Monday, February 28, 2011

That this love may be so strong that never will anything stop it

"It would only be right, O my God, that each minute, each second, I should say to Thee without ceasing, O my Jesus I love Thee, and that thus I may fill, day and night, the emptiness and the fullness of my heart. But, alas, O my Jesus, my poor human nature hinders me from carrying out this incessant act of love. So condescend to consider, I beseech Thee, each word, each movement, each breath, as so many acts of love, which, beating in unison with Thy Heart, extending Thy reign, sanctifying Thy Name, they may be steps which lead me to Thee and make me taste the joys of the children of God.... That this love may be so strong that never will anything stop it, and that I may be able to cry, 'I have no longer anything, anything which has not been given.'"

-- The Life of Gabrielle Lefebvre by Fr Le Crom

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Consume my heart

Hail! O sacred Heart of Jesus, living and quickening source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, and burning furnace of divine love. Thou art my refuge and my sanctuary, O my amiable Savior. Consume my heart with that burning fire with which Thine is ever inflamed. Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Thy love, and let my heart be so united with Thine, that our wills may be one, and mine in all things be conformed to Thine. May Thy divine will be equally the standard and rule of all my desires and of all my actions. Amen  
-- Prayer by Saint Gertrude

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Red and white roses

"One time I was seated near the door, as I was portress.  I was feeling somewhat hurt, as it seemed to me the older Sisters were not satisfied that the Prioress had placed me at the Turn, because I was still young, and I thought that they were right under the present circumstances. In this mood I saw in spirit our Lord showing me a withered rosebush in the courtyard, all covered with red and white roses; as it was dried up and it was not the season of roses, the Divine Master said to me:  ”these roses cannot be gathered without encountering the thorns.” He wished to make me understand, by that, that it is by suffering and contradictions that virtue is acquired."

-- Bl Anne of St Bartholomew, ocd

The Sacred Lance and Nails

"O Jesus! I remember the very bitter pain You did suffer when the executioners nailed Your Sacred Hands and Feet to the Cross by blow after blow with big blunt nails, and, not finding You in a sad enough state, to satisfy their cruelty they enlarged Your Wounds, and added pain to pain, stretching Your Body on the Cross and dislocated Your Bones by pulling Them on all sides. I beg of You by the memory of this most loving suffering of the Cross to grant me the grace to love You. Amen.

O Jesus! I remember the abundant outpouring of Blood which You shed. From Your Side, pierced with a lance by a soldier, Blood and Water poured forth until there was not left in Your Body a single Drop; and finally the very substance of Your Body withered and the marrow of Your Bones dried up.

Through this bitter Passion and through the outpouring of Your Precious Blood, I beg You to pierce my heart so that my tears of penance and love may be my bread day and night. May I be entirely converted to You; may my heart be Your perpetual resting place; may my conversation be pleasing to You; and may the end of my life be so praiseworthy that I may merit Heaven and there with Your saints praise You forever. Amen."

-- From the 15 prayers of St Bridget

** Traditionally, these two instruments of the Passion are commemorated the Friday after the first Sunday in Lent.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Great Power of the Rosary

"Dear young people do not be ashamed to recite the Rosary alone, while you walk along the streets to school, to the university or to work, or as you commute by public transport. Adopt the habit of reciting it among yourselves, in your groups, movements and associations. Do not hesitate to suggest that it be recited at home by your parents and brothers and sisters, because it rekindles and strengthens the bonds between family members. This prayer will help you to be strong in your faith, constant in charity, joyful and persevering in hope."

-- Servant of God John Paul II 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Who could ever separate me from You?

"My Delight, who could ever separate me from You? Who could be capable of breaking these strong chains that keep my heart attached to yours? Perhaps the abandonment of creatures? It is precisely this that unites the soul to its Creator. Perhaps tribulations, suffering, crosses? It is in these thorns that the canticle of the soul that loves you is freest and lightest. Perhaps death? But this will be nothing other than the beginning of true happiness for the soul. Nothing, nothing can separate this soul from You, not even for a brief moment. It was created for You and is lost if it does not abandon itself to You."

-- Bl Elisha of St Clement, ocd

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

O my Beloved Sacrament!

“O my Beloved Sacrament, I see you, I believe in you!... O Holy Faith. Contemplate with ever greater faith our Dear Lord in the Sacrament: live with Him who comes to us every day”.

