Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"You so earnestly desire that I describe the method by which I arrived at that habitual sense of God's presence, which our merciful Lord has been pleased to grant me. (...)

The account I can give you is: Having found in many books different methods of going to God and diverse practices of the spiritual life, I thought this would serve rather to puzzle me than facilitate what I sought after, which was nothing but how to become wholly God's. This made me resolve to give the all for the All.

After having given myself wholly to God to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not God; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world.

Sometimes I considered myself before Him as a poor criminal at the feet of his judge. At other times I beheld Him in my heart as my Father, as my God. I worshipped Him the oftenest I could, keeping my mind in His holy presence and recalling it as often as I found it wandered from Him. I made this my business not only at the appointed times of prayer but all the time; every hour, every minute, even in the height of my work. I drove from my mind everything that interrupted my thoughts of God.

I found no small pain in this exercise. Yet I continued it notwithstanding all the difficulties that occurred. I tried not to trouble or disquiet myself when my mind wandered. Such has been my common practice ever since I entered religious life. Though I have done it very imperfectly, I have found great advantages by it. These, I well know, are due to the mercy and goodness of God, because we can do nothing without Him; and I still less than any.

When we are faithful to keep ourselves in His holy presence, and set Him always before us, this hinders our offending Him and doing anything that may displease Him. It also begets in us a holy freedom, and, if I may so speak, a familiarity with God, where, when we ask, He supplies the grace we need. Over time, by often repeating these acts, they become habitual, and the presence of God becomes quite natural to us.

Please give Him thanks with me for His great goodness towards me, which I can never sufficiently express, and for the many favors He has done for so miserable a sinner as I am. May all things praise Him. Amen."

-- The Practice of the Presence of God by Br Lawrence of the Resurrection, ocd

Monday, June 29, 2009

Closure of the Pauline Year

"Dear brothers and sisters!

Today, we celebrate solemnly the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, special Patrons of the Church of Rome: Peter, the fisherman of Galilee, who "first confessed to faith in Christ... and constituted the first community with the righteous of Israel"; Paul, the persecutor of old Christians, "that illuminated the depths of the mystery... teacher and doctor who proclaimed salvation to all peoples "(cf. Preface of today's Mass). In a sermon to the community of Rome, Pope St Leo the Great said: "These are your Fathers and true Shepherds (Bishops), because they have founded you that you would be entered into the kingdom of heaven " (Sermo I in Nat App Petri et Pauli, c I, PL 54.422).

Dear brothers and sisters, the Lord bless you and protect through the intercession of Saints Peter and Paul! As your pastor, I urge you to remain faithful to their Christian vocation and not conformed to this world - as the Apostle to the Gentiles wrote to his own Christians in Rome - but to go and always turn renewed by the Gospel, to follow what is really good and pleasing to God (cf Rom 12:2). For this I pray, that Rome constantly keeps alive its Christian vocation, not only retaining intact its immense spiritual and cultural heritage, but also because its people can transmit the beauty of faith in concrete ways of thinking and acting, and thus affording to those who, for various reasons are in this city, an atmosphere filled with humanity and the evangelical values. Therefore - with the words of Saint Peter - I invite you, dear brothers and sisters, disciples of Christ, to be "living stones", compact around him, who is the "living stone, rejected by men but chosen and precious before God" (cf 1 Pt 2:4). "

--Extract from Pope Benedict XVI's Angelus address - 29 June 2009. Translated by ocdsister.

The spirit of a religious order

"The spirit of an order is the way of thought and manner of life which are characteristic of the Order; it is the guiding ideas and aspirations which determine the daily life of its members in the pursuit of perfection in their chosen state. This spirit is derived from the Founders and the principal members, and is directly related to the aims of the Order.

...[T]he aim of Carmel is contemplation. The means which its Founders and lawgivers have indicated to attain this end are: continuous prayer, practised within the framework of solitude and silence, and complete detachment from created things; each of these being realized through the action of the theological virtues. The spirit of Carmel is therefore a spirit of recollection, of prayer, of contemplation, of absolute renunciation, all directed towards the attainment of union with God.

It is very important for a person to know the spirit of his Order, to understand it thoroughly and to be penetrated by it. As long as an Order is faithful to the spirit which inspired its Founder and his Rule, it lives and prospers. An Order which departs from the Founder's spirit naturally weakens and dies. This spirit must above all inspire those who govern; if it is not alive in the superiors, they cannot instruct and direct their subordinates as they ought. But it must also inspire each of the members, who otherwise run the danger of living an adulterated and diminished life and may infect others.

