Saturday, September 30, 2006



Our Immculate Mother was always in prophetic visions. The great prophets: Elias and Elisseus, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezechiel, Daniel and the twelve minor ones: Osee, Joel, Amos, Abdias Jonas, Michaes, Nahum, Habacuc, Sofonias, Aggeus, Zacharias and Malachias, followed by David, Moses and John the Baptist - all of them were longing for the Messiah born of virgin mother. People of Israel were constantly asking God together with them: "Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened, and bud forth a saviour: "(Isa 45, 8). Mary was 'the earth'!
Mary brought forth, fed and raised Jesus Our Redeemer. The Prophets were severely persecuted by the Jews, as St. Stephen said to them: "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? " (Acts 7, 52). Mary was predestined by God to suffer even more according to prophecy: "And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed." (Luke 2, 34.35). She was long awaited by Prophets, and shared all their suffering. She IS their Queen. God instructed His Prophets to describe Immaculate Mother with more and more detail to make us venerate the Queen of Prophets. Let us not be discouraged by difficulties, let us be patient in adversity with the help of Our Lady: "every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain " (Rom, 8.22) Read whole post......

Remedy against the "Spirits of Darkness" and the forces of hate and fear

August Queen of Heaven, heavenly sovereign of the Angels, thou who from the beginning received from God the power to crush the head of Satan, we humbly beseech thee to send thy holy Legions so that under thy command and through thy power, the may pursue the demons and combat them everywhere, supress their boldness and drive them back into the abyss. Read whole post......


fragments from "Scripture by Topic" - Originally titled "The Divine Armory of Holy Scripture" - 1943 edition - Angelus Press 2006

1. The perfection and excellence of charity in general.

The end of the commandment is charity from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith 1 Thess. 1:5
All the law is fulfilled in one word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Gal. 5:14
He that loveth his neighbour hath fulfilled the law. For thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The love of our neighbour worketh no evil; love, therfeore, is the fulfiling of the law. Rom. 13:8-10
Charity is patient, is kind; charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; is not ambitious; seeketh not her own; is not provoked to anger; thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Cor. 13:4-7
Love is strong as death; jelousy as hard as hell. Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it. Cant. 8; 6f.
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy, and should know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 1 Cor. 13: 1-3
Charity never falleth away, whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. 1 Cor. 13.8
In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but faith that worketh by charity. Gal. 5;6
Above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection. Col. 3:14 Read whole post......

Friday, September 29, 2006

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

Read whole post......

fragments from "With the Church - Meditations on Topics from Missal and Breviary" edited by Fr Goossens OFM, 1962

In the Offertory prayer, the priest says, "Receive, O Holy Father, almighty and everlasting God, this spotless Host.....for my countless sins." Once again, Holy Church represents the world, and offers her sacrifice with that of the cross of Calvary, Jesus dies anew mystically, for the expiation of all the sins men committed today. Could we but penetrate this mystery, we should know something of the love which made the Saviour of mankind institute it. We must thank God daily for the divine sacrifice, and beg his grace that we may offer, at least in intention, at every hour of the day, the spotless Host, for our countless sins and negligences and those of our fellows. Christ came on earth to save us from eternal damnation by His Passion and death; a sacrifice which was sufficient to obtain forgiveness for the sins of countless worlds. And yet he still dies mystically every day for the sins into which we fall, as St. Augustine says:"Holy Mass is as true sacrifice as that of the cross, of which it is a symbol. At the consecration, by the mysterious presence of Christ's Body and Blood, we celebrate his death. It is the "Mysterium fidei", the mystery of faith. As truly as Jesus mystically dies in every Mass, so truly he dies for our sins, and offers himself as an infinite satisfaction for all our guilt."
On the Cross, Jesus merited all graces for all men, but they were not at that moment applied to each one. By union with Eucharistic sacrifice, we make our own all the homage Jesus offered to His Father, all the power of His prayer and his expiation. As the Council of Trent says, "By the unbloody sacrifice of the Altar, we receive, in full measure, all the fruits of the sacrifice of the Cross." Can there be a greater consolation for us sinful men? When I, the little host, lie beside the great one on the priest's paten, I am offered with it "for my countless sins." And when, at the Consecration, Jesus offered himself to his Father for the sins of the world, He allows me to offer myself with Him.
Living my mass so intensely, I receive all graces of reconciliation for myself and for all those for whom I pray. Here too my prayer must be universal, for all those for whom I pray. Here too my prayers must be universal, for the sinners and non-Catholics in our own land of course, but also for those of the whole world, and more especially for those who persecute the Church and insult and blaspheme Christ Himself in the person of our Holy Father the Pope. We will beg and implore their conversion, not only in our morning offering, but also throughout the day, in union with the Mass which is being offered at that same hour. Then all our day, all our life, will be one unceasing sacrifice to obtain their forgiveness and our own. O Jesus, I thank you for the Mass, the unbloody renewal of your sacrifice. Grant us grace to be deeply penetrated by the thought of its infinite value. May our lives be one long Mass, in which we adore and thank you and beg you to forgive us our sins.
O, Mary, beg your Jesus to grant us this grace. Read whole post......

Part four

51. Never cease to humble and mortify thyself in all things, even unto death.
52. Habitually make many acts of love, for they set the soul on fire and make it gentle.
53. Make acts of all the other virtues.
54. Offer every thing to the Father Everlasting, in union with the merits of His Son Jesus Christ.
55. Be kind to all and severe to thyself.
56. On the days kept in honor of the saints consider their virtues, and beg the like of God.
57. Be very exact every night in thy examination of conscience.
58. The morning of communion remember in thy prayer that thou art about to receive God, notwithstanding thy wretchedness; and in thy prayer at night that thou hast received Him.
59. Never when in authority rebuke any one in anger, but only when anger has passed away; and so shall the rebuke bring forth good fruit.
60. Strive earnestly after perfection and devotion, and by the help thereof thou shalt do all things.
61. Exercise thyself much in the fear of our Lord, for that will make the soul contrite and humble.
62. Consider seriously how quickly people change, and how little trust is to be had in them; and cleave fast unto God, who changeth not.
63. As to the affairs of thy soul, labor to have a confessor who is spiritual and learned, make them known unto him, and abide by his judgment throughout.
64. Each time of communion beg some gift of God, by the compassion wherewith He has entered thy poor soul.
65. Though thou hast recourse to many saints as thine intercessors, go specially to St. Joseph, for he has great power with God.
66. In time of sorrow and of trouble cease not from the good works of prayer and penance which thou art in the habit of doing, for Satan is striving to make thee uneasy, and then to abandon them; on the contrary, do thou apply thyself thereunto more earnestly than before, and thou shalt see quickly our Lord will come to thy succor.
67. Never make thy temptations and imperfections known to those in the community whose progress is the least, for that will hurt thyself and the others, but only to those most advanced in perfection.
68. Remember that thou hast but one soul; that thou canst die but once; that thou hast but one life, which is short, and peculiar to thyself; that there is but one blessedness, and that for ever; and thou wilt despise many things.
69. Let thy desire be the vision of God, thy fear the loss of Him, thy sorrow His absence, and thy joy in that which may take thee to Him; and thy life shall be in great peace. Read whole post......

