable outcome in the matter I recommend to you. Mighty prince of the heavenly host, and victor over rebellious spirits, remember me for I am weak and sinful and so prone to pride and ambition. Be for me, I pray, my powerful aid in temptation and difficulty, and above all do not forsake me in my last struggle with the powers of evil. Amen

Prayer Against Satan and the Rebellious Angels

Published by Order of His Holiness Pope Leo XIII

The following is a simple exorcism prayer that can be said by priests or laity. The term “exorcism” does NOT always denote a solemn exorcism involving a person possessed by the devil. In general, the term denotes prayers to “curb the power of the devil and prevent him from doing harm.” As St. Peter had written in Holy Scripture, “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.” (1 St.Peter 5,8) The Holy Father exhorts priests to say this prayer as often as possible, as a simple exorcism to curb the power of the devil and prevent him from doing harm. The faithful also may say it in their own name, for the same purpose, as any approved prayer. Its use is recommended whenever action of the devil is suspected, causing malice in men, violent temptations and even storms and various calamities. It could be used as a solemn exorcism (an official and public ceremony, in Latin), to expel the devil. It would then be said by a priest, in the name of the Church and only with a Bishop's permission.

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Most glorious Prince of the Celestial Host, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the conflict which we have to sustain against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places (Eph. 6.12). Come to the rescue of men whom God has created to His image and likeness, and whom He has redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. It is thou whom Holy Church venerates as her guardian and protector; thou whom the Lord has charged to conduct redeemed souls into Heaven. Pray, therefore, the God of Peace to subdue Satan beneath our feet, that he may no longer retain men captive nor do injury to the Church. Present our prayers to the
most High, that without delay they may draw His mercy down upon us. Seize the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, bind him and cast him into the bottomless pit, that he may no more seduce the nations (Apoc. 20.2-3).


In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, strengthened by the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Blessed Michael the Archangel, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints, [and powerful in the holy authority of our ministry]*, we confidently undertake to repulse the attacks and deceits of the devil.

*Lay people omit this text

Psalm 67

Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that hate Him flee from before His face.

As smoke vanishes, so let them vanish away: as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord! Flee, bands of enemies.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Offspring of David has conquered.
V. May Thy mercy descend upon us.
R. As great as our hope in Thee.

(The crosses (+) below indicate a blessing to be given if a priest recites the Exorcism; if a lay person recites it, they indicate the Sign of the Cross to be made by that person.)

We drive you from us, whoever you may be, unclean spirits, Satanic powers, infernal invaders, wicked legions, assemblies, and sects. In the name and by the virtue of Our Lord Jesus Christ +. May you be snatched away and driven from the Church of God and from the souls redeemed by the Precious Blood of the Divine Lamb +.

Cease by your audacity, cunning serpent, to deceive the human race, to persecute the Church, to torment God's elect, and to sift them as wheat +. This is the command made to you by the Most High God +, with Whom in your haughty insolence you still pretend to be equal +. The God Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Tim. 2.4). God the Father commands you +. God the Son commands you +. God the Holy Ghost commands you +. Christ, the Eternal Word of God made Flesh, commands you +. He Who to save our race, outdone through your malice, humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death (Phil. 2.8). He Who has built His Church on the firm rock and declared that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her, because He dwells with Her all days, even to the consummation of the world (Matt. 28.20). The hidden virtue of the Cross requires it of you, as does the power of the mysteries of the Christian Faith +. The glorious Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, commands you +. She who by Her humility and from the first moment of Her Immaculate Conception crushed your proud head. The faith of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul and of the other Apostles commands you +. The blood of the Martyrs and the pious intercession of all the Saints command you +.