Enlightened by this spirit, religious will better understand the meaning and the purpose of their rules and regulations, and will adapt themselves more readily to them. Without this spirit, their training will be defective. They will perhaps realize a certain degree of religious observance, but they will not have the formation required by the Institute. Consequently, they will not be able to attain the end of their Order nor the perfection of their state of life."

-- The Spirit and Prayer of Carmel by Fr François Jamart, ocd

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Transforming prayer

"Carmelite prayer is an affair of the heart, but it is a transforming prayer: a prayer of the 'new heart' promised by the propherts: 'I will put my law within them, and I will write upon their hearts... A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you' (Jer 31:33; Ez 36:26). 'Prayer is the life of the new heart,' we are told in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2697). For Carmelites, this 'new heart' is the 'inner room' where Jesus invites his disciples to pray: 'When you pray, go into your room, shut the door and pray to your Father in secret' (Mt 6:6). Prayer means 'taking time frequently to be alone with [God],' Teresa [of Avila] tells us (Life 8:5). 'The only essential,' explains Edith Stein, 'is that one finds, first of all, a quiet corner in which one can communicate with God as though there were nothing else' (Self-portrait in Letters, p. 54). This prayer requires extended periods of time, as it did for Jesus., It also demands special conditions: silence, solitude, withdrawal into the secret oratory of a quiet heart."

-- The Carmelite Charism: Exploring the Biblical Roots by James McCaffrey, ocd

Saturday, June 27, 2009

God alone

"The Carmelite is called to search in every dark and hidden crevice of the human heart for those lurking demons of Israel's desert experience, the 'venomous serpents and scorpions' as they are called, inhabiting the wilderness (Dt 8:15). We find this same imagery again in Teresa of Avila, when she compares the human heart to an 'interior castle' surrounded by 'snakes and vipers and poisonous creatures' (IC I:2:14). They represent the snares of worldly attachments, our false gods, which have become non-negotiables in our lives. We must not replace God with our idols - that is, our disordered or inordinate desires. The Carmelite way is a journey into God with the freedom of an undivided heart. Only God suffices. He alone can satisfy our deepest hunger."

-- The Carmelite Charism: Exploring the Biblical Roots by James McCaffrey, ocd

Friday, June 26, 2009

Prayer to obtain humility

“Learn from me” O Jesus! When you travelled on earth, you said: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest.” O powerful monarch of the heavens, yes, my soul finds rest in seeing you clothed with the form and nature of a slave (Phil 2:7), lowering yourself to the point of washing the feet of your apostles. Then I remember those words that you said so as to teach me to practice humility: “What I just did was to give you an example: as I have done, so you must do…The disciple is not greater than his master. Once you know all these things, blest will you be if you put them into practice.” (Jn 13:15-17) I understand them, Lord, I understand these words that came forth from your gentle and humble heart; with the help of your grace, I want to put them into practice.

I want to humbly lower myself and to submit my will to that of my sisters, not contradicting them in anything and without seeking whether they have the right to command me. O my Beloved, no one had this right where you were concerned, and nevertheless you obeyed not only the Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph, but even those who tortured you. Now I see you bringing your annihilations to the full in the host. How humble you are, o divine King of Glory… O my Beloved, how gentle and humble of heart you appear to me hidden behind the veil of the white host!… O Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, make my heart like yours.

-- Composed by St Thérèse of Lisieux for a novice

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Hidden Christ

"JESUS CHRIST is working in His hidden state at the task of my sanctification. In order to become a Saint I must conquer pride and replace it with humility. In the Eucharist, Jesus gives me the example and the grace of humility.

He is the One Who uttered these words: "Learn of Me that I am meek and humble of heart." But humility would have been little better than a name during the last eighteen centuries, if our Lord had left us only the memory of the examples of His mortal life. We could say, and with reason, "But, Lord, I have not seen Thee humbled!"

Well then, Jesus Christ is there to answer our excuses, our complaints. The words, "Learn of Me that I am meek and humble of heart," come to us in a special way from the tabernacle, from behind the veil of the Host. "Learn of Me to conceal your good works, your virtues, your sacrifices; come down, come down toward Me." The grace of humility is found in the humiliated state of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. What human glory can fear abasing itself since the King of glory abases Himself so much? What rich man will not prize the lovable poverty of Jesus Hostia? Who will refuse to obey God and those who represent Him, when God Himself obeys man?"

