Littlest Souls Archive (2012 – 2020)

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On this page you will find links to all past articles on Littlest Souls.

Of your charity, please consider saying a prayer for the author/compiler, who has decided to retire from writing indefinitely, so as to focus on more pressing matters. God willing, I will return some day to writing a book that I started working on many years ago.

I will try to check the site every now and then for possible comments.
To all readers/followers/supporters, thank you, and God bless!

‘Amplectere Mariam’!

[ps. The formatting needs serious work…]

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******* 2020 *******

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“How shall we become more like Him except by doing His Divine Will?”
– St. Teresa of the Andes (d. April 12, 1920)

AUGUST

A Scriptural Hymn in Honour Of Mary

What The World Needs Now…

Christian = Temple, Priest, Victim

An Extremely Powerful Prayer of Thanksgiving For Holy Communion

The Key To Rebuilding Christian Culture: The Prophetic Words of St. Peter Julian Eymard (d. Aug 1, 1868; Feast: Aug 2)

JULY
The Value of Love: St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi Describes the Reward of St. Aloysius
The Meaning of “The Miracle of the Sun” at Fatima (Oct 13, 1917)
MAY
How to Pass the Days in Peace and Joy: Advice from a Saintly Cardinal
APRIL
Jesus Lives On In The Church (Pt. 3): The Mystical Tradition (cont.)
Jesus Lives On In The Church (Pt. 2): The Mystical Tradition
Easter, 2020: The Centenary of Death of St. Teresa of the Andes
Jesus Lives On in the Church (Pt. 1): The Theological Tradition
JANUARY
The Saints are Eager to Share Their Spiritual Goods
The Devil’s Greatest Enemy (Pt. 3): Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces

******* 2019 *******

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“I am the Mother of fair love, of fear, of knowledge, and of hope; I will always remain your Mother.”
– Our Lady to St. Crescentia von Kaufbeuren (d. April 5, 1744)

DECEMBER
The Devil’s Greatest Enemy (Pt. 2): Mary, the New Judith
The Devil’s Greatest Enemy (Pt. 1): Mary, the New Queen Esther
A Miracle of St. Therese: The Conversion of Fr. Hyacinthe Loyson
NOVEMBER
A Saint Tells Us How to Become “a great Saint”
What is the Ultimate Reason for the Incarnation?
OCTOBER
Ven. Louis de Blois: Thoughts on Paradise
SEPTEMBER
The Power of Praise: A Sublime Revelation Given to St. Mechtilde
Mary: Mother of the Eucharist
AUGUST
‘Man Ate The Bread of Angels’ (Ps. 77:25): The Eucharist as Milk
JULY
Some Consoling Biblical Titles for Christ
JUNE
The Most Essential Christian Prayer Book
MAY
The Value of a Fervent Communion

******* 2018 *******

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I reserve copious treasures in My Heart for these last times,
in order to revive the half-dead faith
of the Christians of these days.”
– Our Lord to Ven. Philomena of St. Columba
(d. August 13, 1868)

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

A 19th Century Benedictine Mystic: Some Anecdotes and Sayings (Pt. 1)

AUGUST
7 Years a Slave
FEBRUARY
St. Therese’s Hungarian Sister (d. May 13, 1933)
JANUARY
A Calendar of the Littlest Souls

******* 2017 *******

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[On aspirations:] How many victories I could win by this easy and powerful weapon!”
– Fr. Willie Doyle (d. August 16, 1917)

NOVEMBER
Meet the Littlest Souls…
AUGUST
33 Reasons to Consecrate Yourself to Mary
FEBRUARY
A Eucharistic Vision of Vénérable Mère Marie-Thérèse du Cœur de Jésus
JANUARY
Words from Jesus for the New Year
******* 2016 *******

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“… I make the most beautiful masterpieces precisely from souls that I have drawn from the lowest things, from the mud, because I have more material to work upon.”
– Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero (d. September 1, 1916)

