|Dear Apostles of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
This past week, our dear Sister Mary Emerentia passed away. Sister was born on June 1, 1914. She lived in a rural community in Minnesota, and had three brothers and one sister. Rosela Albrecht entered the Dominican Convent at the age of 18. She was determined to save her soul and help others. Her favorite Saint was St. Thérèse who was at her side in every step she took during her thirty years of Convent life.
Sister preferred solitude, silence and prayer, and early in her religious life, she made an offering of herself as a victim soul. She preferred to be hidden and would find ways to be chosen for roles in the kitchen and laundry room where she would not be exposed to the intrigues of the religious in her Order, who sought public recognition and were exposed to the view of the outside world. When Vatican II opened wide the doors of religious convents and seminaries, many abandoned the hidden and sacrificial life of their consecrated vocation. Sister realized her vocation was in danger. She would not take off the habit, secularize her spiritual life and abandon the hours of the Holy Office. Her heart and soul were torn with the decision she was forced to make after 30 years in religious life. In order to preserve her vows, she must leave the convent. In the dark of night, she and several of the other Sisters took flight. Sister retreated to a small traditional group of faithful who were determined to preserve the Faith of Our Fathers.
For the next 25 years, Sister worked in whatever capacity God provided: teacher, librarian and servant; whatever was asked of her. Sister’s family was scandalized that she had left the Convent and they condemned her. Sister then had the opportunity to care for an elderly lady who was dying. This she did with dedication and love. Then, another lady requested her services and Sister looked after this dear lady until her death.
I had begun to communicate with Sister during this time and she enrolled in the Living Rosary, and developed a special devotion to St. Philomena. I knew her family was distant from her and the lady for whom she cared would soon be called by God. I asked Sister what she would then do. Her only wish was to serve Our Lady. After Mabel died, I invited Sister to come help me with the Living Rosary. She prayed about it and was determined to come.
On October 3, 1989 – Feast of St. Thérèse, she flew into Houston and lived in our home for the next year. Those were the early years of the Living Rosary; it was just Sister and I. We walked around a table to collate books, and everything was done in a simple and humble way. After living with us for one year, a little “cottage” house across the street came up for rent. Sister was in heaven in this little cottage, her cell, in which to live, pray and offer herself up a victim for souls. In later years, we obtained a lovely large home in which to do the work of the Living Rosary and we moved Sister into the master suite where she had a large bedroom, a nice sitting room and a private bath. She so enjoyed the lovely yard with birds and squirrels, where she spent many hours raking leaves. She grew up on a farm and so loved being outdoors working.
Every day, she would perform her job as “chief of Our Lady’s armory.” Day after day, Sister prepared everything we needed to mail out to the missions, all done while sitting at the dining room table. It was an endless, lonely and thankless job, but she realized its value for souls. The heroic dedication Sister had for missionary souls was incredible. It was a grueling 20 years Sister reported for duty, preparing the Power Packets, Scapular packets, Cord and Oil packets, relic cards and Chaplet packets, for our missionary members. She sat for 8 hours a day doing the same thing, week after week, month after month, year after year, alone and without companionship or real encouragement.
Sister’s knees became arthritic and she was forced to use a cane. Oh, how this decline of health weighed upon her! Only in the end, she accepted it and carried on with her mission. Then came the day she had to trade the cane in for a walker. What a suffering for her to admit her decline! And, when the day came that the wheelchair had to be implemented, it was harrowing for Sister. With her loss of ability to be independent, she had to open her life to outside help and to remain completely hidden was no longer possible. It was at this time, an angel from India came to help us. Patricia Francis lived with Sister for five years. How blessed they were to have one another and Sister was able to continue on for the next five years at our home on Sweeny!
All our lives were abruptly changed on September 14, 2008 when Hurricane Ike hit Galveston, Texas. We brought Sister to our home where we weathered out this storm together. Sister needed more care now, unable to walk or even transfer herself; I kept her in my home and cared for her myself for a year. Up every day by 8 a.m., breakfast and her work were set out for the day. She sat at our dining room table with full view of a lovely lake, preparing the Miraculous Medal leaflets for the missions. Every evening at 5 p.m., I would come home and wheel her outside in the back yard. We prayed the Rosary and I served her dinner. She very much enjoyed the lake, the birds and the snacks we had during this time. Then came the day when Sister was not able to be left alone and she required more care than I could give her.
Sister was placed in a Nursing Home not far from our house and we were able to visit her often. We established a special time for Catholics to assemble and pray and, through the tireless effort of Patricia Francis, who had lived with Sister for 5 years, the Catholic residents had their spiritual needs met. Sister’s condition turned for the worse, and she was transported to the local hospital. Her doctor was wonderful and supportive. Father Dignan came to give her the Last Sacraments on March 13; Sister was warm, comfortable and at peace. She passed to her eternal reward on March 14.
In the Cross is our salvation;
Please pray for me.
|O Jesus, Who in Thy bitter Passion, didst become “the most abject of men, a man of sorrows,” I venerate Thy Sacred Face whereon there once did shine the beauty and sweetness of the Godhead; but now it has become for me as if it were the face of a leper! Nevertheless, under those disfigured features, I recognize Thy Infinite Love and I am consumed with the desire to love Thee and make Thee loved by all men. The tears which well up abundantly in Thy Sacred Eyes appear to me as so many precious pearls that I love to gather up, in order to purchase the souls of poor sinners by means of their infinite value. O Jesus, whose adorable Face ravishes my heart, I implore Thee to fix deep within me Thy Divine Image and to set me on fire with Thy Love, that I may be found worthy to come to the contemplation of Thy glorious Face in Heaven. Amen.
(This was Sister’s favorite prayer of Saint Thérèse, which she prayed fervently every day!)
Archive for March, 2013
Weekly News Flash from the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena, Week of Passion Sunday, 2013Friday, March 22nd, 2013
|Father Chad Partain’s Talk at the Launching of THE YOUTH FOR PURITY Crusade
I am Fr. Chad Partain, the pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Mansura, Louisiana and the chancellor for the diocese of Alexandria. And, so I had a long trip to be with you today. But, it is a trip that I looked forward to making because I have seen pictures of your beautiful church for years and always wanted an excuse to come visit. This was the perfect opportunity. In September 2011, we gathered at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows outside of St. Louis, Illinois for an international conference on St. Philomena and, while we were there, devotees from all over the world gathered to share their stories of St. Philomena and to reflect on the devotion and the work of the devotion in the world. It was during the gathering at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows that we came to a greater understanding of what St. Philomena was accomplishing in the modern world. She is a Saint who went from great obscurity to great popularity. She rose from the silence of the catacombs to being the great Wonder-Worker of the 19th Century. After this time, she again slept, but now her devotion is in a period of great resurgence. Many of us who work with the devotion and who try to spread it, believe there is a reason for that resurgence. Philomena is a gift to the Church that God gives to the generations that are in most need of her intercession. And certainly, I think, this is true of our own time and our own need. Our day and Age is not radically different from the days of Diocletian, the waning days of the old Roman Empire. If we were to look back in history and read accounts of life in those days, it would almost be as if we were reading newspaper headlines of our own day. The reign of Diocletian was a culture of death! It was a time when life was cheap, men and women lived for their own sexual excess and pleasure. The Family Unit had completely broken down under a system of no-fault divorce which had been introduced in the Roman Law. Abortion and Euthanasia were common, suicide was rampant, the birth rate almost non-existent. Homosexuality was accepted as a norm and no longer looked upon as perversion. In so many ways, the days of St. Philomena are an exact mirror of our own. And it was into the darkness of that culture of death that God brought forth this amazing little Saint to challenge the wisdom of the world. God sent a teenage girl to challenge the strong and the powerful. He sent this humble little child whose name means simply “Child of the Light,” Philomena, daughter of Light. God has given us this little Saint, the patron Saint of miracles, this innocent child in our own time because we have the same needs as the people of her time. We have to be reminded as they were reminded that the light does shine in the darkness, for this is Philomena’s message. The Light of Christ still continues to shine even in the darkest moments as we pass through this valley of the shadow of death. And so, Philomena speaks to us, as she speaks for us before the throne of God. The message St. Philomena gives to the modern world is the message which it greatly needs.
