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

The following books are classics. Really. At least one of them should be read by every Catholic. Better yet – every Christian. The Eucharist is simply too important to be misunderstood, undervalued or neglected.

If, to obtain $100,000 a day, all it took was a daily visit to a church, who would be mad enough not to attend? Yet Jesus offers Himself to us without reserve in the Mass, and almost no one pays any real attention! Are we not aware of the infinite good that Our Lord offers us in every Mass?

“Every degree of grace is in itself infinitely valuable, more precious than all created things in Heaven or on earth, a treasure for which we should, with the Apostle, count all things as loss, that we may gain Christ and His grace.”

(From “The Glories of Divine Grace”)

There are poor souls hastening towards perdition, greatly in need of prayer. You can do nothing more charitable than to save a soul… nothing! And the most effective means by which you can do this is to offer the Holy Mass (in which Our Lord prays for us and offers the Sacrifice of Himself!) for the conversion of sinners! And the greater your fervour at Mass; the greater your faith; the greater your holiness (and purity of intention), the more eagerly will God grant your prayers!

The most urgent need in the world today is not food, shelter, wealth, success, or any other temporal thing; it is love. In particular, it is the love of God, which redeems, purifies, vivifies and saves. And where do we find God’s love most abundantly? In the Mass. At Mass, Our Lord offers Himself mystically, just as He did on Calvary. ‘Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13).

“One more Mass! One more Mass!” – Fr. Mateo Crawley Boevey

How blessed would many Christians consider themselves if they knew that they were going to be visited one day by Our Lord! How they would prepare their hearts; how meticulously they would prepare their appearance. Yet Jesus is truly present in the Tabernacle, waiting to descend into our hearts, and almost no one pays any real attention!

Please, dear reader: if you have not already done so, please consider reading at least one of the following books. Ideally, read it a few times; otherwise it will be impossible to extract all its goodness.

1. ‘Explanation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass’ (aka ‘The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Explained,’ or, ‘The Incredible Catholic Mass’) by Rev. Martin von Cochem:

https://archive.org/stream/explanationofthe00maesuoft#page/n3/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “St. Bridget, who was permitted to witness in spirit what went on in the heights of heaven during the consecration, says that she saw the sacred host, under the appearance of a living lamb, enveloped in flames, surrounded by angels, countless in number as the motes in the sunbeam, adoring and serving Him, as did also an innumerable multitude of the blessed.”]

2. ‘The Blessed Eucharist, Our Greatest Treasure’ by Rev. Michael Muller:

https://archive.org/stream/theblessedeuchar00meuluoft#page/n5/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “But you will ask perhaps: ‘Why does our Lord hide Himself under the outward appearances of bread and wine? Why does He not manifest Himself under the sensible qualities of His body, with His wounded hands, His merciful countenance, His radiant majesty?’ Now, our Lord does so chiefly for two reasons. The first is, that we may not lose the merit of faith. Were we to see Jesus Christ as He is seen by the blessed in heaven, we could no longer make an act of faith in His Real Presence, for ‘faith is the belief in things which we do not see.’ Now, our Lord wishes to bestow on us, after this life, a great reward for our faith, as He Himself has said: ‘Blessed are they that do not see and yet believe.’ Many of the saints, in order not to lose the merit of their faith, have gone so far as to beg our Lord not to favor them with those consoling manifestations of Himself in the Blessed Sacrament which He has sometimes granted to His chosen servants.”]

3. ‘The Holy Mass: The Sacrifice for the Living and the Dead. The Clean Oblation Offered Up Among the Nations From the Rising to the Setting of the Sun’ by Rev. Michael Muller:

https://archive.org/stream/holymasssacrifi00mlgoog#page/n18/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “A certain holy Bishop of Breslau, named Nanker, entertained a most tender devotion for the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He used to say Mass daily, and heard as many Masses besides as he possibly could. When at the point of death, a most sweet, heavenly melody was heard, and a voice from above said: ‘The soul of Bishop Nanker has already left the body, and is now being carried by the angels into heaven. This grace and honor have been bestowed upon him on account of his great love and devotion for the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.’]

4. ‘The Holy Eucharist’ by St. Alphonsus Liguori:

https://archive.org/stream/alphonsusworks06alfouoft#page/n3/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “Thence arise the following considerations which may aid us to hear Mass with great fruit: 1. By the oblation of the person of Jesus Christ, God and man, to the Eternal Father, we give to God infinite honor; we give him greater honor than he would receive from the oblation of the lives of all men and all angels. 2. By the oblation of Jesus Christ in the Mass, we offer to God a complete satisfaction for all the sins of men, and especially for the sins of those who are present at Mass; to whom is applied the same divine blood, by which the human race was redeemed on Calvary. Thus, by each Mass more satisfaction is made to God than by any other expiatory work. But although the Mass is of infinite value, God accepts it only in a finite manner, according to the dispositions of those who attend the holy sacrifice, and, therefore, it is useful to hear several Masses. 3. In the Mass we render to God an adequate thanksgiving for all the benefits that he has bestowed upon us. 4. During the Mass we can obtain all the graces that we desire for ourselves and for others. We are unworthy of receiving any grace from God, but Jesus Christ has given us the means of obtaining all graces, if, while we offer him to God in the Mass, we ask them of the Eternal Father in his name, for then Jesus himself unites with us in prayer. If you knew that while you pray to the Lord, the divine Mother, along with the whole of paradise, united with you, with what confidence would you pray? Now when you ask of God any grace during the Mass, Jesus (whose prayers are more efficacious than the prayers of all who are in heaven) prays for you, and offers in your behalf the merits of his Passion.”]