NOVEMBER
6 Easy Ways to Grow in Divine Love (Pt. 2)
OCTOBER
6 Easy Ways to Grow in Divine Love
SEPTEMBER
Wisdom from the Writings of Saintly Souls (on a Range of Topics)
An Offering of Oneself to Merciful Love
The Most Efficacious Remedy for the Evils of Today
JULY
Hidden Treasures of the Spiritual Life
Our Friends, the Saints
An Image of the Faithful Soul
Man’s Only Good
JUNE
Liberty of Spirit: The End of Scrupulosity
Consoling Revelations
“Virtue consists above all in…”
Some Saintly Insights into the “Little Way”
MAY
A Rose from St. Therese
Infinite Wealth? At What Cost?
Humility Feeds Love…
APRIL
Offer Your Indulgences for the Poor Souls in Purgatory!
The Fruit of Good Intentions: A Vision Given to St. Mechtilde
If There Were No Misery, There Would Be No Mercy
MARCH
The Life and Revelations of Sister Jeanne Bénigne Gojos
Why You Should Love St. Joseph
The Eucharist and a Conversation Between Christ and a Demon
If You Want to Save Souls…
14 Rules for Christian Living
Aspirations: An Easy Way to Attain Holiness and Joy
FEBRUARY
Loving God = True Freedom
Catching Foxes, and Eternal Salvation
10 Inspiring Sayings from the Saints
17 Lessons/Revelations on How to Love
Devotion to the Holy Face: A Key to Happiness and Final Perseverance!
Anniversary of an Extraordinary Soul: Yvonne-Aimée de Jésus
A “Challenge for Lent” from God Himself!
JANUARY
Some Scriptures and Corresponding Revelations
The Secret to Happiness
Prayer and Suffering
‘Devotion for the Dying’: The Most Pleasing Devotion to Jesus and Mary
God’s Providence: Fascinating Connections between 10 Mystics

Patron Saint Selections, 2016

******* 2015 *******

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“Benigne must not be surprised to see some faults in herself after receiving so many mercies, and even to feel imperfect emotions, provided she does not dwell on them.”
– Our Lord to Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (b. July 20, 1615)

DECEMBER

“Little Soul” Patron Saint for 2016 (“Jubilee of Mercy”)

NOVEMBER

Last post until the New Year…
(evidently not)

St. Mechtilde: Some Anecdotes

Our Lady Comforts Her Children at the Moment of Death

OCTOBER

God’s Goodness Surpasses All Understanding

Don’t Measure God’s Mercy

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#9)

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#8)

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#7)

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#6)

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#5)

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#4)

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#3)

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#2)

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#1)

Superstitious Fears are Not from God

Merciful Revelations to Sr. Yvonne-Aimée (d. 1951)

SEPTEMBER

Why did God make us, knowing that we would sin? (And Various Other Revelations Given to St. Hildegard)

33 Safe-to-Read Mystics

A Simple Way to “Pray Always”

Some Revelations about the Catholic Faith

AUGUST

In Christ We Can Do All Things

How to Best Please God

APRIL

JOY in the Spiritual Life: Q + A

A Revelation That Most Catholics Are Saved (Pt. 2)

What Wounds Jesus Most?

A Defence of God’s Justice (A Catholic Perspective)

MARCH

Custody of the Eyes: A Commentary on St. Alphonsus

FEBRUARY

An Updated Post on Scrupulosity

Blessed Angela’s Visions of the Mass

Divine Grace and Beauty of Soul

A Beautiful Revelation for Every Christian (Pt. 3)

JANUARY

Some Remarkable Revelations About Heaven

6 Eucharistic Books That May Change Your Life (Excerpts included)

Jesus Asks His Spouses to Pray for Priests

Some Powerful Motives to Love God

******* 2014 *******

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[Addressing Judas:] O dear and beloved son, what a return thou makest to One who weeps the loss of thee more than His own Passion and Death, because for this He came into this world.”
– Our Lord to St. Camilla Battista da Varano (d. May 31, 1524)

NOVEMBER

A Revelation on Divine Mercy (to St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi)

“I am your God… I Myself want to live in your heart.”

