Most Precious Blood of Jesus, may we obtain from You the grace to forgive others as You have forgiven us. May we not hold any resentment, may we forgive and forget…
by Pope Pius XII, Dear Newlyweds
As you know, dear sons and daughters, in the month of July the Church especially honors the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and in her liturgical prayer she implores the heavenly Father, “who constituted His only-begotten Son as Redeemer of the world and wished to be placated by His Blood,” to make us feel Its beneficial effect.
For the mystery of this Divine Blood shed so generously is as inexhaustible as its source, and meditation upon the redemptive work—that is to say, of the most magnanimous of pardons—is more helpful and opportune now than ever.
Down through the centuries there has been seen in the visible world the terrifying sight not only of stains but even torrents of blood which spilled over ruined cities and devastated countrysides. Now blood shed by violence all too often breeds bitterness, and bitterness of the human heart is like a deep abyss which opens into another, just as one great wave follows another and one great calamity leads to another.
On the other hand, look for a moment upon the world of souls. Here too rivers of Blood are flowing, but this Blood shed for love brings with it only pardon of wrongs. The Heart of the Man-God from which It pours is also an abyss—Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtue—but an abyss of virtue which in the depths of hearts calls only unto another abyss of sweetness and compassion.
Since Christ offered His Blood for humanity, whoever believes in Him is immersed in an ocean of goodness and breathes in an atmosphere of pardon.
Have you ever seen the earth refreshed by a sudden shower towards sunset on a sultry summer day? Within a few moments cascades of water cool off the soil in the mountains and in the valleys; when the air begins to clear again and while the rainbow stretches its seven-colored ribbon across still gray skies, there rises from the humid ground a mist sweetened with the scent of growing things, like the warm breath of a great living organism eager to expand.
In this perfume of water, Job tells us, the withered tree which seemed dead renews hope and soon reacquires the tresses of its foliage.
This is a weak comparison to the benefits which fecundate the earth under the torrents of redemptive Blood. If the floodgates of heaven, open for forty days, were enough to submerge the earth, why would not the Divine Blood pouring forth for nineteen centuries from the Heart of Jesus on thousands of altars have inundated and almost impregnated the world of souls?
Perhaps David had this beneficial effusion in mind when he spoke of an abundant rain reserved by God for his descendants. Rain, the essential condition for fertility in Palestine and God’s great reward for the observance of His commandments, symbolizes in this way, however imperfectly, the regeneration of the human race through the Blood of Christ.
On the other hand, it would certainly not be accurate to believe that the Old Testament had not already taught forgiveness of offenses. We can find there much wise and valuable counsel on this subject, especially for you, dear newlyweds. “Remember not any injury done thee by thy neighbor,” says Ecclesiasticus (10:6); and to forget them is sometimes even more difficult than to pardon them.
Pardon them, therefore, first of all, and God will give you the grace to forget. But above all else, put aside the desire for revenge which Our Lord strongly condemned even in the old law: “Seek not revenge, nor be mindful of the injury of thy citizens” (Lev. 19:18).
In other words, one might say today: Guard against displays of resentment towards your neighbors—that family which lives above or under or just opposite you, that property owner with whom you have a common wall, that businessman who is your competitor, that relative whose conduct embarrasses you.
Holy Scripture even warns us: “Say not: I will do to him as he hath done to me; I will render to everyone according to his work” (Prov. 24:29). “He that seeketh to revenge himself, shall find vengeance from the Lord, and he will surely keep his sins in remembrance” (Ecclus. 28:1).
Indeed, how foolish for rancor to be found in a sinful soul, itself in such need of pardon! The sacred writer highlighted this sharp contrast: “Man to man reserveth anger, and doth he seek remedy of God? He hath no mercy on a man like himself, and doth he entreat for his sins?” (Ecclus. 28:3-4).
Above all, since the new covenant between God and man was sealed by the Blood of Jesus Christ, the law of unremitting pardon and of changing rancor into love has become a general one.
“Peter,” responded Jesus to the Apostle who asked him, not “seven times (must you pardon your brother) but seventy times seven” (Mt. 18:22), that is to say, the Christian must be ready without limitation or end to forgive offenses received from his neighbor.
