Saturday, October 31, 2009

QUEEN OF THE MOST HOLY ROSARY - PRAY FOR US!


If one carefully reads the encyclicals of the Holy Pontiffs on the Rosary and, in particular, those of Leo XIII (Octobri Mense) and his successors, one is struck by the insistence with which they like to emphasize the value of the Rosary for Christian formation. If, for them, the Rosary is an excellent prayer, a commendable devotion in many respects, it seems that its most eminent title in their eyes, the one which gives it exceptional value, is that it is not only a privileged prayer, nor even in the words of Pope Leo XIII, the highest Marian devotion that seems to condense in itself all the cult we owe to Mary, but it is a true method of Christian initiation and formation, a school which trains the mind and manners, a divine method, a very efficient school of Christian life. If we had to synthesize the thoughts of the popes in a concise manner on the remarkable pedagogical value of the Rosary, we could condense them this way: It is the role of the mother to form and educate her children. Now the chief mission of Mary is to be a mother, the Mother of Jesus Christ, but also the mother of mankind. The Rosary is precisely the privileged way by which Mary initiates and forms her children to the Christian life. (Benoit Thierry D'Argenlieu "The Theology of the Rosary" - after 'A Moment with Mary)
 
Please visit also the Holy Cross Family Ministries and read Holy Rosary Daily Reflection both for today and from the archives.



Information on the Indulgences attached to Recitation of the Holy Rosary according to the "Enchiridion on Indulgences (1968)"





Our Lady with Dominican Saints - photo by Fr Lawrence of 'Godz Godz - English Dominican Studentate' blog

Thus saith the Lord to me: Make thee bands and chains: and thou shalt put them on thy neck (Jer 27:2)
Put thy feet into her fetters, and thy neck into her chains. Bow down thy shoulder and bear her, and be not grieved with her bands. Come to her with all thy mind, and keep her ways with all thy power. Search for her and she shall be made known to thee, and when thou hast gotten her let her not go; for in the latter end thou shalt find rest in her, and she shall be turned to thy joy. The shall her fetters be a strong defence for thee and a frim foundation, and her chains a robe of glory, for in her is the beauty of life, and her bands are a healthful binding. (Ecclus 6:25-31)


Why does our Lady so love the Rosary? Because in it we call to mind the greatest things her divine Son has done for her and for mankind. How disappointing when we receive a signal kindness from any one to find that others do not seem to appreciate or value it at its true worth! How our hearts, overflowing with gratitude, are burning that all should recognize the generosity of the act, the thoughtfulness that prompted it, the delicacy with which it has been carried out, etc; and when we find some sympathizing friend who seems to grasp the matter in all its bearing, and proportionately to praise our benefactors, do we not rejoice as if we had found a treasure? So does Mary watch with loving gratitude her children who ponder over the mysteries of the Rosary, seeking to understand them and finding, ever more and more, cause for wonder, praise and thankfulness. In the Annunciation we turn over in our minds that most astonishing proof of God's love for man, the incarnation, and His wonderful condescension in choosing to have a Mother. In the Visitation we see Him selecting that mother's salutation as an instrument for working miracles of grace in the soul of the Baptist, and we re-echo Mary's cry that He hath done great things for her, thereby giving unspeakable joy to her heart. In the third mystery we bend lovingly over her infant Son, praising, loving, consoling Him by our presence and sympathy. The sorrowful decades bring before us the excess to which her divine Offspring carried His generosity and burning love for man, and the glorious ones record His victory over death and the honours He bestowed the Mother who had been so true to Him in life. What wonder that Mary loves the Rosary, and obtains such striking graces for those who say it with devotion! What marvel that our Holy Father the Pope holds it in such esteem! It is a summary of God's goodness to us, and makes us bear in mind the great things He has done in order to win our love and save us from eternal ruin. "Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all He hath done for thee," might be our cry after telling our beads: "For He that is mighty hath done great things for me, and holy is His name."
Then, apart from the considerations that occupy chief thoughts during its recitation and supply the colouring to the words we say, there are words themselves, than which we can scarce conceive any more pleasing to God. The "Our Father," given by our Lord Himself to His disciples when they asked Him to teach them to pray. The "Hail Mary," said in the first place by an archangel, that archangel having been sent on a special mission by God, and therefore delivering the message with which he had been charged by the Almighty, and to whose words we add those of St Elizabeth, uttered when the Lord had just worked a miracle of grace within her. If, in the Rosary, we did nothing else but say fifty, as we do: "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus," we could understand it filling the heart of Mary with exultation and gratitude. For if there are few sorrows greater than hearing those we love reviled and maligned - and in her case there could have been none greater,for Him whom she loved with her whole being was her God - so she can have no higher joy than listening to His praises. Willingly, then, does she hearken to the last part of the "Hail Mary," when the first has been said with reverence, and many are the graces she will obtain for us, now and at the hour of our death, if we are constant and faithful in the use of the devotion. The "Gloria," with which each decade ends, is a reminder that the chief duty of a creature towards Creator is praise; and if we have pondered well the mystery we have been contemplating, we shall not be at loss for motives to excite ourselves to the spirit of praise in the highest degree.

