Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dedication of St Michael, Michaelmas Day - click to read more


Their angels in heaven always look on the face of my heavenly Father (Mt 18:10)
 
The angels are our shepherds, because they carry not only our messages to God but also those of God to our souls, feeding them with sweet inspirations and divine communications. As good shepherds they protect us and defend us from wolves, which are the evil spirits. Through the secret inspirations which the angels convey to the soul, they effect a deeper knowledge of God and make it love him the more, till they leave it wounded with love...The light of God, which illumines angels, enlightening and setting them on fire with love as pure spirits disposed for that inflowing, ordinarily illumines people in darkness, pain and distress because of their impurity and weakness...
 
When a person has become spiritualized and refined in the fire of divine, purifying love, he is then within the union and inflowing of that loving illumination with the same sweetness as angels receive them...Consider what utter vanity it is to rejoice in anything but in the service of God, how dangerous and how fatal. How ruinous it proved to those angels who rejoiced and were complacent in their own beauty and natural endowments; for this they fell, deformed, into the abyss. (St John of the Cross, Spiritual Maxims)
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham


Our Lady of Walsingham belongs to England. And it is a 15th-century poet, laureate of the famous chapel now destroyed, who sang that England belonged to Mary:

O England, great cause thou hast glad for to be,
Compared to the land of promised Sion,
Thou attainest my grace to stand in that degree
Through this glorious Lady’s supportation,
To be called in every realm and region
The holy land, Our Lady’s dowry;
Thus art thou named of old antiquity.


One cannot doubt that Our Lady is still looking with a maternal love on this island where, for centuries, countless pilgrims came to put down their burden at her shrine «where grace is poured out daily upon men of all ages» and, when they departed, they carried with them in the intimate recess of their heart the peace of heaven, sprung from the faith of their childhood, which brings peace to the heart and lifts up the veil that hides the vision of a pure and everlasting joy. (His Holiness Pope Pius XII - An address to British Soldiers on April 11, 1947)

credit 'A Moment with Mary'


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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bl John Henry Newman - click to read the story of his life written by William Henry Barry

Bl John Henry Newman's spiritual autobiography Apologia pro vita sua



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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virign Mary


Drink of the chalice of thy Lord lovingly, if thou desirest to be His friend, and to have part with Him. (Imitation, Bk2) 

Upon the accidental death of his holy wife, Jacopone da Todi experienced a profound conversion. He realized the hair shirt worn under his dear wife’s garments was worn as penance for him. He completely renounced his former way and lived a life of "foolish poverty." He became a Third Order Franciscan. In his last years he composed the Stabat Mater and would cry out to all:

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above;
Make my heart with thine accord.

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.


After 'Mary's Vitamin'

During her long agony which lasted twelve hours, she cried out: "O my God, O sweet Virgin Mary, come to my help! My chalice is overflowing; I could not have thought it possible to suffer so much....I can only explain it by my great longing to save souls, O my God, Thy will be done, only have pity on me!" (St Therese, Story of the Soul)

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Exaltation of the Cross


So must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life (Jn 3:14-15

Lord Jesus, I have received the cross, I have received it from Thy hand: and I will bear it until death, as Thou hast laid it upon me. indeed the life of a good religious man is a cross, but it is cross that conducts him to Paradise. (Imitation of Christ, Bk 3)

Instead of reproaching Our Lord for having sent us this cross, I cannot fathom the depths of divine love which  move Him so to treat us. God must love Father very dearly to sent him such suffering. What a joy for us to share this humiliation with him! (St Therese, Letters)

Let us not believe that it is possible to love without suffering, without suffering a great deal...That is our poor human nature and it is not there for nothing!...It is our wealth, our livelihood! It is so precious that Jesus came on earth just to have it. (St Therese, Letters)

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI visit to the UK - click to see the itinerary


Excerpts from the Message from the Holy Father for his Visit to the United Kingdom.

I am very much looking forward to my visit to the United Kingdom in a week's time and I sent heartful greetings to all people of GB. I am aware that a vast amount of work has gone into the preparations for the visit, not only by the Catholic community but by the Government, the local authorities in Scotland, London and Birmingham, the communications media and the security services, and I want to say how much I appreciate the efforts that have been made to ensure that the various events planned will be truly joyful celebrations. Above all I thank the countless people who have been praying for the success of the visit and for a great outpouring of God's grace upon the Church and the people of your nation.

It will be a particular joy for me to beatify the Venerable John Henry Newman in Birmingham on Sunday 19th September. This truly great Englishman lived an exemplary priestly life and through his extensive writings made a lasting contribution to Church and society both in his native land and in many other parts of the world. It is my hope and prayer that more and more people will benefit from his gentle wisdom and be inspired by his example of integrity and holiness of life.

...While I regret that there are many places and people I shall not have the opportunity to visit, I want you to know that you are all remembered in my prayers. God bless the people of the United Kingdom!

Benedictus PP XVI


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Saturday, September 11, 2010

On the eve of Papal visit to England, the words of Cardinal Newman on the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the second Eve.


She holds, as the Fathers teach us, that office in our restoration which Eve held in our fall: - now, in the first place, what were Eve's endowments to enable her to enter upon her trial? She could not have stood against the wiles of the devil, though she was innocent and sinless, without the grant of a large grace. And this she had; - a heavenly gift, which was over and above and additional to that nature of hers, which she received from Adam, a gift which had been given to Adam also before her, at the very time (as it is commonly held) of his original formation. This is Anglican doctrine, as well as Catholic ;

....If Eve was raised above human nature by that indwelling moral gift which we call grace, is it rash to say that Mary had even a greater grace? And this consideration gives significance to the Angel's salutation of her as "full of grace," - an interpretation of the original word which is undoubtedly the  right one, as soon as we resist the common Protestant assumption that grace is a mere external approbation or acceptance, answering to the word "favour," whereas it is, as the Fathers teach, a real inward condition or superadded quality of soul.
Suppose Eve had stood the trial, and not lost her first grace; and suppose she had eventually had children, those children from the first moment of their existence would, through divine bounty, have received the same privilege that she had ever had; that is, as she was taken from Adam's side, in a garment, so to say, of grace, so they in turn would have received what may be called an immaculate conception. They would have then been conceived in grace, as in fact they are conceived in sin. What is there difficult in this doctrine? What is there unnatural? Mary may be called, as it were, a daughter of Eve unfallen.



And if Eve had this supernatural inward gift given her from the first moment of her personal existence, is it possible to deny that Mary too had this gift from the very first moment of her personal existence? I do not know how to resist this inference: - well, this is simply and literally the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. I say the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is in its substance this, and nothing more or less than this (putting aside the question of degrees of grace); and it really does seem to me bound up in the doctrine of the Fathers, that Mary is the second Eve.
Suppose Eve had stood the trial, and not lost her first grace; and suppose she had eventually had children, those children from the first moment of their existence would, through divine bounty, have received the same privilege that she had ever had; that is, as she was taken from Adam's side, in a garment, so to say, of grace, so they in turn would have received what may be called an immaculate conception. They would have then been conceived in grace, as in fact they are conceived in sin. What is there difficult in this doctrine? What is there unnatural? Mary may be called, as it were, a daughter of Eve unfallen. (Cardinal John Henry Newman, from the letter to Pusey, 1866)


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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Little Way of St Therese - virtue of obedience


(Christ) Son, thou hast many things still to learn, which thou hat not yet well learned.
(Disciple) What are these things, O Lord?
(Christ) That thou conform in all things thy desire to My good pleasure; and that thou be not a lover of thyself, but earnestly zealous that My will may be done. Desires often inflame thee, and violently hurry thee on; but consider whether it be for My honour or thy own interest that thou art more moved. (Imitation of Christ Bk 3)

My year of novitiate, which had seemed so long, at last come to an end, but Mother Prioress told me that my Profession was out of question, as our ecclesiastical Superior would not allow it. I was obliged, therefore, to wait for another eight months.
At first I found it hard to make the sacrifice, but soon God enlightened my soul. I was meditating at the time on P. Surin's Foundations of the Spiritual Life. One day during prayer I understood how much self-love there was in my longing to make my vows. If I belonged to Jesus as His little plaything, to rejoice and comfort Him, I ought not to force Him to do my will instead of His own. I also understood that a bride should be adorned with jewels on her wedding day, and i had not thought of this. I therefore said to Our Lord: I will no longer ask to make my Profession; I am content to wait, but I do not want our union to be put off through my fault, so I will prepare a bridal dress resplendent with diamonds and precious stones. When it is rich enough, Thou wilt take me for Thy bride. (St Therese of Child Jesus)

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