First, she is a witness to the transforming power of God’s Grace. She reminds us that with the Grace of God all things are possible. And this is a message of hope, a message of confidence and trust which we need to remember more than ever, because we run the risk of growing discouraged by the evil that surrounds us. It is very easy to be a pessimist in the Church today. It is very easy for us to be cynical or critical, to believe that we are living in the worst of times and to believe there is no hope. To give into that temptation is to go against the virtue of Hope. And, this is something we cannot afford to do. Philomena is a reminder to us that the Grace of God accomplishes wonders. But, where does the Grace of God work? The Grace of God does not work through politics, international treaties or trade agreements. The world is touched and changed and transformed not by Washington, or the United Nations; the world is touched and changed for the better through the Grace of God at work in the human heart. This is what St. Philomena reminds us: the Grace of God and the Power of God are at work! Even in the midst of this corrupt and depraved generation, we can see God’s Grace reflected in the faces of the children and the families here present. The Grace of God is not absent from our world. But, we have to know where to look for it. Philomena reminds us that we have to look for the Grace of God at work among the young. Our children are not incapable of virtue. All too often, there is a temptation to write off the children of this generation: they are too callous, they are too cynical, they are too locked into their own little worlds, they are too selfish, too self-centered, they have completely given into the lies of the media and they are blind to any spiritual reality. But, that simply is not the case. Many of our children are lost, many are not! And that is why we have to continue to seek the Grace of God which is at work in them. We cannot afford to give up or to write off an entire generation for the Grace of God is at work. The transforming power of God’s Grace is active in them. St. Philomena is the Patroness of Youth. Every Saint has a task to perform in this world and in the next. Just because we get to Heaven does not mean that our work is done. St. Philomena’s task, assigned to her by the Church, is to intercede for the young. She is to be a witness, model and intercessor for our youth. And we have to help her in that task. The children of today are lost in many ways because they no longer have reflected for them any witness or example of holiness or innocence. As you know, so many of them come from broken homes, wounded relationships and abusive situations. Many of them have never experienced a Catholic education. They have not experienced the support of an extended family. They have never known the love of dedicated religious or the care of priests. They have had no one to witness to them the marvelous love of our Heavenly Father. This is why the Archconfraternity of St. Philomena and the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena have developed the Youth for Purity Crusade to introduce St. Philomena to as wide an audience as possible.
The Youth Crusade consists of two phases: The first phase is a program of mini-shrines that are being put together and will be sent free of charge to whatever school or parish or CCD program would like to receive one. The mini-shrine is simply a large plastic container but, in that plastic container, there is a statue of Saint Philomena, her chaplet, a set of CD’s describing her life and her miracles, devotional materials as well as educational materials on the basic tenets of the Faith. Included, also, are Scapulars, Rosaries and Miraculous Medals, enough for every child to carry back into his own home. That is the first phase of what we want to accomplish in St. Philomena’s Youth for Purity Crusade. We want to introduce her and take her on tour. We want to expose as many children as possible to the power of this young girl because the Church in Her Infallible Wisdom holds up this child as a witness and a sign of what the Grace of God is able to do with our human weakness. Included with every mini-shrine, there is a curriculum which guides the teacher to present the story of St. Philomena and to help focus the children’s attention on the message that needs to be conveyed, the message that we all need to hear. And that message is very simple and, yet, very profound. What do we need to hear in the modern world? What do we need to remember? St. Philomena teaches us, first of all, about the need for courage. Courage is a supernatural gift which comes to us from the Holy Ghost. The virtue of courage is needed in our world today. Philomena is a wonderful example because she is the unexpected witness of courage. Our children today are inundated with images of superheroes and novel forms of courage that are not possible. But, Philomena presents a courage which is supernatural and, yet, at the same time accessible. Here is a child, and we have to remember she was very much a child; here is a child in a foreign land, torn from her parents, isolated from all that was familiar, abused and tempted in ways that none of us have ever been tempted. None of us have ever been offered the kingdom of the world on a platter. She was offered fame, fortune, power and physical pleasure. Everything the world could offer, was offered to her! And, yet, she found the courage to resist this temptation, to overcome her fear and to maintain her peace of soul. Her courage is a tremendous witness and it is a witness, not only to the supernatural virtue of courage but it is also a witness to the power of innocence. Our world today does not value innocence. You can see it in the fashions, you can see it in the advertisements and you can see it everywhere from the billboards to the check-out line at the grocery store. Ours is not a culture that values innocence. We view innocence as a handicap because we have the mistaken idea that innocence is the same as being naïve. And we see this as a weakness not a strength. But, there is more to innocence than just virginity of the body. The greatest innocence, the strength and power of innocence, comes through purity of the mind and heart which is reflected in the purity of the body. You must have the first one before you can have the second. Our children are not innocent and, believe me, they are not innocent because they have not been taught that purity of the body can only happen when we understand and embrace purity of the mind and the heart. For only the pure of heart, shall see God. And this is what innocence is all about. Innocence is the ability not just to refrain from sexual activity, but it is the ability to see and to understand as God does, to possess a spiritual point of view and to be able to value and judge things of this world in the light of eternity. Philomena had that ability and was able to see through the shadows and the illusions of temptation. She was able to distinguish what was important from what was unimportant, what was necessary from what was not necessary. She saw through the lies and the deceptions and she clearly understood that the only thing necessary was the salvation of her soul. Philomena had the courage to embrace the Truth! This is innocence! This is power! Innocence is power because it brings with it integrity of heart. The third powerful lesson that St. Philomena brings is integrity of heart. She was single-minded, stubborn and committed. This is what gave her strength. She was focused completely on the one thing necessary, the only thing that is necessary: the salvation of her soul. This is what gave her courage and strength in the face of martyrdom and death. These are the three lessons we want to highlight as we send the mini-shrines out to the schools, to the youth groups and to the CCD programs. We want to emphasize integrity of heart and the power of innocence and the great need for courage. This is the focus we want to give our children and Philomena does that in a radical and powerful way.
The second phase of the Youth Crusade is accomplished simultaneously with the first. Philomena is not only the patron Saint of miracles and the patron Saint of youth, but she is also the patron Saint of the Children of Mary. The Children of Mary is an organization that was begun in the 19th Century. It was requested by the Blessed Mother when she appeared to St. Catherine Labouré at Rue de Bac in 1830. At the time She gave Catherine the Miraculous Medal, Mary asked for the establishment of the Congregation of the Children of Mary. St. Philomena was named patroness of that Congregation by Pope Pius IX. The second phase of our Youth Crusade now is to resurrect the Congregation of the Children of Mary. Msgr. Braschi, as rector of the Shrine of St. Philomena in Italy and universal director of the Archconfraternity, has asked us to do just that. We are to resurrect the Congregation of the Children of Mary as a Youth Crusade for all, as a means of teaching and spreading devotion not only to Saint Philomena, but the importance and the necessity of the Marian Consecration, the spirituality of St. Louis-Marie de Montfort, by which we go to Jesus through Mary. To this end, we have re-established the Congregation of the Children of Mary as the youth arm of the International Family of St. Philomena.
The International Family of Saint Philomena is composed of three branches: The Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena headquartered in the Sanctuary of Mugnano del Cardinale, the Universal Living Rosary Association of St. Philomena founded by Ven. Pauline Jaricot and the Congregation of the Children of Mary: The papa, the mama and the children. Here, then, is the Family: La Familia de Santa Filomena (The Family of St. Philomena) Now, there is a place for all of us to grow in our understanding and our awareness of St. Philomena and also to practice this devotion and pass it on to others. That is the purpose of the Family, to spread the devotion, to tell the story, to give witness to the miracles, to remind the modern world that God does reach into our lives and perform miracles. Miracles are not just a thing of the past. They happen in the here and now. And it is because of such a miracle that I am here today with you.
