The Saints are Eager to Share Their Spiritual Goods

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St. Mechtilde on the Feast of St. Agnes
“St. Mechtilde, when chanting… the responsory, ‘Amo Christum’ (“I love Christ”), interiorly complained to Our Lord that she had not, like Agnes, loved Him with her whole heart from childhood. Upon which He said to St. Agnes:
“Give her all that thou hast.”

By that word St. Mechtilde understood that God has conferred upon the Saints the privilege of being able to bestow all that His grace has worked in them upon those who (i) love them,
(ii) who thank Him, in their name,
(iii) and delight in the gifts He has bestowed on them.

St. Agnes, having done as Our Lord desired, Mechtilde was filled with ineffable joy, and asked the Queen of Virgins to give thanks for her [Agnes] to her Divine Son. Mary, complying with her request, gave her [Mechtilde] a share of all her riches, so, with them and the gifts of Agnes, she loved, honoured, and fully glorified God, for the past and for the present.

O admirabile commercium! Oh, most precious friendship with the Saints! We give them our praises, our thanksgivings, our love; and they, in return, make us participators in
all the gifts which God has so lavishly bestowed upon them for His glory.”
(Rev. Andre Prevot, SJ, ‘Love, Peace, and Joy: A Month of the Sacred Heart According to St. Gertrude,’ Benziger Brothers)

A Powerful Practice: Communicating in Honour of the Saints
Next time you participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, unite yourself to the Divine Victim and offer Him – an infinitely pleasing, living Oblation – to the Father in honour of a Saint or Saints. Also, receive Holy Communion in honour of a particular Saint, asking them to give you a share in their riches. A suitable petition would be the following: ‘I beseech thee that in me may be thy double spirit.’ (4 Kg. 2:9)

Do this often and you will see that the Saints do not forget! In this way do we discover one of the many reasons why the great Bl. Cardinal Schuster wrote the following: “The love of God is displayed chiefly through the Divine Liturgy.” (p. 149, vol. 3, ‘The Sacramentary’)

The Devil’s Greatest Enemy (Pt. 3): Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces

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PHOTO: An edited copy of a painting belonging to Ven. Marthe Robin (d. 1981). The words, ‘Marie Mediatrice’ (Mary, Mediatrix), interestingly, were the last intelligible words of the great Cardinal Mercier (d. 1926), who died shortly after offering the Mass of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces. There is much more to the story…

The Enemy of the Woman: A Roaring Lion
Lucifer is a ‘murderer from the beginning’ (Jn. 8:44), the Father of Lies, who, full of malice and hatred, ‘as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour’ (1 Pt. 5:8). “I am a wretched creature,” he said to a Saint, “who cannot love.”

The Son of the Woman: A Consuming Fire
The Son of God and of Mary, on the other hand, seeks only to give Himself to souls, to consume us in that same Fire of infinite Love with which the Father loves Him – hence the Sacrament of His Love. His greatest sorrow is when we hinder His Divine action, when we place obstacles before ‘the perfect Will of God’ (Rom. 12:2), which seeks only to gather up souls and ‘take them up in His Bosom’ (Is. 40:11).

The Handmaid That Is All-Powerful Over Hell
Lucifer is bent on destruction; seething with hatred for all that he has lost, he turns his hatred against the souls created in God’s image. But he is no match for God, ‘for all things are possible with God’ (Mk. 10:27). ‘Who,’ says St. Michael the Archangel, ‘is like God?’

Nor is he a match for Mary, who, as we have seen in the two previous posts, has been chosen by God to crush the head of the ancient Serpent. She is the New Eve; she is the helper of Christ, the New Adam.

We cannot fathom the power of Mary’s intercession. Would you like, nevertheless, to know something of it? Then consider the following: Mary is the instrument of “the instrument of the Divinity” (St. John Damascene).