Thus, cursed dragon, and you, wicked legions, we adjure you by the living God +, by the true God +, by the holy God +, by the God Who so loved the world, as to give up His only-begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him may not perish but may have life everlasting (St. John 3.16). Cease deceiving human creatures and pouring out to them the poison of eternal perdition. Cease harming the Church and hindering her liberty. Retreat, Satan, inventor and master of all deceit, enemy of man's salvation. Cede the place to Christ in Whom you have found none of your works. Cede the place to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church acquired by Christ at the price of His Blood. Stoop beneath the all-powerful Hand of God. Tremble and flee at the evocation of the Holy and terrible name of Jesus; this Name which causes hell to tremble; this Name to which the Virtues, Powers and Dominations of Heaven are humbly submissive; this Name which the Cherubim and Seraphim praise unceasingly, repeating: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord, the God of Hosts.

V. O Lord hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
V. May the Lord be with thee.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

God of Heaven, God of earth, God of Angels, God of Archangels, God of Patriarchs, God of Prophets, God of Apostles, God of Martyrs, God of Confessors, God of Virgins, God who has power to give life after death and rest after work, because there is no other God than Thee and there can be no other, for Thou art the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, of Whose reign there shall be no end. We humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy glorious Majesty and we supplicate Thee to deliver us from all the tyranny of the infernal spirits, from their snares, their lies, and their furious wickedness. Deign, O Lord, to protect us by Thy power and to preserve us safe and sound. We beseech Thee through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

V. From the snares of the devil,
R. Deliver us, O Lord.

V. That Thy Church may serve Thee in peace and liberty,
R. We beseech Thee to hear us.

V. That Thou would crush down all enemies of Thy Church,
R. We beseech Thee to hear us.

(Holy water is sprinkled in the place where we may be.)

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Divine Power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

*Indulgence of 300 days, plenary under the usual conditions, if this invocation is recited daily during a month.

Imprimatur: + Manuel, Bishop of Barcelona, December 19, 1931

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Sunday, September 27, 2020

St Teresa of Avila was declared Doctor of the Church 50 years ago

Fifty years ago today, St Teresa of Avila was elevated to Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI, the first woman to be so honoured. To commemorate this day I would recommend a movie viewing the pace of life at the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity in Nothing Hill, home to a cloistered order of Discalced Carmelite Nuns in the monastery of the Most Holy Trinity in Notting Hill, London. 

To watch movie trailer click here

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

St Pio of Petrelcina (Padre Pio)

