Dear Apostle of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
The generous help you have sent to us makes this beautiful work for souls possible and we are profoundly grateful to you! One might become discouraged when seeing the great evils which surround us. We want to be sure our focus is sharp so that our efforts will be effective. Mary shows us clearly the nature of the enemy of our souls: everything that does not lead to God, that is not love, that offends Truth, and She gives every soul the powerful remedy for these evils: PRAYER, SUFFERING and TOTAL CONSECRATION to Her Immaculate Heart. Do not be afraid, we have much work to do!
We may ask ourselves, “How can God permit the great evils of our day? Why would God allow this suffering?” Sufferings are a prelude to glory! The Cross is a gateway to the Resurrection, death a condition of Eternal Life. He who would save his life must lose it, but he who loses his life for God’s sake, will find it. We are living at the end of an era of revolutions which are not so much the beginning of a New World Order, as the dying gasps of an old one. Instead of our society being based on endless protests, its regeneration must be founded on the renovation of the spirit of man and a return to the Cross of Christ. The greatest tragedy of our day is that we have so few saints. As we approach the last hour, Our Blessed Savior pleads with us as He did with the chosen twelve, “Could you not watch one hour with Me?” Do we understand what is at stake? It is time to keep an unbroken hour of prayer and meditation, uniting our hearts and souls with His, asking Him what He wishes of us, telling Him of our love for Him, sharing our needs and weaknesses, and throwing ourselves into His loving arms!
A holy hour in the presence of Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament carries with it a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions. Our Sweet Savior is under attack in many countries: desecrated, profaned, denied, condemned and crucified again and again. THIS DEMANDS REPARATION! Who will make it, if not you and I? There can be no victory without battle, no peace without sacrifice and no day of rejoicing without that hour of watching in prayer. Calvary is at our very doors! We are all asked by Our Savior to go forth to the hill of battle and stand with Mary at the Foot of the Cross. Either we are with Him or against Him. Pray for the fullness of trust and the Gift of Fortitude! Our Blessed Lord is waiting for you!
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good.
Sin and its consequences
“It is expedient that I go; for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send Him to you; and when He is come, He shall convince the world of sin.” (John 16:7-8)
I choose this subject severe in all its parts, but vital to everyone for salvation because there is none other that can be so necessary as this one and because it is a precept of the Church, binding us all to Confession and Holy Communion at Easter.
Sin is any thought, word or deed contrary to the Will of God. The malice of sin consists in this, that an intelligent creature deliberately and consciously opposes the Will of its Maker, choosing over it, his own will. When man was created by God, he had three perfections: a natural perfection of body, a supernatural perfection by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, and a preternatural perfection of immortality. All of these by one act of disobedience he lost. When he sinned, the Spirit of God departed from him; his Soul died because it was separated from God, his immortality was forfeited and the harmony of the Soul was lost: passions rebelled, the will weakened and the intellect became confused. These three wounds we have all inherited. Every sinner is an enemy of the Cross of Christ. (Phil. 3: 18)
We know that the end of man is God; that God made man for Himself; that He made him to His own likeness; that He made him capable of knowing, loving and serving Him, and of being like unto God. In the likeness of God, the love and service of God, is man’s bliss. Therefore, our conformity to the Will of God and union with God is eternal life; but deformity, or departure from the likeness of God, is sin, separation from God and eternal death.
The Seven Capital Sins, which are the source of all human failings, are these:
1. PRIDE, which separates us from God;
THE EFFECTS OF MORTAL SIN
It strikes the Soul dead, separating the Soul from God. By one mortal sin, all the merits of a whole life time are cancelled. If we fall from God, as we easily may do, we shall go down alive into Hell, for what is Hell but eternal separation from God, with endless night, misery, hate, and pain by fire. God has declared it. Live then as you wish to die, because as you die, so shall you live for all eternity.
