What is the Ultimate Reason for the Incarnation?

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Why Was The Word Made Flesh?

To what end did the second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, in all things equal to the Father (cf. Heb. 1:3, Jn. 3:35, Jn. 10:30 etc.), become man (Jn. 1:14)? Was it to call ‘sinners to penance’ (Lk. 5:32)? Was it that we ‘may not remain in darkness’ (Jn. 12:49), but rather that we might see (Lk. 9:39)? Was it to bring us to the ‘Bosom of the Father’ (Jn. 1:18; Ps. 18:6, Vulgate)? Yes: the Word became Flesh for all these reasons. ‘For God indeed was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself…’ (2 Cor. 5:19)

But that is not all.

Love Seeks Union
While it is true that God desires ‘all men to be saved’ (1 Tim. 2:4), He does not will that we merely be saved; it is not enough, in an of itself, for a love like His, that we be in a state of sanctifying grace; love seeks union, and the greater the love, the more sublime the union.

More than our reconciliation, then, God desires our sanctification – that is, the most complete reconciliation possible. He wants us to be one with Himself; He wants to consume us in His Word, in the fire of His Love. To adapt a well-known saying of St. Augustine, you might say that the Sacred Heart of Jesus is restless until It rests in us. ‘My son, give me thy heart! … I thirst!’ (Prov. 23:26; Jn. 19:28)

Aim Higher
“I’ll be lucky to get to Purgatory!” some say. But that is not enough. It is in affront to Divine Love to hope for anything less than the greatest intimacy with God (‘Be ye perfect…’ – that is, all His). Why so? Because God, as infinite and undivided Love, has given Himself to us without reserve (cf. Rom. 8:32); He is a ‘jealous God’ (Deut. 4:24), Who created us for one thing: Love. “I alone,” said Our Lord to St. Mechtilde, “can fill the heart of man.” Creatures, He further explained, cannot satisfy us, nor can any number of earthly goods, for they are less than man; they were created for us, not we for them.

To love us: this is His great joy, His solace, His glory. How He thirsts for our love! ‘If thou didst know the gift of God, and Who He is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water’ (Jn. 4:10).

God: Our Common Vocation
Think about it: the God-Man, in Whose Sacred Heart is contained an infinite ocean of love, thirsts for our love! How He longs – He Who ’emptied Himself’ (Phil. 2:7) – to pour Himself out upon us, thereby giving us to share, with Him, in an ineffable communion with the Most Blessed Trinity: As the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in My love. (Jn. 15:9) “[T]he works of grace,” writes Ven. Juan G. Arintero OP, “since they make us enter into the joy of the Lord, into the intimate and secret life of the Divinity, and into friendly and familiar fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, raise us up to a participation in those ineffable communications which are effected ad intra, in the very Bosom of God.” (quoted in ‘Cradle of Redeeming Love’ by John Saward)

What a vocation! ‘I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal VOCATION OF GOD in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 3:14) St. Therese was right: “MY VOCATION IS LOVE!” ‘God is Love.’

This brings us to the answer to our initial question: What is the ultimate reason for the Incarnation? The answer?

The Ultimate Reason for The Incarnation
We will let Our Lord speak:

+ ‘I am come THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE, and may have it more abundantly… UNTO THE PRAISE OF THE GLORY OF HIS GRACE.’ (Jn. 10:10; Eph. 1:6)

And what is this Life of which our Saviour speaks? It is His own Life:

+ ‘By this hath the charity of God appeared towards us, because God hath sent His only begotten Son into the world, THAT WE MAY LIVE BY HIM.’ (1 Jn. 4:9)

There is the answer: Our Lord came that we might live ‘THROUGH HIM, AND WITH HIM, AND IN HIM’ for the Father’s glory (cf. Per ipsum of the Mass; Eph. 1:3-10).

This all brings us to the means by which God effects this sublime union: the Adorable Eucharist.

The Sacrament of Love
As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me. (Jn. 6:58)
That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me, and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.
And the glory which Thou hast given Me, I have given to them; that they may be one, as We also are One: I in them, and Thou in Me; THAT THEY MAY BE MADE PERFECT IN ONE: and the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved Me.’ (Jn. 17:21-23)

“My beloved,” said Our Lord to Sister Catherine Agnes Planche, “I wish you to love Me with the same love that I have eternally for My Father.”

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‘For by ONE OBLATION He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.’
– Heb. 10:14

Ven. Louis de Blois: Thoughts on Paradise

Below you will find a compilation of quotes on the topic of Paradise. These have been taken from different works by Ven. Louis de Blois (principally ‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois, Abbot of Liesse,’ R & T Washbourne, 1903).

