Thought for the day:

"Give me grace to amend my life, and to have an eye to mine end, without grudge of death, which to them that die in thee,
good Lord, is the gate of a wealthy life."
St. Thomas More

THREE THINGS

"Three things are necessary for the salvation of man; to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do."
St. Thomas Aquinas

Rights of Man?

"The people have heard quite enough about what are called the 'rights of man'. Let them hear about the rights of God for once". Pope Leo XIII Tamesti future, Encyclical

Eternity

All souls owe their eternity to Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, many have turned their back to him.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Aquinas-Monday after 1st Sunday of Lent

(I'm going to try to remember to put the thoughts of St. Thomas Aquinas on the Lenten season each day.  Hope I can do it for you.) 




Monday After First Sunday of Lent

Christ had to be tempted in the desert

He was in the desert forty days and forty nights: and was tempted by Satan.  Mark i. 13.


1. It was by Christ's own will that He was exposed to the temptation by the devil, as it was also by His own will that He was exposed to be slain by the limbs of the devil. Had He not so willed, the devil would never have dared to approach Him.

The devil is always more disposed to attack those who are alone, because, as is said in Sacred Scripture, If a man shall prevail against one, two shall with stand him easily (Eccles. iv. 12). That is why Christ went out into the desert, as one going out to a battle-ground, that there He might be tempted by the devil. Whereupon St. Ambrose says that Christ went into the desert for the express purpose of provoking the devil. For unless the devil had fought, Christ would never have overcome him for me.

St. Ambrose gives other reasons too. He says that Christ chose the desert as the place to be tempted for a hidden reason, namely that he might free from His exile Adam who, from Paradise, was driven into the desert; and again that He did it for a reason in which there is no mystery, namely to show us that the devil envies those who are tending towards a better life.

2. We say with St. John Chrysostom that Christ exposed Himself to the temptation because the devil most of all tempts those whom he sees alone. So in the very beginning of things he tempted the woman, when he found her away from her husband. It does not however follow from this that a man ought to throw himself into any occasion of temptation that presents itself.

Occasions of temptation are of two kinds. One kind arises from man's own action, when, for example, man himself goes near to sin, not avoiding the occasion of sin. That such occasions are to be avoided we know, and Holy Scripture reminds us of it. Stay not in any part of the country round about Sodom (Gen. xix. 17). The second kind of occasion arises from the devil's constant envy of those who are tending to better things, as St. Ambrose says, and this occasion of temptation is not one we must avoid. So, according to St. John Chrysostom, not only Christ was led into the desert by the Holy Ghost, but all the children of God who possess the Holy Ghost are led in like manner. For God's children are never content to sit down with idle hands, but the Holy Ghost ever urges them to undertake for God some great work. And this, as far as the devil is concerned, is to go into the desert, for in the desert there is none of that wickedness which is the devil's delight. Every good work is as it were a desert to the eye of the world and of our flesh, for good works are contrary to the desire of the world and of our flesh.

To give the devil such an opportunity of temptation as this is not dangerous, for it is much more the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, who is the promoter of every perfect work, that prompts us than the working of the devil who hates them all.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

1st Sunday of Lent



"My son, when you come to serve God, prepare your soul for temptation." Ecclus. 2:1

This Sunday is the 1st Sunday of Lent. In the Gospel of St. Matthew, we hear about Christ fasting and praying in the desert for 40 days, and then, at the end, Satan tempting Him with all of the world's goods, if He were to bow down to him. Christ dispels him quickly. St. Francis de Sales says that Christ was tempted more than three times when in the desert, but that St. Matthew deemed these three times would serve the purpose to teach us what we are to know. We are not immune from temptations from this same devil. He never gives up on trying to get our soul to be with him for all eternity. We also learn that the devil also knows Scripture. He can twist it, like all false religions, to his own use.

Our beloved Abbot Gueranger states:

'We have three enemies to fight against; our soul has three dangers; for, as the beloved disciple says, all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life! By the concupiscence of the flesh, is meant the love of sensual things, which covets whatever is agreeable to the flesh, and, when not curbed, draws the soul into unlawful pleasures. Concupiscence of the eyes expresses the love of the goods of this world, such as riches, and possessions; these dazzle the eye, and then seduce the heart. Pride of life is that confidence in ourselves, which leads us to be vain and presumptuous, and makes us forget that all we have, our life and every good gift, we have from God.'


