Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mother of Sorrows III


As the Blessed Virgin stood beneath the Cross, there was still another source of most bitter sorrow for her, namely, her clear conception of the nature of sin. We may not doubt that Our Lord imparted to His Mother a supernatural knowledge of sin, its wickedness, its hideousness, and the borrow and hatred that God entertains for it. The hideousness of sin she beheld written on the Cross in the Precious Blood of Jesus. She saw the sins of the whole world, like a mountain, pressing upon the bowed shoulders of her bleeding, dying Son. She saw that He was truly God, thus crushed by the numberless sins of man, covered with their guilt, crucified by their malice! What unspeakable suffering for the sinless, guiltless, Immaculate Heart of our sweet Mother!

Another source of Mary's unutterable grief was man's ingratitude for Our Lord's Passion, and the eternal perdition of so many souls for whom her Son's Precious Blood would be shed in vain. She, the Queen of the Apostles, the Mother of the Church, saw passing before her eyes a vision of the heedlessness of mankind for sins forgiven, the relapses into mortal sin, the amazing, frightful multitude of venial sins, the cold indifference, the disgust for Divine things, the desecration of the holy sacraments, the rejection and abuse of grace on the part of so many souls ---- all, consequences of the basest ingratitude.

Now with the eyes of her soul she saw the multitude of the damned, for whom all the sufferings of her Son would be lost. At this sight, what indescribable pain must have pierced to its very depths the most loving heart of our dearest Mother!

Source: About Devotion to the Mother of Sorrows. Nihil Obstat: Gulielmus J. Blacet, J.C.L. Censor Librorum Imprimatur + Joannes P. Cody, S.T.D. Episcopus Kansanopolitana-Sti. Josephi March 10, 1951

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mother of Sorrows II

Circumstances Which Increased Her Sufferings

We can gain some idea of the immensity of the dolors of our Blessed Mother by considering the conditions that imparted special bitterness to her sufferings. Placed in similar circumstances with the Blessed Virgin Mary, what mother would not have longed to die with her son? But Mary could not die with Jesus, although union with Him had become so much a part of her nature that it actually constituted her life. Jesus, her Son, was the bliss of her heart, the sun of her existence. How could Mary live without Jesus! Still, she must see Him die, without being able to die with Him! What inexpressible grief!
Another circumstance that in- creased the anguish of the Mother of God was the realization that her sufferings increased those of her Divine Son; that these were, in fact, some of the bitterest pangs He had to endure. It was His will that His Blessed Mother should form. a part of His sufferings. When we consider the boundless love with which He loved His Mother, we will understand that to meet her on His way to Calvary, to behold her beneath the Cross, was truly one of His most acute tortures. Mary knew this. What pain for her maternal heart to know that she must be one of the causes of His sufferings!

Again, Mary was an eye-witness of the sufferings of her Divine Son. She saw Him bound to the pillar; she heard the lashing of the scourges, she saw His delicate virginal flesh writhe and quiver under the lacerating blows. She was present at the Ecce Homo scene, on the way to Calvary, and at the Crucifixion. And her anguish was further increased by the fact that she could offer no relief to her dear Son in His excruciating pains. As she stood beneath the Cross, she saw the Blood trickling from His thorn-crowned Head into His eyes, but could not reach His sacred Face to wipe the drops away! She saw His lips parched with thirst, pale and bloodless, but was unable to give Him a refreshing drink! His head had no pillow to rest upon, yet she was prevented from supporting it or letting it repose upon her bosom. Who can comprehend the anguish endured by her Mother-heart during those three endless hours of dreadful helplessness!

Source: About the Devotion to the Mother of Sorrows. Nihil Obstat: Gulielmus J. Blacet, J.C.L. Censor Librorum Imprimatur + Joannes P. Cody, S.T.D. Episcopus Kansanopolitana-Sti. Josephi March 10, 1951

Mater Dolorosa - Ora Pro Nobis! I entrust the salvation of the whole world to your sorrowful heart. Pray for me, a poor sinner... Amen+

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mother of Sorrows I


ABOUT DEVOTION TO THE MOTHER OF SORROWS

Mary's Suffering Proportioned to Her Sanctity

As Mother of God, Mary was exalted to an incomparable height of holiness. Who can comprehend the lofty height of her greatness or fathom the abyss of her sanctity? St. Thomas attempted, and concluded that omnipotence itself could not invent a "greater greatness." It was necessary that her sorrows should correspond to her holiness, for the sufferings and tribulations of the Saints always keep apace with their sanctity. What then must Mary's sufferings have been in order to be proportionate to her greatness ---- the greatness of the Mother of God! Who can comprehend the immensity of her graces and merits, and consequently the enormous weight of sufferings required by such holiness, to complete her perfection, to crown her most condignly?

