Sunday, June 29, 2008

Feast of St Peter and Paul

PETER, formerly called Simon, from Bethsaida in Galilee, was a son of Jonas and a brother of Andrew, by whom he was brought to Christ. After the great draught of fishes, when our Lord said to him and Andrew: Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men, Peter followed the Saviour constantly, from whom he received the most tender proofs of love. Peter was present when Christ appeared in His glory on Mount Thabor, when He raised the daughter of Jairus to life, and when He sweat blood in the agony on Mount Olivet. Peter was also present at the miraculous draught of fishes, which was a figure of the multitudes which he was to bring, by means of the holy Gospel, to the kingdom of God, for Christ called him a fisher of men, and afterwards, because Peter recognized and professed Him to be the Son of the living God, Christ named him Peter, made him the head of the apostles and of the entire Church, made him His vicar and visible representative upon earth, promising to build His Church upon him as upon a rock, gave him the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and commanded him to feed His lambs and His sheep. Peter loved our Lord above all things; because of his love he wished to remain with Christ upon Mount Thabor to prevent Him from suffering, and in his love desired to die with Christ. He certainly showed the greatest courage when Christ was taken, following Him even into the house of Caiphas. But alas, the instability of man! There Peter three times denied the Lord. But the look of forgiving love which Jesus cast upon him, forced from him tears of the deepest contrition. He atoned for his denial by suffering much for Christ. Under the Emperor Nero he was crucified for his faith at Rome, and by his own request with his head downwards, because he did not consider himself worthy to die like Christ.

Oh! that all sinners would seek by such penance to turn their evil into good!

Prayer to St Peter

O God, who from a poor fisherman hast made St. Peter prince of the apostles and head of Thy Church, we beseech Thee through his intercession to make us true lambs of Thy flock. Grant, that we may hear his voice, follow his doctrine, and walk in his steps, until we reach that happy pasture where the Good Shepherd, Thine only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, whom St. Peter represented on earth, reigns with Thee and the Holy Ghost forever. Amen.

Sketch of the life of St Paul.

PAUL, before his conversion called Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin, was born at Tarsus in Cilicia, and was a pupil of Gamaliel. As he had the most zealous attachment for the Jewish law, he was exasperated against the Christians. However, when hastening to Damascus to persecute them, he was converted by the Lord on the way and called to be an apostle. His unwearied labors in the vineyard of the Lord after his conversion, the sufferings which he endured upon his apostolic journeys, and the dangers and persecutions through which he passed in different countries, cannot be described. The zeal and constancy with which he confessed and preached the faith, though in chains and fetters, though scourged and beaten, in hunger and thirst, and through innumerable dangers, are almost incredible. He was so humble that he regarded himself as the least of the apostles, and thanked God fervently that He considered him worthy to suffer for His sake. After he had fought a good fight and finished his course, having everywhere zealously preached the faith, and still more zealously practiced it, he won the crown of justice. On the same day and at the same place in Rome, in which Peter was crucified, he was beheaded, by command of the Emperor Nero. Thus God tries and rewards true virtue. Paul in his life, as after death, worked numberless miracles; even his handkerchief, like St. Peter's shadow, healed sickness and expelled devils. He had so deeply impressed the name of Jesus in his heart, that it was almost continually on his lips, for "out of the fulness of the heart, the mouth speaketh." Would that we loved Jesus as St. Paul loved Him, then we would, like St. Paul, be ready to do and suffer much for Him.

Picture is by Rembreandt: 'St Peter and Paul disputing'


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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tower of David, pray for us!
The title of 'Tower of David' refers to the gift of fortitude granted to the soul of Our Lady by the Holy Spirit. The effects of this gift has helped to preserve her from sin throughout her whole life. She is like a fortress and incredible powerful helper to us in all struggles against temptations. This particular name has been first used to describe her by King Solomon in Canticle of Canticles: "Thy neck, is as the tower of David, which is built with bulwarks: a thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the armour of valiant men." (Canticles 4:4). In Old Testament, similar invocation refers to the powerful fortress once built to guard the Sion north-west borders. Our Lady is like this tower, full of strength and might against Satan and Hell. Eva has fallen under devil's temptation, whereas Immaculate Mary gave him a fatal blow and ever since is the most powerful weapon against spiritual enemies for those who seek her help in trust. Endless heroic Saints may testify how helpful she could be in resisting temptations in particular against impurity, fear and doubt. St Bernard says Mary's defeat of Satan and Hell gave her unlimited sovereignty over them. We can learn a lot following examples of many Saints, we can protect ourselves by her help whenever we need to be strengthened against wicked traps of the world. In Our Lady we can find the best and most effective refuge. Let us pray with childlike confidence of St John of Damascus who once said his only help against every spiritual enemy was his total and unshaken trust in Our Lady's help: Tower of David, pray for us!

Today's picture is "Under Our Lady's mantle" after
Holy Cards for Your Inspiration

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

St John the Baptist Litany and Prayer

Lord, have mercy on us, Christ, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.


God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Pray for us.
Queen of Prophets, Pray for us.
Queen of Martyrs, Pray for us.

St. John the Baptist, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, precursor of Christ, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, glorious forerunner of the Sun of Justice, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, minister of Baptism to Jesus, Pray for us.

St. John the Baptist, burning and shining lamp of the world, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, angel of purity before thy birth, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, special friend and favorite of Christ, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, heavenly contemplative, whose element was prayer, Pray for us.

St. John the Baptist, intrepid preacher of truth, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, voice crying in the wilderness, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, miracle of mortification and penance, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, example of profound humility, Pray for us.

St. John the Baptist, glorious martyr of zeal for God’s holy law, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, gloriously fulfilling thy mission, Pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

V. Pray for us, O glorious St. John the Baptist,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray: O God, Who hast honored this world by the birth of Saint John the Baptist, grant that Thy faithful people may rejoice in the way of eternal salvation, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Amen.

Prayer to St. John the Baptist

O God, You raised up St. John the Baptist to prepare a perfect people for Christ. Fill Your people with the joy of possessing His grace, and direct the minds of all the faithful in the way of peace and salvation.

Grant that as St. John was martyred for truth and justice, so we may energetically profess our Faith in You, and lead others to the Way, the Truth, and Eternal Life.

Amen.


