How to Pass the Days in Peace and Joy: Advice from a Saintly Cardinal

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Mary Magdalene at Christ’s Feet (Tissot)

[Various quotations interspersed]

“The grace of prayer is one of the highest favours that God imparts to the human soul. Prayer is indeed the atmosphere in which holiness develops and flourishes; it enables the Holy Ghost to communicate Himself with the bonds of love.

+ ‘With me is prayer to the God of my life.’ (Ps. 41:9)

The whole essence of asceticism is contained in this one word: “prayer.” We first pray in order to obtain the help of God’s grace in our struggles in the path of purification; and, when we are engaged in the path of meditation, again we have recourse to prayer.

+ “Only a mortified heart is free.” (Bl. Edward Poppe)

In Heaven itself we shall do nothing else but pray, so we may consider prayer as the beginning of our future state of blessedness.

+ ‘Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to the Lord in the heavens’ (Lam. 3:41)

… We can always remain present in spirit before the Eucharistic Tabernacle, even when the material duties of our state necessitate our being absent in the body. Such was the practice of the saintly mother [St. Monica] of him [St. Augustine] who wrote in the ninth book of his “Confessions”: Ad pretii nostri sacramentum ligavit ancilla tua animam suam vinculo fidei (“To this Sacrament of our redemption Thy handmaid had bound her soul by the bond of faith.” – Sheed translation).

+ ‘But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection.’ (Col. 3:14)

… in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus gives us His own Spirit, so that the multitude of those who receive Him may, through His grace, Who is their life, truly form cor unum et anima (‘one heart and one soul’ – Acts 4:32).

+ ‘They shall be converted that sit under His shadow.’ (Os. 14:8)

… In Heaven, besides the realization of the Beatific Vision, we shall derive special joy from the companionship of the Saints. The reason for this is that, as all the blessed are united among themselves by the most perfect bond of love, the happiness of each one will be infinitely multiplied by the happiness of the entire court of Heaven.”
– Bl. Cardinal Schuster (‘The Sacramentary’)

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“Child, life and death consist in loving God.”
– A revelation to Bl. Ossana of Mantua (aged 5)
‘to live is Christ; and to die is gain’
– Phil. 1:21

Jesus Lives On In The Church (Pt. 3): The Mystical Tradition (cont.)

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SOME REVELATIONS ON THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS AND THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT (cont.)

(4) A Vision of Bl. Marie d’Oignies
“In the life of Bl. Marie d’Oignies it is related that Our Lord was accustomed, on the occasion of different Feasts, to show Himself to her in the Blessed Sacrament under a form in harmony with the mystery being celebrated.” (‘Christ in His Mysteries’)

(5) A Revelation to Mother Jeanne Deleloë* (d. 1660)
“At Christmastide,” she writes, “during all those solemnities of our Saviour’s Birth, I received great favours; His Majesty often gave me a vivid light so that I knew these divine mysteries as if they were then really taking place.” (‘Christ, the Ideal of the Monk,’ Bl. Columba Marmion)

*“Often, during her ecstasies, she was heard reciting the Divine Office; but a curious thing was that she pronounced the verses alternatively, as if the inhabitants of Heaven were repeating the psalms with her; she recited the whole without omitting a single syllable, whatever was the Office of the day…
We likewise see St. Catherine of Siena asking Our Lord to teach her to read in order to be able to chant the Psalms and praises of God during the Canonical Hours. Often, too, Our Lord walked up and down with her in her cell and recited the Office with the Saint. It was as two religious might have done.”
(ibid.)

(6) A Vision of St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi
“God also granted her to see Jesus in the heart of the sisters after they had received Holy Communion; and sometimes she manifested in what form she saw Him in each of them,
He showing Himself to her in some as a child, in others at the age of twelve, and in others still at the age of thirty-three years, in others as suffering and crucified, and in others as risen and glorious; and this diversity occurred according to the various meditations the sisters were engaged in, or according to the capacity and the merits of each of them.” (‘The Life of St. Mary Magdalen De-Pazzi,’ Fabrini)

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St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi in ecstasy

(7) Another Vision of St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi
“One morning, it being Easter Sunday, whilst she was mistress of novices, and sitting at the table with unwonted joy and gladness, a novice waitress could not keep herself from asking her the cause of so great a joy. To whom Magdalen made answer: “Because I see Jesus resting in the breast of all the sisters, glorious and risen, as Holy Church to-day represents Him to us; and His presence is the cause of my being so joyful.” (ibid.)