What does this mean? It means that Jesus took His Sacred Humanity (the instrument of the Divinity) from Mary – namely, that immaculate Flesh and Blood which He gave ‘for the life of the world’ (Jn. 6:51). What dignity, what sublime prerogatives must then belong to Mary, if, as St. Leonard of Port Maurice writes, “our good and loving Master promised us in the Gospel that for a cup of cold water, given in His Name, He will bestow the Kingdom of Heaven” (cf. Mk 9:40; Mt. 10:42)! It is one thing to give a cup of water in His Name; it is quite another to give Him that Immaculate Body by which He would work all His miracles, and through which all grace descends to man! This is that Divine Masterpiece that was fitted for Him (cf. Heb. 10:5) and fashioned by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin (cf. Lk. 1:35; Ps. 18:6) ‘in the day of His espousals, and in the day of the joy of His Heart’ (Cant. 3:11).

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Mary: Mediatrix of All Graces
“Every grace,” writes St. Bernardine of Siena, “that is communicated to this world has a threefold course. For by excellent order, it is dispensed
(1) from God to Christ,
(2) from Christ to the Virgin,
(3) from the Virgin to us.”

The dignity of Mary is truly impenetrable to our limited minds; her greatness is, to quote St. Thomas, “quasi-infinite.” No, He is not exaggerating. Just ask yourself: What greater dignity could God bestow on Mary than that which He has already been pleased to bestow?

It is because Mary is Mother of God, and, by extension, the true ‘Mother of all the Living’ (Gen. 3:20) – that is, in the spiritual order – that she is necessarily the Mediatrix of All Graces. Were this not the case, she would not truly be ‘full of grace’ (Lk. 1:28), nor would the Church, which exists mystically in her virginal womb (cf. Cant. 7:2; Jn. 16:21; Ps. 86:5, etc.), have access to ‘every best gift, and every perfect gift’ (James 1:17) from on high.

In a word, if Mary is not Mediatrix of All Graces, how shall Christ be begotten in souls? How shall we attain to ‘the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ’ (Eph. 4:13)? Do we not know that Jesus has but one Mother, not only physically but also mystically? One is my dove, my perfect one is but one, she is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her’ (Cant. 6:8).

The Testimony of Saints, Mystics, Scholars
Suffice to say, St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Veronica Giuliani, Bl. Anna Maria Taigi, Bl. Dina Belanger, Ven. Marthe Robin, Mother Magdalene of Jesus (Palmyre Ryckaert), Sr. Mary of the Holy Trinity, among many other mystics, did not invent this doctrine, nor did St. Alphonsus, St. Bernard, St. Ildeponsus or anyone else. Conversely, it is all there in the Scriptures, if only one is willing to receive the Word from her who gave Him to us – namely, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who says to us: In me is all grace of the WAY and of the TRUTH, in me is all hope of LIFE and of virtue’ (Ecclus. 24:25).

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Ven. Marthe Robin

The Devil’s Most Hated Books
This all brings us to an interesting question: What books does Satan hate most? Generally speaking, he despises all that is holy, all that leads us to ‘the Way, and the Truth, and the Life’ (Jn. 14:6). It is precisely for this reason that he hates books that give praise to our Blessed Mother, for she, more than all the other Saints combined, draws us to the Blessed Fruit of her womb. This is the teaching of St. Bonaventure, among others.

Now, it is obvious enough that the Devil hates the Scriptures; but, more specifically, which Scriptures does he particularly detest? How about John, Chapter 6, which speaks of the Sacrament of Love and Unity? Absolutely. The Psalms? No doubt. But the Devil has a unique hatred for the following books of the Bible (among others):
+ Esther
+ Judith
+ Ecclesiasticus
+ Wisdom.

Why is this? It is because these inspired Books speak so forcefully, so highly, and so frequently of his sworn enemy – that is, ‘the Woman’ (Gen. 3:15; Jn. 2:4; Jn. 16:21; Jn. 19:26 Apoc. 12:1), who will crush his head! Do not be fooled: the Reformation did not give us the complete set of inspired texts; on the contrary, it presented us with an incomplete revelation of God and of the Divine Plan. No Bible is complete without the aforementioned Books (or, in the case of Esther, the complete Book).