-- Bl Maria Candida of the Eucharist, ocd

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Prayer for the dying and a special soul

O most merciful Jesus, lover of souls,
I beseech Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart,
and by the sorrows of Thine Immaculate Mother,
wash clean in the Thy Blood the sinners of the whole world
who are to die this day.
Remember most especially the soul I spiritually adopt
with the intention of entrusting him or her to Thy Shepherd's care:
I beseech Thee for the grace to move this sinner, who is in
danger of going to Hell, to repent. I ask this because of my
trust in Thy great mercy.
If it should please Thy Majesty to send me a suffering this day
in exchange for the grace I ask for this soul, then, it, too,
shall please me very much, and I thank Thee, Most Sweet Jesus,
Shepherd and Lover of Souls; I thank Thee for this
opportunity to give mercy in thanksgiving for all the mercies
Thou hast shown me. Amen.
Heart of Jesus, once in agony, have mercy on the dying.

Monday, February 21, 2011

We are linked by the power of prayer

"When we are linked by the power of prayer, we, as it were, hold each other's hand as we walk side by side along a slippery path; and thus by the bounteous disposition of charity, it comes about that the harder each one leans on the other, the more firmly we are riveted together in 
brotherly love."

-- St Gregory the Great

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eucharistic Miracle at Lanciano
"I thirst with an ardent desire to be loved by men in the Blessed Sacrament, and I find none who strives, in accordance with My wish, to quench this thirst, by making any return of love."

-- Our Lord to St Margaret Mary Alacoque

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Make this my life!

“O Holy Spirit, you will be the one who will inspire not only my prayer, but by actions as well, who will rule over my relations with my neighbor, and who will produce within me those wonderful fruits which are your gifts, just as all the virtues are your gifts, since we act in a human way, but in a divine way through you, O Holy Spirit, who are within us. Those who are moved by the Spirit of God are children of God.  This is the true life, the life of the children of God.  Oh, make this my life!”

-- Sr Carmela of the Holy Spirit

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Mother of God asks for our collaboration

"Modern times will be dominated by Satan and the future will be even more so. The combat against Hell cannot be carried out by men and women alone, even the most intelligent ones. Only the Immaculate has received the Promise of the Victory over the Demon from God.

However, since she was raised to Heaven, the Mother of God asks for our collaboration. She seeks souls that will be devoted entirely to her and become efficient and sure instruments between her hands, to inflict Satan’s defeat and establish God’s reign on this earth."

-- St Maximilian Kolbe

Notre-Dame des Victoires, priez pour nous!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I wish to be inflamed with a supreme love for You

“Ah, how great is your goodness my Jesus!  Although I have so deeply offended You, You still wish to clothe Yourself with human flesh, and to take on Yourself all my sins, in order to obtain their pardon for me.  I deserved to see You sitting in the tribunal of Divine Justice, as a judge angered against one capable of so many failings; and behold!  I find You, instead, in the bosom of Mary, a Savior full of indulgence for my sins.  O Lamb of God!  How efficacious the sweetness of Your love should be in softening the hardness of my heart!  I am more sorry for my sins than for any other evil.  I detest them with all my strength, because they are opposed to Your infinite bounty.  You deserve to be loved above any other good, O Divine Infant.  I wish to be inflamed with a supreme love for You, that I may have a true sorrow for my sins.  Deign to imprint on my heart such repentance that I may prefer to die rather than ever to offend You again.
            Holy Spirit, to You I have recourse; with the help of Your grace I firmly resolve never again to offend my Savior.” 

-- Bl Mary of the Angels, ocd

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It is internal silence that counts

"We are religious. We are different. So we cannot expect the world to accept silence and treasure it as we have done. We cannot expect traffic cops to throw away their whistles or bus drivers to disconnect their horns. We cannot expect merchants to haggle in low, subdued voices; or cab drivers to transport their fares beneath a cloud of deep, sepulchral quiet. We cannot expect any of these things. We do not expect them. We cannot hope that silence will subdue noise. We do not believe it is possible. But we do believe that if people said less, made less noise, they would be wiser. And with that wisdom would come the ability to cope more adequately with the complexities of living.