The sorrows of the Mother of God surpassed the power of human endurance. It is the unanimous opinion of spiritual writers that beneath the pressure of her inconceivable sufferings, the Blessed Virgin's life was miraculously preserved. From the moment of Simeon's prophecy she foresaw her sorrows in vivid reality. Without the special aid of God's omnipotence, her soul would have been separated from her body.

True, Mary was marvelously tranquil, because she was wholly submissive to the will of God; but this did not lessen her sorrows. Her nature, never disturbed by sin, possessed an extraordinary tenderness and was susceptible to suffering in an inexpressibly high degree. "Men will never comprehend the anguish of my sorrows!" she revealed to St. Bridget.

The picture of Mary bowed down with sorrow on Calvary teaches us that pain is the twin sister of love on earth.

Source: Nihil Obstat: Gulielmus J. Blacet, J.C.L. Censor Librorum Imprimatur + Joannes P. Cody, S.T.D. Episcopus Kansanopolitana-Sti. Josephi March 10, 1951

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Beginning and the End..

Came across this striking image of Jesus called "Jesus the Alpha and Omega" He appears in art for the first time bearded and in great similarity to modern depictions. This fresco, made in the fourth century in the Catacombs of Commodilla, on the Ostian way in Rome.
I find great comfort in the title of Jesus as the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I look forward with wonder and awe to see the completion of the world. I hope and pray to be chosen in His mercy to be among the elect.
"And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last." Revelation 1:17

Queen of Heaven

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was born of an Immaculate Conception;
found favor with God and is blessed amongst all women;
Our Lady Mary, gave birth as a virgin to the Messiah, Our Lord Jesus;
The Queen of Heaven, Mary hears our prayers and will beg God and His Son, on our behalf, for our help, for our forgiveness and for our salvation. Amen+

Monday, April 21, 2008

Scala Sancta


The "Scala Sancta" or Holy Stairs are located in the Basilica of St. John Lateran where you may climb the same steps Our Lord climbed on the way to see Pontius Pilate.

It seems to me this would be a fine place to go in spirit when saying prayers of reparation from the heart.
Lord, please accept the prayers of Your children who seek and strive to serve You in this vale of tears. Look with pity upon those who tire of the fight against the wicked one who never tires of attacking us to lure our souls into hell. May our prayers humbly offered to Thine Majesty upon these stairs where upon You so much scorn was heaped. Let our small love give Thee comfort and appease Thine just anger at the manifold sins of the world. Amen+

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Need for Reparation


Jesus is very pleased with our prayers and sacrifices offered in reparation for the many and manifold sins of mankind. With the thickness of evil in this time, we have the duty to pray for the salvation of others, as well as ourselves.

One serious sin that has become so very common that I'm afraid it is looked upon inconsequential - blasphemy. It seems as if blasphemy has become a standard of entertainment. It's hard to watch a TV show, movie, play or comedian without being subjected to blasphemous humor or ideas. Here are some prayers we can say when confronted by such blasphemy.

Here is what God says to us very clearly regarding blasphemy: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of his God in vain." Exodus 20:7.
The Golden Arrow

This prayer is said to have been revealed by Jesus Himself to a Carmelite Nun of Tours in 1843 as a reparation for blasphemy. "This Golden Arrow will wound My Heart delightfully," He said, "and heal the wounds inflicted by blasphemy."

May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most mysterious and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Amen.
Imprimatur - T. J. Toolen, Archbishop of Mobile-Birm.

Source: "The Golden Arrow", Pieta Prayer Book, (Hickory Corners, MI: MLOR Corporation, 1995) 61. © MLOR Corporation 1995. ("Pictures or prayers may be reproduced for personal use, not for commercial purposes")

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Feeling Afraid?


