There is still something more thrilling that should fill us to overflowing with love for God, viz., that God loves us with a personal, intimate, unbounded love.
This glorious truth escapes many otherwise good Catholics. Either they do not know it or they do not grasp it.
The certainty that the great God of Heaven and Earth loves me with a tender, affectionate love fills my soul with delight.
A husband finds immense happiness in the love of his dear wife. A friend prizes most highly the friendship of a true friend.
Were a powerful prince or king to offer us his friendship and esteem, we should look on ourselves as very fortunate.
But the Omnipotent God offers us His friendship and love, and we do not seem to accept it! What blindness, what appalling ignorance!
Our Lord offered Peter and John and Paul His love and friendship, and they accepted it. What happiness was not theirs! They became His great Apostles. He is offering it to us every day in the most pressing way. Why do we not accept it!? What happiness are we not losing?
Let us convince ourselves that God is our dearest Friend, our most loving Father. Let us try to bring home to ourselves this wonderful truth.
Has He not commanded us to call Him every day, “Our Father”?
He means it. He asks for our love. He does not wait to love us in Heaven; He loves us now on Earth and wishes to be loved in return by us.
IN A WORD
To love God is to be saint, and the more we love God, the greater saints we shall be.
There is nothing easier than to love the God of infinite goodness and sweetness, the God who loves us with a personal, intimate, infinite love.
We shall most certainly love God if in all our prayers we ask Him for His blessed love.
If we know God, we must love Him. Therefore, we must do all we can to know God and fully to understand all the wonderful things that He has done for us.
October – Month of the Holy Rosary…
“Men of Galilee, why stand here looking heavenwards?“
The apostles stood on Olivet, eyes wide open, their gaze turned heavenward, their hearts beating hard. Jesus had just vanished from their sight above the silvery cloud that shimmered in the radiance of His glory. He had come to earth as a helpless Child; now He was returning to His Father’s house as the world’s Redeemer.
The little group on Olivet stood in silent, joyful prayer, their hearts ascending with Him. Heaven was reflected in their eyes – until an Angel’s chiding words brought them hurriedly down to earth.
Nothing succeeds like failure. Christ’s cross was the price of His glorious Ascension. That is why the angel sent the apostles back to the city – to suffer for Christ.
A lesson for me!
“We often live with this illusion. With the impression that all would go better, we would like the things around us to change, that the circumstances would change. But this is often an error. It is not the exterior circumstances that must change; it is above all our hearts that must change.” –Fr. Jacques Philippe, Searching For and Maintaining Peace
Do you need some good reading suggestions? Visit My Book List!
St. Paul is the great master of the spiritual life. No one can teach us better than he how to become a saint. Here are his very words: “Whatever you do in word or work, do all in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Lest we may think that the Apostle is speaking only of offering our spiritual acts to God, he goes into particulars and says: “Whether you eat or whether you drink, or whatever else you do, do all for Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There are no acts more material, more necessary, than eating and drinking. Therefore, St. Paul mentions these to show us that we must do everything for the love of God.
Take these words, Dear Reader, as directed to yourself by the Apostle, and you have at once another great secret of sanctity. To do this, it is not necessary to add one iota to your prayers or devotions; you have merely to form the intention of offering your every action for the love of God. This makes your every work meritorious.
All your acts give pleasure and glory to God. It does not matter whether you succeed or fail in your enterprises; your acts have the same merit. Thus, the countless acts of every day are pleasing God and earning for us rewards for all eternity.
On the other hand, if we neglect to follow this rule of the Apostle, all our acts are worthless. We deprive ourselves of wonderful rewards, and we rob God of His glory and pleasure. Think for a moment on the long lives of 50, 60, 70 years, every day of which is full of energy and activities—but all are lost if we do not offer them to God!
Do not think, Dear Reader, that what St. Paul recommends is impracticable or impossible, a thing that only Saints can do. There is no difficulty whatever in offering our acts to God, and there is nothing more consoling, nothing more meritorious. HOW TO GIVE EVERY ACTION THIS INESTIMABLE VALUE
The first act of every good Christian in the morning is to fall on his knees and make his Morning Offering. It can be done in this wise:
“Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the most pure hands of Mary, I offer Thee all the prayers, works and sufferings, all the actions of this day and of all my life, in union with the Masses being offered all over the world, for the intentions of Thy Sacred Heart and for the Apostleship of Prayer. Every breath I draw, every beating of my heart, every glance of my eyes, every step I take, every single act I do, I wish to be an act of love for Thee.”
This little act takes one minute, but it must be done slowly and with full deliberation. We must mean what we say. It is a short act, but it gives immense value to every action.
Our every act, as a consequence, gives glory to God and receives a distinct reward in Heaven. This offering has still more value if, from time to time during the day, we renew it by saying briefly: “All for You, dear Lord.” Who can be so foolish as to neglect this sacred obligation, yet many make the act in a careless, distracted fashion. Some do not make it at all!
All the saints and holy writers attach the gravest importance to the Morning Offering.
Every morning, we may be tempted to put off our prayers until “later” or skip them altogether because we have much to do and action is where it is at. If we allow the devil to win in this very first struggle of the day, he will win many more of the battles throughout the day. Our Morning Prayers, whether they be said while nursing a baby or changing a diaper, need to be a priority and the very foundation of our daily life.
Why did the Saints love to pray? Just because they knew and they felt that they were talking to God. Therefore, far from being wearisome it was an immense joy for them to pray…
Do you need some good reading suggestions? Visit My Book List here.
A solemn reminder of the consequences of our thoughts, words and deeds. But, on the flip side, to realize that every, even seemingly little, effort we make for the love of God, is used for our eternal welfare.
