Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Be not earthly minded III

"If thou longest to climb this eminence, thou must begin manfully, and lay the axe to the root, in order to pluck out and destroy secret and inordinate inclinations to thyself and to every private and material good.

From this vice, that man loveth self too inordinately, depends almost all, whatsoever must he radically overcome; which being vanquished and brought under, a great peace and tranquility will immediately ensue. But because few labour to die perfectly to themselves, or fully to come out of themselves, therefore do they remain entangled in themselves, nor can they be elevated in spirit above themselves.

But whoever desireth to walk freely with Me, it is necessary tha the mortify all his perverse and inordinate affections, and not cleave with particular love or concupiscence to anything created."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Be not earthly minded II

"Esteem the whole world as nothing; prefer attendance on God before all external occupations. For thou canst not both attend to Me and at the same time delight thyself in transitory things. Thou must be sequestered from thy acquaintance and from thy dearest friends, and keep thy mind disengaged from all temporal consolation.

So the blessed Apostle Peter beseeches the faithful of Christ to keep themselves as strangers and pilgrims in this world.

Oh, what great confidence shall he have at death, who is not detained by an affection to anything in the world! But an infirm soul is not yet capable of having a heart thus perfectly disengaged from all things, neither doth the animal man understand the liberty of the interior man. But if he will be truly spiritual, he must renounce as well those that are near as those that are afar off, and beware of none more than of himself.

If thoug perferctly overcomest thyself, thou shalt more easily subdue all things else. The perfect victory is to triumph over oneself.

For whoever keepeth himself in subjection, so that sensuality obeyeth reason, and reason in all things is obedient to Me, he is indeed a conqueror of himself, and lord of the world."

One cannot state emphatically enough how counter-culteral these wise and holy words are. We are not to seek happiness for self, for left to our own devices we lead ourselves to misery. If we instead seek to please God and Him alone, then we find true peace and happiness - that deep beneath the ocean peace that if found only when you are conformed to His holy will.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Be not earthly minded I

St. Thomas a Kempis Painting on Mount Agnes by an unknown 17th c. painter

Let me begin by stating utterly and clearly that I am the most wretched of sinners. BUT - I do love the Lord and rely completely on His Mercy to uphold me, otherwise quickly a slave of hell - do I become.

I find it profitable to read holy writings. Among the best are many of the "classics" such as Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence , Imitation of Christ , The Blessed Virgin Mary, Divine Mercy in my Soul, Secret of the Rosary - I have also a great debt of thanks to pay to the writers of St Bernadette Soubirous, The Last Four Things, and most especially, Purgatory Explained by Fr. Schouppe - now this book irrevocably changed my life and started me down the path of devotion to the holy souls.

In my feeble attempts to become a better Catholic, I have been reading little excerpts of a beautiful old 1925 edition of Imitation of Christ, except that its called instead "Following of Christ" also "translated from the original Latin by Rev. R. Challoner, in accordance with recent Pontifical decrees." Oddly enough this english book was publised in Czechoslovakia and bears the Imprimatur if Patrick Cardinal Hayes, Archbishop, New York. I find the old beauty of the languange in this version to be superb and helps to lift my soul to God rather than remain tethered here in the banal language of most modern books. Here starts a new series of excerpts from this book, which I've heard by some was dictated to Thomas a Kempis by Jesus. That may or may not be true, but if I were to find this was true, I would not be a bit surprised.

That the Grace of God is not Communicated to the Earthly Minded.

"Son, My grace is precious; it suffereth not itself to be mingled with external things nor with earthly consolations."

"Thou must, therefore, cast away every obstacle to grace, if thou desire to receive its infusion."

"Choose for thyself a retired place; love to dwell with thyself alone; seek not to be talking with any one, but rather pour forth devout prayer to God, that thou mayst keep thy mind in compunction, and they conscience pure."

Source: The Following of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, Book III, chapter LIII. New York, 1925.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Lady of Sorrows

Think of a mother's final kiss to her son before He is to be buried. Think of what this must have been like if that Mother's heart was without stain of original sin - what a fathomless ocean of sorrow. Let us strive today and all days to honor our Blessed Mother for her sacrifice made willingly in union with her Divine Son.
Mary Mother of Sorrows - Be my salvation! Amen+

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Complete Consecration to Mary XI & Final

St. Louis continues his reply to his critics...

