33 Reasons to Consecrate Yourself to Mary

Our_lady_of_divine_providence2

‘Thy face is full of graces.’  Esther 15:17

+ CONTENTS

PART I:

  • ‘And Her Riches I Hide Not’ (Wis. 7:13)
  • ‘De Maria Numquam Satis’ – Of Mary, Never Enough!
  • ‘Oculi Mei Semper Ad Dominum’ (Ps. 24:15) – My Eyes are Ever Towards the Lord
  • Mary Magnifies the Lord; She Leads Souls to the Most-High
  • Mary: Terror of Demons
  • ‘Her Children Rose Up, and Called Her Blessed’ (Prov. 31:28)
  • The Ave Maria: A Simple Key to Understanding Marian Devotion
  • A Simple Yet Infallible Means for Coming to Know Mary
  • A Final Word for the Centenary of Fatima

PART II:

  • 33 REASONS TO CONSECRATE YOURSELF TO JESUS, THROUGH MARY (This material is suitable for use as a preparation for Total Consecration, or as a renewal of one’s Consecration)
  • Act of Consecration to the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin

598px-Paolo_Veronese_013

+++++++

PART I

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

And Her Riches I Hide Not’ (Wis. 7:13)

In 17th century France, a holy Visitandine, Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (d. 1692), was to echo the teaching of so many Saints, Doctors, mystics and theologians who had preceded her; and a prodigious number, in turn, would echo the sentiments of this little-known Servant of God. Speaking of a vision in which she was privileged to behold the august Queen of Heaven, she declares:

“O God! who can relate the beauty and the grandeur of that incomparable Queen!… I am not afraid of asserting that nothing that has ever been said of the glory enjoyed by that sovereign Queen of Heaven comes even near to what I have seen of it; so that the little sight of it which was granted me took away all the pleasure I used to have before in hearing her praises proclaimed, so low and unworthy has the human expression of them seemed to me since then.”

Upon hearing such words, it might seem somewhat presumptuous to attempt to speak of the dignity and beauty of Our Lady – but this is certainly not the case. St. Alphonsus did not write ‘The Glories of Mary’ for nothing, and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church does not put the following words on the lips of the Mother of God without just cause: ‘They that explain me shall have life everlasting’ (Ecclus. 24:31). Let us proceed, then, to reflect a little upon the unique prerogatives of the Mother of God.

543px-Coronation_of_Mary_by_Fra_Angelico_(San_Marco_Cell_9)

‘De Maria Numquam Satis’ – Of Mary, Never Enough!

One must always bear in mind that, however much we honour Our Lady, we will never be able to honour her as much as God Himself, Who, through ‘the angel Gabriel’ (Lk. 1:26), was the first to call her ‘blessed’:

‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.’ (Lk. 1:28)

Yes, blessed, truly blessed is Mary, ‘fairest among women’ (Cant. 1:7), for even prior to the Incarnation she was ‘full of grace’ and the Lord was with her! “For who could call her empty,” asks St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church, “whom the angel greeted as full of grace? Nor was this all, but he also declared that the Holy Ghost would come upon her. For what purpose, but to fill her to overflowing?And why this, but so that when the Spirit should come and find her already full, she would then brim over, and overflow upon us?”

“So full of grace” is she, that St. Thomas, Doctor of the Church, does not hesitate to say that “… it overflows onto all mankind.” “She is so filled with dilection,” said Our Lord to Bl. Agnes de Langeac (d. 1634), “that it is she who gives love to the Cherubim and Seraphim.”

But of course, for Our Lady is “the sacred and living ark of the living God, who conceived her Creator Himself” (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church) – that is, He of Whose ‘fulness we all have received’ (Jn. 1:16). She is “the Mother of the Lord, the temple of the living God, the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit” (St. Isidore, Doctor of the Church); she is the Immaculate Conception, of whom it is said: ‘Wisdom hath built herself a house’ (Prov. 9:1) – and, more emphatically still: ‘NOW ALL GOOD THINGS CAME TO ME TOGETHER WITH HER, AND INNUMERABLE RICHES THROUGH HER HANDS.’ (Wis. 7:11).

1024px-Miraculous_medal

‘Who is she,’ we ask, ‘that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?’ (Cant. 6:9) Do these words not constitute an apt description of the Immaculate Virgin? Undoubtedly. “She is,” said Jesus to Bl. Agnes de Langeac, “the true unchanging moon that has banished darkness by her virtues… She is the most beautiful and the most perfect of all creatures.” “Because she was humblest among angels and men,” said an Angel to St. Bridget of Sweden (whose revelations were approved by the Ecumenical Council of Constance), “she has been raised up highest over all creation, the most beautiful creature of all and the one most like to God Himself.” (The Angel’s Discourse, Ch. 20)

“It is not possible for the Mother of God not to be heard, according to that which Solomon spoke to his mother by way of a figure:

MY MOTHER, ASK: FOR I MUST NOT TURN AWAY THY FACE (3 Kings 2:20).

– St. Antoninus

‘Oculi Mei Semper Ad Dominum’ (Ps. 24:15) – My Eyes are Ever Towards the Lord

In the book of Ezekiel we read: ‘And he brought me back toward the outer gate of the sanctuary which looked toward the east; and it was shut. And the Lord said to me: This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it: because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it, and it shall be shut’ (Ezek. 44:1-2). What is this mysterious east gate of which the Scriptures speak? “The east gate,” writes St. Aelred of Rievaulx, “is Mary most holy. For the gate which faces east generally receives the brightness of the sun first. So, Mary most blessed, who always looked to the east, to the brightness of God, first received within herself the ray, indeed, the whole fulness of the brightness of the true sun – the Son of God, of whom Zachary said: The rising sun visited us from on high (Lk. 1:78).”

Facing_the_sun_at_Castell_de_Montjuïc_in_Barcelona_Spain

If only souls knew what a treasure they possess in Mary! What dignity belongs to our dearest Mother, ‘exceedingly beautiful’ (Jud. 8:7) and ‘to all men’s eyes incomparably lovely’ (Jud. 10:4)! ‘There is not such another woman upon earth in look, in beauty, and in sense of words’ (Jud. 11:19).

With St. Ephraem (d. 373), Doctor of the Church, let us proclaim unhesitatingly: “With the Mediator, you [Mary] are the Mediatrix of the entire world.” The priest, acting ‘in persona Christi,’ often imparts a blessing to souls in the following words: “Dominus vobiscum” (“The Lord be with you”); but only of our Blessed Mother, the resting-place of the Most-High (cf. Ecclus. 24:12), could it be said, even while still dwelling in this ‘vale of tears’ (Ps. 83:7): “Dominus tecum” (“The Lord is with you”).

Yes, dear Queen of Heaven, Jesus is and ever will be the Blessed Fruit of your womb; nourish us, then, with ‘the Bread of Life’ (Jn. 6:48) ‘[in] whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Col. 2:3). “Show thyself a mother,” for you are ‘the mother of all the living’ (Gen. 3:20). ‘And do thou call upon the Lord, and speak to the king for us, and deliver us from death’ (Esther 15:3). ‘Blessed art thou, by thy God, in every tabernacle of Jacob, for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee’ (Jud. 13:31).

Mary Magnifies the Lord; She Leads Souls to the Most-High

The_Visitation_of_Mary_to_Elizabeth._Engraving._Wellcome_V0034589

‘And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord’ (Lk. 1:46). Yes, Mary ‘doth magnify the Lord’ – these words are, in some sense, a distillation of all Marian theology. Why did the Eternal Father entrust Mary with His only-begotten Son, if not because, in the words of Almighty God to St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, she is the “sweet bait” of Heaven, whose raison d’être is to conquer Satan and lead souls to intimate union with Jesus? ‘Yea, Father; for so hath it seemed good in Thy sight’ (Mt. 11:26). ‘For this will be a glorious monument for Thy name, when he shall fall by the hand of a woman’ (Jud. 9:15).

326px-The_Immaculate_Conception,_by_Giovanni_Battista_Tiepolo,_from_Prado_in_Google_Earth

Ask yourself: Do the Saints detract from the glory of God? Certainly not; for God is ‘glorified in His saints’ (2 Thess. 1:10); the ‘brightness of the saints’ (Ps. 109:3) reflects His infinite, Uncreated Glory. How, then, can one argue that Mary detracts from the glory of God, when history and Scripture reveal that ‘she maketh the friends of God and prophets’ (Wis. 7:27)?

Read the following, slowly: ‘And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb’ (Lk. 1:41-42). Do not fear that Mary could lead you from the Way, for He is always with her: ‘I found Him whom my soul loveth: I held Him: and I will not let Him go’ (Cant. 3:4). Mary was and, in some sense will forever be, ‘found with child, of the Holy Ghost’ (Mt. 1:18). “The two,” says St. Bernadette Soubirous, “cannot be separated. Jesus and Mary always go together.” One who blesses Mary will, without fail, bless God and draw down His favours! ‘Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord, the most high God, above all women upon the earth’ (Jud. 13:23).

800px-Bernadette_Soubirous_en_1861_photo_Bernadou_3

Mary: Terror of Demons

Satan hates nothing more than when a soul draws nigh to the Mother of God. Why? Because she is our most powerful advocate with her Divine Son; she is, quite literally, the Mother of Mercy. “Call Me Mercy,” said Our Lord to Ven. Louise Margaret (d. 1915).

Oh Lady, what the prayers of all these saints can obtain, in union with thine, thou canst obtain, by thy intercession alone without their aid.”

St. Anselm, Doctor of the Church

“God gave her such power over the evil spirits,” said an Angel to St. Bridget of Sweden, “that whenever they attack anyone devoutly imploring her aid, they scatter right off in fear and flee far away at her merest nod” (The Angel’s Discourse, Ch. 20). The demons are terrified of the Immaculate; they are powerless against her. God will not so much as allow the demons to speak a word against Mary. ‘And she was greatly renowned among all, because she feared the Lord very much, neither was there any one that spoke an ill word of her’ (Jud 8:8). ‘The Lord hath blessed thee,’ O powerful Virgin, ‘by His power, because by thee He hath brought our enemies to nought’ (Jud. 13:22).