-- The Real Presence by St Peter Julian Eymard

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved ...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others ...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised ...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

Composed by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), for private use only.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Counsels of St John of the Cross on how to reach perfection

Degrees Of Perfection

1. Do not commit a sin for all there is in the world, or any deliberate venial sin, or any known imperfection.

2. Endeavor to remain always in the presence of God, either real, imaginative, or unitive insofar as is permitted by your works.

3. Neither do anything nor say any notable word that Christ would not have done or said were he in the state I am, as old as I, and with the same kind of health.

4. Strive for the greater honor and glory of God in all things.

5. Do not omit mental prayer for any occupation, for it is the sustenance of your soul.

6. Do not omit examination of conscience because of any of your occupations, and for every fault do some penance.

7. Be deeply sorry for any time that is lost or that passes without your loving God.

8. In all things, both high and low, let God be your goal, for in no other way will you grow in merit and perfection.

9. Never give up prayer, and should you find dryness and difficulty, persevere in it for this very reason. God often desires to see what love your soul has, and love is not tried by ease and satisfaction.

10. In heaven and on earth, always the lowest and last place and office.

11. Never interfere in what you are not ordered to do, or be obstinate about anything, even though you may be right. And if, as the saying goes, they give you an inch, do not take a mile. Some deceive themselves in such matters and think they have an obligation to do that which - if they reflect upon it well - in no way obliges them.

12. Pay no attention to the affairs of others, whether they be good or bad, for besides the danger of sin, this is a cause of distractions and lack of spirit.

13. Strive always to confess your sins with a deep knowledge of your own wretchedness and with clarity and purity.

14. Even though your obligations and duties are difficult and disagreeable to you, you should not become dismayed, for this will not always be so. And God, who proves the soul by a precept under the guise of a trial [Ps.94:20], will after a time accord it the experience of blessing and gain.

15. Remember always that everything that happens to you, whether prosperous or adverse, comes from God, so that you become neither puffed up in prosperity nor discouraged in adversity.

16. Remember always that you came here for no other reason than to be a saint; thus let nothing reign in your soul that does not lead you to sanctity.

17. Always be more disposed toward giving to others than giving to yourself, and thus you will not be envious of or selfish toward your neighbor. This is to be understood from the viewpoint of perfection, for God is angered with those who do not give precedence to his good pleasure over that of humans.

Soli Deo honor et gloria.

-- The Collected Works of St John of the Cross, ICS Publications

Monday, June 22, 2009

Do not be disheartened by imperfections

"The work of the soul’s purification neither may nor can end save with life itself;—do not then let us be disheartened by our imperfections,—our very perfection lies in diligently contending against them, and it is impossible so to contend without seeing them, or to overcome without meeting them face toe face. Our victory does not consist in being insensible to them, but in not consenting to them. Now to be afflicted by our imperfections is certainly not to consent thereto, and for the furtherance of humility it is needful that we sometimes find ourselves worsted in this spiritual battle, wherein, however, we shall never be conquered until we lose either life or courage. Moreover, imperfections and venial sins cannot destroy our spiritual life, which is only to be lost through mortal sin; consequently we have only need to watch well that they do not imperil our courage. David continually asks the Lord to strengthen his heart against cowardice and discouragement; and it is our privilege in this war that we are certain to vanquish so long as we are willing to fight."
-- Introduction to the Devout Life by St Francis de Sales

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Prayer for Priests

O Jesus, our great High Priest, hear my humble prayers on behalf of your priests. Give them a deep faith, a bright and firm hope and a burning love which will ever increase in the course of their priestly life.

In their loneliness, comfort them. In their sorrows, strengthen them. In their frustrations, point out to them that it is through suffering that the soul is purified, and show them that they are needed by the Church; they are needed by souls; they are needed for the work of redemption.

O loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests, take to your heart your sons who are close to you because of their priestly ordination and because of the power which they have received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs them so much. Be their comfort, be their joy, be their strength, and especially help them to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated celibacy.

-- Prayer composed by John Joseph Cardinal Carberry

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Act of Reparation to the Immaculate Heart

"Most Holy Virgin and our beloved Mother, we listen with grief to the complaints of the Immaculate Heart, surrounded with the thorns which ungrateful men place therein at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Moved by the ardent desire of loving thee as our Mother and of promoting a true devotion to thy Immaculate Heart, we prostrate ourselves at thy feet to prove the sorrow we feel for the grief that men cause thee and to atone by means of our prayers and sacrifices for the offenses with which men return thy tender love. Obtain for them and for us the pardon of so many sins. A word from thee will obtain grace and forgiveness for all.

