Archive for June, 2012
Weekly News Flash from the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena, Wednesday, June 27, 2012Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
Weekly News Flash from the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena, Wednesday, June 20, 2012Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
TWO KEYS TO PARADISE
SAVE THY SOUL! How much good might be done if only this glorious inscription could be flashed in the skies throughout all times and rest upon every pilgrim on earth, that he might never forget that which should concern him the most. The greater the misery of a soul, the more does that soul illicit the compassion and mercy of God. SIN IS THE GREATEST MISERY IN THE WORLD. THERE IS NOTHING MORE TERRIBLE! God’s mercy is above all shown in this, that He sent His only begotten Son to secure the redemption of mankind. Let us never doubt that God is willing to forgive us “till seventy times seven” if we will return to Him truly penitent. Cast your eyes upon a Crucifix, see on His Face the tender look of compassion towards His executioners! Oh, how is it, anyone of us can question His infinite mercy … hear the echo of His words ring out:
“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”.
The greatest masterpieces of God are those souls whom He has rescued us from the deepest misery. The door of His mercy is never closed: It is always open however lightly it is touched. The door of His justice is shut and locked and opens only to those who force Him to do so.
With God, to forgive is to forget. Never do we read of Our Lord having reproached a single sinner for his past sins. The prodigal son is reinstated in the same high position as before his falling away. Our past sins will never stand between God and ourselves, as a sort of eternal reproach, for such is not the Will of God. When a sinner is truly penitent and strives to amend his life … ALL IS FORGOTTEN!
With Dismas, all hope had fled and around his soul gathered the somber gloom of the grave. From those lips, which had never prayed, lips terribly desecrated by impure talk, by curses and blasphemies, rang out a clear and perfect act of faith:
“Lord, remember me when Thou shalt come into Thy Kingdom!”
INCOMPREHENSIBLE CHANGE! What was it that brought this change in the heart of him who was on the brink of hell? It was perfect contrition! Is not, then, perfect contrition some-thing marvelous if, in the last extremity, it is able to snatch a soul from hell and open to it the gates of Paradise?
Each future citizen of Heaven is given two keys to open the gates of Paradise in spite of guilt and sin. Sorrow for sin is an element essential to both means of entering Heaven. There are two distinct aims for contrition: LOVE of God and FEAR of God: the first is perfect contrition and the second imperfect contrition. Imperfect contrition or fear of God’s punishments is sufficient for Sacramental Confession. This is the first key of Heaven. Sacramental Confession is not always possible. God has given the human race a second key to paradise, which is always at hand. Perfect contrition remits sin and makes the sinner an heir to Heaven, even without the actual reception of Sacramental Penance. We look to the goodness of God and are aware of the profound debt of gratitude we owe Him in perfect contrition. The love of God, which looks to His goodness, rather than His punishments, is perfect love and it makes our contrition perfect.
But, you say, perfect contrition is only possible for very pious souls. Surely, this is a sordid and narrow view of God’s mercy. Was perhaps the penitent thief a person of extraordinary piety? Look at Mary Magdalene, the worldly minded public sinner. Was she overly pious? Yet, she sat at Christ’s feet and wept tears of perfect contrition for her past sins. What of the woman taken in adultery. Did He turn with horror from the vulgar sinner? Did He order her death? He challenged those present to find her more guilty than themselves…He showed forth His compassion in the face of her misery, and bid her to “GO AND SIN NO MORE.”
You are bought at a great price not with corruptible silver and gold, but with the Precious Blood of the Immaculate Lamb of God: one single drop of which is worth more than all the gold in the whole world.
“I will not the death of the sinner, but that he be converted and live!”
In the very hour Christ came to earth, He proclaimed the contrition of PEACE between Himself and sinful souls.
“Peace on earth to men of Good Will!”
Perfect Contrition, which until the coming of Christ was the only means of salvation for the greater part of mankind, is even now – A GOLDEN Key of Heaven.
Perfect Contrition is possible and simple!
While assisting at Holy Mass with devotion, making the Stations of the Cross, looking upon a Crucifix, hearing a sermon or doing spiritual reading, a simple sigh may break forth from your heart as you whisper:
“My God and My All!
This movement of the heart and total focus on the goodness of God is certainly a perfect act of contrition. With every perfect act of contrition, the sinner must have the will to sincerely confess his sins. But, it is to be understood that all those who really profess a love of God are ready to do HIS Will in ALL things.
Is not this Catholic doctrine consoling! And, if this is true, should not every Catholic make frequent use of it? It is a remedy always at hand to restore sanctifying grace to the soul.
“O my God, I love Thee with all my heart. I am sincerely sorry for all my sins
One Foolish Boy – Millions of Foolish Men!
