St. Casimir

From the Life of Saint Casimir written by a contemporary

By fulfilling the commands of the Most High he stored up treasure for himself

By the power of the Holy Spirit, Casimir burned with a sincere and unpretentious love for almighty God that was almost unbelievable in its strength. So rich was his love and so abundantly did it fill his heart, that it flowed out from his inner spirit toward his fellow men. As a result nothing was more pleasant, nothing more desirable for him, than to share his belongings, and even to dedicate and give his entire self to Christ’s poor, to strangers, to the sick, to those in captivity and to all who suffer. To widows, orphans and the afflicted, he was not only a guardian and patron but a father, son and brother. One would have to compose a long account to record here all his works of love and dedication for God and for mankind. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine or to express his passion for justice, his exercise of moderation, his gift of prudence, his fundamental spiritual courage and stability, especially in in a most permissive age, when men tended to be headstrong and by their very natures inclined to sin.

Daily he urged his father to practice justice throughout his kingdom and in the governance of his people; and whenever anything in the country had been overlooked because of human weakness or simple neglect, he never failed to point it out quietly to the king.

He actively took up the cause of the needy and unfortunate and embraced it as his own; for this reason the people called him the patron of the poor. Though the son of a king and descendant of a noble line, he was never unapproachable in his conversation or dealings with anyone, no matter how humble or obscure.

He always preferred to be counted among the meek and poor of spirit, among those who are promised the kingdom of heaven, rather than among the famous and powerful men of this world. He had no ambition for the power that lies in human rank and he would never accept it from his father. He was afraid the barbs of wealth, which our Lord Jesus Christ spoke of as thorns, would wound his soul, or that he would be contaminated by contact with worldly goods.

Many who acted as his personal servants or secretaries are still alive today; these men, of the highest integrity, who had personal knowledge of his private life, testify that he preserved his chastity to the very end of his life.

Prayer to Mary — From iPieta

When Mary is done perfecting her Son in us, we will be among her merits, shining before the throne of God.

Prayer to Mary, by St. Louis-Marie de Montfort

Hail MARY, beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father. Hail MARY, admirable Mother of the Son. Hail MARY, faithful Spouse of the Holy Ghost. Hail MARY, my Mother, my loving Mistress, my powerful sovereign. Hail, my joy, my glory, my heart and my soul. Thou art all mine by mercy, and I am Thine by justice. But I am not yet sufficiently Thine. I now give myself wholly to Thee without keeping anything back for myself or others. If Thou seest anything in me which does not belong to Thee, I beseech Thee to take it and make Thyself the absolute Mistress of all that is mine.

Destroy in me all that may displease GOD; root it up and bring it to nought. Place and cultivate in me everything that is pleasing to Thee. May the light of Thy faith dispel the darkness of my mind. May Thy profound humility take the place of my pride; may Thy sublime contemplation check the distractions of my wandering imagination. May Thy continuous sight of GOD fill my memory with His presence; may the burning love of Thy heart inflame the lukewarmness of mine. May Thy virtues take the place of my sins; may Thy merits be my only adornment in the sight of GOD and make up for all that is wanting in me. Finally, dearly beloved Mother, grant, if it be possible, that I may have no other spirit but Thine to know JESUS and His Divine Will; that I may have no other soul but Thine to praise and glorify GOD; that I may have no other heart but Thine to love GOD with a love as pure and ardent as Thine.

I do not ask Thee for visions, revelations, sensible devotions, or spiritual pleasures. It is Thy privilege to see GOD clearly; it is Thy privilege to enjoy heavenly bliss; it is Thy privilege to triumph gloriously in Heaven at the right hand of Thy Son and to hold absolute sway over angels, men and demons. It is Thy privilege to dispose of all the gifts of GOD, just as Thou willest. Such, O heavenly MARY, is the ʻbest partʼ, which the Lord has given Thee, and which shall never be taken away from Thee, and this thought fills my heart with joy. As for my part here below, I wish for no other than that which was Thine, to believe sincerely without spiritual pleasures, to suffer joyfully without human consolation, to die continually to myself without respite, and to work zealously and unselfishly for Thee until death, as the humblest of Thy servants. The only grace I beg Thee, for me, is that every moment of the day, and every moment of my life, I may say, “Amen, so be it, to all that Thou art doing in Heaven. Amen, so be it, to all Thou didst do while on earth. Amen, so be it, to all Thou art doing in my soul,” so that Thou alone mayest fully glorify JESUS in me for time and eternity. Amen.

Sent from my iPod

Listening Gifts of Discernment of Spirits

Christ reigns in heaven and on earth. His kingdom is at hand. We face a choice as to the kingdom we make our own.  Christ told us who reigns on earth outside of His kingdom:

“Now is the judgment of the world; now will the prince of the world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself.” Now He said this signifying by what death He wants to die (Jn 12: 31-32).

“I will no longer speak much with you, for the prince of the world is coming, and in me he has nothing. But He comes that the world may know that I love the Father and that I do as the Father has commended me” (Jn 14: 30-31).

“I speak the truth to you; it is expedient for you that I depart. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go I will send Him to you and when He has come He will convict the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment; of sin, because they do not believe in me; of justice, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; and of judgment, because the prince of this world has already been judged” (Jn 14: 8-11).

Not only is God’s kingdom at hand, Satan is at the door in sheep’s clothing.  He may even appear as an angel of light so beware, which means first of all be aware, discern the spirits.  St. Ignatius Loyola faced a world of temptation as we do.  He was a military man aside from being a man become saint.  He set down rules of engagement by observing his daily life, his temptations and the times and ways God made His Presence or His Will known to him. He wrote for our encouragement and advancement The Rules for Discernment of Spirit.

How to proceed in the battle of daily life:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, waalks about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)

How are we to be sober and vigilant?  Learn the rules of engagement!