PADRE PIO Canonized: June 16, 2002 St. Padre Pio (Francesco Forgione) was born on May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy. Even as a child, Francesco had already shown signs of extraordinary gifts of grace. At the age of five, he dedicated his life to God. From his early childhood he showed a kind of recollection of spirit and a love for the religious life. His mother described him as a quiet child who, from his earliest years loved to go to church and to pray. Because he was able to see and communicate with, not only his guardian angel but also with Jesus and the Virgin Mary, as a young boy, Francesco assumed everyone had the same experiences. Once a woman who noticed his spiritual demeanor asked him, "When did you consecrate your life to God? Was it at your first holy communion?" and he answered, "Always, daughter, always." When he was fifteen years old, he was admitted to the novitiate of the Capuchin friars of Morcone and was admired by his superiors and his fellow students for his exemplary behavior and his piety. One of the novices stated, "There was something which distinguished him from the other students. Whenever I saw him, he was always humble, recollected, and silent. What struck me most about Brother Pio was his love of prayer."
On August 10, 1910, at the age of twenty-three, Padre Pio was ordained to the priesthood. The celebration of the Holy Mass was for Padre Pio, the center of his spirituality. His Mass could last one and a half hours or more, due to the long pauses of contemplative silence into which he entered at various parts of the Holy Sacrifice. Everything about him spoke of how intensely he was living the Passion of Christ. The parish priest in Pietrelcina called Padre Pio's Mass, "an incomprehensible mystery." When asked to shorten his Mass, Padre Pio replied, "God knows that I want to say Mass just like any other priest, but I cannot do it." His parishioners were deeply impressed by his piety and one by one they began to come to him, seeking his counsel. For many, even a few moments in his presence, proved to be a life changing experience. As the years passed, pilgrims began to come to him by the thousands from every corner of the world, drawn by the spiritual riches which flowed so freely from his extraordinary ministry. To his spiritual children he would say, "It seems to me as if Jesus has no other concern but the sanctification of your soul." Padre Pio is understood above all else as a man of prayer. Before he was thirty years old he had already reached the summit of the spiritual life known as the "unitive way" of transforming union with God. He prayed almost continuously. His prayers were usually very simple. He loved the Rosary and recommended it to others. To someone who asked him what legacy he wished to leave to his spiritual children, his brief reply was, "My child, the Rosary." He had a special mission to the souls in Purgatory and encouraged everyone to pray for them. He used to say, "We must empty Purgatory with our prayers." Padre Agostino Daniele, his confessor, director, and beloved friend said, "One admires in Padre Pio, his habitual union with God. When he speaks or is spoken to, we are aware that his heart and mind are not distracted from the thought and sentiment of God." Padre Pio suffered from poor health his entire life, once saying that his health had been declining from the time he was nine years old. No doctor was ever able to give a satisfactory explanation for the illnesses that plagued him throughout his life. He was afflicted with extremely high and frequent fevers, chest pains, serious respiratiory and digestive problems, severe headaches, extreme weakness, crippling rheumatism, and more. Although the cause of his prolonged and debilitating illnesses remained a mystery, he did not become discouraged. He offered all of his bodily sufferings to God as a sacrifice, to help save souls. He experienced many spiritual sufferings as well. "I am fully convinced that my illness is due to a special permission of God," he said. Shortly after his ordination he wrote a letter to his spiritual director, Padre Benedetto Nardella, in which he asked permission to offer his life as a victim for sinners. He wrote, "For a long time I have felt in myself a need to offer myself to the Lord as a victim for poor sinners and for the souls in Purgatory. This desire has been growing continually in my heart so that it has now become what I would call a strong passion. . .It seems to me that Jesus wants this." The marks of the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, appeared on Padre Pio's body, on Friday, September 20, 1918, while he was praying before a crucifix and making his thanksgiving after Mass. He was thirty-one years old and became the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Church. With resignation and serenity, he bore the wounds for fifty years. In addition, God endowed Padre Pio with many extraordinary charisms including the gift of healing, bilocation, prophecy, miracles, discernment of spirits, the gift of conversions, the ability to read hearts, the gift of tongues (the ability to speak and understand languages that he had never studied), the ability to abstain beyond man's natural powers from both sleep and nourishment and the fragrance which emanated from his wounds and which frequently announced his invisible presence. When a friend once questioned him about these charisms, Padre Pio said, "You know, they are a mystery to me, too." Although he received more than his share of spiritual gifts, he never sought them, never felt worthy of them. He never put the gifts before the Giver. He always remained humble, constantly at the disposal of Almighty God. His day began at 2:30 a.m. when he would rise to begin his prayers and to make his preparation for Mass. He was able to carry on a busy aposotlate with only a few hours of sleep each night and an amount of food that was so small (300-400 calories a day) that his fellow priests stated that it was not enough food even to keep a small child alive. Between Mass and confessions, his workday lasted 19 hours. He very rarely left the monastery and never took even a day's vacation from his grueling schedule in 51 years. He never read a newspaper or listened to the radio. He cautioned his spiritual children against watching television. Padre Pio' CellIn his monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo, he lived the Franciscan spirit of poverty with detachment from self, from posessions, and from comforts. He always had a great love for the virtue of chastity, and his behavior was modest in all situations and with all people. In his lifetime, Padre Pio reconciled thousands of men and women back to their faith. The prayer groups that Padre Pio established have now spread throughout the world. He gave a new spirit to hospitals by founding one which he called "The Home for the Relief of Suffering." He saw the image of Christ in the poor, the suffering, and the sick and gave himself particularly to them. He once said, "Bring God to all those who are sick. This will help them more than any other remedy." Serene and well prepared, he surrendered to Sister Death on September 23, 1968 at the age of eighty-one. He died as he had lived, with his Rosary in his hands. His last words were Ges˙, MariañJesus, Mary, which he repeated over and over until he breathed his last. He had often declared, "After my death I will do more. My real mission will begin after my death." In 1971, Pope Paul VI, speaking to the superiors of the Capuchin order, said of Padre Pio, "What fame he had. How many followers from around the world. Why? Was it because he was a philosopher, a scholar, or because he had means at his disposal? No, it was because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from morning until night and was a marked representative of the stigmata of Our Lord. He was truly a man of prayer and suffering." The Pope at the tomb of Padre PioIn one of the largest liturgies in the Vatican's history, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio on June 16, 2002. During his homily John Paul recalled, how, in 1947, as a young priest he journeyed from Poland to make his confession to Padre Pio. "Prayer and charity, this is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio's teaching," the Pope said. Drawing approximately 8 million pilgrims each year, San Giovanni Rotondo, where St. Padre Pio lived and is now buried, is second only to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico in its number of annual visitors. St. Padre Pio's whole life might be summed up in the words of St. Paul to the Colossians, "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church." [Thanks to Padre Pio Devotions ( for this contribution] Read whole post......