As a preliminary consideration, it will be worthwhile to reflect on a spiritual light given to St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi. She learnt that, whereas earthly pleasures, being less than man, enter into him, the joys of Paradise, conversely, are so much greater than man, that he enters into them. Earthly joys, she writes, are like a glass of water; heavenly, like a limitless ocean. St. Thomas concurs with this thought, as do all other theologians, at least implicitly; impelled, as they are, by the inexorable laws of sound philosophy. ‘Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord’ (Mt. 25:21).

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THOUGHT ON PARADISE:
Putting Things in Perspective: The Depths of Mary’s Joy
In fact, if all the joys of the world, all peace, all delights and pleasures were gathered into one, they would appear mere bitterness compared with the least joy that the Blessed Virgin possessed.

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The Company of Countless Angels and Saints
We shall enjoy for ever the society of Mary, the Mother of God, most beautiful, most sweet, most kind, most lovable, of the holy angels and the other citizens of heaven, and we shall know them all right well as our friends… Each one distinctly and perfectly knows every one of the citizens of heaven, and abounds with every sort of riches, delight and joy… [We shall be blessed to] behold the most Blessed Mother of God, to join the chorus of Angels, to have perpetual fellowship with the holy Patriarchs and Prophets, with the holy Apostles and Martyrs, with the holy Confessors and Virgins: to know all the citizens of heaven, and to rejoice with each of them in their eternal happiness.

‘Better is One Day in Thy Courts Above Thousands…’
Truly, that blessed heavenly country is our only fatherland; where an everlasting day always shineth forth, better far than a thousand days here below.

The Hour of Death: Man’s “Hour”
Happy is the hour, and most desirable the moment, when the heavenly Spouse joyfully meets the holy soul coming forth from the prison of the body with gentle words, and invites it, saying, “Arise, make haste, my love. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. Flowers have appeared in our land; the vines in flower yield their sweet smell, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land” (Cant. ii. 10, 11, 12). Come forth with joy, most dear daughter: tremble not, nor be afraid; thou art brought out of exile, thou leavest the miseries of the calamitous world. For “nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow, shall be any more” (Apoc. xxi. 4). Henceforth, the corruptible body shall not weigh down the soul: for when thou art admitted into the joy of thy Lord, thou shalt rejoice for ever in the gift of immortality.

No Need for Food and Drink
They who shall possess God will not need corruptible food and drink, for they will be full of God. God will be to them, food and drink, and whatsoever they can desire; they will have all things in Him, with whose vision they will be filled.

Endless Desire, Endless Satisfaction
They will ever see Him, and ever be satisfied; and they will desire ever to see Him, and ever to be satisfied. They will desire without anxiety, and they will have their fill without satiety.

Beauty Incomparable
Thy gates shine with choice pearls; thy streets are paved with the purest gold; thy walls are bright with most precious stories. In thee, delicious gardens and pleasant vales are ever fresh; in thee, perennial flowers and violets continually flourish; in thee, the cinnamon and balsam incessantly breathe forth an ineffable odour of sweetness; in thee, all kinds of beautiful things abound without fading, remain without passing away, exist without corruption, are eternal without change. In thee is a climate temperate and serene, beyond all human conception; in thee, are peace and repose surpassing all imagination; in thee, is eternal day, and one life in all; in thee, is certain security, and secure eternity, and eternal tranquillity, and tranquil happiness, and happy sweetness, and sweet joy: in thee shall the just shine as the sun (Matth. xiii. 43).

Absolutely Nothing is Lacking
No one can seek, or desire, or love anything, which he will not find in thee. That only which is nothing worth, is not in thee. Oh, what an ocean of unalloyed bliss, what a torrent of unmixed joy, what an abyss of purest delight is it to see the God of gods in Sion (Psalm Ixxxiii. 8), to discern that incomprehensible glory of the Most Holy Trinity: clearly to contemplate that surpassing fairness, perfectly to taste that ineffable sweetness, from whence flows out all the beauty and sweetness of created things…

A Land Free of Every Affliction
… there is no infirmity, no corruption, no fear, no thoughts, no anxiety, no grief, no poverty, no affliction, no sorrow or misery (Apoc. xxi. 4). There wilt thou most happily enjoy that supreme and unchangeable Good, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of mortal man (1 Cor. ii. 9).

Like Iron Cast into the Fire
For thou shalt clearly see the glorious Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the One supremely desirable God. Thou will be in God and God will be in thee in a most excellent manner. Being thus united to God, thou wilt perfectly taste the sweetness of His goodness, and wilt be utterly inebriated with the torrent of divine delights (Psal. xxxv. 9). Thou wilt then most fully know and feel, with what immense love He has loved thee from all eternity.