Two other books that are much hated by Hell are St. Louis de Montfort’s classic, ‘True Devotion to Mary,’ as well as the abridged version of this book, ‘The Secret of Mary.’ The demons tried to destroy the former, as St. Louis de Montfort prophesied; the latter was brought by Our Lady herself to Ven. Marthe Robin, to whom she communicated her desire that this book spread across the globe. Indeed it has. But not enough.

Concluding Words…
Listen to Our Lord’s words from the Cross: ‘BEHOLD THY MOTHER’ (Mt. 12:47). Take note that these words are not qualified by any further statement. Why? Because we are always to keep our eyes on Mary. She has only Love for her children. To give us her Son is her sole purpose and joy. She it is, above all others, who will help us to taste and see that the Lord is sweet’ (Ps. 33:9); her ‘spirit is sweet above honey and her ‘inheritance above honey and the honeycomb’ (Ecclus. 24:27). Do not hesitate to give yourself to her without reserve: ‘Her ways are beautiful ways, and all her paths are peaceable’ (Prov. 3:17).

[N.B. This year, Pentecost Sunday happens to fall on May 31, which is the traditional date for the Feast of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces. It is also the 99th anniversary of said Feast being established.]

A Quick Anecdote
About 2 months ago, it occurred to me that Romans 8:32 could reasonably be applied to Mary. Later that evening, I opened a Marian devotional work from the 19th century and found the very text applied to Mary by St. Albert the Great. Coincidence? Somehow I think not.

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

 

 

The Devil’s Greatest Enemy (Pt. 2): Mary, the New Judith

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‘Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O thou most mighty.’
– Ps. 44:4

“Judith is one of the types of Mary, who crushed the head of the serpent.”
– Dom Gueranger, OSB

Our portrait of the Mother of God – not to mention our portrait of the Church, of which she is Mother – will be radically incomplete if we lack knowledge of the Old Testament types/figures of Mary. The book of Judith, for instance, as with the book of Esther, will be of little use to us if we do not see in them a mirror of Mary. Let us look, then, at some central passages in the book of Judith, bearing in mind that Mary, the true Judith, surpasses all her types: ‘Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all’ (Prov. 31:29). “She has surpassed all the daughters (Saints) in nature, in grace, in glory. She has surpassed all the souls of men, all the intelligences of Angels” (St. Bonaventure).

N.B. Under each subheading below, the first verse is taken from the book of Judith, while the second (relevant) verse is taken from another Book of the Scriptures. Pay close attention to the clear connections with Mary’s Magnificat (in red).

THE BOOK OF JUDITH: A FORESHADOWING OF MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS

+ CHAPTER 13

Leads Us Into the Church
Judith: ‘Open the gates, for God is with us, Who hath shown His power in Israel.’ (v. 13)
‘Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates…’. (Prov. 8:34)

Loved and Honoured by All
‘And all ran to meet her from the least to the greatest…’ (v. 15)
‘And in the midst of her own people she shall be exalted…’ (Ecclus. 24:3; cf. Prov. 31:28)

The Spouse of Mercy Incarnate
Judith: ‘And by me His handmaid He hath fulfilled His mercy, which He promised to the house of Israel: and He hath killed the enemy of His people by my hand this night.’ (v. 18)
Mary: ‘He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy.’ (Lk. 1:54)

Immaculate
Judith: ‘And the Lord hath not suffered me His handmaid to be defiled: but hath brought me back to you without pollution of sin, rejoicing for His victory, for my escape, and for your deliverance.’ (v. 20)
‘Thou art all fair, O My love, and there is not a spot in thee.’ (Cant. 4:7)

The Instrument by Which Hell is Conquered
‘The Lord hath blessed thee by His power, because by thee He hath brought our enemies to nought.’ (v. 22)
Mary: ‘He hath showed might in His arm: He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble.’ (Lk. 1:51-52)

Greater than All Those Who Prefigured Her
‘Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the most high God, above all women upon the earth.’ (v. 23)
‘Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all.’ (Prov. 31:29)

Always to be Praised
‘Because He hath so magnified thy name this day, that thy praise shall not depart out of the mouth of men who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord, for ever…’ (v. 25)
Mary: ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord… behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.’ (Lk. 1:46, 48)