When I was in Junior High, I was introduced to Saint Philomena through the Universal Living Rosary Association. I signed up for my Daily DECADE and received a pamphlet on St. Philomena and wanted to know more about her. So I read everything I could about her and I was inspired by her story. I knew that I wanted to be a priest; I wanted to go to the seminary but I was diagnosed with a tumor-like growth in my inner ear. The doctor informed my parents that it had to come out right away. This cholesteatoma was of enormous size and would have to be removed immediately by radical surgery. The surgery was scheduled but, before the surgery, I began a Novena to St. Philomena reminding her gently that, if I was going to be a priest, I must have the ability to hear. My family was able to obtain a First Class Relic from the Vatican. My parents and I prayed the Novena and then I went in for surgery. I had a radical mastoidectomy, where they basically cut off my ear, and drilled through the mastoid bone to get into the inner ear. The doctor got in there and, after eight hours of surgery, he came out and told my parents, “The tumor was much larger than I imagined. The growth was actually the size of a grapefruit; it was pressing on the brain, and there is no way now that he will be able to hear because there is nothing left in the inner ear. Everything has been eaten away. We patched together an ear drum but he will definitely be deaf and most likely paralyzed on his left side.” My mother said, “Are you sure?” They said, “No, we cannot be certain until he comes out of the anesthesia.” I came out of the anesthesia, and felt the doctors pricking my toes to see if I could feel anything. Not only was I not paralyzed, but when they finally unwrapped the mummy and took off my bandages, I could hear out of that ear. The doctors were amazed because there was nothing there but one large vast cavity. There was no inner ear left. There was nothing to hear with. Yet it is that ear which, every week, I press up against the Confessional grill to hear Confessions. St. Philomena is a wonderful sister to us. And that’s what she longs to be. She longs to be a sister to us in order to remind us that we are not alone, the power and the Grace of God are present, and we must not lose hope, or give in to cynicism or despair. Rather, we must continue to practice the devotions by which we recognize that we are part of something greater than ourselves, for you and I are part of the Communion of Saints. Sanctity is not limited to the Saints in Heaven, but you and I are part of that Family – the Family of the Communion of Saints. We are bound to one another and to the Souls in Heaven, and to the Souls in Purgatory as a support system, for this is the Mystical Body of Christ. We have the right to call upon the Saints. We have the right to demand that they intercede in our behalf. Most of all, we are called to take our place with them by trusting Almighty God, and by asking for their continued intercession in all of our needs. Through the intercession of St. Philomena, we pray for our children as we pray for our world. We must also continue to pray for the gift of Hope, that great forgotten virtue, for hope is a gift from God which enables us to believe that God will provide everything that is necessary for our salvation. Nothing will be lacking to us. Nothing is lacking. Everything has been given. When God reaches into our lives with a miracle, He reminds us of this fact: There is nothing lacking. All we have to do is to believe and hope and trust like a little child. This is why, I believe, God has once again raised up this powerful Saint who will not die, whose devotion will not fade or go away. I believe her devotion will continue to grow, it will continue to spread because her miracles happen every day. The testimonies that pour into the Sanctuary from all over the world and the testimonies that are reported to the Universal Living Rosary Association are tremendous! God is at work among us. He wants us to turn to the Saints; He wants us to ask for their powerful help, so we might remember in doing this, we are a part of the tremendous Communion of Saints. We have the support we need. We are not alone! I would urge you, if you have not done so already, to sign up for the Archconfraternity of St. Philomena. This is a wonderful way for us to express our devotion to St. Philomena and to help spread this devotion to others. The requirements are very simple: just fill out the membership card and practice the devotion on your own and do what you can to help spread the devotion to others.
Fr. Jason and Fr. Kevin made mention of the cord of St. Philomena which is indulgenced. The cord is the sign of membership in the Archconfraternity and, certainly, is a tremendous treasure that has been given to us. If you haven’t already, I would urge you to sign up for your Daily DECADE with the Universal Living Rosary Association. Venerable Pauline Jaricot was a tremendous soul and she devised a system by which we could promise to pray one DECADE of the Rosary, joining with others throughout the world. By praying our Daily DECADE, we share not only in the graces of all 15 decades of the Rosary every day, but through the power of association, we gain the graces and merits of all 12-Million members united with us praying their Daily Decade. It is the best bargain value in the Church. This devotion is sanctioned by the Holy Father and is highly indulgenced. It is a tremendous thing. There are 12-MILLION members of the Living Rosary Association worldwide. Take up your Decade, play your part, and help spread devotion to the Blessed Mother throughout the world. The Living Rosary Association is also a missionary activity. I urge you to take home the information we have for the Children of Mary. The Congregation of the Children of Mary, the youth arm of the Family of St. Philomena, is a wonderful way for us to fulfill what was requested by Our Blessed Lady, that our children gather together on the First Saturday of each month, receive Holy Communion in reparation, pray the Rosary and consecrate their lives to Jesus through Mary. This is the purpose of the Congregation of the Children of Mary. Through this Congregation, they learn and are formed so that they can make Mary’s “YES” their own. It is a tremendous Crusade. Take the information back to your parish, to your CCD class or include it in your home-school curriculum. Let everyone know about the Youth Crusade. Share with them the possibilities of spreading devotion to this tremendous Saint. If you do that, you will be doing your part. We are all called to offer our FIAT to God’s plan for us by promulgating devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and hastening her final Triumph. We are called to live and to act, to work and to pray like St. Philomena as Children of the Light, as Children of Mary!
I invite you all to be a part of the Youth for Purity Crusade. By your participation in the Archconfraternity, the Universal Living Rosary and the Children of Mary, you will grow in virtue and purity, and help Saint Philomena bring souls to Jesus through Mary.
Thank you and may God bless you!
We are so happy to inform you that the Crown of Twelve Stars Youth Program has been launched!
Dear Members of the International Family of Saint Philomena,
My name is Fr. Chad Partain and I am a priest of the Diocese of Alexandria in Louisiana in the United States, where I serve as pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Church and as chancellor of the diocese. On November 13, 2011, Msgr. Giovanni Braschi, rector of the Shrine of St. Philomena, officially established the Congregation of the Children of Mary, as the youth program for the International Family of St. Philomena. The program’s website and Facebook page were launched in October of 2011 and, since then, we have registered members, both young and the young at heart, from across the world.
As we prepare to celebrate the first anniversary of the youth congregation on November 21 (the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary), I am writing to you, as promoters of the devotion, to introduce this work of youth evangelization. The purpose of the Children of Mary is threefold:
1. to encourage and foster an extraordinary devotion to the Blessed Mother in the hearts of its members,
2. to introduce the devotion of St. Philomena to the youth of today, and
3. to encourage the imitation of St. Philomena’s heroic purity.
The youth who enroll as members of the Children of Mary, are also automatically enrolled in the Archconfraternity of St. Philomena and as members of the Universal Living Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena. The members make an individual Act of Consecration to the Blessed Mother and assume responsibility for praying an assigned daily Decade of the Rosary. They are encouraged to form Circles of five or more members for monthly meetings on the First Saturday of each month At this meeting they can participate in Holy Mass and offer their Communions of love and reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Monthly meeting guides and points for reflection are given on the Facebook page. Prayers and guidelines for the meetings are included in the Manual which is sent to the registered members along with their membership card and Medal of Consecration.
It is our hope that this organization can be a great force for good in forming a new generation of committed disciples who will truly make Mary’s ‘YES’ their own. Please include the Children of Mary and our Youth for Purity Program in your prayers and encourage the formation of ‘Circles’ in your local area. While this is primarily a youth movement of education and sanctification, membership is open to all the baptized who wish to be enrolled as Children of Mary. Registration applications can be found online at: TheChildrenOfMary.net
For more information or to register by mail, write to:
St. Philomena, Patroness of the Children of Mary, pray for us!
Weekly News Flash from the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena, Week of the Laetare Sunday, 2013Friday, March 22nd, 2013
SAINT PHILOMENA’S YOUTH FOR PURITY
St. Philomena carries a message to the world which is absolutely critical to our Age. Today, every possible influence is being exerted to destroy the purity of the young and the old. For us to remain silent in this matter is criminal! According to modern psychology, sin is not sin and virtue is weakness rather than strength. God supplies to every century a saintly model that suits its particular needs. He saw clearly that the most prevalent sin in our Age is sensuality. To recall the modern world to its sense of duty to Him, He sent to it the soul of a saint who was the embodiment of the virtue opposite of this vice, PURITY! God exalted her quickly and gifted her with miracles. The fame of St. Philomena spread throughout the whole world like a bushfire. Everyone who calls on St. Philomena is helped.
We are on the battle field facing the enemies of purity and we are bound by the iron-clad law: Either FIGHT or DIE! St. Philomena resolved that nothing in this world would divert her from her true destiny which was Heaven. Let us, too, make the resolve that nothing in the world will divert us from our duty to God, Who is our sole reason for existence and Who will be our Judge and reward.
Death is coming! It is really coming near with appalling suddenness. Are we prepared and ready for death should it come today? In that hour, we will be separated from life, from the world, from property, riches and family. All is left behind save two things: the sins we have committed and the good works
Man has forgotten God! He goes from one care in life to another, occupied night and day between the fevered quest of the twin prizes: Money and Pleasure. If we leave God out of our lives and suppose that death is the only result of life, why live at all! For Christians, life is not a hopeless riddle. Thank God for our precious Catholic Faith which teaches us the fundamental purpose of our life here on earth:
God made me to know, love and serve Him in this life,
These two truths contain the whole sum of wisdom for they are more important to us than anything else in the world. Our happiness here on earth and our Eternity of happiness depend largely on how firmly we grasp these truths. We are free to fulfill God’s purpose in our creation or refuse to serve Him. The chief test for our fitness for Heaven is the test of purity.
We can measure the terrible nature of sin by the losses it entails. Deliberate sins against purity are mortal for, through them, a soul is slain, the Grace of God is forfeited, Heaven is closed and Hell is opened. The first consequence of sin is that the unhappy creature, who thus falls, no longer cares to pray and gives up daily devotions. He begins to doubt whether there really is a God or Eternity. In false shame, sins are concealed in the confessional, thus rendering his Confessions and Communions sacrilegious. Hardness of heart sets in and the understanding is darkened. We must have confidence in God, call upon Him and rely upon His help, avoid all idleness and fly from all persons, places and things which are a temptation to sin. We must avoid those substances which weaken our will to say NO to sin, dress modestly, shield our eyes from nakedness and seek goodness, truth and beauty.
