Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Spirit of Christ - click to read meditation






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Saturday, May 30, 2009

St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi about Our Lady - click to read


Our Lady of Mt Carmel statue from the Carmelite Church of Buen Suceso, Seville, Spain.




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Friday, May 29, 2009

St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, Virgin, Carmelite (1566-1607)

Spiritual Bouquet:
Blessed are those servants whom the master, on his return, shall find watching. St. Luke 12:37


Saint Mary Magdalene of Pazzi was the only daughter of the illustrious Camille de Pazzi, related to the Medicis of Florence. She was born in the year 1566, and was baptized with the name of Catherine. As a child she loved to go into solitary places to enter into prayer with God, who revealed Himself to her from her tender years without the aid of teachers, as her Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. She made a crown of thorns one day, and wore it for an entire night, enduring great pain. She received her First Communion at ten years of age; at twelve years, she made a vow of virginity and took great pleasure in teaching Christian doctrine to poor children.
Her father, not knowing of her vow, wished to give her in marriage, but she persuaded him to allow her to become a religious, and chose the Carmelites, because there the nuns received Communion frequently. She entered in the year of the death of Saint Teresa of Avila, 1582, at the age of sixteen. It had been more difficult to obtain her mother’s consent; while she was a novice, her mother sent a portrait artist to the convent, with instructions that her daughter be portrayed in lay clothing. The Sisters complied with her request, and the portrait can still be seen in the Convent. She became professed at eighteen years of age in the Carmelite monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence, May 17, 1584, Feast of the Holy Trinity. She changed her name of Catherine to that of Mary Magdalene on becoming a nun, and took as her motto, “Either suffer or die.”

Her life thereafter was one of penance for sins not her own, and of love for Our Lord, who tried her in ways fearful and strange. She was obedient, observant of the Rule, humble and mortified, and had great reverence for the religious life. One day, when she seemed to be at the last hour of her life, she rose from her sickbed and hastened everywhere throughout the convent, saying during her ecstasy, “O Love! O Love! No one knows You, no one knows You, no one loves You!” For five years she was tormented by demons with fearful temptations of pride, sensuality, gluttony, despair, blasphemy; they became so violent that she said, “I do not know whether I am a reasonable creature or one without reason; I see nothing in myself but a little good will never to offend the divine Majesty.”

God raised her to elevated states of prayer and gave her rare gifts, enabling her to read the thoughts of her novices, and filling her with wisdom to direct them. She was twice chosen mistress of novices, and then made Superior. On her deathbed she asked her Sisters to love only Our Lord Jesus Christ, to place all hope in Him, and be perpetually ardent with desire to suffer for love of Him. God took her to Himself on May 15, 1607. Her body remains incorrupt.

Reflection.
Saint Mary Magdalene of Pazzi was so filled with the love of God that her Sisters saw it in her love for them, and called her “Mother of Charity,” and “the Charity of the Monastery.”


Her incorruptible body lies in a beautiful glass casket in the Carmelite Monastery of St Maria degli Angeli, Florence

credit: www.magnificat.ca





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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Week of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi - click to read






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Monday, May 25, 2009

Feast of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi - click to read


"Holy Spirit, I see You coming down into the soul like the sun which, finding no obstacle, no impediment, illumines everything; I see You descending like a fiery thunderbolt which, in falling, goes up to the lowest place it finds and there it reposes, never stopping on the way nor resting on the mountainous or high places but rather in the center of the earth. Thus You, O Holy Spirit, when You come down from heaven with the fiery dart of Your divine love, You do not repose in proud hearts or in arrogant spirits, but You make Your abode in souls that are humble and contemptible in their own eyes" (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).






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Preparation for pentecost - from OLRL


Why is the Holy Ghost called the Paraclete?
Through the apostles and disciples whom He made so eloquent and so courageous that they intrepidly professed and preached Christ to be the Son of God, and the true Messiah. This doctrine He confirmed by astounding miracles, and sealed it by their blood which they shed in its defense The Holy Ghost still gives testimony of Christ through the Church, that is, the clergy, through whom He speaks, and who must, therefore, be listened to reverently. We must also give testimony of Christ and profess by our lives, by patience in crosses and afflictions that He is our Teacher, our Lord, and our God; for if we do not thus acknowledge Him in this world He will deny us before His Father in heaven. (Matt 10: 33)

Did the Jews sin in persecuting and putting to death the apostles?
Undoubtedly; for although they erroneously believed they were doing God a service, their ignorance and error were very sinful and deserving of punishment, because they could easily have known and been instructed in the truth.

Those Christians who neglect all religious instruction hardly know what is necessary for salvation, and make light of many things which are grievous sins; as also those who are in doubt whether they justly or unjustly possess certain goods, and yet through fear of being compelled to make restitution, neglect to settle the doubts such are in culpable ignorance.

What must every Christian know and believe in order to be saved?
That there is but one God, who has created and governs all things; that God is a just judge, who rewards the good and punishes the wicked; that there are in the Deity three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; that the Son of God became man for love of us, taught us, and by His death on the cross redeemed us; that the Holy Ghost sanctifies us by His grace, without which we cannot become virtuous or be saved; that man's soul is immortal.

PETITION
Send us, O Lord Jesus ! the Paraclete, that He may console and strengthen us in all our afflictions. Enlighten us by Thy Holy Spirit that we may learn and live in accordance with the truths of faith. Amen.