Hasten, O Lady, the conversion of sinners that they may love Jesus and cease to offend God, already so much offended, and thus avoid eternal punishment. Turn thine eyes of mercy towards us so that henceforth we may love God with all our heartwhile on earth and enjoy Him forever in Heaven. Amen."

Act of Consecration Immaculate Heart of Mary

"Hail, Mary, most beloved daughter of the eternal Father; hail, Mary, most admirable mother of the Son; hail, Mary, most faithful spouse of the Holy Spirit; hail, Mary, Mother most dear, Lady most lovable, Queen most powerful! Hail, Mary, my joy, my glory, my heart and soul. You are all mine through God’s mercy, but I am all yours in justice. Yet I do not belong sufficiently to you, and so once again, as a slave who always belongs to his master, I give myself wholly to you, reserving nothing for myself or for others.

If you still see anything in me that has not been given to you, please take it now. Make yourself completely owner of all my capabilities. Destroy in me everything that is displeasing to God. Uproot it and bring it to nothing. Implant in me all that you deem to be good; improve it and make it increase in me.

May the light of your faith dispel the darkness of my mind! May your deep humility take the place of my pride. May your heavenly contemplation put an end to the distractions of my wandering imagination. May your continuous vision of God fill my memory with his presence. May the burning love of your heart inflame the coldness of mine. May your virtues take the place of my sins. May your merits be my adornment and make up for my unworthiness before God. Finally, most dearly beloved Mother, grant, if it be possible, that I may have no other spirit but yours to know Jesus and his divine will. May I have no soul but yours to praise and glorify the Lord. May I have no heart but yours to love God purely and ardently as you love him.

I do not ask for visions or revelations, for sensible devotion or even spiritual pleasures. It is your privilege to see God clearly in perpetual light. It is your privilege to savor the delights of heaven where nothing is without sweetness. It is your privilege to triumph gloriously in heaven at the right hand of your Son without further humiliation, and to command angels, men, and demons, without resistance on their part. It is your privilege to dispose at your own choice of all the good gifts of God without any exception.

Such, most holy Mary, is the excellent portion that the Lord has given you, and which will never be taken from you, and which gives me great joy. As for my portion here on earth, I wish only to have a share in yours, that is, to have simple faith without seeing or tasting, to suffer joyfully without the consolation of men, to die daily to myself without flinching, to work gallantly for you even until death without any self-interest, as the most worthless of your slaves. The only grace I beg you in your kindness to obtain for me is that every day and moment of my life I may say this threefold Amen:

Amen, so be it, to all you did upon earth; Amen, so be it, to all you are doing now in heaven; Amen, so be it, to all you are doing in my soul. In that way, you and you alone will fully glorify Jesus in me during all my life and throughout eternity. Amen."

-- St Louis Marie de Montfort

My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls

"My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls and especially for poor sinners.... I desire to bestow my graces upon souls [from the tabernacle] but they do not want to accept them. You, at least, come to Me as often as you can and take these graces they do not want to accept. In this way you will console my Heart." (Diary, 367)

"...[L]ook into my merciful Heart, and reflect its compassion in your own heart and in your deeds, so that you who proclaim My mercy to the world may yourself be aflame with it." (Diary 742)

"...[D]o not tire of proclaiming My mercy. In this way you will refresh this Heart of Mine, which burns with a flame of pity for sinners.... The loss of each soul plunges Me into mortal sadness. You always console Me when you pray for sinners." (Diary, 1521 and 1397)

--Divine Mercy in my Soul, Diary of St Faustina Kowalska

Friday, June 19, 2009

Act of consecration to the Sacred Heart

"I, ( state your name. . .), give myself and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ my person and my life, my actions, pains, and sufferings, so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being save to honor, love, and glorify the Sacred Heart.

This is my unchanging purpose, namely, to be all His, and to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing with all my heart whatever is displeasing to Him.

I therefore take Thee, O Sacred Heart, to be the only object of my love, the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the atonement for all the faults of my life and my sure refuge at the hour of death.

Be then, O Heart of goodness, my justification before God Thy Father, and turn away from me the strokes of His righteous anger. O Heart of love, I put all my confidence in Thee, for I fear everything from my own wickedness and frailty; but I hope for all things from Thy goodness and bounty.