Jesus Lives On In The Church (Pt. 2): The Mystical Tradition

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God Deserves Infinite Praise

‘Great is the Lord,’
says the Psalmist, ‘and exceedingly to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain’ (Ps. 47:2). Truly, God is worthy of infinite praise: ‘exalt Him as much as you can: for He is above all praise’ (Ecclus. 43:33). How then are we to praise God adequately?

The Chalice of Salvation
The answer is simple: unite yourself to Christ; live by His life (1 Jn. 4:9), by His hidden, Eucharistic life. There is no other way: ‘What shall I render to the Lord, for all the things He hath rendered unto me? I will take the Chalice of Salvation; and I will call upon the Name of the Lord’ (Ps. 115:12-13).

God Alone Can Praise God Worthily
God alone can praise Himself sufficiently. For this reason, God was made man; to this end He established the Church (‘the City of our God’), which offers to Him, upon her Altars (‘His holy mountain’), the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that is, the perfect ‘sacrifice of praise’ (Ps. 115:17), which mystically renews the offering of Christ on Calvary:

‘For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, My Name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for My Name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts’ (Mal. 1:11).

God is ALL
To reiterate: ‘What shall we be able to do to glorify Him? for the Almighty Himself is above all His works’ (Ecclus. 43:30). Be a host. Thus we shall realise, in full, the prayer of Jeremiah: ‘Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed: save me, and I shall be saved, for THOU ART MY PRAISE’ (Jer. 17:14). This is the key to Christianity:

‘Sing to the Lord,
in union with His Bride, the Church, Who lives by His life,
O ye His saints: and,
through the Holy Mysteries,
give infinite praise,
through Christ, the God-Man,

to the memory of His infinite holiness.’

– Ps. 29:5 (the words in italics are mine)

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SOME REVELATIONS ON THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS AND THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT

(1) A Vision of St. Hildegarde of Bingen
“As I gazed upon this Flesh and Blood I saw the signs of the Incarnation, the Birth, the Passion, of Our Saviour reflected in them as in a mirror, and just as we know these events to have been accomplished when the Son of God was on earth.” (‘Scivias’)

(2) Another Revelation of St. Hildegard of Bingen
Words of the Eternal Father: “Hence these mysteries shine before Me in the Heavenly places; for I have not forgotten them, but they will appear before Me in great brightness, like the dawn, until the end of the world.” (‘Scivias’)

Bl. Columba Marmion: “Doubtless we must never forget that under the Eucharistic species is found only the substance of the glorious Body of Jesus, such as it is at present in Heaven, and not such as it was, for example, in the crib of Bethlehem.
But when the Father looks upon His Son Jesus in the Heavenly splendours, what does He behold in Him? He sees the One Who lived thirty-three years upon earth for us; He beholds all the mysteries that this mortal life contained, the satisfactions and the merits whereof these mysteries were the source; He beholds the glory that His Son gave Him in living each of them.” (‘Christ in His Mysteries’)

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St. Gertrude in ecstasy

(3) A Revelation to St. Gertrude the Great
“It is related in the life of St. Gertrude, that one day, on the Festival of the Ascension, when she received the Sacred Host from the hand of the priest, she heard Jesus say to her: ‘Behold Me: I come, not to bid thee farewell, but to take thee with Me to Heaven, and present thee to My Father.'” (‘Christ in His Mysteries’)

Easter, 2020: The Centenary of Death of St. Teresa of the Andes

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“Christ is risen!”

Today – Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 – marks the centenary of the death of an extraordinary little soul: Teresa of the Andes (d. April 12, 1920).

[Further down the page, you will find some selections of her beautiful letters, taken from ‘Letters of Teresa of Jesus of the Andes’.]

A Quick Snapshot of Her Life
Known in the world as Juanita, as a young woman, this social, intelligent, playful, and devout “Child of Mary,” like St. Therese before her (one of her favourite Saints), followed the call to the cloister of Carmel. Inflamed with love for Jesus, the Spouse of Souls, she felt powerfully drawn to a certain little convent that, while poor and humble from a material point of view, was nonetheless a house permeated by the richness of Divine charity.

In any case, it was not comfort she was looking for, but ‘the God of all comfort’ (2 Cor. 1:3), Who “seeks solace from His little creature” (Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata, another inspiration to St. Teresa of the Andes). It was while visiting the aforesaid convent that Our Lord was pleased, on at least one occasion, to manifest Himself from the Tabernacle, not with an expression of sorrow – as was often His wont – but with a joyful countenance. By this, Our Lord would have His daughter know that she had found the paradise of delights to which He was calling her. He was consoled here, and it is here she would flourish.