The world seeks to destroy not only our purity but also our very belief in purity. Familiarity between the sexes, nudity, free love, taking partners, divorce, movies, bad companions and constant media exposure open our soul, day and night, to the filth of impurity. Our adversary is paganism. Not the old paganism which worshipped idols, but the new paganism that worships SELF! It makes man a law unto himself, which denies that man has a soul and a free will. The modern world does not believe in God or life after death.
By the Sixth Commandment, we are commanded to be pure men and women, to live good lives, wholesome, clean, noble, virtuous and consistent with our dignity as men endowed with immortal souls and stamped with God’s image and likeness. We are to live the noble life of a Christian, be followers of Christ, children of God and future inhabitants of Heaven. Our life is to be consistent with our dignity as a tabernacle of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in Holy Communion. That Christian man should live the life of an animal is a contradiction and a catastrophe. Purity, then, in thought, word and deed is commanded of us by the Sixth Commandment.
What does the Sixth Commandment forbid?
Adultery means the sexual union of two people, at least one of whom is married to a third person. Fornication is the sexual union of two persons who are single. Neither fornicators nor adulterers shall possess the Kingdom of God.
All sins of impurity and immodesty, all external actions contrary to holy purity are forbidden: all impure words, desires and thoughts. God forbids anything that can sully the purity of our bodies, minds or souls. He forbids absolutely, unconditionally, at all times, in all places and under all circumstances, any impure act whether committed with another or alone. God’s standard for men and women is identical. Is this command difficult? It is the most difficult of all the Commandments. It is the chief test to which God puts man to determine his fitness for Heaven. Unless we make use of the means God gives us to observe this Commandment, we will not succeed.
Very many sins against the Sixth Commandment are committed neither in cold blood nor in overwhelming passion, but as a result of certain moods we fall into. If you find yourself sulking, fidgety, cranky or childish, learn to pull up quickly. Resist these moods by doing the opposite of what they suggest. This will be for you a very healthy form of conquest and self-denial.
IMMACULATE VIRGIN, reawaken in us an awareness of the malice of sin and of the pain it caused thy Son so that, by prayer and penance, we may weep for our own sins and frequently wash our soul in the most Precious Blood of Jesus through the Sacrament of Penance.
OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME!
We call God ‘Father’ because He created us. But, God has actually given to man the astonishing power to be a father too; God shares His creative power with a man and a woman to call into existence His children. As the tiny body of the child is formed by the parents, God breathes into it an immortal soul. Try to realize the dignity and nobility of fatherhood and motherhood. It is a power given by God that must not be tampered with. Sex is used for the purpose of begetting children and must be surrounded with the most profound respect and reverence. It is noble. When sex is misused, this beautiful God-given instinct is turned into an instrument of pleasure and it is the pleasure that is worshiped, the pleasure that is set up as god. For many, it is a means of recreation not the procreation of the children of God. To God, they say, “I WILL NOT SERVE!” When we profane our bodies, we profane what is sacred in God’s sight. When we profane our bodies, we actually commit as great a sacrilege as one who profanes a church or altar. The body which the Holy Spirit animates must partake of His Holiness.
Today, unbridled passion is called love. IT IS NOT LOVE! It is stark naked lust. It is wrong to tamper with truth, it is wrong to squander money, it is wrong to ruin the name of another; but can you tell me, it is not wrong to tamper with the means to create life, not wrong to cheapen love and to squander God’s creative power? Can it be right to say that sins against life and love do not matter? The sin against sex is a sin against life, a sin against God. It is a sin that God punishes even in this life. Lust is no substitute for love! Good God, what damnable liars these men and women are when they defend this sin! To be modest, one must build for himself a strong Christian character, a life dominated by principles: Frequent Prayer, Frequent Confession and Frequent Communion.
Daily spiritual reading will bring to mind the great religious truths of our Faith. Daily self-denial, habitual reflection and fervent prayer make us strong to resist temptation. Prayer is not to be delayed to the moment of temptation, when it is too late, but daily we must ask God to give us strength when the moment of temptation comes.
MODESTY – The Guardian of Chastity!
“The sins that lead most souls to Hell are sins of the flesh!
The words of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Blessed Jacinta Marto – in 1917, Fatima
Frequent Confession will help us to develop a conscience which is sensitive to sin. Frequent Communion will make the soul strong just as food taken will help make the body strong. Daily spiritual reading will increase our knowledge and love of God. The Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity comes to take up His abode within us at the time of Baptism, and dwells habitually within us until we drive Him out by mortal sin.
“If a man will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me!”
Our generation is given over to excesses. They have never been taught discipline nor have they learned obedience. Harried parents have given into self-indulgence and, for a peace which is false, they have allowed the defiant child to have his way at every turn. The child will not obey, he will not study and his every wish for food, snacks, movies, money and video games is gratified; if not at first, then after a series of nagging cries, he gets his way. He has never been taught to sacrifice, deny himself and develop self-control. At the root of all sin and, most especially, the sin of impurity, is the absence of self-control. To obey the Will of God and to avoid all forms of excess, self-denial is necessary and training in self-denial should begin at the earliest possible age.
We make the sacrifice of self-denial not only for the salvation of our own soul but also for those in danger, today, of dying in mortal sin. My dear friends, there is a pestilence about us to which hundreds of thousands are succumbing each day. When a pestilence is raging, it is the duty of the parent and the pastor to warn the people against it. The pestilence is the sin of impurity! It is as necessary to practice prayer and self-denial with regularity as it is to have two wings to fly. Self-denial means moderation in all things, resignation without grumbling, control of temper, tongue and all impulses, refusal to read what is impure or watch any video or movie which contains impurity of speech, action or dress, sitcoms which ridicule family life or religion and glorify unbridled license. It means that we should, every day, do something that is hard and disagreeable. Self-denial is the business of training the will to choose God over creatures, Heaven over Hell, Goodness over Evil!
FLY TO THE HEART OF MARY!
The Heart of Mary is the mirror of God and the masterpiece of His creation, the Living Tabernacle of the Blessed Trinity. The daily rhythm of the Rosary, that calm solitude of prayer, opens to us the mercy of God. The Mother of Jesus leads us along the high road of suffering and pain to union with her Divine Son, quietly refining and shaping our soul. Prayer obtains all. The Heart of Mary is there, let us knock! The grace of purity will be given to us if we persevere in asking for it. In the Heart of Mary, we will find courage and strength. In her Heart, we will be nourished and protected.
Mary is in anguish for Her children in sin. A mother weeps to see her child suffer; she is deeply distressed when the child is in grave danger. God’s own Mother will keep Her vigil through the dark night at the bedside of all Her mortally wounded children who have been separated from God’s Grace due to sin. Mary came to Lourdes and Fatima, to plead with us to pray the Rosary and do penance for sinners. We must fly from temptation and seek refuge in this Grotto Divine!
With Mary, let us advance on this Pilgrimage of faith that we may arrive at our destination pure in body and soul and be greeted with these words: “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the Kingdom that has been prepared for thee.”
PARENT’S CONSECRATION OF THEIR CHILDREN TO ST. PHILOMENA
O Saint Philomena, we place our children in thy keeping. Illustrious Virgin, who so thoroughly understood the excellence of purity, keep their souls pure and holy in the sight of God. Wise young maiden, who so fully comprehended the infinite value of eternal treasures and the shallowness of temporal riches and power, instruct our children in the value of things spiritual. Assist them in building up rich treasures in the store-house of Heaven, where their wealth can neither be destroyed nor taken from them.
Courageous Martyr, who died in torment rather than offend the All-Good God, teach our children a true horror of sin and a love of true virtue. We implore thee, St. Philomena to obtain for them the courage to suffer persecution and tortures bravely rather than to deny Almighty God.
We ask these favors with complete confidence, St. Philomena, because we know that thou, who gave all to God, can obtain all from Him and we are sure that thou wouldst never refuse to hear the prayer of parents who implore thy help for the eternal salvation of their children. Amen.
|THE ROBE OF CONSOLATION
Behold Jesus before us, hanging on the Cross. See His gentle, sorrowful Face. His Heart aches because so many for whom He is dying have rejected His goodness and love. Will we reject Him too? Before we answer, let us listen to His words from the Cross, “I thirst.” He is speaking to us. He thirsts for us, do we thirst for Him? Beg from Him this grace. Jesus thirsts for our love and He wants our help. Will we help Him? Let us take a moment now to consider what He has given us. He created us in love, washed away our sins with His Blood, clothed us with His divine Life, and prepares a place for us in His Father’s House that we might dwell with Him for all Eternity. And, there is more. Jesus wants to share with us His mission. He wants our help to bring everyone back Home to His Father. This, too, is His gift to us. Will we accept it? He is counting on our help. He needs us. Many refuse the Love of Jesus and they refuse the gift of His mission. Will we refuse it? Let us believe in His Love and say ‘YES’ to His Will for our lives. Turn to Mary. She knows how to say ‘YES’ to God and She will help us. Mary, my Mother, please be with me now. Help me to have the courage and love not to be a disappointment to Jesus.