5. ‘The Hidden Treasure: Or, The Value and Excellence of Holy Mass’ by St. Leonard of Port Maurice:

https://archive.org/stream/hiddentreasureo01leongoog#page/n4/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “Go to the church as if you were going to Calvary, and behave yourself before the altar as before the throne of God, in company with the holy angels. See what modesty, what reverence, what attention, are requisite from us, in order that we may carry away the fruit and the blessings which Almighty God is wont to bestow on him who honours with devout demeanour these sacred mysteries. We read, that while the sacrifices of the Old Law were being offered by the Jews, sacrifices in which was offered nothing greater than bulls, lambs, and other animals, it was admirable to behold with what diligence, decorum, and silence, the whole people assisted; and although there were numbers innumerable of those attending, besides the seven hundred ministers who sacrificed, yet, with all this, it seemed as if the temple were empty, not the very slightest noise, not even a breath, being heard. Now, if so much respect and so much veneration were practised towards those sacrifices which, after all, were only a mere shadow, a simple figure of ours, what silence, what devotion, what attention, does not Holy Mass deserve, in which the Immaculate Lamb himself, the Divine Word, is offered for us in sacrifice!”

6. ‘The Blessed Sacrament; Or, The Works and Ways of God’ by Fr. F. W. Faber:

https://archive.org/stream/theblessedsacram00fabeuoft#page/n5/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “It is said that St. Michael revealed to St. Eutropius the Hermit that he had been chosen to be the guardian angel of the Blessed Sacrament; and that it had been entrusted to his charge ever since Holy Thursday; and there are also on record several revelations of his to various saints concerning the worship of the Blessed Sacrament. Some have supposed him to be the angel of the mass referred to in the canon; and he is spoken of at the beginning of mass in the Confiteor, again at the second incensing at the High Mass; and also in the offertory of masses of Requiem. Many saints and servants of God have had a peculiar devotion to the angel mentioned in the canon of the Mass, without deciding on his name or individuality.”]

St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us!

St. Faustina, pray for us!

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Jesus Asks His Spouses to Pray for Priests

[Note: As of this article, visitors are now able to leave comments. To do so, simply click on the title or the text box/speech bubble beside it. If you have any comments, questions or quandaries, I encourage you to share. I will do my best to respond. God bless.]

Priests have a sublime vocation. They are called to be “other Christs” in a very special way. Without them, there would be no Sacraments, which are for the faithful, a perpetual source of grace, hope and sanctity.

No priest = no Mass; and the Mass is the greatest gift that we can offer to Almighty God!

“All the praise, the love, the veneration, the worship, the thanksgiving, which Christ presents to the ever-blessed Trinity in every Mass far transcends all the praise of the angels, the adoration of the saints, so far, indeed, that were all the penances, the prayers, the good works of apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and all saints offered to the Holy Trinity they would be less pleasing to the Divine Majesty than one single Mass.”

– Ven. Rev. Martin von Cochem

(What incredible words! This single quotation alone should be reason enough to become Catholic!)

Today, perhaps more than ever, priests need our prayers. Many churches are close to empty; priests are mocked and ridiculed by the media and by countless individuals; many Catholics dissent from the Church’s teaching; and there is a tidal wave of liberal theology and modernism that has infiltrated our seminaries. These are just some of the difficulties facing priests today.

St. Thomas, along with St. Alphonsus and many others, teaches that a religious is bound to strive for perfection, under pain of mortal sin. It is especially incumbent upon us, then, to pray for priests, that they might fulfil their priestly duties.

“Very well, if you want to save souls, there is only one and powerful means: holy priests.”

– Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

‘Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into his harvest.’ (Mt 9:38)

By praying and offering sacrifices to God that He might give us holy priests, we are exercising the virtues of faith, hope and love; we are demonstrating mercy, which will attract many graces from God, both now and at the final judgement; we are contributing towards the salvation of our own soul, as well as the souls of our brothers and sisters; we are making God better known and better loved; and we are fulfilling one of our many grave duties as children of the Most High.

Know for certain that those who disrespect priests, disrespect Christ; and those who love priests, love Christ.

“I will men to respect them [priests], not for themselves but for Me, because of the authority I have given them and the dignity with which they are clothed. I do not want this respect to decrease even if their virtue decreases… I have given them to you that they may be angels of the world and your light. If they are not all this, you ought to pray for them and not judge them, but let Me judge them Myself. I desire to be able to show them mercy through your prayers.

– God to St. Catherine of Siena

 ‘People do not pray enough for priests. I have graces reserved for them which I will give them if people ask for them… These are not graces indispensable to their ministry; nevertheless if they possessed these graces they would do more good and souls would benefit greatly thereby.’ 

– Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary

Merciful Revelations Given To St. Bridget

Merciful Revelations Given To St. Bridget

The following words of mercy were addressed to St. Bridget of Sweden. In her revelations, our Lord greatly admonishes sinners (including priests, religious, laypeople etc.), yet He constantly repeats that His mercy is infinite to those who repent and wish … Continue reading

Sr. Benigna Consolata: Friend of “little souls”

Dear reader, I have written an article about Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero, the great spouse of Jesus. Please find the article at the following address:

http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2013/10/sister-benigna-consolata-ferrero.html

Sr. Benigna Consolata is a Heavenly advocate and friend worth having!

Here is a brief sample:

Here are but a few examples of the similarities between Sr. Benigna Consolata’s writings and those of the aforementioned saints and mystics:

1. + “Thou art the Apostle of My Love.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “Apostle of My mercy.” (Jesus to St. Faustina)
+ “Apostle of Love.” (Jesus to Bl. Dina Belanger)
+ “Apostle of My love.” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez)
 
2. + “Thou shalt make thy Purgatory in the flames of My pure love-” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna, July 14, 1903)
+ “… the Fire of Love is more sanctifying than is the fire of Purgatory.” (St. Therese)
 
3. + “Even the single little prayer,‘I trust in Thee’, ravishes My Heart, because Faith, Love and Humility are comprised in this short prayer.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “Jesus, I trust in You!” (Words repeated throughout Sr. Consolata Betrone’s diary)
+ “Jesus, I trust in You!” (Prayer dictated by Our Lord to St. Faustina)
+ “How easy it is to please Jesus, to ravish His Heart. We have merely to love Him, while, at the same time, forgetting ourselves.” (St. Therese)

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

“This mother of mercy has such a desire to save the most abandoned sinners, that she even goes to seek them; and if they have recourse to her, she will surely find a method of rendering them dear to God.”

– St. Alphonsus

The following anecdotes, taken from ‘The Glories of Mary’ by St. Alphonsus, should encourage readers to trust in the intercession of their mother, Mary.

+ It is narrated by Father Bevms, of a very sinful person named Helen, that having gone to church, she accidentally heard a sermon on the rosary. As she went out she bought one but carried it hidden, so that it should not be seen. Afterwards, she began to recite it; and although she recited it without devotion, the most holy Virgin infused into her heart such consolation and sweetness in it, that she could not cease repeating it. And by this she was inspired with such a horror of her evil life, that she could find no peace, and was forced, as it were, to go to confession. She confessed with so much contrition, that the confessor was amazed. Having finished her confession, she went immediately before an altar of the blessed Virgin, to thank her advocate; she recited her rosary, and the divine mother spoke to her from her image, and said; “Helen, you have too long offended God and me; hence forth change your life, and I will bestow upon you many of my favors.” The poor sinner in confusion, answered: “Ah, most holy Virgin, it is true that hitherto I have been very sinful, but thou, who art all-powerful, assist me; I give myself to thee, and will pass the remainder of my life in doing penance for my sins.” Assisted by Mary, Helen bestowed all her goods upon the poor, and commenced a rigorous penance. She was tormented by dreadful temptations, but she continued to recommend herself to the mother of God; and always, with her aid, came off victorious. She was favored also with many supernatural graces, as visions, revelations, and prophecies. At last, before her death, of which she had been warned a few days previously by Mary, the Virgin herself came with her Son to visit her; and in death, the soul of this sinner was seen, in the form of a beautiful dove, ascending to heaven.

+ Father Charles Bovius relates that in Doinana, in France, lived a married man who had held a criminal connection with another woman. Now the wife being unable to endure this, continually besought God to punish the guilty parties; and one day in particular went to an altar of the blessed Virgin, which was in a certain church to implore vengeance upon the woman who had alienated her husband from her; and this very woman went also every day to the same altar, to repeat a “Hail Mary.” One night the divine mother appeared in a dream to the wife, who, on seeing her, began her accustomed petition: “Justice, mother of God, justice.” But the blessed Lady answered: “Justice! do you seek justice from me? Go and find others, to execute justice for you. It belongs not to me to do it for you. Be it known to you,” she added, “that this very sinner offers every day a devotion in my honor, and that I cannot allow any sinner who does this, to suffer and be punished for his sins.” The next day the wife went to hear mass in the above-named church of our Lady, and on coming out met her husband’s friend; at the sight of her she began to reproach her and call her a sorceress, who had even enchanted with her sorceries the blessed Virgin. “Be silent,” cried the people: “what are you saying?” “Be silent!” she answered: “what I say is only too true; this night the Virgin appeared to me; and when I implored justice of her, she answered me that she could not grant it on account of a salutation which this wicked woman repeats daily in her honor.” They asked the woman what salutation she repeated to the mother of God, She answered that it was the “Hail Mary;” and then on hearing that the blessed Virgin had dealt with her so mercifully in return for that trivial act of devotion, she cast herself on the ground before the sacred image, and there, in the presence of all the people, asked pardon for her scandalous life, and made a vow of perpetual continence. She afterwards put on a religious habit, built for herself a little cell near the church, where she retired, and persevered in continual penance until the day of her death.