Bouguereau,_William-Adolphe_-_The_Queen_of_the_Angels_(Regina_Angelorum)

‘Her Children Rose Up, and Called Her Blessed’ (Prov. 31:28)

In imitation of so many great Saints, whose divine Election has been confirmed by extraordinary charity and countless miracles, let us make the words of the Almighty Father, of St. Gabriel and of St. Elizabeth our own – especially by means of praying the Holy Rosary. “The recitation of the Rosary – that is what Lucifer hates” (Père Lamy). There is nothing to fear. “He who loves Jesus,” says St. Crescentia, “will also love His Mother. He who loves the Mother will likewise love the Son.” The Saints bear witness to this. The words of St. Maximilian Kolbe are being confirmed every day: “It can be said that all the Saints are the work of the Blessed Virgin, and that a special devotion to her is their common characteristic.” ‘Her children rose up, and called her blessed’ (Prov. 31:28). ‘And he that honoureth his mother is as one that layeth up a treasure’ (Ecclus. 3:5).

450px-Queen_of_the_Holy_Rosary_Mosaic

If we wish to have God as our Father, we must take for our Mother her who said: ‘from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed’ (Lk. 1:48). So be prudent: ‘Receive the words of thy handmaid, for if thou wilt follow the words of thy handmaid, the Lord will do with thee a perfect thing’ (Jud. 11:4). And what does ‘the handmaid of the Lord’ (Lk. 1:38) say to us? ‘Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye’ (Jn. 2:5). ‘All that shall be good and best before His eyes, I will do. And whatsoever shall please Him, that shall be best to me all the days of my life’ (Jud. 12:14).

Imitate St. John, the “Disciple whom Jesus Loved” and “the Guardian of the Virgin”*: ‘Behold thy mother’ (Jn. 19:27). ‘But the Mother of the child said: As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. He arose, therefore, and followed her’ (2 Kings 4:30). ‘And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own’ (Jn. 19:27).

*St. Gertrude the Great had a vision in which she beheld these words inscribed on golden lilies that were attached to the shoulders of St. John.

“Consider, Bernard, my son, that he [St. John] is the first-born of my adopted sons and the model of my cherished ones: aspire to imitate his love for me and for my most holy Son.”

– Our Lady to Bl. Bernard Francis de Hoyos

Святой_Альфонс_Родригес

“Know that the distance from Heaven to Earth is not so great as from my love to thine.” – Our Lady to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez (d. 1617) “Give up thy devotion to Mary, and I will cease to tempt thee.” – Satan to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

The Ave Maria: A Simple Key to Understanding Marian Devotion

Take note of the structure of the ‘Hail Mary.’ If one looks at this powerful little prayer in Latin – the Church’s “mother-tongue,” and that language so feared by the demons – they will discover that it consists of 31 words. Now, pay close attention to the middle-word of the Ave Maria, the first word of which (‘Ave’) ought to remind us that it was subsequent to Gabriel’s ‘Ave’ that Eva’s knot of disobedience was untied (‘Ave’ is ‘Eva’ backwards):

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.

Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui,

IESUS. 

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,

nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.

Amen.

Let this simple observation be for us a reminder that the Rosary – as with all authentic Marian devotion –is Christo-centric, and that if we wish to seek Jesus, Who is an infinite ‘treasure hidden in a field’ (Mt. 13:44), we must seek Him in and with Mary, who is that ‘plentiful field, which the Lord hath blessed’ (Gen. 27:27).

Also, notice how the Holy Name of Jesus is nestled between Maria, gratia plena – Mary, full of grace, and Sancta Maria – Holy Mary. We, too, should let Mary embrace us. ‘Take hold on her, and she shall exalt thee: thou shalt be glorified by her, when thou shalt embrace her’ (Prov. 4:8). Can anything but an immense good come from imitating Jesus in this regard? Did He not live in the closest union with Our Lady for the 30 years preceding His public ministry? (Again, look at the structure of the prayer). And did He not remain close to Mary – at least in spirit – throughout His public ministry, even until the end?

A Simple Yet Infallible Means for Coming to Know Mary

The purpose of this article is to lead us to Jesus, through Mary; this is the end of all authentic Marian devotion. If the thought of asking for Mary’s intercession leaves you feeling a bit perplexed, begin by praying the following Scriptures, and, provided that you are seeking God, you will find that, in time, God will reward you with a sincere affection for she who is the sweetest, dearest, purest Queen of Hearts:

‘Hail [Mary], full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women’ (Lk. 1:28) ‘and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb [Jesus]’ (Lk. 1:41-42). ‘[Jesus,] I am Thine: save Thou me’ (Ps. 118:94). ‘I am Thy servant, and the son of Thy handmaid’ (Ps. 115:16). ‘O look upon me, and have mercy on me: give Thy command to Thy servant, and save the son of Thy handmaid’ (Ps. 85:16).

A Final Word for the Centenary of Fatima

This year (2017) is not only the centenary of Mary’s apparitions at Fatima, Portugal; it also marks the 175th anniversary of the discovery (in 1842) of St. Louis de Montfort’s masterful work, ‘True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.’ This book is a classic: it is prophetic, inspiring and altogether life-changing if one takes time with it. Why else would Our Lady herself have left a copy of ‘The Secret of Mary’ (which is essentially a distillation of ‘True Devotion’) on Ven. Marthe Robin’s divan bed, saying that she desired this book to be spread across the globe? (While bedridden and too weak to make the Sign of the Cross, Ven. Marthe Robin was assisted by the guiding hand of her Blessed Mother – so solicitous is Mary for the welfare of her children!)

Photo_Marthe_Robin

It is my hope that this humble article will contribute in some way to fulfilling Our Lord’s desire that souls entrust themselves without reserve to their Blessed Mother. The fruits of this devotion are eternal.

This article henceforth follows a very simple structure:

  1. A quote from ‘True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin’ by St. Louis de Montfort
  2. An accompanying quotation

If you want to know more about how and when to consecrate yourself to Mary, according to the recommendations of St. Louis de Montfort, you will find the following link useful:

https://www.fisheaters.com/totalconsecrationmontfort.html

Also, ‘The Secret of Mary’: http://www.ewtn.com/library/montfort/secret.htm

At the end of the article you will find a beautiful little formula for consecrating yourself to Mary. This prayer was dictated by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero (d. 1916).

388px-Catherine-Labouré-apparition_3

+++++++

PART II

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

33 REASONS TO CONSECRATE YOURSELF TO JESUS, THROUGH MARY

WEEK 1

-1- Mary is Mediatrix of All Graces

‘The Holy Ghost gives no heavenly gift to men which He does not pass through her virginal hands.’

“I am the mediatrix between God and men; all graces pass through my hands.” – Our Lady to St. Veronica Giuliani

-2- Mary’s Will is Perfectly Aligned with God’s Will

‘Mary, being altogether transformed into God by grace [so to speak], and by the glory which transforms all the Saints into Him, asks nothing, wishes nothing, does nothing which is contrary to the Eternal and Immutable Will of God.’

“Mother, when thou wast on earth, there was nothing thou didst refuse to do for love of Me; now that I am in Heaven, it is just that I refuse nothing which thou dost ask of Me.” – Jesus to Our Lady (From ‘The Revelations of St. Bridget’ as quoted in ‘The Glories of Mary’)

-3- Mary’s Intercession is All-Powerful with God

‘To Mary, His faithful Spouse, God the Holy Ghost has communicated His unspeakable gifts; and He has chosen her to be the dispensatrix of all He possesses, in such sort that she distributes to whom she wills, as much as she wills, as she wills, and when she wills, all His gifts and graces.’

“To increase my confidence, my Divine Spouse made me aware most convincingly of the great power over His Heart which He has given to His mother holy Mother; and He assured me that in her intercession she is all–powerful with Him.” – Ven. Maria Dominica Clara Moes

-4- Jesus is Perfectly Obedient to His Blessed Mother

‘Inasmuch as grace perfects nature, and glory perfects grace, it is certain that Our Lord is still, in Heaven, as much the Son of Mary as He was on earth; and that, consequently, He has preserved the most perfect obedience and submission of all children towards the best of all mothers.’

Holy_Family_2

‘And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.’ (Lk. 3:51)

-5- Jesus Willed to Begin His Miracles by Mary

‘He sanctified St. John in the womb of St. Elizabeth his mother; but it was by Mary’s word. No sooner had she spoken than John was sanctified; and this was His first and greatest miracle of grace. At the marriage at Cana He changed the water into wine; but it was at Mary’s humble prayer; and this was His first miracle of nature.’

‘And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine.’ (Jn. 2:3)

-6- Jesus Wills to Continue His Miracles by Mary

‘He has begun and continued His miracles by Mary, and He will continue them to the end of ages by Mary also… Mary has produced, together with the Holy Ghost, the greatest thing which has been, or ever will be, which is a God-Man; and she will consequently produce the greatest things that there will be in the latter times. The formation and education of the great Saints, who shall come at the end of the world, are reserved for her. For it is only that singular and miraculous Virgin who can produce, in union with the Holy Ghost, singular and extraordinary things.’

‘He that shall find me, shall find Life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.’ (Prov. 8:35)

 -7- Mary is the Forma Dei, the “Mould of God”

‘He who is cast in this mould is presently formed and moulded in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ in him. At a slight expense and in a short time he will become God [in a manner of speaking], because he has been cast in the same mould which has formed a God.’

“This tender Mother has a particular care for souls who abandon themselves to divine Providence; she exhorts me to give myself up to her Son, to keep myself, by fidelity to the presence of God, susceptible to the touches of grace;

‘and then,’ she adds, ‘all will be easy to thee, and the Will of God will be the desire of thy heart’;

she will have me free from fear and under the reign of pure love. Once, though I saw her not, I heard her sweet voice say to me:

‘My daughter, thou shalt participate in some of my loving sufferings; but I promise thee my assistance.’” – Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos

WEEK 2

-8- To be Moulded in Mary is the Shortest Path to Sanctity

‘Mary is a holy place, and the holy of holies where Saints are formed and moulded. Take notice, if you please, that I say the Saints are moulded in Mary. There is a great difference between making a figure in relief by blows of hammer and chisel, and making a figure by throwing it into a mould. Statuaries and sculptors labour much to make figures in the first manner; but to make them in the second manner, they work little, and do their work quickly.’

“One day the saint [St. Francis of Assisi] saw his sons trying to reach our Lord by a ladder that was red and very steep; after climbing a few rungs, they would fall back. Our Lord then showed St. Francis another ladder, white and much less steep, at whose summit appeared the Blessed Virgin, and He said to Francis:

‘Advise your sons to go by the ladder of My Mother.’” – Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange

450px-Jacob's_ladder_Hajdudorog

-9- The Path of Mary is Short, Sweet, Secure, Meritorious

‘… doing your actions by our Blessed Lady, as this practice teaches you, you abandon your own intentions and operations, although good and known, to lose yourself, so to speak, in the intentions of the Blessed Virgin, although they are unknown*. Thus you enter by participation into the sublimity of her intentions, which are so pure, that she gives more glory to God by the least of her actions — for example, in twirling her distaff or pointing her needle – than St. Lawrence by his cruel martyrdom on his gridiron, or even all the Saints by all their heroic actions put together. It was thus that, during her sojourn here below, she acquired such an unspeakable aggregate of graces and merits, that it were easier to count the stars of the firmament, the drops of water in the sea, or the grains of sand upon its shore, than her merits and graces. Thus it was that she gave more glory to God than all the Angels and Saints have given Him, or ever will give Him. O prodigy of a Mary! thou canst not help but do prodigies of grace in souls that wish to lose themselves altogether in thee!’

*An act which can easily be renewed, e.g. by the simple prayer: “I renounce myself; I give myself to you, my Blessed Mother!”

“By way of Mary the road is easier because the Blessed Virgin supports us by her gentleness; nevertheless, it is a more meritorious road because Mary obtains for us a greater charity, which is the principle of merit. The difficulties to be overcome are certainly an occasion of merit, but the principle of merit is charity, the love of God, by which we triumph over these difficulties. We should remember that Mary merited more by her easiest acts, such as a simple prayer, than did the martyrs in their torments, for she put more love of God into these easy acts than the saints did in heroic acts. Since the road by way of Mary is easier and more meritorious, it is shorter, surer, and more perfect; more easily travelled, progress on it is more rapid. By submission to the Mother of God, a person makes greater progress in a short time than he would make in many years relying excessively on his own personal prudence. Under the direction of her whom the Incarnate Word obeyed, he walks with giant steps.” – Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange

-10- With Mary’s Intercession, We Need Not Fear the Enemy

‘… God has given Mary such a great power against the devils, that, as they have often been obliged to confess, in spite of themselves, by the mouths of the possessed, they fear one of her sighs for a soul more than the prayers of all the Saints, and one of her menaces against them more than all other torments.’

“In the instruction of the beatification of St. Francis de Sales, one of the witnesses was a female religious who knew him in the first monastery of the Visitation in Annecy. She referred that on one occasion a young man, who had been possessed by the devil for the last five years, was brought before the Bishop of Genevre (Msgr. Charles Auguste de Sales, St. Francis’ nephew and successor in the bishop’s seat) to be exorcized. The interrogations of the devil were carried out next to the mortal remains of St. Francis. During one of these sessions, the devil cried out, full of fury:

‘Why should I have to leave?’

A religious of the Sisters of the Visitation was present, who, when she heard this, invoked the Blessed Virgin: ‘Holy Mother of God, pray for…’. When the devil heard these words – as the nun explained in her declaration – the devil cried out even louder:

‘Mary, Mary! For me there is no Mary! Don’t pronounce that name, which makes me shudder! If there were a Mary for me, like there is for you, I would not be what I am! But there is no Mary for me.’

Shaken by this scene, some of the people present began to cry. The devil continued:

‘If I had just an instant of the many that you people lose…! One lone instant and one Mary, I would not be a devil!’

-11- Satan is Supremely Humiliated by Our Lady

‘… Satan, being proud, suffers infinitely more from being beaten and punished by a little and humble handmaid of God, and her humility humbles him more than the Divine power…’

“… I am more humiliated to be defeated by a human creature than being defeated by Him.” – Satan (during an exorcism performed by Fr. Gabriele Amorth, d. 2016)

-12- Mary is The Treasury of God

‘God the Father made an assemblage of all the waters, and He named it the sea (mare). He has made an assemblage of all His graces, and He has called it Mary (Maria). This great God has a most rich treasury in which He has laid up all that He has of beauty, of splendour, of rarity, and of preciousness, even to His Own Son; and this immense treasury is none other than Mary, whom the Saints have named the Treasure of the Lord, out of whose plenitude all men are made rich.’

‘Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb.’ (Ecclesiasticus 24: 26-27)

-13- Mary Presents Us to Jesus

‘The Most High God came down to us in a perfect way through the humble Virgin Mary, without losing anything of His divinity or holiness. It is likewise through Mary that we poor creatures must ascend to almighty God in a perfect manner without having anything to fear.’

“If you are willing to be my daughter, pupil, and handmaid, I shall be your mother, mistress, and teacher. And when you have been sufficiently instructed and educated by me, I shall lead you to your dear spouse, my Son, who will receive you into His Hands, as I have just now received you.” – Our Lady to St. Elizabeth of Hungary (d. 1231)

-14- Mary, by God’s Design, Presents Our Gifts to God

‘Mary presents our good works to Jesus. She does not keep anything we offer for herself, as if she were our last end, but unfailingly gives everything to Jesus. So by the very fact we give anything to her, we are giving it to Jesus. Whenever we praise and glorify her, she sings today as she did on the day Elizabeth praised her, “My soul glorifies the Lord.”’

“During this beautiful month [May, the Month of Mary] live as closely united in spirit with your celestial Mother as possible, and give her all that you do, so that she can present it to Me. This divine Mother will sweetly take your part, and before consigning to Me what you have offered her, she will give it a finishing touch. This ought to inspire you to place your filial confidence in her…” – Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

WEEK 3

-15- Mary Makes of Us and Our Gifts a Pleasing Offering to God

‘Rebecca made Jacob approach the bed of his father. His father touched him, embraced him and even joyfully kissed him after having satisfied his hunger with the well-prepared dishes which Jacob had brought him. Then inhaling most joyfully the exquisite perfume of his garments, he cried: “Behold the fragrance of my son is as the fragrance of a field of plenty which the Lord has blessed.” The fragrance of this rich field which so captivated the heart of the father, is none other than the fragrance of the merits and virtues of Mary who is the plentiful field of grace in which God the Father has sown the grain of wheat of the elect, his only Son. How welcome to Jesus Christ, the Father of the world to come, is a child perfumed with the fragrance of Mary! How readily and how intimately does he unite himself to that child!’

“Our Lady offers our prayers to God; she beautifies them; she makes them pleasing in His sight.” – Père Lamy

-16- Submission to Mary Brings Great Glory to God

‘He gave more glory to God, His Father, during all those years of submission and dependence than he would have given by spending them working miracles, preaching far and wide, and converting all mankind. Otherwise he would have done all these things.’

407px-Agnes_of_Langeac

“Blessed are they who serve her, who love and imitate her.”

– Jesus to Bl. Agnes de Langeac

-17- Mary Obtains Liberty of Spirit for Her Children

‘One day the Blessed Virgin appeared to Mother Agnes and put a gold chain around her neck to show her how happy she was that Mother Agnes had become the slave of both her and her Son. And St. Cecilia, who accompanied our Lady, said to her, “Happy are the faithful slaves of the Queen of heaven, for they will enjoy true freedom.” Tibi servire libertas.’

‘I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope… He that hearkeneth to me, shall not be confounded: and they that work by me, shall not sin.’ (Ecclesiasticus 24: 24, 30)

-18- Mary Delivers her Children from Scruples and Fear

‘The Mother of fair love will rid your heart of all scruples and inordinate servile fear. She will open and enlarge it to obey the commandments of her Son with alacrity and with the holy freedom of the children of God. She will fill your heart with pure love of which she is the treasury. You will then cease to act as you did before, out of fear of the God who is love, but rather out of pure love. You will look upon him as a loving Father and endeavour to please him at all times. You will speak trustfully to him as a child does to its father. If you should have the misfortune to offend him you will abase yourself before him and humbly beg his pardon. You will offer your hand to him with simplicity and lovingly rise from your sin. Then, peaceful and relaxed and buoyed up with hope you will continue on your way to him.’

“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

-19- Mary is Our Mother of Perpetual Help

‘It is true that on our way we have hard battles to fight and serious obstacles to overcome, but Mary, our Mother and Queen, stays close to her faithful servants. She is always at hand to brighten their darkness, clear away their doubts, strengthen them in their fears, sustain them in their combats and trials. Truly, in comparison with other ways, this virgin road to Jesus is a path of roses and sweet delights. There have been some saints, not very many, such as St. Ephrem, St. John Damascene, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine, St. Bonaventure, and St. Francis de Sales, who have taken this smooth path to Jesus Christ, because the Holy Spirit, the faithful Spouse of Mary, made it known to them by a special grace. The other saints, who are the greater number, while having a devotion to Mary, either did not enter or did not go very far along this path. That is why they had to undergo harder and more dangerous trials.’

“My daughter, be submissive to my Son, and I will ever be thy Mother.” – Our Lady to Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos

-20- Mary is our Mother of Mercy

‘She is so full of love that no one who asks for her intercession is rejected, no matter how sinful he may be. The saints say that it has never been known since the world began that anyone had recourse to our Blessed Lady, with trust and perseverance, and was rejected. Her power is so great that her prayers are never refused. She has but to appear in prayer before her Son and he at once welcomes her and grants her requests. He is always lovingly conquered by the prayers of the dear Mother who bore him and nourished him.’

“No one is so cold in his love of God (unless he is damned) that he will not experience the devil releasing him from his habitual sins if only he invokes my name with the true intention of never returning to his evil deeds… And there is none who is so great a sinner, but I am ready to help him; and my Son to give him grace, if he ask mercy with charity.” – Our Lady to St. Bridget (Bk 6, Ch 52; Bk 1, Chapter 9)

-21- Mary is “More Mother than Queen”

‘She is kind, she is tender, and there is nothing harsh or forbidding about her, nothing too sublime or too brilliant. When we see her, we see our own human nature at its purest. She is not the sun, dazzling our weak sight by the brightness of its rays. Rather, she is fair and gentle as the moon, which receives its light from the sun and softens it and adapts it to our limited perception.’

“… when I was seeking how best to invoke and honour her, my good Angel said to me:

‘She will be pleased if thou salutest her in these few words: Ave Mater Dei carissima, dulcissima, refugium meum, ora pro me’ [Hail dearest, most sweet Mother of God – my refuge; pray for me].” – Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos

WEEK 4

-22- Mary Clothes Us with Her Own Merits and Virtues

‘She imparts new perfume and fresh grace to those garments and adornments [of her children] by adding to them the garments of her own wardrobe of merits and virtues. She bequeathed these to them before her departure for Heaven, as was revealed by a holy nun of the last century, who died a holy death. Thus all her domestics, that is, all her servants and slaves, are clothed with double garments (cf. Prov. 31:21), her own and those of her Son. Now they have nothing to fear from that cold which sinners, naked and stripped as they are of the merits of Jesus and Mary, will be unable to endure.’

“It was also in her Communions that our Benigne learnt to deck herself, so to speak, with the virtues of her beloved Mother, praying her to purify her by her purity, to sanctify her by her sanctity, and to make her perfect by her perfection. ‘Remember, O Mother of God,’ she said, ‘that thy Divine Son has committed to thee the care of making me agreeable in His eyes.’” (p. 374 ‘The Life of Sister Jeanne Benigne Gojos: Lay–Sister of the Visitation of Holy Mary,’ 1878)

-23- Submission to Mary is the Shortcut to Perfection

‘We advance more in a brief period of submission to Mary and dependence on her than in whole years of self-will and self- reliance. A man who is obedient and submissive to Mary will sing of glorious victories over his enemies. It is true, his enemies will try to impede his progress, force him to retreat or try to make him fall. But with Mary’s help, support and guidance, he will go forward towards our Lord. Without falling, retreating and even without being delayed, he will advance with giant strides towards Jesus along the same road which, as it is written, Jesus took to come to us with giant strides and in a short time…

Why do you think our Lord spent only a few years here on earth and nearly all of them in submission and obedience to his Mother? The reason is that ‘attaining perfection in a short time, he lived a long time,’ even longer than Adam, whose losses he had come to make good. Yet Adam lived more than nine hundred years!

Jesus lived a long time, because he lived in complete submission to his Mother and in union with her, which obedience to his Father required. The Holy Spirit tells us that the man who honours his mother is like a man who stores up a treasure. In other words, the man who honours Mary, his Mother, to the extent of subjecting himself to her and obeying her in all things will soon become very rich, because he is amassing riches every day through Mary who has become his secret philosopher’s stone.’

V0035640 Christ appears to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

“I then confided thee to the care of My Holy Mother, that she might fashion thee according to My designs.”

– Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary

-24- He Who Seeks Jesus, Must Love Mary

‘He who wishes to have the fruit well ripened and well-formed must have the tree that produces it; he who wishes to have the fruit of life, Jesus Christ, must have the tree of life, which is Mary; he who wishes to have in himself the operation of the Holy Ghost must have His faithful and indissoluble Spouse…’

“For anyone who wants to follow me and yield to my advice will find grace at my hands and salvation. And you should know for certain, daughter, that anyone who does not love me will not be able to find grace from my Son or, consequently, from the Holy Spirit.” – Our Lady to St. Elizabeth of Hungary

-25- Mary is Queen of Hearts

‘Mary is the Queen of heaven and earth by grace, as Jesus is the King of them by nature and by conquest. Now, as the kingdom of Jesus Christ consists principally in the heart and interior of a man – according to that word, ‘The kingdom of God is within you,’ – in like manner the kingdom of our Blessed Lady is principally in the interior of a man, that is to say, his soul; and it is principally in souls that she is more glorified with her Son than in all visible creatures, and that we can call her, as the Saints do, the Queen of hearts.’

“Through the love which you have for my blessed Mother, tell your spiritual director that as I asked Margaret Mary for devotion to my divine Heart, so I ask you to urge the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of my Mother…” – Our Lord to Bl. Alexandrina da Costa (d. October 13, 1955)

-26- Mary Glorifies God in Us

‘The soul of Mary will be communicated to you to glorify the Lord. Her spirit will take the place of yours to rejoice in God, her Saviour, but only if you are faithful to the practices of this devotion… ‘When will that happy day come,’ asks a saintly man of our own day whose life was completely wrapped up in Mary, ‘when God’s Mother is enthroned in men’s hearts as Queen, subjecting them to the dominion of her great and princely Son? When will souls breathe Mary as the body breathes air?’ When that time comes wonderful things will happen on earth. The Holy Spirit, finding his dear Spouse present again in souls, will come down into them with great power. He will fill them with his gifts, especially wisdom, by which they will produce wonders of grace. My dear friend, when will that happy time come, that age of Mary, when many souls, chosen by Mary and given her by the most High God, will hide themselves completely in the depths of her soul, becoming living copies of her, loving and glorifying Jesus?’

‘O magnify the Lord with me; and let us extol His name together.’ (Ps. 33:4)

-27- The Immense Value of Consecrating Oneself to Mary

‘Other congregations, associations, and confraternities set up in honour of our Lord and our Blessed Lady, which do so much good in the Church, do not require their members to give up absolutely everything… But this devotion makes us give Jesus and Mary all our thoughts, words, actions, and sufferings and every moment of our lives without exception. Thus, whatever we do, whether we are awake or asleep, whether we eat or drink, whether we do important or unimportant work, it will always be true to say that everything is done for Jesus and Mary. Our offering always holds good, whether we think of it or not, unless we explicitly retract it.  How consoling this is!’

Josefa_Menendez

“If only you knew how many souls can be saved by those little acts!”

– Our Lady to Sr. Josefa Menendez

-28- The Holy Spirit Bears Fruit in Mary

‘God the Holy Ghost being barren in God — that is to say, not producing another Divine Person — is become fruitful by Mary, whom He has espoused. It is with her, in her, and of her, that He has produced His Masterpiece, which is a God made Man, and whom He goes on producing in the persons of His members daily to the end of the world.’

“… And this explains what is said of Mary in the holy Canticles: ‘Thy belly is as a heap of wheat, set about with lilies (Cant. of Cant. 7:2).’ St. Ambrose explains this and says: Although in the pure womb of Mary there was only one grain of wheat, which was Jesus Christ, yet it is called a heap of grain, because in that one grain were contained all the elect, of whom Mary was to be the mother. Hence, William the Abbot wrote: Mary, in bringing forth Jesus, who is our Saviour and our life, brought forth all of us to life and salvation.” – St. Alphonsus Liguori

WEEK 5 (5 days)

-29- Mary Has a “Right and Domination” Over the Souls of the Elect

‘… Mary has received from God a great domination over the souls of the elect; for she cannot make her residence in them, as God the Father ordered her to do (c.f. Ecclus. 24:13), and form them in Jesus Christ, or Jesus Christ in them, and strike the roots of her virtues in their hearts, and be the indissoluble companion of the Holy Ghost in all His works of grace—she cannot, I say, do all these things unless she has a right and domination over their souls by a singular grace of the Most High, who, having given her power over His only and Natural Son, has given it also to her over His adopted children, not only as to their bodies, which would be but little matter, but also as to their souls.’

‘Arise, O Lord, into Thy resting place: Thou and the ark, which Thou hast sanctified.’ (Ps. 131:8) [‘resting place’ – i.e. Heaven/the soul; ‘the ark’ – i.e. Our Lady, the New Ark of the Covenant]

-30- Devotion to Mary is a Sign of Predestination

‘God the Father wishes to have children by Mary till the consummation of the world; and He has said to her these words: In Jacob inhabita — “Dwell in Jacob,” — that is to say, Make your dwelling and residence in My predestinated children, figured by Jacob, and not in the reprobate children of the devil, figured by Esau.’

“Christ in His agony on the Cross had said to her: ‘Behold thy son.’ For centuries now she has been faithful to this commission, never allowing anyone finally to perish—provided he also has been mindful of those other words spoken to him by the Saviour: ‘Behold thy Mother.’” – St. Robert Bellarmine (‘De Gemitu Columae,’ lib. 2, cap. 9.)

-31- Mary is the Way unto The Way

‘The Church, with the Holy Ghost, blesses our Lady first, and our Lord second, — Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Jesus. It is not that Mary is more than Jesus, or even equal to Him – that would be an intolerable heresy; but it is that, in order to bless Jesus more perfectly, we must begin by blessing Mary. Let us, then, say with all the true clients of our Lady against these false scrupulous devotees: Mary, thou art blessed amongst all women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus… Indeed we only honour Mary that we may the more perfectly honour Jesus, inasmuch as we only go to her as to the way in which we are to find the end we are seeking, which is Jesus.’

‘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)

-32- Love of Mary Cannot but Lead to Love of Jesus

‘It would be easier to separate light from the sun than Mary from Jesus. So united are they that our Lord may be called, “Jesus of Mary”, and his Mother “Mary of Jesus.”’

“The souls who love her most and who are most like to her, are the souls who are most like to Me most perfectly.” – Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida (Diary, Feb. 18, 1917)

-33- The Purpose of Devotion to Our Blessed Mother is to Adore the Fruit of Her Womb 

‘In Fr. Boudon’s book [‘The Holy Slavery of the Admirable Mother of God’] we read of different popes who gave their approval to this devotion, the theologians who examined it, the hostility it encountered and overcame, the thousands who made it their own without censure from any pope. Indeed it could not be condemned without overthrowing the foundations of Christianity. It is obvious then that this devotion is not new. If it is not commonly practised, the reason is that it is too sublime to be appreciated and undertaken by everyone… If, then, we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ. If devotion to our Lady distracted us from our Lord, we would have to reject it as an illusion of the devil. But this is far from being the case.’

“You must be devoted above all to doing His Will…” – Our Lady to Bl. Anna Maria Taigi

+++++++

Act of Consecration to the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin

+++++++

“O most sweet and amiable Virgin Mary, most beloved Daughter of the Eternal Divine Father, most tender Mother of the Eternal Divine Son, most holy Spouse of the Eternal Divine Spirit, I come to thee, O most loving Mother, to consecrate myself entirely to thee.

Thou art all pure, all beautiful; thou art the Immaculate, and I, O most benign Mother, am only misery, only sin, only prone to evil. Thou, O Mary, art the Immaculate, and hast always been the delight of the most Holy Trinity; thou hast ravished the Heart of God thy Father, thy Son, thy Spouse, with the immaculate whiteness of thy holy Soul.

O most compassionate Mother, cast a glance of pity on this poor soul, made the target of so many fierce temptations; and by thy power, put to flight the infernal enemy. In these tremendous assaults, O most pitiful Mother, I come to take refuge in thy Immaculate Heart; and do thou, O most merciful Queen of Virgins, preserve my Lily pure and present it thyself to Jesus.

My most tender Mother, I expect thee at the hour of my death; and until that hour I shall thank thee and implore thee to watch over me that I may please Jesus in all things. Grazie, O Maria!”

++ References ++

A list of some the works quoted in this article:

  • ‘True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,’ by St. Louis de Montfort
  • ‘The Life of Sister Jeanne Benigne Gojos: Lay–Sister of the Visitation of Holy Mary,’ by Mother Marie Geltrude Provane de Leyni
  • ‘The Three Ages of the Interior Life,’ by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, TAN Books
  • ‘The Revelations of St. Birgitta of Sweden’
  • ‘The Revelations of St. Elizabeth’
  • ‘The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ,’ Federico Suárez
  • ‘Vademecum Proposed to Religious Souls,’ by “A Pious Author” (i.e. Our Lord)
  • ‘The Life of Ven. Maria Crescentia Hoess,’ New York, Cincinnati, and St. Louis: Benziger Brothers
  • ‘Divine Communications (vol. I and II),’ by Rev. Auguste Saudreau
  • ‘Wife, Mother and Mystic,’ TAN Books
  • ‘Conchita: A Mother’s Spiritual Diary,’ by Marie-Michel Philipon
  • ‘The Glories of Mary,’ by St. Alphonsus Liguori
  • ‘The Way of Divine Love,’ TAN Books
  • ‘The Agony and The Glory,’ TAN Books
  • ‘The Autobiography of St. Margaret Mary,’ TAN Books
  • ‘Père Lamy,’ by Biver

Galg_gem

“You love to call me Mamma, but I love to call thee child.”

– Our Lady to St. Gemma Galgani (‘Blessed Gemma Galgani,’ by Father Amedeo, C.P.)

Advertisements

6 Easy Ways to Grow in Divine Love

god-rays-in-vernazza

Jesus Christ, the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Rev. 18:19), is infinitely rich and generous; nothing and no one can exhaust the treasures of His Sacred Heart. But we must avail ourselves of these precious graces.

“My Heart is overflowing on all sides. It can no longer contain all the graces that souls unceasingly repel. Take them, My child, take them.”

– Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary (Dec. 26, 1906, from ‘Divine Communications,’ vol. I, Rev. Auguste Saudreau)

God always makes the first move; we never seek Him without the previous inspiration of grace. ‘You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you.’ (John 15:16) “There,” writes G.K. Chesterton, “is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” ‘Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us.’ (1 John 4:19)

He wishes to establish His most gentle reign in each and every one of our hearts, which are infinitely precious to Him, more precious than any earthly kingdom – not because there is a deficiency in God, but because of His pure love, a love that seeks only to communicate goodness and joy to the beloved.

Apart from Divine Love, all is vanity; God alone is; He is the Beginning and the End of all the deepest yearnings of the human heart; outside of Him there is nothing but vexation and want.

Almighty God, Who is the Divine Husbandmen, reveals His love for us by stripping us of all that could be an impediment to His Divine action within us. Because of our frailty, our sinful attachments, and our wavering faith, this is often a painful process. But God is all-wise, all-good and all-powerful; He knows what He is doing, and He alone can bring it about. It is only reasonable, then, to practice abandonment. To offer ourselves to One so good is an incalculable gain – even when, or especially when, we feel the sting. ‘As it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done. Blessed be the name of the Lord!’ (Job 1:21)

Here, then, are some simple, albeit powerful, ways to grow in love:

(1) Draw Riches from the Treasury of the Sacred Heart

Imitate St. Mechtilde, St. Gertrude and many others, by offering to God His own love and merits to supply for what was is wanting to you.

The same goes for offering God the love and merits of the saints and angels, all of which can be drawn from the Saviour’s Adorable Heart. ‘And all My things are thine, and thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them’ (John. 17:10).

If we are all His, He is all ours. ‘I to my Beloved, and my Beloved to me, who feedeth among the lilies’ (Cant. of Cant. 6:3).

+ Examples:

    1. Offer the Rosary in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Blessed Fruit of her womb, by uniting it to all the Masses said throughout the world, to the Angelic Salutation of St. Gabriel, to the greeting of St. Elizabeth, and to the perfect love that drew God from Heaven to Earth.
    2. Unite your every action, thought, heartbeat, breath etc., to the Sacred Heart and to all the love that animated Our Lady and the Saints.
    3. In preparation for receiving the Adorable Eucharist, offer God the fervent love with which the Saints received Him, as well as His own perfect love in giving Himself to us.
    4. Offer the infinite love and perfect obedience of Jesus to God the Father, in thanksgiving for every grace that He has ever given any of His creatures, or that He has ever desired to give (but has been impeded from doing so due to our obstinacy). Does a parent not deserve to be thanked for the gifts that they desire to bestow on their children, even when the children do not accept them? [The fruits of this practice are immense]

“When thou shalt offer Me to God the Father for the joy and glory of the Saints, their happiness and recompense shall be increased, as though they had received Me corporally on the earth.” (A beautiful and extremely powerful way to honour the Saints, and to honour God in His Saints!)

– Jesus to St. Mechtilde (‘The Love of the Sacred Heart’)

(2) Aspirations

Love alone gives our actions value; souls are not saved and God is not glorified, save by charity. Aspirations are an easy way to keep the fire of love burning in our hearts. We were created to love God; all else is false, empty, vain, a precious waste of precious time.

I have written about aspirations before:

https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/aspirations-an-easy-way-to-attain-holiness-and-joy/

“If I knew I should receive £1 for each one [aspiration] I made, I would not waste a spare moment. And yet I get infinitely more than this, though I often fail to realise it.”

“This morning I lay awake powerless to over come myself and to make my promised visit to the chapel. Then I felt prompted to pray; I said five aspirations and rose without difficulty. How many victories I could win by this easy and powerful weapon!”

– Fr. William Doyle (d. 1917)

(3) Spiritual Communions

Many Saints highly recommend this practice. St. Francis de Sales made a spiritual Communion every fifteen minutes or so; Sr. Benigna Consolata, a spiritual daughter of St. Francis de Sales, was told by Our Lord to make them even more frequently.

St. Alphonsus tells us that Jesus appeared to a certain pious soul, showing her two precious vases, one gold, the other silver. “In the golden vessel,” He said, “I keep sacramental Communion, and in the silver vessel spiritual Communion.” (‘Visits to the Blessed Sacrament,’ TAN)

And to Blessed Jane of the Cross, our Saviour spoke these enlightening words: “As often as you make a spiritual Communion I send you a grace which is in a measure similar to the grace which I grant you in sacramental Communion.”

St. Teresa of Avila writes: “When you do not receive Communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.” [The Way of Perfection, Ch. 35.]

“If you practice the holy exercise of Spiritual Communion a good many times each day, within a month you will see yourself completely changed.”

– St. Leonard of Port Maurice

(4) Meditation on the Last Things

Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell – also known as the four last things… that most people care to think about. Which is a great tragedy, because the truth is eternal and does not change to suit our fancy.
St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was once asked how he could possibly bear to spend his days as a religious. Time flies, he replied, when one is thinking about Heaven! If only we had the faintest notion of what awaits those who love God! Mother Agnes (Pauline), the sister of St. Therese (and my dear little sister), shared with her a beautiful story in which a religious appeared to her sister (also a religious) shortly after her death, saying: “I am going to God; oh! I am not sorry for having humbled and annihilated myself for Jesus on earth. If you only knew what glory I am going to have, but God has not permitted me to reveal it to you because you would experience too great a joy and your way is the way of suffering.” (p. 582, ‘Letters of St. Therese,’ ICS Publications)
44. “To fear the days of judgment.
45. To be in dread of hell.
46. To desire everlasting life with all spiritual longing.
47. To keep death daily before one’s eyes.”

– From the ‘Instruments of Good Works,‘ from the Rule of St. Benedict

(5) Lectio Divina

St. Jerome, writing about a holy man of his time, says that he made his heart “a library for Christ.” So often it is the case that individuals fill their hearts and minds with present troubles, with worldly things and with innumerable other sources of distraction or anxiety, ranging from mere trifles to great evils. Let us have none of this. Let us meditate often on the life-giving words of God; ‘lay up His words in thy heart‘ (Job 22:22), and draw upon them day and night; they will purify you, they will inflame you, and they will set your heart on things eternal. Without this, there can be no joy; our heart longs for the infinity of the horizon; what we truly desire – whether or not we realise it – lies beyond this crumbling world.