Mary’s Appeal to the Worst of Sinners

Why Pray for the Souls in Purgatory?

OCTOBER

A Prayer EVERY Christian Should Know and Love…

Consolation for Scrupulous Souls (Some Advice from St. Alphonsus)

SEPTEMBER

Something to Consider When You Suffer…

My Favourite Scripture Verse.

How to Attain Lasting Peace

A Helpful Tip for Overcoming Temptation.

JULY

The Eucharist (part 2): The Eucharist in the Lives of 101 Mystics!

The Eucharist (part 1).

How to Remain Forever United to Jesus.

JUNE

Words from the Saints and Mystics on Humility

“Be like a child with Me,” says Jesus.

God is Patient and Rich in Mercy.

MAY

Trust in God’s Providence!

An Amazing Story of God’s Mercy Towards a Blasphemer!

Be Happy? Be SAVED? …Be ye perfect!

APRIL

Why Holiness Brings Unspeakable Joy to the Soul!

Our Lord’s Tender Love, as Revealed to Sr. Gertrude Mary.

Powerful Reflections on Eternity.

MARCH

Jesus: “If you knew how I love you…”

17 Quotes/Revelations to Inspire Confidence in God’s Love.

“God Alone!”: A Simple, Consoling and Blessed Rule for Living.

FEBRUARY

Excellent Online Resources for Scrupulosity! (**Including an Excerpt from Blosius**)

Do We Value God’s Love As Our Only Good?

God, In His Love, Would Close Hell If It Were Possible!

A Sure Way to Convert Sinners, Even in their Final Moments!

Amend Your Life and You Will Be Saved!

7 Signs of The Holy Spirit: A Revelation to St. Bridget

JANUARY

Encouragement For Those Tried By Unwanted Thoughts.

15 Reasons To Suffer With LOVE.

Some More Help For Overcoming Scruples.

Our Lord Weeps More for Sinners Than for His Own Passion and Death.

Those We Will Be Surprised To See In Heaven…

Something For Christians To Meditate Upon Daily.

Encouragement For Those Tempted To Despair…

A Beautiful Revelation For Every Christian (Pt. 2)

******* 2013 *******

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“We of ourselves, it is true, could not by the offering of our whole lives make satisfaction to God for even one of the venial sins we think so lightly of when we commit them, but God views our good actions as the fruit of the Passion of His Beloved Son; and thus it is that a good action is more pleasing, necessarily so, to Him than a bad action is displeasing.”
– Ven. Mother Mary Potter (d. April 9, 1913)

DECEMBER

Divine Love Drives Out Scruples.

A Revelation That Most Catholics Are Saved.

Some Beautiful Words About HEAVEN.

Jesus Loves Your Company.

Consoling Thoughts On Salvation.

NOVEMBER

A Beautiful Revelation For Every Christian

A Powerful Meditation: The Thirty-Three Years of Jesus’ Life

How Jesus Intercedes for us at Holy Mass!

A Touching Prayer for a Sinner

The Conversion of Four Hardened Sinners

Distrustful soul, “Confide in the mercy of God.”

DIVINE MERCY: A Revelation To Bl. Angela

Merciful Revelations Given To St. Bridget

God’s Great Love For Judas

The Infinite Dignity of the Holy Eucharist!

God Abandons No One.

OCTOBER

A SURE Way to Be Happy.

Confession: Sins Forgotten Are Forgiven

“I wait for you…”

Worried About the Future?

Sr. Benigna Consolata: Friend of “little souls”

The Joy of Pain.

A Remedy For Sadness!

“Why do you fear death?” – Jesus to Sr. Mary

An Amazing Conversion Story: From Apostate to Saint

“My Future to Thy Providence”

SEPTEMBER

Seek Consolation In The Sacred Heart Of Jesus!

Keep falling into the same sins? Pray!

Jesus Is Most Deserving Of Compassion!

Love Of God: “the only true love”…

A Remedy For Anxiety (Revelations to a privileged nun)

Union With God: “An Anticipated Paradise”!