St. Ignatius sets them out and in a marvelous article Brian Incigneri makes them accessable:

Revelation: Here, there is no doubt that God is speaking to you. No discernment is necessary here because of the certainty. An example would be St Paul on the Damascus road. This is a rare event (although not very rare; every person would probably experience this at one or more points in their life).

Reasoning: In this circumstance, God seems to be completely silent. Great uncertainty exists here. First, we must collect all the facts and weigh the pros and cons of our choices. We might use our imagination (What would I advise someone who came to me with this same question? What would I rather have done when I am on my deathbed remembering the choice I made?)This is not discernment either — it is only a stage (perhaps a very necessary stage) before discernment proper can occur. From this, we must go to God in prayer. Ignatius says that, after we have come to our choice by reasoning, “we must now turn with great diligence to prayer, and offer to God our choice that He may accept and confirm it if it is for His greater service and praise.”

Discernment:Ignatius says that this is a time when “much light and understanding are derived through the experience of desolations and consolations, and the discernment of diverse spirits.”

Here we have our work cut out for us. Get to know yourself, which means keeping an eye on your inner workings, that is, the workings of your mind and heart and spirit.

Enter:  our feelings

our intellect

our will

Consolation, Ignatius tells us is:

Every increase in faith, hope and love, and all interior joy that invites and attracts to what is heavenly, and to the salvation of our soul, by filling it with peace and quiet in its Creator and Lord.

Desolation, according to St. Ignatius:

What is entirely the opposite of consolation … darkness of soul, turmoil of spirit, inclination to what is low and earthly, restlessness arising from many disturbances which lead to lack of faith, lack of hope, and lack of love. The soul is wholly slothful, tepid, sad, and separated, as it were, from its Creator and Lord.

We must learn to gauge our feelings, use our intellect and exercise our wills.  The choice of the kingdoms is before us, “at hand” so to speak.

And this is my prayer: that your love for one another may grow more and more with the knowledge and complete understanding that will help you to come to true discernment, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, entirely filled with the fruits of uprightness through Jesus Christ, for the glory and praise of God (Phil 1:9-11).

Insiglari writes:

One of the best ways to do this, is to conduct what is called the Daily Consciousness Examen, which has been recommended by the Church through the ages and comes in many forms. Here is a recommended list of steps:

  1. Begin by asking the Holy Spirit to guide you.
  2. Look back on your day, and notice the gifts and blessings of God through the day, in a spirit of thankfulness.
  3. Ask Jesus to teach you, and ask that you might know his voice better. Then go back over the day in your mind, looking at it with Jesus.
  4. Ask questions like: Was I acting as the Lord would have wanted me to act? What moved me to act in that way? What were my feelings? What was the first feeling that moved me to speak or act in that way? Where did that feeling come from? Is there anything in this event that might point to my need for healing? What will help me the next time I encounter a similar situation?
  5. End your time with praise and thanksgiving, focusing on the goodness of God.

For a look at the Devil/Satan you can read Fr. John A. Hardon SJ’s, The Devil as the Prince of this World

From this all to brief glimpse at discernment, you should conclude that maturity in the spiritual life is a life long engagement with a reward that far exceed the efforts we make to grow and remain faithful to Christ. Remember that Christ is first and foremost “knocking at our hearts” and His Kingdom is not only “at hand” but, should we so desire and choose, it is being established in our heart of hearts. For, moment by moment, day by day, year after year, it is His Sacred Heart that beats with ours and speaks in us in that small still voice. Let us become apt listeners.  That desire and the hope we have is the voice of His Holy Spirit.


Photographs of St. Bernadette Soubirou

A prayer to St. Bernadette.

Saint Bernadette, little shepherdess of Lourdes, favored with eighteen apparitions of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and with the privilege of lovingly conversing with her, now that you are eternally enjoying the entrancing beauty of the Immaculate Mother of God, do not forsake me, your devoted client, who am still in this valley of tears. Intercede for me that I, too, may walk the simple path of faith. Help me to imitate your example, at our heavenly Queen’s request, by saying the Rosary daily and by doing penance for sinners.

Teach me to imitate your wonderful devotedness to God and our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, so that, like you, I may be blessed with the grace of lasting faithfulness and enjoy the happiness in heaven of the eternal vision of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

God of infinite mercy, we celebrate the feast of Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, the sinless Mother of God. May her prayers help us to rise above our human weakness. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever. Amen

Our Lady of Lourdes – "I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION"