Noise and talk have not made us less human, but they have med us less wise. Because of it, we have sometimes crippled the growth of our culture and impeded the development of our knowledge. And the fact that some Americans have failed to adjust their mighty voices to their little worlds has turned them into some of the greatest bores on the face of the earth.

None of us should be too proud or too ashamed to admit that we have spoken too much and too often for our own good. And if some friend loves us enough to say, "shut your mouth," we should not condemn him for his insolence, but thank him for his advice. It is only too bad that God did not furnish zippers with every mouth He made. For if He had, we might more easily become intellectual giants. We might more easily become saints.

So when the five o'clock bell rings on these dark winter evenings, we go into our grand silence. We do this in an effort to achieve through external silence, the great prize, internal silence. For it is internal silence that counts; it is the internal silence that gives us the power to remain unruffled, ever calm, ever the master of our surroundings. And blessed is he who can remain unruffled before the wild antics of modern civilization."

-- Men in Sandals by Fr Richard Madden, ocd

Monday, February 14, 2011

In silence you can find rest

"After years of seasoning we would come to see the reason for it all. We would find that through silence we could begin to live in a world that would not be laid open to the penetrating wheeze of high pitched voices or the gruff cursings of the basso profundos. We would come to appreciate silence for the splendid opportunity it would give us to see all things in their true light. We would aways be grateful for the lesson it would teach us - that the less we say, the more effect and weight out words will carry when we do speak. And we would come to accept silence not as a form of capital punishment (as some would) but as a reprieve from the overpowering pressure of ordinary living. In silence we would find rest, not boredom. And what is more, we would actually come to enjoy it."

-- Men in Sandals by Fr Richard Madden, ocd

I apologise for the posting delay. Our Internet connection has been intermittent for weeks now.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Our Lady of Lourdes

Rejoice, flower of incorruptibility;
Rejoice, crown of continence!
Rejoice, Thou from whom shineth the Archetype of the Resurrection;
Rejoice, Thou Who revealest the life of the angels!
Rejoice, tree of shining fruit, whereby the faithful are nourished;
Rejoice, tree of goodly shade by which many are sheltered!
Rejoice, Thou that has carried in Thy womb the Redeemer of captives;
Rejoice, Thou that gavest birth to the Guide of those astray!
Rejoice, supplication before the Righteous Judge;
Rejoice, forgiveness of many sins!
Rejoice, robe of boldness for the naked;
Rejoice, love that doth vanquish all desire!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

-- Romanos the Melodist

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Call upon Mary

"In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for (your) guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; So long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal."

-- St Bernard of Clairvaux

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Devotion to the saints

"Devotion to a particular saint always means that the saint in question is held in high personal regard. Not only do we have particular reverence for the saint, but we are spiritually fascinated by his life, works, and virtues. Somehow we are able spiritually to enter into his life: we seem to understand and grasp something of his unique spiritual genius. Not only that, but we want to be influenced by this saint, because the way he lived and practiced virtue on earth is viewed as a thing of compelling beauty." 

-- Saint Joseph by Fr. Michael D Griffin, ocd

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Atom of Jesus-Host

I am just a speck of dust,
But I want to make my dwelling
In the shadow of the sanctuary
With the Prisoner of Love.
Ah! my soul longs for the host,
I love him and want nothing more.
It is the hidden God who attracts me.
I am the atom of Jesus....

I want to stay not knowing,
In forgetfulness of all created things,
And by my silence console
The Host of the sacred ciborium.
Oh! I would like to save souls,
And make elect from sinners.
Give the flames of an apostle
To your atom, sweet Jesus!....

If I am despised by the world,
If it considers me as nothing,
A divine peace floods me.
For I have the host as my support.
When I draw near the ciborium,
All my sighs are heard...
To be nothing is my glory.
I am the atom of Jesus....

Sometimes when Heaven is overcast
And this atom cannot take flight,
It loves to hide in the shadow
And attach itself to the golden door.
The the Divine light,
Which makes all the elect rejoice,
Comes to earth to warm up
This poor atom of Jesus...

Under the warm rays of grace,
The atom sparkles.
When the light breeze passes by,
It gently sways...
Oh! what ineffable delight!
What favors has it not received?...
Right next tot he host slips
The poor atom of Jesus....

Pining away near the host
In the tabernacle of love,
Thus my life will be spent
While waiting for the last day.
When our trials will be over,
Flying to the dwelling of the elect,
The atom of the Eucharist
Will shine near her Jesus!...