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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost


EPISTLE (Rom 6: 3-11)
Brethren, All we who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his death. For we are buried together with him by baptism unto death: that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer. For he that is dead is justified from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall live also together with Christ. Knowing that Christ, rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, death shall no more have, dominion aver him. For in that he died to sin, he died once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. So do you also reckon that you are dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

EXPLANATION

The apostle here teaches that in consequence of our baptism we are made members of Christ's body, and must, therefore, die to sin; as Christ by His death died to physical life, but has risen again, so must we bury sin, by constant renewal of baptismal vows, and by self-mortification rise to a Christian life. As members of Christ's body we should in a spiritual manner imitate Him. As He permitted His body to be nailed to the cross to atone for our sins, so should we crucify our corrupt nature by self-denial, and as He after His Resurrection lives always, because having risen He dieth no more, so we, risen from the death of sin, should lead a pious life conformable to that of Christ.

ASPIRATION
I trust, O Lord Jesus, that by the merits of Thy Passion I have risen from the death of sin: grant me Thy grace, that as Thou diest no more, so may I die no more by sin, but live for God, according to Thy law.

GOSPEL (Mark 8:1-9)
At that time, When there was a great multitude with Jesus, and had nothing to eat, calling hisdisciples together, he saith to them: I have compassion on the multitude, for behold they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat; and if I shall send them away, fasting, to their ,home, they will faint in the way: for some of them came from afar off. And his disciples answered him: From whence can any one fill them here with bread in the wilderness? And he asked them: How many loaves have ye? Who said: Seven. And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground. And taking the seven loaves, giving thanks, he broke, and gave to his disciples to set before them: and they set them before the people. And they had a few little fishes, and he blessed them, and commanded them to be set before them. And they did eat, and were filled, and they took up that which was left of the fragments, seven baskets: and, they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

Why did Christ say:
I have compassion on the multitude?:
Because of His mercy and goodness to man, as well as to prove that which He taught on another occasion (Matt 6: 33) that to those who seek first the kingdom of God and His justice all other things will be added, without asking; for none of the multitude asked Christ for food, and yet He provided for all.

INSTRUCTION ON BLESSING
And He blessed them (Mark 8:7)

Seduced by Satan, the first man violated the holy command of God, and by his sin brought upon himself and his habitation the curse of divine wrath (Gen 3:17). Man was made by God, and therefore subject to Him, but was himself master of all created things. After the sin of disobedience, however, all creation revolted against him: the animals fled from him, the fields yielded only thorns and thistles, the herbs became poisonous to him, or refused him their former wholesome power. Innumerable evils followed, all men and even the whole earth suffered from them; the devil drew both into his sphere and made them his servants, and this evil spirit now made use of created things to divert man altogether from God and to cause his eternal ruin. But God decreed that man and earth should not remain in this condition: Christ, the Son of God, came upon earth, redeemed it from the bonds of Satan, and gave all men the power to become once more God's children. The devil was conquered by the cross, but not slain; man and the earth were indeed taken from his dominion, but not from his influence; for he even now, as the apostle writes, goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5: 8), and as he used the forbidden fruit in paradise to seduce man, he now uses the created things of the earth to tempt man, and, make him his servant. Man and all creation had to be drawn from this pernicious influence, to be liberated from the bondage of corruption and be brought to the freedom of the children of God (Rom 8:19). This is done in the Church, to which Christ entrusted the power of binding and loosing, and gave the work of sanctifying through the Holy Ghost, by means of blessing and consecrating. By virtue of the merits of Christ, and with the assistance of the Holy Ghost, the Church, or the priest in her name, therefore blesses and consecrates persons as well as other created things which they are to use, or which she is to apply to the service of God. In this the Church follows the example of Christ and the Apostles. Jesus embraced children and laid His hands upon them, blessing them (Mark 10:16). He blessed bread and fishes, the food of thousands; blessed breed and wine at the last supper (Matt 26:26), was recognized by the disciples in the blessing of bread (Luke 24:30), blessing the disciples He ascended into heaven (Luke 24:51), by His command the apostles wished peace to every house into which they stepped (Matt 10:12, 13), and St. Paul expressly says, that every living thing is sanctified by prayer and the word of God (1Tim 4:5). Following the example and command of Christ, the Church also introduced blessings and benedictions which were prefigured in the Old Law. God commanded the priests to sanctify and to consecrate whatever was to belong to His service, (Levit 8) and the Old Law is full of blessings and consecrations which had to be used by the priests (Exodus 29:36, 30:25, 11:9) and if persons and things used for God's service were to be blessed, how much more so in the New Law which in place of the type, contains the reality and truth The testimony of Scripture is confirmed by all the holy Fathers, and by the constant practice of the Church which has received from Christ, the power to bless and to consecrate.

The blessing or benediction of the Church is nothing more than a prayer of intercession which the priest makes in the name of the Church, that for the sake of Christ (therefore the sign of the cross) and the prayers of the saints. God may give His blessings to a person or thing, and sanctify it. Through consecration, in which besides prayer and the sign of the cross, the anointing with holy oil is used, things required for divine service are separated from all other things and especially sanctified. Thus persons, fruits, bread, wine, houses, ships and fields, are blessed; churches, altars, bells, &c., are consecrated.

What virtue have these blessings?
The chief effects of the blessing of persons are: Preservation or liberation from the influence of Satan; preservation of the soul from his temptations and evil suggestions; preservation of the body and of the property from his pernicious malice; forgiveness of venial sins, and strength to suppress concupiscence; curing of sickness and physical evils, whether natural or supernatural; a blessing upon the person and his surroundings; the imparting of the grace of conversion; the advantage of the prayer of the Church and further grace for the remission of temporal and eternal punishment. The blessing of things withdraws them from the influence of the devil, so that he can no longer use them as a means of bringing us into sin, but that they rather serve us as a protection against the evil spirits and as a means for our salvation.

Whence do the blessings derive their force?
From the merits of Christ who by His death on the cross vanquished Satan. The Church asks God that He will through these merits and through the intercession of the saints bless a person or thing, and make that which is blessed profitable to us fox both body and soul. Whether or not the effects manifest themselves in the person who receives the blessing, or makes use of the object blessed, depends on his faith and moral condition, as also on the usefulness or profit of the blessing to him. We should not, then, place obstacles in its way by diffidence in God and the prayers of the Church or by a sinful life, but should always be convinced. that these benedictions will serve for our benefit, if according to God's will they are used as the Church intends, as a means to overcome evil, to sanctify ourselves, and to honor God.