Once, a very small boy found some walnuts. Never having seen them before and without any knowledge of their use, he proceeded to crack them open. He threw the kernels into the fire and kept the shells to use for fine little cups. This is the act of an unreasoning child. Yet, are there not found many older persons who are in the same way irrational? Do they not throwaway their most precious possession: their immortal soul – the kernel of life as it were? Do they not cast it into eternal hell-fire by their sins? Are they not extremely solicitous about health, riches, pleasure and honors – that which is of little worth, while they neglect their immortal soul which will live for all eternity? Can you imagine a greater misfortune!
At this very moment while you read these lines, a frightful fire is raging and hundreds of persons are in danger of becoming prey to its greedy flames. The doomed men and women are sinners. The flames in that abyss are leaping, struggling upward like hungry fiends in an effort to drag these sinners into the seething depths of hell. Can any good Christian remain indifferent and say, “I am not my brother’s keeper”?
There is no redemption for hell’s victims. This thought of imperiled souls must fill us with an all-consuming zeal. Christ sacrificed Himself for these souls and hung on the Cross for them in a most agonizing death. Has He not given us an example … “As I have done, do ye also”.
All true friends of Christ must bear in their breasts His Life-giving charity. “Love one another, as I have loved you.” How are you to do this? In the sick room of the dying man, the family and physician come with the intention of giving consolation, relief of suffering and healing, if possible. The sick man is confused by the profusion of advice and plans for health, medicine, massages, baths, tears and cordials. People speak only of a cure when it is obvious that, by sun up, the sick man will be dead. Not one person thinks of preparing the soul for its departure. How can a Christian, who believes in a judgment to come, in Heaven and Hell, in a future life, allow his brother Christian to die thus unprepared and perhaps eternally lost? It is utterly un-Christian; it is heartless and cruel! Our Catholic Faith tells us that suffering is not useless, that God has intended only good to come from pain and affliction, that sufferings borne well with Christian patience are an infallible source of blessing and merit.
There is no better place than the bedside to assist souls to make the perfect act of contrition. The dying man will hear an angel leaning over him, shouting into his ears these words: “My Jesus, Mercy! O Good Jesus, pardon my offenses! O Jesus, be merciful to me! O Jesus, forgive me all my sins! My God, I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee! I am sorry for all my sins, have mercy on me!” Thus will speak the angel of peace who will attend the bedside of a dying soul. The lips of the dying man, perhaps, can no longer move, yet his soul will contritely accompany those devout words with sighs of contrition. He will pass away, armed with those winged shafts of prayer, to appear before the merciful Judge Who, in lieu of the priest, will pronounce the blessed words:
“THY SINS ARE FORGIVEN THEE.”
But, you may ask, who is this angel of peace? Whence did he come this pious fellow Christian who has rendered such an important service to the dying sinner and who has helped him to make a perfect act of contrition which opened for him the very portals of Paradise. GO THOU AND DO LIKEWISE! Step up resolutely to those in danger of death; say aloud these prayers into their ears with a clear voice. Even though all motion has ceased, you do very well to offer a few ejaculations in his ear, for the soul remains in the body a considerable time, though it can no longer exercise its authority. Your powerful prayer of perfect contrition is a rescuing angel that frees the weary soul from the grasp of the infernal fiend and conducts it to the merciful arms of God.
O My God, may I never be separated from Thee;
by Fr. FISCHER SVD
Weekly News Flash from the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena, Wednesday, June 13, 2012Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
The Pain of Christ and the Sorrow of God!
Is the Crucifixion a thing of the past? It is all over? The pain of the world goes on, but Christ is in His glory? To think thus, is to misunderstand the Cross. Wherever sin abounds, so there too will suffering. The heart of the Cross of Christ is His gift of allowing us to share in the redemption, to bring good out of evil. When I sin now, I crucify God as surely as did the soldiers on the Hill of Golgotha. And, similarly, when I suffer now, God is as deeply involved in my suffering as He was in the sorrows of the city over which He wept. In the life of God, there are no time events; God has no history. Eternity is an endless NOW! It is a point, and what to us is past or future is the present moment of Eternity.
The Passion of Christ is an EVER-PRESENT reality of God’s divine involvement in the pain of His creatures. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not just a memorial of Calvary; not a repetition of Calvary, but the same essential Act. It is a self- offering of Christ, our Head, but, also, the offering of the “Totus Christus”, Christ together with all the members of His Body. We are meant to share in the Sacrifice. In so far as we offer fully, immolate fully, and love without reserve, we shall find full redemption. Evil produces its inescapable consequences; immolation with our Savior merits a joint victory with Christ the King:
THE TRIUMPH OF THE CROSS!