Thursday, September 28, 2006


fragments from "With the Church - Meditations on Topics from Missal and Breviary" edited by Fr Goossens OFM, 1962

When the priest at the Offertory lifts up the paten on which lies the white Host, he at the same time lifts his eyes to the Cross. In a few moments, that which he will hold in his hands, that small white Host, will be Christ himself, the Victim offered on Calvary. In the prayer with which he offers the wine, the priest says, "We offer up to Thee, O Lord, the chalice of avail for our own and the whole world's salvation".
The Church's offering is that of the whole community and for the whole community; therefore he asks that all may share in its fruits. We, co-operating with the priest, present that same offering to our heavenly Father each day.
Christ died on the cross for the salvation of the world, not only for those who had lived before his coming, or during his earthly life, but for all men in all ages.
He offered His bloody sacrifice to His Father on Calvary. God's almighty power could, at that moment, have gathered all men round that cross, and let them return to the nothingness from which they came. But he chose another way: all were to share in the salvation brought by Christ's sacrifice. On the night before he suffered, the Saviour instituted the Blessed Eucharist: taking bread and wine into His sacred hands, He spoke the all-powerful words: "This is my Body....this is my Blood," and He added: "Do this in memory of me." Thus at the same time instituting the priesthood. Now the sacrifice which he was to offer a few hours later in Golgotha could be renewed in an unbloody manner on our altars, and men of all ages could have their share in its salvific fruits. As He offered Himself on Calvary for the salvation of the world so at every Mass He offers Himself by the hands of His priest for the same end. At every instant of day and night that unbloody sacrifice is offered to the Father by Christ Himself, as the prophet foretold:"No corner of the world, from sun's rise to sun's setting....where sacrifice is not done, and pure offering made in my honour."(Mal.1.11).
"For the salvation of the world;" thus also for those who do not know the Church: even for those who hate, mock at, and persecute her. Christ died, not only for His mother and the apostles, but also for His executioners and His unjust judges. The Mass is a source of conversion for heathens and heretics. Do we remember them when we hear Mass?
When, by Holy Communion, we have had our share in the sacrificial banquet, and Jesus dwells in our heart, do we pray Him for those who are not His sheepfold, offering ourselves for the conversion of infidels, as He did? Our prayer must be universal, not limited to the narrow circle in which we live and work. There are so many heathen, who have never heard of the one true God; they too must be brought to the Church. We can best help missionaries by offering Mass with them and for their intentions.
All day long, we can offer the Mass being said at the hour, somewhere in the world. It is good to have certain fixed times, such as the striking of the hour, or the beginning of an occupation, at which we renew our intention, saying, "Lord, I unite myself to your unceasing Sacrifice on the altar". What a flood of grace we shall thus bring to the work of the conversion of the world! Holy Mass, like Jesus' bloody sacrifice, will then be offered to the Father for the salvation of all mankind!
Heavenly Father, in union with Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, I offer myself to you with the Mass which is being offered at this hour, for the salvation of the world.
Mary, my Mother, remind me often during the day of the offering I have promised to renew. Read whole post......

Part three

35. In all created things discern the providence and wisdom of God, and in all things give Him thanks.
36. Withhold thy heart from all things: seek God, and thou shalt find Him.
37. Do not show signs of devotion outwardly when thou hast none within, but thou mayest lawfully hide the want thereof.
38. Let not thine inward devotion be visible unless in great necessity: St. Francis and St. Bernard used to say, "My secret is mine."
39. Never complain of the food, whether it be well or ill dressed; remembering the gall and vinegar of Jesus Christ.
40. Speak to no one at table, and lift not thine eyes to another.
41. Think of the table of heaven, and of the food thereon - God Himself: think of the guests, the angels: lift up thine eyes to that table, longing for it.
42. In the presence of thy superior - thou art to see Jesus Christ in him - utter not a word that is not necessary, and that with great reverence.
43. Never do anything that thou canst not do in the presence of all.
44. Do not compare one person with another: it is a hateful thing to do.
45.When rebuked for anything receive the rebuke with inward and outward humility, and pray to God for the person who gives the rebuke.
46. When one superior bids thee do a certain thing, do not say that another superior has given a contrary order; but obey in what thou art commanded, and consider that the intentions of all are good.
47. Be not curious about matters that do not concern thee; never speak of them, and do not ask about them.
48. Keep in mind they past life and present lukewarmness, to bewail them, and what is still wanting to thee for thy going into heaven, that thou mayest live in fear, which is a source of great blessings.
49. What those in the house bid thee do, do always, unless it be against obedience; and answer them humbly and gently.
50. Ask for nothing particular in the way of food or raiment, unless there be great need. Read whole post......

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Part two

17. When any one is speaking of spiritual things do thou listen humbly and like a learner, and take to thyself the good that is spoken.
18. Make known to thy superior and confessor all thy temptations, imperfections, and dislikes, that he may give thee counsel and help thee to overcome them.
19. Do not stay out of thy cell, nor go forth from it without cause, and when thou goest forth beg of God the grace not to offend him.
20. Never eat or drink except at the usual times, and then give earnest thanks to God.
21. Do all thou doest as if thou didst really se His Majesty: a soul makes great gains thereby.
22. Never listen to, or say, evil of any one except of thyself, and when that gives thee pleasure thou art making great progress.
23. Whatever thou doest, offer it up to God, and pray it may be for His honor and glory.
24. In thy mirth refrain from immoderate laughter, and let it be humble, modest, kindly, and edifying.
25. Imagine thyself always to be the servant of all, and look upon all as if they were Christ our Lord in person; and so shalt thou do Him honor and reverence.
26. Be ever ready to perform the duties of obedience, as if Jesus, in the person oft he prior or superior, had laid His commands upon thee.
27. In all thy actions, and at every hour, examine thy conscience; and, having discerned thy faults, strive, by the help of God, to amend them, and by this way thou shalt attain to perfection.
28. Do not think of the faults of others, but of what is good in them and faulty in thyself.
29. Desire earnestly always to suffer for God in every thing and on every occasion.
30. Offer thyself unto God fifty times a day, and that with great fervor and longing after God.
31. Call to mind continually throughout the day the matter of the morning meditation: be very careful herein, for it will do thee much good.
32. Lay up carefully what our Lord may say to thee, and act upon the desires He may have filled thee with in prayer.
33. Always avoid singularity to the utmost of thy power, for it does great harm in a community.
34. Read often the rules and constitutions of the order, and observe in sincerity. Read whole post......