Why are salt and water blessed?
This is plainly shown in the prayer the priest says in blessing them; for he asks, in the name of the Church, that God may pour the virtue of His blessing over the water that it may conquer devils, prevent sickness, and that everything which is sprinkled with it, may be preserved from every injury, and that He may bless the salt, so that it may be salutary for the body and soul of all who use it. The salt which Eliseus sprinkled into the unwholesome waters of Jericho healed them (4 King 2:20, 21) and is a type of blessed salt.

Why are the people sprinkled with holy water on Sundays?
To remind the people of the interior purity with which they should come to divine service, and fulfill the duties of their calling; and to exhort them to purify themselves from the stains of sin by tears of sorrow, and repentance. Hence the priest in sprinkling the faithful recites the words of the fiftieth psalm: Asperges me hyssopo, etc. Sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed; to remind them to preserve the purity and innocence procured by the blood of the Lamb of God, and communicated to them in baptism. Finally, the people are sprinkled that the temptations of the devil may depart from them, enabling them to attend with great fervor and with more recollection to the holy service.

What else is to be remembered concerning the use of blessed things?
That they are to be used with faithful confidence for the purpose for which the Church blessed them, and are to be treated with great reverence, because they are blessed by the Church in the name of Jesus, a custom almost as old as Christianity itself. The Christian must not believe that blessed things which he possesses, carries, or uses, will make him holy, for he should always remember that things blessed are only a means of sanctification, and are only effectual when the faithful have the earnest will to die rather than sin, to fight with all fervor against the enemies of their salvation, to follow Christ, and be thereby received into the freedom of the children of God, and into heaven.

Picture credit: Lombard Lambert - Miracle of feeding the multitude with five loaves of bread
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Visitation


When the angel announced to me that I should bear a Son, as soon as I consented, I felt something amazing and inexplicable in me, so that greatly wondering, I at once went up to my cousin Elizabeth to console her in her pregnancy and confer with her on what the angel had announced to me. And when she met me at the well, and we enjoyed each other's embrace and kiss, the infant in her womb, by a wonderful and visible motion, rejoiced. And I likewise was then moved in my heart by unwonted exultation, so that my tongue spoke unpremeditated words of God, and my soul could scarce contain itself for joy. And when Elizabeth wondered at the fervor of spirit that spoke in me, and I not otherwise wondered at the grace of God in her, we remained together many days blessing God. And after this a certain thought began to impress my mind, how and how devoutly I should act after so great a favour bestowed on me. What should I reply, if asked how I conceived, or who was the father of the Son I was to bear; or lest perchance Joseph, instigated by the enemy, should suspect me of evil. While thinking of these things, an angel, not unlike the one whom I had seen before, stood by me, saying: "Our God, who is eternal, is with thee and in thee. Fear not then, He will give thee to speak, He will direct thy steps and abode, he will perfect His work with thee powerfully and wisely." But Joseph, to whom I had been confided, when he perceived me to be pregnant, wondering and thinking himself unworthy to dwell with me, was troubled, not knowing what to do, till the angel told him in the sleep: "Depart not from the virgin confided to thee, for it is most true as thou hast heard from her, for she has conceived of the Spirit of God, and shall bear a Son, the Saviour of the world. Therefore, serve her faithfully, and be thou the guardian and witness of her purity." Then from that day Joseph served me as his lady, and I humbled to his lowest labour. After this I was constantly in prayer, rarely wishing to see or be seen, and I most rarely going forth, unless to the appointed feasts; and I was assiduous in the watches and readiness given by our priests. I had a fixed time for manual labour, and I was discreet in fasting as much as my constitution could bear in God's service. Whatever we had over our daily sustenance we gave to the poor, content with what we had. Joseph so served me, that no scurrilous, murmuring, or angry word was heard from him, for he was most patient in poverty, solicitous in labour when it was necessary, most mild to those who reproached, most obedient in my service, a most prompt defender against those who gainsaid my virginity, a most faithful witness of the wonders of God. For he was so dead to the world and the flesh that he never desired aught but heavenly things. And so confident was he in God's promises, that he would constantly exclaim: "Would that I could live to see God's will fulfilled!" Most rarely did he go to gatherings of men and their councils, because his whole desire was to obey the will of God, and therefore is his glory now so great (Lib VI, c.59).

Picture credit: unknown Flemish artist "Visitation". Text from "Revelations of St Bridget on the life and Passion of Our Lord and the Life of His Blessed Mother".

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Friday, June 20, 2008


God is a jealous lover, but in this divine jealousy He is not like the neurotic human being who makes his beloved unhappy by his unlimited demands of attention and service. Divine jealousy is a love that enriches man.

If we were to regard charity as if it were only a purely human love, we might be tempted to think that charity is a love that makes man poor instead of rich. Or we might think that God is a jealous lover who resents the thought or affection that his friends give to anyone or anything else. In one way God is a jealous lover. He wants men to love Him above everything else, even above themselves. But this divine jealousy is not at all like the painful jealousy of the neurotic human being who makes his beloved unhappy by his unlimited demands of attention and service. Human jealousy, when carried to extremes, is a force that impoverishes the object of its affections. The jealous man will rob his wife of her parents, relatives and friends, her children, her work and her hobbies. He wants her to love nothing but himself. But the divine jealousy is a love that enriches man. God asks for man's love through charity not in order to take any good thing away from man but in order to give all good things to man. For through charity man attains God, and in God he finds all good both in this life and in the next. Charity is a share in divine love. But it is the love of God which is the source of all good in this life and in the next. It is love, the divine love, which has created the world and all good things in it. It is God's love which has made man himself and the world in which man is to seek for and find happiness. When a man loves God more than everything else, he finds everything else in God, everything else that can really make him happy.

Picture is by Gustave Dore
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The growth of the man's love for God in this life will start with the avoidance of sin.