Laid Down Her Life for Us
‘… thou hast not spared thy life, by reason of the distress and tribulations of thy people; but hast prevented our ruin in the presence of our God.’ (v. 25)
Prophecy of Simeon: ‘And thy own soul a sword shall pierce…’ (Lk. 2:35)

Deserving of Reverence
‘… he [Achior] fell down at her feet, and reverenced her…’ (v. 30)
‘And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.’ (Lk. 1:41)

Gives Life to the Elect
‘Blessed art thou by thy God in every tabernacle of Jacob…’ (v. 31)
‘Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, and thy inheritance in Israel, and take root in My elect.’ (Ecclus. 24:13)

Her Soul Magnifies The Lord
‘… in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee.’ (v. 31)
‘My soul doth magnify the Lord… O magnify the Lord with me: and let us extol His Name together.’ (Lk. 1:46; Ps. 33:4)

+ CHAPTER 14

Leads Us Into Battle
Judith: ‘… let every man take his arms: and rush ye out, not as going down beneath, but as making an assault.’ (v. 2)
‘Thy neck is as the tower of David, which is built with bulwarks: a thousand bucklers hang upon it, all the armour of valiant men.’ (Cant. 4:4)

+ CHAPTER 15

The Glory of the Heavenly Jerusalem
‘… they all blessed her with one voice saying: Thou art the glory of Jerusalem…’ (v. 10)
‘God is wonderful (gloriosus) in His Saints: the God of Israel is He Who will give strength and power to His people.’ (Ps. 67:36)

The Joy of the Church
‘… thou art the joy of Israel…’ (v. 10)
‘The dwelling in thee is as it were of all rejoicing.’ (Ps. 86:7)

The Honour of Our Race
‘… thou art the honour of our people.’ (v. 10)
Mary: ‘Because He that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is His Name.’ (Lk. 1:49)

Ever-Blessed
‘… the Lord hath strengthened thee, and therefore thou shalt be blessed for ever.’ (v. 11)
‘And among the blessed she shall be blessed…’ (Ecclus. 24:4; cf. Prov. 31:28)

+ CHAPTER 16

Glorifies the Holy Name of God
Judith: ‘… extol and call upon His Name.’ (v. 2)
‘… let us extol His Name together.’ (Ps. 33:4)

Visits Us With Her Divine Son
‘He hath set His camp in the midst of His people, to deliver us from the hand of all our enemies.’ (v. 4)
Zachary: ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel: because He hath visited and wrought the redemption of His people… Salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all that hate us.’ (Lk. 1:68, 71)

The First to Intone the New Canticle*
Judith: ‘… let us sing a new hymn to our God.’ (v. 15)
‘Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: because He hath done wonderful things.’ (Ps. 97:1)
* This fact deserves a post of its own. Given time, I will write something brief at some stage.

Invites us all to serve God
Judith: ‘Let all Thy creatures serve Thee…’ (v. 17)
Mary: ‘Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye.’ (Jn. 2:4)

Invites us to Fear of the Lord
Judith: ‘But they that fear Thee, shall be great with Thee in all things.’ (v. 19; cf. Ps. 33:10)
Mary: ‘And His mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear Him.’ (Lk. 1:50)

The New Sanctuary
‘And the people were joyful in the site of the sanctuary: and for three months the joy of this victory was celebrated with Judith.’ (v. 24)
‘And Mary abode with her [Elizabeth] about three months.’ (Lk. 1:56)

Most Renowned
‘… she was most renowned in all the land of Israel.’ (v. 25)
‘And in the multitude of the elect she shall have praise.’ (Ecclus. 24:4)

Perpetual Virgin
‘And chastity was joined to her virtue, so that she knew no man all the days of her life…’ (v. 26)
Mary: ‘How shall this be done, because I know not man?’ (Lk. 1:34)

Honoured Above All Saints in the Church’s Liturgy
‘And on festival days she came forth with great glory.’ (v. 27)
‘And a great sign appeared in Heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.’ (Apoc. 12.1)