Monday, September 21, 2020

Novena Rose Prayer to St Therese starts 22nd September

Novena Rose Prayer

O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love.

O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands...(mention petitions)

St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day. Amen.

credit to Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, Manchester, St Louis

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Feast of Saint Albert of Jerusalem

Albert Avogadro was born about 1150 AD at Castel Gualtieri, Italy. He became Bishop of Bobbio in 1184, and of Vorcelli the following year, and in 1205 was made Patriarch of Jerusalem. During his patriarchate (1205-1214) he formed the hermit brothers of Mount Carmel into a collegium and wrote a rule for them. He was murdered in September 14, 1214 by the master of Hospital of the Holy Spirit, whom he rebuked and deposed for immorality. 


Since ‘man’s’ ‘life on earth is a time of trial’, and ‘all who would live devoutly in Christ must undergo persecution’, and ‘the devil, your foe, is on the prowl like a roaring lion looking for prey to devour’, you must use every care to ‘clothe yourself in God’s armour, so that you may be ready to withstand the enemy ambush’. ‘Your loins are to be girt’ with chastity, your breast fortified by holy meditations, for as Scripture has it, ‘holy meditations will save you’. ‘Put on holiness as your breastplate’, and it will enable you to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength, and your neighbor as yourself’. ‘Faith must be your shield on all occasions, and with it you will be able to quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked one’; ‘There can be no pleasing God without faith’. ‘On your head set the helmet of salvation’ and so be sure of deliverance by our only Saviour ‘who sets his own free from all sins’. ‘The sword of the spirit, the word of God’, ‘must abound in your mouths and hearts’. ‘Let all you do have the Lord’s word for accompaniment.’ A fragment from the Rule delivered by Saint Albert to the Brothers of Mount Carmel. 

All text based on Discalced Carmelite Proper Offices. The image after The British Province of Carmelites webpage.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020


Judith 13:22-25. And they all adored the Lord, and said to her: The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he hath brought our enemies to nought. And Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her: Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth. Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who hath directed thee to the cutting off the head of the prince of our enemies. Because he hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for ever, for that thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulation of thy people, but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.
Jn 19:25-27.
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own. Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady Pope Pius VII - Litany of the Seven Sorrows
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Sunday, September 13, 2020