Fear Of Hell? … Consolation For The Doubtful

What Gives God “Infinite Pleasure”?

Three Reasons To Have GREAT Confidence In God!

Devotion To Mary: A Promise Given To St. Bridget

A Beautiful (And Extremely Encouraging) Revelation From Our Lord, Jesus, To Sr. Benigna!

Lacking Confidence In God?

To Inspire You With Love: “For THEE I was made man…” (Jesus to St. Mechtilde)

The Mercy of God “seeks even the obstinate.”

AUGUST

Jesus: “My child, you canst do nothing more gratifying to Me than to…”

A Cause For Hope: God’s Unchanging Goodness!

MARY, MOTHER OF MERCY: Refuge For Even The Hardest, Most Despairing Sinners! (part 6)

Clarity for Scrupulous Souls: Simple Explanations of “Grey” Sins

JULY

The Blessed Virgin Mary Reveals The Meaning Of LUKE 2:7 To St. Gertrude

Spiritual Wisdom From A Saintly Priest: Words On Suffering, Heaven, Prayer, The Infinite Love Of God.

SUFFERING: How to Make the Greatest Evil in Our Lives Our Greatest Happiness

Visions Of Heaven: The Perfect Joy Of The Blessed

MARY, MOTHER OF MERCY: Refuge For Even The Hardest, Most Despairing Sinners! (part 5)

MARY, MOTHER OF MERCY: Refuge For Even The Hardest, Most Despairing Sinners! (part 4)

MARY, MOTHER OF MERCY: Refuge For Even The Hardest, Most Despairing Sinners! (part 3)

The SUPREME Duty And Privilege Of Every Christian: To “… set fire to the world…”

A Revelation From God To All: Atheists, Christians…

God’s Unfathomable Mercy: Deathbed Conversions

JUNE

God Loves Us Because Of What HE Is, Not What WE Are!

Christian Mysticism: The Fire of Divine Love

The “First Nine Fridays” Devotion

Perfect Contrition: “The Golden Key of Paradise”

The Power Of St. Therese’s “little way”

“Do you know, daughter, for what reason I send crosses to souls dear to me?”

Incredible Revelations On ‘The Way Of The Cross’

Why Are Some Prayers Not Answered? (Revelation to St. Gertrude)

MAY

9 Powerful and Miraculous Prayers

Nine Reasons To Love God

Why is “The denial of sin… worse than sin”? (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

What We Can Learn From Victim Souls

How To Attain Peace Of Soul

Consoling Words of Jesus to St. Gemma

There Is Nothing Greater On Earth Than Holy Mass!

Consoling Revelations About Suffering

APRIL

“God wills only our good…”

50 ‘Counsels’ To Ease Our Worries, And Bring Us Joy!

MARCH

“If thou lovest Me… thou wilt console Me.”

MARY, MOTHER OF MERCY: Refuge For Even The Hardest, Most Despairing Sinners! (part 2)

MARY, MOTHER OF MERCY: Refuge For Even The Hardest, Most Despairing Sinners! (part 1)

Our Lady’s Crown of 12 Stars/Privileges

FEBRUARY

Inspiring Stories of The Rosary!

“He is there!”

The Rosary: The Greatest Prayer After The Mass!
(… and the Divine Office)

A Great Promise Revealed to St. Gertrude

Lukewarmness: A Barrier to Joy

******* 2012 *******

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“Let us not forget her [Mary’s] anguish, and at the hour of death, the Madonna will console and assist us: yea, if expedient for
our soul, she will show herself to us then, and she will manage that we will not feel the pains of death.”
– St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (d. February 27, 1862)

DECEMBER

Devotion to Mary, “Mother of All The Living”

The Catholic Church: God’s Gift to Mankind

NOVEMBER

Life And Revelations of Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero

Humility Will Set You Free!

OCTOBER

“Many Souls Exhaust Themselves…”

The Key To Spiritual Joy

Prayer: “A Key Opening GOD’S HEART”

Beautiful Words of Our Lord to Sr. Josefa Menendez

Three ESSENTIAL Spiritual Principles!