The Lamb is the Lamb Thereof
Filled with unspeakable and incomprehensible joy, thou wilt behold the Human Face of thy Beloved Jesus, which is verily all gracious, glorious, and sweet; for His beauty and fairness far surpass all that can in this life be wished for or desired.

Beauty, Peace, Truth
There, all are adorned with incorruptible beauty, and enjoy an imperturbable peace. There all are ever glorified by the serene light of the Godhead, and obtain full knowledge of the truth.

God Possesses All Perfections Perfectly
Thou needst not fear lest any of those things which please thee here should be absent. For all the beauty, elegance, sweetness, grace, perfection, and excellence that can here be found in all creatures, exist there most exuberantly and superessentially. In short, there is the influx of every good.

33 Forever
We shall all rise again at the age at which the Lord Jesus was when He died for us. The old man of a hundred years and the infant of one night old will be of the same stature. And although the good may now be lame, or blind, or deformed; yet they will then rise again sound, whole, fair, beautiful, and free from every blemish.

The Glory of the Risen Body
The bodies of the elect will then emit a most sweet odour, and will be seven times more brilliant than the sun, since the glory of their souls will penetrate them. They will also be impassible, so that they can suffer no injury. And they will be endowed with such agility that wherever the soul may wish to be, thither it will in a moment transport the body. They will moreover be so subtle that they will penetrate solid and thick substances with less difficulty than the light of the sun penetrates glass.

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Justice at Last
Then, indeed, the Saints, who during the winter of this exile, like trees stripped of all adornment, appeared lowly and were esteemed barren, will be clothed with unspeakable glory and beauty, and will flourish like palm-trees for ever and ever.

The Power of Praise: A Sublime Revelation Given to St. Mechtilde

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A Sublime Revelation to St. Mechtilde

On a certain day, while the Benedicite* was being sung in choir, Our Lord addressed these words to St. Mectilde:

“Whenever anyone sings that hymn, or a similar one [e.g. Psalms 148 – 150] in which all creatures are summoned to praise God, those creatures all come spiritually into My presence and praise Me for that person and for all men in general for all the benefits I have given them.” (Pt. 3, Ch. 7)

[*i.e. The Benedicite. This is a text based on Chapter 3 of the book of Daniel, the first verse of which is: ‘BENEDICITE omnia opera Domini, Domino: All ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord.’]

A Biblical Foundation
If this seems far-fetched, listen to St. Paul:

For all things are yours,
whether it be Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas,
or the world,
or life,
or death,
or things present,
or things to come;
for all are yours;
and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.’
1 Cor. 3:22-23

And yet again:

‘He that spared not even His own Son,
but delivered Him up for us all,
how hath he not also, with Him, given us all things?’
– Rom. 8:32

This ought to be the source of all our confidence! The treasury of Christ’s riches are ours! We access these riches by faith. This explains Our Lord’s words to St. Mechtilde: “CONFIDENCE BY ITSELF CAN EASILY OBTAIN ALL THINGS.”

A Model of Confidence
There are many: St. Therese, Bl. Columba Marmion, St. Gertrude, Sr. Benigna Consolata, St. Gemma Galgani, etc. But let’s take another example: Mechtilde of Magdeburg (another holy Mechtilde). “She took all Christendom,” writes Bl. Columba Marmion, “in the arms of her soul to present it to the Eternal Father that it might be saved.
‘Let be,’ said Our Lord to her, ‘it is too heavy for thee.’
‘No, Lord,’ replied the Saint, ‘I will lift it up and bear it to Thee with Thine own Arms, that so Thou mayest bear it Thyself upon the Cross.’

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“This Divine Life that Jesus possesses personally and in its plenitude, He wills to communicate and lavish upon us:
I am come that they may have life,
and may have it more abundantly.”

– Bl. Columba Marmion

 

Mary: Mother of the Eucharist

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‘With the Bread of Life and understanding, she shall feed him…’
– Ecclus. 15:3

Mary Invites us to Holy Communion
“Among the Biblical figures of Mary,” writes St. Peter Julian Eymard, “there are several which represent her inviting us to Holy Communion. Such is the table of the Temple upon which rested the loaves consecrated to the Lord. ‘Hail, Mary,’ says St. Ephraim, ‘spiritual table of faith, who dost offer the true Bread to the famished world!’