Narrated by Mariola Paini


In 1858 the virgin Mary Immaculate appeared to Bernadette Soubirous near Lourdes in France within the cave of Massabielle. Through this humble girl, Mary called sinners to conversion and enkindled within the Church a great zeal for prayer and charity, especially service to the sick and poor. From a letter by Saint Marie Bernadette Soubirous, virgin (Ep. ad P. Gondrand, a 1861: cf. A. Ravier, Les écrits de sainte Bernadette, Paris 1961, pp. 53-59) The lady spoke to me I had gone down one day with two other girls to the bank of the river Gave when suddenly I heard a kind of rustling sound. I turned my head toward the field by the side of the river but the trees seemed quite still and the noise was evidently not from them. Then I looked up and caught sight of the cave where I saw a lady wearing a lovely white dress with a bright belt. On top of each of her feet was a pale yellow rose, the same color as her rosary beads. At this I rubbed my eyes, thinking I was seeing things, and I put my hands into the fold of my dress where my rosary was. I wanted to make the sign of the cross but for the life of me I couldn’t manage it and my hand just fell down. Then the lady made the sign of the cross herself and at the second attempt I managed to do the same, though my hands were trembling. Then I began to say the rosary while the lady let her beads slip through her fingers, without moving her lips. When I stopped saying the Hail Mary, she immediately vanished. I asked my two companions if they had noticed anything, but they said no. Of course they wanted to know what I was doing and I told them that I had seen a lady wearing a nice white dress, though I didn’t know who she was. I told them not to say anything about it, and they said I was silly to have anything to do with it. I said they were wrong and I came back next Sunday, feeling myself drawn to the place…. The third time I went the lady spoke to me and asked me to come every day for fifteen days. I said I would and then she said that she wanted me to tell the priests to build a chapel there. She also told me to drink from the stream. I went to the Gave, the only stream I could see. Then she made me realize she was not speaking of the Gave and she indicated a little trickle of water close-by. When I got to it I could only find a few drops, mostly mud. I cupped my hands to catch some liquid without success and then I started to scrape the ground. I managed to find a few drops of water but only at the fourth attempt was there a sufficient amount for any kind of drink. The lady then vanished and I went back home. I went back each day for fifteen days and each time, except one Monday and one Friday, the lady appeared and told me to look for a stream and wash in it and to see that the priests build a chapel there. I must also pray, she said, for the conversion of sinners. I asked her many times what she meant by that, but she only smiled. Finally with outstretched arms and eyes looking up to heaven she told me she was the Immaculate Conception. During the fifteen days she told me three secrets but I was not to speak about them to anyone and so far I have not. This letter from St. Bernadette (linked above) is from the Office of Readings for this day. I put this letter here because the language in which she speaks of Mary’s apparitions is that of a child. Dear Bernadette was young and poor when The Blessed Mother appeared to her. She aspired only a simple life, was not overly bright, and it would seem that she was incapable of greatness by this world’s standards. Yet, the Blessed Mother appeared to her, and spoke to her kindly and gave her gentle instructions. When Bernadette first saw Our Lady, she did not immediately identify her. She saw, rather, a beautiful woman. In fact, she did not presume to admit that the lady was the Blessed Mother until she was told by the lady herself. Mary called herself the Immaculate Conception, a true expression of beauty. Mary’s message to Bernadette was simple and caring, like that of a Mother. Bernadette, although not great, was a saint of blessings and virtue. Mary chose to appear to her and laid upon her shoulders the charge of sharing Mary with others. Bernadette did not live a very long life… but it was one of patient suffering and hope for the world to come. “I cannot promise to make you happy in this world, but in the next” was the promise of the Blessed Mother to her daughter. Bernadette trusted in this promise, with that childlike faith and obedience that were so exemplary in her visits with Mary. This is an example of how Mary is a mother to us. Her apparitions to her gentle daughter Bernadette brings us a message of prayer and healing. Each time that Mary has visited us, she has come with the same tender love and caring. Let us always remember how deeply Mary loves us, how intimate she is with Jesus, and seek to follow her Motherly guidance and receive her consolation.

A Letter of Saint Marie Bernadette Soubirou

God of mercy,
we celebrate the feast of Mary,
the sinless mother of God.
May her prayers help us
to rise above our human weakness.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

– Amen.

St. Gertrude the Great

Great promises of our Lord to St. Gertrude the Great

From The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great:

May my heart and my soul, with all the substance of my flesh, all my senses, and all the powers of my body and my mind, with all creatures, praise Thee and give Thee thanks, O sweetest Lord, faithful Lover of mankind, for Thy signal mercy, which has not only dissimulated the utterly unworthy preparation with which I have not feared to approached the super celestial banquet of Thy most sacred Body and Blood, but has added this gift to me, the most utterly vile and perfectly useless of Thy creatures. First, of having been assured by Thy grace that all who desire to approach this Sacrament, and who are restrained by fear from a timid conscience, who come to me, who am the least of Thy servants, led by humility, to receive this Sacrament with fruit to eternal life. Thou hast also added that Thou wilt not permit anyone whom Thy justice deems unworthy to abase themselves to ask counsel of me, O Supreme Ruler, Who, through Thou dwellest on high, regardest the humble. (CF. Ps. 112:5). What prompted Thy mercy, when Thou sawest me approach so often unworthily, to suspend Thy judgment, and not to inflict on me the punishment I deserve? Thou willest to make others worthy by the virtue of humility; and though Thou couldst do so more effectually without my assistance, Thy love, looking upon my misery, made Thee effect this through me, so that thus I may be a sharer in the merits of those who, through my admonitions, enjoy the fruit of salvation. But, alas this is not the only remedy which my misery requires; nor will one remedy satisfy Thy mercy, O most kind Lord! For (secondly) Thou didst assure my unworthiness that Thou wouldst consider whoever should expose their defects to me, with a contrite and humble heart, guilty or innocent, as I had declared them more or less guilty, and from henceforward Thy grace would so sustain them that They should never again be in such danger from their faults as they had been previously. And thus Thou hast relieved my indigence, which is so great that I have never even for a single day corrected myself as I ought, and yet Thou dost permit me to participate in the victories of others, when Thou, my good God, dost condescend, to give the grace of victory to Thine other more deserving friends through my words. Thirdly. The abundant liberality of Thy grace has enriched my poverty of merit by this assurance – that whenever I promise a favor to anyone, or the pardon of any fault, through confidence in Thy mercy, Thy benign love will ratify my words and execute my promise as faithfully as if it has been confirmed by an oath of the Eternal Truth. Thou didst add further, that if anyone found that the salutary effects of my promises were deferred, they should continually remind Thee that I had promised this grace from Thee. Thus dost Thou provide for my salvation according to the words of the Gospel: “With what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matt. 7:2). And as, I alas, continually fall into the greatest faults, Thou desirest by this means to remit the punishment I deserve. Fourthly. To solace my miseries, Thou hast assured me, amongst other things, that whoever recommend themselves humbly and devoutly to my prayers will certainly obtain all the fruits which they hoped to obtain by the intercession of any other person: in which Thou hast provided for my negligence, which prevents me from satisfying, not only for the prayers which are made gratuitously for the Church, but also for those of obligation; and Thou hast found the means of applying the fruit of them to me, according to the words of David “My prayers shall be turned into my bosom” (Ps 34: 13); making me participate in the merits of Thine elect, who shall ask these graces of Thee through my intermission, although I am utterly unworthy of it, and granting me a share in them to supply for my indigence. Fifthly. Thou hast further promised my salvation by conferring these special favors on me, that whom ever with a good will, a right intention and a humble confidence, shall come to speak to me upon their spiritual advancement, should never leave me without being edified or receiving spiritual consolation. In this also Thou hast most suitably supplied for my indigence: for alas, I have wasted the talent Thou didst so liberally bestow on me by my useless words, but now I may gain some merit by what I confide to others! Sixthly. Thy liberality, O Lord, has bestowed on me thus gift, more necessary than all – certify to me that whoever, in their charity, will either pray for me – the vilest of God’s creatures – or perform any good works, either for the amendment of my life, or the forgiveness of the sins of my youth, or the correction of my iniquity and malice, shall receive this reward from Thy abundant liberality – namely, that they shall nit die until, by Thy grace, their lives have been pleasing to Thee; and that Thou wilt dwell in their souls by a special friendship and intimacy. And this Thou hast granted of Thy paternal tenderness, to assist my extreme indigence, as Thou knowest how many great corrections are needed for my innumerable sins and negligences. Thus, as Thy loving mercy will not permit me to perish, and, on the contrary by reason of justice, will not permit me to be saved with all my imperfections, Thou hast provided for me by means of the gains and merits of others. Thou hast added to all these favors, my kind God, by an abundant liberality – that if anyone, after my death, considering with how much familiarity Thou didst communicate with my unworthiness while in this life, should recommend themselves humbly to my prayers, Thou wouldst hear them as willingly as if they invoked the intercession of any other person, provided that they had the intention of repairing their faults and negligences, and that they humbly and devoutly thanked Thee for five special benefits which Thou didst grant me. First. For the love by which Thou didst freely choose me from all eternity, and which I declare to be the greatest of all the benefits which Thou hast bestowed on me: for as Thou wert not ignorant of, or rather didst foresee, the corrupt life which I should lead, the excess of my ingratitude, and how I should abuse Thy gifts, so that I deserve to have been born a pagan, and not an enlightened human being – Thy mercy, which infinitely exceeds our crimes, has chosen me, in preference to many other Christians, to bear the holy character of a religious. Secondly. Because Thou hast drawn me blessedly to Thee; and I acknowledged it to be an effect of the clemency and charity which is natural to Thee, Who hast won, by the attractions of Thy caresses, this rebellious and stubborn heart, which deserves to be loaded with fetters and chains; and it has seemed as if Thou hadst found in me the faithful companion of Thy love, and that Thy greatest pleasure was to be united to me. Thirdly. Because Thou hast united me so intimately to Thee; and I declare, as I am bound, that I am indebted for this only to Thy signal liberality, as if the number of the just was not great enough to receive the immense abundance of Thy mercies, not that I had better dispositions than others, but, on the contrary, that Thy charity might be the more signalized in me thereby. Fourthly. That Thou hast taken pleasure and delight in dwelling in my soul; and this, if I may so speak, proceeds from the ardor of Thy love, which has deigned to testify, even by words, that it is the joy of Thy all – powerful wisdom to stop to one so dissimilar to Thee, and so utterly ungrateful. Fifthly. That it has pleased Thee to accomplish Thy work happily in me; and, it is a favor which I have hoped with humble confidence from the tenderness of Thy most benign charity, and for which I adore Thee with gratitude, declaring, O sovereign, true, and only treasure of my soul, that I have in no way contributed to it by my merits, but that it is a true gift of Thy liberality. All these benefits coming from Thine immense charity, and being so far above my nothingness, I am unable to give thanks for the
m worthily; but Thou has further assisted my misery, in exciting others, by the most condescending promises, to render thanksgivings to Thee, the merit of which may supply my deficiencies. For which may all creatures in Heaven, on earth and under the earth, glorify Thee and thank Thee continually!

Feast Day of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

From the Letters of St. Margaret Mary:

A word about the blessings with which His goodness is favoring me
at present. I can only describe them by saying that my whole life,
body and soul, is nothing but a cross. Yet I cannot complain,
nor do I desire any consolation than that of not having any in
this world and of living hidden away in Jesus Christ crucified,
suffering and unknown, so that no one will have any compassion
on me nor remember me except to increase my suffering. I flatter
myself, dear Mother, that you are too interested in me not to
rejoice at this. Thank Our Lord who, after Himself, has nothing
more precious than His love and His cross. By His Mercy He
shares them with me. I know I am most unworthy, too, of the
one He has has given us in the person of our most honored Mother

The Twelve Promises of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary
for those devoted to His Sacred Heart:

1-I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
2-I will establish peace in their families.
3-I will console them in all their troubles.
4-They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially
at the hour of their death.
5-I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6-Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.
7-Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8-Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
9-I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
10-I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
11-Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in
My Heart, never to be effaced.
12-The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall
receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace
of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without
receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that
last hour.

Right to Life National Awareness Day- Today!

Invite the Angels and Saints

I’ll be headed out the door in a few minutes to attend the Mass. It amazes me that year after year I have been given the grace to participate in daily mass. It is a great blessing especially since I am no saint.  I’m slogging it out here below hoping one day that Jesus will call me and bid me come to Him that with angels and saints I might be with Him forever.

Sometimes at communion, I am overjoyed but most often my feelings are like those expressed by the Little Flower.  Would that my response also be as hers.