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‘… there is great delight in her friendship,
and inexhaustible riches in the works of her hands…
love her, and she shall preserve thee…

forget not the groaning of thy Mother.’
(Wis. 8:18; Prov. 4:6; Ecclus. 7:29; cf. Jn. 16:21, Apoc. 12:2)

The Devil’s Greatest Enemy (Pt. 1): Mary, the New Queen Esther

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Every Kingdom Has Its Queen

Every kingdom has its Queen. The Kingdom of Heaven is no different: Mary, the Mother of God is its Queen, as we shall see. Yes, she is our Queen and Mother. “The Mother of God,” St. Stanislaus Kotska would exclaim, almost ecstatically, “is my Mother!” What joy is ours, what dignity! By baptism, we are of royal birth!

The Woman That Crushes Satan’s Head
Let the praise of Mary be on every tongue, for she is the woman chosen by God to crush the head of the ancient serpent (Gen. 3:15); she is the New Eve, the true ‘Mother of all the living’ (Gen. 3:20), who nourishes us with the blessed Fruit of her virginal womb (Lk. 1:42). ‘She is a tree of Life to them that lay hold on her: and he that shall retain her is blessed’ (Prov. 3:18). God alone can fathom Mary’s greatness: ‘For every tree is known by its fruit’ (Lk. 6:44).

A Remedy to Bad Mariology
If you doubt Mary’s greatness; if you struggle with the thought of invoking her intercession, read the Church Fathers: they will put you on the right path; they will help you to understand the mystical sense of the Scriptures; they will shed much light on the typological reading of the Scriptures (the manna from Heaven, for example, is a type of the Eucharist; King Solomon is a type of Christ, and so on).

Now let us examine some of the Scriptures that speak of Esther, a type of Our Lady. Pay close attention to the clear connections with Mary’s Magnificat (in red).

************

THE BOOK OF ESTHER: A FORESHADOWING OF MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS

+ CHAPTER 2

Exceedingly Beautiful
‘… exceeding fair and beautiful.’ (v. 7)
‘With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out: proceed prosperously, and reign.’ (Ps. 44:5)

Finds Favour With God
‘And she pleased Him, and found favour in His sight.’ (v. 9)
St. Gabriel the Archangel: ‘Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.’ (Lk. 1:30)

Amiable to All
‘… her incredible beauty made her appear agreeable and amiable in the eyes of all.’ (v. 15)
‘Wither is thy Beloved gone, O thou most beautiful among women? Wither is thy Beloved turned aside, and we will seek Him with thee?’ (Cant. 5:17)

The King’s Favourite Daughter
‘And the King loved her more than all the women: and she had favour and kindness before Him above all the women.’ (v. 17)
St. Gabriel the Archangel: ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: Blessed art thou among women.’ (Lk. 1:28)

Queen of Heaven
‘And He set the royal crown on her head, and made her Queen…’ (v. 17)
‘The Queen stood on Thy right hand, in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety.’ (Ps. 44:10; cf. Cant. 3:11)

The Littlest and Therefore the Greatest Saint
‘For whatsoever He commanded, Esther observed: and she did all things in the same manner as she was wont at that time when He brought her up, a little one.’ (v. 20)
Mary: ‘Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid… all generations shall call me blessed.’ (Lk. 1:48)

+ CHAPTER 5

Almoner of Divine Mercy
‘And the King said to her: What wilt thou, Queen Esther? If thou shouldst even ask one half of the Kingdom, it shall be given to thee.’ (v. 3; v. 6; Esth. 7:2)
‘And the King said to her: My Mother, ask: for I must not turn away thy face.’ (3 Kg. 2:20)

+ CHAPTER 10

Brings Forth Christ, the Sun of Justice and Fount of Life
‘The little fountain which grew into a river, and was turned into a light, and into the sun, and abounded into many waters, is Esther, whom the King married, and made Queen.’ (v. 5, 6)
‘And behold my brook became a great river, and my river came near to a sea. For I make doctrine to shine forth to all as to the morning light…’ (Ecclus. 24:43-44)