‘Why [asks Pinna] does this holy Doctor [St. Ephraim] give to Mary the title of table instead of ark, since the Ark contained the miraculous manna? Ah! it is because the Ark hid what it held; whilst the table exposed to view the food that was laid on it, and seemed to invite the guests to partake of it… It is because the Ark contained only manna, while the table holds not only bread, but all kinds of savory food and delicious drinks, also. Now, Mary, in offering Jesus to us in Holy Communion, gives us a Bread which has in Itself all flavors, and which satisfies every desire.'” ‘Instead of which things thou didst feed thy people with the food of angels, and gavest them bread from heaven prepared without labour; having in it all that is delicious, and the sweetness of every taste’ (Wis. 16:20; Cf. Communion Antiphon for XIII Sunday after Pentecost, usus antiquior).

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In another place,” continues St. Peter Julian, “Mary is compared to the [sanctuary] lamp which ought, according to the Law, to be placed very near the table of the sanctuary. ‘What means this prescription?’ asks Conti. ‘Without doubt, to light up that holy table and the sacred loaves that it holds. It is thus that Mary attracts us by the light of her inspirations, in order to show us the Eucharistic Bread which will make our delight.'”

“But a still more striking indication of Mary’s power over the dispensing of this ineffable grace of Communion, is the word of St. Peter: ‘As new-born babes, desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation…’ (1 Pt. 2:2)

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Cornelius a Lapide says that many interpreters understand by this spiritual milk the Eucharist, which in the early Church was given immediately after Baptism, and even to infants. The Eucharist has, indeed, the color of milk. Like milk, It is sweet to the taste, and like It, again, It marvelously nourishes the soul.

St. Peter’s expression, Concupiscite, “Desire ardently,” shows us with what eagerness we ought to desire this spiritual milk. ‘Do you not see,’ says St. Chrysostom, ‘with what haste little infants seize the mother’s breast? Ah! with still greater eagerness let us run to the source of this Blessed Beverage! Let us, like new-born babes, suck in the grace of the Holy Spirit.’ ‘Come over to me, all ye that desire (concupiscitis) me,’ says our Blessed Mother, ‘and be filled with my fruits’ (Ecclus. 24:26; Epistle for Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel).

The Eucharist is, then, the milk of our soul. But how suggestive of Mary is this word “milk”! Who gives the milk to the babe but the mother? All you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price’ (Is. 55:1; Epistle for Feast of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces, May 31).

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Who shall give thee to me for my Brother, sucking the breasts of my Mother, that I may find Thee without, and kiss Thee, and now no man may despise me?’ (Cant. 8:1)

Mary, give us that substantial Milk of our soul!… Thou dost give us in Communion a Divine Milk, God Himself changed into milk for our weakness, for our infancy, for, as St. John Damascene declares: ‘The Virgin’s milk is changed into the Flesh of the Saviour, and it is that Milk – that Milk, itself, without doubt – that we receive at the Holy Altar…” ‘Out of the mouth of infants (infantium) and of sucklings (lactentium) thou hast perfected praise, because of thy enemies, that thou mayst destroy the enemy and the avenger.’ (Ps. 8:3)

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St. Augustine, glancing from the Cross to the Altar, knew not by which God testified the more love for him, and he exclaimed: ‘… UPON THE CROSS HE OPENS TO ME HIS HEART; AT THE ALTAR, HE PRESENTS TO ME THE BREAST, AND FEEDS ME WITH DIVINE MILK!’ ‘He hath filled the hungry with good things…’ (Mary, Mother of all the Living, Lk. 1:53, echoing Ps. 106:9)

(From ‘Month of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament,’ The Sentinel Press, 1903, by Father Eymard [St. Peter Julian]; Scriptures in italics have been added)

+ Happy Feast of the Nativity of Mary, Mother of God, and our dearest Mother!
+ And happy “feast of the Littlest Souls”
!

‘Man Ate The Bread of Angels’ (Ps. 77:25): The Eucharist as Milk

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ECCE PANIS ANGELORUM: Behold the Bread of Angels!

As new-born babes, desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation…’
– 1 Pt. 2:2

The Food of Little Ones
“Clement of Alexandria thus quotes the [aforementioned] passage: ‘As new-born babes, desire ye the word!’ Yes, it is the Word, the Milk of those who are converted and become little children, who are born again of the Holy Ghost; it prepares them for the solid food of the eternal feast, that is, for the Word unveiled.

Our Holy Mother, the Church
… It is that heavenly dew which fell from the bosom of the Father into the womb of the Virgin-Mother; and this same, the Word Incarnate, gives Himself to the Church, for she, too, is Virgin and Mother.

Pure as a virgin, and affectionate as a mother, she invites her children to come, and she feeds them on this rational milk, this Word, this most beautiful One among the sons of men; she gives her little ones the Body of Christ, and strengthens them with the Word of the Father.

Oh! let us run to this blessed Mother of ours, and drink of that Word, who turns all our evils away from us, making us forget, by correcting, them. The mother’s breast is everything to her child — life, joy, its whole world.