The history of mankind is a love-story. The climax of that story begins in the Garden of Gethsemane; because it is here that begin those events we call the Passion of Our Blessed Lord; it is here that begin the events which make possible for us, here and now, to find our way Home to God. We find in the Garden the pinnacle of all life’s lessons. Holiness is not a question of what we feel, it is the perfect embracing of the Will of God. We may fear our destiny, we may pray to be released from it, we may be heartbroken because of it, but, so long as we place ourselves in the position of a perfect instrument for God’s purposes, “Not my will but Thy Will be done!”, everything will work together unto our sanctification and that of all mankind. Every act in the Life of Christ was in conformity to the Will of the Father, every act was a Perfect Act of Charity. Our human actions do not depend upon their importance for value, but ultimately upon their conformity to the Will of God, for it is this which transforms them into LOVE.
When we reach out to a sick friend, perform our ordinary daily chores, face pain or sorrow, all these human acts may become a part of the Passion, a part of the long series of events which, in the end, will save the world. By our offering them as part of our acceptance and embracing of God’s Holy Will, they become the mightiest instrument in the salvation of souls. We do not need to do anything grandiose, but must heroically strive to do the little things in life for the love of God; then, each act in its turn is given a sacramental value. Omnia in manu Dei sunt, all things are in the Hands of God. We spoil everything because we cannot manage to will the Will of God. We spoil everything because we think we know better than He: Because we cannot leave the results in His Hands, we cannot leave it to Him to decide success or failure. Oh, in how many things we do our self-will!
Where troubles and hardships are concerned, we will do well to think of ours as little as possible and, then, only in comparison with His. When we are thinking much of ourselves, we will always find anxiety and fear and gloom and restlessness; but in doing His Will is our Peace. Say with Christ the prayer of Christ; NOT MY WILL BUT THINE and, from that sacramental act there will flow into your soul the strength of Christ. We have made gods of cleanliness and comfort, and turned our heads from those around us who are suffering. Seven dollars is given to the missions and seventy dollars spent on cosmetics and tobacco. Heavens! What an indictment! There is a mad dash to fortify oneself with degrees, physical prowess and technology of every kind. Still, the shadow of the Passion is creeping closely around us: wars, disease, perverse teachers, the persecuted, poor and helpless. Do we reach out to them with our time and our abundance? A charitable deed is doubly acceptable when we leave our duties toward God for the sake of a helpless neighbor. Or, do we say like the Publican … “Look at me Lord, I tithe and I keep the fast…I am not like the rest of men.” It is the quiet grind of petty crosses which fill our day that are more difficult to bear than one quick glorious martyrdom. And, yet, the one presupposes the other. A man must die to himself before he is allowed to die in vindication of the faith within him. It is through these little spiritual combats that the soul is developed and made capable of greater deeds of valor. Once we are made aware of the greatness of these small events as expressions of God’s Love for us, once we see and live their sacramental value, then we are elevated into a greater life; the winds of eternity blow about us and the infinite skies are our home and we, too, walk the eternal hills.
Every SIN is a Form of Betrayal;
Let us remember now the words Our Lord spoke to those who refused to give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty, refused to clothe the naked and give shelter to the homeless. Their failure to help their neighbors in this way was equated with a real betrayal of Himself. Are we too, perhaps righteous, very regular in fulfilling our own Church duties, but deaf to the cries of our suffering neighbor? It is always wrong for anyone to ignore their suffering brothers, but for us to do it, as Christians, is more than a betrayal: We betray even while we pretend to love and serve; we betray the Son of Man with the kiss of Judas. Why were the disciples so weak? Because they were not prepared! They had never thought it would be like this at all; they were expecting a very different kind of kingdom. Let us not be found to be so unprepared. The one thing that matters in the end is that we have been faithful to Him. We must awaken to this our challenge: live it, breath it, eat it, chain our bodies and hearts to it day and night…May THY WILL BE DONE, ALWAYS AND FOREVER IN ALL THINGS!
The Road to Calvary is at the same time The Road to Paradise!
There is no word spoken between Christ and His Mother on the road to Calvary, but quiet stillness amidst the frenzied activities of His enemies. Mary follows to the end, and again she is silent, she does nothing: She stands motionless, and erect at the foot of the Cross giving Christ her support. This is something – SOMETHING ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL – that we must learn from her. She is there, she is with Him, but, not to work, not to be active, simply to love and suffer and be still. There is nothing Mary can do or say, but they have no need of words, her Son and she, it is love that heals. When you suffer, think deeply and love deeply. your sympathy and co-suffering will go straight to the Heart of Christ, indeed, it is already there, as He trod the way of the Cross so many centuries ago. You are His comfort as the silent suffering of Mary was His comfort.
Draw near! Be not afraid! What is stopping you? Two thousand years? Time does not exist for Him. He will be here on the Cross ALWAYS, until the end of time, waiting for men to come to Him. Must He wait FOREVER? Comfort Him NOW!