Jesus, I thirst for Thee! Form me into a saint.
Weekly News Flash from the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena, Week of the Third Sunday of Lent, 2013Friday, March 22nd, 2013
GLORY BE TO JESUS CHRIST!
Dear Children of Mary,
What joy this title brings to all our hearts! It is a wonderful program that Father Chad Partain is championing throughout the world for our Youth! Through Him, Our Blessed Mother is calling Her children to a greater love and participation in the Holy Eucharist.
Jesus Christ founded His Church to teach the truth and to sanctify the world. It continues Christ’s work to make disciples of all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded, even unto the consummation of the world. Christ founded that Church and placed Peter as Its head, to whom He gave the promise of unshakable Faith. The Church would be built solidly upon Peter as upon a rock; no storms would ever tear it down. It was to teach all men, and Christ Himself would be with It, always, so that It could make no error in teaching His Divine Truth. It had the power to rule. It was a Kingdom; It had a head, Peter, and various classes of Apostles and disciples, bearers of the Word, all under Peter, all subject to his authority. Christ founded that Church as an infallible teaching authority. Salvation comes from Christ through His Church! The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. In this great Body of Christ, there is a constant and mutual sharing of help among all the members. If one member suffers anything, all the members suffer with It or, if one member glories, all the members rejoice with It. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ; Its Head is Christ Himself Who gives life and direction to all Its members. The members are all united to the Head and to one another.
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, What things God has prepared for those who love Him! In Heaven, we shall see God, face to face.
Let us ask the Queen of Heaven to grant us every grace necessary to obtain our final perseverance and a holy death!
Dear members, we place your daily needs, spiritual, physical and material, before the Altar of God. In doing this, may our mission in the bosom of Holy Mother the Church be strengthened and completed.
I impart to all of you, my priestly blessing:
+ In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
|Dear Apostle of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
We have received your generous gift which is truly a great help for our work of reaching all souls with devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and uniting them through the Holy Rosary. We realize that each one of you carry heavy crosses and struggle each day to do God’s Holy Will at home, at work and in your community. It would be very easy to get discouraged but, with great vigor, drive that thought out! Keep your eyes on your eternal goal, Heaven! Rest assured of our prayers for you each and every day.
Man is the most perfect, the most capable and the most beautiful of all God’s visible creatures. He is formed of matter and spirit, body and soul. Man stands upright and proclaims dominion over all other creatures. The spirit of man, his soul, has powers that do not belong to matter. The soul is immortal, intelligent and master of itself. Adam and Eve were partakers of the divine nature and adopted sons of God. Their souls were alive with Sanctifying Grace, a supernatural gift infused in the soul, which makes it pleasing to God. No one can merit grace; it is a supernatural gift from God. Grace is a real physical-spiritual thing which exists in the soul. There is a difference between the way we love and the way God loves. We love someone because we see and appreciate something good in that person. God cannot love in this way because it would imply that something distinct from Himself motivates His Love. No! God loves in a totally different way. He places in our souls the supernatural Gift of Sanctifying Grace, which makes us worthy of His Love and Eternal Life. Grace is not God Himself, but it is a gift which implies the presence of the Giver. Grace makes us holy, it deifies and sanctifies us.
There are two factors at work in the operation of Grace: God’s action and man’s action. Unlike other graces, Sanctifying Grace is conferred on us for the benefit of others. Grace is multiplied as man uses it. When works increase, so does Grace. Generally, there are two principal ways to obtain grace: through the Sacraments and through prayer. The one thing that impedes Grace is SIN. The source of all supernatural energy is God, but the flow of that energy to us awaits the action of prayer. Prayer is the key that unlocks the treasures of our all-benevolent God! Be faithful to your Daily Decade, and the flood-gates of Grace will be opened to you!
Thou art my Mother, O Virgin Mary: keep me safe lest I ever offend thy dear Son and obtain for me the Grace to please Him always and in all things. (300 days Ind.)
THE INESTIMABLE GIFT OF DIVINE MERCY!
Bless me, Father, for I have sinned!
The Sacrament of Penance is an abundant source of consolation and peace to every Christian soul. Confession means always an act of self-denial, as it is essentially an act of penance. Our Heavenly Father forgives the heaviest possible crimes, immediately and unrestrictedly, when asked for mercy in the spirit of humility and contrition. God’s infinite sanctity bars even the slightest compromise with sin. God hates sin infinitely. Hence, reconciliation with God and man is unthinkable so long as man stubbornly adheres to sin.
A good preparation is necessary for Confession. Daily spiritual reading and a careful daily examination of conscience are very important to forming a clear conscience. Pray to the Holy Ghost for light to know your sins, the strength to confess them and the Grace to be truly sorry for them. Strive to go to Confession weekly or at least once a month. If you go every two weeks, you are eligible to gain all the indulgences and graces that are offered through Holy Communion on special Feasts and the offering of particular prayers and Novenas throughout the year, which require Confession within the octave of the completed devotion. Under pain of mortal sin, you must make your Confession at least once in the year and receive Holy Communion during the Easter Season. You should confess your sin, the number of times it was committed and the circumstances under which it was committed, whether alone or with others.
For a good Confession, you must have sorrow for your sins. Contrition is a hearty sorrow for your sins and a firm determination never to commit them again. Sorrow must be interior; it must come from the heart and be felt in the soul. Tears, sighs and exterior signs are not necessary. See your sins to be the greatest of evils, detest them as you would a poisonous snake. You need not weep, sorrow is in the will. Your contrition must be universal: You must be sorry for every mortal sin; if you confess only venial sins, you must be sorry for at least one of them. Contrition must be supernatural, not out of shame, but because you have offended Almighty God and lost Grace and Heaven, and deserve Hell. If you are sorry because you have offended God, the best of Fathers, our loving Redeemer Who is all good, glorious and amiable, your contrition is perfect. Imperfect contrition suffices to make a good confession.
Look upon Christ dying in agony on the Cross;
We must have a purpose of amendment to make a good Confession. This is a firm determination to change your life, avoid sin and have a definite resolve to suffer anything rather than commit a mortal sin. If you are resolved to avoid sin, you will be resolved to avoid the proximate occasion of sin – for instance, persons, places or times in which you are faced with temptation to sin. Resolve, always resolve to avoid every deliberate venial sin, for venial sins are the rungs on the ladder that lead to mortal sin! Always perform your Penance in a timely way. Be resolved to make good the wrong you have done. Perhaps, this will be restitution in goods, or in good name, or in soul, or by praying for those you have scandalized.
Confess your sins. Confession must be entire; you must tell all your mortal sins and, if no mortal sin is present, at least one venial sin for which you are truly sorry. Your Confession must be clear, not vague. Give the sin, the circumstances and the number of times it was committed. Consider the Ten Commandments and confess your sins in that order. Be sure not to conceal, diminish or disguise your sins through false shame. Remember the silence of the Confessional is as the silence of the grave. No priest may ever reveal what he has heard in Confession. He may have to undergo torture or death, but he may not utter a single word he has heard in the Sacrament of Penance.
Accept the penance the priest gives you. In Confession, the eternal punishment due to sin is remitted, but the temporal punishment remains in whole or in part. The penance given is for the expiation, in part at least, for the temporal punishment due for your sins, and for the amendment of your life. Never sit, kneel or stand too close to the Confessional as you may inadvertently hear the confession of another.
The priest really does forgive sins in the Confessional. The dominant purpose of Christ is to seek and save sinners. Yes, only God can forgive a man who has sinned against God. But Jesus Christ is God; and the power of forgiving sins which is His, He gave to Peter and to the other Apostles to be used in His Name. “Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed in Heaven.” (Matt 16:19) “Receive ye the Holy Ghost, whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” (John 20:22-23)
Christ gave this power to His Apostles and it was a power given to them in their official capacity as ambassadors of Christ, to be passed down through the Ages by apostolic succession, until the end of time. Can a priest forgive his own sin? No, he cannot! He, too, must go to Confession to another priest. The Pope and the bishops go to Confession regularly that their sins may be forgiven. From the beginning of time, there has been absolutely no sin, the remission of which has been refused to penitents by a universal law in the Catholic Church. The Church cannot by any means grant the right of refusing absolution to those who are guilty of sin no matter how great their crimes, provided they are rightly disposed. But, anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Ghost will not be forgiven, for it is morally impossible that he should meet the conditions for absolution. The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is final impenitence and it frustrates, and is absolutely opposed to the remission of sins. Even God cannot pardon where there is no sorrow for sin. Man has a free will and God will never interfere with or force man’s free will.