INSTRUCTION ON SCANDAL
These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. (John 16:1)

How is scandal given?
By speaking, doing or omitting that which will be, to others an occasion, of sin: Scandal is given in different ways, for instance: if you dress improperly, speak improper words, or sing bad songs; by which you can see, that your neighbor will be tempted to think, desire or act wrongly; or what is worse, if you act sinfully, in the presence of, others, or bring bad books, books against good morals, or against the holy faith, among people; if you incite others to anger, cursing, and vengeance, or if you prevent them from attending church, the sermon, or catechetical instruction, etc. In all these things you become guilty of scandal, as well as of all the sins to which it gives rise.

If at the Last judgment we will be unable to give an account of our own sins, how, then can we answer for the innumerable sins caused by, he scandal we have given? Therefore Christ pronounces a terrible, woe upon those who give scandal. Woe to that man, He says, by whom the scandal cometh! It were better for him, that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matt. 18)

How do parents give scandal?
By giving their children bad example; by excessive anger, cursing and swearing; by avarice, injustice and cheating; by discord and quarrels; by gluttony in eating and drinking; by extravagance and vanity in dress; by sneering at religion, good morals, etc.; by not keeping their children from evil company, but sometimes even bringing them into it; by not punishing and endeavoring to eradicate their children's vices. How much parents sin, through such scandals, cannot be expressed; at the Day of judgment their children will be their accusers!

How do masters give scandal to their servants and those under their care?
In the same way as parents do to their children; by keeping them away from, or not urging them by their own example or command to attend church on Sundays and holy-days; by giving them meat on fast-days; by commanding them to do sinful things, such as stealing, injuring others, etc.

INSTRUCTION ON PREPARATION FOR PENTECOST

1). We should withdraw, after the example of the Blessed Virgin and the apostles, to some solitary place, or at least avoid, intercourse with others, as much as possible; speak but little, and apply ourselves to earnest and persevering prayer; for in solitude God speaks to man.

2). We should purify our conscience by a contrite confession, become reconciled to our neighbor, if we have lived in enmity; for the Holy Ghost, as a spirit of peace and purity, lives only in pure and peaceful souls. (Ps. 75: 3)

3). We should give alms according to our means, for it is said in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 10) of the Gentile centurion Cornelius, that by prayer and alms-deeds he made himself worthy of the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

4). We should fervently desire to receive the Holy Ghost, and should give expression to this longing by frequent aspirations to God, making use of the prayer: "Come, O Holy Ghost, etc."

From the classic, Fr Goffine "The Church's Year"



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The Holy Spirit - click to read meditation






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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday After Ascension

From homily of St. Augustine on the Ascension of Our Lord

The resurrection of the Lord is our hope ; the Ascension of the Lord is our glorification. Today we are keeping the Feast of the Ascension. If, therefore, we are to celebrate this holy day right fittingly, faithfully, devoutly, and in a holy and religious manner, we must in mind likewise ascend, and lift up our hearts, unto the Lord. When we ascend we must not be high-minded, nor flatter ourselves with our good works, as though they were our own. Rather, we must lift up our hearts unto the Lord. When man's heart is lifted up, but not unto the Lord, such lifting up is pride ; to lift up the heart unto the Lord, is to make the Most High our Refuge. Behold, my brethren, a great wonder. God is high, but if thou art lifted up he fleeth from thee ; whereas, if thou humblest thyself , he cometh down to thee. Wherefore? The Lord is high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly ; as for the proud he beholdeth them afar off. To the lowly he hath respect, that he may raise them up ; the proud he knoweth from afar, that he may thrust them down. Christ arose again, to give us hope that this mortal will yet put on immortality. Thereby he hath given us a sure and certain hope, so that no one need die in despair, in the thought that death endeth life. For mankind hath ever been troubled about the future of the soul after death ; but Christ, arising from the grave hath even assured us as to the resurrection of the body also. Believe therefore, that thou mayest be cleansed and made pure. First it behoveth thee to believe, that afterwards by faith thou mayest attain to see God. And wouldest thou see God? Give ear to his own words : Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Think first, then, how to purify thine heart ; take from it whatsoever thou seest in it which displeaseth God.




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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fr Norman Weslin arrested for anti-abortion protest



I am sure many of you have already seen this video, it is very moving to see elderly priest who peacefully protest abortion arrested and humiliated. What is the world we live in, and what kind of message this arrest gives?




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Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta excerpts from the interview - click to read




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Mary's Prayer - click to read






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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Feast of Ascension - click to read



"And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water: but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel? But he said to them: It is not for you to know the time or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power: But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come as you have seen him going into heaven."-Acts 1:4-11



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Ascension Novena - click to read


"And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water: but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel? But he said to them: It is not for you to know the time or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power: But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come as you have seen him going into heaven."-Acts 1:4-11





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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rogation Days

"Ask, and you shall receive; that your joy may be full." (John 16:24)

These are another words of Jesus referring to the efficacy of prayers offered in His name. Let us think carefully about these words. For God, priority prayers are always those referring to our spiritual progress, such as petitions for strength to overcome faults, imperfections and habitual sins that may separate us from Him. Equally important are prayers for help to overcome passions, for guidance and light in doubts, for grace to overcome laziness, sloth, for patience and resignation in trials, for spiritual progress and increase in virtues. Only after these petitions come those for temporal favours such as good health, successful and profitable jobs, good and happy marriage, long life etc. Although praying for temporal favours is well justified, however, we can re-consider our priorities and remember to ask first for spiritual needs: "Not in bread alone doth man live" (Matt 4:4). Wellbeing of the soul should be our priority for eternity is our ultimate end. Our Lord has given us instruction on well structured prayer. We address God as our dearest and loving Father with affectionate words of first petition: "Our Father, hallowed be Thy Name!" - followed by second and third petitions: "Thy Kingdom come!" "Thy will be done". Now comes petition for our temporal needs: "Give us this day our daily bread". In the Litany of the Saints, we first petition God to spare us from every evil, sin, God's wrath, deception, from sudden and unprovided death and these petitions are followed by prayer for deliverance from thunderstorms, lightnings, hunger and war. In our prayers we should be always careful to ask for first for: "the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt 6:33)





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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Feast of St Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury - Golden Legend story of his life - clik to read






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Rogation Days

"Hitherto, you have not asked any thing in my name. Ask, and you shall receive; that your joy may be full "(John 16:24).

What does it mean to pray in the name of Jesus? It means praying with confidence based on our Lord's infinite merits. Why we should pray in the name of Jesus? We pray to God asking for favours, blessings, graces and it is very good and right way to present our needs to Him, Who mercifully provide for all our needs and on Whom depends our very existence for He sustains all. Therefore we address our petitions to the Almighty and omnipotent God and needless to say we cannot even comprehend His real Power and Might. We are but dust. We can ever have enough confidence to ask for favours from all powerful God, offering Him in return our own good works and merits, even of the greatest value in our own eyes? It might happen that they are not enough to win His attention and compassion. God is our Benefactor, therefore, we need to make sure our petition might be pleasing to Him even when offered with the utmost humility of a beggar: "The prayer of him that humbleth himself, shall pierce the clouds" (Ecclesiasticus 35:21). Prayer of supplication offered with humility and supported by infinite merits of our Lord can be pleasing and acceptable to God. This is based on His own words referring to Christ: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt 3:17). In Old Testament tradition, prayers were always offered supported by the merits of Patriarchs and Prophets - Moses prayed for Israelites who had fallen into idolatry in this way: "Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants" (Exodus 32:13). His petition was granted: "And the Lord was appeased from doing the evil which he had spoken against his people" (Exodus 32:14). The merits of God's only Son are infinite and of much more value than all the merits of Prophets and Patriarch of Old Testament (Matt 3:17). For this reason the prayers of the Church are always offered "through Christ, Our Lord". This is the best way to pray to the Father (John 16:24) and again recommended by St Paul: "He that spared not even his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath he not also, with him, given us all things?" (Rom 8:32)







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Monday, May 18, 2009

Rogation Days

"Amen, amen I say to you: if you ask the Father any thing in my name, he will give it you". (John 16:23)

We are just about to enter Rogation Days that are traditionally committed to the prayers of petition to Jesus in hope He may take and present them in Heaven to the Father on our behalf. We can also have a good chance now to reflect on our own prayer life. Do we like to pray? Do we always remember to say our morning and evening prayers, graces before and after meal? Are we praying with humility and zeal? We can join the prayers of the Church during Rogation Days for our own particular needs or the needs of those we love: "Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone? Or if he shall ask him a fish, will he reach him a serpent? "(Matthew 7:7-10). In this time of the year all nature around us come to life, the fields and gardens become beautifully green and colourful. But at any time, the young crops may be destroyed by thunderstorms and hurricanes. Traditionally, the petition prayer of Rogation days was the Litany of the Saints to be prayed once a day up to the Feast of Ascension: "From lightning and tempest, Lord save your people, From the scourge of earthquake, Lord, save your people, From plague, famine, and war, Lord, save your people, and Give and preserve the fruits of the earth, Lord, hear our prayer!" (Litany of Saints). It was Bishop Mamertus of Vienna who initiated the solemn procession with prayers during terrible famine that affected the town of Vienna. Needless to say, the petition was granted and Vienna was saved.
Since then, on three days before Our Lord's Ascension the faithful pray to the Lord not only for the protection of crops but for any temporal or spiritual needs. Our forefathers always took refuge in prayers and with so very good results! Sometimes we give up hope to quickly, thinking: "let then happen what is inevitable!". But God has given us promise of help in every need if we pray for His assistance. Sadly, nowadays, many Catholics depend more on themselves than on Divine help and they seem to have not sufficient trust in God. In fact, they are over-confident in times of prosperity and peace but turn into wrecks overwhelmed with self-pity in times of danger and misfortune. We think too little about God, we just have no time for prayers, we are too absorbed and busy with everyday life. However, how many calamities, misfortunes and natural disasters could be prevented by prayers, as the prophet said: "Behold the hand of the Lord is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear" (Isaias 59:1).



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Saturday, May 16, 2009

FIFTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR - EFFICACIOUS PRAYER

Very encouraging words found in the "Explanation of Lord's Prayer" to meditate upon: "We cannot, indeed be entirely free from temptations in this world, they are even necessary and useful for our salvation: for without temptation there is no combat, without combat no victory and without victory no crown."

credit: painting is by Nicolaes Maes "Old woman at prayer" - Amsterdam Museum




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THE DEVOTION OF THE 'THREE HAIL MARYS' - history and Novena prayers


Our Lady of Mt Carmel with the Child - beautiful statue in the series of Spanish style sacral art.

