Monday, July 25, 2011

Letter of Pope Pius XII on the Scapular

To the Most Reverend Fathers
Prior General of the Order of the Brothers
of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (O.Carm.)
Prepositus General of the Order of the Discalced Brothers
of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (O.C.D.)

Christ is the way; Mary reflects the way; her Scapular is our keepsake on the way.

There is no one who is not aware how greatly a love for the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, contributes to the enlivening of the Catholic faith and to the raising of the moral standard. These effects are especially secured by means of those devotions which, more than others, are seen to enlighten the mind with celestial doctrine and to excite souls to the practise of the Christian life. In the first rank of the most favoured of those devotions, that of the Holy Carmelite Scapular must be placed — a devotion which, adapted to the minds of all by its very simplicity, has become so universally widespread among the faithful and has produced so many and such salutary fruits.

Therefore it has pleased Us greatly to learn of the decision of our Carmelite Brethren both Calced and Discalced; namely, to take all pains to pay homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary in as solemn a manner as possible on the occasion of the Seventh Centenary of the Institution of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Prompted therefore by Our constant love for the tender Mother of God and mindful also of Our own enrolment from boyhood in the Confraternity of this same Scapular, most willingly do We commend so pious an undertaking and We are certain that upon it will fall an abundance of divine blessings. For not with a light or passing matter are We here concerned, but with the obtaining of eternal life itself which is the substance of that Promise of the Most Blessed Virgin that has been handed down to us. We are concerned, namely, with that which is of supreme importance to all and with the manner of achieving it safely. For the Holy Scapular, which may be called the Habit or Garment of Mary, is a Sign and a Pledge of the protection of the Mother of God. But not for this reason, however, may they who wear the Scapular think that they can gain eternal salvation while remaining slothful and negligent of spirit, for the Apostle warns us: “In fear and trembling shall you work out your salvation.” —Phil. 2:12.

Therefore all Carmelites, whether they live in the cloisters of the First and Second Orders or are members of the Third Order Regular or Secular or of the Confraternities, belong to the same Family of Our Most Blessed Mother and are attached to it by a special bond of love. May they all see in this Keepsake of the Virgin herself a Mirror of humility and purity; may they read in the very simplicity of the Garment a concise lesson in modesty and simplicity; above all, may they behold in this same Garment, which they wear day and night, the eloquently expressive symbol of their prayers for the divine assistance; finally, may it be to them a Sign of their Consecration to the Most Sacred heart of the Immaculate Virgin, a consecration which in recent times We have so strongly recommended.

And certainly this gentle Mother will not delay to open as soon as possible, through her intercession with God, the gates of Heaven for her children who are expiating their faults in Purgatory - a trust based on that Promise known as the Sabbatine Privilege.

Now, therefore, as a pledge of the divine protection and help, and as an assurance of Our own special predilection We most lovingly impart to you, Beloved Sons, and to the whole Carmelite Order, the Apostolic Benediction.

Given In Rome At The See Of Peter
On The Eleventh Day Of February,
On The Feast Of The Apparition Of The Immaculate Virgin Mary,
In The Year 1950,
And The Eleventh Of Our Pontificate.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Share your spiritual treasure: preach the word of God

"There is a spiritual life that we share with the angels of heaven and with the divine spirits, for like them we have been formed in the image and likeness of God. The bread that is necessary for living this life is the grace of the Holy Spirit and the love of God. But grace and love are nothing without faith, since without faith it is impossible to please God. And faith is not conceived unless the word of God is preached. Faith comes through hearing, and what is heard is the word of Christ. The preaching of the word of God, then, is necessary for the spiritual life, just as the planting of seed is necessary for bodily life.

Christ says: The sower went out to sow his seed. The sower goes out as a herald of justice. On some occasions we read that the herald was God, for example, when with a living voice from heaven he gave the law of justice to a whole people in the desert.

On other occasions, the herald was an angel of the Lord, as when he accused the people of transgressing the divine law at Bochim, in the place of weeping. At this all the sons of Israel, when they heard the angel's address, became sorrowful in their hearts, lifted up their voices, and wept bitterly. Then again, Moses preached the law of the Lord to the whole people on the plains of Moab, as we read in Deuteronomy. Finally, Christ came as God and man to preach the word of the Lord, and for the same purpose he sent the apostles, just as he had sent the prophets before them.