+ Father Eusebius Nierembergh relates that there lived in the city of Aragona a girl, named Alexandra who, being noble and very beautiful, was greatly loved by two young men. Through jealousy, they one day fought and killed each other. Their enraged relatives, in return, killed the poor young girl, as the cause of so much trouble, cut off her head, and threw her into a well. A few days after, St. Dominic was passing through that place, and, inspired by the Lord, approached the well, and said: “Alexandra, come forth,” and immediately the head of the deceased came forth, placed itself on the edge of the well, and prayed St. Dominic to hear its confession. The saint heard its confession, and also gave it Communion, in presence of a great concourse of persons who had assembled to witness the miracle. Then, St. Dominic ordered her to speak and tell why she had received that grace. Alexandra answered, that when she was beheaded, she was in a state of mortal sin, but that the most holy Mary, on account of the rosary, which she was in the habit of reciting, had preserved her in life. Two days the head retained its life upon the edge of the well, in the presence of all, and then the soul went to purgatory. But fifteen days after, the soul of Alexandra appeared to St. Dominic, beautiful and radiant as a star, and told him, that one of the principal sources of relief to the souls in purgatory is the rosary which is recited for them; and that, as soon as they arrive in paradise, they pray for those who apply to them these powerful prayers. Having said this, St. Dominic saw that happy soul ascending in triumph to the kingdom of the blessed.

+ “… when a sinner, although he may not have left his sins, makes an effort to quit them, and seeks the aid of Mary, this mother will not fail to assist him, and bring him to the grace of God. This St. Bridget once learned from Jesus Christ himself, who, speaking with his mother, said:

“Thou dost aid those who are striving to rise to God, and dost leave no soul without thy consolation.”

While the sinner, then, is obstinate, Mary cannot love him (we must accept our mother’s love); but if he finds himself enchained by some passion which makes him a slave of hell, and will commend himself to the Virgin, and implore her with confidence and perseverance to rescue him from his sin, this good mother will not fail to extend her powerful hand; she will loose his chains, and bring him to a state of safety. It is a heresy, condemned by the sacred Council of Trent, to say that all the prayers and works of a person in a state of sin are sins. St. Bernard says that prayer in the mouth of a sinner, although it is without supernatural excellence, since it is not accompanied by charity, yet is useful and efficient in obtaining a release from sin; for, as St. Thomas teaches, the prayer of the sinner is indeed without merit, but it serves to obtain the grace of pardon; for the power of obtaining it is based not upon the worth of him who prays, but upon the divine bounty, and upon the merits and promise of Jesus Christ, who has said, “Every one that asketh receiveth.” The same may be said of the prayers offered to the divine mother. If he who prays, says St. Anselm, does not deserve to be heard, the merits of Mary, to whom he commends himself, will cause him to be heard. Hence St. Bernard exhorts every sinner to pray to Mary, and to feel great confidence in praying to her; because if he does not deserve what he demands, yet Mary obtains for him, by her merits, the graces which she asks of God for him. The office of a good mother, says the same saint, is this: if a mother knew that her two sons were deadly enemies, and that one was plotting against the life of the other, what would she do but endeavor in every way to pacify him? Thus, says the saint, Mary is mother of Jesus, and mother of man; when she sees any one by his sin an enemy of Jesus Christ, she cannot endure it, and makes every effort to reconcile them. Our most indulgent lady only requires the sinner to commend himself to her, and have the intention to reform. When she sees a sinner coming to implore mercy at her feet, she does not regard the sins with which he is laden, but the intention with which he comes. If he comes with a good intention, though he have committed all the sins in the world, she embraces him, and this most loving mother condescends to heal all the wounds of his soul; for she is not only called by us the mother of mercy, but she really is such, and shows herself such by the love and tenderness with which she succors us. The blessed Virgin herself expressed all this to St. Bridget, when she said to her,

“However great may be a man’s sins, when he turns to me, I am immediately ready to receive him; neither do I consider how much he has sinned, but with what intention he comes; for I do not disdain to anoint and heal his wounds, because I am called, and truly am, the mother of mercy.”

23. Father Crasset relates, that a certain military officer told him, that after a battle he found a soldier on the battle-ground who held in his hand a Rosary and the scapular of Mary, and asked for a confessor. His forehead had been pierced by a musket-ball, which had passed through the head and came out behind, so that the brain was visible and protruded through each opening, and he could not live without a miracle. He however raided himself, made his confession to the chaplain with great compunction, and after receiving absolution, expired.  

24. The same author adds, that this very captain told him of being present when a trumpeter of his company received a pistol-shot from someone near, and when be examined his breast where he said that he had been hit, he found that the ball had been stopped by the scapular of the Virgin, which the man wore, and that it had not even touched the flesh. He took it and exhibited it to the whole company. 

46. The blessed Bernard Tolomeo, founder of the livetan Fathers, who, from his childhood, had a great devotion to Mary, was one day greatly tormented in his hermitage at Accona, called Mt. Olivet, with the fear that he should not be saved, and that God had not yet pardoned him; but the divine mother appeared to him, and said: “What do you fear, my son? Take courage; God has already pardoned you, and is pleased with the life you lead; go on, and I will help and save you.”

The blessed religious continued to lead a holy life till he died a happy death in the arms of Mary.

May we, too, die in the arms of our tender mother, Mary.

 

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

“Embrace the cross lovingly, whenever it comes, as the most precious token of love I can give you in this life.”

– Jesus to St. Margaret Mary

(By Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.)