There is only one sin that is not pardonable: the sin against the Holy Ghost. These sins are six in character: Ultimate despair of his salvation, presumption of God’s mercy, resistance of the known truths of the faith, envy of another’s spiritual good, obstinacy in sin and impenitence. These embody resistance to the inspirations of the Most Holy Ghost and contempt for His Gifts. Although no sin is unpardonable, those who commit these sins resist Grace and do not repent.
Venial sin is a transgression of the Law of God, in thought, word or deed, in a matter that is not grave, or in a grave matter but without full consent of the will. While mortal sin is the death of the Soul, venial sin is the disease of the Soul.
The consequences of venial sin are great and many:
1. It diminishes the Grace of God in a Soul. Not the quantity of Grace, because Grace of God is like life. We are either dead or alive. Life remains but the vigor and health of the Soul is diminished. The facility of prayer and self-denial become complicated. Regularity, punctuality and exactness in fulfilling our duty to God are performed only with great effort.
2. By the faults of self-indulgence, worldliness, fear of man and human respect, we bring a film over the eyes of our intellect and conscience. Our faculty of discernment is dimmed. We mistake light for darkness and darkness for light.
3. Venial sin disposes the Soul for mortal sin. Think of it; every sin we commit, we commit to God. It is in God; for in Him we live and move and have our being; the very power we abuse when we transgress His Law, is the power He has lent us. That is, God is physically united with us in the very action we do against Him. We use the powers of nature against the Will of God in His Grace.
4. Venial sin displeases God; and can any sin be small which displeases God! We displease God and grieve the Holy Ghost by things we deem noble: vanity, pride and detraction are the vermin of the human Soul. They are the worms of death.
5. Venial sin weakens our will and disposes it to mortal sin. Thus to expose ourselves to mortal sin, is a mortal sin in itself. This is why nearly every sin against purity is a mortal sin.
Those things which are lawful, I cannot forbid; but those things, although not forbidden, I counsel you with all my heart to renounce: the theater, certain books and bad company. If there is anything in the world which causes deterioration of character, manifold temptation, darkening of the heart and mind, it is dangerous friendships. Choose your friends from among the friends of God.
There was a time when you … every one of you … were white as snow; in your baptismal innocence, you were spotless, you had not a stain on your Soul. What are you now? Where is the white robe of your Baptism? You have a debt of pain to pay for your sins. Unless you live a life of penance, self-denial and generous sorrow in this life, there remains but one way those sins can be expiated, the fires of Purgatory.
SINS OF OMISSION
If we leave undone the good or duties to which we are bound, we commit sins of omission. I will show how the sins of omission lead to commission and, at last, terminate in the mortal sin of SLOTH. Prayer is the breath of the Soul for it is the sign of the life of the Soul, just as breathing is a sign of the life of the body. Let us suppose that due to business, pleasure, financial demands or worldly distractions we begin to break the habit of prayer. If we omit our recollection, our daily spiritual reading, and our minds are crowded with a multiplicity of thoughts, we are in a state of distraction. The next step is that we begin to talk much and fail to weigh our words with consideration. Naturally, then, we shorten our prayers and, in time, omit them entirely. The man of prayer is a man of silence, living in the solitude of his heart before God, keeping three lamps always burning before the altar of his heart: faith, hope and charity. The man, who talks much, is not at home in the presence of God and his three lamps burn but dimly. He puts off morning prayers, forgets them at noonday, at night he says them with an uneasy conscience. Then comes irregularity and, finally, he lives by the rules of the world. What follows naturally after he has abandoned his duty to God? He fails in charity toward his neighbor. And, lastly, there comes a certain animosity toward those who love God. We can tolerate anybody as a companion who is less pious than we are, but we cannot tolerate easily one who is more pious. The Soul declines into despondence and, instead of turning toward God by repentance, it turns recklessly away from God and plunges further into sin. So long as there is hope of pardon, man is sustained. Once hope is dead, what can remain? The Soul that loses union with God through prayer may fall into the bottomless pit.