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!



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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Efficacious Novena to St Jude, patron of desparate cases - click for link

Today is the Feast of St Simon and Jude, the picture below shows both of the Apostles with Our Lady and Child Jesus and below is some information to read and reflect upon.

It is God who works in you both to will and to accomplish. Phil. 2:13
Simon was a simple Galilean, and one of Our Lord’s four first cousins, with James the Less, Jude and Joseph, all sons of Mary, the wife of Cleophas, who was the brother of Saint Joseph, according to tradition. All the sons of this family were raised at Nazareth near the Holy Family (Matt 13:53-58). Simon, Jude and James were called by Our Lord to be Apostles, pillars of His Church, and Joseph the Just was His loyal disciple. Saint Simon the Zealot or the Zealous, was the name this Apostle bore among the twelve. He preached in Egypt, Spain, and Libia, leaving behind him the fertile hills of Galilee, where he had been engaged in the cultivation of the vineyards and olive gardens. He later rejoined his brother, Saint Jude, in Persia, where they labored and died together. Tradition has it, that at first they were respected by the king, for they had manifested power over two ferocious tigers who had terrorized the land. With the king, sixty thousand Persians became Christians, and churches rose over the ruins of the idolatrous temples. However, when the two went elsewhere the pagans commanded them to sacrifice to the sun. Both Apostles, just before that time, had seen Our Lord amid His Angels. Simon said to Jude, “One of the Angels said to me, I will take you out of the temple and bring the building down upon their heads. I answered him, Let it not be so; perhaps some of them will be converted.” They prayed for mercy for the people and offered their lives to God. Saint Simon told the crowd that their gods were only demons, and ordered them to come out of the statues, which they did, revealing themselves under hideous forms. But idolaters fell on the Apostles and massacred them, while they blessed God and prayed for their murderers.Saint Jude has left us a short but powerful epistle, written after the death of his brother James, bishop of Jerusalem, and addressed to the new Christians being tempted by false brethren and heretics.

Reflection: Zeal is an ardent love which makes a man fearless in defense of God’s honor, and earnest to make known the truth at all costs. If we desire to be children of the Saints, we must be zealous for the Faith.


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Monday, October 26, 2009

Why men do not pray, several most common excuses re-visited - click to read



"And very often, for some years, I was more anxious that the hour I had determined to spend in prayer be over than I was to remain there, and more anxious to listen for the striking of the clock than to attend to other good things. And I don’t know what heavy penance could have come to mind that frequently I would not have gladly undertaken rather than recollect myself in the practice of prayer" (St. Teresa of Avila 'The Autobiography', pp. 97-98).

...Far from being a dreamer’s escape, prayer requires a good deal of mettle, which many of us lack. Again, without courage we won’t get very far in the Christian life, even in something as basic as prayer.

Prayer is a Christian duty, to be sure, but even more it is a privilege. Our God is not an unapproachable legislator or a distant, indifferent watchmaker, but a Father personally interested in his children. Christ revealed to us a God who listens, a God who has counted every hair on your head, a God who hastens to give good things to those who ask him. The same almighty Lord who spoke a single word and all things came to be, now bends his ear to listen to every word that you utter. Let us take to heart the words so often repeated in the liturgy: Let us pray! There is simply no better use of our time....

 


Diptych of young man praying before the image of Our Lady with the Infant Jesus who is blessing him, by unknown Flemish master.



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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Feast of Our Lady of the Rock (Rocamadour, France) - click for link to visit the shrine




Today is a day dedicated to Our Lady of the Rock, enshrined in Rocamadour in France. Tradition has it, Rocamadour was the home of an early Christian hermit named Zaccheus of Jericho. It is believed that he had conversed with Jesus himself, and that he died around 70 AD. This Zaccheus is said to have been the husband of St Veronica, who wiped the face of Jesus as he climbed to Calvary.