Through the Sacrament of Confession, the Holy Ghost will increase our self-knowledge, Christian humility will grow, bad habits will be corrected, spiritual neglect and tepidity will be corrected, the conscience will be purified, the will strengthened, a salutary self-control attained and grace will be increased.
Mortal sin strips our soul of the merits and graces of a life time. Everything is lost by mortal sin. But, how consoling this truth of our holy religion! Meritorious words revive when, through the forgiveness of mortal sin, grace is restored to the soul! All the merits of the pious works performed before the sinner fell while he was in the state of grace, are restored to the soul. God is so Good!!! But, while the soul is dead through mortal sin, it cannot gain one single favor from Heaven. How miserable and unhappy is the state of the sinner in mortal sin!
The amendment of our lives is the surest sign that our Confessions are good. If, since your last Confession you have been guilty of only venial sins, then include a grievous sin of your former life for which you are heartily sorry. In this way, even if your sorrow concerning the faults committed since your last confession should be somewhat wanting, you need not be disquieted about your confession or have doubts about whether you had sufficient sorrow for them. Form the firm resolution of never willingly offending God again.
The Sacrament of Confession was principally instituted for the forgiveness of mortal sin: and every mortal sin committed after Baptism must be confessed. Still, confession of venial sins is highly recommended by the Church as a great means of Christian perfection. By making frequent your confessions, you are exercising watchfulness over yourself and striving after perfection day by day. Through it, you will grow in His Love and His Grace. He that does not go forward in perfection will slip backwards. Here is a sort of model for devotional confession:
“Father, my last confession was a week ago. Since then, I have been slightly angry and have given expression to my feelings in unkind words. I have told three lies in unimportant matters, just to elevate myself in the estimation of others. And I wish to include in this Confession all the sins of my past life, especially the mortal sins I deliberately committed against the Sixth Commandment. I am sorry for these sins I have mentioned and I firmly resolve to avoid them in the future.”
By the Grace of God through frequent and sincere Confessions, may you continually advance in holiness before God and man!
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because I have offended Thee, my God Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy Grace to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.
Weekly News Flash from the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena, Week of the Second Sunday of Lent, 2013Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
Our Three Pillars of Victory:
The Church, the Eucharist and Mary!
The history of the Church is replete with Eucharistic Miracles. In the year 595, during the life of Pope Gregory, it was the custom of the faithful to prepare the bread used for the Eucharist. One Sunday, while Pope St. Gregory was celebrating Holy Mass in the ancient church of St. Peter, a woman in line to receive the Eucharist was laughing out loud. The Pope was greatly disturbed and asked her, “Why?” The woman defended herself that she could not come to believe that it was possible for bread made by her own hands to become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, thanks to the words of consecration. At that point, he prohibited her from receiving Holy Communion and he implored God to enlighten her. When she saw the very portion of bread prepared by her turn into Flesh and Blood, the woman fell to her knees and repented. Today, part of the Relic is preserved at Andechs in Germany. In the city of Rimini, Italy, it is still possible to visit the church built in honor of a Eucharistic Miracle worked by Saint Anthony of Padua. In 1227, Anthony was conversing with a heretic who was against the Sacrament of the Eucharist. He challenged the Saint to prove to him that the Body and Blood of Christ were truly present in Holy Communion. Anthony suggested that he change the challenge. He offered to withhold food from an animal for three days so that it would feel the torment of hunger. He publicly led the animal out and offered it a hearty bowl of food while placing the monstrance containing the Body and Blood of Christ before it. He asked the heretic, “If the animal passes up the food and adores His God, will you then embrace the Church? The animal passed up the food and fell to its knees bowing to the Eucharist. In Lanciano, Italy, some 700 years ago during Holy Mass at the moment of Consecration, the bread turned into visible human flesh and the wine into human blood. The miracle is validated and continues to this day.
All of these are beautiful testimonials to the most basic and exalted truth of the Catholic Church regarding the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
The Church has suffered enormously over the past 50 years. The most serious problem facing the Church today, the most important issue which must be addressed more than the scandals that abound, is the loss of belief in the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. What is amazing is the number of people who do not believe what the Church has always taught about the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This is a very serious problem which has to be corrected. The Eucharist is the Source and Summit of the Christian life! In the Blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church – Christ Himself: All the Sacraments, liturgy and devotions, the very life of the Church flow from the Eucharist. Statistics in the USA and Europe in 1994 showed that 2 out of 3 Catholics under the age of 45 believe the Eucharist is only a symbolic reminder of Christ. One half of those who attend Mass on Sunday describe the Eucharist as symbolic. This represents 15 million Catholics. A poll taken one year ago indicates that 77% believe one can be a good Catholic without attending Mass on Sunday and 70% of those between the ages of 18-45 believe the Eucharist to be symbolic. This should be no surprise to us. We have had 50 years of catechesis without content, a theology without the Cross and a spirituality without Our Lady! It is diabolical! What is Satan’s plan? Attack the Truth by discrediting the Church as a teaching authority; attack the Eucharist – our source of life and unity, and degrade Mary who leads us to Christ and ultimately crushes the head of the Serpent.
WHAT, THEN, IS OUR PLAN?
Proclaim and defend the Truth by uncompromising obedience to the Church, increase devotion to the Eucharist and make and live our Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These are the three Pillars of our apostolic program:
Total Consecration to the IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY!
If these three are implemented, we will have holy vocations. We need adoration of the Blessed Eucharist and we must be prepared to defend It against the errors which abound. Jesus is not just in the host or with the host; He is the Host Itself! Each and every particle of the host and every drop of precious Blood contain the whole Christ. Holy Communion preserves us from mortal sin and remits venial sin. It is a remedy through which we are delivered from our daily faults. It is the most powerful remedy against temptation. The Eucharist is the Bond of Charity that unites all Christians as members of One Spiritual Body.
If we heard a newsflash that Jesus Christ was coming to earth and would be in our city next week, no sacrifice or effort would deter us from making the journey and suffering the discomfort of the crowds to see Him. The Truth is, He is truly here: HE IS PRESENT BODY, BLOOD, SOUL AND DIVINITY! Too often today, the Mass is stripped of its sacrificial meaning and celebrated as if it were merely a fraternal banquet. As we move from the Old Testament to the New Testament, we find the Old is completed in the New: Promise is turned into Fulfillment, Symbol into Reality!
To understand the Eucharist and the Mass, we must understand the Jewish customs and practices. We must look at the Passover. The Jews were in slavery. God sent down a series of plagues to convince the Pharaoh to let His people go. A plague of frogs covered the land, a plague of rats, a plague of locust and, then, came the tenth plaque. The Angel of Death was to kill all the first born sons of the land of both the Jews and the Egyptians. The only way to escape that death was to offer up a sacrificial meal – a male lamb without blemish, having no broken bone, was to be strung up and sacrificed by a knife piercing its heart. The people were then to wash themselves with the blood of the lamb. The blood was sprinkled with a hyssop branch on the doors of their homes. When the Angel of Death came over the land, all those with the blood of the lamb on the door were spared the death of their first born. The Passover bonded the people of God through the blood of a lamb. The feast was celebrated each year, renewing their covenant with God and reminding them how faithful He had been to them. They could trust God Who would always save them.
Passover established a Covenant with God; It was a sacred family Bond that had to be renewed.
Every time, they ate the meal, they renewed the Covenant. To the Jew, blood had deep meaning. It had a protective value, a unitive function, and also a purification quality. Passover was a memorial of the saving act of God which pointed to the future messianic celebration of the Coming of Christ. Let us leap forward 2,000 years to the Last Supper at which Jesus did a unique thing. At the Passover meal, He took bread into His Hands and said, “This is My Body that is given up for you.” (The Lamb is now Myself.) Jesus was to be the Sacrifice. All the things that happened in the Old Testament were brought to perfection and completion in Jesus Christ. Every time, the priest says, “This is My Body, this is My Blood,” God is renewing His Covenant. The lamb is not just sacrificed but eaten in a holy meal. The ultimate goal in the sacrifice is not so much the killing as the communion of souls restored to God by the eating of the lamb in the shared meal – the sacred family bond. “Unless you eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, you will have no life in you.” (John 6-53)
Jesus wanted us to be present at the Last Supper and on Calvary, but this was not possible. So, He made the Sacrifice perpetual. The Sacrifice of Jesus is repeated for all eternity, century after century, year after year, day after day, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It telescopes itself across time. Christ’s once and for all Sacrifice is represented at the Altar in the Mass. The word PRIEST implies SACRIFICE. The Mass is PERPETUAL and ETERNAL. The Mass is the Sacrifice of the New Covenant: Promise to Fulfillment, Symbol to Reality!