Many people are afraid of doing what is hard and difficult, but surely no one is so foolish and weak as to refuse to do what is easy and pleasant, when by doing so he can reap great and lasting benefits. No one hesitates to give a penny if in exchange he gets a pound; no one will refuse to dig a little in his garden if he is sure of finding there a great treasure.
Yet all of us have treasures within easy reach if only we know how and where to find them…
Few Christians know the extraordinary value of small things. Our Lord told St. Bridget and many others of His saints that our holiness and happiness consist in small things, even as the vast ocean consists of many little drops of water.
God may never ask us to do what is hard and heroic, but He does ask us every day to do countless simple and easy things. If we do these well—and nothing is easier—we shall soon attain to great holiness and also great happiness.
We shall now see: First, the malice of one bad thought or act and what awful chastisements it deserves.
Secondly, the value of one good act—great, or small—and the eternal rewards it merits.
Thirdly, we shall point out a hundred little acts that we can perform every day with the greatest ease and pleasure, which will obtain for us unspeakably great rewards if only we do them as we ought to.
The Malice of One Bad Act
It was one act that plunged millions and millions of God’s glorious angels into Hell for all eternity! One act! It was one act, apparently very small, viz., eating an apple, that has filled the world with sorrow and suffering for all these thousands of years and sent millions of men to Hell.
Had Adam and Eve not eaten that apple, they and we—that is, all the human race—would never have suffered the smallest pain!
Remark well, dear reader, that the punishment with which God visited these sins was not in any way excessive. God could never punish sin too much, never more than the sin by its awful malice fully deserved.
The punishment is what the malice of the sin demanded. Therefore, we see what awful malice one small act can have in itself and what terrible chastisements it brings with it.
Someone may be inclined to think that these two cases are exceptional. They are nothing of the kind. Millions of men and women are every day committing mortal sins, and millions of men and women like ourselves are falling into Hell, just as the fallen angels did.
A mortal sin may be a bad thought, a word, or an act done in a moment. Yet it has in itself dreadful malice. Venial sins, too, may be very grave, and because of their malice may be punished by long years in the fires of Purgatory. Yet people commit so many venial sins every day.
They shall have to give an account in the fires of Purgatory for each and every idle thought, word or act they may have committed, and they shall not leave these fires until they shall have paid the last farthing. These are the words of Our Lord Himself.
THE VALUE OF GOOD ACTS
On the other hand, let us clearly understand that as every evil act, great or small, is in itself vicious and brings us such dire chastisement, so every good act has in itself an immense value and will bring with it a corresponding weight of glory in Heaven.
The Good Thief on the cross had led a life of great crime and wickedness, and confessed that he richly deserved the awful death of crucifixion, yet by one short act of sorrow: “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom,” he obtained full pardon for all his sins and merited to hear from Our Lord these wondrous words: “This day wilt thou be with Me in Paradise.” Moreover, he became a saint and is known as St. Dismas.
The Poor Publican, weighed down with the heavy burden of many and grievous sins, was so conscious of his guilt that he dared not approach the holy part of the Temple, but fell on his knees, struck his breast, bowed his head and said these few words: “God, have pity on me, a sinner.” By this simple act he received complete pardon for all his sins!
The Widow’s Mite
One day Our Blessed Lord was in the Temple on a feast day, and the princes of the people and the great and wealthy Jews came and cast rich alms into the treasury of the Temple. At last a poor widow came and cast her mite, all she could afford, into the alms-box.
Our Lord, who observed all that had passed, turned to His Apostles and said: “That poor woman has given more than all the rest.”
It is not the act—it is the intention of the giver that gives value to the action. Again, one may say that these are exceptional cases, but we answer, by no means. Similar rewards are being given every day for like small acts.
Any alms we give, no matter how small, and no matter to whom it is given, for love of God, will have a reward just as if we gave it to God Himself!
This He makes most abundantly clear, for He says: “When the good shall appear before Me, I will say to them: Come, ye blessed of My Father, take possession of the Kingdom prepared for you, for when I was hungry you gave Me to eat, when I was thirsty you gave Me to drink, when I was naked you clothed Me. “
And they will answer: “But Lord, we never had the happiness of seeing You, of giving You to eat, or to drink, or of clothing You.”
I will reply: “Every time you gave it to the least of My little ones, you gave it to Me.
I will say to the wicked: Begone, ye accursed of My Father, for when I was hungry you gave Me not to eat, when thirsty you gave Me not to drink, when naked you did not clothe Me.”
And they will say: But Lord, we never saw You on earth, we never refused to give You to eat, to give You to drink, to clothe You. And I will say: Each time you refused it to the least of My poor, you refused it to Me. Begone from Me forever.”
Even if we give a cup of cold water to a poor man in God’s name, we shall have an eternal reward. That, too, is Christ’s promise.
These promises are amply verified in the lives of the Saints, for many times when they gave alms to the poor, Our Lord revealed to them that He considered the alms as given to Himself.
St. Martin, when a soldier and not yet a Christian, once gave half his military cloak to a poor man, as he had nothing else with him at the moment to give. That night Our Lord appeared to him clad in the cloak and said: “Martin the Catechumen gave Me this cloak.”
Bl. Jordan of Saxony, a student in the University of Bologne, was once accosted by a beggar who asked him to give him something for the love of God. Jordan, who had nothing else at the moment to give, took off a most valuable girdle encrusted with precious stones which he wore, and gave it to the mendicant.
A few moments after he entered a church, and to his amazement, saw his girdle buckled around the waist of the figure of Christ on the Cross! Jordan became a great saint, the successor of St. Dominic as General of the Dominican Order, and one of the most zealous apostles of his time.