Preaching therefore, is a duty that is apostolic, angelic, Christian, divine. The word of God is replete with manifold blessings, since it is, so to speak, a treasure of all goods. It is the source of faith, hope, charity, all virtues, all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, all the beatitudes of the Gospel, all good works, all the rewards of life, all the glory of paradise: Welcome the word that has taken root in you, with its power to save you.

For the word of God is a light to the mind and a fire to the will. It enables man to know God and to love him. And for the interior man who lives by the Spirit of God, through grace, it is bread and water, but a bread sweeter than honey and the honeycomb, a water better than wine and milk. For the soul it is a spiritual treasure of merits yielding an abundance of gold and precious stones. Against the hardness of a heart that persists in wrongdoing, it acts as a hammer. Against the world, the flesh and the devil it serves as a sword that destroys all sin."

-- Sermo Quadragesimalis 2 by St Lawrence of Brindisi, OFM Cap

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Since union with God, precious fruit of silence, could not exist if calmness did not reign within and around us, we must, by a vigilant mortification of the tongue and of the imagination, repress without ceasing the too great love of talking as well as the curious desire of knowing everything."

-- Mother Catherine Aurelia Caouette, Foundress of the Sisters Adorers of the Most Precious Blood

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Precious Blood Prayer to the Mother of God

Dear Mother of God and purest virgin, do offer to the Heavenly Father the Precious Blood and merits of Jesus Christ for all poor sinners and for the prevention of mortal sin.

Dear Mother of God and Protectress of the Holy Church, do offer to the Heavenly Father the Precious Blood and Merits of Jesus Christ for our Holy Mother Church, for our Holy Father the Pope and his intentions, for our Bishop and his diocese.

Dear Mother of God, and my Mother also, do offer to the Heavenly Father the most Precious blood and the merits of Jesus Christ, His most holy and Divine Heart, and His infinite merits, for our cruelly persecuted brethren in every land where Christians suffer persecution. Offer them also for the unhappy pagans that they may learn to know Jesus, Thy Son, and their Redeemer, and for the liberty, victory, and extension of the Catholic Faith in all the countries of the world. Obtain also for the newly converted fidelity and constancy in our holy Faith. Amen.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Seven Offerings of the Precious Blood

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the merits of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, Thy Beloved Son and my Divine Redeemer, for the propagation and exaltation of my dear Mother the Holy Church, for the safety and prosperity of her visible Head, the Holy Roman Pontiff, for the cardinals, bishops and pastors of souls, and for all the ministers of the sanctuary.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Blessed and praised forevermore be Jesus Who hath saved us by His Precious Blood! Amen.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the merits of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, Thy Beloved Son and my Divine Redeemer, for the peace and concord of nations, for the conversion of the enemies of our holy faith and for the happiness of all Christian people.

Glory be...

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the merits of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, Thy Beloved Son and my Divine Redeemer, for the repentance of unbelievers, the extirpation of all heresies, and the conversion of sinners.

Glory be...

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the merits of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, Thy Beloved Son and my Divine Redeemer, for all my relations, friends and enemies, for the poor, the sick, and those in tribulation, and for all those for whom Thou willest I should pray, or knowest that I ought to pray.

Glory be...

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the merits of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, Thy Beloved Son and my Divine Redeemer, for all those who shall this day pass to another life, that Thou mayest preserve them from the pains of hell, and admit them the more readily to the possession of Thy Glory.

Glory be...

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the merits of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, Thy Beloved Son and my Divine Redeemer, for all those who are lovers of this Treasure of His Blood, and for all those who join with me in adoring and honoring It, and for all those who try to spread devotion to It . . .

Glory be...

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the merits of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, Thy Beloved Son and my Divine Redeemer, for all my wants, spiritual and temporal, for the holy souls in Purgatory, and particularly for those who in their lifetime were most devoted to this Price of our redemption, and to the sorrows and pains of our dear Mother, most Holy Mary . . .

Glory be...