Suffering is the great problem of human life. We all have to suffer. Sometimes small sorrows, sometimes greater ones fall to our share. We shall now tell our readers how to avoid much of this suffering, how to lessen all suffering and how to derive great benefits from every suffering we may have to bear. The reason why suffering appears so hard is that, first of all, we are not taught what suffering is. Secondly, we are not taught how to bear it. Thirdly, we are not taught the priceless value of suffering. This is due to the incomprehensible neglect on the part of our teachers. It is surprising how easily some people bear great sufferings; whereas, others get excited even at the smallest trouble. The simple reason is that some have been taught all about suffering; others have not.

SUFFERING IS NOT THE EVIL WE THINK IT IS

First of all, then, suffering is not simply an evil, for no one suffered more than the Son of God Himself, more than His Blessed Mother or more than the Saints. Every suffering comes from God. It may appear to come to us by chance or accident or from someone else, but in reality, every suffering comes to us from God. Nothing happens to us without His wish or permission. Not even a hair falls from our heads without His consent. Why does God allow us to suffer? Simply because He is asking us to take a little share in His Passion. What appears to come by chance or from someone else always comes because God allows it. Every act in Our Lord’s Life was a lesson for us. The greatest act in His life was His Passion. This, then, is the greatest lesson for us. It teaches us that we too must suffer. God suffered all the dreadful pains of His Passion for each one of us. How can we refuse to suffer a little for love of Him?

SUFFERING IS THE GOLD IN OUR LIVES

Secondly, if we accept the suffering He sends us and offer them in union with His sufferings, we receive the greatest rewards. Five minutes’ suffering borne for love of Jesus is of greater value to us than years and years of pleasure and joy. The Saints tell us that if we patiently bear our sufferings, we merit the crown of martyrdom. Moreover, suffering borne patiently brings out all that is good in us. Those who have suffered are usually the most charming people. If we bear these facts clearly in mind, it certainly becomes much easier to suffer. GOD ALWAYS GIVES STRENGTH TO BEAR OUR SUFFERINGS.

Thirdly, when God gives us any suffering, He always gives us strength to bear it, if we only ask Him. Many, instead of asking for His help, get excited and revolt. It is this excitement and impatience that really make suffering hard to bear. Consider that we are now speaking of all suffering, even the most trifling ones. All of us have little troubles, pains, disappointments, every day of our lives. All these, if borne for love of God, obtain for us, as we have said, the greatest rewards.

HOW TO BEAR SUFFERING

Even the greater sufferings that may fall to our share from time to time become easy to bear if we accept them with serenity and patience. What really makes suffering difficult to bear is our own impatience,our revolt, our refusal to accept it. This irritation increases our sufferings a hundred fold and, besides, robs us of all the merit we could have gained thereby. We see some people pass through a tempest of suffering with the greatest calm and serenity; whereas, others get irritated at the slightest annoyance or disappointment. We can all learn this calm and patience. It is the secret of happiness. An eminent physician, in a conference which he gave to distinguished scientists and fellow doctors, told them that he owed all his great success in life to the simple fact that he had corrected his habit of impatience and annoyance, which had been destroying all his energy and activity. Everyone, we repeat, without exception, can learn this calm and serenity.

PENANCE

We must all do penance for our sins. If we do not, we shall have long years of suffering in the awful fires of Purgatory. This fire is just the same as the fire of Hell. Now, if we offer our sufferings the very little ones as well as the greater ones-in union with the sufferings of Jesus Christ, we are doing the easiest and best penance we can perform. We may thus deliver ourselves entirely from Purgatory, While at the same time gaining the greatest graces and blessings. Let us remember clearly that: 1) Sufferings come from God for our benefit. 2) When we are in the state of grace, we derive immense merit from every suffering borne patiently, even the little sufferings of our daily lives. 3) God will give us abundant strength to bear our sufferings if we only ask Him. 4) If we bear our sufferings patiently, they lose their sting and bitterness. 5) Above all, every suffering is a share in the Passion of Our Lord. 6) By our sufferings, we can free ourselves in great part, or entirely, from the pains of Purgatory. 7) By bearing our sufferings patiently, we win the glorious crown of martyrdom. Of course, we may do all in our power to avoid or lessen our sufferings, but we cannot avoid all suffering. Therefore, it is clearly necessary for us to learn how to bear them. In a word, we must understand clearly that if we remain calm, serene and patient, suffering loses all its sting, but the moment we get excited, the smallest suffering increases a hundred fold. It is just as if we had a sore arm or leg and rubbed it violently; it would become irritated and painful; whereas, if we touch it gently, we soothe the irritation. We suffer from ill-health, from pains, headaches, rheumatism, arthritis, from accidents, from enemies. We may have financial difficulties. Some suffer for weeks in their homes, some in hospitals or nursing homes. In a word, we are in a vale of tears. Almighty God could have saved us from all suffering, but He did not do so because He knows in His infinite goodness that suffering is good for us.

PRAYER

We have a great, great remedy in our hands, that is, prayer. We should pray earnestly and constantly asking God to help us to suffer, to console us. or if it pleases Him. to deliver us from suffering. This is all, all important. A very eminent doctor, in an able article he recently published in the secular press, says that “Prayer is the greatest power in the world.” He says, “I and my colleagues frequently see that many of our patients, whom we have failed to cure or whose pains we have failed to alleviate, have cured themselves by prayer. I speak now not of the prayers of holy people, but the prayers of ordinary Christians.” We should above all pray to Our Lady of Sorrows in all our troubles. We should ask her, by the oceans of sorrow she felt during the Passion of Our Lord, to help us. God gave her all the immense graces necessary to make her the perfect Mother of God, but He also gave her all the graces, the tenderness, the love necessary to be our most perfect and loving Mother. No mother on earth ever loved a child as Our Blessed Lady loves us. Therefore, in all our troubles and sorrows, let us go to Our Blessed Lady with unbounded confidence.