As often as the Sacrifice of the Cross is celebrated on the Altar, the work of Redemption is carried out. It did not end on the Cross. The work of Redemption continues here and now. It transcends time! The Mass is not a new Sacrifice but a representation. It is the unbloody renewal of the One and Supreme Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. The Mass is the bloodless Sacrifice, Calvary made present. It spans the Ages. During the Mass, we should place ourselves in the chalice and ciborium. In this way, everything we have: our needs, our sufferings and sacrifices, joys and cares, our entire life will be offered by Jesus to His Father in Heaven for us. This is our priestly sacrifice as a priestly people. In this way, the Mass becomes intimately connected to our everyday life where it reaches its full meaning.
Christ is present to us in many ways: present in the community when two or more are gathered in His Name in prayer, He is present in the poor and afflicted, He is present in the heart of a baptized Christian through Faith. But, Christ’s presence in the Eucharist is unique for His Sacred Humanity is present. John’s Gospel was written years after Mathew, Mark and Luke; and when he wrote about the Last Supper, he gave us the theology of it in greater depth. “Unless you eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, you will have no life in you.” History testifies to what the Church has always taught. The doctrine of the true presence is backed by Scriptures and tradition. At the transubstantiation, Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity are made present. This remains forever the teaching of the Church. The words the Church uses are most important. Our Faith has a language! For the sacrifice to be real, the Victim must be real. Jesus Christ gave us His sacred humanity so we could become one with God in the fullest sense. We become partakers of His divine nature. We become true sons and daughters of the Living God.
The Sacred Species reserved in the Tabernacle is to be adored because Christ is substantially present. The Mystery of the Eucharist in all its fullness is reserved in the Tabernacle to extend to us the Grace of the Sacrifice. The Church and the world have great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus waits for us in His Sacrament of Love. Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Him in adoration, and in contemplation that is full of faith and ready to make reparation for the great crimes of the world. May our adoration never cease! Such visits are a proof of our gratitude and an expression of our love and a concrete acknowledgement of Our Lord’s presence. Every time, we genuflect when we come into the Church or walk past the Tabernacle, or spend time before the Blessed Sacrament, we are making a public profession of Faith. We are saying that we truly believe Jesus Christ is present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. We must go by Faith not by sight. If only we could grasp the brilliance and luminescence of Christ’s Divinity present in the Blessed Sacrament, we would fall on our knees before our Creator! When will Christ’s light shine through our mediocrity and spiritual blindness? Do we really believe God is present? We spend hours going to a football game or running to the Mall for a sale, but how few people will spend ten minutes before the Blessed Sacrament. Our chapels for adoration should be packed. It is not enough to believe, we must act like we believe. Our chapels are empty and our gestures are meaningless or non-existent. All of this is an external manifestation of our loss of belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. We have got to get it back in our parishes and we must do it today! We need to restore reverence for the Holy Eucharist. It starts with you and I. We need to set the example. By our genuflections, by our silence in Church, by our visits to Our Eucharistic Lord and, by making frequent holy hours, soon others will be encouraged and follow suit. Our goal has to be holiness and the Mass and the Eucharist are the ultimate foundation of Christian holiness. No matter what other devotions we have, if our presence at Holy Mass is lacking, our spirituality is wanting. Jesus use to retreat to the desert to escape the crowds: now, He is alone again, but for different reasons. He is patiently waiting for us. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field. Christ is really that Treasure! He is the Treasure of all treasures hidden under the appearance of bread and wine but truly present Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity: to console, teach, comfort and heal, and refresh us. He is the Living Bread that has come down from Heaven: Whoever eats His Flesh and drinks His Blood will live forever and have life everlasting. The Holy Eucharist contains the whole spiritual Treasure of the Church that is Christ Himself! It is the Sacrament of Love: It signifies Love and It produces Love!
“The Eucharist is the Shortest and Surest way to Heaven.”
St. Pius X
A Family Praying The Rosary Is Filled With The Life Of Christ!
There is no greater hope for earth than the sight of father, mother, brothers and sisters on their knees together in the quiet of their home praying the Rosary. On their lips is the Word of God, in their hearts is the Love of Mary, and within their home, all the special graces and blessings God pours down upon those who make their home a Home of the Daily Family Rosary!
Every wife can be an influence in the life of her husband, every mother an inspiration to her children, every brother and sister a companion and help to their siblings. In the great Charity of Christ, marriage has been elevated to the dignity of a Sacrament! This means that marriage has been taken out of the civil courts and placed in the sanctuary. It means that Our Divine Savior has shed His Precious Blood that your love shall be sanctified, that your children shall know the fear and love of God, and that your union will not fail!
Television is deadly poison to the souls of our Youth!
Often, just one television program is enough to push a youth into mortal sin. Right in your own home, they are exposed to violence, nudity, vulgarity and perversion taken in through their senses, the windows of their soul. None of you would risk your child’s life by sitting him on the freeway in the middle of the night. Setting him in front of the TV is worse. You endanger the supernatural life of your child which is infinitely more precious than his bodily life. What a responsibility before God!
Television is a deadly poison to the minds of our Youth!
No intellectual effort, whatsoever, is needed for watching TV. By viewing TV, people are passive. They receive what is presented without making any effort to think. They are comfortable and lazily seated on the sofa, enjoying a snack. Everything is at hand. They swallow the snack and all that the television pours out. The pictures strike an image on the imagination and leave their trace on the mind. Television creates millions of people who do not think. It replaces culture. God’s judgment is replaced by public opinion, and the listless brain of the viewer is placed under anesthesia. We cannot be saved without making all our decisions in favor of good. The obstacles and traps which come from the world, the devil and our own lusts, we must conquer through our liberty of judgment for the glory of God.
Television is deadly poison for our children’s studies!
Ask an intellectual effort of children who watch television and you will obtain no response. These children have the inability to concentrate and pay attention. They are insecure, superficial and fail to have a solid grasp of intellectual reasoning. Television watchers are filled with the illusion that they have great and vast know-ledge. The young lose their innocence and simplicity. They live in an artificial world of sin, ugliness and stupidity. Irreparable harm is done to their intelligence and hearts. Your efforts and those of their teachers are rendered sterile.
Television is deadly poison to Family Life!
Your homes must be sanctuaries where GOD is honored, loved and served, and where parents watch vigilantly over the education of the children. Television is breaking up family life. It prevents conversation of parents and children. Television is the stranger in your home who has been given the place of honor that belongs to God and to you parents. There is no more family life, no more conversation, no more prayer, no more unity! The family is ruptured by the presence of television, which dictates its programs, its opinions and its garbage. GET RID OF IT, TODAY, tonight while the children are sleeping!
You will be surprised to see how much time you have to enjoy your family, how fast the level of conversation will rise and how docile your children will be to your authority.
Family prayer, morning and evening, and the family Rosary will once again take their rightful place of honor. The artificiality of life which goes on in front of the television kills the personality of everyone in the family and, thus, results in mediocrity, laziness, slavery to fashion and impurity. Catholic parents must not be party to such dehumanization and de-Christianization of their families.
Television is deadly poison to the education of your children!
Educate your children to the full exercise of their spiritual lives. A child’s interior life is the only thing that will arm him against the false maxims of the world. Help put him in touch with truth. Attract him to what is simple, good and beautiful. The home is a church in which dwells the Most Blessed Trinity. Not just anyone should be allowed to come inside. Not just anything may be said, no unfitting or vulgar music may be sung. The home is like a tabernacle, one enters and senses the need for respect; he is taken by a certain feeling of depth, and is sheltered from intellectual and moral degradation. To educate a child is to dare to choose for him the Life of Christ.
Sin cannot withstand the presence of a good mother; irresponsibility is rebuked by the industry of a devoted father. Piety, purity, temperance and justice, prudence and courage and all other virtues blossom in the rich soil of a family faithful to God. From such homes, there goes forth a power like the Spirit of God to renew the face of the earth.
In the ordinary realm of life, we do not hesitate to choose for our children what is necessary to safeguard their health. In the all-important realm of the child’s soul, we must not hesitate to instruct and demand that which is best for his soul. If our love for our children is true, we will be courageous to take the heroic steps necessary to secure their eternal salvation. Require your children to eat supper together with the family. Let them eat what is served to them. Set a time for studies and supervise their work. Demand of them Christian generosity toward you and their brothers and sisters! Insist upon physical efforts: walking, hiking, biking, tennis, swimming, etc. If they are lax, weak and wanting in energy, it is because they need lots of exercise. Throw out the make-up and nail polish; what is needed is prayer, work and sacrifice.
Youth are made for heroism. The more you ask of your children, the happier they will be. Above all, never give up. Strive valiantly to provide for them a good example. Saintly parents beget saintly children. A sanctified family will grow into a sanctified community and a sanctified community will grow into a holy Nation. The Sacred Mass is the most important of all. The Mass teaches us the necessity of sacrifice, self-denial and service. Here at Holy Mass, we acknowledge God’s supreme dominion over us. The restoration of the Mass to its rightful place in society will turn the key that will open to the whole world a reconstructed social order. Frequent Mass and Holy Communion will be the foundation of every holy family. From such homes will spring champions in the cause of Christ and saints for His Church. Great is your opportunity, and great will be your reward!