And the Divine Master taught further: “And when you stand up to pray, forgive whatever you have against anyone, that your father in heaven may also forgive you your offenses” (Mk. 11:25).
And it is not enough merely not to return evil for evil. “You have heard,” Jesus added, “that it was said: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor and shalt hate thy enemy.’ But I say to you: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Mt. 5:43-44).
This is the Christian doctrine of love and forgiveness, a doctrine that at times requires grave sacrifices.
In these very days, for example, there is a danger that for many persons the noble and legitimate feeling of love for one’s country may degenerate into vindictive passion, into insatiable pride on the part of some or incurable resentment on the part of others.
A Christian, loyally and courageously defending his native land, must nevertheless refrain from hating those whom he is obliged to combat. One sees on the battlefield those attached to the medical service, nurses and corpsmen, generously expending themselves upon the cure of the sick and wounded without distinction as to nationality.
But must men reach the very threshold of death before they recognize that they are brothers? This admirable, but rather delayed, charity is not enough; by meditating on the Gospel and practicing it, Christian peoples must at last acquire a sense of the brotherhood which unites them in a common redemption through the merits of the Blood of Jesus Christ and in this very Blood, which has become their drink, find strength, at times even heroic, for mutual pardon (which does not exclude the re-establishment of justice or of rights violated), without which a true and lasting peace will never be possible.
But we wish to turn our thoughts back to you, dear newlyweds. In the journey which you have just undertaken will you not perhaps one day have to practice this forgetting of wrongs in a measure which some consider above human capacity?
Such a case, although fortunately rare among husbands and wives who are truly Christian, is not impossible, since the world and the devil attack the heart whose impulses are very hasty and assail the flesh which is weak.
But without going to these extremes, in ordinary daily life how many minor disagreements, how many slight clashes there are which can create a latent, sorrowful state of aversion between husbands and wives if a remedy is not found at once!
Then too, between parents and children. Though authority is to be upheld and rights respected, though it is to be sustained by warnings or reprimand, or even when necessary by punishment, how deplorable it would be for a father or a mother to display even the least sign of resentment or personal revenge! Frequently this is enough to crush or destroy all confidence and filial affection in the hearts of children.
Dear sons and daughters, you should be ready every day to forgive wrongs received in family or social life, as indeed every day you will repeat on your knees before the image of the Crucified One, “Our Father…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Mt. 6:12).
And if you do not see Christ visibly bow His Head towards you with a smile, His Brow crowned with thorns, you will know nevertheless, and you will believe with strong faith and absolute loyalty, that from the Divine Fountain, from the Hands and Feet of Jesus Our Savior, above all from His Heart, always open to you, the redemptive Blood will shed Its forgiving stream as fully on your souls as you yourselves have generously pardoned others.
“It is difficult for a child to be better than his home environment or for a nation to be superior to the level of its home life. In fulfilling its double purpose – the generation and formation of children – the home becomes a little world in itself, self-sufficient even in its youngest years. It is vital that you, as a mother or father, make of your home a training ground in character-building for your children, who will inherit the world’s problems. Home is a place in which the young grow in harmony with all that is good and noble, where hardship, happiness, and work are shared.” – Father Lawrence G. Lovasik, Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2sDb6hw (afflink)
Penal Rosaries! Penal rosaries and crucifixes have a wonderful story behind them. They were used during the times when religious objects were forbidden and it was illegal to be Catholic. Being caught with a rosary could mean imprisonment or worse. A penal rosary is a single decade with the crucifix on one end and, oftentimes, a ring on the other. When praying the penal rosary you would start with the ring on your thumb and the beads and crucifix of the rosary in your sleeve, as you moved on to the next decade you moved the ring to your next finger and so on and so forth. This allowed people to pray the rosary without the fear of being detected. Available here.
Here, Baroness Maria Augusta Trapp tells in her own beautiful, simple words the extraordinary story of her romance with the baron, their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, and their life in America.
Now with photographs from the original edition.
Most people only know the young Maria from The Sound of Music; few realize that in subsequent years, as a pious wife and a seasoned Catholic mother, Maria gave herself unreservedly to keeping her family Catholic by observing in her home the many feasts of the Church’s liturgical year, with poems and prayers, food and fun, and so much more!
- Warm up with this delicious assortment of autumn inspired teas
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