… And yet, a mother’s milk is but an image of the One I am speaking of. That other ceases, when the first few months are gone; but the one I partake of is an inexhaustible spring; it forms me into the perfect man, making me reach the age of the fulness of Christ.

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A Favourite Symbol of the Eucharist in the Early Church
… St. Perpetua relates, that, on the evening before she and her companions were to suffer martyrdom, Pastor put a delicious milk into her mouth: the details she gives of that touching scene, show us that she is speaking of the Blessed Sacrament.

… For, as St. Augustine so admirably explains this doctrine, ‘Man does not live on one food, and Angel on another: truth, divine Wisdom, is the one food of every intelligence. The Angels, the Powers, the heavenly spirits, feed on it; they eat of it; they grow upon it, and yet the mysterious food lessens not. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God: take it, if you can; eat it; it is food.

Sublime and Consoling Wisdom from St. Augustine
Perhaps, you will say to me: ‘Oh! yes, it is verily food; but I — I am a babe; what I must have is milk; else I cannot reach that Word you tell me of.’ Well! since it is milk you require, and yet there is no other food for you save this of heaven (the Word), He will pass through the flesh, that he may thus be brought within reach of your lips, for food does not become milk, except by its passing through flesh. It is thus a mother does. What the mother eats is what her child drinks; but the little one not being, as yet, strong enough to take the bread as it is, the mother eats it, and then gives it to her child under a form that very sweetly suits the babe. He does not receive the food such as it lay upon the table, but after it has passed through the flesh, and so made suitable to the child.

Therefore was the Word made Flesh, and dwelt among us; and ‘man hath eaten, thus, the bread of Angels.’ Eternal Wisdom came down even to us, by the Flesh and Blood of Him that was our Saviour; he came as milk, which was full of all blessing to us.”

(Taken from Dom Gueranger’s, ‘The Liturgical Year,’ 1879, Tuesday within the Octave of Corpus Christi)

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“The Bread of Angels is Virginal Milk.”
– St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face

Some Consoling Biblical Titles for Christ

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FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS
My Mercy (Ps. 58:18)
My Saviour (Ps. 26:9)
My Helper (Ps. 18:5)
My Redeemer (Ps. 18:5)
My Patience (Ps. 70:5)
My Protector (Ps. 3:4)
My Joy (Ps. 31:7)
My Hope (Ps. 70:5)

FROM ELSEWHERE
‘My Beloved’ (Cant. 2:16)
‘Our Everlasting Saviour’ (Bar. 4:22)
‘Saint of Saints’ (Dan. 9:24)

************
A Prayer Inspired by Some of the Aforementioned Titles
My Mercy (Ps. 58:18), have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy (Ps. 50:3).
My Saviour (Ps. 26:9), save me for Thy mercy’s sake (Ps. 6:5).
My Helper (Ps. 18:5), make haste to help me (Ps. 69:2).
My Redeemer (Ps. 18:5), redeem me and have mercy on me (Ps. 25:11).
My Patience (Ps. 70:5), give me constancy in my mind (Jud. 9:14).
My Protector (Ps. 3:4), protect me under the shadow of Thy Wings. (Ps. 16:8).
My Joy (Ps. 31:7), give joy to the soul of Thy servant (Ps. 85:4).
My Hope (Ps. 70:5), I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living (Ps. 26:13).

************
An Important Spiritual Lesson
All that you seek can be found in Christ. Do you desire mercy? He is mercy. Are you in need of joy? He is joy. Are you wanting in patience? He is your patience. Go to Him for everything.

God Loves Nothingness
Believe and know that He draws you by His love alone. Give Him the consent of your faith. Give Him your poverty, your misery, your sins. God does not disdain nothingness; this is His vast domain of activity. “My child,” said Our Lord to Armella Nicolas, “make room for Me.”

‘To Live is Christ’
Know that God is the sanctity of the soul. Your wretchedness is no obstacle to His goodness; the only hindrance is your lack of faith and abandonment. Be little in His arms! He is your Abba, your ALL!

You will learn this littleness by gazing at your Mother, the littlest of all of His ‘most dear children’ (Eph. 5:1): ‘BEHOLD THY MOTHER’ (Mt. 12:47).

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The Most Essential Christian Prayer Book

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On the Lips of Saints
During the final days of Bl. Columba Marmion (d. Jan 30, 1923), a certain individual was trying to encourage him to confide in God’s mercy. The gist of what the latter said was this: “Think of all the good works you have performed: remember all the conferences you have given, the books you have written, the sermons you have preached.” Shaking his head, the holy Abbot simply had this to say: ‘Deus meus, misericordia mea!’ (‘My God, my mercy!’).