"Some may say, perhaps, if I give our Lady the full value of my actions to apply it to whom she wills, I may have to suffer a long time in purgatory. This objection, which arises from self-love and from an unawareness of the generosity of God and his holy Mother, refutes itself.
Take a fervent and generous soul who values God's interests more than his own. He gives God all he has without reserve till he can give no more. He desires only that the glory and the kingdom of Jesus may come through his Mother, and he does all he can to bring this about. Will this generous and unselfish soul, I ask, be punished more in the next world for having been more generous and unselfish than other people? Far from it! For we shall see later that our Lord and his Mother will prove most generous to such a soul with gifts of nature, grace and glory in this life and in the next."

I entrust myself, my family, all those whom I know and pray for and all of you, those few who read this blog - to Mary Queen of Heaven and Mother of Mercy for all the graces needed for our salvation.

Mary be our salvation! Amen+

Friday, September 11, 2009

Complete Consecration to Mary X

"To them I reply:
(1) It is inconceivable that our friends, relatives and benefactors should suffer any loss because we have dedicated and consecrated ourselves unconditionally to the service of Jesus and Mary; it would be an affront to the power and goodness of Jesus and Mary who will surely come to the aid of our relatives, friends and benefactors whether from our meagre spiritual assets or from other sources.
(2) This devotion does not prevent us from praying for others, both the living and the dead, even though the application of our good works depends on the will of our Blessed Lady. On the contrary, it will make us pray with even greater confidence. Imagine a rich man, who, wanting to show his esteem for a great prince, gives his entire fortune to him. Would not that man have greater confidence in asking the prince to help one of his friends who needed assistance? Indeed the prince would only be too happy to have such an opportunity of proving his gratitude to one who had sacrificed all that he possessed to enrich him, thereby impoverishing himself to do him honour. The same must be said of our Lord and our Lady. They will never allow themselves to be outdone in gratitude."

Source: St. Louis de Montfort in True Devotion to Mary

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Complete Consecration to Mary IX

No one can object that this devotion is novel or of no value. It is not new, since the Councils, the Fathers of the Church, and many authors both past and present, speak of consecration to our Lord or renewal of baptismal vows as something going back to ancient times and recommended to all the faithful. Nor is it valueless, since the chief source of moral disorders and the consequent eternal loss of Christians spring from the forgetfulness of this practice and indifference to it.

Some may object that this devotion makes us powerless to help the souls of our relatives, friends and benefactors, since it requires us to give our Lord, through Mary, the value of our good works, prayers, penances, and alms-giving."

Source: St. Louis de Montfort in Devotion to Mary

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Complete Consecration to Mary VIII

"Now the Councils, the Fathers of the Church and experience itself, all indicate that the best remedy for the frequent lapses of Christians is to remind them of the responsibilities of their baptism and have them renew the vows they made at that time. Is it not reasonable therefore to do this in our day and in a perfect manner by adopting this devotion with its consecration to our Lord through his Blessed Mother? I say "in a perfect manner", for in making this consecration to Jesus they are adopting the perfect means of giving themselves to him, which is the most Blessed Virgin Mary."

Source: St. Louis de Montfort in True Devotion to Mary

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Complete Consecration to Mary VII

"The Catechism of the Council of Trent, faithful interpreter of that holy Council, exhorts priests to do the same and to encourage the faithful to remember and hold fast to the belief that they are bound and consecrated as slaves to Jesus, their Redeemer and Lord. "The parish priest shall exhort the faithful never to lose sight of the fact that they are bound in conscience to dedicate and consecrate themselves for ever to their Lord and Redeemer as his slaves."

Source: St. Louis de Montfort in True Devotion to Mary

"Let the name of Mary be ever on your lips, let it be indelibly engraven on your heart. If you are under her protection, you have nothing to fear; if she is propitious, you will arrive at the part of salvation."---ST. BERNARD.
Dear Mary, we pray that we may die with thine own beautiful name on our lips! Amen+

Monday, September 7, 2009

Complete Consecration to Mary VI

"Men" says St. Thomas, "vow in baptism to renounce the devil and all his seductions." "This vow," says St. Augustine, "is the greatest and the most indispensable of all vows." Canon Law experts say the same thing: "The vow we make at baptism is the most important of all vows." But does anyone keep this great vow? Does anyone fulfil the promises of baptism faithfully? Is it not true that nearly all Christians prove unfaithful to the promises made to Jesus in baptism? Where does this universal failure come from, if not from man's habitual forgetfulness of the promises and responsibilities of baptism and from the fact that scarcely anyone makes a personal ratification of the contract made with God through his sponsors?

This is so true that the Council of Sens, convened by order of the Emperor Louis the Debonair to remedy the grave disorders of Christendom, came to the conclusion that the main cause of this moral breakdown was man's forgetfulness of his baptismal obligations and his disregard for them. It could suggest no better way of remedying this great evil than to encourage all Christians to renew the promises and vows of baptism. "

Source: St. Louis de Montfort from True Devotion to Mary

Theology of Human Suffering - Now Available

Our film company Our Lady's Tears Productions has completed our second venture, which I have posted about already. We were having some techincal difficulties with our site which have been corrected (more or less) so the documentary on human suffering can now be purchased. This is a 90 minute documentary about the rising prominence of the epidemics of sexually transmitted infections and obesity in a suffering American populace. Specifically this film examines the connection between loss of practice of Christian faith and the increase of these vices as a result. The film is made in a delicate enough manner that it can be shown to teens at home or Church CCD classes, etc. There are no offensive images whatsoever, but one of the topics is sexually transmitted diseases but no detail is discussed that would be considered provocative or shocking.

Also we have available for purchase a CD of the sountrack recorded locally for the short about the life of St. Germaine Cousin - Requiem of a Soul which is still in production. 100% of the monies made in the sale of the CD helps fund completion of this film. You can listen to a sample of the music here.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Complete Consecration to Mary V

"I have said that this devotion could rightly be called a perfect renewal of the vows and promises of holy baptism. Before baptism every Christian was a slave of the devil because he belonged to him. At baptism he has either personally or through his sponsors solemnly renounced Satan, his seductions and his works. He has chosen Jesus as his Master and sovereign Lord and undertaken to depend upon him as a slave of love. This is what is done in the devotion I am presenting to you. We renounce the devil, the world, sin and self, as expressed in the act of consecration, and we give ourselves entirely to Jesus through Mary. We even do something more than at baptism, when ordinarily our god-parents speak for us and we are given to Jesus only by proxy. In this devotion we give ourselves personally and freely and we are fully aware of what we are doing.
In holy baptism we do not give ourselves to Jesus explicitly through Mary, nor do we give him the value of our good actions. After baptism we remain entirely free either to apply that value to anyone we wish or keep it for ourselves. But by this consecration we give ourselves explicitly to Jesus through Mary's hands and we include in our consecration the value of all our actions."

Source: St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to Mary

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Complete Consecration to Mary IV

"It follows then: that by this devotion we give to Jesus all we can possibly give him,and in the most perfect manner, that is, through Mary's hands. Indeed we give him far more than we do by other devotions which require us to give only part of our time, some of our good works or acts of atonement and penances. In this devotion everything is given and consecrated, even the right to dispose freely of one's spiritual goods and the satisfactions earned by daily good works. This is not done even in religious orders. Members of religious orders give God their earthly goods by the vow of poverty, the goods of the body by the vow of chastity, their free will by the vow of obedience, and sometimes their freedom of movement by the vow of enclosure. But they do not give him by these vows the liberty and right to dispose of the value of their good works. They do not despoil themselves of what a Christian considers most precious and most dear - his merits and satisfactions.
124. (2) It follows then that anyone who in this way consecrates and sacrifices himself voluntarily to Jesus through Mary may no longer dispose of the value of any of his good actions. All his sufferings, all his thoughts, words, and deeds belong to Mary. She can then dispose of them in accordance with the will of her Son and for his greater glory. This dependence, however, is without detriment to the duties of a person's present and future state of life. One such duty, for example, would be that of a priest who, by virtue of his office or otherwise, must apply the satisfactory or prayer value of the Holy Mass to a particular person. For this consecration can only be made in accordance with the order established by God and in keeping with the duties of one's state of life.