At some point after the hermit's death and burial in Rocamadour, the site became a place of pilgrimage. Some claim the town was named for the hermit because he was a "lover of rock" (roc amator). Zaccheus is also said to have brought a statue of the Black Virgin to Rocamadour, though the statue is generally dated to the 9th century. Due to the double attraction of the tomb of Zaccheus and the statue of the Virgin, pilgrims began to flock to Rocamadour. Many reported experiencing miraculous healings and conversions at the shrine. The Shrine of Our Lady of Rocamadour itself can be traced back to the twelfth century. Over the next few centuries, the numbers of pilgrims continued to increase. Many notable people came on pilgrimages to Rocamadour, including St Dominic and St Louis IX of France, and possibly even Charlemagne, on his way to battle the Moors in Spain.

The shrine eventually became so famous that kings and bishops began granting special privileges to those who made the pilgrimage. As an act of penance, pilgrims would regularly make the entire climb on their knees, as some still do today; 216 steps lead to the top of the rocky plateau on which the Chapel of Our Lady is located. The town suffered with the general decline of pilgrimages in the 17th and 18th centuries, but it was heavily restored and revitalized in the 19th century.

One recent notable pilgrim to Rocamadour was the French composer Francis Poulenc (d. January 30, 1963), who stayed in the city after a religious conversion he experienced there, and in honor of which he composed his Litanies of the Black Virgin (Litanies à la Vierge Noire). Today, the tomb of the ancient saint as well as the ancient image of Our Lady make the shrine at Rocamadour a popular destination; the site receives thousands of devout pilgrims each year.



The altar of Our Lady of Rocamadour


The situation of the shrine is extraordinary, amid medieval religious fortifications giddily perched atop a precipice, surrounded by a spectacular expanse of barren countryside. The miraculous statue is equally remarkable. Our Lady appears to be resting her weight on her hands, which are supported on the arms of her chair; the Child is balanced on her left knee.

 


A major event occurred in 1166, when an ancient grave and sepulcher containing an undecayed body was discovered on the cliff of Rocamadour, near the Chapel of Our Lady. This was believed to be the early Christian hermit St Amadour, who is often equated with Zaccheus. It is said that Amadour, a faithful servant of the Blessed Virgin, came to Gaul and built the first chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary on French soil.

Text adopted after "A Moment with Mary"

Story of Rocamadour from Mary's Pages

Info and directions from Sacred Destinations"



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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Carmelite Friars report on the huge crowds draw to venerate the relics of St Therese across UK - click to read

"I will spend my heaven in doing good upon earth" (Story of the Soul)
"If my wishes are granted, my heaven will be spent on earth until the end of the world" (Complete Spiritual Doctrine of St Therese by F. Jamart, OCD)



From the homily of Abp Vincent Nichols  preached at Westminster Cathedral in London at the Farewell Mass upon return of the relics of St Therese to Lisieux:


"Over the past twenty-five days, thousands upon thousands of people have thronged to pray in the presence of these precious relics of St Therese. Today, as we prepare to return these relics to Lisieux , we thank God for the graces and blessings we have received. This has been a time of such wonderful expressions of faith and love in which we have been strengthened and filled with joyful encouragement.
This outpouring of faith had baffled many people. Some secular commentators were not able to make sense of it at all. I have found their incomprehension quite intriguing. Other reports have simply described what was there to be seen: so many people finding encouragement, perseverance and hope through the example and prayers of this most remarkable young woman. But surely they can see, unless they refuse to do so, her testimony to the spiritual dimension of human living, a dimension which takes us beyond that which can be measured and lifts human reasonableness to new levels, and flowers in heroism, sacrifice and perseverance." To read full text click
HERE

Full photo coverage on Catholic Church (England and Wales) photostream



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Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost - click to read

Today we meditate with St Teresa on sin, repentance and life-giving Sacrament of Penance:

Many times the feeling of my great faults is tempered by the happiness experienced in the thought that the multitude of Your mercies may be known (I:65)

I found great consolation in sinners whom, after having been sinners, the Lord brought back to Himself. It seemed to me I could find help in them and that since the Lord had pardoned them he could also pardon me. (I:103)


Oh, what a good friend You make, my Lord! How you proceed by favouring and enduring...You take into account, my Lord, the times when they Love You, and in one instant of repentance You forget their offences. (I:97)


O my Jesus! What a sight it is when You through Your mercy return to offer Your hand and raise up a soul that has fallen in sin....How such a soul knows the multitude of Your grandeurs and mercies and its own misery! (I: 166, 67)


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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Special treat for the Feast of St Teresa - Carmelite Rite Mass, 1960 - Aylesford Calced Carmelite Priory, Kent, UK

Carmelite rite is the rite which hermits of Mt Carmel brought to Europe from the Holy Land and the Masses of this rite are offered in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Introit, Kyrie, Gloria.