During her brief time in the cloister, she led a life of great, albeit hidden virtue in the cloister, paying close attention to the inspirations of Divine grace. Our Lord made it known to her that she would die young, and for this reason she must practice great fidelity to the counsels of perfection given to her by our Blessed Mother, but more so to holy obedience, and to the holy Rule handed down by St. Teresa of Avila, her Patron in religion. Obedience was ever her guide. “A host, Eli,” she wrote to a friend, “has no will of her own.” “I want,” she wrote in another letter, “to be a host through the Host.”

Ever spurred on by her desire for God, Who often flooded the soul of His little spouse to the point of ecstasy, she did not always succeed in mortifying herself (in the world she had a weakness for her favourite caramels!), as she lamented on more than one occasion; nevertheless, she knew how to draw profit from all things, knowing well that humility (which cannot be separated from confidence in God) is the key to Charity. Like St. Therese, she knew how to take herself lightly and in the spirit of childlike liberty, without which perfection – that is to say, the flowering of God’s love in the soul – is utterly impossible.

After only 11 months in the convent, Sr. Teresa (affectionately known as “Teresita”) was consumed by love, ending her short life at 7:15pm on Friday, April 12, 1920.

Ora pro nobis!

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+ SOME SAMPLES OF HER LETTERS

Beautiful Apparitions of Our Lord
“Sometimes He appears to me so filled with beauty and tenderness that I can’t describe it. Believe me, it all causes me dissatisfaction with everything [that is less than God]…”

Real Friendship
“… real friendship consists of perfecting one another and of coming closer to God.”

Apostles of God’s Mercy
“We must, dear Isabel, be apostles of that Heart’s mercy. We must dissolve the wall of coldness with which they keep Him isolated. On the Altar, we must caress and console Him in His mystical agony.”

At the Foot of the Tabernacle
“… let us live forever at the foot of the Tabernacle, be it only in spirit, consoling Our Lord in His agony.”

With the Divine Prisoner
“… I’d like to live till the end of the world, suffering with the Divine Prisoner.”

Mary: Her “Priest”
“I’ve made an agreement with the Most Holy Virgin that she may be my priest who will offer me at every moment for sinners and priests, but bathed in the Blood of the Heart of Jesus.”

God’s Will: Our Only Good
“How shall we become more like Him except by doing His Divine Will? In loving and embracing It, we love and embrace a good that is infinitely pleasing to God; a good that contains within Itself eternal reason…”

Prayer: A Loving Gaze
“My prayer, for the most part, is a kind of gazing at God without using any reasoning… Interiorly, I feel a consuming fire completely consuming me.” (“Love, invade me!” – A Prayer she was fond of)

God Does Not Reject Sinners
“As for what you say about believing that Jesus looks at you in anger and not wanting to pardon you, that is a temptation… Why fear that Jesus will reject you? Would a mother reject a daughter, who, after failing in obedience, goes to beg her forgiveness? No, she would hug her daughter tightly to her heart. Why not believe that Jesus does this to us, His sinful creatures, since He possesses not only the tenderness of a mother, but a tenderness which knows no bounds, for it is infinite.”

Jesus Lives On in the Church (Pt. 1): The Theological Tradition

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St. Peter of Alcantara, in ecstasy, being drawn to Christ, the ‘Sun of Justice’ (Mal. 4:2)


The Church: An Infinite Treasure to Men

The Catholic Church, cleansed and adorned with ‘the Precious Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb unspotted and undefiled’ (1 Pt. 1:19), is ‘an infinite treasure to men’ (Wis. 7:14); she is ‘the body of Christ’ (1 Cor. 12:27), redeemed out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation’ (Apoc. 5:9). United to Jesus Christ, the ‘Head over all the Church’ (Eph. 1:22), ‘we are members of His body, of his flesh, and of his bones’ (Eph. 5:30). He is ‘our Everlasting Saviour’ (Bar. 4:22), Who, having loved us ‘with an everlasting love’ (Jer. 31:3), is ‘always living to make intercession for us’ (Heb. 7:25).

Christ: The Life of the Church
If we seek to be saved; if we seek the grace of God in abundance, we have but one thing to do: we have but to cling to the Church, our Mother. We must understand that the prayer of Christ, Who ardently prayed ‘that they may be ONE’ (Jn. 17:11), is not something vague or remote; on the contrary, Jesus continues to live in and through His Church; He continues to offer Himself on its Altars, drawing all men to Himself (Jn. 12:32).