Practiced and Recommended
Many great saints have practiced and recommended the devotion of the "Three Hail Mary". Here are the names of but a few of them: St. Leonard of Port Maurice, St. Bruno, St. Bonaventure, St. John Berchmans, St. John Baptist Mary Vianney (Cure of Ars), St. Anthony of Lisbon and of Padua, St. Stanislaus Kostka, St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, St. John Joseph of the Cross, St. John Baptist de Rossi, St. Gerard Majella, St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Blessed Marcellinus Champagnat, and, above all, the great Marian doctor St. Alphonsus Liguori who, in his writings recommended this devotion about twenty times. As a result, this devotion has been spreading, and we are reminded of it in many ways: at shrines, in churches and chapels, through association and sodalities, through novenas, pictures, statues and medals, and especially by the innumerable graces and favors received through the practice of this devotion. No doubt, one day in the near future, it will be numbered among the universally-known important Marian devotions. Moreover, various Popes have indicated that they favor this devotion and Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X have granted special indulgences for the practice of this devotion. Since 1095, Urban II at the Council of Clermont have proposed it as a means for obtaining the triumph of the Church; while Leo XIII and St. Pius X have ordered its recitation after the Mass for the same intention, that is why the "Three Hail Marys" were recited after the Low Masses before the Liturgical Reform. St. Pius X was convinced that this devotion will save Mexico, and so he recommended all the faithful to practice it.

Innumerable Fruits
"Astonishing conversions, increase in virtues, cure of the sick, temptations conquered, business difficulties solved, holy death.and salvation." - the promise made by the Blessed Virgin to St. Mathilda.
The "Three Hail Marys", are in the words of St Alphonsus Maria Liquori: "the best safeguard for chastity" This statement was recorded and attributed to St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori by St. Pius X; "that it is true, has been confirmed by our experiences as well as those of many missionaries" (according to Frassinetti). Even the number of graces and favors obtained through the practice of this devotion show us just how pleasing it is to the Blessed Virgin Mary.



Devotion for Everyone
This devotion is suitable for everyone: For sinners, it is a classic example of a devotion approved especially for them by the Church. Even if the complete renewal in our way of life does not occur immediately, at least a great change for the better will be noted. Our faithful perseverance in this practice will succeed in obtaining the complete change, sooner or later, through Our lady's intercession - this is what St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori wrote about this devotion. Of course, it is understood that the person who is praying for the favor -- even if he/she be a great sinner -- must have pure intentions and good will, and pray with great attention, fervor and constancy. For those who progress in spiritual life, the "Three Hail Marys" are powerful arms against temptations, especially those against purity. "From my wide experience, I know that boys and girls who faithfully honor Mary, do not usually commit serious sins" (Frassinetti). And this devotion is really very easily practiced, for its very brevity makes it suitable for everyone, however busy they may be, since it does not even take one minute to pray the "Three Hail Marys". To say the prayer takes around 40 seconds, therefore, of the 1,440 minutes in each day, are we unable to devote about one minute and half per day to reciting the "Three Hail Marys" in the morning and at night in order that we may obtain our eternal salvation?!

How to Pray the "Three Hail Marys"
Although the devotion of the "Three Hail Marys" is very easy, there are certain conditions which we should observe:
1. Our intentions must be pure, and we must have good will.
2. We must pray with attention, fervor and constancy.
3. With each "Hail Mary", we must have the intention of honoring one of the three privileges granted by the Blessed Trinity to the Blessed Virgin Mary: POWER, WISDOM and MERCY.
4. Since the main aim of these "Three Hail Marys" is our sanctification and salvation, we should add one of the ejaculations which recall this aim. Some of them had been recommended and indulgenced by Leo XIII or by St. Pius X.

Here are some examples:
a) "Mary, my Mother, keep me free from mortal sin during this day" or "during this night" (as the case may be).
b) "O Mary, by your Immaculate Conception, keep my body pure and my soul holy."
c) "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee and also for those who do not have recourse to thee, especially for the enemies of the Church."

Its Effectiveness
Here is the personal testimony of a sinner who used the devotion with good results: "For the last three years, I have been the slave of a bad habit against the virtue of purity. How could I get rid of this terrible passion? I tried every means available, but all proved useless. I used to give in to very serious sins and even to sacrileges. This was most disheartening. "Then, one day, someone recommended to me the devotion of the "Three Hail Marys". And now, it is not yet quite one month since I started to pray the "Three Hail Marys" every morning and every night without fail. I cannot explain what has happened within me, but I do know and can assure you that, since the very first moment, it has produced wonderful results within me: I have not succumbed to the impure temptations since then. When I have been weak and just about ready to succumb, something or another has happened which has stopped me from giving in; and, indeed, I do know that it was something stronger than my desire of sinning."

Fatal Delay in Explaining
Although the recitation of the "Three Hail Marys" was recommended after Low Masses, at the beginning of each Rosary, etc., the importance of this devotion was not explained to the faithful on a wide scale. Therefore, most Catholics did not know its meaning or its importance, and so, they did not pray them with the proper dispositions. As a result, anti-Christian forces -- like Atheism, Communism, etc. -- have been able to organize secret societies to attack the Church. Let us hasten to start practicing this devotion of the "Three Hail Marys" every morning and every night! Let us not put it off till tomorrow! Moreover, let us introduce this devotion to our friends and relations and urge them to recite the "Three Hail Marys" daily, every morning and every night! Through the practice of this simple devotion we may be led to study the Message of Fatima in greater detail, and so we may lead a life of greater prayer, sacrifice and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The suppression of the anti-Christian doctrines, the conversion of sinners and of Russia, and, above all, peace in the world depends on our obtaining the necessary graces from God through our prayers and sacrifices!