“UNDERSTAND THAT THE MERCY OF THE SAVIOUR IS SO MEASURELESS THAT IT ACCEPTS THE LEAST ILL, THE SMALLEST TROUBLE, IN PAYMENT FOR THE MOST DISQUIETING OF YOUR DEBTS.

Nothing, not even a headache, is lost. If God did not afflict you, you would persist in being insolvent till the hour of your death; acquit yourself then whilst you are able, and do not grudge that pain which alone is able to restrain your instincts of self-indulgence, to break your pride, to soften the hardness of your hearts. The proverb, ‘happiness leads to egoism,’ is only too true; you do not begin to experience compassion for others till you have been yourself in want; well-being and strength sterilize you, and you only perform acts which are vaguely correct, till you are lamed or reduced to poverty.”

– St. Lydwine of Schiedam

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

“Give up thy devotion to Mary, and I will cease to tempt thee.”

– Satan to Bl. Alphonsus Rodriguez

“When the devil wishes to make himself master of a soul, he seeks to make it give up devotion to Mary.”

– St. Alphonsus (Doctor of the Church, miracle-worker, ardent lover of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament)

Mary is truly our spiritual mother. Satan hates Mary because it is through her that God will defeat him (Gen. 3:15)! If Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body, was born of Mary, it follows that the other members of the Mystical Body must also be spritually born of Mary.

There are countless websites and books devoted to defending devotion to Mary, her dignity etc. Please read them. They explain the profound truths relating to- and titles for- Our Lady, who, like a tender mother, intercedes for our salvation (like all true followers of Christ).

Here is a link to some fairly basic Marian apologetics: http://www.ewtn.com.au/faith/teachings/marymenu.htm

(Stories taken from ‘The Glories of Mary’, by St. Alphonsus):

+ It is related by Belluacensis and Cesarius, that a noble youth having lost by his vices the wealth left him by his father, became so poor that he was obliged to beg. He quitted his native land,  that he might live with less shame in a distant country where he was unknown. On this journey he met one day an old servant of his father, who, seeing him so cast down by the poverty he was suffering, told him to cheer up, for he would take him to a prince who was so liberal that he would provide him with everything he needed. Now this wretch was an impious sorcerer. One day he took the youth with him to a wood on the borders of a moor, where he began to address some invisible person. The youth asked to whom he was speaking. “To the devil,” he answered; and seeing the youth terrified, bade him not to fear. Continuing to speak with the devil, he said: “This youth, oh my master, is reduced to extreme necessity, and wishes to be restored to his former condition.” “If he will obey me,” said the enemy, I will make him richer than before; but in the first place, he must renounce God.” At this the youth shuddered, but urged on by that cursed magician, he yielded, and renounced God. “But this is not sufficient,” said the demon; “he must also renounce Mary; for it is to her that we attribute our greatest losses. Oh, how many souls she has snatched from us, and led back to God and saved!” “Oh, this I will not do,” exclaimed the youth; “deny Mary! why she is my only hope. I would rather be a beggar all my life.” With these words he left the place. On his way he happened to pass a church dedicated to Mary. The unhappy youth entered it, and kneeling before her altar, began to weep and implore the most holy Virgin that she would obtain the pardon of his sins. Mary immediately began to intercede with the Son for that miserable being. Jesus at first said: “But that ungrateful youth, my mother, has denied me.” But seeing that his mother still continued to entreat him, he at last said: “Oh, my mother, I have never refused thee anything; he shall be pardoned, since thou dost ask it.” The citizen who had purchased the inheritance of that prodigal was secretly present at this scene, and beholding the mercy of Mary towards that sinner, he gave him his only daughter in marriage, and made him heir of all his possessions. Thus that youth recovered, through the intercession of Mary, the favor of God and even his temporal possessions.