WE might say that the growth of man's love for God in this life will start with the avoidance of sin, go on to the pursuit of good and end with the desire of union with God in heaven. The reckless youth who has been living a dissolute life falls in love with a good woman. First of all his love leads him to turn from his former irresponsible way of living. To gain the approval of his loved one he avoids his former dissolute companions. He struggles against his own intemperance. Then he begins to seek a good way of life. He settles down, goes to work, starts to save money. Finally he seeks union with his beloved in marriage. The story on man's love for God will follow the same path. When a man begins to love God, fist he seeks to avoid sin and the insidious power of concupiscence which would separate him from God. Then he begins to cultivate virtue, to work for happiness. Finally he desires to live with God always.
LOVE is also capable of decline. Purely human love can grow less and less until it perishes altogether. When a man begins to think less and less of his wife, to be less thoughtful of her welfare, to do fewer things to make her happy, then his love for her is failing. When he does something evil to her then his love ceases. Charity - man's love for God - can also fail, though not in precisely the same way. Charity will not fail simply because a man thinks less often of God. It will not even fail through venial sin. Venial sin is concerned only with the means that lead to the goal. It does not destroy man's basic tendency to God in charity. But mortal sin destroys charity completely. Charity is the love of God above all things. But in mortal sin man prefers some created things to God. Hence mortal sin drives charity out of the soul of man. In a certain sense venial sin cam lead to the loss of charity. Since all sin is not in accord with the will of God, the venial sinner is gradually disposing his will to give up God. Because he has not followed the will of God in all things, when some crisis arises in his life, he may give up God for some temporary created good.

credit: picture is by Rembrandt :'Good Samaritan arrives at the inn' Read whole post......

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

How should we sanctify the Lord in our hearts?

By practising those virtues which Peter here recommends, and which he so exactly describes; for thereby we become true disciples of Christ, honor Him and edify others, who by our good example are led to admire Christianity, and to become His followers. Moreover, we thus render ourselves more worthy of God's grace and protection, so that if for justice' sake we are persecuted by, wicked men, we need not fear, because God is for us and will reward us with eternal happiness.

GOSPEL (Matt. 5: 20-24)
At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: Except your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill: and whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. If therefore, thou bring thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother bath anything against thee, leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming, thou shaft offer thy gift.

In what did the justice of the Pharisees consist?

In external works of piety, in the avoidance of such gross vices as could not be concealed, and would have brought them to shame and disgrace. But in their hearts these Pharisees cherished evil, corrupt inclinations and desires, pride, envy, avarice, and studied malice and vengeance. Jesus, therefore, called them hypocrites, whitened sepulchres, and St. John calls them a brood of vipers. True Justice consists not only in external works of piety, that is, devotional works, but especially in a pure, sincere, self?sacrificing feeling towards God and man; without this all works, however good, are only a shell without a kernel.

How are we to understand that which Christ here says of anger and abusive words?

The meaning of Christ's words are:. You have heard that murder was forbidden to your fathers in the desert, and that the murderer had to be given up to justice: but I say to you, whoever becomes angry with his neighbor, shall be in danger of divine judgment, and he who with abusive words, such as Raca, Villain, gives vent to his anger, using expressions of contempt and insult, as fool, scoundrel, profligate, wretch, is more liable to punishment. These degrees of anger are punished in different ways by God.

Is anger always sinful?

No, anger is sinful only when we wish or actually inflict some evil to the body, property, or honor of our neighbor; when we make use of such insulting and abusive words as injure his character, provoke and irritate him. If we become angry at the vices and crimes of others, when our office or the duties of our station demand that we watch over the conduct of those under our care, to punish and correct them, (as in the case of parents, teachers, and superiors) then anger is no sin. When one through pure love of God, becomes irritated at the sins and vices of his fellowmen, like King David, or if one urged to wrong, repels the tempter with indignation, this is even a holy anger. Thus St. Gregory Says; "It is to be understood that anger created by impatience is a very different thing from anger produced by a zeal for justice. The one is caused by vice, the other by virtue." He, then, who becomes angry for justice' sake, commits no sin, but his conduct is holy and praiseworthy, for even our Lord was angry at those who bought and sold in the temple, (John 2: 15) Paul at the magician Elymas, (Acts 13:8) and Peter at the deceit of Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5: 3). Anger, then, to be without sin, must proceed from true zeal for God's honor and the salvation of souls, by which we seek to prevent others from sin, and to make them better. Even in this respect, we must be careful to allow our anger no control over our reason, but to use it merely as a means of doing good, for we are often apt to take the sting of anger for holy zeal, when it is really nothing but egotism and ambition.

Why must we first be reconciled with our neighbor before bringing an offering to God, or undertaking any good work?

Because no offering or other good work can be pleasing to God, while we live in enmity, hatred, and strife with our neighbor; for by living thus we act altogether contrary to God's will. This should be remembered by all Christians, who go to confession and holy Communion, without forgiving those who have offended them, and asking pardon of those whom they have injured. These must know that instead of receiving absolution for their sins, they by an invalid confession are guilty of another sin, and eat their own judgment in holy Communion.

How should reconciliation be made with our neighbor?

With promptness, because the apostle says: Let not the sun go down upon your anger (Eph. 4: 26). But if the person you have offended is absent, says St. Augustine, and you cannot easily meet him, you are bound to be reconciled to him interiorly, that is, to humble yourself before God, and ask His forgiveness, making the firm resolution to be reconciled to your enemy as soon as possible. If he is accessible, go to him, and ask his forgiveness; if he has offended you, forgive him from your heart. The reconciliation should be sincere, for God sees into the heart; it should also be permanent, for if it is not lasting, it may be questioned if it was ever sincere. On account of this command of Christ to be reconciled to our enemies before bringing sacrifice, it was the custom in ancient times that the faithful gave. the kiss of peace to one another at the sacrifice of Mass, before Communion, as even to this day do the priests and deacons, by which those who are present, are admonished to love one another with holy love, and to be perfectly reconciled with their enemies, before Communion.

MEANS OF PREVENTING ANGER

The first and most effectual preventive is humility; for as among the proud there are always quarrels and contentions, (Prov. 13: 10) so among the humble reign peace, meekness and patience. To be humble, meek, and patient, we must frequently bring before our minds the example of Christ who did not sin, neither was guile found in His mouth, (1Peter 2: 22) yet suffered great contradictions, many persecutions, scoffs and sneers from sinners, without threatening vengeance to any one for all He suffered; He say's to us in truth: Learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart (Matt. 11: 29). A very good preventive of anger is to think over in the morning what causes will be likely to draw us into anger at any time during the day, and to arm ourselves against it by a firm resolution to bear all with patience and silence; and when afterwards anything unpleasant occurs, let us think, "What will I effect by my anger? Can I thereby make things better? Will I not even make myself ridiculous and injure my health?" (for experience as well as holy Scripture teaches, that anger shortens life) (Eccles.30: 26) Finally, the most necessary preventive of anger is fervent prayer to God for the grace of meekness and patience, for although it seems difficult and almost impossible to our nature to be patient, by the grace of God it becomes not only possible, but even easy.