John Gualbert, a Florentine nobleman, pardoned a man who had murdered his brother because the murderer asked him to do so for the love of Jesus. Entering a church immediately afterwards, he knelt at the feet of the crucifix.
Our Lord looked at him with infinite sweetness and bowed His head most lovingly toward him. John, filled with divine grace, became a saint and a founder of a religious Order.
St. Anthony of the desert, when still a rich young man in the world, once heard a sermon with great attention. As a result of that sermon he became not only a saint, but the father and model of saints.
St. Ignatius became a saint by reading one good book.
Blessed Imelda became a saint by one Holy Communion.
Peter Damian, a poor boy, once found a silver coin, and not being able to discover its owner, asked the parish priest to say Mass for his intention. This was indeed, a brave act, the poor boy needed many things. So pleased was God with this act that Peter became a bishop, a cardinal, a saint and Doctor of the Church.
So we, too, can gain immense rewards by doing small things.
“Many times God allows it to be hard to pray, simply to school us in applying our wills, to teach us that the value of prayer does not depend on the amount of emotion we can whip up. So when ‘Time for prayers’ is greeted with moans and groans, it’s time to explain that saying prayers when you least want to, simply because you love God and have a kind of dry respect and a sense of obedience, is to gain the greatest merit for them. Many times the saints had trouble getting excited about prayers, but they said them, because prayers were due and their value had nothing to do with how eagerly they went about saying them.” -Mary Reed Newland, How to Raise Good Catholic Children http://amzn.to/2snNxN7 (afflink)
On this Feast of Pentecost: “I consecrate myself entirely to You; invade me, take me, possess me wholly. Be the penetrating light which illumines my intellect, the gentle motion which attracts and directs my will, the supernatural energy which gives energy to my body. Complete in me Your work of sanctification and love. Make me pure, transparent, simple, true, free, peaceful, gentle, calm, serene even in suffering, and burning with charity toward God and my neighbor.” – Divine Intimacy
We here deal with the most important subject of our lives, viz., daily meditation. Many Catholics do not even know that they are bound to meditate! Our Lord Himself tells us why so few become holy, why so few become saints.
“The whole world,” He says, “is gone astray because no one thinks in his heart.” Remark the words of Our Lord, “No one thinks in his heart,” that is, no one bothers to understand, to realize, to grasp in all their fullness the wonderful, the most consoling truths of our Religion. Willful blindness!
As we have already said, God has given us a most lovely Religion, which He made expressly to help us, to console us, to make us happy. It is not a difficult Religion, made only for saints. It was made for us, poor sinners, to strengthen our poor weak natures, to console these hearts of ours which are thirsting for peace and happiness.
This Religion, if only properly understood, will help us to overcome all our sins, all our defects, and it will make us solidly happy and really holy. How is it that we do not understand this?
Simply because we neglect our great duty of daily meditation, and therefore our ideas are vague and hazy and of little or no use to us.
One clear idea is worth a thousand hazy ones. The easiest and best way—the only way—to have clear ideas is to make a short daily meditation.
Meditation does not consist in thinking all the time. We read a little, think a little, and make short little acts, as we shall now explain. Nothing is easier.
WHY MUST WE MAKE MEDITATION
First of all, every Catholic should make daily meditation. St. Teresa says that the person who does not meditate needs no devil to throw him into Hell; he is going there himself.
Second. Meditation is by no means hard to make, if only we learn how to make it, and this presents no difficulty.
Third. If we do not meditate, we never see our faults, and so we never correct them.
Fourth. If we do not meditate, we can form no idea of the malice of sin, and as a consequence, we do not feel sorry for it; we do not avoid it.
Fifth. If we do not meditate, we do not see the awful danger we are in of falling into Hell. For this reason, thousands of men and women—men and women like ourselves—are falling into Hell every day.
Sixth. If we do not meditate, we do not prepare for death; we are afraid of death; we are afraid to think of it. That is just the reason why so many have bad deaths. Those who know how to meditate on death are no longer afraid of it, and moreover, they are sure to have happy deaths. “Think of your last end and you shall never sin,” are God’s own words.
Seventh. The greatest happiness anyone can have on this earth is to have a good friend, a true friend, a friend who can and is ready to help him. God is really and truly our Friend in the truest sense of that word. He is our most loving Father, a most tender Father. Never was there a father or mother on this Earth who loved a child as God loves us. The day we understand this truth will be the happiest day of our lives. We must always think of God as a God of tenderest love. Then we must love Him.
The only reason why we do not love God is that we do not meditate; we do not see how good God is; we do not pray to God to help us to love Him. If we do not meditate, we shall never see how good, how sweet God is; we shall never be holy, and we shall never be happy.
Why do so few go to daily Mass? Mass has exactly the same value as the Death of Christ on Mount Calvary. Why do they not go frequently to Holy Communion, which is the greatest grace God can give them? Why do they not enjoy Holy Communion?
Why do they not visit God in the Blessed Sacrament, though they pass the open door of the church so often, perhaps many times a day? They lose all these helps, all these consolations, all the strength, all the happiness God offers them simply because they do not make daily meditation.
Meditation is so important that nothing can take its place. It is not in itself as holy an act as Mass or Holy Communion, but it is more important because we cannot hear Mass properly nor receive Holy Communion devoutly unless we meditate.
We cannot pray as we should; in fact, we can do nothing well unless we meditate. All the vocal prayers we can say will not take the place of meditation.
Everyone must banish the thought that meditation is difficult or disagreeable. That is the great temptation of the devil and is an utterly false idea. We repeat that meditation is easy, is pleasant and brings us graces and blessings that we other-wise shall never get. Every Catholic is bound to meditate.