Efficient novena of the Three Hail Mary

I – Oh Mary, Powerful Virgin, Virgo Potens, You to whom nothing is impossible... * ,by this same power that gratified You the Powerful Father, I conjures you, attend me in the necessity where I find me. Therefore that You, you only can help me, you do not abandon me, oh You who you are the lawyer of the most desperate causes! It seems - me that the Glory of God, Your Honour and the good of my soul are on to the concession of this favour. If, therefore, as I think, it is in agreement to most nice and most holly will of God, I conjure You, oh Most Powerfull Petitioner, Omnipotentia Suplex, intercede for me next to Your Son who nothing can refuse You. I ask you, on behalf of the Power without limits that the Celestial Father communicated You, and in honour of which I say You, in union with saint Matilde, to whom You disclosed the practical very salutary of the Three Hail Mary. – Hail Mary…

II - Divine Wisdom, that you are called the Throne the Wisdom, Sede Sapientiae, because the non created Wisdom, the Verb of God, inhabited in You... You to whom this adorable Son communicated all the extension of Its Divine Science, in the measure where the most perfect creature could receive it... You know the largeness of my misery and how much necessity I have of Your assistance. Trusted in Your Divine Wisdom, I abandon me entirely between Your hands, so that You do everything, with force and tenderness, for the biggest Glory of God and greater well of my soul. Please therefore, to come in my aid, for the ways that You know to be most proper to reach this end. Oh Mary, Mother of the Divine Wisdom, I request You, to get - me the precious favour that I request; I ask for in the same name of this incomparable Wisdom of that the Verb, Your Son, illuminated You, and in honour of which I say to You, in union with Saint Anthony of Lisbon and Saint Leonard of Porto Maurício, the most zealous preachers of Yours Three Hail Mary. – Hail Mary...

III – Oh good, oh tender Mother, true Mother of Mercy, Mater Misericordiae, that in these last times you called Yourself "Mother All Merciful one", I come to request - that you use with me of Your compassionate Goodness. Greater is my misery, but it must excite Your compassion. I know, I by no means do not deserve the precious favour that desire, I who I have You as many times saddened offending Your Son. But if I have been guilty, very guilty, I sincerely repent myself having wounded the so tender Heart of Jesus and Yours. Moreover, you are not You, as you said to Saint Brigit, "the Mother of the sorry sinful people"? You pardon - me, therefore, my passed ingratitude, and considering only Your Merciful Goodness and the Glory that of this will result for God and You, you get - me from the Divine Mercy the favour that I beg for Your intercession. Oh You to whom nobody ever invoked vainly, "oh Clement, oh Merciful, oh sweet Virgin Mary; the Clemens, the Pia, the Dulcis Virgo Maria "! oh come, come to help me, I conjure You, for this Merciful Goodness that the Holly Spirit filled You for us, and in honour of which I say with Saint Alfonso of Ligory , apostle of Your Mercy and I give it apostle of Your Mercy and the doctor of the Three Hail Mary. – Hail Mary...

In Honor of the Power, Wisdom, and Loving Mercy of the Blessed Virgin Mary
This novena was originally prayed by Franciscans and later developed into Angelus Prayer. Reciting three Hail Marys This as a petition for purity and other virtues is a traditional Roman Catholic devotional practice. It is not to be confused with the Three Hail Marys devotion, invoking the Immaculate Conception, although they are similar and have the same origin. One of the first to practice this and to recommend it was St. Anthony of Padua (1195–1231). His purpose was "to honor the spotless Virginity of Mary and to preserve a perfect purity of mind, heart and body in the midst of the dangers of the world."

According to St. Gertrude (1256–1301), the Blessed Virgin Mary promised the following: "To any soul who faithfully prays the Three Hail Marys I will appear at the hour of death in a splendor of beauty so extraordinary that it will fill the soul with Heavenly consolation."

Later on, St. Leonard of Port Maurice, "had the three Ave Marias recited morning and evening in honor of Mary Immaculate, to obtain the grace of avoiding all mortal sins during the day or and night; moreover, he promised in a special manner eternal salvation to all those who proved constantly faithful to this practice."

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696–1787) adopted this pious practice and highly recommended it. He told parents to train their children to acquire the habit of saying three Hail Marys in the morning and evening. After each Hail Mary, he advice that the following prayer be said: "By thy Immaculate Conception, O Mary, make my body pure and my soul holy."

St. Mechtilde received a private revelation from the Virgin Mary on how the Three Hail Marys honor the three persons of the Blessed Trinity: "The first Hail Mary will be in honor of God the Father, Whose omnipotence raised my soul so high above every other creature that, after God, I have the greatest power in Heaven and on earth. In the hour of your death I will use that power of God the Father to keep any hostile power from you.

"The second Hail Mary will be in honor of God the Son, Who communicated His inscrutable wisdom to me . . . In the hour of your death I will fill your soul with the light of that wisdom so that all the darkness of ignorance and error will be dispelled.

"The third Hail Mary will be in honor of God the Holy Ghost, Who filled my soul with the sweetness of His love and tenderness and mercy . . . In your last hour I will then change the bitterness of death into Divine sweetness and delight."