Credo, Offertory





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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


The Epistle to the Ephesians testifies also to the eternal plan of God to unite all things in Christ:


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


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


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


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


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


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

More to follow... 








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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Commemoration of the 7th Apparition in Fatima - miracle of the sun, Portugal 1917




On October 13, when the crowds saw the ball of fire leave its orbit and race down towards them, their reaction was immediate. They didn't go into a subtle exegesis to convince themselves that this 'sign in the sky' was purely symbolic. Instead, they realized that this fire, if it approached only a second longer, would annihilate them. Just as the people of Israel had seen the fire from heaven race down over Elijah as its holocaust and consume him in the blink of an eye, these people fell on their knees and cried out: 'My God, I believe in you! ' And they asked for forgiveness, pity and mercy.

In their own way they were saying anew: 'It is Yahveh who is God! It is Yahveh who is God! ' (1 Kings 18: 39). Through their conversion and their supplication, they obtained that the chastisement be averted: the sun resumed its place in the sky. And they found, along with faith, the peace and the joy of being reconciled with God.

"The Virgin of Mount Carmel" by Joseph Lethielleux (after 'A Moment with Mary')



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Monday, October 12, 2009

Relics of St Therese to visit England - click to read more


2 Kings 13:21
And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Elisha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

Acts 19:11-12
Meanwhile, God worked extraordinary miracles at the hands of Paul. When handkerchiefs or cloths which had touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases were cured and evil spirits departed from them.

Dates and venues
Little Flower will bring grace to England




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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Annual Rosary Crusade of Reparation 2009 - walk from Westminster Cathedral to London Brompton Oratory

It took place on Saturday for 25th time in reparation for the sins of the world. As usual it was great spiritual experience and I will share some pictures I have taken there:





The participants gathered in Cathedral square and after traffic was closed we proceeded towards London Oratory led by the statue of Our lady of Fatima with the clergy leading the Rosary prayer.




After one and a half hour we have reached the Oratory




We have prayed there and listened to a great sermon on the power of Rosary prayers. This year which is the year of St John Vianney, the Rosary's Crusade intentions were dedicated for all priests. On the side altar the reliquary with collection of relics of the Cure of Ars was displayed for veneration and it was the greatest surprise:






We could also pray the Rosary at the beautiful Altar of Our Lady:





or pray Divine Mercy chaplet at the Altar of Mater Boni Consilii adorned with many ex-voto's placed there in thanksgiving for petitions granted:



As always it was a great day, and please pray for those who organised the Crusade that they will obtain all graces of perseverance to continue this great devotion.



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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Feast of St Therese

Beautiful reflections from St Therese on her beloved Church - text after the "Story of the Soul".






I understand that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I understand it was Love alone that made this Church's member act, that if Love ever became extinct, apostles would not preach the Gospel and martyrs would not shed their blood. I understand that LOVE COMPRISED ALL VOCATIONS, THAT LOVE WAS EVERYTHING, THAT IT EMBRACED ALL TIMES AND PLACES....IN A WORD, THAT IT WAS ETERNAL!
Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my Love...my vocation, at last I have found it...My VOCATION IS LOVE!
Yes, I have found my place in the Church and it is You, O my God who have given me this place; in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall love. Thus I shall be everything, and thus my dream will be realized.
What speak of a delirious joy? No, this expression is not exact, for it was rather the calm and serene peace of the navigator perceiving the beacon which must lead him to the port...O luminous Beacon of Love, I know how to reach You, I have found the secret of possessing Your flame.
I am only a child, powerless and weak, and yet it is my weakness that gives me the boldness of offering myself as VICTIM of Your love, O Jesus!
O Jesus, I know it, love is repaid by love alone, and so I searched and I found the way to solace my heart by giving You Love for Love...I presented myself before the angels and saints and I said to them: "I am the smallest of creatures; I know my misery and my feebleness, but I know also how much noble and generous hearts love to do good. I beg you to ADOPT ME AS YOUR CHILD. To You alone will be the glory which You will make me merit, but deign to answer my prayer. It is bold, I know; however, I dare to ask You to obtain for me YOUR TWOFOLD SPIRIT. 
Jesus, I cannot fathom the depths of my request; I would be afraid to find myself overwhelmed under the weight of my bold desires...Well, I am the Child of the Church and the Church is a Queen since she is Your Spouse, O divine King of kings...What this child asks for is Love. She knows only one thing: to love You, O Jesus. Astounding works are forbidden to her; she cannot preach the Gospel, shed her blood; but what does it matter since her brethren work in her stead and she, a little child, stays very close to the throne of the King and Queen. She loves in her brothers' place while they do the fighting. But how will she prove her love since love is proved by works? Well, the little child will strew flowers, she will perfume the royal throne with their sweet scents, and she will sing in her silvery tones the canticle of Love.
Yes, my Beloved, this is how my life will be consumed. I have no other means of proving my love for You other than that of strewing flowers, that is, not allowing one little sacrifice to escape, not one look, one word, profiting by all the smallest things and doing them through love; and in this way I shall strew flowers before Your throne. I shall not come upon one without unpetalling it for You. While I am strewing my flowers, I shall sing, for could one cry while doing such a joyous action? I shall sing even when I must gather my flowers in the midst of thorns, and my song will be all the more melofious in proportion to the length and the sharpness of the thorns. 
O Jesus, of what use will my flowers be to You? Ah! I know very well that this fragrant shower, these fragile, worthless petals, these songs of love from the littlest  of hearts will charm You. Yes, these nothings will please You. They will bring a smile to the Church Triumphant. She will gather up my flowers, unpetalled through love and have them pass through Your divine hands, O Jesus. And this Church in heaven, desirous of playing with her little child, will cast these flowers, which are now infinitely valuable because of Your divine touch, upon the Church Suffering in order to extinguish its flames and upon the Church Militant in order to gain the victory for it!
O my Jesus!  I love You! I love the Church, my Mother! I recall that "the smallest act of PURE LOVE is of more value to her than all other works together." But is PURE LOVE in my heart? Are my measureless desires only but a dream, a folly?Ah! If this be so, Jesus, then enlighten  me, for You know I am seeking only the truth, If my desires are rash, then make them disappear, for these desires are the greatest martyrdom to me. however, I feel, O Jesus, that after having aspired to the most lofty heights of Love, if one day I am not to attain them, I feel that I shall have taste on the bosom of the joy of the Fatherland, unless You take away the memory of these earthly hopes through a miracle. Allow me to taste the sweet bitterness of my martyrdom.