AN EASY WAY TO MEDITATE
Here is a simple and easy method of meditation, which all may use with advantage.
a) As we said when speaking of reading, we must choose for the purpose of meditation a book that we like, that suits us, that has a personal appeal to us. Each one chooses the book he likes best.
b) We begin our meditation by praying to the Holy Spirit for light and guidance. For ordinary Christians a very easy and beautiful prayer to the Holy Spirit is the Third Glorious Mystery of the Rosary. This in itself is a little meditation.
We see how timid, how fearful the Apostles were, how rude, how slow in understanding Our Lord’s teaching; above all how weak they were even after Christ’s Resurrection.
They remained ten days waiting and praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit. They had the doors closed in fear of the Jews. Then the Holy Spirit descended on them, resting in the form of fiery tongues over their heads and gave them all His gifts and graces. They were completely changed.
No longer afraid, they went into the midst of their enemies and preached Jesus, the Son of God, whom these had crucified. They were no longer rude and ignorant, but full of wisdom and knowledge.
They confounded the philosophers of Greece and Rome, they feared neither sufferings nor tortures, and were even pleased to suffer for the Name of Jesus.
These men who had been so timid, so rude, so weak were now able to convert the world. This lesson is most encouraging, for we see what we too can do with the help of God, no matter how weak we are.
c) After saying this Mystery fervently, let us take up our book and read a little—slowly, carefully, attentively, turning over in our minds the meaning of what we have read, applying the lesson to ourselves.
Then we pray, asking God to help us to understand what we have read. Again we read a little, and pray a little, a second, a third time, each time applying the truth to ourselves.
d) Then we make a practical resolution, which we must bear in mind during the day.
e) Lastly, we must pray fervently to God to pardon our past faults and give us strength to avoid them in the future. What could be easier?
THE RESULTS OF MEDITATION
Meditation is like a kind and good friend who teaches us, advises us, encourages us. This friend is in reality the Holy Ghost, who enlightens our understanding and strengthens our wills and gives us His graces and gifts, as He gave them to the Apostles.
We see our defects and humbly ask God to pardon us. We consider God’s love and earnestly ask Him to make us love Him more and more. We see how blind we have been in the past regarding the truths of our Holy Religion. We beg the Holy Spirit to help us to understand Our Dear Lord’s wonderful teaching.
Meditation made in this way is very easy and of the greatest importance. It is a grave obligation. Only those who are very ignorant are excused from meditation.
Charity towards your neighbor, tolerance for his opinions, indulgence for his defects, compassion for his errors, yes; but no cowardly and guilty concessions to human respect. Never allow fear of the ridicule or contempt of men to make you blush for your faith. -Light and Peace, Quadrupani https://amzn.to/2FZ6Ima (afflink)
Coloring pages for your children….
Do you need some good reading suggestions? Visit My Book List here.
St. Augustine was one of the greatest geniuses that ever lived. Unfortunately, he was plunged for many years in error and vice. One of the chief means which made him a great saint was the reading of a good book, the life of St. Antony of the Desert.
St. Ignatius was a rough soldier, trained in the camp and not given much to piety, yet by reading one book he became the great saint that he is. He himself has written a book, The Spiritual Exercises, which has converted and sanctified thousands of its readers.
St. John Columbini was a very lax and indifferent Christian. Dinner was delayed one day, and he became very irritated. His wife offered him a book to amuse him until such time as dinner was served. Glancing at the title and seeing that it was a pious book, he flung it on the floor in a fury.
Regretting this insult to his wife, he picked it up sat down and began to read it. So great was the impression it made on him that he changed his whole life and became a saint.
La Harpe taught the most impious doctrines, which he published in books very cleverly written, causing great harm to his readers. He was thrown into prison, where the solitude proved almost intolerable.
He found a pious book, which, though far from his liking, he read for amusement. Gradually, he became engrossed in it and read chapter after chapter. He was completely converted.
On leaving the prison, he dedicated the rest of his life to writing charming books, in a noble effort to undo all the mischief he had formerly done.
One of the gravest problems that defied the ablest American statesmen for many years was abolition of slavery. Congress after Congress, Administration after Administration came and went in the effort to help the unfortunate slaves.
Finally, a lady writer published a book, the story of a poor slave, which aroused the indignation of all who read it. This book made it feasible for the government to abolish slavery forever in the United States and to set free the millions of slaves who were held in cruel bondage.
A good book that appeals to us is the best and most powerful of preachers. It enlightens us, it stimulates us, it consoles us. We ourselves see every day the wonderful results obtained by the reading of even short, pithy pamphlets.
A celebrated London barrister, himself a convert, distributes small pamphlets, leaving them in trams and trains, on benches in the parks or streets. By this means he has done considerable good. We shall mention one case.
Returning home after a busy day, he put one of these leaflets on a railing in front of a house. A Protestant policeman seeing it, put it in his pocket and went home. As a result of reading it, he and all his family became fervent Catholics.
Frank Estis, a young American officer, wounded in the War, found the long hours in bed so tiresome that he asked his friends to bring him something to read. They brought Catholic magazines, which were eagerly read, not only by Frank but by all the men in the hospital ward.
At the end of eight months, he was able to count on many conversions of Protestants and lapsed Catholics!
On leaving the hospital, he and some others began to visit the hospitals, prisons of the city, the houses of the poor, and they now count hundreds of conversions every year.
It is then sheer madness for Catholics not to give ten or fifteen minutes every day to reading some good book. No one should dareto dispense himself from this imperative duty.
