Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Way of Mortification

I have been wracking my simple mind lately about how to restrain my love of comforts. I simply love comfort - my comfortable bed, favorite foods, good wine, computer games...you name it I seek it if its comfortable. Trouble with this is, is hampers all my small efforts to grow in virtue. I have become a slave to my own desires for comfort and therefore am mired in this world. I am unsure if I even have the will to try to give up my comforts but turn instead to prayer asking and begging God to help me at least want to mortify my desires and senses. I came across this reading and plan to meditate upon it. I thought perhaps others may find it helpful as well.

"There is an old principle which goes: "Da mihi sanguinem et dabo tibi spiritum." Woe to those who are enemies of mortification and of the cross of Christ!
In one act of mortification one can practice many virtues, according to the different ends which one proposes in each act, as for example:
1. He who mortifies his body for the purpose of checking concupiscence, performs an act of the virtue of temperance.
2. If he does this, purposing thereby to regulate his life well, it will be an act of the virtue of prudence.
3. If he mortifies himself for the purpose of satisfying for the sins of his past life, it will be an act of justice.
4. If he does it with the intention of conquering the difficulties of the spiritual life, it will be an act of fortitude.
5. If he practices this virtue of mortification for the end of offering a sacrifice to God, depriving himself of what he likes, and doing that which is bitter and repugnant to nature, it will be an act of the virtue of religion.
6. If he intends by mortification to receive greater light to know the divine attributes, it will be an act of faith.
7. If he does it for the purpose of making his salvation more and more secure, it will be an act of hope.
8. If he denies himself in order to help in the conversion of sinners, and for the release of the poor souls in purgatory, it will be an act of charity towards his neighbor.
9. If he does it so as to help the poor, it will be an act of mercy.
10. If he mortifies himself for the sake of pleasing God more and more, it will be an act of love of God.
In other words, I shall be able to put all these virtues into practice in one act of mortification, according to the end I propose to myself while doing the said act.
Virtue has so much more merit, is more resplendent, charming and attractive, when accompanied by greater sacrifice.
Man, who is vile, weak, mean, cowardly, never makes a sacrifice, and is not even capable of doing so, for he never resists even one appetite or desire. Everything that his concupiscence and passions demand, he concedes, if it is in his power to yield or reject, for he is base and cowardly, and lets himself be conquered and completely overcome, just as the braver of two fighters conquers the cowardly one. So it is with vice and the vicious -- the latter is crushed and the slave of his vices. Continence and chastity are therefore worthy of the highest praise, because the man who practices purity refrains from the pleasure which proceeds from nature or passion. Thus, the greater merit will be his the greater the pleasure he has denied himself. His merit will be the greater in proportion to the amount of repugnance he will have in conquering himself, in proportion to the intense and prolonged suffering he will have to undergo, to the human respect he will have to vanquish, and to the sacrifices he will have to make. Let him do all this and suffer all for the love of virtue and for God's greater glory. As to my exterior deportment, I proposed to myself modesty and recollection and in the interior of my soul my aim was continual and ardent occupation in God. In my work I aimed at patience, silence and suffering. The exact accomplishment of the law of God and of the Church, the obligations of my state of life as prescribed by God. I tried to do good to others, flee from sin, faults and imperfections, and to practice virtue."

~Autobiography of St. Anthony Mary Claret

Monday, January 26, 2009


"Christ said: In this world you will suffer persecution, but in such wise that the persecution will not overwhelm, and the attack will not overcome you. Against Christ’s army the world arrays a twofold battleline. It offers temptation to lead us astray; it strikes terror into us to break our spirit. Hence if our personal pleasures do not hold us captive, and if we are not frightened by brutality, then the world is overcome. At both of these approaches Christ rushes to our aid, and the Christian is not conquered. If you were to consider in Vincent’s martyrdom only human endurance, then his act is unbelievable from the outset. But first recognize the power to be from God, and he ceases to be a source of wonder." —St. Augustine, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol. 3, p. 1316

Those who say "tolerance" are quickly becoming the least tolerant of all. Often intolerance is a front for heavier things, such as disdain, scorn or even malevolence. Think upon how such things can explode into persecution and how often this has occurred in the past. We must hope for the best, yet prepare for the worst. For myself and my family, I pray for the grace of a strong faith, and perserverance unto death. Amen+

A chilling tile mosiac depicting the Christian persecution under the Roman rule of Nero.

Beautiful Holy Card

Another beauty from Micki at Holy Cards for your Inspiration. This is a very unique nativity scene and one that deserves study and appreciation. Simply breathtaking...

Incredible Artwork

Title: The Trinity with Souls in Purgatory
Artist: Corrado Giaquinto
Date: c. 1743
Medium: Oil on canvas

The original of this painting hangs in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and is an amazing example of "purgatory art". I have never seen the Holy Trinity depicted with Jesus dead before. I was completely captivated by this painting during my visit there last weekend. My husband and I deducted that this is Jesus, offering His death for the sins of the these souls to the Father who holds His hand over the Holy Souls in benediction.

Two other images of particular beauty: There is a soul grasping the foot of the cross who cannot be seen in this image so well. The face of the man in the lower right is the most striking combination of peace and resignation. As I stood before this important piece of art, I felt I could look at all day.

Works such as these ought to serve and holy reminders to pray for the Church Suffering as is our duty. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, let eternal light shine upon them, may they rest in peace. Amen+

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meditation on Our Lady's Sorrows - Day Seven & Final


The burial of Jesus
"Now there was in the place where He was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulcher was nigh at hand." John XIX, 41-42.
Meditation: Consider the sighs which burst from Mary's sad heart when she saw her beloved Jesus laid within the tomb. What grief was hers when she saw the stone lifted to cover that sacred tomb! She gazed a last time on the lifeless body of her Son, and could scarce detach her eyes from those gaping wounds. And when the great stone was rolled to the door of the sepulcher, oh, then indeed her heart seemed torn from her body!

Say one Ave Maria [Hail Mary
Today offer to place your heart beside Mary's forever in the tomb of her Son. Amen+

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Meditation on Our Lady's Sorrows - Day Six

Descent of Jesus from the Cross

"Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counselor, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking Him down, wrapped Him up in the fine linen." – Mark XV, 43-46.
Meditation: Consider the most bitter sorrow which rent the soul of Mary, when she saw the dead body of her dear Jesus on her knees, covered with blood, all torn with deep wounds. O mournful Mother, a bundle of myrrh, indeed, is thy Beloved to thee. Who would not pity thee? Whose heart would not be softened, seeing affliction which would move a stone? Behold John not to be comforted, Magdalen and the other Mary in deep affliction, and Nicodemus, who can scarcely bear his sorrow.

Say one Ave Maria [Hail Mary]

Today strive to avoid sin, offer small sacrifices in amendment for the sins of mankind who blaspheme Mary and her Son. Amen+

Monday, January 19, 2009

Meditation on Our Lady's Sorrows - Day Five

The Crucifixion & Death of Jesus

"They crucified Him. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His Mother. When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, He saith to His Mother: Woman: behold thy son. After that he saith to the disciple: Behold thy Mother." – John XIX, l8-25-27.
Meditation: Look, devout soul, look to Calvary, whereon are raised two altars of sacrifice, one on the body of Jesus, the other on the heart of Mary. Sad is the sight of that dear Mother drowned in a sea of woe, seeing her beloved Son, part of her very self, cruelly nailed to the shameful tree of the cross. Ah me! how every blow of the hammer, how every stripe which fell on the Saviour's form, fell also on the disconsolate spirit of the Virgin. As she stood at the foot of the cross, pierced by the sword of sorrow, she turned her eyes on Him, until she knew that He lived no longer and had resigned His spirit to His Eternal Father. Then her own soul was like to have left the body and joined itself to that of Jesus.

Say one Ave Maria [Hail Mary] Today go to the feet of your Mother as she stands at the foot of her Son's cross witnessing His suffering and death. There lay at her feet all your petitions and requests. Amen+

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Meditation on Our Lady's Sorrows - Day Four

The stark, unbelieving agony etched in the face of Mary, the mother of Jesus, causes him to avert his gaze in pity. Lead by the disciple John, the holy mother along with Mary Salome and Mary Magdalene have been guided swiftly through the throngs of people by a shorter route to meet him at this turn in the road. Now she confronts him. Frozen in mute horror, Mary realizes fully now the hideous end which awaits his mortal life.

The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross

"And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented Him." – Luke XXIII, 27.
Meditation: Come, O ye sinners, come and see if ye can endure so sad a sight. This Mother, so tender and loving, meets her beloved Son, meets Him amid an impious rabble, who drag Him to a cruel death, wounded, torn by stripes, crowned with thorns, streaming with blood, bearing His heavy cross. Ah, consider, my soul, the grief of the blessed Virgin thus beholding her Son! Who would not weep at seeing this Mother's grief? But who has been the cause of such woe? I, it is I, who with my sins have so cruelly wounded the heart of my sorrowing Mother! And yet I am not moved; I am as a stone, when my heart should break because of my ingratitude.

Say one Ave Maria [Hail Mary]
Today in your prayers, tell your Mother who never sinned, yet paid a great price for the sins of Man that you are sorry for having grieved her so. Amen+

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Meditation on Our Lady's Sorrows - Day Three

The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple

"And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and His parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him." Luke II, 43-45.
Meditation: How dread was the grief of Mary, when she saw that she had lost her beloved Son! And as if to increase her sorrow, when she sought Him diligently among her kinsfolk and acquaintance, she could hear no tidings of Him. No hindrances stayed her, nor weariness, nor danger; but she forthwith returned to Jerusalem, and for three long days sought Him sorrowing. Great be your confusion, O my soul, who has so often lost your Jesus by your sins, and has given no heed to seek Him at once, a sign that you make very little or no account of the precious treasure of divine love.

Say one Ave Maria [Hail Mary]
Pray heartily for this grace: On the occasion that the Blessed Virgin Mary
looks upon the earth, searching for those who compassionates her sorrows,
she finds you. Amen+

Friday, January 16, 2009

Meditation on Our Lady's Sorrows - Day Two

The Flight into Egypt

"And after they (the wise men) were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise and take the child and His mother and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy Him. Joseph arose and took the child and His mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and He was there until the death of Herod." – Matt. II, 13-14.
Meditation: Consider the sharp sorrow which Mary felt when, St. Joseph being warned by an angel, she had to flee by night in order to preserve her beloved Child from the slaughter decreed by Herod. What anguish was hers, in leaving Judea, lest she should be overtaken by the soldiers of the cruel king! How great her privations in that long journey! What sufferings she bore in that land of exile, what sorrow amid that people given to idolatry! But consider how often you have renewed that bitter grief of Mary, when your sins have caused her Son to flee from your heart.

Say one Ave Maria [Hail Mary] Try to think upon the sorrow your Mother underwent for your sake and offer your prayers in reparation for the neglect and lack of love of many. Amen+

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Meditation on Our Lady's Sorrows - Day One

Let us embark today together to a simple seven day meditation on Mary's Sorrows for your intention and also in reparation for the mankind's sins of blasphemy.

The Prophecy of Simeon

"And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed." ~ Luke II, 34-35.
Meditation: How great was the shock to Mary's Heart at hearing the sorrowful words, in which holy Simeon told the bitter Passion and death of her sweet Jesus, since in that same moment she realized in her mind all the insults, blows, and torments which the impious men were to offer to the Redeemer of the world. But a still sharper sword pierced her soul. It was the thought of men's ingratitude to her beloved Son. Now consider that because of your sins you are unhappily among the ungrateful.

Say one Ave Maria [Hail Mary] and strive to compassionate the sorrows of your mother. Amen+

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sleep Holy Babe

Sleep Holy Babe
Sleep, holy babe, upon Thy mothers' breast.
Great Lord of earth and sea and sky,
How sweet it is to see Thee lie in such a place of rest
In such a place of rest!
Sleep, holy Babe, Thine angel's watch around,
All bending low with folded wings before the
Incarnate King of Kings
In reverent awe profound, in reverent awe profound!
Sleep, holy Babe, Ah, take Thy brief repose.
Too quickly will Thy slumbers break
and Thou to lengthened pains awake, that death alone shall close
That death alone shall close!

~Rev. Edward Caswell

Decalogue Against Temptation

1. Do not forget that the devil exists.
2. Do not forget that the devil is a tempter.
3. Do not forget that the devil is very intelligent and astute.
4. Be vigilant concerning your eyes and heart. Be strong in spirit and virtue.
5. Believe firmly in the victory of Christ over the tempter.
6. Remember that Christ makes you a participant in His victory.
7. Listen carefully to the word of God.
8. Be humble and love mortification.
9. Pray without flagging.
10. Love the Lord your God and offer worship to Him only.
- Dionigi Card. Tettamanzi

I swiped this from my friend Vincenzo at Sancte Pater. I have never seen this list before and with regular use, will in invaluable to anyone seeking Christian perfection.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Our Lady of Kibeho XI - Final

Our Lady of Kibeho in indeed Our Lady of Sorrows as depicted above.

Prayer to Our Lady of Kibeho

Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Word,Mother of all those who believe in Himand who welcome Him into their life,we are here before you to contemplate You.We believe that you are amongst us,like a mother in the midst of her children,even though we do not see You with our bodily eyes.
We bless You, the Sure Way that leads us to Jesus the Saviour,for all the favours which You endlessly pour out upon us,especially, that, in your meekness, You were gracious enoughto appear miraculously in Kibeho, just when our world needed it most.
Grant us always the light and the strength necessary to accept,with all seriousness, Your call to us to be converted,to repent, and to live according to your Son’s Gospel.Teach us how to pray with sincerity,and to love one another as He loved us,so that, just as You have requested,we may always be beautiful flowersdiffusing their pleasant fragrance everywhere and upon everyone.
Holy Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows,teach us to understand the value of the cross in our lives,so that whatever is still lacking to the sufferings of Christwe may fill up in our own bodies for His mystical Body,which is the Church.
And, when our pilgrimage on this earth comes to an end,may we live eternally with You in the kingdom of Heaven.

Gikongoro, the 25th of March, 2006-05-29
+ Augustin Misago - Bishop of Gikongoro

Friday, January 9, 2009

Our Lady of Kibeho X

During his 1990 visit to Rwanda, John Paul II exhorted the faithful to turn to the Virgin as a simple and sure guide, and to pray for greater commitment against local divisions, both political and ethnic.
One of the key reasons that brought the competent ecclesiastical authorities to recognize the Apparition of Kibeho as authentic was the anticipated vision of the Rwanda genocide that occurred 12 years later, in 1994. On August 19, 1982, the seers saw “a river of blood, people who were killing each other, abandoned corpses with no one to bury them, a tree all in flames, bodies without their heads.” This prophecy seemed at first incredible, but about a decade later, in the spring of 1994, a horrifying civil war erupted in Rwanda, and, in just three months, an estimated 500,000 to one million were killed, many beheaded by machetes and dumped into the Kagea River (“river of blood”).
The Blessed Virgin had warned us at Kibeho that sexual promiscuity would lead to disaster. That was before the world knew about AIDS, but by 1994, Africa has seventy percent of the world's AIDS cases – and entire villages were turned into ghost towns! So far, 25 million Africans have contracted AIDS.
But the warnings of the Blessed Virgin Mary were not just for Africa. "When I tell you this, I am not addressing myself strictly to you, child, but I am making this appeal to the world," the Virgin told the seer Marie-Clare Mukangango – who was later killed in the war. She said the Virgin described the world as in revolt against God, the world “is on the edge of catastrophe.”
To avoid war and chastisements, the Mother of the Word invited the young seers and the whole world to pray, to fast, and to make penance.
Following the terrible events that took place in the United States, and that are foreshadowing a bloodier and more devastative war, we ask our readers to put into practice the request of Pope John Paul: Pray to avoid war!
And, above all, let us heed the requests of Our Lady: let us convert by going to confession, by confessing our sins with deep sorrow; let us go to Mass every Sunday; let us pray the Rosary by meditating on the mysteries that recall the main events of the life of Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, related in the Gospel; let us recite the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows that reminds us that Mary took a close part in our Redemption, that She suffered along with Her Son Jesus to save us.
Our Lady appeared in Rwanda as Our Lady of Kibeho before the genocide there in 1994, in apparitions which were later accepted by the Pope himself. She showed the young visionaries with horrifying precision images of what would happen if the country did not repent of the evil they held in their hearts. So too today, Our Lady continues to appear, but we continue to ignore her. And like she did in Africa prior to the slaughter, she weeps, and weeps, and weeps.

"Mother, please! Why don’t you answer me? I can’t bear to see you so upset… please don’t cry! Oh, Mother, I can’t even reach up to console you or dry your eyes. What has happened that makes you so sad? You won’t let me sing to you and you refuse to talk to me. Please, Mother, I have never seen you cry before, and it terrifies me!" —visionary Alphonsine on the Feast of the Assumption, Aug. 15th, 1982; Our Lady of Kibeho, by ImmaculĂ©e Ilibagiza, pg. 146-147

Our Lady responded, asking the visionary, Alphonsine, to indeed sing: "Naviriye ubusa mu Ijuru" (I Came From Heaven for Nothing):

People are not grateful
They don’t love me
I came from heaven for nothing
I left all the good things there for nothing.
My heart is full of sadness
My child, show me the love
You love me
Come closer to my heart.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Our Lady of Kibeho IX