According to the St. Martha Catholic Church of the Pallottine Fathers, after Night Prayers, "Many Saints have had the practice of adding three "Hail Mary's" here in honor of Mary's purity for the grace of a chaste and holy life." Thus, it has been recommended as a daily practice for people who have received confirmation that they pray the Three Hail Marys for "purity of mind, heart and body" after examination of conscience.

I. Oh, Immaculate Mary, Virgin most Powerful, I beseech thee, through that immense Power which thou hast received from the eternal Father, obtain for me Purity of heart,---Strength to overcome all the enemies of my soul; ---and the special favor I implore in my present necessity.

[Name it.]

Mother most pure! Forsake me not, despise not my prayer, graciously hear me for God's glory, thy honor, and the welfare of my soul.

To obtain this favor I honor thy Power by reciting:

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death.
Amen.

II

Oh Virgin Mary, My Mother, through that ineffable Wisdom bestowed upon thee by the Incarnate Word of God, I humbly beseech thee, obtain for me Meekness and humility of heart;---a perfect knowledge of the Divine Will and strength to accomplish it always.

Oh Mary, Seat of Wisdom; as a tender Mother lead me in the path of Christian Virtue and perfection; enlighten and enable me to do what is most pleasing to thy beloved Son, and obtain my petition.

[Name it.]

To obtain this grace I honor thy Wisdom by reciting:

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death.
Amen.

III

Oh, Mother of Mercy, Mother of penitent sinners, I stand before thee sinful and sorrowful, beseeching thee through the immense Love given to thee by the Holy Spirit for us poor sinners, obtain for me true and perfect contrition for my sins, which I hate and detest with all my heart, because I love God.

Mother most Merciful, help me in my present necessity.

[Name it.]

Turn, then those eyes of Mercy toward us, Oh Clement, Oh Loving oh Sweet Virgin Mary!
To obtain this precious gift, I honor thy Loving Mercy by reciting:

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death.
Amen.

Credit: "Fatima Findings" in 'Cavaleiro da Imaculada' by Fr Nazario SJ

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Serious scientific critiques of the evolution theory presented at Sapienza University Conference - click to read more




Great and encouraging news, the world renown scientists are bringing to light facts and speaking against evolution nonsense.

"Top scientists in the fields of biology, geophysics, geology, genetics, and other disciplines, will present scientific facts against the theory of evolution at Sapienza University’s Pathology Amphitheatre, Umberto Policlinico, in Rome, Italy, on Nov. 3, from 9:30AM to 5:00PM. Admission is free. The scientists who will speak at the Sapienza University conference agree with Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Sir Ernst Chain, who said that evolution was an "hypothesis based on no evidence and irreconcilable with the facts.""

Credit: The Remnant





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Theologian Dr Alice von Hildebrand critical view of Theology of the Body speaker, Christopher West - click to read


Dr Alice von Hildebrandt "criticized his (Christopher West) presentations as irreverent and insensitive to the “tremendous dangers” of concupiscence. Her view are followed by other Catholic authors and theologians such as Mary Shivanandan and Fr. José Granados.

Credit: The Remnant




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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Feast of Our Lady of Fatima - click to read




"My Immaculate Heart will triumph”. What does this mean? The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Saviour into the world—because, thanks to her Yes, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time. The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God. But since God himself took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise.

Credit: Joseph Card. Ratzinger "Theological Commentary on the Message of Fatima"




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Pope Benedict XVI in the Holy Land - click to read







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Sunday, May 10, 2009

May - month dedicated to Our Lady



PRESENCE OF GOD - Under your protection I take refuge, O Mary; be the guide and model of my interior life.

MEDITATION

1. Month of May, Month of Mary! The heart of every Christian turns spontaneously toward his heavenly Mother, with a desire to live in closer intimacy with her and tostrengthen the sweet ties which bind him to her. It is a great comfort on our spiritual way, which is often fatiguing and bristling with difficulties, to meet the gentle presence of a mother. One is so at ease near one's mother. With her, everything becomes easier; the weary, discouraged heart, disturbed by storms, finds new hope and strength, and continues the journey with fresh courage.

"If the winds of temptation arise," sings St Bernard, "if you run into the reefs of trials, look to the star, call upon Mary. In danger, sorrow or perplexity, think of Mary, call upon Mary." There are times when the hard road of the "nothing" frightens us, miserable as we are; and then, more then ever, we need her help, the help of our Mother. The Blessed Virgin Mary has, before us, trodden the straight and narrow path which leads to sanctity; before us she has carried the cross, before us she has known the ascents of the spirit through suffering. Sometimes, perhaps, we do not dare to look at Jesus the God-Man, who because of His divinity seems too far above us; but near Him is Mary, His Mother and our Mother, a privileged creature surely, yet a creature like ourselves, and therefore a model more accessible for our weakness. Mary comes to meet us during this month, to take us by the hand, to initiate us into the secret of her interior life, which must become the model and norm of our own.

2. St Therese of the Child Jesus, referring to certain discourses on the Blessed Virgin, said, "She is spoken of as unapproachable, whereas she should be represented as imitable" (Novissima Verba). Mary is inaccessible, it is true, in the sublime privileges which flow from her divine maternity, and it is right to consider these prerogatives in order to admire and contemplate them, to praise our Mother's greatness and hence always to love her more and more; but, at the same time, we must consider Mary in the concrete picture of her earthly life. It is a simple, humble picture, which never leaves the framework of the ordinary life common to all mothers; under this aspect, Mary is truly imitable. Our program for the month of May, then, will be to contemplate the grandeurs of Mary, that we may be stimulated to imitate her virtues.

