Christian = Temple, Priest, Victim

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Bl. Mother Mary of the Divine Heart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mother Cécile Bruyerè‘s Masterful Explanation of the Christian Vocation

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Mother Cécile Bruyerè, 1895

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

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

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

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

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

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St. Therese’s Hungarian Sister (d. May 13, 1933)

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“After my death I will pass a review on all the Monasteries of the Visitation, and where there is disorder, I will appear as a ghost.”

A Little Soul Who Died of Love

Adelaide (Etelka) Bogner (in religion: Sr. Mária Margit Bogner) was born on December 15, 1905. On May 13, 1927, she was to write in her diary, “To die of love.” Exactly 6 years later, on May 13, 1933, Our Lord took her to Himself. “I cannot die by myself,” she had written in her diary during her last retreat (quoting Fr. Grou) – “God must do it. He must consume His victim in the fire of Love.”

One can almost imagine Our Lord’s delight in responding to the confidence of His beloved daughter, who desired to live for Him alone, whatever the cost. “Nothing,” she said, “is impossible to the boldness of love. I turn to You with an unlimited confidence and I am sure that even if You should make me die you would accomplish my desires.” ‘But the God of all grace, who hath called us into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will Himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you.’ (1 Pt. 5:10)

Some Saintly 27-year-olds

Ven. Mária Margit’s holy death calls to mind a number of other holy souls who died at the tender age of 27 – namely, Ven. Philomena of St. Columba (d. Aug 13, 1868), Dom Pius de Hemptinne (d. Jan 27, 1907), Bl. James Kern (d. Oct 20, 1924), St. Rafael Arnáiz Barón (d. April 26, 1938) and Ven. Benedetta Bianchi (d. Jan 23, 1964).

A Sister of Therese

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Ven. Mária Margit Bogner is a truly remarkable soul. Like St. Therese – with whom she shared such a special friendship – she is playful, humorous, intelligent, artistic, and all aflame with love for Jesus. Is it a coincidence, then, that she died on the 50th anniversary of St. Therese’s cure by the Virgin of the Smile? Is it a coincidence that Ven. Mária Margit (i.e. Margaret Mary) died on the 13th anniversary of the canonization of St. Margaret Mary?

A Great, Short Biography

If you want a delightful friend in Heaven, and a powerful intercessor, I am confident that you will find joy in reading the following short life of this holy little soul:

‘The Life of the Venerable Maria Margit Bogner, a Religious of the Visitation of Holy Mary of Erd, Hungary 1905–1933, A Violet in the  Odor of Sanctity’:
http://visitationspirit.org/2013/11/a-life-of-venerable-sister-maria-margit-bogner-vhm/

Two Powerful Intercessors: Venerable Mária Margit Bogner and St. Therese

While still alive in the flesh, Ven. Mária Margit wrote of St. Therese: “With joy I now have this new heavenly teacher and I listen to her lessons with a beating heart. She is always near me and she tells me how I should work.”

“She is always near me.” Can we doubt that, from their place in Heaven, these two spouses of Christ now work together in a special way for souls?

“When I am in heaven,” said St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo to a religious Sister of St. Vincent, “where one can do everything, I will help you more than now I do. I will hold to the cloak of the Mother of God and keep my eyes fixed on you.” Surely these words can be applied to St. Therese and to Ven. Mária Margit, if not to all the saints.

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“From now on I will do nothing except by you, with you, in you and for you.”
– Sr. Mária Margit (Dec 8, 1926, addressing Our Lady)

Venerable Mária Margit Bogner and the Littlest Souls

It is my belief that Ven. Mária Margit Bogner (who I discovered in October, 2017) has a special predilection for little souls – especially the littlest among them. If you are one such soul, ask for her intercession and see for yourself.

Below are some quotes from Ven. Mária Margit Bogner, whose death (May 13, 1933) falls on the anniversary of ‘Littlest Souls’ (Started May 13, 2012). [Mária Margit Bogner was declared Venerable by Pope Benedict XVI on June 28, 2012.]

“I have heard much spoken about the Little Flower of Lisieux. I thought I knew her life. Nevertheless, it is not so. Reading her autobiography, I have put my hands into hers, with confidence that she will guide me: ‘My path is sure.’ Yes, she invites all little souls to follow her – the littlest souls that cannot lift themselves to the flight of eagles.”

“My soul is invaded by a torrent of graces and love. You cannot give me more and I, what will I give you? All belongs to you. My only good is my misery. I give it to you. You accept it, isn’t it true? You must take it because you know that my union with you depends on that.”

“I wish to give to souls a little of that which fills me to overflowing.”