+ Eutychian, Patriarch of Constantinople, relates the following well-known story of Theophilus. The Patriarch was an eye-witness of the fact which we here relate, and which is confirmed by St. Peter Damian, St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, St. Antoninus, andothers. Theophilus was archdeacon of the Church of Adanas, a city of Cilicia; and was so much esteemed, that the people wished him to become their bishop, but his humility prevented his consent. Some malicious persons afterwards accused him, and he was deposed from his office. This afflicted him so much, that, blinded by passion, he went to a Jewish magician, who induced him to apply to Satan for help in his misfortunes. The devil answered that if he wished his assistance, he must renounce Jesus, and Mary his mother, and hand over to him the act of renunciation, written with his own hand. Theophilus executed the vile document. On the following day the bishop having heard of the wrong done him by his calumniators, asked his forgiveness, and restored him to his office. But Theophilus began then to feel so tortured by remorse of conscience on account of the great crime he had committed, that he wept continually. What does he do? He enters a church, prostrates himself in tears before an altar of the blessed Virgin, and exclaims: “Oh mother of God, I will not despair having thee, who art so merciful, to aid me.” He persevered forty days in weeping and praying thus to the holy Virgin; when behold, one night the mother of mercy appeared to him and said: “Oh Theophilus, what have you done? You have renounced my friendship and that of my Son; and for whom? for your own and my enemy.” “Oh Lady,” answered Theophilus, “it belongs to thee to pardon me, and to obtain my pardon from thy Son.” Then Mary, seeing his confidence, answered, “Take courage, and I will pray for thee.” Theophilus, encouraged by these words, redoubled his tears, his penance, and his prayers, remaining constantly at the foot of the altar. And, behold, Mary appeared to him again, and with a joyful countenance said to him: “Theophilus, rejoice, I have presented thy tears and thy prayers to God; he hath accepted them, and hath already pardoned thee; henceforth be grateful and faithful.” “Oh Lady,” replied Theophilus, “this is not sufficient to console me; the enemy still holds that impious deed, by which I have renounced thee and thy Son; thou canst obtain it for me.” After three days Theophilus awoke one night, and found the paper on his breast. The next day, when the bishop with a large assembly were present in the church, Theophilus cast himself at his feet, related the whole story, weeping bitterly, and gave him the infamous writing, which the bishop immediately ordered to be burned in presence of all the people, who wept for joy, praising the goodness of God, and the mercy of Mary towards that miserable sinner. Theophilus returned to the church of the Virgin, and there, three days afterwards, he died happily, with thanksgivings to Jesus and his holy mother on his lips.

+ Our advocate has shown how great is her kindness towards sinners by her mercy to Beatrice, a nun in the monastery of Fontebraldo, as related by Cesarius, and by Father Rho. This unhappy religious, having contracted a passion for a certain youth, agreed to flee with him from the convent; and in fact she went one day before a statue of the blessed Virgin, there deposited the keys of the monastery, for she was portress, and boldly departed. Arrived in another country, she led the miserable life of a prostitute for fifteen years. It happened that she met, one day, the agent of the monastery in the city where she was living, and asked of him, thinking he would not recognize her again, if he knew Sister Beatrice? “I knew her well,” he said: “she is a holy nun, and at present is mistress of novices.” At this intelligence she was confounded and amazed, not knowing how to understand it. In order to ascertain the truth, she put on another dress and went to the monastery. She asked for Sister Beatrice, and behold, the most holy Virgin appeared before her in the form of that same image to which at parting she had committed her keys, and her dress, and the divine mother thus spoke to her: “Beatrice, be it known to thee that, in order to prevent thy disgrace, I assumed thy form, and have filled thy office for the fifteen years that thou hast lived far from the monastery and from God. My child, return, and do penance, for my Son is still waiting for thee; and strive by thy holy life to preserve the good name I have gained thee.” She spoke thus and disappeared Beatrice re-entered the monastery, resumed the habit of a religious, and, grateful for the mercy of Mary, led the life of a saint. At her death she made known the foregoing incident, to the glory of this great queen.

O Lady, he who honours thee will be far from damnation.”

– St. Bonaventure

“Holy Spirit, inspire me.
Love of God, consume me.
Along the true road, lead me.
Mary my Mother, look upon me.
With Jesus, bless me.
From all evil, from all illusion,
from all danger, preserve me.”

– Prayer of Bl. Mariam Baouardy

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

“Spread the devotion to my Immaculate Heart, in order that many souls maybe conquered by my love and that many sinners may return to my Maternal Heart. Do not fear, for I will accompany with my maternal protection my faithful ones, and all those who accept my urgent warnings, and they — especially by the recitations of my Rosary — will be saved.”

– Our Lady to Bl. Elena Aiello (d. 1961)

(Taken from ‘The Glories of Mary’ by St. Alphonsus)

+ 44. A very sinful man, once kneeling in tears at the foot of the cross, prayed that he might receive a sign of pardon. But when he found that his prayer was not granted, he turned to an image of the sorrowful Mary, who then appeared to him, and he saw her present his tears to her Son, saying: “My Son, shall these tears be lost?” … And then he was given to understand that Christ had already pardoned him, and from that time be led a holy life.

+ We read in the life of Sister Catherine, an Augustinian nun, that in the place where that servant of God lived, there lived also a woman named Mary, who, in her youth, was a sinner, and obstinately persevered in her evil courses, even to extreme old age. For this she was banished by her fellow-citizens, forced to live in a cave beyond the limits of the place, and died in a state of loathsome corruption, abandoned by all, and without the sacraments; and on this account was buried in a field, like a beast. Now, Sister Catherine, who was accustomed to recommend very affectionately to God the souls of those who had departed this life, after learning the miserable death of this poor old woman, did not think of praying for her, as she and everyone else believed her already among the damned. Four years having past, a soul from purgatory one day appeared to her, and said, “Sister Catherine, how unhappy is my fate! you commend to God the souls of all those who die, and for my soul alone you have had no pity.” “And who are you?” said the servant of God. “I am,” answered she, “that poor Mary who died in the cave.” “How? Are you saved?” exclaimed Sister Catherine. “Yes, I am saved,” she said, “by the mercy of the Virgin Mary.” “And how?” “When I saw death drawing near, finding myself laden with sins, and abandoned by all, I turned to the mother of God and said to her, Lady, thou art the refuge of the abandoned, behold me at this hour deserted by all; thou art my only hope, thou alone canst help me; have pity on me. The holy Virgin obtained for me the grace of making an act of contrition; I died and am saved, and my queen has also obtained for me the grace that my pains should be abridged, and that I should, by suffering intensely for a short time, pass through that purification which otherwise would have lasted many years. A few masses only are needed to obtain my release from purgatory. I pray thee cause them to be offered for me, and I promise to pray God and Mary for thee.” Sister Catherine immediately caused those masses to be said for her, and that soul, after a few days, appeared to her again, more brilliant than the sun, and said to her, “I thank thee, sister Catherine: behold I am now going to paradise to sing the mercy of God and pray for thee.”