You look at Him and He looks at you. There is no barrier of years between you; His THEN is your NOW. They are the same moment. The crucifix is the cause of our joy, the symbol of His power, the memorial of His Love. It is the hope and the love and the pride and the safety of your children. Look tenderly upon the Cross!
United with Mary at the Foot of the Cross, be silent, love and generously offer yourself an eager victim to His Divine Will. You will be at the center of His work in the salvation of the world. You will be a life-bearer. The frenzy of the activity of the mob, the priests and the soldiers brought death. In our modern world, the breathless speed of life and endless activity, the ceaseless change and movement more often than not form a sense of hopelessness that kills all initiative. It causes a type of paralysis of the spirit and of the will. If you seek to remedy the situation by economic or political means without first seeking to heal the evil which is at its roots, you are beating the air: You may provide a brief sedative, an anesthetic, but the dry bones will not return to life. To our dying world, Christ will come, all so still: He will come if, but only if, our world can learn sufficiently to be still, silent and adoring.
Will you be able to stand fast in the Faith if confronted by the miseries and horrors of a concentration camp? If you have prepared yourself by daily turning over all your actions, contradictions, crosses and prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, you will most likely be unshaken. Placing your every agony in the Heart of God and knowing it will be safe there, whatever might happen, you will have God’s Peace. Living in this way, no matter the darkness in the world, day by day offering all your actions to God, embracing always HIS Will and courageously keeping your silent watch with the Sorrowful Heart of Mary, you will have turned your whole life into the stuff of love and sacrifice which is transformed by Christ into eternal salvation.
Suffering makes us humble and humility is the seed of truth. On no other highway will we hear His footfalls pass. Our dear Lord appoints angels to watch over us as we sleep, but He, Himself, watches by our bed of pain and sleeplessness. Borne out of love and with trust, the horror of Calvary will become for us a Garden of joy.
Love and Sacrifice are Synonymous!
If you love much, you will give your all and, in return, all that is Christ’s will be yours for all Eternity. Have courage, my brothers and sisters, a little while longer and then Eternity!
MARY, THOU ART
If I find the cloud of sadness rise within my heart,
Like a star on life’s dark ocean, shining o’re the wave,
Cast thy gentle bonds around me and my heart enchain
Weekly News Flash from the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena, Wednesday, June 6, 2012Friday, June 8th, 2012
SPEAK MOTHER, your child is listening!
Beloved child, my aim is to transform you into Jesus. I will help you think, love, will, speak and act as He did, not only on the outside, but more importantly within your soul. What I have done for all the Saints, let me do for you through your humble acceptance of my mission and your docility to my direction. In order for this transformation to begin, you must set aside a minimum of ten minutes every day to make your spiritual reading. However brief be the time, NEVER fail to perform this daily exercise. It will nourish your soul. Contemplate Jesus and then contemplate yourself. How far, then, are you from speaking, loving and thinking as He does? Speak to Him face to face, directly, and without any set formula of prayer. BELIEVE! If Jesus has said a certain thing in the Gospels, the matter is settled! You need look no further for proof or explanation. Love the Truth! Let no pretext whatsoever prevent you from keeping this resolution.
THE GREAT ENEMIES OF JESUS
Knowing the thoughts of Jesus is not sufficient to make you immediately live His life. You must seek to conquer those enemies that oppose the life of Jesus within you. YOU CANNOT SERVE TWO MASTERS … If your worldly tendencies rule your life, Jesus cannot be your King. What is your ruling passion – vanity, pride, touchiness, ambition, envy, sensuality, laziness, egoism…? Be very sincere about your examination. Always beg for light from above!
“He must increase, I must decrease!”
Make your daily examination of conscience, considering carefully what Our Lord Jesus Christ might have thought, felt or done in your place. Through intimate conversation with Jesus, discover ways where-by you can overcome self and obtain His likeness. Arrange brief pauses during the day to get in touch with your soul. Through little ejaculations and acts of love – ‘motions of the heart’, you will develop a habit which will become for your soul its very breath:
My God, I love Thee!
Your generosity with God is the measure of your love. Without sacrifice, there is no gratitude; without sacrifice, there is no love. Renounce yourself in EVERYTHING so that Jesus may reign in your heart. Give Him not only all that He demands, but all that pleases Him. You must be an apostle and seize every opportunity to reach souls. May the spectacle of Calvary haunt you and pursue relentlessly! May the cry of the dying Christ and the sighs of your suffering Mother resound day and night in your ears! Place yourself next to me at the foot of the Cross and look at Jesus Crucified! See His Body trembling under those frightful tortures. Is He shedding His Blood in vain? “Woman, behold thy son; Son, behold thy Mother!” It is to me and to you that He speaks. He will aid you to save your children – children, who without your help, will be lost for all eternity. Listen again…
“I thirst! I thirst in My Body; I thirst above all in My Heart!