What can I tell you, dear Mother, about my thanksgivings after Communion? There is no time when I taste less consolation. But this is what I should expect. I desire to receive Our Lord, not for my own satisfaction, but simply to give Him pleasure. I picture my soul as a piece of waste ground and beg Our Blessed Lady to take away my imperfections–which are as heaps of rubbish–and to build upon it a splendid tabernacle worthy of Heaven, and adorn it with her own adornments. Then I invite all the Angels and Saints to come and sing canticles of love, and it seems to me that Jesus is well pleased to see Himself received so grandly, and I share in His joy. But all this does not prevent distractions and drowsiness from troubling me, and not unfrequently I resolve to continue my thanksgiving throughout the day, since I made it so badly in choir. You see, dear Mother, that my way is not the way of fear; I can always make myself happy, and profit by my imperfections, and Our Lord Himself encourages me in this path.”

St. Therese of Lisieux-Before Profession

(During her retreat before profession)

September 4, 1890.

The heavenly music falls but faintly on the ear of your child, and
it has been a dreary journey towards her Bridal Day. It is true
her Betrothed has led her through fertile lands and gorgeous
scenery, but the dark night has prevented her admiring, much less
revelling in, the beauty all around. Perhaps you think this
grieved her. Oh, no! she is happy to follow her Betrothed for His
own sake, and not for the sake of His gifts. He is so ravishingly
beautiful, even when silent--even when concealed. Weary of earthly
consolation, your little child wishes for her Beloved alone. I
believe that the work of Jesus during this retreat has been to
detach me from everything but Himself. My only comfort is the
exceeding strength and peace that is mine. Besides, I hope to be
just what He wills I should be, and in this lies all my happiness.
Did you but know how great is my joy at giving pleasure to Jesus
through being utterly deprived of all joy! . . . . Truly this is
the very refinement of all joy--joy we do not feel.

The Dying of the Little Flower

From The Story of a Soul (L’Histoire d’une Ame):
The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, by Therese Martin (of Lisieux)

At last dawned the eternal day. It was Thursday, September 30,
1897. In the morning, the sweet Victim, her eyes fixed on Our
Lady’s statue, spoke thus of her last night on earth: “Oh! with
what fervour I have prayed to her! . . . And yet it has been pure
agony, without a ray of consolation. . . . Earth’s air is failing
me: when shall I breathe the air of Heaven?”

For weeks she had been unable to raise herself in bed, but, at
half-past two in the afternoon, she sat up and exclaimed: “Dear
Mother, the chalice is full to overflowing! I could never have
believed that it was possible to suffer so intensely. . . . I can
only explain it by my extreme desire to save souls. . . .” And a
little while after: “Yes, all that I have written about my thirst
for suffering is really true! I do not regret having surrendered
myself to Love.”

She repeated these last words several times. A little later she
added: “Mother, prepare me to die well.” The good Mother Prioress
encouraged her with these words: “My child, you are quite ready to
appear before God, for you have always understood the virtue of
humility.” Then, in striking words, Therese bore witness to
herself:

“Yes, I feel it; my soul has ever sought the truth. . . . I have
understood humility of heart!”

. . . . . . .

At half-past four, her agony began–the agony of this “Victim of
Divine Love.” When the Community gathered round her, she thanked
them with the sweetest smile, and then, completely given over to
love and suffering, the Crucifix clasped in her failing hands, she
entered on the final combat. The sweat of death lay heavy on her
brow . . . she trembled . . . but, as a pilot, when close to
harbour, is not dismayed by the fury of the storm, so this soul,
strong in faith, saw close at hand the beacon-lights of Heaven,
and valiantly put forth every effort to reach the shore.

As the convent bells rang the evening Angelus, she fixed an
inexpressible look upon the statue of the Immaculate Virgin, the
Star of the Sea. Was it not the moment to repeat her beautiful
prayer:

“O thou who camest to smile on me in the morn of my life, come
once again and smile, Mother, for now it is eventide!”[15]

A few minutes after seven, turning to the Prioress, the poor
little Martyr asked: “Mother, is it not the agony? . . . am I not
going to die?” “Yes, my child, it is the agony, but Jesus perhaps
wills that it be prolonged for some hours.” In a sweet and
plaintive voice she replied: “Ah, very well then . . . very well
. . . I do not wish to suffer less!”

Then, looking at her crucifix:

“Oh! . . . I love Him! . . . My God, I . . . love . . . Thee!”

These were her last words. She had scarcely uttered them when, to
our great surprise, she sank down quite suddenly, her head
inclined a little to the right, in the attitude of the Virgin
Martyrs offering themselves to the sword; or rather, as a Victim
of Love, awaiting from the Divine Archer the fiery shaft, by which
she longs to die.

Suddenly she raised herself, as though called by a mysterious
voice; and opening her eyes, which shone with unutterable
happiness and peace, fixed her gaze a little above the statue of
Our Lady. Thus she remained for about the space of a _Credo,_ when
her blessed soul, now become the prey of the “Divine Eagle,” was
borne away to the heights of Heaven.

(From the Project Gutenberg Ebook)

Great Promises and Favors – St. Gertrude

From The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great: (with my italics noting promises and favors)

May my heart and my soul, with all the substance of my flesh, all my senses, and all the powers of my body and my mind, with all creatures, praise Thee and give Thee thanks, O sweetest Lord, faithful Lover of mankind, for Thy signal mercy, which has not only dissimulated the utterly unworthy preparation with which I have not feared to approached the super celestial banquet of Thy most sacred Body and Blood, but has added this gift to me, the most utterly vile and perfectly useless of Thy creatures. First, of having been assured by Thy grace that all who desire to approach this Sacrament, and who are restrained by fear from a timid conscience, who come to me, who am the least of Thy servants, led by humility, to receive this Sacrament with fruit to eternal life. Thou hast also added that Thou wilt not permit anyone whom Thy justice deems unworthy to abase themselves to ask counsel of me, O Supreme Ruler, Who, through Thou dwellest on high, regardest the humble. (CF. Ps. 112:5).