-- St Therese of Lisieux

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Life Removed

 How tranquil is the life
Of him who, shunning the vain world's uproar,
May follow, free from strife,
The hidden path, of yore
Chosen by the few who conned true wisdom's lore!

     For he, with thoughts aloof,
By proud men's great estate is not oppressed.
Nor marvels at the roof
Of gold, built to attest
The Moor's skill, that on jasper pillars rests.

     He heeds not though fame raise
His name afar on wings of rumour flung,
He cares not for the praise
Of cunning flatterer's tongue,
Nor for what truth sincere would leave unsung.

     What boots it my content
That the vain voice of fame should favour me,
If in its service spent
I find myself to be
Vexed by dull care and gnawing misery?

     O hill, O stream, O field,
O solitary refuge of delight,
Since my bark now must yield
To storm, your solace bright
I seek and flee this sea's tempestuous might.

     Sleep broken by no fear
Be mine, and a day clear, serene, and free,
Shunning the look severe,
Lofty exceedingly,
Of him whom gold exalts or ancestry.

     Me may the birds awake
With their sweet, unpremeditated song,
And those dark cares forsake
That e'er to him belong
Who lives not in his independence strong!

     I to myself would live,
To enjoy the blessings that to Heaven I owe,
Alone, contemplative,
And freely love forgo,
Nor hope, fear, hatred, jealousy e'er know.

     Upon the bare hillside
An orchard I have made with my own hand,
That in the sweet Springtide
All in fair flower doth stand
And promise sure of fruit shows through the land.

     And, as though swift it strove
To see and to increase that loveliness,
From the clear ridge above
A stream pure, weariless
Hurrying to reach that ground doth onward press;

     And straightway in repose
Its course it winds there tree and tree between,
And ever as it goes
The earth decks with new green
And with gay wealth of flowers spreads the scene.

     The air in gentle breeze
A myriad scents for my delight distils,
It moves among the trees
With a soft sound that fills
The mind, and thought of gold or scepter kills.

     Treasure and gold be theirs
Who to a frail bark would entrust their life:
I envy not the cares
Of those whose fears are rife
When the north wind with south wind is at strife.

     In the storm's strain the mast
Groans, and clear day is turned to eyeless night,
While to the skies aghast
Rise wild cries of affright
And they enrich the sea in their despite.

     But me may still suffice,
Rich only in meek peace, a humble fare;
And the wrought artifice
Be his of gold plate rare
Who dreads not o'er the raging sea to fare.

     And while in misery
Others are pledged to fierce ambition's throng,
Afire insatiably
For power that stays not long,
May I in pleasant shade recite my song;

     Yea, lying in the shade,
My brow with bay and ivy immortal crowned,
My ear attentive made
To the soft, tuneful sound
Of zither touched by fingers' skill profound.

-- Fray Luis de León (1527-1591)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Beloved One is Mine

I gave myself to Love Divine,
And lo! my lot so changed is
That my Beloved One is mine
And I at last am surely His.

When the sweet Huntsman from above
First wounded me and left me prone,
Into the very arms of Love
My stricken soul forthwith was thrown.
Since then my life's no more my own
And all my lot so changed
That my Beloved One is mine
And I at last am surely His.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Oh Exceeding Beauty

Oh Beauty exceeding
All other beauties!
Paining, but You wound not
Free of pain You destroy
The love of creatures.

Oh, knot that binds
Two so different,
Why do You become unbound
For when held fast You strengthen
Making injuries seem good.

Bind the one without being
With being unending;
Finish, without finishing,
Love, without having to love,
Magnify our nothingness.

-- St Teresa of Avila

Friday, February 4, 2011

Only what you will, my God

Let us all resign ourselves into His hands, and pray that in all things He may guide us to do His Holy Will ... When thoughts of this or that come I turn to Him and say: "Only what you will, my God. Use me as You will".

-- Saint Mary of the Cross (Mary McKillop), Foundress of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart

** St Mary is Australia's first canonized saint!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The wisdom of the closed mouth

"Most of our conversation has no more merit or effect than to stir the air around us. We could all say so very much less without any fear of the world's becoming worse. In fact, if we practice with greater fidelity the virtue of the closed mouth, the world would probably be the better for it.