Overcoming Discouragement and Despondency (part 2)

SEPTEMBER

Overcoming Despondency and Discouragement (part 1)

“Confidence is Fortified by Faith”

How To Be Holy.

“How foolish is your fear of being damned!”

AUGUST

More Beautiful Revelations from St. Mechtilde.

An Infallible Cure for Scrupulosity

Tender Words of Our Lord to St. Mechtilde.

Tender Words of Our Lord to St. Gertrude.

Whenever You Gaze Upon A Crucifix…

Treatise on the Seven Spiritual Weapons.

JULY

An Arsenal for Overcoming Temptation (Part 2)

An Arsenal for Overcoming Temptation (Part 1)

A Powerful Shield Against Discouragement

JUNE

Jesus Would Die For You Alone.

To “Sinful Souls Drowned in Despair”

Prayer Before Holy Confession (spoken by Jesus).

Confidence Obtains Everything.

MAY

Humility: More Precious than Gold.

God’s Nature is to Give.

21 Mercies of God.

Jesus: “In Mass I come with…”

A Beautiful Story of God’s Merciful Providence!

A Book You Shouldn’t be Without…

Decalogue of Mercy.

Decalogue of Confidence.

Decalogue of Love.

2 ‘Golden Arrow’ Prayers.

“…your soul is My Heaven…”

A Prayer Before Bed…

“Come to Me… Do Not Be Afraid!”

‘Persona Christi’

A “Love Letter” from God to YOU!

More helpful tips for the scrupulous.

Are you scrupulous?… Some helpful tips for confession.

INFINITE MERCY

God’s Mercy: Always “Open” to us!

The SEEMINGLY unforgivable sin.

God desires YOUR love!

Hope Does Not Deceive.

Divine Mercy: Hope for the despairing.

The Immense Value of an Act of Love!

A beautiful meditation from the Heart of Jesus

“The Secret of Sanctity!”

God does not “get angry”

St. Faustina’s prayer of repentance/trust

10 Inspiring spiritual books!

Perseverance in Prayer.

“Prayer to Obtain the Grace of Boundless Confidence”

Dear scrupulous souls… relax… this is for you!

 

 

Christian = Temple, Priest, Victim

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Bl. Mother Mary of the Divine Heart

In the latter part of the 19th century, a humble religious in Germany was accustomed to receiving visits from Our Lord. Like St. Lydwine of Schiedam (d. 1433), St. Marie of the Incarnation (d. 1672), Bl. Elizabeth Canori-Mora (d. 1925) and Ven. Philomena of St. Columba (d. 1868) before her – to name only a few privileged souls – Our Lord would speak with her ‘face to face, as a man is wont to speak with his friend’ (Ex. 33:11).

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Ven. Philomena of St. Columba (d. Aug 13, 1868)

The vocation of this noble soul, Bl. Mother Mary of the Divine Heart (d. 1899), was simple: she was, in imitation of Our Lord, to offer herself as a host for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. “Why”, Our Lord would say to her (I am paraphrasing different parts of her writings), “do you not leave the path of fear? Why will you not follow the path of love, which is shorter and easier?… It is My Will to be all for you… Your heart is an altar upon which everything must be consumed by Divine Love.” (As an aside, it is worth noting that St. Marie of the Incarnation, mentioned above, was never led by the path of fear; rather, she made giant strides along the path of Love).

Let me repeat those final words: “Your heart is an altar upon which everything must be consumed by Divine Love.” Are these words directed to a privileged few? Absolutely not. This is the sublime vocation of all souls, and it is to this that we must all aspire with all our being. We must, in a word, offer to God that sacrifice most pleasing to Him, without which all our other sacrifices are a mere farce. And what sacrifice is this? The sacrifice of our will.