Do Thou consume in me all that can displease Thee or resist Thy holy will. Let Thy pure love imprint Thee so deeply upon my heart that I shall nevermore be able to forget Thee or to be separated from Thee. May I obtain from all Thy loving kindness the grace of having my name written in Thee, for in Thee I desire to place all my happiness and all my glory, living and dying in true bondage to Thee." -- Composed by St Margaret Mary Alacoque

Prayer to the Wounded Heart of Jesus

"O my Most Loving and Gentle Jesus, I desire with all the affections of my heart, that all beings should praise Thee, honor Thee and glorify Thee eternally for that sacred wound wherewith Thy divine side was rent. I deposit, enclose, conceal in that wound and in that opening in Thy Heart, my heart and all my feelings, thoughts, desires, intentions and all the faculties of my soul. I entreat Thee, by the precious Blood and Water that flowed from Thy Most Loving Heart, to take entire possession of me, that Thou may guide me in all things. Consume me in the burning fire of thy holy Love, so that I may be so absorbed and transformed into Thee that I may no longer be but one with Thee. Amen."

--John Justus of Landsberg (Lanspergius, the Carthusian)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Special Indulgence for the Year for Priests

As has been announced, the Holy Father Benedict XVI has decided to establish a special Year for Priests on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the death of St John Mary Vianney, the holy Curé d'Ars, a shining model of a Pastor totally dedicated to the service of the people of God.

During the Year for Priests which will begin on 19 June 2009 and will end on 19 June 2010, the gift of special Indulgences is granted as described in the Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary, published on 12 May.

Shortly the day will come on which will be commemorated the 150th anniversary of the pious departure to Heaven of St John Mary Vianney, the Curé d'Ars. This Saint was a wonderful model here on earth of a true Pastor at the service of Christ's flock.

Since his example is used to encourage the faithful, and especially priests, to imitate his virtues, the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI has established that for this occasion a special Year for Priests will be celebrated, from 19 June 2009 to 19 June 2010, in which all priests may be increasingly strengthened in fidelity to Christ with devout meditation, spiritual exercises and other appropriate actions.

This holy period will begin with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a day of priestly sanctification on which the Supreme Pontiff will celebrate Vespers in the presence of the holy relics of St John Mary Vianney, brought to Rome by the Bishop of Belley-Ars, France.

The Most Holy Father will likewise preside at the conclusion of the Year for Priests in St Peter's Square, in the presence of priests from across the world who will renew their fidelity to Christ and the bond of brotherhood.

May priests commit themselves, with prayer and good works, to obtaining from Christ the Eternal High Priest, the grace to shine with Faith, Hope, Charity and the other virtues, and show by their way of life, but also with their external conduct, that they are dedicated without reserve to the spiritual good of the people something that the Church has always had at heart.

The gift of Sacred Indulgences which the Apostolic Penitentiary, with this Decree issued in conformity with the wishes of the August Pontiff, graciously grants during the Year for Priests will be of great help in achieving the desired purpose in the best possible way.

A. Truly repentant priests who, on any day, devoutly recite at least morning Lauds or Vespers before the Blessed Sacrament, exposed for public adoration or replaced in the tabernacle, and who, after the example of St John Mary Vianney, offer themselves with a ready and generous heart for the celebration of the sacraments, especially Confession, are mercifully granted in God the Plenary Indulgence which they may also apply to their deceased brethren in suffrage, if, in conformity with the current norms, they receive sacramental confession and the Eucharistic banquet and pray for the Supreme Pontiff's intentions.

Furthermore the Partial Indulgence is granted to priests who may apply it to their deceased confreres every time that they devoutly recite the prayers duly approved to lead a holy life and to carry out in a holy manner the offices entrusted to them.

B. The Plenary Indulgence is granted to all the faithful who are truly repentant who, in church or in chapel, devoutly attend the divine Sacrifice of Mass and offer prayers to Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest, for the priests of the Church, and any other good work which they have done on that day, so that he may sanctify them and form them in accordance with His Heart, as long as they have made expiation for their sins through sacramental confession and prayed in accordance with the Supreme Pontiff's intentions: on the days in which the Year for Priests begins and ends, on the day of the 150th anniversary of the pious passing of St John Mary Vianney, on the first Thursday of the month or on any other day established by the local Ordinaries for the benefit of the faithful.

It will be most appropriate, in cathedral and parish churches, for the same priests who are in charge of pastoral care to publicly direct these exercises of devotion, to celebrate Holy Mass and to hear the confession of the faithful.

The Plenary Indulgence will likewise be granted to the elderly, the sick and all those who for any legitimate reason are confined to their homes who, with a mind detached from any sin and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, at home or wherever their impediment detains them, provided that on the above-mentioned days they recite prayers for the sanctification of priests and confidently offer the illnesses and hardships of their lives to God through Mary Queen of Apostles.