To truly profit from spiritual reading and meditation, the end must always be that we come to know and love God more – and this, principally, by means of prayer, without which there can be no lasting growth in wisdom and charity. ‘The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom’ (Ps. 38:30).

“At the Last Judgment I shall not  ask souls if they have read much, but what fruit  they have drawn from their reading.”

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero

(6) …

The final means for growing in Divine Love deserves/requires a post of its own. Also, I have run out of time (even with a generous extension). Hopefully it will be ready by next Sunday.

+ PAX +

Catching Foxes, and Eternal Salvation

foxesdownload

“Catch us the little foxes that destroy the vines.”

(Song of Solomon 2:15)

‘My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin.’ (1 Jn. 2:1)

“He [the Lord] does not tell us to catch the lions or the bears, but the little foxes. Lions and bears strike terror, and therefore all are careful to keep at a distance through fear of being devoured by them; but the little foxes, though they do not excite dismay, destroy the vine by drying up its roots. Mortal sin terrifies the timorous soul; but, if she accustom herself to the commission of many venial sins with full deliberation, and without endeavouring to correct them, they, like the little foxes, shall destroy the roots that is, the remorse of conscience, the fear of offending God, and the holy desires of advancing in divine love; and thus, being in a state of tepidity, and impelled to sin by some passion, the soul will easily abandon God and lose the divine grace.

… Moreover, deliberate and habitual venial sins not only deprive us of strength to resist temptations, but also of the special helps without which we fall into grievous sins. Be attentive, brethren; for this is a point of great importance. It is certain, that of ourselves we have not sufficient strength to resist the temptations of the devil, of the flesh, and of the world. It is God that prevents our enemies from assailing us with temptations by which we would be conquered. Hence Jesus Christ has taught us the following prayer: “And lead us not into temptation.” He teaches us to pray that God may deliver us from the temptations to which we would yield, and thus lose his grace. Moreover, venial sins, when they are deliberate and habitual, deprive us of the special helps of God which are necessary for preservation in his grace. I say necessary, because the Council of Trent anathematizes those who assert that we can persevere in grace without a special help from God. “Si quis dixerit, justificatum vel sine speciali auxilio Dei in accepta justitia perseverare posse, vel cum eo non posse; anathema sit.” (Sess. 6, can. xxii.) Thus, with the ordinary assistance of God, we cannot avoid falling into some mortal sin: a special aid is necessary. But this special aid God will justly withhold from tepid souls who are regardless of committing, with full deliberation, many venial sins. Thus these unhappy souls shall not persevere in grace.”

– St. Alphonsus Liguori

A Revelation Regarding Habitual Venial Sin

“In this manner, sins are increased through habitual practice, and a venial sin that could have been pardoned through contrition becomes a serious one through a person’s negligence and scorn, as you can deduce from the case of this soul who has already been condemned.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget (Bk 3, Ch 19)

A Striking Example of the Danger of Venial Sin

“It is related in the Teresian Chronicles, that Sister Anne of the Incarnation once saw in Hell a person whom she had regarded as a Saint: on her countenance appeared a multitude of small animals, which represented the multitude of defects that she committed and disregarded during life. Of these some were heard to say, By us you began; others, By us you continued; others, By us you have brought yourself to Hell.

– St. Alphonsus: (‘Dignity and Duties of the Priest,’ Ch 5 – The Injury Done to the Priest by Tepidity)

COMMENT: In other words, this Sister’s tepidity exposed her gradually to mortal sin.

To profit from these words – which I admit are quite disturbing – we must make some distinctions. This will help us avoid confusion and scruples.

       + We must distinguish between sin and imperfection.

“An imperfection is distinguished from these sins of frailty because it is only an act of lesser generosity in the service of God and of slighter esteem for the evangelical counsels. This is the case with a man who has five talents and sometimes acts as if he had only two; his act is still meritorious, but weak (remissus), and he is more or less clearly conscious of this inferiority. What is less good in itself must not be confused with what is essentially evil; what is less good for us here and now must not be confused with what would even now be evil for us. The lesser good is not an evil, as the lesser evil is not a good. Evidently we must avoid confusing good and evil.”

– Rev. Garrigou-Lagrange (‘The Three Ages of The Interior Life’)

       + We must distinguish between habitual sin and sins of weakness.

Habitual sins are generally – but not always – those sins that we refuse to give up, or that we make little effort in overcoming. (Sometimes it happens that we fall often because we do not make good use of the means for avoiding sin e.g. confident and persevering prayer; mediation; spiritual reading; the Sacraments; examination of conscience etc.).

To cling to sin is foolish and perverse. One cannot remain in the same state forever; either we will advance in the spiritual life, or we will go backwards.

Don’t be despondent. We all fall from time to time; none of us have been immaculately conceived. ‘For a just man shall fall seven times and shall rise again: but the wicked shall fall down into evil’ (Prov. 24:16). Even if we have the misfortune of committing many sins, we should not be discouraged. God loves us and His Sacred Heart is always open to us.

Just remember not to make your peace with deliberate sin.

“… you will commit faults, infidelities, and imperfections; and these will help you to advance, for they will cause you to make many acts of humility.” 

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata (p. 41, ‘Jesus Appeals to the World,’ St. Paul’s)

“Do not give a thought to your involuntary imperfections!”

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata (p. 36, ‘Jesus Appeals to the World,’ St. Paul’s)

“Do not always keep looking back at yourself, and on what you have done; but look beyond those defects, and love always!”

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata (p. 85, ‘Jesus Appeals to the World,’ St. Paul’s)

       + We must recognise the great duty of Religious.

St. Thomas and many others say that a Religious must strive for perfection, under pain of mortal sin. Religious will be judged with greater exactness because they have been called to practice the evangelical counsels (poverty, chastity, obedience) in all their glorious perfection.

The Final Judgement

“It is stated that God will not ask for what He has not given, but I shall ask of those souls what I did not give them, because they deprive themselves of it by their sloth, by their indifference; because they are unwilling to put themselves out and to mortify themselves. I shall ask of them all that I should have given them if they had willed it, I shall ask of them the souls that they would have saved with their own if they had done what I required of them.”

– Jesus to Mary Brotel (‘Divine Communications,’ p. 25, Vol. 2)

The Purgative Way

Before entering Heaven, all souls must be perfectly purified from sin and attachment to sin. This purification should take place on Earth; but there are few souls who are this generous with God, hence many go to Purgatory before entering Paradise.

“After conversion there ought to be a serious beginning of the purgative life, in which beginners love God by avoiding mortal sin and deliberate venial sin, through exterior and interior mortification and through prayer. But in actual fact this purgative life is found under two very different forms: in some, admittedly very few, this life is intense, generous; it is the narrow way of perfect self-denial described by the saints. In many others the purgative life appears in an attenuated form, varying from good souls who are a little weak down to those tepid and retarded souls who from time to time fall into mortal sin.”

– Rev. Garrigou–Lagrange, O.P. (‘The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life’)

The Remedy for Lukewarmness

“First, the tepid must sincerely desire to be delivered from a state which, as we have seen, is so miserable and dangerous; for, without this desire, they shall not take pains to employ the proper means.

Secondly, they must resolve to remove the occasions of their faults; otherwise they will always relapse into the same defects.

Thirdly, they must earnestly beg of the Lord to raise them from so wretched a state. By their own strength they can do nothing; but they can do all things with the assistance of God, who has promised to hear the prayers of all. “Ask, and it shall be given; seek, and you shall find.” (Luke xi. 9.) We must pray, and continue to pray without interruption. If we cease to pray we shall be defeated; but if we persevere in prayer we shall conquer.”

– St. Alphonsus Liguori

An Easy, Powerful Way to “Pray Without Interruption”

“The holy desire of the soul, that is to say, good-will, is a continual prayer, because it has the power of prayer. And, whatsoever man does for the love of God and of his neighbour, may be called prayer, since love is accounted as prayer.”

– Our Lord to St. Catherine of Siena

+ Also, we should make frequent use of ejaculations/aspirations e.g. “O Jesus, King of Love, I put my trust in Thy loving mercy!”

If you persevere in repeating these little prayers often, you will become a Saint. You may fall, but you will rise quickly.

Some Encouragement

Souls converted:

‘Many people who are entangled in the nets of sins obtain contrition before they die. And their contrition may be so perfect that not only are their sins forgiven but also the pain of Purgatory is remitted if they die in the same contrition.’

– Jesus to St. Bridget

Children of Mary saved:

 “He who is devout to the Virgin Mother will certainly never be lost.”

– St. Irenaeus

Sinners saved through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy:

“… in order to honour the Incarnate Word, I in My mercy have decreed that any person whatsoever, be he just or sinner, who shall have recourse to Mary with love and respect, can never be the victim and the prey of the infernal serpent. Mary is like a sweet bait set by My mercy to attract men, especially sinners.”

– The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena (‘Divine Communications,’ p. 102, Vol. 2)

 

 

The Secret to Happiness

pieta-1-1422906

“Blessed indeed would we be if we received everything that happens as from God’s fatherly hand.”

– St. Francis de Sales

St. Alphonsus Liguori relates (‘Uniformity with God’s Will’) that Alphonsus the Great, King of Aragon, when asked whom he considered to be the happiest person in the world, replied:

“HE WHO ABANDONS HIMSELF TO THE WILL OF GOD AND ACCEPTS ALL THINGS, PROSPEROUS AND ADVERSE, AS COMING FROM HIS HANDS.” 

This is the key to happiness! ‘As for my God, His way is undefiled: the words of the Lord are fire tried: He is the protector of all that trust in Him.’ (Ps. 18:30) ‘And let them trust in thee who know thy name: for thou hast not forsaken them that seek thee, O Lord.’  (Ps. 9:10)

‘Who is wise, and will keep these things: and will understand the mercies of the Lord?’ (Ps. 107:43)

Adorable is the Will of God!