St. Dominic, great saint as he was, though constantly preaching, and spending whole nights in prayer, yet found time to read assiduously the lives of the Saints.
St. Thomas of Aquinas, a prodigy of learning and sanctity, did likewise and found his delights in such reading. And so, too, did all the Saints.
Good reading is so pleasant and easy a way of reaching an eminent degree of sanctity that it commends itself to everyone.
“The bone-dry definitions in the catechism are as essential as the recipe for the cake, but if we put them together with imagination and enthusiasm, and add love and experience, then set them afire with the teaching of Christ, His stories, His life, the Old Testament as well as the New, and the lives of the saints, we can make the study of catechism a tremendous adventure.” -Mary Reed Newland, http://amzn.to/2wSJI3w
“In With God in Russia, Ciszek reflects on his daily life as a prisoner, the labor he endured while working in the mines and on construction gangs, his unwavering faith in God, and his firm devotion to his vows and vocation. Enduring brutal conditions, Ciszek risked his life to offer spiritual guidance to fellow prisoners who could easily have exposed him for their own gains. He chronicles these experiences with grace, humility, and candor, from his secret work leading mass and hearing confessions within the prison grounds, to his participation in a major gulag uprising, to his own “resurrection”—his eventual release in a prisoner exchange in October 1963 which astonished all who had feared he was dead.
Powerful and inspirational, With God in Russia captures the heroic patience, endurance, and religious conviction of a man whose life embodied the Christian ideals that sustained him.”
“He Leadeth Me is a deeply personal story of one man’s spiritual odyssey and the unflagging faith which enabled him to survive the ordeal that wrenched his body and spirit to near collapse. Captured by a Russian army during World War II and convicted of being a “Vatican spy,” Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek spent some 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia. Learning to accept even the inhuman work of toiling in the infamous Siberian salt mines as a labor pleasing to God, he was able to turn the adverse forces of circumstance into a source of positive value and a means of drawing closer to the compassionate and never-forsaking Divine Spirit. He Leadeth Me is a book to inspire all Christians to greater faith and trust in God—even in their darkest hour. For, as the author asks, “What can ultimately trouble the soul that accepts every moment of every day as a gift from the hands of God and strives always to do his will?”
Another easy and effective way of arriving at an eminent degree of holiness is spiritual reading. We have pointed out that the reason for so little sanctity in many souls is not weakness or malice, but ignorance.
Spiritual reading dispels this ignorance and helps us to feel all the charm and consolation of God’s blessed love.
Every Catholic should without fail make spiritual reading daily for ten or fifteen minutes. The neglect of this duty is disastrous.
To derive benefit from our reading, we must observe the following rules, which will not only secure satisfactory results but will make our reading attractive and a real pleasure. Read books that appeal to you. It is of elementary prudence to choose proper books, for not every good and excellent book suits all readers.
It must be our aim to find a book or books that make an appeal to us personally, that will grip our attention and act as a driving force, a stimulant to our energies.
Pray before reading. Next, it is well to say a short prayer, one Hail Mary, before commencing our reading, asking Our Blessed Lady to help us to understand what we are reading and to put it into practice.
St. Thomas Aquinas told his fellow Dominican, Father Reginald, that he got his great treasures of knowledge more by prayer than by study.
Read your book not once but many times. It is a fatal mistake to read a book quickly or to read it only once. That produces very little good. We must not read a spiritual book as we read a romance.
However well-written a book may be, the truths it presents are so great that our poor weak minds only succeed in grasping them little by little.
It may treat of the first of all truths, viz., the love of God. Nothing seems easier to understand than that, yet daily experience shows how very vaguely and insufficiently this wonderful doctrine is grasped and, as a consequence, how very little God is loved.
One book read slowly does us more good than a hundred read hurriedly. One fact, one conversation, one little story has often changed the whole tenor of a man’s life.
The following incidents related to the writer by a dear old priest show that even what appears at first sight trivial may exercise a lasting impression on one’s conduct.
“When a student in college,” he told me, “my confessor kindly gave me some advice one day in recreation. It seemed simplicity itself, yet that advice has given me the most profound consolation all the long years of my life and has moreover enabled me to give similar consolation to the souls of many who have consulted me.
“A second incident was my hearing a short story about the Mass some months after my ordination. This left a vivid and indelible impression on me so that I have never celebrated the Holy Sacrifice without thinking of it, and as a result I enjoy deep devotion in saying every Mass.”
A third fact which this good priest mentioned is no less surprising. “A lady friend of mine once said to me, ‘I confess that I feel no special sympathy for your young curate. One thing, however, that he does impresses me very much. When he passes in front of the Altar of the Blessed Sacrament, he genuflects so reverently and looks with such devotion at the Tabernacle that it would seem as if he saw God.’
This remark was made to me thirty years ago, and never once since then have I myself passed in front of the Blessed Sacrament without imitating the example of my curate. This has given me a no-table increase of faith in the Real Presence.”
If then a short conversation, a little story, a few words of advice can make such a deep impression on one’s mind, a book is likely to make much more, for it may contain scores of such facts.
When St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus had become quite ill, she dragged herself with great effort to Church to receive Jesus. One morning, after Holy Communion, she was in her cell, exhausted. One of the sisters remarked that she should not exert herself so much. The Saint replied, “Oh, what are these sufferings to me in comparison with one daily Holy Communion!”— Something not permitted everywhere in her times. She ardently pleaded with Jesus: “Remain within me, as You do in the tabernacle. Do not ever withdraw Your presence from Your little host.” -Jesus Our Eucharistic Love https://amzn.to/2YKBYPX (afflink) , Painting from https://www.facebook.com/sanctuairetheresedelisieux/
Suffering is thought by many to be the great evil of life. Oh, if they could only avoid it!