Lastly, the Partial Indulgence is granted to all the faithful every time they devoutly recite five Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glorias, or another expressly approved prayer, in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to obtain that priests be preserved in purity and holiness of life.

This Decree is valid for the entire duration of the Year for Priests. Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given in Rome, at the Offices of the Apostolic Penitentiary on 25 April, the Feast of St Mark the Evangelist, in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord 2009.

Cardinal James Francis Stafford
Major Penitentiary

+ Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv.
Titular Bishop of Meta, Regent

L. + S.
Prot. N. 136/09/I

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A prayer for nuns

Religious life is not an easy decision to make nor an easy life. Saying "yes" to God's invitation to serve Him as a religious does not make one a saint instantaneously. Each one has her struggles and battles, her faults, bad habits, and weaknesses to work with - and hopefully improve. So please rember to pray for all religious, the faithful ones, and the ones gone astray; the traditional ones, and the liberal ones. All of us need the prayerful support of the faithful. Consider this prayer:

"Almighty and Eternal God, look upon the Mother of Thy Son, Co-Redemptrix of the human race, and for love of her have pity on Thy consecrated nuns. They are bound to Thee by the golden chains of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In spite of their good will and generosity, they are human, weak, and frail. Take, therefore, their womanhood, purify it, ennoble it, transform it by Thy Grace. Give them Thy courage to rise above all pettiness. Give them Thy tenderness to melt all selfish coldness; pierce them with Thy honesty – that they may know themselves – that they may know Thee. Give them, O God, fidelity and sincerity. Make them love the real and detest the sham. Make them love to be little, humble, poor. Keep them always in Thy Holy Presence. Stir up in them the grace of their holy vocation. Teach them to shut out the world, to cling to Thee, to divest self of self. Give them, O God, Thyself for their Spouse, their King, their Life."
Prayer composed by Archbishop Richard Cushing

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A cell for Jesus

"Jesus wants to come to you in the middle of the night. Get a cell ready for Him. This is what He wants:

He wants a small cell, very simple, very poor. A little bed; which signifies the virtue of silence. A mattress that is kept new by repeated acts of humility. A pillow, of charity. A blanket, of patience. Large curtains, spotlessly white, which signify the union which prevents the wind of temptation from causing charity to grow cold.

You also need a night-light for Jesus. The glass of it is faith and hope. The oil, continual prayer. The cork which floats is the love of God which raises the soul above earth. The wick is self-sacrificing devotion which forgets its own interests for the happiness of others. And lastly, the flame is obedience and purity of intention."
-- Bl Mary of Jesus Crucified, ocd (Mariam Baouardy)

All blessings come to us through our Lord

"If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his graces, God desires that these graces must come to us from the hands of Christ, through his most sacred humanity, in which God takes delight.
Many, many times I have perceived this through experience. The Lord has told it to me. I have definitely seen that we must enter by this gate if we wish his Sovereign Majesty to reveal to us great and hidden mysteries. A person should desire no other path, even if he is at the summit of contemplation; on this road he walks safely. All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding his life we find that he is the best example.
What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near. Let us consider the glorious Saint Paul: it seems that no other name fell from his lips than that of Jesus, because the name of Jesus was fixed and embedded in his heart. Once I had come to understand this truth, I carefully considered the lives of some of the saints, the great contemplatives, and found that they took no other path: Francis, Anthony of Padua, Bernard, Catherine of Siena. A person must walk along this path in freedom, placing himself in God's hands. If God should desire to raise us to the position of one who is an intimate and shares his secrets, we ought to accept this gladly.
Whenever we think of Christ we should recall the love that led him to bestow on us so many graces and favors, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of his love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love him. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing his love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort." -- St Teresa of Avila

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bread of Life

"[Christ] is present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. The hours of adoration before the Highest Good, and listening for the voice of the Eucharistic God, are simultaneously meditation on the law of the Lord and watching in prayer. But the highest level is reached when the law is deep within our hearts (Ps 40:8), when we are so united with the triune God, whose temple we are, that his Spirit rules all we do or omit"

"The Savior, knowing that we are and continue to be men who have daily to struggle with our weakness, aids our humanity in a manner truly divine. Just as our earthly body requires daily bread, so the divine life in us must be fed continually. This is the living bread which has come down from heaven. If we make it truly our daily food, the mystery of Christmas, the Incarnation of the Word, will be enacted again each day in us. And this, it seems to me, is the best way to remain in constant union with God, and to grow each day more securely and deeply into the Mystical Body of Christ." -- St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, ocd (Edith Stein)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sacramental Throne


O little key! I envy thee,

For thou canst open, at any hour,

The Eucharistic prison house,

Where dwells the God of Love and Power.