“St. Mary Magdalene of  Pazzi derived such consolation at hearing the words “will of God,” that   she usually fell into an ecstasy of love.” (St. Alphonsus)

“[Everything] I give or permit happens for the sanctification of My servants.” (The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena)

“It sometimes happens that the just for their greater merit have a most painful death. This is in order that those who have loved virtue may at once soar up to Heaven freed from their sins.” (Jesus to St. Bridget)

“Abandonment to the Will of God is the secret of happiness on earth. Say, then: meus cibus est, ut faciem voluntatem ejus: my food is to do His Will.” (St. Josemaria Escriva, # 766, p. 181, ‘The Way’)

“An act of complete acceptance of the Will of God: ‘Is that what you want, Lord? … Then it’s what I want also!” (St. Josemaria Escriva, #762, p. 180, ‘The Way’)

“The soul that really loves, accepts all from the Hands of its Good Master. It is enough that He gives it, to make the gift welcome.” (Dom Pius de Hemptinne, p. 254, ‘A Disciple of Dom Marmion’)

Imitate Little St. Therese

“You have had many trials today,” someone said to St. Therese. “Yes, but I love them. I love everything that the dear God gives to me.”

“Nothing is too great to suffer in order to win the palm of eternal life.” – St. Therese

A Revelation to St. Bridget

From ‘Book 5, The Book of Questions, Interrogation 13’:

Third question. “Why do some people suffer excessive hardship, while others live more or less free from hardship?”

Answer to the third question. “As to why greater hardships are given to some, I answer: I am the Maker of all things. Thus, no hardship comes without My permission, as it is written: ‘I am God creating woe,’ (Isaiah 45:7) that is, permitting hardship. Hardship does not befall the heathen without me and without a reasonable cause… those who had neglected and abused reason might be taught by suffering, and in order that I, God, who permitted it all, should be known and glorified by every nation…

There is indeed less hardship for some and more for others in order to turn people away from sin and so that those who suffer hardships in the present might be comforted in the future. All those who are judged and who judge themselves in this age will not come into future judgment. As it is written: ‘They shall pass from death into life.’ There are also some that are protected from suffering, but this happens so that they do not incur a harsher judgment by grumbling at their sufferings. Many there are who do not deserve to suffer in this world.

There are also some people in this life who are afflicted neither in body nor in spirit. They pass their lives as carefree as though God did not exist, or as though God is sparing them for the sake of their righteous works. Such people should be filled with dread for fear that I, God, who spare them in the present, come suddenly and condemn them more harshly as being without contrition.

There are also those who enjoy health of body but are troubled in their soul about the contempt of God, while others enjoy neither health of body nor inner consolation of soul and yet persevere as far as they are able in my service and honor. There are others, too, who are always sick, from their mother’s womb up until their death. I, the God of all of these, regulate their sufferings so that nothing happens without cause or reward, for many people, who were asleep before their trials, have their eyes opened by suffering.”

The Perfect Prayer

Jesus: “THY WILL BE DONE” (Mt. 6:10)

Mary: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.” (Lk. 1:38) [A powerful prayer, to be repeated frequently throughout the day, is “FIAT” – “Be it done…”]

“I cannot tell you what a beautiful thing the Will of God seems to me. For some years past, my Communions, my prayers, my intentions have all been for God’s Will to be done.”

– St. Mary MacKillop

 

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

 “If you knew the great advantages and splendid fruits of your sufferings for the noble intentions I recommended to you, you would be ready to sacrifice a thousand lives if necessary, to gain this inexpressible benefit for My Church.”

– Jesus to Mother Dominique-Marie Clare (d. 1895)

Why do we despise sufferings? Temptations? Trials? God permits them for our greater good. They are great blessings if we know how to make use of them. When tried by suffering, we must imitate Mary. She never stopped searching for Jesus; He was her Life and All.

A story is told of St. Margaret Mary in which she addressed these words to Our Lord before receiving Holy Communion: “O my Lord, teach me what you wish me to say to You.”

Jesus replied:

“Nothing, My child, except these words: O my God, my sole Good and my All, You are all for me, and I am all for You. These words will keep you from all kinds of temptations; they will supply for all the acts you would fain do; and they will serve as a preparation for your actions.’ 

“An act of perfect conformity to the will of God unites us more to Him than a hundred other acts of virtue.” (St. Alphonsus).

“Your sufferings have great value because they are united to Mine.”

– Jesus to Marie Brotel

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

“In order that all might be saved, He came into the world, taking flesh from me, and endured His passion and death on the cross.” 

-Our Lady to St. Bridget of Sweden

St. Leonard of Port Maurice said that if all returned to God with contrite hearts, all would be saved. Unfortunately, many souls do not avail themselves of the graces that God gives (and wishes to give) them. Many – even Christians – are spiritually dead in mortal sin. And to think that many Christians reject this doctrine!

Mortal sin is “a chain of hell” (St. Alphonsus); it is “the assassin of the soul” and “the crucifier of God,” (St. John Vianney); it is irrational and selfish. “In committing a mortal sin,” writes St. Alphonsus, “you have been guilty of a greater fault than if you trod under foot the loftiest monarch of a world.”

“… each soul separates itself from Me, its Head and Source of Life, as often as it sins mortally.”

– Jesus to Bl. Battista Varani

This might all have us feeling a bit heavy-hearted. But do not worry. God, Who is all-merciful, is ever seeking sinners. He is always seeking to use our prayers and sufferings for the salvation of souls.

If our sins are immense, the love and mercy of God is greater still. He never rejects a contrite heart (Ps. 51:17). But we must repent while there is time. ‘The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine, but dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance’ (2 Pet. 3:9).

Some powerful sermons to help us root out sin

Sermon XX (‘On the evil effects of bad habits,’ p. 145) AND Sermon XXI (‘On the evil effects of bad habits,’ p. 152) by St. Alphonsus:

https://archive.org/details/sermonsforallsun00liguuoft

Superstitious Fears are Not from God

11:11, 666, dreams, certain words or events… these are things that plague the minds of some; they are afraid that it might be some kind of bad “omen.”

God tells us not to fear. ‘Fear not, for I am with thee: turn not aside, for I am thy God…’ (Isaiah 41:10). He created us for eternal life. While we are alive, there is always hope of salvation. God cannot deceive; if He calls us to Himself; if we hear His voice, or feel the touch of His grace – however weak it might seem, then we can have absolute confidence that if we trust in God and love Him, we will be saved.

… Aren’t all these other things superfluous? Besides, God is the Father of Lights; when He communicates with us, His message brings clarity. All these oppresive fears are not the work of God.

If it can be demonstrated that the greatest fear – damnation – is vain and irrational (so long as we desire to do God’s will), then all the lesser fears will hopefully lose their power.

St. Alphonsus does just this. Read his consoling words:

“I wish here to propose a doubt, which may rise in the mind of one who loves God, and strives to conform himself in all things to his blessed will. If it should be ever revealed to such a one that he would be eternally lost, would he be obliged to bow to it with resignation, in order to practise conformity with the will of God? St. Thomas says no; and further, that he would sin by consenting to it, because he would be consenting to live in a state that involves sin, and is contrary to the last end for which God created him; for God did not create souls to hate him in hell, but to love him in heaven: so that he does not wish the death even of the sinner, but that all should be converted and saved. The holy Doctor says that God wishes no one to be damned except through [i.e. as a consequence of] sin; and therefore, a person, by consenting to his damnation, would not be acting in conformity with the will of God, but with the will of sin. But suppose that God, foreseeing the sin of a person, should have decreed his damnation, and that this decree should be
revealed to him, would he be bound to consent to it? In the same passage the saint says, By no means; because such a revelation must not be taken as an irrevocable decree – but made merely by way of communication, as a threat of what would follow if he persists in sin.

But let every one banish such baneful thoughts from his mind, as only calculated to cool his confidence and love. Let us love Jesus Christ as much as possible here below; let us always be sighing to go hence and to behold him in paradise, that we may there love him perfectly; let us make it the grand object of all our hopes, to go thither to love him with all our strength.”

“When you advance in virtue, you give up the imperfection of fear.”

– God to St. Catherine of Siena

**Given that this is my 200th post on Littlest Souls, I would like to sincerely thank every reader, commenter and pray-er (i.e. those who have prayed for me or the “success” of Little Souls).

Thank you and God bless!

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!

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

Jesus to St. Veronica Giuliani: ‘… tell everything to him who holds My place [the priest]. Be obedient to him; do whatever he commands. You can never be mistaken when you are obedient.’ (p. 264, Vol. 2)

The following words, though addressed to all – and which contain some very helpful advice for the spiritual life – will be particularly appreciated by those who are inclined to doubts, fears, scruples and the like. The words are taken from ‘The Way of Salvation and Perfection,’ (pp.451–460; Ch VI. Interior Trials):

“… the chief thing they [scrupulous souls] ought to consider is this: that he who acts in obedience to a learned and pious confessor, acts not only with no doubt, but with the greatest security that can be had upon earth, on the divine words of Jesus Christ, that he who hears his ministers is as though he heard himself: He that heareth you heareth Me; whence St. Bernard says, “Whatever man enjoins in the place of God, provided it be not certainly displeasing to God, is altogether to be received as though enjoined by God.” It is certain that, as to the personal direction of conscience, the confessor is the lawful superior, as St Francis de Sales, with all spiritual instructors, declares, while F. Pinamonti, in his Spiritual Director, says: “It is well to make the scrupulous perceive, that submitting their will to the ministers of the Lord provides them the greatest security in all that is not manifestly sin. Let them read the lives of the saints, and they will find that they know no safer road than obedience. The saints plainly trusted more to the voice of their confessor than to the immediate voice of God; and yet the scrupulous would lean more on their own judgment than on the Gospel, which assures them, He that heareth you heareth Me.”