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


My friend sent me these beautiful maxims of St Teresa the other day and I am pleased to share them with all who visit this blog.


1. Untilled ground, however rich, will bring forth thistles and thorns; so also, the mind of man.
2. Speak well of all that is spiritual, such as religious, priests, and hermits.
3. Let thy words be few when in the midst of many.
4. Be modest in all thy words and works.
5. Never be obstinate, especially in things of no moment.
6. In speaking to others be always calm and cheerful.
7. Never make a jest of anything.
8. Never rebuke any one but with discretion, and humility, and self-abasement.
9. Bend thyself to the temper of whomever is speaking to thee: be merry with the mirthful, sorrowful with the sad: in a word, make thyself all things to all, to gain all.
10. Never say anything thou hast not well considered and earnestly commended to our Lord, that nothing may be spoken which shall be displeasing unto Him.
11. Never defend thyself unless there be very good reasons for it.
12. Never mention anything concerning thyself which men account praiseworthy, such as learning, goodness, birth, unless with a hope of going good thereby, and then let it be done with humility, remembering that these are gifts of God.
13. Never exaggerate, but utter thy mind in simplicity.
14. In all talking and conversation let something be always said of spiritual things, and so shall all idle words and evi-speaking be avoided.
15. Never assert anything without being first assured of it.
16. Never come forward to give thine own opinion about anything unless asked to do so, or charity requires it. Read whole post......

Monday, September 25, 2006


The fragment below appeared on discussion forum on Sunday

[Extracted from "Love's Gradatory", by Blessed John Ruysbroeck, R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1914.].


How Many Think They are Holy and are Deceived

ONE meets many persons full of self-complacency, imagining they lead a holy life and are great before God, yet who deceive themselves in many ways; for those who are neither detached from self-will, nor mortified in their natural life, can have no experience in the life of Grace, nor be tested before the Divine Majesty. They may be endowed with intelligence and of a subtile reason, but self-complacency and seeking to please men are a turning away from God, and at the same time the principle root of all sin. Such men strive to be above others, above everyone, if possible. They will never submit sincerely to another, but desire, on the contrary, that all give way before what appears to them to be right. They are disagreeable, full of self, and will always prove their case against those who disagree with them. They are easily put out, discontented, irascible, susceptible, bad, hard and haughty, in word, act, and manner; it is impossible to live in peace with them—indeed, they have no peace in themselves, since they think only of spying upon and passing judgment on everyone except themselves.

Always full of suspicions and malicious thoughts, with nothing but displeasure, interior spite and rancour for those who do not please them, they are ceaselessly tortured and restless, believing they know and do better than all the world. Full of zeal to instruct others, to teach, correct, reprove, they will not endure to be taught or reproved by anyone, since they believe they are the wisest of all. Tyrannical and contemptuous towards inferiors and equals when they do not receive what they consider their due, they are, besides, quarrelsome and imperious, often scoffing with bitter harshness, for they are without the unction of the Spirit. They willingly put themselves forward among honest folk, believing they are authorized to speak before any, so wise are they in their own eyes. Beneath a humble exterior they hide Pride and cover Hate by the appearance of Justice; they show great affability and respect to those who flatter and give way to them; they cannot show too much solicitude, attention, and care for their own concerns, rejoicing or mourning, as is the way of the world, according as good or ill overtakes their temporal interests. Praise or blame them to the face, and you soon see of what sort they are, having neither care nor anxiety but for what touches them: sickness, death, hell, purgatory, the judgments of God and His justice; entirely preoccupied with themselves, with the fear and dread of all that can happen to them, loving self as they do in such an inordinate way, instead of for God and in God. Consequently they are restless and constrained, confused before the Face of God, full of solicitude and fear for worldly interests, under the feet of unbelievers for fear that life and riches be taken from them, that their goods be stolen or confiscated, or that they are not paid. They dread to become poor, miserable, despised, old and ill, without consolation, comforts, and friends; such inordinate and foolish cares nourish a state of avarice, and lead sometimes to actual madness.

Even in the sacerdotal Orders and the Religious state persons of this kind are to be met with, still full of self-will and absolutely immortified; always dreading that a Superior or Prelate should interfere with their way of living, or disturb them without sufficient consideration, as they know well that they could not endure such a thing. All sorts of imaginations run in their heads about those whom they believe to be hostile; such as: "If such a one became my Superior, how could I ever submit to and obey him? He dislikes me, he would oppress and despise me in every way, and all his friends would take his part against me." These sort of anxieties sour the blood, cause irritation and murmuring: "It is quite impossible—I should lose my senses, or have to leave the Cloister."

Such are the silly fears, immoderate prudence and foresight, coming from a depth of Pride. Should they become Superior, they would surely oppress and despise all who opposed their opinion, or did not yield to their good pleasure, for they fancy they govern and order things far better and more wisely than any other. Frequently they criticize interiorly their Superiors and others set over them, and do the same in word to any disposed to listen. Praise of others is painful to them, for they imagine they are therefore less esteemed, nor will they admit of superiority in others who know and profess less than they do. Such, in fact, are those who esteem themselves wiser and more prudent than any about them, while they are really inapt and incapable of attaining true Holiness.

Let each prove himself, examining his mind and natural inclinations, to see if there is nothing found in him that should be eliminated and overcome in order to acquire true Holiness. To die to sin is to live to God, to be emptied of self and detached from all that pleases or displeases, leads to the Kingdom of God; heart and desire must close to things of earth to open to God and things eternal, if we desire to taste and see that the Lord is sweet. Read whole post......

"When Jesus went into the house of one of the chief of the Pharisees, on the sabbath day, to eat bread, that they watched him. (Luke 14. 1)

As they watched the Master they will also do the same to His disciple. If you are genuine, good Catholic, then you are going to be watched. Even during the meals. Then keep up to the golden rule: "Moderation and temperance in all". Certainly, many people eat and drink more than they need. No doubt that abundant eating and drinking is cause of many sins, and what is the consequence? Overeating can make us ill, and intemperance can cause indigestion: "Be not greedy in any feasting, and pour not out thyself upon any meat: For in many meats there will be sickness, and greediness will turn to choler" (Ecclus 37, 32,33). For this reason Our Redeemer warns us: "And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life" (Luke 21,34). Struggling for abstinence then is based on Scriptures and should be taken as the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. There is no reason, however, to consider wine and other drinks as a tool of Satan. They are all created by God, but they can bring to ruin those who are ruled by sensuality and the whole family can perish because of one addict: "Woe to you that rise up early in the morning to follow drunkenness, and to drink till the evening, to be inflamed with wine. The harp, and the lyre, and the timbrel, and the pipe, and wine are in your feasts: and the work of the Lord you regard not, nor do you consider the works of his hands" (Isa 5,11,12). For those who are able to control themselves, wine and other drinks are God's gift for relaxation and cheer up:Wine was created from the beginning to make men joyful, and not to make them drunk. Wine drunken with moderation is the joy of the soul and the heart. Sober drinking is health to soul and body(Ecclus 31, 35-37). Then self-control in drinking and eating is a virtue: "And if a man love justice: her labours have great virtues; for she teacheth temperance, and prudence, and justice, and fortitude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in life." (Wisdom 8,7). In another place in Holy Scriptures we read: " How sufficient is a little wine for a man well taught " (Ecclus 31, 22). We do not need to give up drinks and no state can prohibit their citizens alcohol consumption. If they do, however, as it happened in the USA, the results are null, for ten years of prohibition did not increase temperance at all. Anyone who out of divine inspiration gives up alcohol is worth of all praises. But it does not justify any condemnation of those who still drink: " Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not: and he that eateth not, let him not judge him that eateth. For God hath taken him to him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? To his own lord he standeth or falleth. And he shall stand: for God is able to make him stand." (Rom 14,3,4), and : " For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but justice, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. "(Rom 14, 17). Read whole post......

Sunday, September 24, 2006


God's grace with us

In today's Collect, we pray: "Lord, we pray Thee that Thy grace may always go with us, before and after, making us continually zealous in good works".
God's grace goes with us; in hhis wisdom and goodness, he has given us a share in his own nature, by the grace he has given us through Jesus Christ his Son ( Rom. 7. 25). Without grace we can do nothing; with it, we can do all; it will make us "continually zealous in good works". God's grace is given us at Baptism, by which the soul becomes a temple of the Blessed Trinity, a tabernacle for our God.
Christ has said, "If a man has any love for me, he will be true to my word; and then he will win my Father's love, and we will both come to him, and make our continual abode with him."(John 14.23) God dwells in us, not only by his omnipresence, by which he dwells in all his creatures, but in an especial and wholly interior manner. By grace we become partakers of God's nature, in a way that we cannot possibly fathom. We are raised above ourselves, and become capable of living God's own life. The actions we perform, inspired and animated by grace, attain their supernatural end: the possession and love of God.
But grace does not, for all that, annihilate nature; on the contrary, it builds upon it. Human nature must work by the means proper to it; that which it does becomes agreeable to God by the grace that informs it. It is therefore the grace with us, which enables us to do what is right, what God's love urges us to do. As St. Paul says: "With us, Christ's love is a compelling motive" (II Cor. 5. 14.). That was why the great Apostle laboured day and night, never ceasing to do good to all. May we, as he did, use all our powers, natural or supernatural, in the service of our fellow men; nothing will be too much, since it is Christ whom we serve in them. We shall none the less be working for souls, since the final object of all works of charity is the glory of God and the salvation of mankind. On our death-bed we shall regret no moment spent in working for our neighbour; but rather those in which we have not served God in him.
Whether our occupation be humble or honourable, we must utilize every instant of the time granted us for the service of our Master. Even when age or infirmity has put an end to our exterior activities, we can still work for God, thanks to his grace with us. Passivity can be, in his eyes the greatest activity. When Therese of Lisieux was beatified, witnesses of her life declared that in her Carmel, and thus not on active service, she had converted many souls; and in the life of another Carmelite, Sister Gertrude Erzberger, we read, "She was in the constant habit of visiting, morning and evening, the harvest fields of the world, converting souls, visiting souls, visiting the sick, consoling prisoners, assisting the dying, showing the way to those who were seeking the truth, protecting youth so menaced in our time, baptizing heathen babies, etc. Her faith in the Communion of Saints was so great that she was convinced that by prayer and sacrifice she could do all these things."
That is the way God's grace works in us, as long as we do not hinder it, and as long as our activity is accompanied by prayer for more grace, more love.
The degree of our eternal happiness will depend on the degree of love we have reached at the moment when it pleases him to call us home. God measures our reward by the efforts we have made to live and work with his grace and to increase that grace in us. There is not an instant to lose - each one can gain us eternal bliss and is therefore infinitely precious. May God's grace work freely in us all! Then we shall attain "perfect manhood, that maturity is proportioned to the perfect growth of Christ."
Lord, we thank You for the grace you give us. Grant us courage and steadfastness and make us ever "zealous in good works". Dear Mother Mary, pray for us, come to our aid! Read whole post......
OUR LADY of RANSOM or OF MERCY (Her Order’s establishment 1218)

Spiritual Bouquet: Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love Him. I Cor. 2:9

The story of Our Lady of Ransom is, at its outset, that of Saint Peter Nolasco, born in Languedoc about 1189. At the age of twenty-five he took a vow of chastity and made over his vast estates to the Church. After making a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Montserrat, he went to Barcelona where he began to practice various works of charity. He conceived the idea of establishing an Order for the redemption of captives seized by the Moors on the seas and in Spain itself; they were being cruelly tormented in their African prisons to make them deny their faith. He spoke of it to the king of Aragon, James I, who knew him well and already respected him as a Saint; for the king had already asked for his prayers when he sent out his armies to combat the Moors, and he attributed his victories to those prayers. In effect all the Christians of Europe, and above all of Spain, were praying a great deal to obtain from God the remedy for the great evil that had befallen them. The divine Will was soon manifested. On the same night, August 1, 1218, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Peter, to his confessor, Raymund of Pennafort, and to the king, and through these three servants of God established a work of the most perfect charity, the redemption of captives. On that night, while the Church was celebrating the feast of Saint Peter in Chains, the Virgin Mary came from heaven and appeared first to Saint Peter, saying that She indeed desired the establishment of a religious Order bearing the name of Her mercy. Its members would undertake to deliver Christian captives and offer themselves, if necessary, as a gage. Word of the miracle soon spread over the entire kingdom; and on August 10th the king went to the cathedral for a Mass celebrated by the bishop of Barcelona. Saint Raymund went up into the pulpit and narrated his vision, with admirable eloquence and fervor. The king besought the blessing of the bishop for the heaven-sent plan, and the bishop bestowed the habit on Saint Peter, who emitted the solemn vow to give himself as a hostage if necessary.

The Order, thus solemnly established in Spain, was approved by Gregory IX under the name of Our Lady of Mercy. By the grace of God and under the protection of His Virgin Mother, the Order spread rapidly. Its growth was increased as the charity and piety of its members was observed; they very often followed Her directive to give themselves up to voluntary slavery when necessary, to aid the good work. It was to return thanks to God and the Blessed Virgin that a feast day was instituted and observed on September 24th, first in this Order of Our Lady, then everywhere in Spain and France. It was finally extended to the entire Church by Innocent XII.