There can be no success without prayer. Supernatural achievements are the fruit of grace and grace is the flower of prayer. Through the use of the fruits of your Redemption, prayer has been given the power to replace action whenever the action is not possible; Spiritual Communion when the Sacramental is not possible, Baptism of desire when Baptism by water is impossible, and even the life-giving act of perfect contrition in the absence of a priest. You must base your hope on God to whom you pray and not upon your own skill and persuasive power. Reach out for prayers from all of the monasteries and convents of contemplatives, the humble and the suffering. Pray for your Bishop, Priests and Religious, and pray for all missionaries before you begin your actions, pray when difficulties arise, pray when you succeed and pray when you fail. Pray and never stop praying! All of you realize that suffering plays a key role in saving souls. Look courageously at the crosses that face you. To an apostle who is taking on generous sacrifices for God, many trials will come: sickness, poverty, dryness, darkness and, often, blatant persecution. If these crosses are accepted with faith, humility and love, they will purify you of all self-seeking, reveal to you your absolute incapacity, make you cast yourself into the arms of God and thus render your efforts more fruitful. The most purifying crosses, by far, are those inflicted through the ignorance, the stupidity, and the malice of men. Do not be surprised if the devil tries to ruin your work. When he attacks my soldiers, he is really attacking me. Keep up your confidence and courage. I have crushed his head and will continue to do so FOREVER!
WE MUST BE ONE
Union with others who have the same apostolic aspirations as yourself will do more than inflame the zeal of all those united; Your zeal will be singularly strong! When you work with another, you will become not twice but ten times as powerful. By your close union formed under my banner, you will be invincible. All those enrolled in sodalities must realize that they constitute never merely a devotional association but a militia in my name that is predestined to crush the head of Satan. They will secure the most brilliant victories.
The enemies of Christ are divided on all points of doctrine; they are united only to attack the Church. Catholics are united on all points of doctrine; yet, they are divided only when they defend the Church. At the time, Satan finds Christians so zealous in the service of God that they are unlikely to succumb to his temptations against faith or purity, he inspires them with opposing apostolic methods and then instead of fighting him they are fighting one another. Have you never observed that, in the time of war, the victorious nation is the one whose soldiers and officers set aside their own personal views and cooperate faithfully in some general plan of campaign regardless of its superiority? In all the conquests of the Church, the troops, which enjoyed the greatest success, were those religious groups faithful to their vow of obedience and who followed with perfect docility the direction of their leaders.
There is no Strength without Union and no Union without Sacrifice!
Have you holy envy of another’s success in this battle for souls? Are their efforts crowned with more glitter than yours, do they draw in more souls? Are they given more recognition? Has the ugly head of “self” reared up in your heart? Do you give way to feelings of disregard for others? Do you seek to cause their demise by forcing people to make a choice between you and them? OH, NO!
You have become my apostle to bring Christ to souls and all souls to Christ. I am the way that leads to Christ; it is I who gave Christ to the world. It is my Son Who has so willed it. Through His Church, His Mystical Body animated with His Spirit, He never stops preaching me and teaching all souls that the most natural and effective way to find Him is to come by the way of the Mother.
When you are faced with your limitations, you must have recourse to the practice of offering to God the good works of others. This constitutes the glorious joy of the Communion of Saints. You must never grieve over your powerlessness; rather you must apply yourselves to the science of love. You know that the love uniting all the Elect in Heaven is so great and so pure that the happiness and merit of each individual Saint belongs to us all. You must develop the habit of offering to God all the good done by every Association united in this battle for souls and, at once, becomes your own!
JESUS SPEAKS TO US
“Follow My example and trust in My Mother. She is all-powerful. Have I not made My Mother the dispenser of all Graces? Is she not able to give all she wishes, to whom she wishes and at any time she wishes? Have confidence! She is goodness itself! I entrusted Myself to My Mother for the accomplishment of My mission. She stood at the Foot of the Cross believing when everyone else hesitated; It is in her that My work of redemption is a total success; My Mother is My supreme triumph! Honor her in My Name and in your own. Honor her for those who do not honor her; for pagans who have no knowledge of her, for heretics who blaspheme her, for bad Christians who fail to pray to her, for consecrated souls who show themselves lukewarm in her service. Honor her to the limit of your power for she is beyond all praise. Honor her with no fear of excess. You will never honor her as much as I did, nor so much as I wish her to be honored.”
Taken from “MY IDEAL” by E. Neubert SM, 1946
Imprimatur Potest: Peter Resch SM
Weekly News Flash from the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena, Wednesday, May 30, 2012Monday, June 4th, 2012
Dear Apostle of Mary’s Immaculate Heart!