Where did he learn this beautiful little prayer? Was it his own composition? Did he find it in the writings of a pious author? Was it revealed to a chosen soul? No. These words come straight from the Psalter – that is, the book of Psalms. We will find no better prayer book; every word comes from the Heart of God. This explains the preference of so many desert fathers, priests, religious, and Saints in general, for the Psalter.

‘Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Thy name:
the just wait for me, until Thou reward me.’

– Final words of St. Francis of Assisi (Ps. 141:8)

What better way to address Him than in those words which were inspired by the Holy Spirit, Whosearcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God’ (1 Cor. 2:10)? Are His words not ‘spirit and life’ (Jn. 6:64)?

If you wish to ‘put on Christ’ (Gal. 3:27), you must have ‘the mind of Christ’ (1 Cor. 2:16), and if you wish to have the mind of Christ, you must let your heart be dissolved in His prayer, in His life. ‘It is written,’ said Our Lord (quoting the book of Deuteronomy), ‘that Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word of God’ (Lk. 4:4). Open your Bible, then; listen to your God, Who calls on you, saying: ‘For I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it’ (Ps. 80:11).

“The Psalms form indeed the chief of all books of prayer.”
– Bl. Ildephonsus Schuster

The Psalms: A Key to the Heart of Christ
“The holy Gospels, writes Bl. Cardinal Schuster, “relate the life of Jesus in all its details and expound His teaching, but the Psalms of David show us the mind of our Saviour, and make known to us His preferences, His feelings, His struggles and His anxieties, and tell us of the accents of deep love in which He prayed to His heavenly Father.

Throughout His life, Jesus addressed Him in the words of the Psalter, and on the Cross, during His last agony, the twenty-first psalm was on His lips. We might almost liken the Psalter to a sacerdotal book of prayers which the eternal Pontiff recited whilst offering up to His Father the sacrifice of His own life…

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The private piety of present-day Catholics would gain much if, letting themselves be influenced by the example of our common Mother, the Church, who appoints for her ministers the weekly recital of the Psalter, they, too, would make more use of this prayer-book, which was inspired by the Holy Ghost and adopted for our example by our Saviour Jesus Christ Himself.” (‘The Sacramentary,’ p. 156, vol. II)

The Value of a Fervent Communion

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‘Miraculous communion du Saint Teresa of Jesus’ by Niccolò Bambini.

‘Deus Cordis Mei: Thou art the God of my heart’
The graces of a fervent Communion are incalculable. One Communion was sufficient to cause Bl. Imelda (d. May 12, 1333) to die of love, so great was her longing for the God of her heart (Ps. 72:26).  “Tell me,” she would sometimes say, “can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die?” ‘My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God? My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready!’ (Ps. 41:3; Ps. 107:2).

“No tongue can express,” writes the Venerable Abbot Blosius, “no heart can comprehend how boundless are the spiritual goods which come to the soul from the devout reception of this sweet Sacrament of the Eucharist.” (‘A Spiritual Mirror’) ‘He that spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not also, with Him, given us all things?’ (Rom. 8:32)

Four Fruits of a Fervent Communion
Listen to the words of “the devout Blosius” (St. Alphonsus), “a great Benedictine mystic” (Bl. Columba Marmion). The following words are from his work, ‘A Book of Spiritual Instruction’:

“O most worthy and most sweet Sacrament, in which, under the species of bread and wine, we receive the whole Christ, namely, the Body, the Blood, the Soul and the Godhead of Christ; we receive the whole Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. For the three Persons of one Godhead and essence cannot be separated from one another. The whole Trinity, therefore, dwells in the Body of Christ, because the whole Godhead is in It. The fruits, therefore, of the most Blessed Sacrament are many and precious.

(1) He who receives the Lord’s Body with due devotion is cleansed from all sins, even from those mortal sins of which he is not conscious or does not remember to have committed, provided only that he is in the disposition of mind to confess and do penance for them if he did know that he had fallen into them.

(2) He is made partaker of all those good things which Christ has merited for us in His Life, Passion and Death.

(3) Yea, also, he becomes a sharer in all the good things that have been done since the time of Adam, and will be done until the end of the world.

(4) Lastly, he is united to Christ and incorporated with Him, and therefore receives force and power to resist vice and to persevere in good works; and now, adorned with a more pure and excellent life, he is transformed and changed into God, and filled with all the grace of the most glorious Trinity.”