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

                                                  'Finding of the Holy Cross', Bartel Beham

"Hail, Cross our only hope"! - this is what the holy church summoned us to exclaim during the time for contemplating the bitter suffering of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The jubilant exclamation of the Easter Alleluia silenced the serious sing of the Cross. But the sign of our salvation greeted us amid the time of Easter joy, since we were recalling the discovery of the One who had passed from sight. At the end of the cycle of ecclesiastical feasts, the cross greet us through the heart of the Saviour. And now, as the church year draws towards an end, it is raised high before us and is to hold us spell bound until Easter Alleluia summons us anew to forget the earth for a while and rejoice in the marriage of the Lamb. 
                                 Edith Stein, 'The Hidden Life', fragment from "1939 - Ave Crux, Spes Unica"

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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Bl Mary of Jesus, memoria

Born in Tartanedo (Spain) in 1560, Maria Lopez de Rivas took the Discalced Carmelite habit at Toledo in 1577 and made her profession the following year. She spent the rest of her life in Toledo Carmel and only left her convent for a period of time in 1585 to help with a foundation at Cuerva. She died at Toledo on September 13, 1640. She was a great contemplative, intensely devoted to our Lord, and often drawing inspiration from the liturgy. Saint Teresa of Jesus thought extremely highly of her and kept her in high esteem. 


you enabled Blessed Mary of Jesus
to contemplate the mysteries of your Son
and become a living image of his love.
Give us through her prayers
the burning faith to seek Jesus in all things
and the love to prove by our actions
the presence within us of him
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

All text after Discalced Carmelites Proper Offices

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Monday, September 07, 2020

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Carmel devotion

Domenico Ghirlandaio - Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary

[St John of the Cross] in his prison cell…. after nine months of severe privation, was asked what he was thinking of. He replied, 'I was thinking that tomorrow is the feast of our Lady and that it would give me great joy to say Mass.' The sight of an image of the Mother of God brought love and brightness to his soul. Once, on seeing an image of our Lady while he was preaching to the nuns in Caravaca, he could not conceal his love for her and exclaimed: "How happy I would be to live alone in a desert with that image."After 'The Collected Works of S John of the Cross'. 

St Benedicta of the Cross on her Carmelite vocation: 'I need Carmel . . . with its perfection and way of perfection, Carmel with its purity, its apostolate, its martyrdom; Carmel with its special love for the sacred humanity of our Lord and its veneration of the Blessed Virgin without being restricted to one of her states or mysteries.' After Edith Stein, Collected Works. 

Little Flower's consecration to the Blessed Virgin: During the afternoon I read the act of consecration to Our Lady, for myself and my companions. I was chosen probably because I had been deprived of my earthly Mother while still so young. With all my heart I consecrated myself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and asked her to watch over me. She seemed to look lovingly on her Little Flower and to smile at her again, and I thought of the visible smile which had once cured me, and of all I owed her. St Theres of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul

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Monday, August 31, 2020

St. Teresa Margaret of the Most Sacred Heart, OCD, memoria

Excerpts from "Divine Intimacy"- by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdelen- fragments relating to St Teresa Margaret spirituality

"The Proof of Love" St Teresa Margeret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Presence of God - O Jesus Crucified, make me understand that the Cross is the greatest proof of love.


1. After the Incarnation, the Cross of Jesus is the greatest proof of His love for man. Similarly, mortification, which is suffering eagerly accepted for the love of God, is one of the greatest proofs of love that we can give Him. It means freely giving up a satisfaction or a pleasure in order to impose on ourselves, for love of God, something which is contrary to our own natural inclinations; we thus prove that we prefer to satisfy God rather than ourselves. Every act of voluntary mortification, whether physical or moral, says to God, “Lord, I love You more than myself!” And since a soul in love has an ardent desire to give proof of its love, it is very vigilant not to miss a single opportunity for renunciation. It was in this sense that St. Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus resolved “not to let a single occasion for suffering escape, as far as she was able - and always in silence between God and herself.” In fact, she made every effort to find at each moment some occasion for suffering or bodily pain, so as never to satisfy the slightest appetite or desire, and she sought ways to make even what was necessary, painful and wearying to her body” (Spirituality). Her ardent love for God found an outlet in this generous, untiring exercise of mortification. Using a different expression, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus called this practice “scattering flowers”, that is, profiting by every least opportunity to suffer in order to give God a proof of her love. Knowing that the value of mortification depends upon the generosity of the dispositions with which it is done, the Saint said, “I shall always sing, even should my flowers be gathered from the midst of thorns” (Story of a Soul, 13).