The Eucharist: The Sacrament of Love and Union
In His “unwearying, unconquerable love” (St. John Henry Newman), Christ ‘loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it’ (Eph. 5:25). And why? To the end that He might espouse Himself to the Church in the eternal nuptials of Paradise, of which the Holy Eucharist is both a sign and a pledge: ‘THIS IS MY BODY (Mt. 26:26)… I WILL ESPOUSE THEE TO ME FOR EVER’ (Osee 2:19).

The Prayer of the Bride
We cannot measure His love for His Bride, which lives by His very life (cf. 1 Jn. 4:9). The more intimately we are united with the Church, which is animated by His Spirit, the more surely will our prayers be heard. “The Prayer of the Church,” writes Dom Gueranger, on account of its intimate union with Jesus Christ, is “… the most pleasing to the ear and heart of God, and therefore the most efficacious of all prayers. Happy, then, is he who prays with the Church, and unites his own petitions with those of this Spouse, who is so dear to her Lord, that he gives her all she asks…

‘… shew me thy face, let thy voice sound in my ears: for thy voice is sweet, and thy face comely.’
– Cant. 2:14

It is… Jesus Christ himself who is the source as well as the object of the Liturgy; and hence the Ecclesiastical Year… is neither more nor less than the manifestation of Jesus Christ, and his Mysteries, in the Church and the faithful soul.

“Indeed, although Christ is no longer upon earth, although the historical reality of His mysteries has gone by, He ever remains our Head and the virtue of His actions and of His life is ever fruitful.”
– Bl. Columba Marmion

It is the divine Cycle, in which appear all the works of God, each in its turn; the Seven Days of the Creation; the Pasch and Pentecost of the Jewish people; the ineffable Visit of the Incarnate Word; His Sacrifice and His Victory; the Descent of the Holy Ghost; the Holy Eucharist*; the surpassing glories of the Mother of God, ever a Virgin; the magnificence of the Angels; the merits and triumphs of the Saints.

*“This Sacrament embraces the entire mystery of our salvation.”
St. Thomas Aquinas

… Happy indeed should we deem ourselves, if we could make the faithful understand the grand glory which is given to the Blessed Trinity, to our Saviour, to Mary, to the Angels, and to the Saints, by this annual commemoration of the wondrous works of our God!

‘He hath made a remembrance of His wonderful works, being a merciful and gracious Lord.’ (Ps. 110:4)

If, every year, the Church renews her youth as that of the eagle, she does so because, by means of the Cycle of the Liturgy, she is visited by her divine Spouse, who supplies all her wants. Each year she again sees him an Infant in the manger, fasting in the desert, offering himself on the Cross, rising from the grave, founding his Church, instituting the Sacraments, ascending to the right hand of his Father, and sending the Holy Ghost upon men. The graces of all these divine mysteries are renewed in her; so that, being made fruitful in every good thing, the mystic Garden yields to the Spouse, in every season, under the influence of the spirit he breathes into her, the sweet perfume of aromatic spices.

“… Jesus lives the reality of His mysteries in us, and when we have faith, and rest lovingly united to Him, He draws us with Him, making us partakers of the virtue proper to each of these states. Each year, as the soul follows the Liturgical cycle, it shares ever more intimately in these mysteries, and is identified more and more with Christ, with His thoughts, His feelings, His life.”
– Bl. Columba Marmion (p. 319, ‘Christ the Ideal of the Monk’)

… Now, what the Liturgical Year does for the Church at large, it does also for the soul of each one of the faithful that is careful to receive the gift of God. This succession of mystic seasons imparts to the Christian the elements of that supernatural life, without which every other life is but a sort of death, more or less disguised.” (Dom Gueranger, ‘The Liturgical Year,’ vol. I)

 

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)

Our_Lady_of_Grace_sheltering_under_the_folds_of_her_mantle_the_first_Grand_Masters_of_the_Military_Order_of_Montessa

‘… 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

Aert_de_Gelder_(after)_-_Esther_and_Mordecai
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

Hyacinthe_Loyson_by_Pierre_Petit,_1870
[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)

saint-therese-of-lisieux37
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.”

800px-Christ_on_the_Cross_with_St._Mary_and_St._John,_from_The_Passion_of_Christ,_plate_19_MET_DP835961

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