By the Eucharist, you will perform miracles, cure souls, and bring back to the family and to God those who have strayed farthest from home!
Restore the Family to Christ, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary! Pray your Daily Decade!
Weekly News Flash from the Universal Living Rosary Association of Saint Philomena, Week of the First Sunday of Lent, 2013Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
Our Greatest Treasure!
When the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar is not revered and loved, scandals will abound, faith will languish and the Church will mourn. What an abundance of Graces are lost in consequence of the ignorance and indifference of mankind!
Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is present in the consecrated bread and wine: whole and entire, Body and Soul, flesh and blood, His whole humanity and Divinity, and in each particle thereof. Objection to the Real Presence is but a proof of the blindness into which man fell when led astray by pride. The devil has, from the beginning, had a special hatred of this doctrine. He knows that, according to the promise of Christ, they who receive Holy Communion worthily will not fall into his power, but will obtain eternal life. Why does Our Lord hide Himself under the outward appearances of bread and wine? Chiefly, for two reasons: the first being that we may not lose the merit of faith. Were we to see Him, we would no longer be able to make an act of Faith in His Real Presence. ‘Blessed are they who do not see and yet believe.’ The second reason is to inspire us with confidence. If He were to show Himself in all His glory, as He appears to the angels and saints in Heaven, who would dare to approach Him? Surely, no one!
Sadly, the words of the Evangelist are, alas, all too true: “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.”
Our Blessed Lord silently remains enclosed in our Tabernacles, by day and by night with no display of His heavenly glory. He remains, as it were, in a poor, miserable dress, under the appearance of bread and wine, unattended and abandoned. Let us not be astonished if we hear of infidels or heretics treating Our Lord with irreverence in the Holy Eucharist. How often do we render to Him the same insults, we who are His chosen ones! They do not believe, but we have been given the gift of faith. Do we really believe or is our faith cold and dead? If we believed in His presence with a lively faith, our churches would be filled with worshipers, whose deportment would give evidence of this belief; modest attire, guarded eyes, bended knee, meekly folded hands: reverence, adoration and prayer would permeate the House of God. Our Heavenly Guest would seldom be left alone. At all hours, His children would present themselves to Him.
What could have induced our dear Lord to remain with us on earth in the Blessed Sacrament? Was it to gain honor? Alas, He receives the same treatment in the Blessed Sacrament as He received during the 33 years He lived on earth. Was it to increase His own happiness? By no means! His happiness is so great, it cannot be increased. He sits at the right Hand of God and has all power in Heaven and on earth. Ah! Christian soul, there is no other motive for His presence on earth than love, the great and excessive Love of Jesus Christ toward man! Love alone, and nothing but love, has induced Him to remain among us in the Blessed Sacrament. He bestowed this gift upon us at the last moment of His Life. It was well calculated to leave a deep impression on mankind. From His death bed of the Cross, He gave to us the last memorial of His Love. Instead of withdrawing His Love from mankind on account of its great ingratitude to Him and hatred for Him, He manifested His Love for us all the more. What a wonderful manner is there in the goodness of God! What return can I make Him? Receive Jesus often in Holy Communion! Thank Him, praise Him, trust Him, love Him and place Him first in your life!
The Magi journeyed from afar to visit the Infant King. He could be found in one place only. And we, who have Him so close by, perhaps, never make the effort to visit Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament outside of Holy Mass on Sunday. Where can we find a better, more faithful and more liberal friend than Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament? But, you say, “I am too busy, I cannot find the time.” Dear Christian, do not say this, be honest and say, “I have too much love and affection for the goods of this world, and too little love for Jesus Christ.” You find time to drink and eat, to rest and to sleep; you find time to talk and to laugh, time to amuse yourself, time for temporal affairs and time even to sin. And, how is it that you find time for all these things? It is because you like them. If you appear but seldom before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, it is evident that you love Him little. Love Him more and you will make time to visit Him. He invites us to come to Him: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.” Visit the Blessed Sacrament often. Share with God your troubles and affairs, and you will be blessed. Upon God’s blessing depends everything! Were you to visit Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament for a quarter hour each day, from how many trials and hardships you would be delivered, from how many accidents, misfortunes, temptations and attacks of the devil you would be preserved; how few sins you would commit and how much more consolation and peace of heart you would enjoy! Jesus dispenses favors liberally to those who visit Him. “Taste and see!” Most assuredly, there is one hour in your life that remembrance of these visits will give you indescribable pleasure – at the hour of your death! If you have neglected this great duty during your life, on your death bed, you will be filled with shame and confusion.
God created us, He redeemed us and now He comes in the Most Blessed Sacrament to pour out upon us all the riches of His Love; He comes to give us light to know and strength to do His Will; He comes to repair what is decayed, to restore what has been lost and to forgive our rebellion: in a word, to receive us as children, to clothe us with the first robe, to put a ring on our finger and shoes on our feet. He has prepared for us a wonderful banquet and asks us to sup at His table. As did the prodigal son, say: “I will arise and go to my Father.” I must return Him love for love. I have no treasure to offer Him; I have no station to renounce for Him; I have no occasion to die for Him; I cannot do for Him what He has done for me, but I can give Him that which He values more than anything else: MY HEART! I will give Him this pleasure; I will offer myself to Him, to be disposed of as He pleases, to receive at His Hand bitter and sweet indifferently, to serve Him with all the fervor I can muster, to avoid sin and to lead a Christian life. If I do this, the devil will lose his power over my soul and I will be sanctified: My heaven will have begun upon earth.
SWEET HEART OF JESUS, BE MY LOVE!
Through Mary’s heart, dear Lord, I come to seek a rest divine; and through the wound in Thy blest Side, I place my heart in Thine! O take it Lord and, in return, I ask one gift of Thee, that Thou wilt fill it with Thy Love for all Eternity!
Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my love! Oh! Be my love I pray; erect Thy throne within my heart and reign there night and day!
O Virgin Mary! Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, glory of Christian people, joy of the Universal Church, salvation of the world, pray for us, and awaken in all the faithful devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist, that we may be made worthy to receive Communion every day.
The Courage Of Trust
It is lack of trust that wounds Our Blessed Lord’s Heart the very most. When those who are closest to Him do not trust Him, a sword is again thrust into His Heart. When good things come our way, we must trust Him. When sickness and tragedy overtake us, we must trust Him. We stand at the bottom of the Hill of Calvary, looking up the Hill where Jesus hangs upon the Cross. Jesus is surrounded by a very large unruly crowd of people who mock and insult Him, laugh at Him and spit upon Him. He loves them but His Heart is broken because of their rejection of Him, which means their own death, for He is Life! Many dark shadows skirmish among the crowd. They are demons who stir up the crowd to mock and torture Christ more. A crow lands on my shoulder and says “”You don’t belong here, you have other things to do, besides aren’t you the reason for this Man’s torture? Take off! What difference do you make anyway?” Yes, we are sinners. We hesitate. Jesus suffers alone. Then, suddenly, there is a beautiful sound amidst the blasphemy. “Listen, my child, do not let this disturb you! Are you not in the hollow of my arms, under the mantle of my protection?” Mary is with us! She takes us by the hand and we speed to the foot of the Cross. The ugly mob parts like the Red Sea. We arrive on Calvary and look up. Behold that Heart which loves us so much and yet is so little loved! I speak to Jesus, “I am sorry I was afraid to come to You, but here I am. I am going to try to do better.” Rest assured, your little acts of love and trust delight the Heart of God.
I will trust Him! If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him!
|Father de Ravignan on Prayer:
“Believe me, my dear friends; believe an experience ripened by thirty years in the Sacred Ministry. I do affirm all deceptions, all spiritual deficiencies, all miseries, all falls, all faults and even the most serious wanderings out of the right path – all proceed from this single source – a want of constancy in prayer. Live the life of prayer; learn to bring everything, to change everything into prayer: pains and trials, and temptations of all kinds.
PRAY in the calm; PRAY in the storm;
“TEACH US, O LORD, HOW TO PRAY!” St. Luke 11:1
“But I Cannot Pray!”
That is a heresy. Yes, you can always pray. If you feel a disgust for, nay a horror of prayer, pray on, pray in spite of yourself, against yourself. Beg for the courage in prayer that our agonizing Savior merited for you by His pangs in Gethsemane and upon Calvary. Pray, for Prayer is the strength that saves, the courage that perseveres, the spiritual bridge cast over the abyss that joins the soul to God.”
“and being in agony, he prayed the longer.” St. Luke 22:43
AN ACT OF FAITH
O my God, I firmly believe all the truths that the Holy Catholic Church believes and teaches; I believe these truths, O Lord, because Thou, the Infallible Truth, hast revealed them to Her; in this Faith, I am resolved to live and die. Amen.