Blessed and exalted be the Blood of Jesus, now and always, and through all eternity. Amen.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Memorial of Bl Maria Crocifissa Curcio

"Maria Crocifissa [Kroh-Chee-FEE-sah] Curcio [KUR-chee-oh], foundress of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, was born in Ispica (Rg), southeast Sicily, in the diocese of Noto, on January 30, 1877. Her parents were Salvatore Curcio and Concetta Franzò.  Being the seventh of ten siblings, she spent her childhood in a highly cultural and social home environment, in which she quickly exhibited lively intelligence and a pleasant personality. She was very strong-willed and determined, and in her early teens she developed a strong tendency towards piety, with specific attention and solidarity towards the weak and marginalized.

At home she was raised under the strict moral guidelines, by virtue of which her father not only impeded her yearning for an intense life of faith, but according to the customs of the era, he did not permit her to study beyond grade six at the elementary level. 

These deprivations cost her greatly. However, eager to learn, she drew comfort from the many books in the family library, where she found a copy of the Life of Saint Teresa of Jesus. The impact of this saint enabled her to come to know and love the Carmel, and so she began her "study of celestial things".

In 1890, at the age of thirteen, she succeeded, and not without difficulty, in enrolling in the Carmelite Third Order, which had only recently been re-established in Ispica. Because of her regular attendance at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and her deep devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, who "had captured her heart since childhood" by assigning her the mission of“making the Carmel reflourish”, her knowledge of Carmelite Spirituality made her understand the divine plans in store for her.

Her desire to share the ideal of a Missionary Carmel, which unites the contemplative dimension with that of a specifically apostolic dimension, she began an initial experience of community life with a few fellow members of the Third Order in a small apartment in her ancestral home, which her siblings had bequeathed to her. She then transferred to Modica (Rg) where she was entrusted with the management of the "Carmela Polara” conservatory for the acceptance and assistance of young females who were orphans or in any way needy, with the firm resolution to turning them into"worthy women who would be useful to themselves and to society".

After several years of trials and hardships in the vain attempt to see this undertaking of hers in some way supported and officially recognized by the local ecclesiastic authorities, she finally managed to obtain the support and agreement of her missionary ideal in Father Lorenzo Van Den Eerenbeemt, a Carmelite Father of the Ancient Order.  On May 17, 1925, she came to Rome for the canonization of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, and the next day, accompanied by father Lorenzo, she visited Santa Marinella, a small town on the Latium coast north of Rome.  She was struck by the natural beauty of this region, but also by the extreme poverty of a great number of this town’s inhabitants and it was here that she finally realized that she had reached her landing place.  Having obtained an oral permission “of experiment” from the bishop of the Diocese of Porto Santa Rufina, Cardinal Antonio Vico, on July 3,1925, she definitively settled in Santa Marinella, and on July 16 of the following year, she received the decree of affiliation of her small community with the Carmelite Order, hence sealing her belonging to Mary in the Carmel forever more.

In 1930, after many sufferings and crosses, her small nucleus obtained the recognition of the Church and Cardinal Tommaso Pio Boggiani, Ordinary of the diocese Porto Santa Rufina, erected the Congregation of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus as an institute of diocesan rights.

“To bring souls to God” is the objective that brought to life the numerous openings of educational and charitable institutions in Italy and abroad.  For this reason she urged her daughters to bring a Christian point of view to families.  She was able to achieve her missionary yearning in 1947 when, on the ashes of the second world war, she sent the first sisters to Brazil with the mandate to “never forget the poor”, continuing to dream of increasingly vast horizons towards which to drive the sails of her missionary Carmel.

With her entire life marked by poor health and diabetes, which she forced herself to always accept with strength and a serene adhesion to the will of God, she passed the last years of her life in illness, continuing to pray and to give of herself to her sisters, to whom she offers a precious example of virtues, which became all the more transparent and bright.

Her prayer was an imitate and constant dialogue with Jesus, the Father, and all the Blessed, inspired by a filial confidence, spousal love, sentiments of gratitude, praise, adoration and amends, that she sought to transmit, first of all, to her spiritual daughters and to all those who had the opportunity to know her through the example of her life, always nourishing the “desire to have holy daughters, eucharistic daughters, and daughters that know how to pray”.