Let those who must go, on these days, and mingle in the company of worldlings, be guided by St. Francis of Sales, who advises them to think, from time to time, on such considerations as these:--that while all these frivolous, and often dangerous, amusements are going on, there are countless souls being tormented in the fire of hell, on account of the sins they committed on similar occasions; --that, at that very hour of the night, there are many holy religious depriving themselves of sleep in order to sing the divine praises and implore God's mercy upon the world, and upon them that are wasting their time in its vanities;--that there are thousands in the agonies of death, while all that gaiety is going on;--that God and His angels are attentively looking upon this thoughtless group; and finally, that life is passing away, and death so much nearer each moment.


 As St. Francis says: 'If we are led by the Spirit of God to the place of temptation, we should not fear, but should be assured that He will render us victorious. But we must not seek temptation not go out to allure it, however holy and generous we may think ourselves to be, for we are not more valiant than David, not than our Divine Master Himself, who did not choose to seek it. Our enemy is like a chained dog; if we do not approach, it will do us no harm, even though it tries to frighten us by barking at us.'

St. Bernard, referring to words in Psalm 90,(which is a really good Psalm to read during this time of year), which is telling us: '... to have faith in God and He will deliver us. Deliver us from what? There are three kinds of terrors which we might be afraid of (groups we don't want to be in). The first fear is that of cowards and slothful souls; the second, that of children (I think this is being like a child and not wanting to learn anything); and the third, that of the weak. Fear is the first temptation which the enemy presents to those who have resolved to serve God, for as soon as they are shown what perfection require of them they think, "Alas, I shall never be able to do it." ...But Our Lord does not want this kind of warrior in His army; He wants combatants and conquerors, not sluggards and cowards. He chose to be tempted, and Himself attacked in order to give us an example.'


 Following are some parts of St. Francis' sermon for this first Sunday of Lent:

'Thus , it is a very necessary practice to prepare our soul for temptation. That is, wherever we may be and however perfect we may be, we must rest assured that temptation will attack us. Hence, we ought to be so disposed and to provide ourselves with the weapons necessary to fight valiantly in order to carry off the victory, since the crown is only for the combatants and conquerors.'

'The life of the perfect Christian is a continual penance. Console yourself, I pray, and take courage. Now is not the time for rest.'

'Walk confidently! If you are armed with the armor of Faith, nothing can harm you.'

'Gently, do not hurry on so fast! Begin to live well, according to your vocation: sweetly, simply, and humbly. Then trust in God, Who will make you holy when it pleases Him.'


Let us, during this Lenten season, try to make good on our promises, which we made to God, and God alone, and fight these temptations to the best of our God-given ability. Onward, Christian soldiers.


I'm going to end with a quote from St. Augustine:

"Because we are human, we are not strong.
Because we are not strong, we pray."

Sts. Francisco/Jacinta

Today we honor two of the three children who saw Our Lady in Fatima in the year 1917.  The officials of the Church have tried to squelch the message Our Lady gave during the months from May to October in that year.  Of course, the message has a lot to do with higher ups in the Church going wrong, which has happened.  We need to remember Fatima and do our rosaries daily for all that is going on these days.  (Francisco is on the right, while Jacinta is on the left)



Francisco Marto (June 11, 1908 - April 4, 1919) and his sister Jacinta Marto (March 11, 1910 - February 20, 1920), together with their cousin, Lucia dos Santos were the children from Aljustrel near Fatima, Portugal, who said they witnessed three apparitions of an angel in 1916 and several apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917. Their reported visions of Our Lady of Fatima proved politically controversial, and gave rise to a major centre of world Christian pilgrimage.

The youngest children of Manuel and Olimpia Marto, Francisco and Jacinta were typical of Portuguese village children of that time. They were illiterate but had a rich oral tradition on which to rely, and they worked with their cousin Lucia, taking care of the family's sheep. According to Lucia's memoirs, Francisco had a placid disposition, was somewhat musically inclined, and liked to be by himself to think. Jacinta was affectionate if a bit spoiled, and emotionally labile. She had a sweet singing voice and a gift for dancing. All three children gave up music and dancing after the visions began, believing that these and other recreational activities led to occasions of sin.