We shall consider Mary especially as the ideal and the model of our interior life. No one has understood, as she did, the depth of meaning in the words of Jesus: "But one thing is necessary" (Luke 10,42), and no one has lived by these words better than she. From the very first moment of her life, Mary was entirely God's and lived only for Him. Consider the years spent in the Temple in silence and prayer, the months passed at Nazareth in recollection, and in adoration of the eternal Word incarnate within her, the thirty years lived in sweet intimacy with Jesus, her Son and her God; then the sharing of His apostolic life, the union with Him in His Passion, and finally, her last years with St John, during which, by her prayers, she was the support of the infant Church. Although the scenes in which she moved changed in appearance, although the external circumstances varied, her life remained unchanged in its substance, in her interior search for the "one thing necessary", and in her adherence to God alone. The succession of events and her exterior activity did not hinder her from persevering in that attitude of continual prayer in which St Luke presents her to us: "Mary kept all these words , pondering them in her heart" (2:19).

If, in imitation of Mary, our heart is firmly anchored in God, nothing can distract us from our interior occupation: to seek and love the Lord and live in intimacy with Him.

credit: "Divine Intimacy" by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalene OCD and OLRL




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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Fourth Sunday After Easter - click to read






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Saturday, Our Lady's Day - Mary, the Virgin Mother of God


As is the case with every mother, her life is closely interwoven with the life of her Divine Son. She bore Him in her womb. She gave birth to Him at Betlehem, in fulfilment of the ancient prophecy. She fled with Him to Egypt to escape the murderous wrath of Herod. She lived with Him for years in the obscurity of Nazareth. She asked Him to perform His first miracle in His public ministry. She was with Him on Calvary. On Calvary, in obedience to the will of God, she renounced her maternal rights to the life of her Son, her rights to His continued filial love and care in this world. She offered her own maternal agony to God for the salvation of men. In union with Christ, she offered the life of her Son for the redemption of man. in this way she merited the right to dispense all God's graces to men to the end of time. After her own death, her Divine Son, because of His filial love for her, raised her body from death and she was assumed body and soul into heaven. In heaven she reigns as the Queen of angels and men.
When we consider the unique position given by God to Mary, when we reflect on the great privilages God has granted Mary, then we are not surprised at the great devotion of Catholics to Mary. If God has so honoured Mary, can we do less? Since all her privileges, all her great dignity are due to the perfection and dignity of her Son, the the honour which we give to Mary does not detract from the honour we give Christ. Rather, it is fitting tribute to the Son Who could fashion for Himself so great a Mother.
Previous post HERE





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Friday, May 08, 2009

Apparition of St Michael the Archangel on Mt Gargano, 492 AC - click to read



Meditation on St Michael Apparition




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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Contamplative life - movie from Franciscans of Immaculate






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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

St Angelus, Carmelite Friar and Martyr



St. Angelus was one of the first Carmelite to come to Sicily form Mount Carmel about the year 1217. He preached at Palermo and Messina. He was martyred by a certain Count Berenger, a powerful lord of that country, who for several years had lived openly in unhallowed union with his own sister. St. Angelus rebuked him severely, as St John the Baptist had formerly rebuked Herod, and found the same recompence. By command of Berenger he was hung upon a tree and shot with arrows. Only in 1632 were his relics transferred to the Carmelite Church. Veneration of St. Angelus spread throughout the Carmelite Order as well as among the Universal Church. He has been named patron of many places in Sicily and up to this day many Catholics invoke his intercession faithfully in their needs.

Hymn in honour of St Angelus
(fragments from Thaditional Carmelite Propers of Divine Office)

Hail, happy Angelus of blest renown!
Hail, in the beauty of thy martyr's crown!
Rejoice, O Carmel, at his heavenly birth,
Rejoice to greet thy favoured child, O Earth!

This chosen son, as presage of his fame,
Hears from the Virgin's lips his angel name,
Sweet pledge and token Heaven doth bestow,
his kinship with the Blessed to foreshow.

Sing glory to the Father and the Son
And to the Holy Spirit, Three in one!
Then haste to join the glad angelic lay,
And praise our glorious Mother on this day.

Prayer
O Lord, let Thy people glorify Thee by honouring the Blessed Angelus, Thy Priest and Martyr, and through his intercession, may they deserve to be led by Thee. Through our Lord.





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Monday, May 04, 2009

St Alphonsus de Liquori 'Against the reformers' - Meditation for the Third Week After Easter



St. Francis Jerome, when he visited the parents of St. Alphonsus shortly after his birth, made this prophecy: "This child will be blessed with length of days; he shall not see death before his ninetieth year; he will be a bishop and will do great things for Jesus Christ." This prophecy certainly came true. One of the most accomplished of all the saints is Alphonsus Liguori. He was a lawyer in both civil and Church law before he dedicated his whole life to serving God. He was founder of a religious order, author of more than a hundred books, originator of modern moral theology, renowned preacher and confessor, bishop, musical composer and painter. For all of his 91 years on earth, he was also a man of prayer and deep personal holiness.
"A church which is not one in its doctrine and faith can never be the True Church ... Hence, because truth must be one, of all the different churches ... only one can be the true one ... and out of that Church there is no salvation. Now, in order to determine which is this one true Church ... it is necessary to examine which is the Church first founded by Jesus Christ, for, when this is ascertained, it must be confessed that this one alone is the true Church which, having once been the true Church must always have been the true Church and must forever be the true Church. For to this first Church has been made the promise of the Savior that the gates of Hell would never be able to overturn it (Matthew 16:18) ... In the entire history of religion, we find that the Roman Catholic Church alone was the first Church, and that the other false and heretical churches afterwards departed and separated from her. This is the Church which was propagated by the Apostles and afterwards governed by pastors whom the Apostles themselves appointed to rule over her ... This character can be found only in the Roman Church, whose pastors descend securely by an uninterrupted and legitimate succession from the Apostles of the world (Matthew 28:20)
"The innovators themselves do not deny that the Roman Church was the first which Jesus Christ founded ... however, they say ... that it was the true Church until the fifth century, or until ... it fell away, because it had been corrupted by the Catholics ... But how could that Church fall which St. Paul calls the "pillar and ground of truth" (1 Timothy 3:15)? ... No. The Church has not failed ... The truth is ... that all the false churches which have separated from the Roman Church have fallen away and erred ... To convince all heretical sects of their error, there is no way more certain and safe than to show that our Catholic Church has been the first one founded by Jesus Christ; for, this being established, it is proved beyond all doubt that ours is the only true Church and that all the others which have left it and separated are certainly in error ... But, pressed by this argument, the innovators have invented an answer: they say that the visible Church has failed, but not the invisible Church ... But these doctrines are diametrically opposed to the Gospel.
"The innovators have been challenged several times to produce a text of Sacred Scripture which would prove the existence of the invisible church they invented, and we are unable to obtain any such text from them. How could they adduce such a text when, addressing His Apostles whom He left as the propagators of His Church, Jesus said: "You cannot be hidden" (Matthew 5:14)? ... Thus He has declared that the Church cannot help but be visible to everyone ... The Church has been at all times, and will forever be, necessarily visible, so that each person may always be able to learn from his pastor the true doctrine regarding the dogmas of faith ... to receive the Sacraments, to be directed in the way of salvation, and to be enlightened and corrected should he ever fall into error. For, were the Church in any time hidden and invisible, to whom would men have recourse in order to learn what they are to believe and to do? ... It was necessary that the Church and her pastors be obvious and visible, principally in order that there might be an infallible judge ... to resolve all doubts, and to whose decision everyone should necessarily submit. Otherwise, there would be no sure rule of faith by which Christians could know the true dogmas of faith and the true precepts of morality, and among the faithful there would be endless disputes and controversies ... "And Christ gave some apostles, and others pastors and doctors, that henceforth we be no more children tossed to-and-fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:11-14)
"But what faith can we learn from these false teachers when, in consequence of separating from the Church, they have no rule of faith? ... How often Calvin changed his opinions! And, during his life, Luther was constantly contradicting himself: on the single article of the Eucharist, he fell into thirty-three contradictions! A single contradiction is enough to show that they did not have the Spirit of God. "He cannot deny Himself" (2 Timothy 2:13). In a word, take away the authority of the Church, and neither Divine Revelation nor natural reason itself is of any use, for each of them may be interpreted by every individual according to his own caprice ... Do they not see that from this accursed liberty of conscience has arisen the immense variety of heretical and atheistic sects? ... I repeat: if you take away obedience to the Church, there is no error which will not be embraced.

credit: Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible
Picture shows the famous
Ghent Altarpiece with wings open





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Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Revealing the True Cross - click to read


"And their bodies shall lie in the streets of the great city which is called spiritually, Sodom and Egypt: where their Lord also was crucified."-Apocalypse 11:8




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Third Sunday after Easter - click to read






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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Saturday - Day of Our Lady

More reflection from the "Summa Simplified" on Mary, the Virgin Mother of God


The Child conceived in Mary is the most perfect Child in the world ever known. Because the active principle in the generation of Christ was God Himself, the body of Christ was perfectly formed from the first moment of its existence. it had a rational soul. The Son of God assumed this body at the very moment of the infusion of the rational soul. In this way, Mary is the Mother of God from the first instant of the conception of Christ in the womb. In fact, if it were otherwise, Mary would not be the Mother of God, but the of a human being who was later assumed by the Son of God.

In addition, Christ was, as we have already seen, spiritually perfect. He possessed, from the first moment of His existence, the absolute fullness of the beatific vision of God. He possessed infused knowledge, and hence was capable of free acts of His will. Hence, too, He was capable of meriting grace and redemption for men from the very beginning of His existence as man.

Mary is truly the Mother of God. When we consider the absolutely infinite perfection of God, the obvious humanity of Mary and the no less obvious humanity of her Son, Christ, this might seem a startling statement. But it is none the less true. When any mother gives birth to a child, she gives birth not only to a human nature but also to a person who exists in that human nature. We do not say that Mrs Smith is the mother of a human nature. We say that she is the mother of John Smith, or of Richard Smith, or of Helen Smith. In other words, we say that she is the mother of the persons to whom she gave a human nature. So, also, in the Incarnation we do say simply that Mary is the Mother of the human nature of Christ. We say, and rightly, that she is the Mother of the Person Who exists in the human nature, of the Person of Whom she gave that human nature. Since that Person is God, the Son of God, we say rightly that Mary is the Mother of God. This Divine Maternity is the greatest of Mary's privileges and the source of all her other divinely given privileges.

Previous posts HERE
and HERE




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