+ CHAPTER 14

Loves the Church and Her Liturgy
Esther: ‘They design to change Thy promises, and destroy Thy inheritance, and shut the mouths of them that praise Thee, and extinguish the glory of the temple and altar…’ (v. 9)
‘And the third day, there was a marriage… And the Wine failing, the Mother of Jesus saith to Him: They have no Wine.’ (Jn. 2:1, 3)

Rejoices in God Alone
Esther: ‘… Thy handmaid hath never rejoiced, since I was brought hither unto this day, but in Thee, O Lord, the God of Abraham.’ (v. 18)
Mary: ‘And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.’ (Lk. 1:47)

+ CHAPTER 15

Powerful Advocate
‘And do thou call upon the Lord; and speak to the King for us; and deliver us from death.’ (v. 3)
‘Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid.’ (Heb. 4:16; cf. Wis. 31:26)

N.B. All Scripture quotations are taken from the Douay Rheims.
Certain words (e.g. personal pronouns) have been capitalized, so as to highlight the spiritual meaning of the text. See Esther 15:3 above, for example.

A Miracle of St. Therese: The Conversion of Fr. Hyacinthe Loyson

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[Source: ‘Collected Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux,’ Translated by F.J. Sheed, The Catholic Book Club, London, 1974]

Two Letters of St. Therese to her sister, Celine:
“He wants His little Flower to save Him souls, and for that He wants only one thing, that His flower should look at Him while it suffers its martyrdom… and this mysterious gaze passing between Jesus and His small flower will work marvels and will give Jesus a multitude of other flowers, particularly a certain faded, withered lily [Fr. Hyacinthe] that must be changed into a rose of love and repentance.” (26 April 1891)

“Dearest Celine, he is indeed guilty, more guilty perhaps than any sinner has ever been who was yet converted; but cannot Jesus do what He has never done before? And if He did not wish it, would He have put into the heart of His poor little brides a desire He could not fulfil? … No, it is certain that He desires more than we to bring back this poor lost sheep to the fold; a day will come when he will open his eyes…” (8 July 1891)

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Fr. Hyacinthe
“Hyacinthe Loyson died in Paris 9 February 1912, at the age of eighty-five, under major excommunication. He was assisted at the end by a priest of the Armenian Church, a representative of the schismatic Greek Church, and three Protestant pastors. It is worth observing that the poor erring creature had never ceased to repeat the invocation: ‘O my sweet Jesus.’ Therese, who had prayed for him throughout her religious life, offered her last Communion for him, in 1897, on 19 August, which at that time was the feast day of St. Hyacinthe.”

Details given under all reserves to the Lisieux Carmel:

From the abbey of St. Maurice at Clervaux (19 August 1912):
“At the moment of the unhappy man’s death, a privileged soul saw him supernaturally enlightened upon the whole extent of the sins of his life. This sight was the occasion of a terrifying temptation to despair over which, happily, he triumphed.”

From Pere Flamerion, S.J., grand exorcist of France (25 August 1912):
“You have asked us in the Virgin’s name if Hyacinthe is damned; we are forced to answer you that he is saved, through the intercession of Therese and the prayer of holy souls in the cloister, saved by a glance cast upon him by Our Lord before he was judged, an instant before.”

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‘His hands are turned and as of gold, full of hyacinths.’
– Cant. 5:14

A Saint Tells Us How to Become “a great Saint”

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A Petition to be Made During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

“Why is it you do not ask great graces at this favourable time? I earnestly advise and exhort you to ask God in every Mass, the grace to become a saint.

Do you think I advise you to ask too much? Well, I tell you it is not too much. Has not our good and loving Master promised us in the Gospel that for a cup of cold water, given in His Name, He will bestow the Kingdom of Heaven? How then can He refuse us a hundred heavens, were there so many, in return for the Blood of His Beloved Son, offered to Him on the Altar?

How can you, therefore, doubt that He will give you every virtue, and all the perfection required to make you a saint, and a great saint in Heaven?

O blessed Mass! Let your heart’s desires be then multiplied a thousand-fold, and ask as much as you will; remembering always that you are asking of God, Who cannot grow poor by giving, and, therefore, the more you ask, the more will He give you.
– St. Leonard of Port Maurice, ‘The Hidden Treasure’

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”
!