INSTRUCTION ON SACRIFICE
Offer thy gift. (Matt. 5: 24)

In its wider and more universal sense sacrifice comprehends all religious actions by which a rational being; presents himself to God, to be united with Him; and in this sense prayer, praising God, a contrite heart, charity to others, every good work, and observance of God's commandments is a sacrifice. Thus the Holy Scriptures say: Offer up the sacrifice of justice and trust in the Lord. (Ps. 4: 6). Offer to God the sacrifice of praise. (Ps. 49). Sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit; a contrite and humble heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Ps. 1. 19). It is a wholesome sacrifice to take heed to the commandments, and to depart from, all iniquity (Ecclus. 35: 2). "Therefore," says St. Augustine, "every good work which is united in sanctity with God, is a true sacrifice, because it refers to the end of all good, to God, by whom we can be truly happy." As often, then, as you humble yourself in prayer before the majesty of God, when you give yourself up to God, and when you make your will subject to His divine will, you bring a sacrifice to God; as often as you punish your body by continency, and your senses by mortification, you bring a sacrifice to God, because you offer them as instruments of justice; (Rom. 6: 13) as often as you subdue the evil concupiscence of the flesh, the perverted inclinations of your soul, deny yourself any worldly pleasure for the love of God, you bring a sacrifice to God. Such sacrifices you should daily offer to God; without which all others have no value and do not please God, such as these you can make every moment, when you think, speak, and act all for the love, of God.

Strive then, Christian soul, to offer these pleasing sacrifices to God, the supreme Lord, and as you thus glorify Him, so will He one day reward you with unutterable glory.


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Saturday, June 14, 2008

In the day of Our Lady we can meditate on her love of God, as she explained it to St Bridget of Sweden.


Early life of the Blessed Virgin

As soon as I understood that there was a God, I was always solicitous and fearful for my salvation and observance. And when I heard more fully that God was, too, my Creator and judge of all my actions, I loved Him intensly, and every hour feared and pondered lest I should offend Him in word or deed. Then when I heard that He had given a law to His people, and His commandments, and wrought so many wonders with them, I firmly resolved in my mind to love naught but Him, and all wordly things became most bitter to me. Hearing after this that this same God was to redeem the world and be born of a virgin, I was filled with such love for her, that I thought of naught but God, wished naught but Him. I withdrew as much as possible from the converse and presence of kindred and friends. All that I could have I gave to the poor, reserving to myself only necessary food and clothing. Nothing pleased me but God. Ever did I long in my heart to live to the time of His birth, if perchance I might be worthy to be unworthy handmaid of the mother of God. I also vowed in my heart to observe virginity if it was pleasing to Him, and to possess nothing in the world. But if God willed otherwise, that His will, not mine, be done; because I believed Him omnipotent and desirous of naught but my good, so that I committed my will absolutely to Him.
As the time approached, when by rule, virgins were presented in the Temple of the Lord, I went up among them in submission to my parents, thinking that nothing was impossible to God. And as He knew that I desired nothing, wished nothing but Himself, He could, if it pleased Him, preserve me in my virginity; if not, His will be done. After hearing all the instructions in the Temple, I returned home, inflamed with still greater love of God, enkindled daily by new fervor and desire of love. I accordingly retired apart from all more than usual, and I was alone night and day fearing most intensly lest tongue should speak or ear hear aught against my God, or eyes see aught delightful. Even in my silence was I timid and most anxious, lest I should be silent when I ought rather to speak. When I was thus troubled in heart alone by myself, and committed all my hope to God, at once it came into my mind to think of God's great power, how the angels and all things created serve Him, and what was His glory, which is ineffable and interminable. For I saw the sun, bot not as it shines in Heaven; I saw light, but not such light as shines in the world. I perceived an odor, not like that of plants or anything of the kind, but most sweet and almost ineffable with which I was all filled, and exulted for joy. Then immediately I heard a voice, but from no human lips. And on hearing it I feared considerably, thinking within myself whether it was an illusion, and forthwith an angel of God appeared before me, like a most beautiful man, but not clothed in flesh, who said to me: "Hail Mary etc". When I heard this, I wondered what this meant, or why he uttered such a salutation; for I knew myself, and deemed myself unworthy of this or of any good. But it is not impossible to God to do whatsoever He willeth. Then the angel said again: "What is born in thee is holy, and shall be called the Son of God ; and as it shall please Him, so shall it be done." Still I deemed myself unworthy, and asked the angel not why or when, but how it should be done, that I, unworthy, should be the Mother of God, not knowing man. And the angel answered me as I said: "Nothing is impossible to God, but whatsoever He willeth shall come to pass, etc." Haring the words of the angel, I felt a most fervent desire to be the Mother of God, and my soul spoke in love: "Here I am, let Thy will be done in me." At this word my Son was instantly conceived in my womb, with unspeakable exultation of my soul and my whole body. And when I had Him in my womb, I bore Him without pain, without any weight or feeling of inconvenience. In all things I humbled myself, knowing that He was almighty whom I bore. And when I brought Him forth, I brought Him forth without pain and sin, as I conceived Him, with such exultation of soul and body, that for exultation my feet did not feel the ground the stood upon. And as He entered all my members with the joy of my whole soul, so with the joy of my whole body, my soul exulting with ineffable joy, He came forth, my virginity untouched. And when I beheld Him and considered His beauty, my soul in joy distilled, as it were, dew, knowing myself unworthy of such a Son. But when I considered the places of the nails in His hands and feet, which according to the prophets, I heard were to be crucified, then my eyes filled with tears and my heart was breaking with sadness. And when my Son gazed into my streaming eyes, He was sorrowful unto death. But when I considered the power of His deity, I was again consoled, knowing that He so willed it, and that so it was expedient, and I conformed my will to His will, and thus my joy was tempered by pain.