What prompted Thy mercy, when Thou sawest me approach so often unworthily, to suspend Thy judgment, and not to inflict on me the punishment I deserve? Thou willest to make others worthy by the virtue of humility; and though Thou couldst do so more effectually without my assistance, Thy love, looking upon my misery, made Thee effect this through me, so that thus I may be a sharer in the merits of those who, through my admonitions, enjoy the fruit of salvation.

But, alas this is not the only remedy which my misery requires; nor will one remedy satisfy Thy mercy, O most kind Lord! For (secondly) Thou didst assure my unworthiness that Thou wouldst consider whoever should expose their defects to me, with a contrite and humble heart, guilty or innocent, as I had declared them more or less guilty, and from henceforward Thy grace would so sustain them that They should never again be in such danger from their faults as they had been previously. And thus Thou hast relieved my indigence, which is so great that I have never even for a single day corrected myself as I ought, and yet Thou dost permit me to participate in the victories of others, when Thou, my good God, dost condescend, to give the grace of victory to Thine other more deserving friends through my words.

Thirdly. The abundant liberality of Thy grace has enriched my poverty of merit by this assurance – that whenever I promise a favor to anyone, or the pardon of any fault, through confidence in Thy mercy, Thy benign love will ratify my words and execute my promise as faithfully as if it has been confirmed by an oath of the Eternal Truth. Thou didst add further, that if anyone found that the salutary effects of my promises were deferred, they should continually remind Thee that I had promised this grace from Thee. Thus dost Thou provide for my salvation according to the words of the Gospel: “With what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matt. 7:2). And as, I alas, continually fall into the greatest faults, Thou desirest by this means to remit the punishment I deserve.

Fourthly. To solace my miseries, Thou hast assured me, amongst other things, that whoever recommend themselves humbly and devoutly to my prayers will certainly obtain all the fruits which they hoped to obtain by the intercession of any other person: in which Thou hast provided for my negligence, which prevents me from satisfying, not only for the prayers which are made gratuitously for the Church, but also for those of obligation; and Thou hast found the means of applying the fruit of them to me, according to the words of David “My prayers shall be turned into my bosom” (Ps 34: 13); making me participate in the merits of Thine elect, who shall ask these graces of Thee through my intermission, although I am utterly unworthy of it, and granting me a share in them to supply for my indigence.

Fifthly. Thou hast further promised my salvation by conferring these special favors on me, that whom ever with a good will, a right intention and a humble confidence, shall come to speak to me upon their spiritual advancement, should never leave me without being edified or receiving spiritual consolation. In this also Thou hast most suitably supplied for my indigence: for alas, I have wasted the talent Thou didst so liberally bestow on me by my useless words, but now I may gain some merit by what I confide to others!

Sixthly. Thy liberality, O Lord, has bestowed on me thus gift, more necessary than all – certify to me that whoever, in their charity, will either pray for me – the vilest of God’s creatures – or perform any good works, either for the amendment of my life, or the forgiveness of the sins of my youth, or the correction of my iniquity and malice, shall receive this reward from Thy abundant liberality – namely, that they shall nit die until, by Thy grace, their lives have been pleasing to Thee; and that Thou wilt dwell in their souls by a special friendship and intimacy.

And this Thou hast granted of Thy paternal tenderness, to assist my extreme indigence, as Thou knowest how many great corrections are needed for my innumerable sins and negligences. Thus, as Thy loving mercy will not permit me to perish, and, on the contrary by reason of justice, will not permit me to be saved with all my imperfections, Thou hast provided for me by means of the gains and merits of others.

Thou hast added to all these favors, my kind God, by an abundant liberality – that if anyone, after my death, considering with how much familiarity Thou didst communicate with my unworthiness while in this life, should recommend themselves humbly to my prayers, Thou wouldst hear them as willingly as if they invoked the intercession of any other person, provided that they had the intention of repairing their faults and negligences, and that they humbly and devoutly thanked Thee for five special benefits which Thou didst grant me.

First. For the love by which Thou didst freely choose me from all eternity, and which I declare to be the greatest of all the benefits which Thou hast bestowed on me: for as Thou wert not ignorant of, or rather didst foresee, the corrupt life which I should lead, the excess of my ingratitude, and how I should abuse Thy gifts, so that I deserve to have been born a pagan, and not an enlightened human being – Thy mercy, which infinitely exceeds our crimes, has chosen me, in preference to many other Christians, to bear the holy character of a religious.

Secondly. Because Thou hast drawn me blessedly to Thee; and I acknowledged it to be an effect of the clemency and charity which is natural to Thee, Who hast won, by the attractions of Thy caresses, this rebellious and stubborn heart, which deserves to be loaded with fetters and chains; and it has seemed as if Thou hadst found in me the faithful companion of Thy love, and that Thy greatest pleasure was to be united to me.

Thirdly. Because Thou hast united me so intimately to Thee; and I declare, as I am bound, that I am indebted for this only to Thy signal liberality, as if the number of the just was not great enough to receive the immense abundance of Thy mercies, not that I had better dispositions than others, but, on the contrary, that Thy charity might be the more signalized in me thereby.

Fourthly. That Thou hast taken pleasure and delight in dwelling in my soul; and this, if I may so speak, proceeds from the ardor of Thy love, which has deigned to testify, even by words, that it is the joy of Thy all – powerful wisdom to stop to one so dissimilar to Thee, and so utterly ungrateful.