Our prayers for you and our gratitude intensify at this critical time of crisis within the country and at the heart of every family. How very much we need the Holy Ghost, His light, His love and His pledge of eternal life! Let us be fervent in prayer and always docile, attentive and obedient to His every inspiration!
The Holy Spirit is our Guest, our Gift, the very pledge of our inheritance. What happiness to carry in our soul the Seed of Glory, the substance of Heaven! In truth, Sanctifying Grace and the life of glory are the same supernatural life, and its fullness will be ours in the life to come. We hope for eternal life and we have full confidence God will give us all that is necessary to attain it. We do not travel haphazardly on our voyage to Heaven.
Faith points out the definite route for us and Hope gives us unfailing confidence that we will attain it. The most common and most dangerous obstacle to the way of perfection is discouragement! This blight of dependence on self above God, reduces our fervor and generosity and impedes our progress to perfection. While we have confidence in God every obstacle is overcome, sacrifice is made easy and our struggles are crowned with victory. When discouragement invades a soul, it is without energy or support and is easily misguided and confused. Despair is the most dangerous of sins. St. Isidore said,
“To Commit a Crime is Death to the Soul; but to Despair is to Descend into Hell.”
Pray to the Holy Spirit, Who is not only light and fire, but strength and spiritual unction that invigorates those who struggle on earth. Let us consecrate ourselves to Him and receive the support of His strong arm, the arm of HOPE! Faith and Charity enrich us with light and love, while confidence in God imparts to our soul the glorious gift of Hope! Let us open our soul to the supernatural aids of which the Holy Ghost is the living and inexhaustible source. He is the Spirit of promise and the pledge of our eternal inheritance.
Please pray for me.
“Heal Our Wounds, Our Strength Renew, On Our Dryness, Pour Thy Dew!”
Power of Prayer
God is Love! He is an all-consuming Fire. What Fire is that? It is the Fire of Divine Love which should be burning within our hearts. It is the flame of the Holy Ghost. Like any fire or flame, it has to be kindled and, then, constantly rekindled because, if a fire is never rekindled, eventually it will burn out and grow cold. The only way we can keep that Fire of Divine Love burning within our hearts is by the power of prayer.
How many Catholics, in the normal course of their day, will never set aside time to pray! God’s power is set loose in prayer as it is in no other way. It is absolutely impossible to have any kind of intimate personal relationship with God unless you have a very strong life of personal prayer. It is impossible for any of us to achieve our spiritual potential as Christian men and women unless we make time to pray.
Our coming into this world was not by accident, not by chance, not by mistake, but by the Will of God. Because of His Infinite Goodness, Love and Generosity, God created us out of nothing! God wanted us to have life. It is His ardent desire that we come to share eternal happiness with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom. If you think that any child’s coming into this world, was a surprise or a mistake, it would have been the first mistake that God ever made. It was not by accident but by the creative will of God that each one of us came into this world, in a specific way, in a specific place, in a certain family and at a particular time, all according to God’s plan. We know that God did not bring us into this world to abandon us. God became man; God took on human flesh and blood in the virginal womb of Our Blessed Mother. God sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to die for us on the Cross, to save us and redeem us from sin. He came to give us all the means necessary for our salvation. When we talk about the means of salvation we are talking especially about the Seven Sacraments. These powerful channels of Grace Our Lord bought and paid for in His own blood on Calvary.
God has a plan for your life that is going to end in Eternal Glory if only you will cooperate with the graces that He wants to give to you. God is always ready to work wonders in the lives of the people who love Him. The apostle St. Paul said, “God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him.” And, who are the ones who love God? At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “The one who loves Me is the one who keeps My Commandments.” Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of God, but only the one who does the Will of my Father in Heaven. Many are called but few are chosen. The gate that leads to Heaven is a narrow gate and few there are who enter therein. Broad and wide is the road that leads to ruin and many there are who take that road.”
There are three very basic truths of the spiritual life:
Prayer is the Key to Salvation!
The whole mystery of human salvation, your whole future and your whole relationship with God depend entirely on how much and how well you are willing to pray. The saints became saints because they understood the power of prayer. They believed and knew that prayer has the power to change lives, yours and those of others, and they proved it more than two centuries ago. St. Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the Redemptorist Order said, “Those who pray much, have great chance to be saved; those who pray little, have little chance to be saved and those who do not pray at all, have NO chance to be saved.” He said, God does not speak to those who do not speak to Him.
St. Theresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, said, “There is only one road that leads to God and that road is prayer. If anyone shows you another road, they are deceiving you!” God’s power is unleashed in prayer as it is in no other form or fashion. Prayer can transform your human power, your natural abilities, talents and gifts into the supernatural power of God.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told the apostles, to pray, saying, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. Whoever asks receives, whoever seeks, finds, whoever knocks is let in.” That means God is a generous Father who very much wants to give good things to His adopted children. We are His adopted sons and daughters. That spirit of adoption entitles all of us to a heavenly inheritance. We are God’s heirs and joint heirs with Christ. God is a loving Father Who very much wants to share His Grace with us and the people who we love. If prayer has this kind of power and if God uses prayer to change and guide and direct the course of events in our lives, if prayer is so absolutely essential to our wellbeing, both now and for all eternity, then the burning question is this: WHY DO WE PRAY SO LITTLE!