More to follow



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Friday, October 02, 2009

Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels




Ex. 23:20-23.
Behold I will send my angel, who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him, and hear his voice, and do not think him one to be contemned: for he will not forgive when thou hast sinned, and my name is in him. But if thou wilt hear his voice, and do all that I speak, I will be an enemy to thy enemies, and will afflict them that afflict thee. And my angel shall go before thee, and shall bring thee in unto the Amorrhite, and the Hethite, and the Pherezite, and the Chanaanite, and the Hevite, and the Jebusite, whom I will destroy.


Mt 18:1-10.
At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who, thinkest thou, is the greater in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus, calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them. And said: amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, 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. Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh. And if thy hand, or thy foot, scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

Seven Archangels, Spanish Colonial religious artwork, Mexico, 19th century.


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St Therese - thoughts and resolutions





The Virgin Mary Rushes to My Side.
When I receive Holy Communion, I sometimes imagine my soul as if it were the soul of a three or four year-old child, dinted by play, with my clothes all soiled and my hair disheveled. - These misfortunes befall me whilst I wrestle with souls. - But the Virgin Mary rushes to my side in haste. No sooner has she rid me of my soiled, little apron, tied back my hair with a beautiful ribbon or just a little flower... and this is enough to make me lovely again and allow me sit down at the feast of the Angels without blushing.

After 'A Moment with Mary'


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Novena Prayer to St Therese of Child Jesus starts 24th September - click to read



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Thursday, October 01, 2009

St Therese - thoughts and resolutions



From the last poem written by St. Therese:
"Soon, soon, to heaven that waits for us, my soul shall swiftly fly.
O Thou who cam'st to smile on me at dawn of life's beginning!
Come once again to smile on me.... Mother! the night is nigh.
I fear no more thy majesty, so far, so far above me,
For, I have suffered sore with thee; now hear my heart's deep cry!
Oh! let me tell thee face to face, dear Virgin! how I love thee;
And say to thee forevermore:
thy little child am I."

“Sometimes I find my self saying to the Holy Virgin: “Do you know, O cherished Mother, that I think myself more fortunate than you? I have you for Mother and you have not, like me, the blessed Virgin to love … You are, it is true, the Mother of Jesus but you have given Him to me, and He, from the Cross gave you to us as our Mother, so we are richer than you. Of old it was your desire that you might be the little handmaiden of the Mother of God; and I, poor little creature, I am, not your servant, but your child: you are the Mother of Jesus and you are my Mother.” (Thoughts of Saint Therese, 154-5)

“O Mary, if I were Queen of heaven and thou wert Therese, I fain would be Therese to see thee Queen of Heaven!” - September 8, 1897

After Mary's Vitamin



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Novena Prayer to Holy Guardian Angel starts on 23rd of September - click to read



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