+ It is narrated by Belluacensis that in Ridolio, a city of England, in the year 1430, there lived a young nobleman named Ernest, who gave all his patrimony to the poor, and entered a monastery, where he led so holy a life that he was greatly esteemed by his superiors, particularly for his special devotion to the most holy Virgin. It happened that a pestilence prevailed in that city and the citizens had recourse to that monastery to ask the prayers of the monks. The abbot ordered Ernest to go and pray before the altar of Mary, and not to quit it until she had given him an answer. The youth remained there three days, and received from Mary, in answer, some prayers, which were to be said. They were said, and the plague ceased. It happened afterwards that this youth became less ardent in his devotion to Mary; the devil assailed him with many temptations, especially to impurity, and to a desire to flee from the monastery; and having neglected to recommend himself to Mary, he resolved to take flight by casting himself from the wall of the monastery; but passing before an image of the Virgin which stood in the corridor, the mother of God spoke to him, and said: “My son, why do you leave me?” Ernest was overwhelmed with surprise, and, filled with compunction, fell on the earth, saying: “My Lady, behold, I have no power to resist, why do you not aid me?” and the Madonna replied: “Why have you not invoked me? If you had sought my protection, you would not have been reduced to this; from this day commend yourself to me, and have confidence.” Ernest returned to his cell; but the temptations were renewed, yet he neglected to call upon Mary for assistance. He finally fled from the monastery, and leading a bad life, he went on from one sin to another, till he became an assassin. He rented an inn, where in the night he murdered unfortunate travellers and stripped them of all they had. One night, among others, he killed the cousin of the governor of the place, who, after examination and trial, condemned him to the gallows. But during the examination, a young traveller arrived at the inn, and the host, as usual, laid his plans and entered his chamber to assassinate him: but on approaching the bed, he finds the young man gone and a Christ on the cross, covered with wounds, in his place. Our Lord, looking compassionately at him, said: “Is it not enough that I have died once for thee? Dost thou wish to slay me again? Do it, then; lift thy hand and kill me!” Then the poor Ernest, covered with confusion, began to weep, and exclaimed: “Oh Lord, behold me ready to return to thee, who hast shown me so much mercy.” He immediately left the inn to go back to the monastery and do penance; but the officers of justice overtook him on the way, he was carried before the judge, and in his presence confessed all the murders he had committed. He was at once condemned to death, without even being allowed time for confession. He commended himself to Mary. He was hanged upon the gallows, but the Virgin prevented his death. She herself released him, and said to him: “Return to the monastery; do penance; and when you shall see in my hand a paper containing the pardon of thy sins, then prepare to die. Ernest returned, and having related all to the abbot, did great penance. After many years, he saw in the hand of Mary the paper containing his pardon; he then prepared for his last end, and died a holy death.

+ In the revelations of Saint Bridget we read that there was a rich man, as noble by birth as he was vile and sinful in his habits. He had given himself, by an express compact, as a slave to the devil; and for sixty successive years had served him, leading such a life as may be imagined, and never approaching the sacraments. Now this prince was dying; and Jesus Christ, to show him mercy, commanded Saint Bridget to tell her confessor to go and visit him, and exhort him to confess his sins. The confessor went, and the sick man said that he did not require confession, as he had often approached the sacrament of penance. The priest went a second time; but this poor slave of hell persevered in his obstinate determination not to confess. Jesus again told the Saint to desire the confessor to return. He did so; and on this third occasion told the sick man the revelation made to the Saint, and that he had returned so many times because our Lord, who wished to show him mercy, had so ordered. On hearing this the dying man was touched, and began to weep: “But how,” he exclaimed, “can I be saved; I, who for sixty years have served the devil as his slave, and have my soul burdened with innumerable sins?” “My son,” answered the father, encouraging him, “doubt not; if you repent of them, on the part of God I promise you pardon.” Then, gaining confidence, he said to the confessor, “Father, I looked upon myself as lost, and already despaired of salvation; but now I feel a sorrow for my sins, which gives me confidence; and since God has not yet abandoned me, I will make my confession.” In fact he made his confession four times on that day, with the greatest marks of sorrow, and on the following morning received the Holy Communion. On the sixth day, contrite and resigned, he died. After his death, Jesus Christ again spoke to Saint Bridget, and told her that that sinner was saved; that he was then in purgatory, and that he owed his salvation to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin His Mother; for the deceased, although he had led so wicked a life, had nevertheless always preserved devotion to her dolors, and whenever he thought of them, pitied her.

Whenever you feel temptation or despair, turn to the Mother of Mercy for help.

– St. Francis de Sales