God has called us all to be saints and He has promised to give us grace sufficient to be faithful to His calling. Let us become penitent and through penitence become saints. If we will but take up our cross boldly and follow Jesus Christ without compromise or reserves, He will do the rest. He has given us three powers to benefit from the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. The Precious Blood of Jesus is the remedy for sin and its application is found in Baptism, the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance. We enter now into the region of peace, of grace, of pardon and of healing… SIN IS MADNESS!
We find three excellent examples of the restoration of man to God’s Grace in the Bible: the Prodigal Son, who through self-knowledge, self-condemnation, sorrow for the past and willingness to amend his life, is restored to the favor of the Father. We read of Mary Magdalene whose sins were of scarlet, but who obtained full absolution for them in a moment, and was given the coveted place by God’s Immaculate Mother at the foot of the Cross. And look upon Peter, first of all the Apostles because of the illumination of his faith, and who denied Christ three times but, through bitter tears of sorrow, obtained perfect absolution and was made head of the Mystical Body of Christ upon earth. Our Lord instituted the Sacrament of Penance in which He gives the absolution of His Most Precious Blood to all who accuse themselves of sin.
We are bound to confess all mortal sins, but it is good to confess venial sins in order to promote humility, self-accusation, sorrow and the grace of perseverance, and to renew our peace with God. Without sorrow for our sins, we violate the Sacrament. It need not contain emotion, but a firm determination to avoid that sin and its occasion in the future is essential to our sorrow. The Sacrament of Penance takes away our sins and the guilt of our sins; if we are absolved of mortal sin, it cancels the penalty of eternal punishment in Hell and infuses grace into our Souls. So, then, these things are necessary: we must be sorry for our sins; we must come to God in the confessional; we must accuse ourselves honestly, truly and sincerely; we must make a steadfast resolution to avoid the sin and the occasions of sin. Lastly, there must be a willingness on our part to make satisfaction to God for the offense we have committed. The priest gives us a penance to perform and we may add other acts of penance and reparation on our own. Christ is seated in the Confessional as on His throne of mercy. Go to Him! Do not say, ‘I must wait,’ just come as you are, the Holy Spirit will deepen your sorrow. Come as you are, and do not lose time. Time and grace are God’s gift; we do not know how long they will last. Every Soul washed in the Most Precious Blood is a joy to the Good Shepherd. Do not resist Him!
How long, O Lord, Thou hast waited for me!
Temptation is inevitable due to the three wounds of man’s fallen nature. To be tempted is simply to be man. God speaks of us being tried by Satan who is never more completely master of man than when man ridicules his existence. We hear in these days, men saying “there is no devil”. Satan is laboring day and night, without ceasing, to destroy those who are the heirs of salvation. Our Lord called him the “Prince of this world”. (John 14:30) At Baptism, we renounced “the world and all its pomps”. We wrestle not with flesh and blood, “but with principalities and powers.” (Eph. 6: 12) The blasphemer is not temped to blasphemy, why should he be? The unbeliever is not tempted to unbelief, for he has already lost his faith. But, if anyone strives to return to God from a life of lukewarmness and sin, he will become for Satan the object of a twofold temptation. Satan follows up every deserter who leaves his camp, and he follows him with an intensity of redoubled malice. But, he is very subtle; and when men break off sins of one kind, he will leave them perfectly quiet on that side, and will tempt them to another sin. If you finally mortify yourself against sins of gluttony, he might tempt you with the sin of anger. Or, he may change himself into angel of light and try to tempt you to pride, in seeing yourself better than other men. Satan has no power to enter our Soul against our will. All he can do is to stand without, and watch at the windows, casting in the ‘fiery darts’ of temptation through our senses, passions, disordered affections and lack of discipline. Have we girded our loins with the Word of God? Do we wear the armor of prayer? Or, do we open the door and throw open the window and invite him to come in and dwell?
