Monday, March 19, 2018

Disproportionate Love In Return

For The Simplest Devotion
To Her, She Gives Such A
Disproportionate Love
In Return!
It is narrated by Father Auriemma, that a poor shepherdess loved Mary so much that all her delight was to go to a little chapel of Our Lady, on a mountain, and there in solitude, while her sheep were feeding, to converse with her beloved mother and pay her devotion to her.
When she saw that the figure of Mary, in relief, was unadorned, she began, by the poor labor of her hands, to make a drapery for it. Having gathered one day some flowers in the fields, she wove them into a garland, and then ascending the altar of that little chapel, placed it on the head of the figure, saying: “Oh, my mother, I would that I could place on thy head a crown of gold and gems; but as I am poor, receive from me this poor crown of flowers, and accept it as a token of the love I bear thee.” Thus this devout maiden always endeavored to serve and honor her beloved Lady.
But let us see how our good mother, on the other hand, rewarded the visits and the affection of her child. She fell ill, and was near her end.

It happened that two religious passing that way, weary with travelling, stopped to rest under a tree; one fell asleep and the other watched, but both had the same vision. They saw a company of beautiful virgins, and among them there was one who, in loveliness and majesty, surpassed the rest. One of the brothers addressed her, and said: “Lady, who art thou? and where art thou going?”
“I am the mother of God,” she replied, “and I am going to the neighboring village, with these holy virgins, to visit a dying shepherdess, who has many times visited me.” She spoke thus and disappeared.
These two good servants of God proposed to each other to go and visit her also. They went towards the place where the dying maiden lived, entered a small cottage, and there found her lying upon a little straw. They saluted her, and she said to them: “Brothers, ask of God that He may permit you to see the company that surrounds me.”
They were quickly on their knees, and saw Mary, with a crown in her hand by the side of the dying girl, consoling her. Then those holy virgins began to sing, and with that sweet music the blessed soul was released from the body. Mary crowned her, and took her soul with her to paradise.

Oh Lady, Ravisher of hearts! I would exclaim with St. Bonaventure; who, with the love and favor thou dost bestow upon thy servants, dost ravish their hearts; take my miserable heart also, which desires so earnestly to love thee.
Thou, oh my mother, with thy beauty, hast enamored a God, and hast drawn Him from heaven into thy bosom, and shall I live without loving thee? No. I will say to thee with thy loving child John Berchmans: “I will never rest until I have attained a tender love for my mother Mary.” No, I will not rest until I am certain of having obtained a love – a constant and tender love for thee, my mother, who hast loved me with so much tenderness even when I was so ungrateful towards thee.
And where should I now be if thou, oh Mary, hadst not loved me, and obtained so many favors for me? If then thou hast loved me so much when I did not love thee, how much more may I confide in thy goodness, now that I love thee?
I love thee, oh my mother, and would wish for a heart capable of loving thee, for all those unhappy beings who do not love thee. Would that my tongue could praise thee with the power of a thousand tongues, in order to make known thy greatness, thy holiness, thy mercy, and thy love, with which thou lovest those who love thee.
If I had riches, I would employ them all for thy honor; if I had subjects, I would make them all thy lovers; for thee and for thy glory I would give my life, if it were required. I love thee, oh my mother, but at the same time I fear that thou dost not love me, for I have heard that love makes lovers like those they love. If then I find myself so unlike to thee, it is a proof that I do not love thee.
But this, oh Mary, is to be thy work; since thou lovest me, make me like unto thyself.
Thou hast the power to change the heart; take then mine and change it.
Let the world see what thou canst do for those who love thee. Make me holy; make me worthy of thy Son.
Thus I hope; thus may it be.

"Stories of Mary” are taken from the Glories of Mary, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus Liguori; New Revised Edition, P.J. Kennedy & Sons. Copyright 1888 by P.J. Kennedy

St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

As a direct descendant of King David, Joseph was of royal lineage. Although of noble birth and ancestry, this heir of the throne of David was circumstantially poor and a carpenter by trade.

Chosen by God as the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the protector of her honor, Joseph respected her vow of virginity as evidenced in the Virgin’s response to the Archangel Gabriel when he announced that she was to bear a son, “How shall this be done, because I know not man?”(Luke 1:34)

Though the Gospels reveal little about Joseph, the simple eulogy of the Holy Scriptures, “being a just man,” (Matt. 1:19) encompasses his greatness.

It was this “just man” who perceiving the expectant state of his wife, and knowing not the origin, trusting in her holiness against the evidence of his eyes, refused to denounce her. God rewarded his heroic faith: an angel appeared to Joseph in the night and revealed to him that his holy spouse had conceived “the expectation of nations” (Gen. 49:10) by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We next read of this “just man,” now in the role of protector of both the mother and the divine Son in Bethlehem, looking for suitable lodgings for the birth of the incarnate Word, and being systematically refused. We read of him offering two turtle doves, again evidence of his poverty, as a ransom for the Child at the Temple. Then, again, an angel appears in his dream and warns him of the envy of King Herod. Immediately taking to the dusty road, this “just man” braves the frightful desert on foot, leading a donkey bearing the Creator of the Universe and His mother to safety in Egypt.

Though there is no scriptural record of Saint Joseph’s death, we know he was absent at Jesus’ crucifixion, which points to his having died before.

The Roman Martyrology commemorates March 19 as the feast of St. Joseph.  Blessed Pope Pius IX, acceding to the universal desire and prayers of the Catholic world declared the holy patriarch Patron of the Universal Church. It is only fitting that he who protected the mother and the Son, also protect the bride.

When sinners come to Jesus

When sinners come to Him, Jesus hurries to meet them.
Like the father of the prodigal son,
He is waiting for the return of the ungrateful ones.
Like the good shepherd, He seeks after the lost sheep; and
when He finds it, He places it on His divine shoulders and
restores it to the fold.

The Book of Confidence – Fr. Thomas de Saint-Laurent

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Too Ashamed To Confess

Mary, Touches Hearts
 Of Even The Impure!
Various Examples pertaining to Holy Mary

Some persons, boasting of being free from prejudices, take great credit to themselves for believing no miracles but those recorded in the Holy Scriptures, esteeming all others as tales and fables for foolish women.
But it will be well to repeat here a just remark of the learned and pious Father John Crasset,[1] who says that the bad are as ready to deride miracles as the good are to believe them; adding, that as it is a weakness to give credit to all things, so, on the other hand, to reject miracles which come to us attested by grave and pious men, either savors of infidelity, which supposes them impossible to God, or of presumption, which refuses belief to such a class of authors.
We give credit to Tacitus and Suetonius, and can we deny credit without presumption to Christian authors of learning and probity? There is less risk, says Father Canisius, in believing and receiving what is related with some probability by honest persons, and not rejected by the learned, and which serves for the edification of our neighbor, than in rejecting it with a disdainful and presumptuous spirit.

A certain man in Germany had committed a great sin, and was ashamed to confess it, yet on the other hand he could not endure the remorse which he felt, and went to cast himself into the river; but just as he was on the point of doing so, he stopped, and bursting into tears, prayed God to pardon him without confession.
One night in his sleep he felt some one waking him, and heard a voice saying: Go and make your confession. He went to the church, but yet did not make his confession.
He heard the same voice a second night; again he went to the church, but after he had entered it, said that he would rather die than confess that sin.
He was about to return home when he thought he would go and recommend himself to the most holy Mary, before her image which was in the church.
He had hardly kneeled before it, when he felt himself entirely changed. He immediately arose, called for a confessor, and weeping bitterly, through grace received from the Virgin, made a sincere confession; and he afterwards said that he felt greater satisfaction than if he had gained all the gold in the world.[2]

A young nobleman was reading one day, while at sea, an obscene book, in which he took great pleasure. A religious said to him: “Now come, would you give something to our Lady?”
“Yes,” he answered; and the religious said, “I wish that, for love of the Holy Virgin, you would tear that book in pieces and cast it into the sea.”
“Here it is, Father,” said the young man. “No,” said the religious, “I wish that you yourself would make this offering to Mary.”
He did so, and when he returned to Genoa, his native place, the Mother of God so inflamed his heart with the love of God that he became a religious.[3]

1 To. 2, tr. 6, prat. 20. t L. 8, de Deip. c. 18.
2 Annal. Soc. 1650, Ap. Auriem. Aff. Scamb. t. 8, C. 7.
3Annal. Soc. 1650, Ap. Auriem. Aff. Scamb. t. 8, C. 7.
“Stories of Mary” are taken from the Glories of Mary, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus Liguori; New Revised Edition, P.J. Kennedy & Sons. Copyright 1888 by P.J. Kennedy

Three reasons to work

The first end I propose in our daily work is
to do the will of God;
secondly, to do it in the manner He wills it; and
thirdly to do it because it is His will.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Though Cyril’s birthplace is unknown, he was certainly brought up in Jerusalem. His parents, very probably Christians, gave him an excellent education.

St. Jerome relates that Cyril was ordained to the priesthood by St. Maximus, the Bishop of Jerusalem, who thought so highly of Cyril's teaching that he was charged with the important duty of instructing the catechumens. Nineteen of these catechetical discourses, delivered without a book, have come down to us. These are invaluable as an exposition of the teaching and ritual of the Church in the fourth century.

Upon the death of St. Maximus, Cyril was elected to his episcopal see. Not long after his consecration as Bishop of Jerusalem, however, misunderstandings arose between Cyril and Bishop Acacius because of the latter’s leanings to Arianism – a heresy that denied the divinity of Christ. He was summoned before a council convened by Acacius but refused to appear. Accused of rebellion, and of distributing Church goods to the poor – which he justifiably did – Cyril entered a crucible of suffering through persecution.

His life as bishop was plagued with charges by the Arians and consequent exiles by Arian-supporting emperors. Sixteen of the thirty-five years of his episcopate were spent in exile. With the accession of Emperor Theodosius he was recalled and ruled undisturbed for the last eight years of his life.

Cyril participated in the great Council of Constantinople, when the Nicene Creed was promulgated in its amended form. He is thought to have died in 386 around the age of seventy. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1882.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

How much does Our Lady love us?

Our Lady of Mercy!
It is thus that the faithful people call upon Our Lady when they contemplate her seated
with the divine corpse of her Son on her lap.
Mercy, because her whole being is nothing but compassion:
compassion for her Son, and compassion for her children, because she has not only one son.
His Mother became the Mother of all men, and she has compassion
not only on her Son, but also on her children.
She sees our pains, our sufferings and our struggles. She smiles upon us in danger;
she weeps with us in sorrow. She relieves our sadness and sanctifies our joy.
Proper to the heart of a mother is the intimate participation in everything that stirs the hearts of her children.
Our Lady is our Mother.
She loves each of us individually even the most miserable and sinful  much more
than the combined love of all the mothers of the world.

Plinio CorrĂȘa de Oliveira