All about suffering….
Our Lord has given us a most perfect redemption. He could have dispensed the law of suffering if He so willed. Why does God, being of infinite goodness and mercy, ask us to suffer? For the simple reason that suffering is a very great grace.
Our suffering is a share, a small but most valuable share, in the Passion of Our Dear Lord. It is priceless in value—if we only accept it and offer it in union with Christ’s Passion.
He has suffered unspeakable agonies for each one of us. Are we such arrant cowards as to refuse to suffer a little for Him? Continue reading →
Most men work seven, eight, ten hours a day, and some even more. This goes on for fifty, sixty or even seventy years. All these countless hours are, for many, completely lost! Also, work for some is irksome, especially when it does not bring in the desired profits. Others enjoy their work but never think of doing it for God, and they too lose the immense merits of all these long hours.
Everyone should bear in mind that work was expressly imposed on us by God as a penance for sin. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” (Gen. 3:19). If we work in this spirit, every moment of labor is a meritorious penance.
And when our work is not successful, we have the great consolation of knowing that it brings us a still greater reward because of the mortification resulting from our failure.
In our Morning Offering we should be careful to emphasize the words, “I offer all the work, all the actions of this day for the intentions of the Sacred Heart.”
Few Christians feel inclined to practice penance for their many sins. Consequently, their pains in Purgatory will be long and severe. If, however, we offer our life’s work, the work of every day, its weariness, worries and disappointments, we are doing excellent penance, the holiest we can perform, because it has been imposed by God Himself and we are doing it every day of our lives.
Moreover, our work, our every action, if done for God, will receive abundant rewards because they are acts of love. All these innumerable graces are utterly lost if we fail to do our work with the proper dispos-tions, viz., a) as acts of penance, b) as acts of love.
By making our Morning Offering with full deliberation, the countless acts of each day become acts of merit.
This is another all-important duty of our lives, one too which ought to inspire us with gratitude to God for the abundant and good food He gives us. Alas, eating is a duty which for many is not only devoid of merit but the occasion of many sins!
We should commence our meals by saying the usual short grace: “Bless us, 0 Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord. Amen,” asking God to bless us and the food and drink which we are about to consume. This blessing will certainly please God and give our food an additional nutritive value.
On one occasion wicked men sought to kill St. Benedict by offering him a glass of poisoned wine. The Saint, as was his wont, made the Sign of the Cross over the wine before tasting it; whereupon, the glass was shattered into pieces and the malice of his false friends made manifest.
Doctors assure us that much illness is caused by eating too much, by eating too hastily, and by eating what is not good for us. Many commit these faults, which are injurious to both soul and body.
A safe rule to follow is to arise from table before being fully satisfied, but rather with an inclination to eat more. Mr. Gladstone at the age of 80 declared that he attributed his great age and splendid health to the fact that he ate slowly, and carefully masticated his food.
Eminent doctors advise their patients to observe carefully what foods agree best with them and what are likely to do them harm, choosing the former and avoiding the latter. Those who follow this sage advice will enjoy good health and save themselves from many sins.
SOME ADDITIONAL HINTS
We are reminded by the bread we take and the meat we eat of the Heavenly Bread we have received so often in Holy Communion, and of the Flesh of Jesus Christ which we have eaten at the Sacred Table. This thought is a beautiful Spiritual Communion.
TWO LITTLE PRAYERS
“O My God, I offer Thee this act in union with Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit and in praise of Thine Eternal Majesty.”
This prayer, Our Lord assured St. Gertrude, gives indescribable value to any act we perform.
“O my God, I offer Thee the awful thirst Jesus Christ suffered in the Passion, His fast in the desert, His Divine moderation during His life on Earth.”
This prayer obtains pardon for any want of abstemiousness and for any gluttony in eating and drinking we may be guilty of.
Let us be content with the food which is placed before us. St. Paul’s words must be before our minds: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31).
We should not be unchristian in showing our dislike or discontent when our food is not just to our liking. If there is something very wrong with what is placed before us, then we may call attention to it courteously. We must eat as intelligent beings, not as animals.
Happy 5th Day of Christmas! “The childlike faith and hope of simple peasants found fulfillment in a Child. Christmas came rushing into their uneventful lives on the wings of an Infant’s smile, and the low-voiced gratitude of a mother welcoming these first Christmas guests who, in a beautiful single gesture, adored her Son and filled her day with the sweet fragrance of their Christmas greeting.” -Fr. Daniel A. Lord, Art by Donna Gelsinger, https://www.donagelsinger.com/
Join me as I read to you the beautiful meditations of the Christmas Child written by Father Daniel Lord in the 1950’s…
We gather in front of the Nativity to pray the beautiful Joyful Mysteries as we contemplate the Birth of Our Lord in the stable in Bethlehem. Come and join us as we pray the Family Rosary….
Do you wish to live a vibrant Catholic life? Father Paul O’Sullivan doesn’t pull any punches. He tells you, in a focused and potent format, how you can do just that. This is the second part to the article and there is more to come. Here is Part One.
We shall now consider the principal duties of the day, each in particular, and see how we may avoid the many grave faults commonly committed in their performance, and on the contrary, we shall see how we may derive from these same duties the very greatest graces.
These duties are Prayer, Work, Eating, Sleeping and Suffering.
Our first and most important prayer is the Morning Offering. Immediately on arising, we should fall on our knees and make this offering, slowly and deliberately, as already explained above.
Morning and evening prayers are most important factors in human life. Far from being a matter of minor importance, they are the most urgent of our daily obligations. If well said, they obtain for us all needful graces and protect us from the many evils that may be awaiting us in the course of the day. (See my post on Morning and Night Prayers for an easy-to-use format).