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Friday, June 13, 2008


There are many Saints who proved their love of God through examples of heroic virtue. St John of the Cross is one of them. He wrote the most beautiful poems describing soul search for His beloved. It is good to think of him during the month of the Sacred Heart, the beautiful symbol of God's love for us. We will focus today on the period of St John's life that began when he was elected the prior of Discalced friars in Baez. It happened just after Discalced were finally set up as a separate Province. He was the Prior there for two years and after that he was appointed Prior to the Granada foundation of Los Martires. He was far away from his beloved Castile and he felt his isolation deeply. This feeling of isolation was increased after Saint Teresa died the same year. He had reached however, that state of inner freedom when he could truly be himself and not to be forced into a mould of other's making. As Prior and an official in his Order now, he himself had a status that afforded him some dignity, but he refused to be judged by such standards. A high ranking official would be brought to him and be greeted by John just as he was. As he said to one visitor who expressed his surprise, 'After all, I am the son of a weaver'. Later on, his brother Francisco was often with him. Francisco remained what he always was, a poor workman, and John would introduce him with great pride as the greatest treasure he had on earth. To John, earthly rank or attainment did not matter. What did matter was that they were all children of God, and as such, deserving of his respect and love, whatever their rank or lack of it. The Order met for their second Chapter in 1583 and John was reaching the peak of his religious leadership. He was elected 2nd definitor and Vicar Provincial. He completed at that time his major writings, The Spiritual Canticle and the Dark Night of the Soul. From 1585, for the next three years he was almost constantly on the road in his role as Vicar Apostolic, attending chapters, visiting the various foundations, founding new convents and friaries. At one such foundation, that of Cordoba, he nearly lost his life. A stone wall that was being built fell on the cell in which he was working, and the workmen scrabbled frantically to dig him out, fearing he was dead. However, they found him crouched in a corner under a statue of Our Lady that had fallen above him, laughing and saying that it was she who had saved him. To his delight, in 1588 he was appointed prior of the Segovia friary, which meant that he was back in his beloved Castile. A new friary was still being built away from the dampness of the nearby river, so John joined in with the building work. These were to be the last happy moments in his life. He was back in Castile and nearer to his beloved brother who was able to visit him more often. To his brother he revealed an experience he had. Praying before a picture of Christ carrying his cross one day, he heard an inner voice calling his name, and responded inwardly, 'Here I am'. The voice asked him then what reward he would like for all he had done and all he had have suffered. John's response was, 'To suffer and to be looked down upon.' He told this to his brother so that when Francis saw him having trials he would not be distressed, knowing that it was what he desired and that they God's will for him. The time of serious trials was coming for John to prove his love of God and neighbour. God was willing to give him a chance to become a great saint.


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Thursday, June 12, 2008


A man can give his whole heart habitually to God, that is he will never think or desire anything contrary to the love of God.

The friendship with God will increase in the only way in which it is possible for the love of friendship to increase. A man grows in the love of friendship when his love for his friend grows stronger and leads him to do things more frequently for his friend. Consider the growth of friendship between a man and the woman he marries. At the beginnings of their courtship he is willing to spend some of his time and money on her. As his love grows he spends more time and more money on her. As it grows still further he begins to admit her to the private world of his thoughts and ambitions, his hopes and disappointments. Then he begins to think of her troubles and sorrows, her triumphs and joys. Later he marries her and shares his life with her and shares his life with her. Ultimately he is ready even to give his life for her. In a similar way man can grow in the friendship of God. As his love of God grows he is willing to give more of himself for and to God. He begins to think more of God than of himself. He is more likely to do things for God than for himself. The intensity of his love for God grows within him until he is ready to give even his life for God. We might state it simply by saying that the intensity of his love for God grows stronger and stronger and becomes more and more likely to burst forth into acts of love of God.
Every new act of love of God will at least dispose a man to an increase in his love for God. Love actually increases only when it becomes more fervent. A man may be friendly with a woman top the extent of taking her out to dinner and a dance. And the more often he does so, the more likely he is to come to love her more ardently. But his love of her does not actually increase until he loves her enough to introduce her to his family, or to ask her to marry him, or to marry her and share his whole life with her. Si it is with man's love for God. Every act of love will dispose man to love God more. But only a more fervent act of love of God will actually increase his love of God.
In this life the love of man for God is always capable of growth. Charity is a share of God's own love, which is infinite. it is therefore always capable of further growth. Its growth depends on the goodness and power of God which are infinite. And as charity grows in a man through the divine power, so does man's ability to receive a further increase in his love of God.
Since God is infinitely lovable in Himself, no man can ever love God as much as God ought to be loved. God alone can love Himself infinitely. But man's love for God can be perfect when man loves God as much as he can. This can happens in three ways. A man may love God with the entire devotion of his heart or will. He thinks always of God. He is always actually loving God. This is the perfection of love for God which is found in the Saints in Heaven. In this present life man cannot love God with such an entire devotion. The need for working or eating or sleeping and so on prevent a man from giving his whole attention to God. But even in this present life a man can try to give to God all the love and attention that are not needed for for the necessities of daily living. This perfection of love is possible for man but not common among men. Lastly a man can give his whole heart habitually to God, that is he will never think or desire anything contrary to the love of God. He may not be thinking of God as much as he could, but he never does anything that would destroy his love for God.


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In this life charity is a way to God.

Charity is man's friendship with God based on man's share in the Divine Life, in the happiness of God Himself. But man cannot naturally share in God's own life. Man's participation in the Divine Life is a free supernatural gift which God gives to man. Charity then cannot be  acquired by any purely human effort. It is a gift of God infused in man's soul by God's goodness and generosity. Charity, like the other theological virtues, is a supernatural virtue infused in the will by God Himself. Who can give man a share in the Divine Love except God Himself?

Like all gifts it is measured by the generosity of the giver. God gives charity to men according to His own will.  Since charity is a free gift from God to man, no man can say that his own natural virtues or perfections demand a greater share in God's love than the virtues of other men. As St Paul says, "To every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the giving of Christ" (Eph. IV, 7). The degree of charity - the love of friendship for God - depends not on man or his natural virtue but on God's generosity.

But as long as man is in the present world his friendship with God can increase. As long as man has not yet reached that ultimate union with God which is found in the vision of God, he can always approach nearer to God. In this life charity is a way to God. Hence a man's friendship with God can increase. 