And yet Oh, tender mystery!

One effort of my faith alone

Unlocks the tabernacle door,

And hides me there with Christ my Own.

O lamp within the holy place,

Whose mystic lights forever shine!

I fain would burn with fires of love

As bright, before my God and thine.

Yet, miracle of wondrous bliss!

Such flames are mine; and, day by day,

I can win souls to Jesus Christ,

To burn with His pure love for aye.

O consecrated altar stone!

I envy thee with every morn.

As once in Bethlehem's blessed shed,

The Eternal Word on thee is born.

Yet, gentle Saviour! hear my plea;

Enter my heart, 0 Lord divine!

'Tis no cold stone I offer Thee,

Who dost desire this heart of mine!

O corporal that angels guard!

What envy of thee fills my breast!

On thee, as in His swaddling bands,

I see my only Treasure rest.

Ah Virgin Mother! change my heart

Into a corporal pure and fair,

Whereon the snow white Host may rest,

And thy meek Lamb find shelter there.

O holy paten! Jesus makes

Of Thee His sacramental throne.

Ah! if He would abase Himself,

To dwell awhile with me alone!

Jesus fulfils my longing hope,

Nor must I wait until I die;

He comes to me! He lives in me!

His ostensorium am I!

The chalice, too, I fain would be,

Where I adore the Blood divine!

Yet, at the holy sacrifice,

That Precious Blood each day is mine.

More dear to Jesus is my soul,

Than chalices of gold could be;

His altar is a Calvary new,

Whereon His Blood still flows for me.

Only one little bunch of grapes

That gladly disappears for Thee,

0 Jesus, holy, heavenly Vine!

Thou knowest I rejoice to be.

Beneath the pressure of the cross,

I prove my love for Thee alway;

And ask no other joy than this,

To immolate myself each day!

Among the grains of purest wheat,

0 happy lot! he chooses me.

We lose our life for Him, the Christ,

What rapturous height of ecstasy!

Thy spouse am I, Thy chosen one.

My Well Beloved! come, dwell in me.

Thy beauty wins my heart. Oh, come!

Deign to transform me into Thee!

Poem by St Thérèse of Lisieux

Saturday, June 13, 2009

You truly carry Christ within you

"There is so much I still have to say to you about Christ, especially about his Incarnation for us in the Eucharist. The Word Incarnate is always there for us in the Eucharist. This overpowering mystery allows the unworthy hands of the priest to hold the same body of Christ that the virgin Mary held in her arms and pressed at her heart. Yet it is the same Christ! The priest takes Christ in his hands and gives him to others!
When you receive him, you are like the virgin Mary during the months she carried her child. You truly carry Christ within you and want to be absorbed in profound thanksgiving. You carry him living within you! How necessary is silence so that the Holy Spirit can reveal to us the grandeur of this mystery." -- Servant of God Père Jacques de Jesus (Bunel), discalced carmelite

Friday, June 12, 2009

Every Psalm is the voice of the Church

"Any part of the Scriptures you like to choose is inspired by God. The Holy Spirit composed the Scriptures so that in them, as in a pharmacy open to all souls, we might each of us be able to find the medicine suited to our own particular illness.

Thus, the teaching of the Prophets is one thing, and that of the historical books is another. And, again, the Law has one meaning, and the advice we read in the Book of Proverbs has a different one.

But the Book of Psalms contains everything useful that the others have. It predicts the future, it recalls the past, it gives directions for living, it suggests the right behavior to adopt. It is, in short, a jewel case in which have been collected all the valid teachings in such a way that individuals find remedies just right for their cases.

It heals the old wounds of the soul and gives relief to recent ones. It cures the illnesses and preserves the health of the soul.

Every Psalm brings peace, soothes the internal conflicts, calms the rough waves of evil thoughts, dissolves anger, corrects and moderates profligacy.

Every Psalm preserves friendship and reconciles those who are separated. Who could actually regard as an enemy the person beside whom they have raised a song to the one God?

Every Psalm anticipates the anguish of the night and gives rest after the efforts of the day. it is safety for babes, beauty for the young, comfort for the aged, adornment for women.

Every Psalm is the voice of the Church." --Commentary on Psalm 1, by St Basil the Great

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Oración por la santificación de los sacerdotes

"Oh Jesús, Pontífice Eterno, Buen Pastor, Fuente de vida, que por singular generosidad de tu dulcísimo Corazón nos has dado nuestros sacerdotes para que podamos cumplir plenamente los designios de santificación que tu gracia inspira en nuestras almas; te suplicamos: ven y ayúdalos con tu asistencia misericordiosa.