Fifthly. That it has pleased Thee to accomplish Thy work happily in me; and, it is a favor which I have hoped with humble confidence from the tenderness of Thy most benign charity, and for which I adore Thee with gratitude, declaring, O sovereign, true, and only treasure of my soul, that I have in no way contributed to it by my merits, but that it is a true gift of Thy liberality.

All these benefits coming from Thine immense charity, and being so far above my nothingness, I am unable to give thanks for them worthily; but Thou has further assisted my misery, in exciting others, by the most condescending promises, to render thanksgivings to Thee, the merit of which may supply my deficiencies. For which may all creatures in Heaven, on earth and under the earth, glorify Thee and thank Thee continually!

Joan of Arc – A Prayer For Lent

Asked at her trial if she was in God’s grace:

“If I am not, may God put me there, and if I am, may God so keep me! I should be the saddest creature in the world if I knew I was not in His grace.”

Mark Twain said of her:

“She was truthful when lying was the common speech of men; she was honest when honest was become a lost virtue; she was a keeper of promises when the keeping of a promise was expected of no one; … she was full of pity when a merciless cruelty was the rule; she was steadfast when stability was unknown, and honorable in an age which had forgotten what honor was; she was a rock of convictions in a time when men believed in nothing and scoffed at all things; she was unfailingly true in an age that was false to the core; … she was of a dauntless courage when hope and courage had perished in the hearts of her nation…”

"Borne by Angels to the Bosom of God" – St. Therese of Lisieux

From The Story of a Soul, The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux:

“Dear Mother, I have still to tell you what I understand by the  “sweet odour of the Beloved.” As Our Lord is now in Heaven, I can only follow Him by the footprints He has left–footprints full of life, full of fragrance. I have only to open the Holy Gospels and at once I breathe the perfume of Jesus, and then I know which way to run; and it is not to the first place, but to the last, that I hasten. I leave the Pharisee to go up, and full of confidence I repeat the humble prayer of the Publican. Above all I follow Magdalen, for the amazing, rather I should say, the loving audacity, that delights the Heart of Jesus, has cast its spell upon mine. It is not because I have been preserved from mortal sin that I lift up my heart to God in trust and love. I feel that even had I on my conscience every crime one could commit, I should lose nothing of my confidence: my heart broken with sorrow, I would throw myself into the Arms of my Saviour. I know that He loves the Prodigal Son, I have heard His words to St. Mary Magdalen, to the woman taken in adultery, and to the woman of Samaria. No one could frighten me, for I know what to believe concerning His Mercy and His Love. And I know that all that multitude of sins would disappear in an instant, even as a drop of water cast into a flaming furnace.

It is told in the Lives of the Fathers of the Desert how one of them converted a public sinner, whose evil deeds were the scandal of the whole country. This wicked woman, touched by grace, followed the Saint into the desert, there to perform rigorous penance. But on the first night of the journey, before even reaching the place of her retirement, the bonds that bound her to earth were broken by the vehemence of her loving sorrow. The holy man, at the same instant, saw her soul borne by Angels to the Bosom of God.”

Thanksgivings After Communion – St. Therese of Lisieux

From The Story of a Soul, The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux

What can I tell you, dear Mother, about my thanksgivings after Communion? There is no time when I taste less consolation. But this is what I should expect. I desire to receive Our Lord, not for my own satisfaction, but simply to give Him pleasure. I picture my soul as a piece of waste ground and beg Our Blessed Lady to take away my imperfections–which are as heaps of rubbish–and to build upon it a splendid tabernacle worthy of Heaven, and adorn it with her own adornments. Then I invite all the Angels and Saints to come and sing canticles of love, and it seems to me that Jesus is well pleased to see Himself received so grandly, and I share in His joy. But all this does not prevent distractions and drowsiness from troubling me, and not unfrequently I resolve to continue my thanksgiving throughout the day, since I made it so badly in choir. You see, dear Mother, that my way is not the way of fear; I can always make myself happy, and profit by my imperfections, and Our Lord Himself encourages me in this path.”

The Revelations of Saint Gertrude. Written by the Saint Herself.

Well worth the effort to get to this pearl:

Book 2: Chapter 5

After I had received the Sacrament of life, and had retired to the place where I pray, it seemed to me that I saw a ray of light like an arrow coming forth from the Wound of the right side of the crucifix, which was in an elevated place, and it continued, as it were, to advance and retire for some time, sweetly attracting my cold affections. But my desire was not entirely satisfied with these things until the following Wednesday, when after the Mass, the faithful meditated on Thy adorable Incarnation and Annunciation, in which I joined, however imperfectly. And, behold, Thou camest suddenly before me, and didst imprint a wound in my heart, saying these words: May the full tide of your affections flow hither, so that all your pleasure, your hope, your joy, your grief, your fear, and every other feeling may be sustained by My love! And I immediately remembered that I had heard a wound should be bathed, anointed and bandaged. But Thou didst not teach me then in what manner I should perform these things, for Thou didst defer it to discover it to me more clearly in the end by means of another person, who had accustomed the ears of her soul to discern far more exactly and delicately than I do the sweet mummers of Thy love.

She advised me to reflect devoutly upon the love of Thy Heart when hanging on the Cross, and to draw from this fountain the waters of true devotion, to wash away all my offenses; to take from the unction of mercy the oil of gratitude, which the sweetness of this inestimable love has produced as a remedy for all adversities, and to use this efficacious charity and the strength of this consummate love as a ligament of justification to unite all my thoughts, words and works, indissolubly and powerfully to Thee. May all the deprivation of those things which my malice and wickedness has caused be supplied through that love whose plenitude abides in Him Who being seated on Thy right hand, has become “bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh!” As it is by Him, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, that Thou hast placed in me this noble virtue of compassion, humility and reverence, to enable me to speak to Thee, it is also by Him that I present to Thee my complaint of the miseries I endure, which are so great in number, and which have caused me to offend Thy Divine goodness in so many ways by my thoughts, words and actions, but principally by the bad use which I have made of the aforesaid graces, by my unfaithfulness, my negligence and my irreverence. For if Thou hast given to one so unworthy even a thread of flax as a remembrance of Thee, I should have been bound to respect it more than I have done all these favors.