Wenceslas_Hollar_-_Elevation_of_the_Host_2

‘Elevation of the Host’ by Wenceslaus Hollar

‘Thou hast prepared a Table before me against them that afflict me.’
– Psalm 22:5

A 19th century Benedictine Mystic: Some Anecdotes and Sayings (Pt. 2)

Reverend Pere Paul de Moll.JPG
SOME ANECDOTES FROM THE LIFE OF FR. PAUL OF MOLL (d. Feb 24, 1896)

Even the Saints have Imperfections
Someone complained to Father Paul about an ecstatic. ‘Then do not believe,’ he said, ‘that these saintly souls have no faults. No saint in this world is exempt from faults.’

A Vision of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament
“One day while I knelt in adoration before the Most Holy Sacrament exposed, I saw Jesus standing before me. He wore a white garment and was of dazzling beauty.” – Fr. Paul of Moll

Simultaneous Novenas
Father Paul advised a countryman to make a novena to St. Benedict. ‘I shall have to wait a few days,’ he replied, ‘for I have commenced a novena to St. Joseph.’
‘Nothing prevents you from making the two novenas at the same time; in Heaven, there is no jealousy among the saints.’

Two Places in Heaven
In the confessional, an ecstatic said to Father Paul that in a dream she had seen the Rev. Father’s soul carried to Heaven by angels and there placed near the choir of angels. He replied simply, ‘Yes indeed, my place is there.’
Then he asked, ‘Do you know your place in Heaven?’
‘No.’
‘Well, I know it.’  (“We may here remark that other ecstatics of our country [Belgium] likewise say that the Rev. Father Paul has a high place in Heaven, and that he is a very powerful protector. But the Church alone has the authority to confirm these assertions.”)

A Miracle Worker – Not in Life, but in Death
To an ecstatic Father Paul said, ‘You will not work any miracles during your life-time, but you will after your death.’

Devotion to the Nine Choirs of Angels 
“A very pious young girl was saying the Rosary in our church, in honor of the nine choirs of angels. I saw above her head nine silver strings which continually moved up and down. This symbolized the joy felt by the angels of the nine choirs at the homage which was paid to them.” – Fr. Paul of Moll (“Father Paul loved to propagate this devotion to the nine choirs of angels.”)

The Evil of Scandal
A Woman in Antwerp who sold liberal papers, being threatened with total blindness, went to Termonde to ask Father Paul to cure her. He replied, ‘You cannot be cured, because you sell bad papers.’

A Visit from Our Lady; Abandoned Souls in Purgatory; A Father in Heaven
“At a visit to Father Paul, in 1895, he said to me, ‘If I were to tell you something, would you believe me?’
‘Yes, Father.’
‘The Blessed Virgin appeared to me, and before disappearing she placed her hand upon my shoulder.'”

He also said to me, ‘There are souls in the fire of Purgatory who ask your prayers for their deliverance. You knew these persons well, and now they are forgotten by their children.’

He also told me that my father is in Heaven.” – From a young lady of Heusden (Ghent)

SOME SAYINGS OF FR. PAUL OF MOLL

It is Not Always Enough to Pray for Oneself (A Good Reason to Invoke the Saints!)
“In order to be heard, it is not only always sufficient only to pray oneself: one should also ask the prayers of others.” (The same was revealed to St. Gertrude the Great)

“It is written (Job 5:1): ‘Call . . . if there be any that will answer thee, and turn to some of the saints.’ … Therefore when we wish to pray to God, we should turn to the saints, that they may pray to God for us… Further, the saints who are in heaven are more acceptable to God than those who are on the way.”
– St. Thomas Aquinas

Novenas in the Morning
“It is better to make novenas in the morning than in the evening.”

Different Rewards in Heaven: To Each According to His Works
“It is wrong to imagine Heaven as a place whose inhabitants enjoy the same happiness. Heaven is a dwelling place where every work of charity, ‘werk van liefde,’ enjoys an eternal recompense.”

‘Dash Thy Little Ones Against the Rock’ (Ps. 136:9)
“When a demon suggests a bad thought, it is easy to resist the temptation; but if one does not immediately repel it, a second demon comes at once to help the first. Afterwards, in proportion as resistance is delayed, still other demons come and combine their efforts, and when one has to battle against seven devils all at once, it is very difficult not to succumb.”

[This Psalm verse, understood in its spiritual sense, is often explained thus by the Fathers: When we encounter evil thoughts and temptations, we are to take them captive while they are still young, and we are to dash them against the Rock, Christ.]

SOME EXCERPTS FROM THE LETTERS OF FR. PAUL OF MOLL

Love: An Everlasting Treasure
“I wish you an ardent love for God: it is the richest and most beautiful treasure you can wish or desire. All other treasures will disappear like smoke; but the treasure of love shall remain forever in Heaven.”