Reflection: Saint Peter Nolasco and his knights were not priests, and yet they considered that the salvation of their neighbor was entrusted to them. We, too, can by good counsel and by prayer, but above all by holy example, assist the salvation of our brethren, and thereby secure our own.

Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul GuĆ©rin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 11; 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).

affter Read whole post......


In the Introit of the Mass let us implore, with great confidence, the mercy of God. "Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried to Thee all the day; for Thou, O Lord, art sweet, and mild, and plenteous in mercy, to all that call upon Thee. Bow down Thy ear to me, O Lord, and hear me, for I am needy and poor" (Ps 85).

May Thy grace, O Lord, ever precede and follow us, and make us ever intent upon good works. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, etc.

EPISTLE Eph. 3: 13-21
Brethren: I pray you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened by his Spirit with might unto the inward man, that Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts; that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth: to know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us; to him be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus unto all generations, world without end. Amen.

St. Paul was in prison at Rome when he wrote this epistle, and was anxious lest the Ephesians might think that the faith, the proclaimers of which were thus persecuted, was not from God. He therefore exhorts them to remain firm in their belief; assures them that his sufferings would be for their glory if they remained as firm as he; and prays that they may be enlightened to know the love of God - that is, what Christ had done and suffered for us. Hence we learn to ask earnestly of God grace to understand the mysteries of faith.

O heavenly Father, according to the example of St. Paul, I humbly pray that Thy spirit, Thy knowledge, Thy charity, may be deeply implanted in us, that Thou mayest possess our hearts, and that we, filled with all the fullness of Thy grace, may serve Thee more perfectly, and give Thee thanks forever.

GOSPEL Luke 14: 1-11
And it came to pass, when Jesus went into the house of one of the chief of the Pharisees, on the Sabbath day, to eat bread, that they watched him. And behold, there was a certain man before him that had the dropsy. And Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? But they held their peace. But he taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, he said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out, on the Sabbath day? And they could not answer him to these things. And he spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than thou be invited by him: And he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee, Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited thee, cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee. Because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted. And he said to him also that had invited him: When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor thy neighbours who are rich; lest perhaps they also invite thee again, and a recompense be made to thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind; And thou shalt be blessed, because they have not wherewith to make thee recompense: for recompense shall be made thee at the resurrection of the just.

Why did the Pharisees watch Jesus sp closely?
To discover something in Him for which they might censure and accuse Him. How like them are those Christians who watch every step of their neighbours, and particularly of priests, hoping to find something for which to blame them, and represent them as evil persons!

Who is, spiritualy, like the man with the dropsy?
The avaricious man; for as a dropsical person is never satisfied with drinking, so the avaricious man never has enough; and like the dropsy, too, avarice is hard to cure, since it grows worse with age, and generously does not leave a man till he comes to the grave.

Why is avarice reckoned among the seven deadly sins?
Because it is the root of many evils; for it leads to usury, theft, the use of false weigths and measures, to the retaining of unjustly gotten goods, to the oppression of the poor, of widows and orphans, to the denial and suppression of justice, to apostasy from the faith, and to despair. Hence the Apostle says: "They that will become rich fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition"(Tim. 6:9).
An efficacious remedy for avarice is the consideration that we are only the stewards, and not the owners of our goods, of which we can take nothing with us at the hour of our death (Tim. 6: 7); and that one day God will require of us a strict account of what we had.

How must we sanctify the Sundays and holy-days?

As the third commandment enjoins, that is, on Sundays and holy-days, we must not only abstain from servile labour, but we must, as far as possible, attend divine service, both in the forenoon or afternoon; for God has not said, thou shalt be idle on the Sabbath-day, but thou shalt keep holy the Sabbath-day. God will not suffer those who desecrate His holy-day to go unpunished; He will cover them with disgrace and scorn (Mal. 2: 3), and will send upon them all the evils of the time.
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Saturday, September 23, 2006

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˙, MariaƱJesus, 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......


We rightly call our Lady the 'Queen of Patriarchs', for she was their long expectation. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob expected our Redeemer's coming but in unforeseeable future. They knew, that "The sceptre shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till he come that is to be sent, and he shall be the expectation of nations."(Gen 49, 10). And they knew the Redeemer was supposed to be the offspring of first woman who sinned in Paradise. Mary perfectly fulfilled their expectations. We can imagine how they reacted on the news that Mary was born and the Angel announced to her she was chosen to be the Mother of our Lord. How they must rejoiced on her 'fiat'! They admired Mary as the Queen most worthy of every honour. And for this reason, Mary is their Queen, for to them God appeared and talked, but He indwelled in Mary and listened to her. Patriarchs were fathers of the tribes of Israel, but Mary, as our Redeemer's mother is the mother of all believers. Each of the Patriarchs was endowed with particular virtue: Abraham had unwavering belief in God's promises, Isaac was most obedient, and Jacob was most patient, but Mary was the sun of all virtues. Let us venerate her not only with beautiful words and songs but also with deeds and reformed life. For love of her, let us try with all our strength to become like her, to live virtuous life. Let us offer all the virtues of Patriarch to her, the humble faith in religious dogmas, the blind obedience to commandments and most persevering patience in the trials of life. "But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 5, 19). Read whole post......

Biographical sketch and comments after Prof. Plinio Corra de Oliveira ( and particularly good theme to meditate on the beauty of the virtue of virginity

St. Thecla was considered by St. Isidore of Pelusium as the first woman martyr and one of the most beautiful ornaments of the century of the Apostles.

After submitting to many tortures for the Faith and escaping unharmed, St. Thecla lived an ascetic life in Syria. St. Methodius of Olympus wrote in The Banquet of the Virgins that she had great knowledge in profane philosophy as well as literature. He also stated that she expressed herself with strength and eloquence as well as sweetness and affability. She was converted by St. Paul and became knowledgeable in our religion. He praised her love for Jesus Christ, which she demonstrated on countless occasions, principally in her combats for the Faith. According to St. Augustine, St. Epiphanius, and St. Ambrose, she was converted in Iconium (present day south central Turkey) by St. Paul in the year 34. Particularly inspired by his preaching on chastity, she determined to remain a virgin. She suffered tremendous pressures from her relatives and fiancee who were opposed to her conversion. But neither tender words nor threats could move her from her decision. St. Thecla realized that those who were closest to her were in fact acting as instruments of evil and thus avoided them as enemies of the Catholic cause. Nonetheless, their insistence constituted a true persecution. She was denounced as a Christian to the authorities by her mother. She was tied to a stake to be burned, but the flames were put out by rains from Heaven before she was even touched by them. She was released by the embarrassed governor with orders to leave Iconium. She went to Antioch in Syria, and there she was denounced by an admirer whose advances she refused. When she was offered to the beasts in the arena, they lay down at her feet without touching her. After other failed attempts to kill her, Thecla was released again. She spent the rest of her life as an ascetic, removed from the world. She died and was buried in Syria. Under the first Christian Roman Emperors, a basilica was built over her tomb and became a site of countless pilgrimages. The Cathedral of Milan was dedicated to St. Thecla. Many pray to her asking to obtain a good death.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:
The presence of persecutors against St. Thecla among her very relatives and fiance shows how vigilant we should be regarding enemies, and offers us a theme for meditation. One category of devils were condemned straight to hell, and the other to remain in the air until the end times. First, you certainly recall that in the battle of the angels against the devils at the beginning of History, there were two categories of devils. Some clearly rebelled against God; others just allowed themselves to be dragged along by the first ones. God condemned them all, but the first ones were sent straight to Hell, while the second ones remained wandering in the air until the end times, when they also will be sent to Hell. The devils of Hell are the ones who invite man to sin, and the devils of the air are the ones who predispose man in different ways to succumb to the temptations. Second, this division of devils is quite accurate psychologically and also applies to evil men. If you analyze the ensemble of evil men, some are the torch bearers of evil, while there are others who just allow themselves to be dragged along by the first type. Third, for us, who have given our lives to fight for the victory of Our Lady over the Devil, it is relatively easy to see the evil of the first kind of man, since they are bold and blatant revolutionaries. But it is not so simple to see the evil of the second kind. Since they are soft people who follow the Revolution out of weakness and allow themselves to be dragged along rather than take initiative as leaders, we have a natural tendency to be indulgent with this second type. Many times we think that these persons are, deep down, good individuals. We are mistaken. This judgment is equivalent to that of someone who would say that the devils of the air are also good. No, they are not. They clearly sided with the bad party, and for this reason were condemned by God. An analogous criterion applies to men, even though they will only be judged at their deaths. What is the reason for this? If a man, habitually and without remorse, follows evil and forms a common front with the worst enemies of the good cause, then he is bad. He has hatred for someone who converts and begins to truly serve Our Lady and Our Lord. So, even if such persons know how to disguise their sentiment well, at heart they hate the Catholic cause. We should be vigilant in face of them. You can see a confirmation of this in the life of St. Thecla. She was a prominent person in her city. She had great culture in an epoch when culture was a factor of prestige, almost as prestigious as being a movie star or good football player is in our days. She had her relatives and a fianc to support her.
As soon as she converted she realized that she should avoid those very persons who had been close to her before. Why? Because she probably noticed that they were firmly rooted in the ways of evil and would not convert. She was right. For it was her relatives who tried to make her renounce her faith. Her own mother was the one who denounced her before the pagan authorities to be tortured and killed. After she moved to Antioch the text reports an admirer who made advances toward her. Was he her betrothed from Iconium? If so, the man would have had to journey in pursuit of her only to denounce her in Syria, as her mother had done in Iconium. Today many people would say that he was in love, and that he only denounced her as an act of despair over her refusal. To say he loved her is fallacious. The true sentiment that was inspiring him was egotism and hatred for the Catholic cause. St. Thecla resisted, and he denounced her as a Catholic, a denunciation that would result in her death. You can see how deep was his hatred, which appears to many as love. She suffered many tortures. The text doesnt make a full description, but such torments usually took place in large amphitheaters, or circuses, with great numbers of persons watching. Even from the brief description given, one can see that many miracles were made by God to preserve her and keep her alive and unharmed. The selection does not indicate that there were any other conversions among those who witnessed the miracles. That is, all those people concurred with her mother and her admirer. Since they saw all the miracles God made to save her but didnt care about them, those people were also bad. She was saved miraculously and released, and she spent the rest of her life separated from the world. She renounced everything she could normally expect in life in order to serve the Catholic cause. She understood the hostility of the world and because she was vigilant, she was victorious over it. I believe it is very important to ask St. Thecla to help us have the same understanding and vigilance, because in our fight, one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome is to see the bad side of the second type of evil men the ones who are being dragged along by the Revolution and can appear to be good.

Today's picture depicts Saint Thecla Praying by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
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Friday, September 22, 2006


Biographical sketch after Prof. Plinio Corra de Oliveira (

St. Thomas of Villanova, renowned for the works of charity and love for the poor in the early 16th century, Germany and Spain presented a curious contrast: The first was divided, scandalized, and perverted by an apostate Augustinian monk: Luther. The latter was elevated and sanctified by another Augustinian monk, St. Thomas of Villanova. St. Thomas was born on September 18, 1488 at Fuentellana, Spain, the son of a noble but impoverished family. His parents were extremely virtuous and transmitted to him their love for the poor. His mother had received the gift of miracles. The boy was the worthy fruit of such saintly parents. After a virtuous childhood in Villanova, he graduated with high honors from the University of Alcal. At age 28 he joined St. Augustine friars at Salamanca and took his vows on November 25, 1517, the same year of Luthers apostasy. At Salamanca he taught Scholastic Theology, and soon began to preach in pulpits throughout Spain. He dedicated his life to the confessionary and to the pulpit. His sermons were so persuasive that he was named the court preacher of Emperor Charles V and one of his councilors of state. It is said that the Charles V never denied anything to St. Thomas because as the Emperor affirmed he had the gift to move hearts. He was offered the See of Granada, but refused the position. Years later, in 1544, he was obliged under obedience to accept the Archbishopric of Valencia. At that time, the Kingdom of Valencia was suffering from a severe drought. When it was announced that St. Thomas had been chosen the new Archbishop, rain poured abundantly, a sign of the days of grace and redemption to come. In fact, this rain summarizes well the tenure of St. Thomas of Villanova, who became known as Almsgiver and Father of the Poor for his charity, and model of Bishops for his administration and laws. He made a gradual and steady reform of the Clergy, and then extended it to all the faithful. He continued his mortified life, always seeing in the poor his most precious treasure. He was munificent with all but very parsimonious with himself to the point that he wore the same habit that he had received in the novitiate. Once he was accused of avarice by a tailor who received an old coat for him to mend. Notwithstanding, some time later St. Thomas gave 150 silver coins as dowry for the tailors daughters.
Several hundred poor came to St. Thomas door each morning and were given meals, wine and money. His charity was often accompanied by miracles of healing the sick, the multiplication of food and extraordinary conversions. His ecstasies were so common that at times he described them in his sermons on the Transfiguration.

After 11 years of his episcopate, St. Thomas fell gravely ill and died September 8, 1555, the day of the Nativity of Our Lady. In his death agony, he gave the bed in which he was laying to a poor man. It was the last thing he had. St. Thomas of Villanova left a great number of sermons and theological writings; his grandiose style is reminiscent of St. Bernard.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

This is not a very easy selection to comment on since it primarily reports facts about St. Thomas of Villanova that are characteristic of many saints. They are admirable and praiseworthy, but a little too generic and repeat what we hear about the others. I limit myself, therefore, to comment on some more distinctive points here and there for our meditation.