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Monday, June 09, 2008

Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque His wish for her to order a picture of the image of His Sacred Heart for people specifically to venerate and have in their homes and also small pictures to carry with them. St. Margaret Mary always kept a Sacred Heart badge with her and inspired her novices to do the same. She made many badges and often said this practice was very pleasing to the Sacred Heart.

The popularity of the Badge increased suddenly due to a very dramatic event in the city of Marseilles in France. In the year 1720, about thirty years after the death of St. Margaret Mary, Marseilles was ravaged by the plague. About one thousand persons died each day from the disease. Fear had reached near panic proportions. The Bishop of Marseilles asked the nuns of the city to make thousands of Sacred Heart Badges similar to the kind used by St. Margaret Mary and her friends. When the Badges were ready, the Bishop led a procession to the center of the city. There he consecrated Marseilles to the Sacred Heart, and everybody present put on a Sacred Heart Badge. From that moment not one new case of the plague was reported.

In 1870 a Roman lady, wishing to know the opinion of the Holy Father Pius IX about the Badge of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, presented him with one. Touched by the sight of this "emblem of salvation", the Pope approved the devotion forever and said: "This, Madam, this is an inspiration from Heaven. Yes, from Heaven." Blessed Pope Pius IX granted in 1872 an indulgence of 500 days once a day to all the faithful who wear around their neck this pious emblem and recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be to the Father. The Badge is a reminder of reparation by which we accept with love and faith our share in the sufferings of Christ. Thus we cooperate more closely with Christ in the vital work of the redemption of mankind by accepting the obligations of God's commandments, by our fidelity to the daily tasks of our state in life, by the patient acceptance of the trials, disappointments, and crosses thrust upon us each day. Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary: "Those who propagate devotion to His Sacred Heart shall have their names written in My Heart never to be blotted out." Our Dear Savior also revealed to Mother Rafols, who belonged to the mother house of the Sacred Heart in Saragoza, Spain (19th century): "To those who devoutly wear the image of His Sacred Heart, He promised great graces and special protection at the hour of their death." He said in time to come, many souls would propagate the Devotion to His Sacred Heart.

A beautiful prayer composed by Blessed Pope Pius IX:
"Open Thy Sacred Heart O Jesus! Show me its beauty and unite me with It forever. May the throbbing in all the movement of my heart, even during sleep, be a testimony of my love and tell Thee unceasingly: Yes Lord!I adore Thee ... accept my poor little actions ... grant me the grace of repairing evil done ... so that I may praise Thee in time and bless Thee for all eternity."

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Saturday - Day of Our Lady

The Blessed Virgin speaks to St Bridget of Sweden about the Immaculate Conception and the Birth.

And it is true that I was conceived without original sin, and not in sin; becasue my Son and I never sinned, so no marriage was more holy than that from which I was born (Lib. vi, c.49). A golden hour was my conception, for then began the priciple of the salvation of all, and darkness hastened to light. God wishes to do in His work something singular and hidden from the world, as He did in the dry rod blooming. But know that my conception was not known to all, because God wished that as the natural law and the voluntary election of good and bad preceded the written law, and the written law followed, restraining all inordinate notions, so it pleased God, that His friends should piously doubt of my conception, and that each should show his zeal till the truth become clear in its preordained time (Lib. vi, c. 55).

When I was born, it was not unknown to the demons, but speaking by a certain similitude, they thus thought: 'So a certain virgin is born, what shall we do? For it is evident that something wonderful is to take place in her. If we throw around her all the nets of malice, she will burst like a tow. If we examine all her heart, it is defended by a strong garrison. There is no spot in her for a spear to touch. Therefore, we may fear lest her purity be our torture. Her grace will crush all our strength; her constancy prostrate us beneath her feet.' But the friends of God, who were in long expectation, said by divine inspiration: 'Why grieve more? We should rather rejoice, for the light is born that is to dispel our darkness, and our desire shall be accomplished.' And the angels of God rejoiced, although their joy was always in the vision of God, saying: 'Something desirable is born on earth, and especially beloved by God, whereby true peace shall be restored to Heaven and earth, and our looses shall be made up.' Indeed, daughter, I assure thee, that my birth was the opening of true joy; for then came forth the rod from which that flower proceeded, whom kings and prophets desired. And when I had attained an age to know something of my Creator, then I turned to Him with my whole heart.

I was also preserved by wonderful grace, so that not even in my tender years did I consent to sin, because the love of God and my parents' care, good education, the preservation of good, and fervor of knowing God preserved with me. (Lib. vi, c.56). I am she, who from eternity have been in the love of God, and from my infancy the Holy Ghost was perfectly with me. And you may take an example from a nut, which, when grows exteriorly, increases in the interior, so that the shell is always full and there is no space to receive aught else. So I, from my childhood, was full of the Holy Ghost, and according to the increase of my body and age, the Holy Ghost filled me so copiously as to leave no room for the entrance of any sin. Hence I never committed a mortal or venial sin, for I was so ardent in the love of God, that nothing was pleasing to me except the perfect will of God; for the fire of divine love was enkindled in my soul, and God, blessed above all, who created me by His power, and filled me with the virtue of the Holy Ghost, had an ardent love for me. (Lib. iii, c.8).

credits: text from the book "Revelations of St Bridget on the Life and Passion of Our Lord and the Life of His Blessed Mother" TAN Books.
The upper picture portrayes Our Lady as the Immaculate Conception as a young maiden prior to the Incarnation as seen in the XVI century French Book of Hours. She is accordingly depicted there surrounded by her chief biblical emblems. At the top God pronounces the words from the Canticle of Canticles: "Thou art all fair my love, and there is no spot in thee." Surrounding the Blessed Virgin are her emblems and the biblical phrases, in medieval Latin, which they depict: Bright as the sun . . . fair as the moon . . . gate of heaven . . . star of the sea . . a lily among thorns . . . exalted cedar . . . rose plant . . . tower of David . . . fair olive tree . . well of living waters . . . blossoming rod of Jesse . . . spotless mirror . . . fountain of gardens . . . garden enclosed, and city of God.. To read more on the subject of Immaculate Conception and Birth of Our Lady please follow the link The History of the Liturgical Celebration of Mary's Birth"

The lower picture represents Saint Bridget of Sweden.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Friendship with God

Charity is more excellent than all other virtues because it is not self-seeking.


Since God is both infinite and simple, His love for Himself is identical with Himself. It is therefore infinite - a boundless ocean of love, a limitless uncreated fire of love embracing forever the supreme goodness which is God. Charity - man's share in this infinite love - is a created gift. It is a created, limited participation in divine love. Because man is a creature because his will is created will, he cannot love God with that same infinite love with which God love Himself. But through charity he can love God as God loves Himself, that is, he can possess God as the source of infinite happiness, he can possess God as He is in Himself, as the supreme
Good. 

Charity is a virtue whose rule or measure is God Himself as the supreme Good. It unites man to God Himself as the supreme Good. It is a virtue distinct from from all other virtues because its object is God Himself considered as the object of eternal happiness. It is more excellent than all other virtues because it is not self-seeking. It rests in God simply because He is God, the supreme Good. It is more excellent than the moral virtues because they are concerned only with the means that lead man to his goal, whereas charity attains the goal itself, God as He is Himself. It is more excellent than the theological virtues of faith and hope because faith and hope attain God in so far as we derive from Him the knowledge of truth or the assurance of happiness, whereas charity attains God to rest in Him without any thought or desire for personal gain or advantage.

Moreover, since charity attains God precisely as the goal of man, no other virtue can be truly perfect unless its acts are directed by charity to the ultimate goal of all human activity, God as He is in Himself. Human acts of prudence or justice or even of faith or hope do not lead man to his ultimate goal unless they are directed to that goal by charity which unites man to God, the goal of all human act.

Because the object of charity is God considered as the goal or end of human life, charity is a virtue of the will. It is the will which seeks goals, above all the ultimate goal of all human activity. Charity then, which unites man to the ultimate goal, must be a virtue of the rational appetite, or will of man.

Picture credit: 'Good Samaritan' by J.F. Millet, National Museum of Wales

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD

I thought, this month posting should be concentrated on the virtue of charity in compliance with June as the Month of Sacred Heart of Jesus. Therefore, I invite all who like to read this blog to meditate with me on fragments from one chapter of the little book entitled  'My Way of Life'. This is the pocket edition of St Thomas 'The Summa Simplified for Everyone' and lovely little book indeed - I hope it will serve the purpose nicely. 

Did you ever received a package wrapped in gaily coloured paper and tied with bright ribbons and marked "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL CHRISTMAS"? Do you remember the thrill of happiness you felt as you recognized the name of the sender inscribed in the upper left corner of the package? the name someone you loved, of someone who loved you ? Can you recall your heart's delight as it floated along on clouds of mystery, wondering what was in the package? Or, if you thought you knew, how heart rejoiced in this proof of someone's love for you! With what eager but certain anticipation you treasured the gift until Christmas day when you could strip away the mysterious wrappings and really see the wonderful thing that love had brought you!
The virtue of charity is like a Christmas gift of this kind. It is a proof of God's love for you. It is the foundation of your love for God. It brings you God Himself. But, as long as you are still in this present life, it brings you God wrapped up in the paper and ribbons of faith and marked "Not to be opened until eternity".
Charity brings God to man because it is man's friendship with God. Like all friendship it is a love of benevolence, that is, it is an unselfish love. Charity loves God for Himself. It does not seek any selfish gain or advantage. It rests in God as the supreme Good. Again, like all friendships, charity is based on a community of interests or of living. Through charity  God gives to man a share in the Divine Life, and, therefore, a share of happiness. God's happiness is His love of His own infinite goodness and perfection. Charity brings man's share in God's own happiness. As God is happy in the love of Himself, so man is happy when he shares in that love through charity.
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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Heart of Jesus, wounded for love of us!

"The designs of his Heart stand firm, generation after generation." (Introit.)

Christ's love embraces all men and all ages. When He hung, dead, upon the Cross "one of the soldiers opened His side with a spear; and immediately blood and water flowed out." (John 19, 34). He set His heart as e seal upon His life, His Passion, and His death, as a symbol for all time, telling us that love was the native of all his actions, all his sufferings. The Heart is, so to speak, the kernel, the centre of man's life; in it we find his spiritual personality. Do we not say that we have something at heart, meaning that we love it; or that we take something to heart, and suffer for it? The centre of Christ's being is His love...His humano-divine charity. The divine love of the Son, like in that, as in all things, to the Father, has become incarnate in his human love.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy upon us!
The God-made-man, who gave His life for us upon the Cross and allowed his Heart to be opened, is, as He Himself tells us, the image of His Father: "Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father." (John 14:9). The full meaning of St. John's word - "God is love" (1John 4:8) - is revealed to us through the door that was opened in the Sacred Heart. Because He is God, the Incarnate Word is also love; His Heart reveals, not His love only, but that of the Father who "so loved the world, that He gave up His only-begotten Son" (John 3:16), whose heart He permitted to be opened, thus manifesting to all, not the love of the Son only, but His own paternal love. Because the love of the Father is shown in the Heart of the Son, the Holy Ghost, their mutual love, is also poured into our hearts, and we become one with the Trinity.
Heart of Jesus, King and centre of all hearts, be ever the centre of mine!
Heart of Jesus, in which are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, teach me to what heights the love of God has raised me!
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Divinity, make of my heart God's temple and the tabernacle of the most High!
In the vespers hymn for the feast, the liturgy bids us sing:
"To Thee, O Christ, all glory be,
From out whose Heart all grace doth flow."
"Qui corde fundis gratiam" - words which form part of the doxology, and are repeated at every Hour. Grace flow from it by the sevenfold stream of the Sacraments; it is also from that divine Heart that the Church, his chaste Bride, draws her life. The Master Himself had prophesied that living waters, waters of Baptism, would flow from His side, making of men the members of His Church. At Matins, the Heart of Christ is spoken of as well, from which
"Nations, putting trust above,
Draw pardon from this Fount divine."
Isaias promised his people: "Rejoicing, you shall drink deep of the fountain of deliverance." (Verse and response at Lauds). "Jesus stood....and cried aloud, If any man is thirsty, let him come to me, and drink." (John 7:37). What a privilage is ours! We worship a God who is love and whom we adore in a Heart as holy as it is loving. But we must never forget that love demands but one return - love! When we repeat the ejaculatory prayer: "Heart of Jesus, make my heart like unto thine" - may our intention be that thereby we may love him better! All praise to the Heart which brought us salvation! To him be honour and glory through all eternity!

After "With the Church" meditations on topics from Missal and Breviary - edited by Fr M. Goosens OFM

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