2. The value of voluntary mortification consists much more in the good will with which it is practiced than in the intensity of the suffering which is imposed, although the latter may contribute to it in the sense that a more painful mortification requires more good will. The amount of suffering must be wisely proportioned, and limited to the physical strength of each one; but what must never be limited is the love, the spirit of generosity with which we perform each act of sacrifice. From this point of view, a slight mortification done with all the love of which a soul is capable has greater value than a painful penance performed in a material way, with no interior spirit. Hence before performing an act of mortification, especially when it concerns certain customary practices such as those which are used in Religious Institutes, it is necessary to arouse our good will and our sincere desire to suffer willingly for the love of God. This will prevent a mere mechanical performance of the act that has little or no value. Loving contemplation of the Crucified was the soul of all the austerities of St. Teresa Margaret. “This humiliated, suffering God, of whom she was constantly thinking, was the One who gave her the interior strength to overcome every difficulty, however arduous, and to take on spontaneously so many labors and works of charity and mortification; it was He who gave her an insatiable desire for suffering “ (St Teresa Margaret, Spirituality). Contemplating Jesus Crucified, the soul feels that, even if’ it is mortifying itself much for love of Him, its sacrifices and renunciations amount to very little, and instead of conceiving sentiments of vain complacency for the mortifications already practiced, it feels the need of humbling itself and of always doing more. “Have great love for suffering,” says St. John of the Cross, “and consider it very little to attain the favor of the Spouse, who hesitated not to die for thee” (Spiritual Maxims II, 15).

O my Beloved, how shall I show my love, since love proves itself by deeds? I have no other means of proving my love than to strew flowers, and these flowers will be each word and look, each little daily sacrifice. I wish to make profit out of the smallest actions and to do them all for Love. For Love’s sake I wish to suffer and to rejoice: so shall I strew my flowers. Not one that I see but, singing all the while, I will scatter its petals before You. Should my roses be gathered from amid thorns, I will sing notwithstanding; and the longer and sharper the thorns, the sweeter will grow my song” (St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Story of a Soul, 13 ).O Lord, dispose of me according to Your will, for I am content with everything if only I am following You on the road to Calvary. The more thorns there are on this road and the heavier the Cross is, the more consoled shall I be, for I desire to love You with an effective love, with a patient love, with a love which is dead to self and entirely surrendered to You. O Lord, You on the Cross for me and I on the Cross for You! Oh! if I could but once understand how sweet and precious it is to suffer: to suffer in silence for You, O Jesus! O dear suffering! O good Jesus!” (St Teresa Margaret, Spirituality). Yes, suffering is dear to me because it permits me to give God proofs of my love; because in the darkness of faith, in which I must live here below, it gives me the assurance of loving not only in words, but with a strong, effective love. O Jesus, now I understand why St. Teresa of Avila asked for only one thing: to die or to suffer,” professing to have no other reason for living except to suffer for love of You (Life, 40).
O Lord, may I too have such strong, true, and ardent love! Grant it to me, You who can give me all things, and who can, in one instant, transform this dry, cold heart into a furnace of charity.

"Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus"

Presence of God
- O Sacred Heart of Jesus, teach me how to know You and to love You.


1. The object of devotion to the Sacred Heart is, properly speaking, the physical Heart of Jesus which is worthy of adoration, because it is a part of His sacred Humanity, hypostatically united to the Word. However, the ultimate object of this devotion is the love of Jesus, the symbol of which is His Heart. In other words, beneath the symbolic image of the Heart, we contemplate and venerate our divine Redeemer’s immense charity and generous love” (Pius VI). This is the real meaning of the devotion to the Sacred Heart by which the Church asks us to honour the Heart of Jesus as the visible representation of His invisible love.Your charity has allowed You to be wounded by the visible blow of the lance,” the liturgy of the feast sings, “so that we may venerate the wounds of Your invisible love” (Roman Breviary). Therefore, the principle object of this devotion is the love of Jesus, an uncreated love with which He, as the Word, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, loved us from all eternity, and from all eternity willed to become incarnate for our salvation. It is also the created love of charity with which, as Man, He loved us even to the death of the Cross, meriting for us by His love that same charity by which we are enabled to love Him in return. Here we find the most profound significance of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. St Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus had such a thorough understanding of this meaning that she made this devotion the centre of her life. The process of her canonization says that the Saint “saw the Heart of Jesus as the centre, the source of the love with which the divine Word, in the bosom of the Father, loved us from all eternity, and merited for us in time the power to love Him in return, on earth and in heaven, by our sharing in this love.”

"The Love of Esteem"

Presence of God
- O my God, sovereign and infinite Good, grant that I may esteem nothing more than You and prefer nothing to You.

2. A further effect of this great love of esteem for God is “that the greatest sufferings and trials of which [the soul] is conscious in this night are the anguished thoughts that it has lost God, and the fears that He has abandoned it.” (St John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, II, 13, 5). Just as it is not concerned about acquiring any possession except the possession of God, neither is the soul concerned about any loss, if it be not the loss of God. Everything can be taken from it: health, riches, honours, esteem, trust, the affection of the most cherished creatures, and these creatures themselves; but never could the soul endure that God should be taken from it, or that it should be prevented from loving Him. Thus have the saints thought and acted. In her immense desire to love God, St Teresa Margaret Redi declared that she was ready to suffer even the pains of hell to obtain that grace; and to one who asked how she would be able to support such unspeakable torments she replied: “I think that love would render them bearable for me and perhaps even sweet, for of itself love makes all things else seem as naught.” (St Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus, Spirituality). That is also what St Teresa of Jesus thought when she wrote to her daughters these beautiful lines: “Let your desire be to see God; your fear, that you may lose Him; your sorrow, that you are not having fruition of Him; your joy, that He can bring you to Himself.” (Maxims For Her Nuns) Such is the characteristic of true love: to create but one preoccupation in the soul, one fear, one desire and one joy — all of which are concentrated on God alone.

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Friday, August 28, 2020

St John the Baptist

The BEHEADING of SAINT JOHN the BAPTIST (†31 A.D.) Spiritual Bouquet: All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. St. Matthew 28:18 Saint John the Baptist was called by God to be the precursor of His divine Son. In order to preserve his innocence spotless, and to improve upon the extraordinary graces which he had received in his earliest infancy, he was directed by the Holy Spirit to lead an austere and contemplative life in the wilderness. There he devoted himself to the continuous exercise of devout prayer and penance. When Saint John was thirty years old, the faithful minister of the Lord began to discharge his mission. Clothed with the garments of penance, he announced to all men the obligation weighing upon them of washing away their iniquities with the tears of sincere compunction. He proclaimed the Messiah, who was of his own age but whom he had never seen, when one day Jesus came to be baptized by him in the Jordan. Saint John was received by the poor folk as the true herald of the Most High God, and his voice was, as it were, a trumpet sounding from heaven to summon all men to avert the divine judgments. Souls were exhorted by him to prepare themselves to reap the benefit of the mercy offered them. When the tetrarch Herod Antipas, in defiance of all laws divine and human, married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip who was yet living, Saint John the Baptist boldly reprimanded the tetrarch and his accomplice for so scandalous an adultery. Herod, motivated by his lust and his anger, cast the Saint into prison. About a year after Saint John had been made a prisoner, Herod gave a splendid entertainment to the official world of Galilee. Salome, a daughter of Herodias by her lawful husband, pleased Herod by her dancing, to the point that he made her the foolish promise of granting whatever she might ask. Salome consulted with her mother as to what to ask, and that immoral woman instructed her daughter to demand the death of John the Baptist, and that the head of the prisoner should be immediately brought to her on a platter. This barbaric request startled the tyrant himself; but governed by human respect he assented and sent a soldier of his guard to behead the Saint in prison. Thus died the great forerunner of our blessed Saviour, some two years after his entrance upon his public ministry, and a year before the death of the One he announced. Reflection: All the signal graces with which Saint John was favored sprang from his humility; in that virtue all his other virtues were founded. If we desire to form ourselves to solid virtue, we must, above all things, labor to lay the same deep foundation. Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).
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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