Why do we always seem to have time for everything but prayer? How is it that so many of us can sit for hours at a time in front of the TV or computer and think nothing of it? We sit for three hours at a time and watch a ball game and think nothing of it. But, even five or ten minutes of prayer a day, seems like too much of a burden. We hear a great deal about scandals in the Church today and, yes, they are significant and worrisome. What seems a great scandal in the Church today is when a Christian sits for hours in front of the TV or computer and then claims not to have time to pray, his mind becomes boggled by the world, distracted by the noise and nonsense, sex and violence, plots and intrigues of the TV, and he fails to make the time to pray.
Many people could sum up their whole spiritual life very quickly: Mass on Sundays, a short prayer in the morning, grace before meals, prayer on the run, and a quick prayer at night. This is not good enough in the sight of Almighty God. God is a God of love, a God who is searching and thirsting and always craving for more of our love in return. His desire for love will not be satisfied and He will not be able to satisfy our spiritual needs unless we make the time to be alone with Him in prayer. God gives us so much, why do we give Him so little in return? Why is it that prayer is such a low priority in our lives? We might give several different reasons for this. Very often, it can be because we just don’t have enough Faith. We don’t really believe that God is going to hear and answer our prayers. We don’t really believe that God is infinitely wise and infinitely in love with each one of us and that He hears and answers our prayers in the way that is best for us. What more must God do to convince us that He desires our happiness more than we do ourselves and that He knows how best to get it for us. God saves the best for those who leave the choice to Him. Often we neglect prayer because we don’t love God enough. We do not want to make the time to be alone with Him. Perhaps we are not really convinced of God’s goodness or that He takes a personal interest in each and every one of us. Some people never pray, because they are not willing to wait for God to give an answer. We are living in a society where people value instant gratification. We want what we want, when we want it. We know what we want, and we got to have it now. We do not want to persevere in prayer. Some people never pray because they are just too proud to admit that they need God’s help or anyone’s help for that matter. They think they can make it alone and they are kidding themselves.
It has been said that the American spirit is characterized by rugged individualism, fierce independence, and self-sufficiency. This can often be a positive thing, but when it is transferred into the spiritual life, it is a negative thing. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches, apart from Me, you can do nothing.” Most of the time we tend to neglect prayer because we are just too preoccupied with other things. We claim to be too busy to make time for prayer. We find ourselves caught up in the cares of the world, wrapped up in the hectic pace of our daily lives and we fail to make the time or take the effort needed to pray the way we know we should. We can find a million excuses not to pray. St. Augustine said, God is more willing to give the graces that we need, than we are to ask for them. Let us try to think of our relationship with God from His perspective. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said that most people look upon prayer in the same way that an aviator would look upon a Parachute, he always keeps one with him close by, he knows that it is there, he hopes he will never has to use it, but should an emergency arise, he will use it. All too often that is the way people look upon prayer. Many people will only turn to God when they want something for themselves or when some crisis comes up in their lives. Once they get what they want or the crisis passes, they stop praying altogether. God won’t hear from them until next time! Sadly, there are many who never bother with God, never bother to pray and never darken a church door until some crisis comes upon them. When suffering comes into their lives, all of a sudden they are down on their knees crying out, “O, help me Lord!” Then, they demand God to make miracles and to answer their prayer exactly as they have made it. God is under no obligation to hear and answer the prayers of those who have made themselves strangers to Him and strangers to prayer. If we pray only in this manner, we will never grow spiritually. If our prayers are selfish and we serve God only for what He might give us, we are not motivated by true love of God and neighbor.
We have a serious obligation to pray for other people and for the graces of which they stand in need, especially for the sick, the suffering, sinners, those living without God, those walking in darkness, the innocent victims of war, violence, persecution, injustice and starvation, those who will die today. We are living in a world of suffering souls desperately in need of God’s Grace: the graces that can only come to many of them through our prayers. How many lives, how many souls are hanging in the balance at every moment? How many could be saved if only we would be generous and make more time to pray for them.
Our Blessed Mother at Fatima, in 1917, said that so many souls are lost because they have no one to pray for them. This is why, when Our Lord told us to pray the Our Father, He did not tell us to say, ‘Give me this day my daily bread, or forgive me my trespasses’ but rather, “Give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our trespasses, lead us not into temptation.” This is precisely because a mature faith, a true Catholic spirituality, true Christian charity, does not pray selfishly or just for its own interests. It prays for other people and it gives God thanks and adoration and makes reparation for sin. God loves a generous heart that forgets itself in order to pray for others. God will never be outdone in generosity.