It is only when God – Who is spirit (Jn. 4:24) – possess our wills, that can He act freely, thereby glorifying Himself in us: ‘For obedience is better than sacrifices: and to hearken rather than to offer the fat of rams’ (1 Kg. 15:22). Obedience, the Saints tell us, pleases God more than great sacrifices “because obedience has no self-will” (Our Lord to St. Bridget of Sweden).

The next time you are tempted to murmur, remember that Jesus is offering Himself to the Father upon the Altars of our churches for your salvation; your vocation is to unite yourself, as did Mother Adele Garnier* (d. 1924), to this mystical immolation of Christ on the Altar of your heart; “by Him,” writes Dom Gueranger, “the Holy Ghost, Who sacred Fount He is (cf. Jn. 4:14; 7:37, 39), pours Himself out upon man, whereby to adapt him to his sublime vocation, and to consummate, in infinite love (which is Himself), that union of every creature with the divine Word.”

*An article on Mother Adele Garnier:
https://www.clairval.com/lettres/en/2015/04/12/2080415.htm

Concretely, you can unite yourself to Christ by receiving Him in Holy Communion, giving Him the key of your will. Always remember that this is the ‘one oblation’ by which ‘He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified’ (Heb. 10:14). There is no greater aid to holiness. Pray to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and you will see that this is true.

Mother Cécile Bruyerè‘s Masterful Explanation of the Christian Vocation

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Mother Cécile Bruyerè, 1895

‘But this, for that He continueth for ever, hath an everlasting priesthood, whereby He is able also to save for ever them that come to God by Him, always living to make intercession for us.’ (Heb. 7:24-25)

“Thus the sovereign pontificate is eternal, and it is exercised for ever; not only in the adorable Person of the Son of God, but in that priestly tribe of which He is the Head, ‘a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood’ (1 Pt. 2:9), wherein all are priests, although in different degrees, and all are called to concelebrate with the supreme Pontiff (p. 409).

A temple, a sanctuary, an altar, a victim, the very presence of the living and true God – all these are not sufficient for liturgical worship; there must moreover be a pontiff. Now man is truly a priest, truly a pontiff in the august function which is celebrated in the sanctuary of his own soul: ‘Thou hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests’ (Apoc. 5:10). Every baptised Christian is priest and king in the secret temple of his own soul, although he is but a single living stone of the edifice built by the hand of God, of which edifice our Lord Jesus Christ is the corner-stone. Such, in his first epistle, is the teaching of the Prince of the Apostles: ‘Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ’ (1 Pt. 2:5).

But to realise all the perfection of this priesthood, man must, freely and voluntarily, offer his sacrifice, after the example of the eternal Pontiff whom we hear insisting on the absolutely free character of His oblation: ‘No man taketh my life away from Me; but I lay it down of Myself, and I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again’ (Jn. 10:18). This liberty, which shows him truly to be a priest, was understood by Isaias, when he said: ‘He was offered because it was His own will’ (Is. 53:7) (‘The Spiritual Life and Prayer’, p. 423-424).

“In order to live in one single act of perfect Love, I OFFER MYSELF AS A VICTIM OF HOLOCAUST TO YOUR MERCIFUL LOVE, asking You to consume me incessantly…”
– From St. Therese’s Act of Oblation to Merciful Love

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

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 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

 

 

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”
!

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)

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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).

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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 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.”

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‘Elevation of the Host’ by Wenceslaus Hollar

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

7 Years a Slave

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‘The Ascent of the Blessed’ by Hieronymous Bosch (edited)

MAY 14  – Blessed Egidius (or Giles) of Portugal, Confessor (A.D. 1183-1265)

“EGIDIUS (or GILES) RODRIGUEZ was born of noble parents at Vouzella in Portugal about A.D. 1183. His family destined him for the ecclesiastical state and sent him for his education to Coimbra, where he became eminent as a philosopher and devoted himself to the study of medicine. Several rich benefices had been obtained for him; but the young man entirely neglected his sacred obligations and even entered into an unholy compact with Satan, which he signed with his own blood.