God uses temptations to try us and increase our merit, and to sanctify our Soul. He who resists temptations to sloth, indulgence and pleasure, shows himself to be a friend of God. Every act of resistance to temptation is an act of faith and love of God. Excessive indulgence in food or drink blunts the intelligence, unnerves the will, relaxes the habits of life, deadens the heart, extinguishes the spirit of piety, and disturbs the peace of homes. Idle books, theater and bad company — GIVE THEM UP! Put them far from you. Prayer, piety, watchfulness, self-denial and purity of heart will keep your will firm and, if your will be firm, it can expel every temptation that enters through your senses.
It is love that awakens love; it is friendship that kindles friendship. The great sin of the world is that it does not trust in the Love of God. It is the power of the Word of God to convince you of the Love of Jesus Christ. He is all day long saying these words to you,
“O my friends, it was for you I was crucified! O my beloved, it is you I have loved even unto death! O my children, it was for you I shed My Precious Blood! What more could I have done that I did not do? If it were necessary to die again for you to save you, I would die again!”
And, yet, we live all day long as if Christ had never died for us. By the Cross, He tests our love and purifies it that He may cleanse it of self-love, self-indulgence and our dwelling upon our wounded self. Unite your suffering with Christ. Put the world aside, you cannot serve two masters. Be generous with God! He is a loving Physician come to heal your wounds and firm your will, so that it may always choose Him. Those who suffer and sorrow the most shall be the most consoled and fullest of joy in His Kingdom. There are only two Centers, God and ourselves; and we must rest on one or the other. The providence of God has ordained our lot – what we shall have and shall not have, and we must be content and grateful, satisfied and rejoice in His Will.
If we be the children of the Resurrection, Heaven is ours and Heaven is near; we know not how long or how soon our day may be. What matter, then, a little pain, a little sorrow, a little penance, a few crosses, if after a little while, there be an inheritance of Eternal Joy!
“GO AND SIN NO MORE!”
O Lord, My God! Infinite Wisdom and Mercy! What thanksgiving couldst ever equal the favor Thou hast wrought for me? My life Thou hast spared! My life, therefore, I give solely into Thy service, for the fulfillment of the desires of Thy Most Sacred Heart. I seek nothing other than that I should feel burning within me leadings of Thy Holy Will and, by Thy Grace, through Mary, Thy Mother, willingly and humbly carry them out to fruition, that I might please thee and serve thee; that I might love Thee, honor Thee and thank Thee for all the days of my life!
|A Christmas Bouquet For Your Loved Ones!
We wish to give you the greatest gift possible during this Advent and Christmas Season to help in a special way to prepare your hearts and souls for the momentous event which we anticipate: God with us!In reality, the first coming of Our Lord in the stable at Bethlehem occurs again and again. It is a merciful reality not only at the feast of Christmas, but in the hearts of each one of us at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – the Church being the stable of Bethlehem, and the altar and our hearts the crib. The Church celebrates not only the first coming of Christ upon earth as Our Redeemer, but also the merciful reality of His second coming on earth as our Judge! By His first coming, Our Lord redeemed us from sin and obtained the resurrection of our souls to the life of Grace. With His second coming, Christ will heal us of all our frailties and will bring resurrection to our bodies. We shall reap the harvest of complete happiness with God even as we have served Him in this world with our whole being, body and soul. Christ desires to be born in us that we may live new, purer and more perfect lives.
Thirty days of Sacred Liturgies will be offered for all those who enroll in the Christmas Bouquet of Masses offered by Fr. Ivan Kolodij and the good priests in Ukraine. Your spiritual and temporal needs and your family, living and dead, will be remembered at the Holy Altar every day during December. The Christmas Mass Bouquet will be crowned with a solemn High Mass on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ and during the Christmas Octave. There could be no more precious gift you can give at Christmas time. Each person arranging these Masses for their loved ones will be sent a beautiful Mass card which may be mailed to the person enrolled. We will mail the Mass cards directly to you. These may be sent in your Christmas greeting cards or placed inside your gift packages. This is a wonderful way to keep Christ in Christmas!!!