She intensely cultivated the union of love with Christ in the Eucharist by giving all of herself to satisfy the desire to make amends “for the immense number of souls who do not know and do not love God” and by offering to be the victim of atonement along “with the Great Martyr of Love”.  An amends which made her capable of sharing the pains and anxieties of humanity; of becoming aware of their various needs, with charity and justice; of providing a voice to those who do not have one; and of perceiving the image of the Crucified Christ in those whose image had been distorted by pain and suffering.  For this reason she urged the sisters to “love with holiness the treasures with which the Divine Goodness entrusts you; the souls of the youth, the hope of the future.” And to not spare oneself in the service of the youth most humiliated and abandoned by “freeing in them the gold from the mud”, in order to restore in every creature the dignity and the image of being a child of God.

From the Mother of Jesus she learned to be a mother to those in need.  With St. Therese of the Child Jesus she found spiritual bliss in the “regular and faithful fulfilment of one’s duties”, doing “with love and dedication even the smallest deeds”; experiencing with humility and simplicity, joy and tenderness, every human relationship and everyday achieving that unity of life and faith “by peacefully combining” the untiring activity of Martha and the profound mysticism of Mary.

On July 4, 1957, in Santa Marinella, she serenely returned forever to Christ, her spouse, leaving behind in everyone’s heart a live memory of her love and of her holiness."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

All men are under obligation to make reparation

"Among the various devotions paid to the Sacred Heart, the one foremost in importance and interest is assuredly the Act of Consecration, whereby we give to the divine Heart of Jesus both ourselves and all that is ours; in recognition of the truth that all we have cometh unto us out of the infinite charity of the eternal Deity.  But it is expedient that any attempt of ours at self-consecration be accompanied with the purpose of making expiation (otherwise called reparation) to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  In consecration the predominant intention may be said to be the purpose to repay (as it were) the love of the Creator by the love of us his creatures.  But since Love Uncreate is passed over by human forgetfulness, and dishonoured by the sins of mankind, we should endeavour to repair such outrages; and the performance of this duty is ordinarily known as reparation.

If we are, for the aforesaid reasons, to undertake both of those practices, we must recognize that we are impelled to the duty of reparation by the most powerful motives of justice and love: of justice, in order to expiate the injury done to God by our sins, and to re-establish through penance the divine order which was violated by them; of love, in order to suffer together with Christ, (who patiently endured all possible dishonour,) so that we may offer him some solace in return for his sufferings.  For it is our duty to do more than honour God by the worship of adoration, whereby we adore his infinite Majesty, or by means of prayer, when we recognize his supreme dominion over us, or by acts of thanksgiving, when we praise his infinite generosity towards us.  Because we are sinners, burdened with many offences, we must also make satisfaction to the offended justice of God, because of the numberless sins, offences and negligences we have committed.  Wherefore, we must add to the act of consecration, by which we offer ourselves to God, and become thereby, as it were, sacred unto God by reason of the holiness which naturally floweth from an act of consecration, as the Angelic Doctor teacheth.  We must add the act of reparation, by means of which all our faults are blotted out, lest perchance the sanctity of Infinite Justice spurn our arrogant unworthiness, and look upon the gift of ourselves as something to be rejected rather than accepted.

All men are under obligation to make reparation; for our souls are disfigured as the Christian faith teacheth by original sin as a result of the pitiable fall of Adam.  We are also subject to passions, whereby we are corrupted in a truly sad state, and have thus made ourselves worthy of everlasting condemnation.  It is true that the proud philosophers of this world deny the aforesaid verities, and in their place do raise up again the ancient heresy of Pelagius: which taught that in human nature there is a certain innate goodness wherewith, by our own powers, we are raised up to ever higher levels of perfection; but such false theories, born of human pride, have been condemned by the Apostle in his saying that all men are by nature the children of wrath.  As a matter of fact, from the very beginning of the creation of the world, mankind recognized, in one way or another, the obligation of making reparation, impelled thereto, as by a natural instinct, in an endeavour to placate God by offering public sacrifices unto him."

-- From the Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI