Saturday, April 30, 2016

"No to double lives and all that."

But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another,
and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
~1 John 1:7

“If you say you are in communion with the Lord, then walk in the light.  But no to double lives! Not that! That lie that we are so used to seeing and where we too sometimes fall (into temptation), don’t we? To say one thing and do another, right? It’s the never ending temptation. And we know where that lie comes from: in the Bible, Jesus calls the devil ‘the father of lies’, the liar. It’s for this reason that this grandfather says with infinite tenderness and meekness to the ‘adolescent’ Church: ‘Don’t be a liar! You are in communion with God, walk in the light. Do works of light, don’t say one thing and do another. No to double lives and all that.”  ~Pope Francis, 4/29/16 Homily
Make me, O Lord, a true child of Your light!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ad Jesum Per Mariam! To Jesus Through Mary!

Mary is the admirable echo of God.  When we say, "Mary," she answers, "God."
~Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, 1673-1716

Ave Maria! Today is the 300th anniversary of the death of St. Louis de Montfort.  If you feel overwhelmed by the plethora of information about him and Montfortian spirituality out there on the Web, here are a few links to get you started.

21 Things St. Louis de Montfort Said About the Rosary and Marian Devotion.  “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.”  Read more here.

Rosary Advice from St. Louis de Montfort.  The author of this article, Fr. Edward Looney, a priest for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin and a member of the Mariological Society of America, sums up all the salient points of St. Louis de Montfort's small but powerfully packed book The Secret of the Rosary.  Read more here.

The Spirituality of St. Louis de Montfort.  This article was written by the well-known and much-loved Montfort priest Father Patrick Gaffney, professor of theology and dogma and renowned spiritual writer, who died in 2012 at the age of 84.  Fr. Gaffney begins his article with this important observation:  "St Louis Marie de Montfort is probably best-known for his devotion to our Blessed Lady.  However, his particular spirituality is founded on the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, and is truly Christocentric."  Read more here -- and please note that you will have to manually advance to the pages that follow by going to the menu on the left and clicking each title.

A biography of St. Louis de Montfort can be found here and here.

Ad Jesum per Mariam!  To Jesus through Mary!  That was St. Louis de Montfort's motto, his rule of life, his everlasting goal, and his constant prayer.  May it be ours as well as we pray with him on this 300th anniversary of his death: "My beloved Mother, grant that I may have no other spirit but your spirit to know Jesus Christ and His Divine Will and to praise and glorify the Lord, that I may love God with a burning love like yours." Deo gratias!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"Giving thanks always for all things..." ~Ephesians 5:20

Only he who gives thanks for little things receives the big things.

In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all.
~1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thank you, dear Father, for all Your many blessings, both great and small!

Monday, April 25, 2016

"Why not become fire?"

Abba Lot came to Abba Joseph and said: :Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and, according as I am able, I strive to cleanse my heart of thoughts: now what more should I do?: The elder rose up in reply and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said: "Why not become fire?"

Unless the eye catch fire
The God will not be seen
Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard
Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named
Unless the heart catch fire
The God will not be loved
Unless the mind catch fire
The God will not be known
~William Blake

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday of Our Lady

“Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children,
cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.”
~Saint Francis de Sales

Sweet Mother Mary, when I am afraid, I will trust in you and be at peace.

Friday, April 22, 2016

"Pray always without becoming weary." Luke 18:1

Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education. Remember, too, every day and whenever you can, to repeat to yourself, “Lord, have mercy on all who appear before you today.” For every hour and every moment thousands of people leave life on this earth, and their souls appear before God.…How touching it must be to a soul standing in dread before the Lord to feel at that instant that for him too there is one to pray, that there is a fellow creature left on earth to love him. And God will look on you both more graciously, for if you have had so much pity on him, how much more will He have pity who is infinitely more loving and merciful than you. And He will forgive him for your sake.  ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Thank you, dear Lord, for the privilege and grace of prayer!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Feast Day of St. Anselm

Ave Maria! Today we remember St. Anselm, the Father of Scholasticism. There are many fine articles about him on the Web, particularly here and here. Additionally, St. Anselm's Book of Meditations and Prayers is available on the Web. You will find it here in various formats, including Kindle. The following prayer of St. Anselm to Our Lady is a favorite of mine. I discovered it back in the early 80's and have prayed it often ever since. Ave Maria!

Mary, I beg you,
by that grace through which the Lord is with you
and you will to be with him,
let your mercy be with me.
Let love for you always be with me,
and the care for me be always with you.
Let the cry of my need,
as long as it persists,
be with you,
and the care of your goodness,
as long as I need it,
be with me.
Let joy in your blessedness
be always with me,
and compassion for my wretchedness,
where I need it,
be with you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

About those slop pails...

And whatever you do, in word or deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
~Colossians 3:17

It is not only prayer that gives God glory but work. Smiting on an anvil, sawing a beam, whitewashing a wall, driving horses, sweeping, scouring, everything gives God some glory if being in his grace you do it as your duty. To go to communion worthily gives God great glory, but to take food in thankfulness and temperance gives him glory too. To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory, but a man with a dung fork in his hand, a woman with a slop pail, give him glory too. He is so great that all things give him glory if you mean they should. So then, my brethren, live.  ~Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.
Dear Lord, I may not have to smite on an anvil today or whitewash a wall, but I suspect that I might encounter a few slop pails here and there that will need attention.  Whatever tasks You give me to do this splendid new day, help me to do them as You did Your own humble duties in the carpenter's shop of Nazareth -- faithfully, lovingly and cheerfully so as to make everything a happy prayer of thanksgiving and glory to our Father.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Whose sheep am I?

"You are not among my sheep."  John 10:26

Alleluia!  Throughout this glorious Eastertide, our Mother the Church reminds us over and over again in her liturgies, both at daily Mass and in the daily Divine Office, that "The Good Shepherd has risen, who laid down his life for his sheep and willingly died for his flock, alleluia".  Most of these reminders are comforting and reassuring.  However, for me at least, the above verse from the Gospel at today's Novus Ordo Mass (John 10:22-30) begs the question:  

Whose sheep am I?

Is Jesus really my Good Shepherd?

Do I truly belong to His sheepfold or am I still a card-carrying member of the sheepfold of the unholy trinity known as "Me, Myself and I"?

Do I wisely heed the voice of my Good Shepherd or do I carelessly listen to the false prophets of my own choosing?

Do I avidly pursue His truth or do I proudly persist in my unbelief?

Do I faithfully follow Him wherever He leads me or do I childishly run after whatever my heart fancies moment by moment?

Do I confidently cast all my cares upon my Good Shepherd, trusting Him to lead me to His green pastures and still waters, or do I fearfully imagine that He doesn't care about me nor those I love nor the whole wide world and all the people He has created?

Do I joyfully feast at the magnificent table He prepares for me anew each day or do I mindlessly stuff my soul with junk food?

Do I eagerly allow Him to anoint me with the precious oil of His mercy and joy or do I sadly wallow in the muck of my self-chosen misery?

Do I freely show Him my brokenness and gladly let Him bind up my wounds, or do I stubbornly pretend that I am just fine and don't need His help?

Do I peacefully abide In Jesus, making my home in Him, or do I foolishly dwell in lesser, lower places?

Surely His goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life if I follow Him who is my Good Shepherd.  But do I?  Will I?

Whose sheep am I? 

Whose sheep do I choose to be?

O my Jesus,
my dear and only Good Shepherd,
with the help of Your amazing grace
I will always be Your sheep --
yes, Your little lamb! --
now and forever,
in time and in eternity.
Amen.  Alleluia!

Monday, April 18, 2016

"the immense road to the kingdom"

How small is the gate,
how narrow the road that leads on to life,
and how few there are that find it!
~Matthew 7:13

God, our Creator,
through your Word
you ask us
to choose the narrow road.

Make us discover
the astounding dimensions
of this road:
it is as broad as your love,
and only the dryness of our hearts
makes it seem narrow to us,
whereas it is
the immense road to the kingdom:
Jesus, your Son,
who lives with you and the Spirit
in the plenitude of the ages.

~Pierre Grilot

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Ps. 150:6

The language of praise is our mother-tongue.
~Mother Mary Loyola

I praise him with my song.
~Psalm 28:7

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Excellence of the Hail Mary

Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!  ~Luke 1:28

"Just as the salvation of the world began with the Hail Mary, so the salvation of each individual is bound up with it."  ~St. Louis de Monfort, True Devotion to Mary, #249
And blessed, O Mary, is the fruit of your womb, Jesus,
our life and our salvation, our Lord and our Redeemer!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How good God is!

We walk without fear, full of hope and courage and strength to do His will, waiting for the endless good which He is always giving as fast as He can get us able to take it in.  ~George MacDonald
How great is the goodness, Lord, that you keep for those who fear you, that you show to those who trust you in the sight of the children of men.  ~Psalm 31(30):20

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

True Happiness

Te Deum by Ruth Dent
Happy the man whose life is one long Te Deum!  He will save his soul, but he will not save it alone, but many others also.  Joy is not a solitary thing, and he will come at last to his Master's feet, bringing many others rejoicing with him, the resplendent trophies of his grateful love.  ~from the writings of Fr. Frederick Faber
While life lasts, I will sing in the Lord’s honor;
my praise shall be his while I have breath to praise him.
~Psalm 104:33 (Knox translation)

Monday, April 11, 2016

"darkness is overcome by light"

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
~John 1:5

The presence of Jesus transforms everything: darkness is overcome by light; vain labor is made once again fruitful and promising; the sense of fatigue and abandonment gives way to a new élan, and to the certainty that He is with us.
If it may seem, by a superficial glance, that the shadows of evil and the weariness of everyday life have the upper hand, the Church knows with certainty that the light of Easter shines with undimming brilliance on all those who follow the Lord Jesus.
~Pope Francis, 4/10/16 Regina Caeli
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God!
O come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My Good Shepherd

He calls his own sheep by name.  ~John 10:3

Each soul can say: Jesus knows me and loves me, not in a general abstract way, but in the concrete aspects of my needs, of my desires, and of my life; for Him to know me and to love is to do me good, to encompass me more and more with His grace, and to sanctify me. Precisely because He loves me, Jesus calls me by name: He calls me when in prayer He opens to me new horizons of the spiritual life, or when he enables me to know my faults and weaknesses better; He calls me when He reprimands me or purifies me by aridity, as well as when He consoles and encourages me by filling me with new fervor; He calls me when He makes me feel the need of greater generosity, and when He asks me for sacrifices or gives me joys, and still more, when He awakens in me a deeper love for Him. Hearing His call, my attitude should be that of a loving little sheep who recognizes the voice of its Shepherd and follows Him always.  ~Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. in Divine Intimacy
Dear Jesus, how sweet it is to hear You call my name!
How happy I am to be Your little sheep!
I love you, my dear Good Shepherd,
and I beg You for the grace
to love You more and more.
Amen!  Alleluia!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

"I arose from the dead and am still with you, alleluia!"

I am still with thee.  Centuries cannot separate us.  My action on thy soul is as real as upon Magdalen's.  It is I who say to thee: Thy sins are forgiven thee, go in peace.  It is I who come to thee on Easter morning and expect thy welcome; who call thee by name and listen for thy "Rabboni!"  I took to myself all the affection of that ardent heart.  I want and ask for thine.
Earthly loss troubles thee.  By death, by distance, by estrangement, friends fall away from thy side, and the sense of loneliness deepens -- be comforted.  I am still with thee.  Vague fears cloud thy soul and make thee ill at ease in My Presence, fears that elude scrutiny with their importunity -- Fear not, I am still with thee.
~Mother Mary Loyola in With the Church, Vol. 1 
My Lord and my All!
My King and my God!
Jesus, my mercy and my joy!
I give You my heart and fear not
for You are risen indeed and still with me!
Amen!  Alleluia!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Sing joyfully to God, all the earth! Ps 98:4

An Easter Carol by Christina Rossetti

Spring bursts to-day,
For Christ is risen and all the earth’s at play.

Flash forth, thou Sun,
The rain is over and gone, its work is done.

Winter is past,
Sweet Spring is come at last, is come at last.

Bud, Fig and Vine,
Bud, Olive, fat with fruit and oil and wine.

Break forth this morn
In roses, thou but yesterday a Thorn.

Uplift thy head,
O pure white Lily through the Winter dead.

Beside your dams
Leap and rejoice, you merry-making Lambs.

All Herds and Flocks
Rejoice, all Beasts of thickets and of rocks.

Sing, Creatures, sing,
Angels and Men and Birds and everything.

All notes of Doves
Fill all our world: this is the time of loves.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Feast of the Annunciation

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
~Luke 1:26-28

The Angel said, "Nothing is impossible to God."  Mary could understand this, she knew it.  She knew it because she lived it.  She was surprised at nothing, prepared for everything.  She lived in a state of continual wonder at the all-loving power of God.  It was precisely because she dared to believe that she dared to give up everything, or rather that it never occurred to her to let herself be bound by anything.  Mary was ready for anything because she had given all.  She had established herself resolutely in those serene regions where love victorious reigns.  With a daring greater than that of all the conquerors put together, she had fixed her gaze on the summit of the heavens, and all her life she was illuminated by the light of certainty.

She became Mother of the Word Incarnate, and her Son would be called the Son of the Most High, and he would reign on the throne of David and of his kingdom there would be no end.  She put herself wholly into this perspective of final, absolute triumph, and we see her always in a golden light.  She believed, not with a timid faith in tune with the weaknesses and vicissitudes of our present life, but with a faith in harmony with the awesome ardors of the infinite.  She had seen the reign of the Spirit of her Son, and in her serenity she was in no need of patience while waiting till the sparks led at last to the blaze of glory.

~Mother Marie des Douleurs on the Annunciation

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Divine Mercy Sunday

Once you were no people
but now you are God’s people;
you had not received mercy
but now you have received mercy.
~1 Peter 2:10

Divine Mercy
greatest attribute of God
incomprehensible mystery
fount gushing forth from the bosom of the Father
from which wells forth all life and happiness
source of miracles and wonders
encompassing the whole universe
which flowed out from the open wound of the Heart of Jesus
enclosed in the Heart of Jesus for us
unfathomed in the institution of the Sacred Host
accompanying us every moment of our life
lifting us out of every misery
source of our happiness and joy
calling us forth from nothingness to existence
embracing all the works of His hands
crown of all God's handiwork
in which we are all immersed
sweet relief for anguished souls
repose of hearts, peace amidst fear
delight and ecstasy of holy souls
Jesus, I trust in You!

~St. Maria Faustina
Divine Mercy in My Soul, #949