Sé en ellos, oh Jesús, fe viva en sus obras, esperanza inquebrantable en las pruebas, caridad ardiente en sus propósitos. Que tu palabra, rayo de la eterna Sabiduría, sea, por la constante meditación, el alimento diario de su vida interior. Que el ejemplo de tu vida y Pasión se renueve en su conducta y en sus sufrimientos para enseñanza nuestra, y alivio y sostén en nuestras penas.
Concédeles, oh Señor, desprendimiento de todo interés terreno y que sólo busquen tu mayor gloria. Concédeles ser fieles a sus obligaciones con pura conciencia hasta el postrer aliento. Y cuando con la muerte del cuerpo entreguen en tus manos la tarea bien cumplida, dales, Jesús, Tú que fuiste su Maestro en la tierra, la recompensa eterna: la corona de justicia en el esplendor de los santos. Amén." -- S.S. Papa Pío XII

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Holy Spirit - bond of love of the Holy Trinity

"O Holy Spirit, God of love, bond of love of the Blessed Trinity, You remain with the children of men and find Your delight in them, in that holy chastity which under the influence of Your power and attraction, flourished on earth like the rose among thorns. Holy Spirit! Love! Show me the way that leads to this delightful goal, that path of life that ends in the field made fertile by the divine dew, where hearts burning with thirst may find refreshment. O Love, you alone know this road which leads to life and truth. In You is consummated the wonderful union of the three divine Persons of the Holy Trinity. The most precious gifts are diffused in us by You, O Holy Spirit. From you come the fertile seeds which produce the fruits of life."
-- St Gertrude the Great

Monday, June 8, 2009

Facing Life

"Endure! In the first place through good sense and sound philosophy. What is the use of rebelling? In any event, we must accept what comes. Events dominate us; we are not the masters of them. To recriminate, to sigh, and to protest are ineffective actions. 

Endure! Through a supernatural spirit, because our crosses unite us to our Lord's Cross. God sends or permits to identify ourselves with His Son, Moreover, even humanly speaking, suffering well accepted makes us mature; it demands rare virtues. As long as a man has had nothing but happiness, he does not know of what he is capable, just as we do not really know what the sound of the bell is as long as the clapper has not struck it. But let sorrow come upon a man, then he can divine what he is capable of doing. When the soul is fortified by divine motives, it can reach that summit which humanity can reach in the way of moral uplift. For the sons of men as for the Son of Man, the highest royalty comes from the crown of thorns. 

Endure! Through charity for all your brethren. While it permits us "to complete that which is wanting in the passion of Jesus Christ," suffering gives us a most efficacious role int he redemption. To act safely; but to suffer, how much more! The great instrument of salvation is the acceptance of the cross on which one is to be nailed. If we had more often present in our mind the sufferings of all our brethren scattered throughout the world, how much more cheerful would we be in accepting the many myseries which assail us!" -- Some Rare Virtues by Raoul Plus, SJ

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

"O eternal Trinity, You are a deep sea in which the more I seek the more I find, and the more I find, the more I seek to know You. You fill us insatiably, because the soul, before the abyss which You are, is always famished; and hungering for You, O eternal Trinity, it desires to behold truth in Your light. 

You are the supreme and infinite Good, good above all good; which good is joyful, incomprehensible, inestimable; beauty exceeding all other beauty; wisdom surpassing all wisdom, because you are Wisdom itself. Good of angels, giving Yourself with fire of love to men! (...) Clothe me, O eternal Trinity, clothe me with Yourself, so that I may pass this mortal life in true obedience and in the light of the most holy faith with which You have inebriated my soul." -- St Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church

Friday, June 5, 2009

Love Him who is loved so little

"If Jesus Christ has performed so many prodigies to induce us to love Him, what favors will He not confer on those whom He sees eager to testify to Him their gratitude and their ardent love? He has loved us tenderly, says St Bernard, and He has lavished His blessings on us when we did not love Him, even when we did not wish Him to love us. What gifts and graces will He not pour out on those who love Him and who are grieved at seeing Him so little loved?" -- The Devotion to the Sacred Heart by Fr John Croiset, SJ

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The call to holiness

Holiness is not a luxury. It is not the privilege of a few, something impossible for the normal person. [Holiness] is the common destiny of all people called to be children of God. It is the universal vocation of all the baptized."
-- Pope Benedict XVI