God will always repay the least efforts that we make to help others a hundred-fold. While we are still in this life, all of us will have something to suffer. We can never be, nor should we wish to be, free of the Cross. There are many Christians today who are looking for a kind of Christianity that does not exist. They are looking for Christianity without the Cross, without pain, without sorrow, without suffering, and without sacrifice. Such a thing has never existed, nor will it ever exist. The Cross will always be with us. Know that God will never send a cross into our lives that is too heavy for us to bear. With every Cross God sends into our lives, He will always send us sufficient grace and strength to be able to bear it. Jesus said, “If anyone would be my disciple, let Him take up his cross daily and follow in my footsteps.” We know that when we offer our daily crosses and sufferings to God in union with the suffering of Our Blessed Lord on the Cross, our sufferings take on a tremendous redemptive value. They become a powerful prayer in our hands. Our first prayer, every morning, should be our Morning Offering, the daily offering of ourselves: everything we have, we are and we do, offered totally to God in a spirit of love, charity, humility and simplicity. If we do this, we sanctify everything that we do and it becomes a prayer tremendously powerful and pleasing to Almighty God. We know that God does hear and answer every prayer in His own time and in His own way, and we know that when we pray, we will always get one of the three responses from God:
God will say, “YES or NO, or WAIT.”
Why does God say, NO? Why doesn’t God give us everything we ask for in prayer? It is simply because God is a loving Father who sees into the future. God exists outside the limitations of space and time. The past, present and future all belong to God. God lives in an eternal present. God sees every possibility, every contingency. God knows what is going to happen if we get the things we ask for. God knows that we don’t always ask for things that are good for us and our spiritual welfare. Suppose you are a parent and your little child asks you for a sharp knife to play with. Would you give it to him? Of course not! What if he asked for a pack of matches, a cigarette lighter or a gun? Would you give it to him? Of course you wouldn’t, because you are a loving parent and you can foresee that any one of those things could be dangerous to him. When we pray, God will give us nothing that He foresees will separate our hearts from Him and lead us away from Heaven. God will not always give us everything we want, but He will always give us the things that we really need. True worship is accepting God’s Holy Will however it presents itself in our lives.
True Worship is Trust and nothing glorifies God more! It is confidence in God’s providence. We know that God can arrange things for our happiness far, far better than we can even imagine. We must pray perseveringly and humbly. The Gospel shows us that Jesus Christ left us the example of a life devoted to prayer. Think of the Life of Our Lord on earth: Thirty three short years the Gospel tells us. He spent the first thirty of those years in prayer and preparation for His public ministry. During those three years, He left us an example of a life devoted to prayer. He began and He ended His days in prayer. Before every important event, action or decision of His public Life, Our Lord drew apart from everything and everyone, to make the time to be alone in prayer with His Father. This is exactly what we are called to do. Our Lord did that to leave us an example to follow. His example shows us the best and the most simple and the most effective way to pray. Speak to God from your heart, not just out of habit. We know that our prayers have a very special power, a special efficacy, when we come before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. This was the secret of the saints. The saints knew that there was practically no favor they might ask that would be refused if they ask it in His Sacred Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Every day, we come together to offer the most powerful prayer ever known to humanity, the greatest act of worship the world has ever known or will ever know and it is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Mass is an infinite treasure of graces. At every Mass, Jesus Christ places Himself into the hands of the priest as a victim, a victim of infinite value to obtain for us all the graces and blessings that we stand in need of. What is it that prevents us from having the fullness of those graces and blessings? It is because so much of the time we attend Mass without devotion, attention, and reverence. So much of the time we come forward to receive Holy Communion and we receive Our Lord coldly and indifferently. Prayer is conversation with God, lifting the mind and the heart to God. You speak to God and God speaks to you. Your daily spiritual reading and meditation will do so much to foster daily prayer and the devout reception of the Sacraments. If you want an especially powerful prayer for our time, pray the Holy Rosary. It is the prayer that comes to us directly from Heaven through the hands of Our Blessed Mother. Never think of the Rosary as vain repetition. The Rosary is the prayer of the Gospel. It is scriptural and is the prayer that helps us to meditate on the 15 central Mysteries on the Life of Our Blessed Lord and of the Holy Family. Prayer is the life of the soul. Without prayer we cut ourselves off from the treasures of God’s Grace. Without prayer, in time, we drift away from God and fall into temptation, mortal sin and fall away from the Faith. In prayer, we draw close to God, and learn to know Him, love Him and serve Him. In prayer, God reveals Himself to us, speaks to our hearts and guides our lives by the Light of the Holy Spirit. With prayer, God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him.