Love: The Bond of Perfection
“A sigh of love for God is worth more than a whole year of penance.” (i.e. penance performed habitually or in our own will).

God Loves the Children of Mary
“Mary being truly our Mother, how could God love our Mother so much without loving her children?”

Look Upon Christ, Not Your Miseries
“No matter how miserable he may be, provided he is no longer in the state of mortal sin, God loves him with an incomprehensible love.”

Source: ‘Father Paul of Moll: A Flemish Benedictine and Wonderworker of the Nineteenth Century, 1824 – 1896,’ by Edward Van Speybrouck (2nd ed., Benedictine Convent, Clyde, MO, 1914)

“Ask of me whatever you desire, and it will be procured for you.
And continue to ask, for when I am in Heaven,
my power will be greater.”

– Fr. Paul of Moll to a friend

A Great Benedictine Mystic: Some Anecdotes and Sayings (Pt. 1)

Reverend Pere Paul de Moll.JPG

“One sigh of love is of more value than the whole world…”

SOME ANECDOTES FROM THE LIFE OF FR. PAUL OF MOLL (d. Feb 24, 1896)

Reader of Souls
In the confessional, Father Paul said to a servant girl from Thielt at the very beginning, ‘I know everything that you are going to confess, but, nevertheless, you have to tell it yourself.’

‘… shew thyself to the priest.’ (Mt. 8:4)

God Greatly Rewards Every Act of Love
Very early one morning, Father Paul, seeing a peasant who had come a long distance through a terrific snowstorm, to hear Mass in the church at Steenbrugge, said to him: ‘If you could see the immense merits which your courage has procured for you, you would be astonished, and you might yet increase them in a measure incredible, by saying: All for the love of Jesus.’

The Priest Acts ‘in persona Christi
As an ecstatic was making her confession to Father Paul, he interrupted her, saying, ‘Do you not see our Lord?’
‘No.’
‘But I see Him: He is at your side.’

The Power of a Just Soul’s Prayer
About the year 1888, Father Paul said to a person at Watervliet that God had decided to punish the whole world with terrible chastisements; but that finally He had spared mankind, in answer to the prayers and penances of one single religious. Father Paul did not tell the name of this religious.’

[The same is said of St. Vincent Ferrer.]

An Affectionate Blessing from the Mother of God
“One evening, in 1895, after our spiritual exercises, I was walking through the cloister in the abbey, reciting, according to my custom, three Hail Marys in honor of Our Lady to obtain her maternal blessing, when all at once I saw this good Mother clothed in a robe of dazzling white. She approached and made a little cross with her thumb on my forehead. The emotion which I felt is indescribable, and if the apparition had lasted two minutes longer, Father Paul would be no more of this world; for I would not have been able to support this brilliancy any longer.” – Fr. Paul of Moll, speaking to a person of Thielt (after which the saintly priest “fell into an ecstasy which lasted about five minutes.”)

SOME SAYINGS OF FR. PAUL OF MOLL

Mary: Living Tabernacle the Word
“From the time of the Ascension of Our Lord, the most Blessed Virgin communicated every day, and by a special privilege, the Host remained intact within her up to the moment of the next Communion, so that Mary always guarded, in her interior, the Humanity and Divinity of Jesus Christ, and thus was able to keep up a continual conversation with her Divine Son.”

[These words agree with the revelations of St. Veronica Giuliani and Bl. Mary Magdalen Martinengo]

The Body of St. Joseph
“In an ecstasy, a saint has seen the body of St. Joseph preserved intact in a tomb, the site of which is yet unknown. The more the glorious Spouse of the most Blessed Virgin is honored, the sooner will the finding of his body take place, which will be a day of great joy for the Church.”

Saints are Always in the Making
“At the time when the Church is most persecuted, God raises up in the world the greatest number of saints.”

The Three Masses of Christmas
“During the consecration of the three Masses on Christmas I obtain everything I asked for.”

SOME EXCERPTS FROM THE LETTERS OF FR. PAUL OF MOLL

God is Infinitely Lovable
“God being infinite love, we can always love Him more and more.”

God is Not Outdone in Generosity
He pays us back in tenfold love, the love which we have for Him.”

Humility: The Key to True Greatness
“Humility renders men great in the eyes of God.”

Do All for the Love and Glory of God
“Before eating, sleeping, opening or closing a door, or any other action, always have the intention of doing all for the love of Jesus. In this way you will continually reap a rich harvest for Heaven.”

‘Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.’ (1 Cor. 10:31)

Source: ‘Father Paul of Moll: A Flemish Benedictine and Wonderworker of the Nineteenth Century, 1824 – 1896,’ by Edward Van Speybrouck (2nd ed., Benedictine Convent, Clyde, MO, 1914)