For seven years he is said to have studied magic in the caves of Toledo under his infernal master. When he reappeared amongst men, he was found to be endowed with a marvellous power over the elements and able to cure the most inveterate diseases. He took his degree at Paris as doctor in medicine and established his reputation by numerous and striking cures, evidently surpassing human power, whilst his life was one of unbridled iniquity.

But God in His infinite mercy had decreed to change this unhappy slave of the devil into one of His own most faithful and loving servants. One night, as Egidius was pursuing his unholy studies with the doors locked upon him, an armed horseman of gigantic stature suddenly appeared before him, and, shaking his lance, exclaimed in terrific accents, “Change thy life! Change thy life, I tell thee.” The vision disappeared and the trembling Egidius cast a remorseful glance on the miserable past. But his bad habits soon regained the mastery. Then the fearful apparition came a second time, charged full upon the unhappy sinner, and hurled him to the ground, exclaiming thrice, “Change thy life or I will slay thee.” “I will change, Lord, I will change; pardon my delay,” faltered the miserable man. He rose an altered being.

His first act was to consign all his books of magic to the flames. He then set out for Spain, took the habit of a Friar Preacher in the newly founded Convent of Palencia about A.D. 1220, and fervently entered upon a course of penance and devotion.

But for seven years (the same term as that of his unholy apprenticeship to Satan) no comfort came to his anguished soul. Terrifying visions of demons continually assailed him and the thought of the contract signed with his own blood and binding him to the Evil One filled him with fear and remorse. Yet he persevered in prayer and penance, continually commending himself to her who is the Refuge of sinners and who is never invoked in vain. One night, when he was exposed to the most terrible assaults of the demons, the paper of his contract was suddenly and violently thrown on the ground before him, and an infernal voice cried aloud that Mary had conquered. Egidius took the bond, felt himself freed from his sufferings, and for the first time tasted the consolations of a soul perfectly at rest.

From that time, he became as distinguished for his holiness and his seraphic love of God as he had formerly been for his apostasy and rebellion. He bore in particular a most tender devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, the mere casual utterance of which often had the power to cast him into ecstasy. He became one of the most celebrated religious of his time, and was more than once Provincial of the Order in Spain. His miracles were very numerous, and his power over the evil spirits who had so long and so cruelly tyrannised over him was exhibited in many wonderful ways. One of his favourite maxims was that we must forget ourselves in the service of our neighbour, and that the salvation of souls must take precedence of all private devotions.

There is something singularly attractive in the picture which is left us of the life and practices of this wonderful man. He would take advantage of the time when the Brethren were in the schools to clean and tidy their cells for them and would render the lowliest services to the sick. Being naturally of a cheerful and loquacious disposition, he found extreme difficulty in practising the rule of silence; but, understanding this to be a temptation of the devil, he resolved to live in strict retirement in his cell; and so generously did he overcome himself in this matter, that thenceforth he was hardly ever heard to utter a useless word. If anyone needed his help, he would at once lay aside his own occupation and hasten with a joyful countenance to render the desired service. His whole bearing attracted souls to the love of the Order and to the practice of poverty and obedience. He was ever ready to console the tempted and to render the humblest services to the sick Brethren.

When the hour of his death drew nigh, he caused a hair-cloth to be stretched upon the ground, and, extending himself upon it, received the Last Sacraments and spoke words of consolation to his weeping Brethren. Then he raised his hands to heaven, saying, “Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit;” after which, stretching forth his arms in the form of a cross, without agony, he happily departed this life on the Feast of the Ascension, A.D. 1265.”*

Benedict XIV. approved the veneration which had always been paid to Blessed Egidius in the Dominican Order and the kingdom of Portugal.

Source: ‘Short Lives of the Dominican Saints,’ Paternoster House, 1901

*Some Dominican historians have cast doubt on certain elements of this story. Are these doubts justified? That question, unfortunately, is beyond my competence. But I can say this much: Bl. Bartolo Longo is surely not the only former slave of Satan who now dwells in the courts of Paradise!

[Update: I don’t always have much time on a Sunday to work on the blog, but I certainly plan to continue with it. There is plenty of material in the pipeline.]