If badly said or omitted, we expose ourselves to grievous calamities. Many fall victims to disease or are killed by accidents or meet with premature deaths because they had not prayed.
There is certainly one peril that we have to face every day of our lives, which comes, as St. Peter and St. Paul warn us, from the fearful malice of the devil, who is ever using his keen angelic intelligence to work our ruin. We are as defenseless as children in his hands. Woe to us if we have not God’s help in this daily conflict with our implacable enemy!
That infallible help is obtained by prayer. Many Catholics seem to have little fear of the devil. They take no precautions against his attacks. He is the greatest evil and the most terrible danger that menaces us during all our life and most especially at the hour of death.
For this last moment he reserves his most awful attack. He hates us with a malignant hate, for we are destined to occupy the glorious throne in Heaven which he has lost. This thought lashes him into fury.
He has made a careful study of us and knows our every weakness; he notes our evil inclinations and when we are off our guard, as a result of having omitted our prayers, he redoubles his temptations.
Many fall in this unequal combat, and if death surprises them in this state, they are plunged into Hell for all eternity. Such is the oft-recurring story of thousands of lost souls. This fact alone should be enough to make us careful in saying our daily prayers well.
But there is a far more powerful incentive to make us love prayer, and this is that our prayers are the expression of our filial love for our dear Heavenly Father, they are our loving homage and adoration to our Creator.
Morning prayers as found in prayerbooks are five, viz., the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Apostles’ Creed, the Confiteor and Hail Holy Queen. At night we add to these a short examination of conscience with a fervent Act of Contrition.
Had we the misfortune to fall into mortal sin, we must redouble our contrition and go to Confession as soon as possible. By mortal sin we expel God from our souls and give His place to the devil.
These prayers must be said slowly, reverently, on our knees and in our bedroom. In this room we spend a third part of our lives, and here we shall probably die. Therefore, it is well to sanctify it by our daily prayers.
All good Christians say the Rosary daily, thereby insuring the most special protection of God’s Holy Mother, which she promises to those who daily say her favorite prayer. Devotion to Our Lady is looked on by the Saints as a sure guarantee of our eternal salvation.
The Popes, the Bishops of the entire world, priests in every country, all the Religious Orders have been urging the faithful for the past 700 years to say the Rosary.
The Saints not only recommended it, but said it themselves with unspeakable devotion and confidence.
Why this universal and extraordinary love for the Rosary? Because by it we deliver ourselves from every danger and obtain every grace and blessing.
God’s sweet Mother has come in recent years to Fatima to preach the Rosary as the easiest and most certain way of saving the world from the dire calamities that are threatening it. Millions and tens of millions of men and women, hearkening to her message, are sending up their daily pleas for mercy. Woe to the foolhardy Christian who turns a deaf ear to this message of salvation!
The Catholic homes where the Rosary is said by the members of the family are visibly protected by God.
Daily Mass and Communion
Better than the most lengthy prayers and the severest penances, the surest of all means of becoming holy is by assisting at daily Mass and receiving Holy Communion.
The Mass is Calvary here again; it has the same infinite value and brings us the same oceans of graces as Our Lord’s death on Mount Calvary. Our Lord offered His sufferings and death for each one of us in particular. In the Mass He mystically dies again for each of those who assist at the Holy Sacrifice.
One Mass gives Him more glory than the praise and adoration of all the Angels and Saints in Heaven. Multitudes of Angels stand around the priest and offer our prayers to God.
The blessings and favors we receive at each Mass we hear are indescribably great. How foolish are those who can assist at Mass and are too lazy and negligent to do so! We have already spoken of the consolations and joys we receive in Holy Communion. No one who pauses to think on these will refuse to receive God daily into his heart. Only crass ignorance can explain such negligence.
The Name of Jesus
An easy practice that we urge our readers to adopt is to form the habit of repeating frequently the Holy Name of Jesus. Each time we say, “Jesus,” we offer the Eternal Father all the infinite merits of the Passion of Jesus Christ, in union with the Masses being said all over the world. We thus participate in these thousands of Masses.
There is no devotion so easy, none so infallible in obtaining for us God’s richest graces. It demands no time, for we can repeat the Holy Name hundreds and even thousands of times in the day—when dressing in the morning, when working, when walking, in our homes, in the streets, everywhere.
This practice gradually fills our hearts with peace and happiness; it delivers us from many evils and obtains for us more graces in a single day than we may otherwise hope to receive in a whole year.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart
This is a very certain way of becoming holy; our sweet Lord Himself gave it to us as His last, supreme effort to gain our love. To practice this devotion we must:
a) Read from time to time the 12 wonderful Promises that Our Lord made to everyone who practices devotion to His Sacred Heart. These Promises reveal in the clearest possible way the immense personal and tender love Our Lord has for us. Therefore, we should read them, slowly and carefully, at least on the First Friday of every month.
They will awaken in our hearts boundless confidence in Our Lord.
All the 12 Promises are most important, but we call attention very especially to the 11th Promise: “Those who spread this devotion will have their names written on My Sacred Heart, never to be effaced!”
We can spread the devotion by talking of it to friends, by distributing little pictures of the Sacred Heart with the Promises printed on them.
b) We must repeat frequently the ejaculation: “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I have confidence in Thee, boundless confidence for everything.” This ejaculation is so powerful and efficacious that it has been well called “The miraculous ejaculation.”
c) We must wear a badge or medal of the Sacred Heart.
d) We ought to have a picture of the Sacred Heart, not only in our homes but in every room and on our writing table, just as we have the photograph of our dear mother. We can say from time to time, “Jesus, I love You.”