Charles V making peace with the German Protestant princes at Augsburg, 1530.
First, it is remarkable the fact that Charles V chose St. Thomas of Villanova as a preacher and councilor. He was a person who in many ways directed the conscience of the Emperor. You see the finger of Divine Providence directing this great statesman.

Charles V, Emperor of the Holy Roman German Empire, a man over whose domains the sun never set, was an extraordinarily important man. He continued the vocation of the Hapsburgs of the House of Austria. There is a text by Mary de Agreda describing the designs of Providence for the House of Austria and all the graces God gave the Hapsburgs to fulfill them. It is very beautiful to see how Divine Providence assisted the realization of those designs by sending St. Thomas of Villanova to be the court preacher and councilor to Charles V.

Charles V, we must add with sadness, did not entirely correspond to those plans of God. He had a saint as a councilor, but he was a man whose softness and spirit of tolerance permitted Protestantism to expand in his lands. It is true that he had many different enemies to fight. One of them was the league formed by Muslim Turkey and Catholic France, which also became indirectly responsible for the expansion of Protestantism.

But Charles V had long periods of peace when he could have opposed the expansion of Protestantism. His famous temporizations have made him the subject of strong, objective critiques by Church historians.

But he ended his life well. He left aside all his possessions and goods and retired to a monastery as a penitent. He spent his last years there living a life that edified all Christendom. Did the good counsels of St. Thomas of Villanova finally move his heart? He used to say that St. Thomas had the gift of moving hearts. Did St. Thomas also bend his own heart of iron? It is a point to consider.

An angel holds a portrait of Emperor Charles V, who died a penitent in the monastery of San Yuste in Spain.
Someone could object: Why do you say that he had an iron heart? A man who makes concessions is a soft man and cannot be consider a man with an iron heart. I would answer that long experience of life has shown me that nothing is harder to change than the heart of a soft man and make him an energetic man. It is harder to make a soft man energetic than to make an energetic man become soft. I think that a saint who could have made Louis XVI lose his softness would have performed a supernatural exploit greater than one who would convince Louis XIV to refrain from using force. So, the change of Charles V, who went to a monastery to make penance, may have been due to a good counsel of St. Thomas of Villanova.

Second, it is interesting to see that St. Thomas had so many ecstasies that he used to speak about them in his sermons. It is admirable to see how he reported, sincerely and nobly, without vanity, the manifestations of grace in his soul from the pulpit. Only a truly superior soul can do this because he understands that grace does not rely on his personal merit but only on the largesse of God.

This attitude is the opposite of a certain Calvinist way of understanding humility that has infiltrated many Catholic milieus. According to it, an individual is proud if he ever praises himself or lets someone else know of his qualities or gifts, because humility would always demand that he hide such things. This is not always true. It is a simplified picture.

I know, of course, that it can be dangerous to tell a person he can praise his own qualities. Often it happens that the person does not have an objective view of himself, but exaggerates his qualities and becomes proud. I know this, and I agree that we must be careful about encouraging this kind of pride.

But this is different from obliging everyone to hide his qualities in the name of humility. You can see in the life of St. Thomas of Villanova how he made a beautiful and natural manifestation of the graces he received and the marvelous things God did in his soul. He could talk about them even in a sermon because he was detached from them and was glorifying God alone, and not himself.

In the richness of the Catholic Church, we can find the models for both the rule, which is to be silent about ones qualities, and also for the exception, which is to praise ones own graces and qualities in order to honor God.

This is another beautiful facet of the life of St. Thomas of Villanova. Read whole post......


Ecclesiasticus gives us yet other advice: "My son, do not cheat a poor man of the alms he asks, nor pass him by, with averted look, in his need" Ecclus. 4.1. The preacher appeals to our mercy and our charity, not only for material help, but, as children of God, for the help and mercy which we ourselves have received from him. Our mercy must be a ray of his.
We too are poor and needy. Our constant prayer is "Kyrie eleison", "Lord, have mercy upon us"- by which, in two short words, we ask for all we lack, and say in other words: "Lord, do not cheat us of the alms we ask."
We must learn from Christ, who is mercy incarnate, to be merciful to our neighbour and therefore merciful to our own soul. When God sees our poverty, our misery, his love becomes mercy, a quality proper to all great souls. Infinite mercy is proper to infinite love; God's father-heart is wide enough to contain all he has created. His love sees all their needs; his heart feels for them, and desires nothing more than to satisfy them. He never ceases to show mercy to us, to help us, to cure our infirmities of body and soul. He forgives us our sins, and even his punishments are sent in mercy, to purify and sanctify.
The Holy Scriptures, his own Word, bear witness on every page to his loving-kindness. The breviary uses, as hymns of praise, that which he himself tells us of his pity for us. His mercy lasts as long as we live; we find its expression in the Sacraments, in our vocation, in the spiritual riches with which he overwhelms us in every circumstances of our lives, be it great or small. How marvelous is God's care for us! "What, can a woman forget her child...? Let her forget; I will not be forgetful of thee." (Isaias 49. 15) "I will console you then, like a mother caressing her son." (Isaias 66.13) His love is inexhaustible; it knows no limits, makes no exceptions, embraces even his enemies. It cannot be expressed, for it is divine, and that which is divine is of its nature inexpressible. We are truly merciful only, when we follow the example of Mercy itself, giving help to all, whenever and whatever it lies in our power to do so.
As God always comes to our assistance, so we must always be ready to assist others; but that will be only when we are always united to him. St. Catherine of Siena, speaking of brotherly charity, says, "If a man fills a cup at the fountain, and takes it away and drinks it, it will soon be empty. But if he drinks while he still holds the cup under the jet of water, it will always be full. Thus it is with our charity. If we love our neighbour with the feeble power of our own heart, we shall soon cease to do so; but if we would love as Christ would have us do, we must love him with God's heart!" We praise and thank you, Lord, for your incomprehensible love for us. We acknowledge that we have everything to learn concerning charity, and that ours is far from being a ray of yours! But we are resolved in future, living as we do in your love and strengthened by your grace, to consecrate all that of which we are capable to our fellow-men. Knowing how poor and weak our heart is, we will hide it in yours, that we may be able to comfort with your own love all those who, by your Providence, we meet upon our way. Read whole post......
St. Teresa of Avila - "Way of Perfection"

CHAPTER 29, part three

For love of the Lord, then, sisters, accustom yourselves to saying the Paternoster in this recollected way, and before long you will see how you gain by doing so. It is a method of prayer which establishes habits that prevent the soul from going astray and the faculties from becoming restless. This you will find out in time: I only beg you to test it, even at the cost of a little trouble, which always results when we try to form a new habit. I assure you, however, that before long you will have the great comfort of finding it unnecessary to tire yourselves with seeking this holy Father to Whom you pray, for you will discover Him within you.