The Blessed Henry Suso says, that “God demands no account from us of things done under obedience.” St. Philip Neri says the same: “Let such as desire to advance in the way of God submit themselves to a learned confessor, and obey him in God’s stead; let him who thus acts assure himself that he will have to render no account to God for his actions.” He says, moreover, that one should have all faith in one’s confessor, on the ground that God would not permit him to err; and that there is nothing that more surely cuts asunder the snares of the devil than to do the will of another in what is good, nor anything more full of danger than to be guiding ourselves according to what seems best to us; which is confirmed by St. John of the Cross, who says, in the name of the Lord: “When thou art unfaithful to confessors, thou art so unto Me, who have said, He that despiseth you despiseth Me.” And again: “Not to rest satisfied with what the confessor says is pride and failure in faith.” We are, therefore, to have this certain confidence, that each person, in obeying his spiritual Father, may be sure of not sinning. “The sovereign remedy for the scrupulous,” says St. Bernard, “is a blind obedience to their confessor.” John Gerson relates, that the same St. Bernard told one of his disciples, who was scrupulous, to go and celebrate, and take his word for it. He went, and was cured of his scruples.

“But a person may answer,” says Gerson, “Would to God I had a St. Bernard for my director! but mine is one of indifferent wisdom.” And he answers, “Thou dost err, whoever thou art that so speakest; for thou hast not given thyself into the hands of the man because he is well read, etc., but because he is placed over thee; wherefore obey him not as man, but as God.” For this reason St. Teresa well said, “Let the soul accept the confessor with a determination to think no more of personal excuses, but to trust in the words of the Lord, He that heareth you heareth Me. The Lord so highly values this submission, that when, in spite of a thousand inward conflicts, and considering the decision to be an absurd one, we execute it nevertheless, cost us what it may, the Lord so assists us,” etc.; and she goes on to say, that we then comply with his divine will. Hence St. Francis de Sales, speaking of direction from a spiritual Father in order to walk securely in the way of God, says, “This is the very counsel of all counsels.” “Search as much as you will,” says the devout Avila, “you will in no way discover the will of God so surely as by the path of that humble obedience which is so much recommended and practised by the devout of former times.” Thus, too, Alvarez said, “Even if the spiritual Father should err, the obedient soul is secure from error, because it rests on the judgment of him whom God has given it as a superior.” And F. Nieremberg writes to the same effect: “Let the soul obey the confessor; and then, although the thing itself were matter of fault, he does not sin who does it with the intention of obeying him who holds to him the place of God, persuading himself (as is, indeed, the case) that he is bound to obey him;” forasmuch as (according to the words of F. Rogacci and F. Lessius) the confessor is to us the interpreter of the divine will. And this is confirmed also by the gloss: “But if what is prescribed be of a doubtful kind, the virtue of obedience exempts from sin, although the thing in itself be evil;” and in the chapter Inquisition de Sent, exc., from the same text, obedience to the confessor is enjoined, when it says that scruples “ought to be dismissed at the judgment of one’s pastor.”

St. Francis de Sales gives three maxims of great consolation to the scrupulous: “An obedient soul has never been lost; 2. We ought to rest satisfied with knowing from our spiritual Father that we are going on well, without seeking a personal knowledge of it; 3. The best thing is to walk on blindly through all the darkness and perplexity of this life, under the providence of God.”

And therefore all the doctors of morals conclude, in general, with St. Antoninus, Navarro, Silvester, etc., that obedience to the confessor is the safest rule for walking well in the ways of God. F. Tirillo and F. La Croix say that this is the common doctrine of the holy Fathers and masters of the spiritual life. In the second place, the scrupulous should know, not only that they are safe in obeying, but that they are bound to obey their director, and to despise the scruple, acting with all freedom in the midst of their doubts. This is the teaching of Natalis Alexander: “That scruples ought to be despised when one has the judgment of a prudent, pious, and learned director; and that one ought to act against them is plain from the chapter Inquisitioni,” etc., as above; and of Father Wigandt: “He who acts against scruples does not sin; nay, sometimes it is a precept to do so, especially when backed by the judgment of the confessor. So do these authors speak, although they belong to the rigid school; so, too, the doctors in general; and the reason is, that if the scrupulous man lives in his scruples, he is in danger of placing grievous impediments in the way of satisfying his obligations, or, at least, of making any spiritual progress; and, moreover, of going out of his mind, losing his health, and destroying his conscience by despair or by relaxation.

Hence St. Antoninus agrees with Gerson in thus reproving the scrupulous, who, through a vain fear, is not obedient in overcoming his scruples: “Beware lest, from overmuch desire to walk securely, thou fall and destroy thyself.” For this reason F. Wigandt also says, that the scrupulous man ought to obey his director in all cases where the precept is not plainly sin, “unless the director enjoins what is manifestly against God;” and it is the general and undoubted decision among Doctors, that in things doubtful each one is bound to obey him who is placed over him, if it be not evidently a sin. This is proved by St. Bernard in a passage quoted at the commencement; and by St. Ignatius Loyola, who says: “There must be obedience in all things in which no sin is perceived, that is, in which there is not manifest sin.” Also by Blessed Humbert, General of the Friars Preachers, who says: “Unless the precept be plainly evil, it is to be received as though enjoined by God.” Moreover, by Blessed Denis the Carthusian: “In things doubtful as to whether or not they are against the divine precept, one must stand by the precept of him who is set over one; because, although it should be against the precept of God, yet, in virtue of obedience, the person under direction sins not.” Of the same opinion is St. Bonaventure. This makes Gerson say: “The scrupulous are to act against their scruples, and plant their feet firmly in resisting them. We cannot set scruples to rest better than by despising them; and, as a general rule, not without the advice of another, and especially our Superior. Otherwise, either ill–regulated fear or inconsiderate presumption will be our fall.” “With a firm foot,” says he, “they ought to overcome the scruple.”

And so the remedy that St. Philip Neri gave the scrupulous was, to make them despise their scruples. It is thus written in his life: “Moreover, besides the general remedy of committing one’s self altogether and for everything to the judgment of the confessor, he gave another, by exhorting his penitents to despise their scruples. Hence he forbade such persons to confess often; and when, in confession, they entered upon their scruples, he used to send them to Communion without hearing them.” So, then, in conclusion, the scrupulous man ought to set before himself obedience, and look upon his scrupulous fear as vain, and so act with freedom. Nor does this require (say the Doctors Busembaum, with Sanchez and others) that in each particular act he should expressly determine that the thing is a scruple, and that he ought to obey his confessor in despising it; it is enough that he act against it in virtue of a judgment made beforehand, since, from his past experience, the same judgment resides in his conscience habitually or virtually, though dim and confused. Hence La Croix and Tamburini, together with Vasquez, Val., etc., add, that if he who is scrupulous be unable amid that darkness to lay aside his scruple at once, or call clearly to mind the obedience laid on him by the confessor, which some anxious consciences are disabled from doing, perplexed as they are how to put by their scruple, by reason of the fear that weighs upon them, in that case he does not sin, though he act with a positive fear of sinning; and for this reason that as he has already passed a like judgment upon former scruples, and on the duty of obeying the injunction given him to despise them, he ought assuredly to believe himself to possess it now also, though, from the force of his fear, he does not perceive it.

But the scrupulous ought at such a time to despise the fear, inasmuch as it forms no true verdict of conscience. Hear how Gerson openly confirms this point, and what advice he gives: “A formed conscience is, when, after discussion and deliberation, a definite sentence of the reason judges that a thing is to be done or to be avoided; and to act against this is a sin: but fear or scruple of conscience is, when the mind wavers in doubt, not knowing which of two things it is bound to do, and yet would not omit whatever it could ascertain to be agreeable to the divine will; and this fear is as much as possible to be cast away and quenched.” In fact, then, Gerson says that a person sins by acting under a practical doubt, when the doubt proceeds from a formed conscience; but that this formed conscience exists when, after examining the circumstances, he deliberately judges with a definitive sentence on what he is obliged and what he is forbidden to do; and he sins by acting against such a conscience as this. But that, when the mind is doubtful and wavering, and yet would not do anything that was displeasing to God, this, says Gerson, is no true doubtfulness, but a vain fear, which ought as much as possible to be cast away and despised. So that when there certainly exists in the scrupulous person the habitual will not to offend God, it is certain (according to Gerson) that while he acts in his doubtfulness he does not sin; and with reason, since it is then not a true doubt, although he may apprehend it to be a doubt, but a vain fear.

On the other hand, it is certain, that for the commission of a mortal sin there is required a full perception on the part of the reason, and a complete deliberate consent on the part of the will, and to will something which grievously offends God. This doctrine is undoubted, and common to all the theologians, and even to the most rigid, as Juenin, Habert, and that most rigorous of all, Genet, who speaks thus: “But if (the act) contain only an imperfect degree of deliberation, the sin will be venial, not mortal.” And this, too, is the teaching of all the rest, with St. Thomas, who says: “That which is mortal may be venial, owing to the act being imperfect, since it does not absolutely amount to the perfection of a mortal act, being not deliberate, but sudden.”

Let scrupulous souls, then, suffer this cross of theirs with resignation, and not perplex themselves in the greatest distresses which God may send or permit. It is for their profit, to the end that they may be humbler, may guard better against such occasions as are beyond doubt and seriously dangerous, may commend themselves oftener to the Lord, and put a more entire trust in the divine goodness. Meanwhile let them often have recourse to the most holy Virgin Mary, who is called, and is in truth, the Mother of Mercy, and comforter of the afflicted. Let them, indeed, fear to offend God, wherever they do in truth discern what will offend him; but if only they are steadfast in resolving rather to die a thousand times than lose the grace of God, let them, above all things, fear lest they fail in obedience to their directors. On the other hand, while they blindly obey, they may assure themselves of not being abandoned by that Lord who will have all men saved, and who, loving good–will as he does, never suffers a really obedient soul to perish.

No one hath hoped in the Lord, and hath been confounded. Casting all your care upon Him, for He hath care of you. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? In peace in the self-same I will sleep and I will rest; for Thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope. In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded.”

Words from the Saints and Mystics on Humility

Words from the Saints and Mystics on Humility

“Humility is Truth.” (St. Padre Pio). The humble soul lives in the infused light of truth; she realises that “everything is grace” (St. Therese); she is necessarily joyful because she is well acquainted with Our Lord, Who is Truth and … Continue reading