Source: St. Louis de Montfort from True Devotion to Mary

Friday, September 4, 2009

Complete Consecration to Mary III

"Note here that two things must be considered regarding our good works, namely, satisfaction and merit or, in other words, their satisfactory or prayer value and their meritorious value. The satisfactory or prayer value of a good work is the good action in so far as it makes condign atonement for the punishment due to sin or obtains some new grace. The meritorious value or merit is the good action in so far as it merits grace and eternal glory. Now by this consecration of ourselves to the Blessed Virgin we give her all satisfactory and prayer value as well as the meritorious value of our good works, in other words, all the satisfactions and the merits. We give her our merits, graces and virtues, not that she might give them to others, for they are, strictly speaking, not transferable, because Jesus alone, in making himself our surety with his Father, had the power to impart his merits to us. But we give them to her that she may keep, increase and embellish them for us, as we shall explain later, and we give her our acts of atonement that she may apply them where she pleases for God's greater glory."

Source: St. Louis de Montfort from True to Devotion to Mary

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Complete Consecration to Mary II

St. Louis de Montfort

"This devotion consists in giving oneself entirely to Mary in order to belong entirely to Jesus through her. It requires us to give:
(1) Our body with its senses and members;
(2) Our soul with its faculties;
(3) Our present material possessions and all we shall acquire in the future;
(4) Our interior and spiritual possessions, that is, our merits, virtues and good actions of the past, the present and the future.
In other words, we give her all that we possess both in our natural life and in our spiritual life as well as everything we shall acquire in the future in the order of nature, of grace, and of glory in heaven. This we do without any reservation, not even of a penny, a hair, or the smallest good deed. And we give for all eternity without claiming or expecting, in return for our offering and our service, any other reward than the honour of belonging to our Lord through Mary and in Mary, even though our Mother were not - as in fact she always is - the most generous and appreciative of all God's creatures. "

Source: St. Louis de Montfort from True Devotion to Mary, Chapter 3

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Prayer to the Angel who comforted Jesus in the Garden

Agony in the Garden by El Greco
Came across this BEAUTIFUL prayer at Acta Sanctorum and could not resist reposting it here.

I salute thee, holy Angel
who didst comfort my Jesus in His agony,
and with thee I praise
the most holy Trinity
for having chosen thee
from among all the holy Angels
to comfort and strengthen Him
who is the comfort and strength of all
that are in affliction.
By the honor thou didst enjoy
and by the obedience, humility and love
wherewith thou didst assist
the sacred Humanity of Jesus, my Savior,
when He was fainting for very sorrow
at seeing the sins of the world
and especially my sins,
I beseech thee to obtain for me
perfect sorrow for my sins;
deign to strengthen me
In the afflictions that now overwhelm me,
and in all the other trials,
to which I shall be exposed henceforth
and, in particular,
when I find myself in my final agony.

Complete Consecration to Mary

In these troubled times we must cling to our Lady's skirts and pray daily to be hidden and protected beneath the holy mantle. I find my heart troubled by many things and I need to remind myself that all is in the hand of God and nothing is outside of His power. So therefore there is no reason to fear, pray, offer your works and sufferings and cling to Mary. With this in mind, I'm kicking off a new series on consecration to Mary which are simply excerpts from True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort.

A complete consecration to Mary

"As all perfection consists in our being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus it naturally follows that the most perfect of all devotions is that which conforms, unites, and consecrates us most completely to Jesus. Now of all God's creatures Mary is the most conformed to Jesus. It therefore follows that, of all devotions, devotion to her makes for the most effective consecration and conformity to him. The more one is consecrated to Mary, the more one is consecrated to Jesus.
That is why perfect consecration to Jesus is but a perfect and complete consecration of oneself to the Blessed Virgin, which is the devotion I teach; or in other words, it is the perfect renewal of the vows and promises of holy baptism. "

St. Louis de Montfort, from chapter three - True Devotion to Mary

(I am a big believer in taking "small bites" of spiritual readings to let them sink in slowly, in case you were wondering why I tend to present these things in series. If I don't read long blog postings, my assumption is most others dont either- thus the shorter "series" postings - God be with you)