May the Lord teach this to those of you who do not know it: for my own part I must confess that, until the Lord taught me this method, I never knew what it was to get satisfaction and comfort out of prayer, and it is because I have always gained such great benefits from this custom of interior recollection (Lit.: "of recollection within me") that I have written about it at such length. Perhaps you all know this, but some sister may come to you who will not know it, so you must not be vexed at my having spoken about it here.

I conclude by advising anyone who wishes to acquire it (since, as I say, it is in our power to do so) not to grow weary of trying to get used to the method which has been described, for it is equivalent to a gradual gaining of the mastery over herself and is not vain labour. To conquer oneself for one's own good is to make use of the senses in the service of the interior life. If she is speaking she must try to remember that there is One within her to Whom she can speak; if she is listening, let her remember that she can listen to Him Who is nearer to her than anyone else. Briefly, let her realize that, if she likes, she need never withdraw from this good companionship, and let her grieve when she has left her Father alone for so long though her need of Him is so sore.

If she can, let her practise recollection many times daily; if not, let her do so occasionally. As she grows accustomed to it, she will feel its benefits, either sooner or later. Once the Lord has granted it to her, she would not exchange it for any treasure.

Nothing, sisters, can be learned without a little trouble, so do, for the love of God, look upon any care which you take about this as well spent. I know that, with God's help, if you practise it for a year, or perhaps for only six months, you will be successful in attaining it. Think what a short time that is for acquiring so great a benefit, for you will be laying a good foundation, so that, if the Lord desires to raise you up to achieve great things, He will find you ready, because you will be close to Himself. May His Majesty never allow us to withdraw ourselves from His presence. Amen.

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meditation based on St Alphonsus of Liquori treatise

2. Uniformity in all Things.-continues (2)

When the messenger came to announce to Job that the Sabeans had plundered his goods and slain his children, he said: The Lord gave and the Lord taketh awayJob. 1:21. He did not say: The Lord hath given me my children and my possessions, and the Sabeans have taken them away. He realized that adversity had come upon him by the will of God. Therefore he added: As it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done. Blessed be the name of the Lord Ibid. We must not therefore consider the afflictions that come upon us as happening by chance or solely from the malice of men; we should be convinced that what happens, happens by the will of God. Apropos of this it is related that two martyrs, Epictetus and Atho, being put to the torture by having their bodies raked with iron hooks and burnt with flaming torches, kept repeating: Work thy will upon us, O Lord. Arrived at the place of execution, they exclaimed: Eternal God, be thou blessed in that thy will has been entirely accomplished in us ML (Vitae Patrum) 73-402, etc.
Cesarius points up what we have been saying by offering this incident in the life of a certain monk: Externally his religious observance was the same as that of the other monks, but he had attained such sanctity that the mere touch of his garments healed the sick. Marveling at these deeds, since his life was no more exemplary than the lives of the other monks, the superior asked him one day what was the cause of these miracles. He replied that he too was mystified and was at a loss how to account for such happenings. What devotions do you practice? asked the abbot. He answered that there was little or nothing special that he did beyond making a great deal of willing only what God willed, and that God had given him the grace of abandoning his will totally to the will of God. Prosperity does not lift me up, nor adversity cast me down, added the monk. I direct all my prayers to the end that God's will may be done fully in me and by me. That raid that our enemies made against the monastery the other day, in which our stores were plundered, our granaries put to the torch and our cattle driven off did not this misfortune cause you any resentment? queried the abbot.No, Father, came the reply. On the contrary, I returned thanks to God as is my custom in such circumstances, fully persuaded that God does all things, or permits all that happens, for his glory and for our greater good; thus I am always at peace, no matter what happens. Seeing such uniformity with the will of God, the abbot no longer wondered why the monk worked so many miracles Caesarius: Dial. distin. 10: cap. 9.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

St. Teresa of Avila "Way of perfecrion"

CHAPTER 29, part two

Returning to what I was saying, I should like to be able to explain the nature of this holy companionship with our great Companion, the Holiest of the holy, in which there is nothing to hinder the soul and her Spouse from remaining alone together, when the soul desires to enter within herself, to shut the door behind her so as to keep out all that is worldly and to dwell in that Paradise with her God. I say ''desires'', because you must understand that this is not a supernatural state but depends upon our volition, and that, by God's favour, we can enter it of our own accord: this condition must be understood of everything that we say in this book can be done, for without it nothing can be accomplished and we have not the power to think a single good thought. For this is not a silence of the faculties: it is a shutting-up of the faculties within itself by the soul.

There are many ways in which we can gradually acquire this habit, as various books tell us. We must cast aside everything else, they say, in order to approach God inwardly and we must retire within ourselves even during our ordinary occupations. If I can recall the companionship which I have within my soul for as much as a moment, that is of great utility. But as I am
speaking only about the way to recite vocal prayers well, there is no need for me to say as much as this. All I want is that we should know (Lit.: "see") and abide with the Person with Whom we are speaking, and not turn our backs upon Him; for that, it seems to me, is what we are doing when we talk to God and yet think of all kinds of vanity. The whole mischief comes from our not really grasping the fact that He is near us, and imagining Him far away so far, that we shall have to go to Heaven in order to find Him. How is it, Lord, that we do not look at Thy face, when it is so near us? We do not think people are listening to us when we are speaking to them unless we see them looking at us. And do we close our eyes so as not to see that Thou art looking at us? How can we know if Thou hast heard what we say to Thee?

The great thing I should like to teach you is that, in order to accustom ourselves gradually to giving our minds confidence, so that we may readily understand what we are saying, and with Whom we are speaking, we must recollect our outward senses, take charge of them ourselves and give them something which will occupy them. It is in this way that we have Heaven within ourselves since the Lord of Heaven is there. If once we accustom ourselves to being glad (Lit.: "once we begin to be glad") that there is no need to raise our voices in order to speak to Him, since His Majesty will make us conscious that He is there, we shall be able to say the Paternoster and whatever other prayers we like with great peace of mind, and the Lord Himself will help us not to grow tired. Soon after we have begun to force ourselves to remain near the Lord, He will give us indications by which we may understand that, though we have had to say the Paternoster many times, He heard us the first time. For He loves to save us worry; and, even though we may take a whole hour over saying it once, if we can realize that we are with Him, and what it is we are asking Him, and how willing He is, like any father, to grant it to us, and how He loves to be with us, and comfort us, He has no wish for us to tire our brains by a great deal of talking.

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