St Teresa od Avila's Transverberation, memoria

Brethren: the word of God is living and affectual, and more piercing than any two-edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thought and intents of the heart (Hebreew 4). Amid the other virtues of Teresa, the love of God shone forth with particular lustre. It burned in her heart so strongly that the confessors of Theresa marvelled thereat, and extolled it as the love belonging to the Cherubim rather than to man. Our Lord Jesus Christ increased it, in a wonderful manner, by many visions and revelations, for once he adopted her as His spouse, giving to her His right hand, and holding forth to her a nail. He moreover vouchsafed to speak to her in these words: "Henceforth thou shalt be zealous for my honour like a true Spouse; now I am wholly thine, and thou art wholly mine". At another time she saw an angel, who pierced her heart with a fiery dart. She herself narrates the vision as follows: "I saw an angel standing at my left hand in bodily shape. He was not large, but small, and most beautiful in form. His countenance was so bright and shining that he seemed to belong to the highest choir of angels, who are all on fire, or, in other words, to those who are called Seraphim. I saw that he carried in his hands a long golden dart, even to my entrails, which he seemed to me to carry away with him when he drew forth the dart, thus leaving me all on fire with the love of God. The pain of the would was so violent that it forced me to break forth into repeated groans; and yet so excellent is the sweetness to which this intense pain gives rise, that one desires not to be freed from it, and naught is pleasing to the soul save God Himself". In consequence of these heavenly gifts, the flames of divine love burned in her heart so strongly that, under God's guidance, she made a very difficult vow. She bound herself always to do that which she should see to be the more perfect, and that which might tend to the greater glory of God. After her death, moreover, she made known to a certain nun, in a vision, that she had died of the unbearable burning of divine love, and not from the attacks of illness. Her heart, which was incorrupt and adorned with the marks of the piercing, was placed in the Church of the Most Holy Incarnation, belonging to the nuns of the Order of Barefooted Carmelites in Alva, and it has been venerated down to the present day by the large and devout crowds of Christian who flock thither. All these things having been carefully examined, the Sovereign Pontiff Benedict the Thirteenth, in order to recall the remembrance of this great miracle, permitted the celebration of this feast each year in that Order. The text after Traditional Carmelite Breviary Matins Lessons (1887 edition)
to view the previous post commemorating the Feast please follow the LINK
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Monday, August 24, 2020

Bl Mary of Jesus Crucified and her prayer for virtue, optional memoria - click to read more about her life

I saw a large flowerbed formed of several concentric circles. The first circle was planted with roses; the rose signifies charity and its thorns vigilance.
The second was covered with vines; the grape signifying love and the leaf mildness.
The third was sown with wheat, which signifies hope and confidence.
The center was all of violets, which signify true humility.
And in the center I made a throne, and I set Jesus upon it. And from under His feet comes a spring which says "Everything passes, everything flows by like water."
Beside the throne I plant pansies and ivy. The ivy says to me: "Cling to Jesus unceasingly." And the pansy says to me: "Think only of Jesus."

Lord Jesus, plant all these virtues in the depths of my heart, and by Your own power make them grow."

From "The Thoughts of Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified"
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