Bishop Jean Baptiste Gahamanyi, who was in charge of the Diocese of Butare at the time of the Apparitions, was interviewed by the French Catholic periodical “Chretiens Magazine” (Jan. 15, 1998 issue). He said:
“At the beginning of January, 1982, I invited Alphonsine to:
– Ask the Virgin Her name, and for whom Her Message was intended – for Kibeho, for Rwanda, for Africa, for the whole world;
– Express clearly Her Message;
– Appear not too late, and in a place large enough to gather many people.
“For the next Apparition, Our Lady appeared in the schoolyard, but not far from the original place of the Apparitions, and this Apparition took place at 3 p.m.
“The Virgin Mary said that the purpose of Her coming was to communicate a message of conversion (through a life of prayer and confession, a life renewed by the Word of God, and by works of charity and justice).
“She had also stated Her name, `the Mother of the Word', so that one will not mistake Her for another mother: the child to whom She gave birth is God.
“She insisted on the same message of rejection of sin, and recommended the practice of unceasing prayer that keeps us in communion with the Holy Trinity. This is how the devotion to the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary was discovered.
“I have absolutely no doubt that something supernatural took place in Kibeho. The message is true; people must feel concerned.”

The pilgrims in Kibeho witnessed several extraordinary phenomena: the dance of the sun from left to right and up and down, for tens of minutes; the disappearance of the sun, replaced by a greenish moon; a dance of the stars; luminous crosses in the sky.
But the greatest miracle in Kibeho was this wave of conversions and prayers that resulted from the Apparitions. The Virgin Mary especially called Her consecrated ones and the youth, these poor young people of our times who go to schools, that are not only without God, but against God!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Our Lady of Kibeho VIII

Other Messages of Our Lady

Two sanctuaries
On August 5, 1982, the Virgin Mary said to Anathalie:
“I speak to you, but you do not hear Me. I want to lift you, but you remain down. I call you, but you turn a deaf ear. When will you do what I ask of you? You remain indifferent to all My appeals. When will you understand? When will you take interest in what I want to say to you? I give you signs, but you remain incredulous. How long will you turn a dead ear to My appeals?”
This long complaint of the Blessed Virgin follows Her request to build two sanctuaries on the place of the Apparitions. Anathalie had told the authorities, but nothing had been done yet. However, the local Bishop and the parish priest were already convinced about the reality of the Apparitions, but they had to go through the usual inquiries.

A Message for statesmen
Here are excerpts from a Message of our Heavenly Mother to the seer Alphonsine during Her last Apparition on November 28, 1989. “I speak to you who hold power, and who represent the nation: save the people, instead of being their torturers. Don't rob the people; share with others. Be careful not to persecute, to muzzle those who want to denounce your errors. I say it to you, I repeat it, whatever you do, even though you try everything to harm somebody because he loves his fellow men, defends human rights, fights for the respect of the life of others, and for the truth and all that is good, and even because he fights so that God may be loved and respected, whatever you do, you can do nothing against him.”
The Virgin also said to Alphonsine: “I love you very much. If I came, it is because you needed it.”

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Our Lady of Kibeho VII

Kibeho visionary relating message during apparition of Our Lady,
significantly you can see she is holding the chaplet of Our Lady's Sorrows.

Message - Repentance

Here is the dialogue that took place between Marie Claire and Mary on April 2, 1982:
Mary: “Do repent! Do repent! Do repent!”
Marie Claire: “But I do!”
Mary: “When I tell you this, I do not speak to you alone, but I speak also to all the others. Men of our times have emptied each thing of its true meaning: he who commits a fault does not recognize that he did wrong.”
Marie Claire: “We are weak, without strength. Give us the strength to recognize our faults and to ask forgiveness for them.”
Our Lady recommends to us to say the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, to obtain the contrition of our sins.
On May 31, 1982, Our Lady said to Marie Claire:
“What I ask of you is repentance. If you recite this chaplet, while meditating on it, you will then have the strength to repent. Today, many people do not know any more how to ask forgiveness. They nail again the Son of God on the Cross. So I wanted to come and recall it to you, especially here in Rwanda, for here I have still found humble people, who are not attached to wealth nor money”.
Our Lady asked us to recite this chaplet every day if we can, but especially on the following days: Friday, the day that recalls the crucifixion of Jesus; Tuesday, in memory of the first Apparition to Marie Claire on Tuesday, March 2, 1982; on September 14, the feast of the Holy Cross; and on September 15, the feast of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows.

This chaplet can be purchased here. Buy it, pray it.