"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" So we say with confidence. "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6
Anticipating a very frightening experiece ahead of me tomorrow. As for me, I shall cling to my Lord. On Mary's prayer I shall depend. Beside my Angel Guardian and my patron saints will I walk. Amen+

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Holiness of the Priesthood


Another perfect holy card from Micki at Holy Cards for Your Inspiration.
"When you awake in the night, transport yourself quickly in spirit before the Tabernacle, saying: 'Behold, my God, I come to adore You, to praise, thank, and love you, and to keep you company with all the Angels,' "
"I throw myself at the foot of the Tabernacle like a dog at the foot of his Master."

- St. John Vianney

Humble and Small


"Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar." Psalms 138:6
"For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation." Psalms 149:4
"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:2
Lord God, Mighty Creator - Thou art all powerful, allmighty and all knowing. Give me to know today and every minute of every day of my life, that I am truly the last, the lowliest and least of all ~ May humility be my portion. Amen+

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Most Beautiful "Annunciation"

by Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov
Found the on Jeffrey Smith's special project Russian Art blog.

'But even when we agree, we don't see eye to eye."


Catholics and Protestants... I said when I first started this blog that I'm no apologist. This is still true. I love the Catholic Church with all my heart, the very Body of Christ. What I do know of Protestant religion I have "turned my back on" and I read only Catholic materials, etc. That is to say I have stopped seeking any kind of Truth outside of Catholicism for she contains and transmits the Truth of God to all who seek.
All my friends are Catholic with a few exceptions and when I am with my Protestant friends they always avoid the topic of religion. This I've never understood as I never preach, but I am what you would call "immovable" on my beliefs, they will sometimes look at me as if I'm lost. They see that I live and believe the Catholic faith as absolute Truth and the guiding force of my life. We get along fine, but there is an unspoken, unmistakable chasm between us. There is nothing to do but move on despite it.
I came across this article by Fr. Dwight Longnecker which helped me to understand our different ways of thinking. I've often wondered...how can we both love Jesus, read the Bible and yet come to so VERY different belief systems.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lesser Known Martyr Saints: Sts Faustinus & Jovita


Martyrs(†122)

Faustinus and Jovita were brothers, nobly born, and were zealous professors of the Christian religion, which they preached without fear in their city of Brescia in Lombardy, during the persecution of Adrian. Their remarkable zeal excited the fury of the heathens against them, and procured them a glorious death for their faith.
Faustinus, a priest, and Jovita, a deacon, were preaching the Gospel fearlessly in the region when Julian, a pagan officer, apprehended them. They were commanded to adore the sun, but replied that they adored the living God who created the sun to give light to the world. The statue before which they were standing was brilliant and surrounded with golden rays. Saint Jovita, looking at it, cried out: “Yes, we adore the God reigning in heaven, who created the sun. And you, vain statue, turn black, to the shame of those who adore you!” At his word, it turned black. The Emperor commanded that it be cleaned, but the pagan priests had hardly begun to touch it when it fell into ashes.
The two brothers were sent to the amphitheater to be devoured by lions, but four of those came out and lay down at their feet. They were left without food in a dark jail cell, but Angels brought them strength and joy for new combats. The flames of a huge fire respected them, and a large number of spectators were converted at the sight. Finally sentenced to decapitation, they knelt down and received the death blow. The city of Brescia honors them as its chief patrons and possesses their relics, and a very ancient church in that city bears their names.

Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894


Sts. Faustinus and Jovita, holy Martyrs of God, Ora pro nobis. Amen+

Monday, April 7, 2008

Unique Pieta


Martyrdom of St. Justine

St. Justine, also called Justina, together with her spiritual father St. Cyprian were christians of Antioch who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Diocletian. This occured at Nicomedia, 26 September, 304, the date in September being afterwards made the day of their feast.
Cyprian was a heathen magician of Antioch who had dealing with demons. By their aid he sought to bring St. Justina, a Christian virgin, to ruin; but she foiled the threefold attacks of the devils by the sign of the cross. Brought to despair Cyprian made the sign of the cross himself and in this way was freed from the toils of Satan. He was received into the Church, was made pre-eminent by miraculous gifts, and became in succession deacon, priest, and finally bishop, while Justina became the head of a convent.
During the Diocletian persecution both were seized and taken to Damascus where they were shockingly tortured. As their faith never wavered they were brought before Diocletian at Nicomedia, where at his command they were beheaded on the bank of the river Gallus. The same fate befell a Christian, Theoctistus, who had come to Cyprian and had embraced him. After the bodies of the saints had lain unburied for six days they were taken by Christian sailors to Rome where they were interred on the estate of a noble lady named Rufina and later were entombed in Constantine's basilica.
St. Charles Borromeo dedicated a college at Pavia to her.
St. Justina ~ Ora pro nobis! Amen+

Cathy's Meme

I stopped doing memes along with everything that has to do with awards awhile back, BUT I liked this meme and will make this one exception! This one comes from Cathy at Recovering Dissident Catholic via Ray at Stella Borealis - my fellow Minnesota Catholic bloggers!

1. What I was doing 10 years ago: Living and San Antonio Texas, worked at this time as a pediatric operating room nurse, which I truly enjoyed. Ah south Texas, delicious Tex Mex food, terrible HOT weather for a native Minnesotan!

2. Snacks I enjoy: Apples & oranges, I'm terribly boring!

3. Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Hand every penny over to my husband to manage. He I'm sure would give most of it away in charitable works. I also strongly suspect a portion would go into a new business and he's have Catholic movies made to tell beautiful stories of the saints to evangelize the world. We'd also take the whole family every year on pilgrimmage to approved shrine around the world. I'd have about a million masses said for the souls in Purgatory.

4. Five jobs that I have had: These are the first 5 jobs I ever had in order...
Short order cook at Snyder's restaurant, Bloomington
Salesperson at Wicks-n-Sticks candle shop in Southdale, Edina
Salesperson at Parklane Hosiery, also in Southdale
Operator and weekend supervisor at Telecheck
Medical ward 3L Minneapolis Veterans Hospital

5. Three of my bad habits:
-Getting too absorbed with books I'm reading with a tendency to "escape" into them
-Being far too wrapped up and distracted with worldly matters and in this failing to keep my eyes always upon God.
-I'll dip into cake/cookie batter while I'm making it!

6. Five places I have lived:
-St. Paul, Minnesota
-Paris, France
-San Antonio, Texas
-Fairmont, Minnesota
-Mankato, Minnesota

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Coming Persecution


The following is an excerpt from the blog of Mark Mallet. This deserves to be read in its entirety here.

I have said at other times that I believe the world who knows not God, chomps at the bit to persecute those who do. We MUST be willing to give our lives as the early Christians did. This is not about raising calls of panic, it is about the salvation of souls. Do you not hear the cry to persecute those who believe in the absolute Truth of the gospel? These truths that are held in the fullest in the only church on earth founded by Jesus Himself - the Holy Catholic Church.

BEWARE THE WOLVES!

"Errant theologians have watered this down. Misguided clergy have failed to preach it. Modernist philosophies have replaced it. This is why the Sacrifice of the Mass has been reduced to a "community celebration." Why the word "sin" is rarely used. Why confessionals have cobwebs. They are wrong! The Gospel, the message of Jesus, is that Salvation comes through repentance, and repentance means turning from sin and following in the bloody footsteps or our Master, to the Cross, through the Tomb, and toward an everlasting Resurrection! Beware of those wolves in sheep’s clothing who preach a different Gospel than the one Christ has given us. Beware of those false prophets who try to douse the flames of Hell, and attempt to line the Way of the Cross with daisies and padded cushions. Stay away from those who remake the narrow road to Heaven into a superhighway, paved with the comforts of this world."

"The engagement ring of the Bride of Christ in this life is suffering. But the wedding ring in the next is eternal joy in the Kingdom of God, given to those Blessed who endured persecution (Matt 5:10-12). Pray, then, brothers and sisters, for the grace of final perseverance."