No mother, no father, no brother or friend loves us so tenderly as Jesus does. Those who practice devotion to the Sacred Heart in this simple and easy way have a guarantee of receiving the wonderful favors promised by Our Lord.
These daily prayers and devotions will make us saints.
The Morning Offering.
The frequent repetition of the Holy Name.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart.
Daily Mass and Communion.
A visit to the Blessed Sacrament.
One time in 1949 Padre Pio was talking with a certain doctor who was very close to him. They were discussing prayers for the dead. Padre Pio said to him, “Maybe you don’t know that even now I can pray for the happy death of my great-grandfather!” But the doctor remarked that he has been dead for many, many years. Then Padre Pio explained, “For the Lord the past does not exist. Everything is an eternal present. These prayers had already been taken into account. And so I repeat that even now I can pray for the happy death of my great-grandfather!”
Advent starts next Sunday…Be Prepared!
Advent is such a special season! And you are about to make it more meaningful than you ever have!
This Advent journal is for busy moms who need a little help making this season special within the home. It will help you stay on track and be consistent with the customs you have decided to incorporate within your four walls.
I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first!
At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all!
The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable.
I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!
Beginning with the first day of Advent and continuing through the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, these selections from the immortal pen of Fulton J. Sheen encourage readers to explore the essence and promise of the season. Those looking to grow in their prayer life and become more attuned to the joy of Advent and Christmas will find a wonderful guide in this spiritual companion….
You are about to make the season of Advent more meaningful than you ever have! This Advent journal is for busy moms who need a little help making this season special within the home. It will help you stay on track and be consistent with the customs you have decided to incorporate within your four walls. I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first! At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all! The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable. I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.
We shall now consider the principal duties of the day, each in particular, and see how we may avoid the many grave faults commonly committed in their performance, and on the contrary, we shall see how we may derive from these same duties the very greatest graces.
These duties are Prayer, Work, Eating, Sleeping and Suffering.
PRAYER, OUR FIRST DUTY The most important duty in our everyday life is Prayer. On it depends all our happiness. We must, therefore, form clear ideas of how to pray.
Those who understand what prayer is find in it pleasure and delight. Prayer brings us into close, intimate, personal contact with God.
When we pray, Almighty God gives us all His attention. He is looking at us, hearing our every word, ready to give us everything that is good for us. He hears our every prayer.
If, as sometimes happens, we ask for what is not good for us, God does not give us that. Our prayer, however, is not lost, for in this case He gives us something else, something better. We rather gain than lose.
God is infinitely good. He loves us with a boundless love. He is our dearest Father and we are His children. Consequently He readily gives us all that can make us happy. Moreover, He has promised in the most explicit way to hear our prayers.
“Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.” God never breaks His word. Yet many do not seem to believe Him! When they need something they use every possible means of getting it, except the best means of all, viz., prayer.
Prayer is an intimate and loving talk with God. We are really and truly in His presence. It is enough to bear this clearly in mind, and then our prayer becomes an intense consolation.
As in the case of other Christian duties, the trouble about prayer is our ignorance. We have not been properly instructed. The great reality of prayer has not been explained to and impressed upon us.
Two things we do in prayer: We offer God our love and adoration, as the Angels do in Heaven, and we ask Him for all we need. If God seems deaf to our prayers, it is simply because He wishes to prove our faith and confidence in Him. We must pray and pray on.
St. Peter tells us that we must take Heaven by violence, for the violent bear it away. The more we pray, the more we receive. By delaying to hear our prayer, God is actually giving us more and better graces.
We have a touching example of this in the case of the poor woman of Canaan who, crying out, said: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David: my daughter is grievously troubled by a devil. ” Who answered her not a word.
And his disciples came and besought him, saying, “Send her away, for she crieth after us.”And he answering, said, I was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel. ”
But she came and adored him, saying, “Lord, help me.”
Who answering, said: “It is not good to take the bread of the children, and to cast it to the dogs.”
But she said: “Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus [showing all His sweetness and love] answering, said to her, “O woman, great is thy faith, be it done to thee as thou wilt: and her daughter was cured from that hour.” (Matt. 15:22-28).
In this touching story, we see the admirable confidence and perseverance of this poor woman, a striking example for us to follow. We also see how, not only was her daughter cured, but she herself was filled with joy and consolation.
What graces do not those receive who pray in this way, who blindly trust in the goodness of God and who storm His Sacred Heart!
Martyrdom by the little fires of hidden fidelities constantly adhered to, of tormenting temptations courageously and perseveringly repulsed, of the exact and loving fulfillment of duties toward God and neighbor, of prayer faithfully practiced despite disgust, aridity and the pressure of work–is it not a martyrdom? Who can estimate the value of its countless offerings which are not publicized but which cost . . . and which count! -Christ in the Home, (afflink) https://amzn.to/2Y2V1l3
As Sr. Lucia of Fatima said this is a time of diabolical disorientation. We find an amazing type or image of this in the life of St. John of the Cross. To conquer this inversion, as St. John did, we must remain firm and steadfast in our faith and employ the power of the Most Holy Trinity in casting the devil out of our lives. This is always done through the making of the Sign of the Cross. All throughout an exorcism, it is this sign, made in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, that ultimately frees the possessed soul from the grip of Satan and all evil. Let us, then, recognize its goodness, its power and the need to make it well and often… And when the time is right things will change and quickly. The promised victory will be ours….
Coloring pages for your children….
Advent is around the corner! If you use the Catholic Mother’s Traditional Advent Journal, here is your checklist so you are prepared! Journal available here. E-copy is here.