Not only that, but God alone knows all the grief we have caused ourselves by the imprudence and over-indulgence of our tongues. Many were the times when we felt like kicking ourselves halfway around the block for having said something we felt as if we would have given our right arms to have some of our spoken words revoked. No doubt about it, silence is good sense for everybody. Too bad we can't love it more!

'Silence braces the sinews of the soul'; it reinforces the powers of the mind. This is why it is so widely practiced in all religious communities. But, of course, it is not always easy. There are times when, catering to the gregariousness of our natures, we like to gather in groups and solve the problems of the day with our wise verbosity. Certainly when we entered religious life like hot cakes off the sizzling griddle of the world, we didn't get this business of silence. Like many other things, it went over our heads in the beginning. All it required was a little time for us to realize the wisdom of the closed mouth. We finally took St. James at his word when he said, 'If any man sin not with his tongue, the same is a perfect man.'"

-- Men in Sandals by Fr. Richard Madden, ocd

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"And behold, there was man in Jerusalam, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel.  The birth of the Lord is attested not only by Angels, Prophets and shepherds, but also by elders and just men.  Every age, and both sexes, as well as the wonders of the events themselves, are here present to strengthen our faith.  A virgin conceiveth, a barren woman beareth, a dumb man speaketh, Elisabeth prophesieth, the wise man worshippeth, the unborn child leapeth, the widow praiseth, and the just man waiteth.

Well is he called just, who looked not for favour for himself but for consolation for his people.  He desired to be set free from the bondage of this frail body, but he waited to see the Promised One; for he knew that blest are the eyes that see him.  Then took he him up in his arms, and blest God, and said: Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word.  Behold a just man, confined in the weary prison of the body, desiring to depart, and to begin to be with Christ. For it is far better to depart and be with Christ.

Whosoever will depart and be with Christ, let him come into the temple.  Yea, let him come, as to Jerusalem, and wait for the Lord's Christ.  Let him take hold on the Word of God, let him embrace the same with good works, as it were with arms of faith.  Then let him depart in peace, for he who hath seen Life, shall not see death.  Behold how the Lord's birth doth overflow with abounding grace for all, and prophecy was not denied except to the unbelieving.  Behold, Simeon prophesieth that the Lord Jesus Christ is come for the fall and rising of many.  Yea, he shall separate the just from the unjust by their deserts.  And according as our work shall be, so shall the true and righteous Judge command us to be punished or rewarded."

-- From a homily by St Ambrose

** The painting is by Ambrogio Lorenzetti

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Silence makes you think

"One rarely enters a monastery bearing with him the infused gift of silence: it, as all other monastery habits, must be acquired. All of us had to learn how and when to keep out mouths shut. But, with silence all over the house, prevailing like the wind, we had no reason for not being able to fall in step with the life around us. Training in silence was the order of the day, every day, through the months of novitiate. We were happy to have an opportunity to speak to one another each day at recreation periods, but we were also satisfied to keep the silence when we were supposed to because of the good that was bound to come of it.

And although it would hardly seem possible, when Lent came that first year, there was an even greater than ordinary silence pervading the halls of Carmel. Or seemed to be. The clicking of rosary beads was softened. Disturbing squeaks were routed from sandals. Voices were hushed. Even the telephone did not ring as stridently as usual, or the doorbell. And the cook did not seem to bang the pots and pans as loudly as was his wont. Life within the monastery had become a giant in soft shoes, aggravating its own silence, not because of any special regulations, but only because Lent at the novitiate seemed to spawn an even greater and more profound silence. That year, for the first time in our lives, we let the cloak of quiet fall about our shoulders completely. For the first time we were able to think even deeper thoughts about the Man who went by with a cross. Silence can do that.

But the virtues of this quiet are all so incomprehensible to many people. I do not think that we are far wrong in saying that, on the whole, men are not too appreciative of the virtue of silence. Living today is a chaotic struggle at high speed. The faster people go, the more noise they make; and the more noise they make, the better they feel. For they are afraid of silence. Silence makes them think, and they do not want to think, because when they do, their thought processes gradually sweep them before the unwavering eyes of a just God. they do not like that at all. It hurts; it frightens. Like little boys they whistle themselves past a cemetery pretending it is not there."

-- Men in Sandals by Fr. Richard Madden, ocd