Those who are like Me in the pain and contempt they suffer will be like me also in glory. And those who resemble Me less in pain and contempt will also bear less resemblance to Me in glory. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Diary, n. 446

On Growing in Virtue

There are many and diverse ways to pray for the relief of the souls in purgatory. Of course, they cannot pray for themselves, but rather they suffer the full penalty in order that they may pay "to the last farthing" their debt owed to God due to their sins. In confession, our guilt is forgiven (assuming a good confession) but our entire debt remains. In order to pay this debt we must do penance in this life. What we do not pay in this life, we will pay in the next in purgatory. This is a truth of our Catholic faith, a dogma which all Catholics are bound to believe.

In assisting the suffering souls in Purgatory, we are in a manner paying their debts for them. We can pray for them, offer sacrifices for them, receive Communion, even simply offer our daily work and tasks on their behalf. In helping them, we do in a sense visit God's prisoners - if we practice a regular devotion in paying down their debts, we may hear our Lord on the last day say to us..."Come ye into the house of my Father, for I was in prison, and you visited Me." It is the greatest hope of my life to hear those words from Jesus' lips.

Also, don't forget!....In helping them pay their debts - you pay yours! Many theologians have said this is far more efficacious then great fasting and austerities because you add charity to prayer!

Here are some other ways we can help them who suffer night and day, without the slightest rest or relief:

1. What is this sin/weakness/fault from which you suffer the most? Impure thoughts? Pray for the souls who suffer due to sins of impurity. Overly attached to the pleasures of the table? Overweight? Pray for those who suffer due to sins of gluttony! Are you a secret thief? Pray for thieves! And so on...you get the idea. God will not be outdone in charity. If you help others who suffer from sins like yours, He will speedily come to your aid. Also - the souls whom you help, you are assured of their prayers as well. They will fly to heaven because of your charity, bow down before the throne of God and never cease to pray for you until you are right there beside them.

2. Do you pray the rosary? At the end of each decade, I suggest this simply prayer: "Eternal Father, I offer all the blood which your Divine Son shed in the Garden of His Agony, together with all the masses said throughout the world today, in payment of the debts of the souls in Purgatory, especially those (suffer from their sins of gluttony/my family/my dear mother/etc). Eternal rest grant onto them/him/her, O Lord, may eternal light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.

As you pray the sorrowful mysteries, offer the Blood of Jesus to the Father, the joyful mysteries offer the Father hands of Mary who held her Son, etc. I especially like offering the footsteps of Jesus as He walked to Bethany before the Ascension. Be creative and let this add to your contemplation of God's wondrous deeds.

3. When you approach the holy water font, splash a few drops on the floor for those suffering fire.

4. When you are insulted, mistreated by others, resolve to suffer with patience and offer this in payment and atonement for them. You gain merit for your patience, but how much for in giving away the penitential portion of your suffering to others?

5. This is one I do alot - if you have children, at the end of the day, when you're tired and just want some peace but they want your attention or need your help with some task, instead of sighing and refusing or doing their bidding with reluctance, resolve to be joyful exteriorly (though you may be griping and shrinking interiorly) and offer this for the suffering souls! They will repay you a hundredfold!

6. Do you do housework? Try this one: as you clean the floor, scrub your toilet/tub/sink/etc - act as if you are cleaning the dwellings of those in purgatory. Offer every movement of your hands and feet, every effort and drop of sweat for them. You get your house clean, and you do great charity at the same time.

7. Do you drive long distances? Ask the Lord with every mile marker/town/state/etc to release a soul from purgatory. Pray the rosary while you drive/fly/etc and ask Jesus to release a soul for every Hail Mary - the possibilities are endless.

There are many, many other small and various ways in which we can help them. We simply need to be mindful and the Holy Spirit will guide us. With time and practice you may find that every single thing you do, every thought, every step - you can be helping those who need you so much! If you have other practices for assisting those in purgatory, please leave them in the combox.

Amen+

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Pains of Purgatory


St. Thomas describing the pains of purgatory says:

With regard to the least pain of Purgatory it surpasses the greatest pain of this life. For the more a thing is desired the more painful is its absence. And since after this life the holy souls desire the Sovereign Good, . . . it follows that they grieve exceedingly for their delay

(Source: Supp. Appendix 1, 2, 1).
Please don't forget to pray for them. They rely on our prayers completely and are unable to remind us!