Cause for Joy

Bishop Alphonse Gallegos Member of the Order of Augustinian Recollects and Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, California, whose cause for beatification and canonization was introduced to the Vatican in Rome in November, 2006.

Prayer

God our Father in Bishop Alphonse, you gave a light to your faithful people.  You made him a pastor of the Church to feed your sheep with his word and to teach them by his example.  We pray that his life of holiness and service to the People of God be acknowledged and that this loyal son of Our Lady of Guadalupe be counted among the saints of your Kingdom.  We ask this blessing through Christ our Lord.  Amen

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Update on Cause

To communicate favors received at the intercession of Bishop Gallegos and contribute to his Cause of Canonization please contact:

Augustinian Recollects

Provincial Residence

29 Ridgeway Avenue

West Orange, NJ 07052

augustinianrecollects.org

This Is What Love Looks Like

While I’ve given the secular world it’s due, I’d be remiss in not mentioning that today is actually the Feast day of  Sts. Cyril and Methodius, not St. Valentine.  These brothers of the ninth century loved Christ,  His Church and the Slavic peoples.  They heroically endured the politics of their day.  Do you think the political storms of our day might actually challenge us to end as saints?

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”

“When I am weak, then I am strong” (2Cor 12:9-10)

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This is what real love looks like.

The Incorruptible

Today is the feast day of  Our Lady of Lourdes.  Lourdes, the shrine of healing, will be forever linked to the weak and the humble.  The miracles that happen are often those of the soul.  It should be noted the Bernadette Soubirous to whom Our Lady appeared, had a tuberculous tumor on her knee and was never herself healed.  In life, she knew great suffering.  The miracle that did happen to her body,, though, is ongoing.  After her death,  her body proved to be in corrupt.

Old school Catholics are very familiar with the injunction, “Offer it up!”  St. Paul, you will recall, made an outrageous claim.  He said, ” Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” Col. 1:24

Rev.  Jeffrey Whorton, now, a Catholic priest, coming to us from Episcopal fields,  offers this in his inimitable fashion.  He found the Catholic concept of “Offer it up!” astonishing.  That our warts and wrinkles,  our far from perfect acts and sufferings, could ever be more than the sad effects of the Fall, seemed far too good to be imagined.  He did find something to which he, and, perhaps, we, could relate.  He said for us to think of our 401Ks and an employer who offers to match any funds that we contributed to our account.  Now,  God the Father, in his magnanimity,  goes far beyond matching funds.  He turns our humble dross into pure and eternal gold by clothing it in the sufferings of  His Son.  The thing, Fr. Jeff says we must  remember is:  “No funds, no matching fund!”   So “Offer it up!”  The corruptible can become incorruptible.

The Anchoress has more and more and more on St. Bernadette

Love Works Wonders!

Valentine’s Day with cards and roses is fast approaching.  They’ll be proclamations of love: undying love, puppy love, romantic love and”so called” love.  Here’s a charming story of real love from the Dialogue of Pope St. Gregory the Great:

Scholastica, the sister of Saint Benedict, had been consecrated to God from her earliest years. She was accustomed to visiting her brother once a year. He would come down to meet her at a place on the monastery property, not far outside the gate.
One day she came as usual and her saintly brother went with some of his disciples; they spent the whole day praising God and talking of sacred things. As night fell they had supper together. Their spiritual conversation went on and the hour grew late. The holy nun said to her brother: “Please do not leave me tonight; let us go on until morning talking about the delights of the spiritual life.” “Sister,” he replied, “what are you saying? I simply cannot stay outside my cell.”

When she heard her brother refuse her request, the holy woman joined her hands on the table, laid her head on them and began to pray. As she raised her head from the table, there were such brilliant flashes of lightning, such great peals of thunder and such a heavy downpour of rain that neither Benedict nor his brethren could stir across the threshold of the place where they had been seated. Sadly he began to complain: “May God forgive you, sister. What have you done?” “Well,” she answered, “I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and he did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery.”
Reluctant as he was to stay of his own will, he remained against his will. So it came about that they stayed awake the whole night, engrossed in their conversation about the spiritual life.

You may wonder why I call this “real love.”  I guess it’s because all love worthy of the name is God’s Love.  You may think Scholastica was praying for trifles.  The story, however, is about what God thinks.  Gregory saw it this way:  “It is not surprising that she was more effective than he, since as John says, ‘God is love.’  It was absolutely right that she could do more, as she loved more.”

With Abba Father,  nothing is too small or trivial.  We are His children.  It is as though everything that we refer to our Father He receives as a gift that He happily, lovingly, and joyfully, sticks on His heavenly version of the refrigerator.   A little soul doesn’t differentiate between great and small.  Everything comes from God’s gracious hand.

You May Have Noticed

Although I picture sanctity robed in the gentle manner of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, I think I need to find another saint to show me how I can tame sarcasm, anger and cynicism.  Is there some sort of “Way” for me?  St. Jerome may be my man, since he won a halo despite his reputation for fury.  I haven’t read anything, however of his having tempered his temper or tamed his tantrums.  Perhaps, my best bet is to be myself and allow life to wear my down like a rock in a tumbler chipping away turn after turn.  The prospect hurts!  I know,  the saints  “Count it all joy!”  Turning up the prayer  can’t hurt.  I’m a candidate for your prayer list, wouldn’t you say?  I change very slowly,  so this blog probably won’t witness any miracles.  I’m open to one,  though!