Following their experiences, their fundamental personalities remained the same. Francisco preferred to pray alone, as he said "to console Jesus for the sins of the world". Jacinta was deeply affected by a terrifying vision of Hell reportedly shown to the children at the third apparition. She became deeply convinced of the need to save sinners through penance and sacrifice as the Virgin had reportedly instructed the children to do. All three children, but particularly Francisco and Jacinta, practiced stringent self-mortifications to this end.

(They died very young, and yet, they had the Faith)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Mary during Lent

Our Blessed Mother has always, and continues, to point us toward her Son.  Let us become small and humble like Mary as we prepare for Lent.  She was able to bestow great grace on the small and humble girl of Lourdes.  I will be praying for your intentions and those of our beloved priests.

 
Mary, you showed yourself to Bernadette
in the crevice of the rock.
In the cold and grey of winter,
you brought the warmth, light and beauty
of your presence.
 
In the often obscure depths of our lives,
in the depth of the world where evil is so powerful,
bring hope, return our confidence!

You are the Immaculate Conception,
come to our aid, sinners that we are.
And send us good priests to help us to improve our lives.
Give us the humility to have a change of heart,
the courage to do penance.
Teach us to pray for all people.
And may our priests lead us in these efforts.
 
Guide us to the source of true life.
Make us pilgrims going forward with your Church,
whet our appetite for the Eucharist,
the bread for the journey, the bread of life,
which our priests preside for us.
 
The Spirit brought about wonders in you, O Mary:
by his power, he has placed you near the Father,
in the glory of your eternal Son.
 
Look with kindness on our miserable bodies and hearts.
Shine forth for us, like a gentle light, at the hour of our death.
May a good priest then be present at our side.
 
Together with Bernadette, we pray to you, O Mary,
as your poor children.  May we enter, like her, into the spirit of the Beatitudes.  Inspire our priests to make us understand them better.
Then, we will be able, here below, begin to know the joy of the Kingdom of Heaven and sing together with you:
Magnificat !
 
Glory to you, Virgin Mary,
blessed servant of the Lord,
Mother of God, Mother of the Church,
and Mother of Priests, dwelling place of the Holy Spirit!
Amen.

Image result for image of our lady of lourdes with eucharist
 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sts. Faustinus/Jovita, Martyrs




SAINTS FAUSTINUS and JOVITA
Martyrs  (†122)

Faustinus and Jovita were brothers, nobly born, and were zealous professors of the Christian religion, which they preached without fear in their city of Brescia in Lombardy, during the persecution of Adrian. Their remarkable zeal excited the fury of the heathens against them, and procured them a glorious death for their faith.

Faustinus, a priest, and Jovita, a deacon, were preaching the Gospel fearlessly in the region when Julian, a pagan officer, apprehended them. They were commanded to adore the sun, but replied that they adored the living God who created the sun to give light to the world. The statue before which they were standing was brilliant and surrounded with golden rays. Saint Jovita, looking at it, cried out: "Yes, we adore the God reigning in heaven, who created the sun. And you, vain statue, turn black, to the shame of those who adore you!" At his word, it turned black. The Emperor commanded that it be cleaned, but the pagan priests had hardly begun to touch it when it fell into ashes.

The two brothers were sent to the amphitheater to be devoured by lions, but four of those came out and lay down at their feet. They were left without food in a dark jail cell, but Angels brought them strength and joy for new combats. The flames of a huge fire respected them, and a large number of spectators were converted at the sight. Finally sentenced to decapitation, they knelt down and received the death blow. The city of Brescia honors them as its chief patrons and possesses their relics, and a very ancient church in that city bears their names.


Reflection. The spirit of Christ is ever a spirit of martyrdom. It is always the spirit of the cross. The more we share in the suffering life of Christ, the greater share we inherit of His Spirit, and of the fruits of His death. To souls mortified in their senses and disengaged from earthly things, God gives frequent foretastes of the sweetness of eternal life, and ardent desires of possessing Him in His glory. This is the spirit of martyrdom, which entitles a Christian to a happy resurrection and to the bliss of the life to come. (Remember, the word 'martyr' means 'witness')


Prayer:

When we compare our trials with yours, noble Martyrs of Christ, and our combats with those that you had to fight,--how grateful ought we not to be to our Lord for his having so mercifully taken our weakness into account! Should we have been able to endure the tortures, wherewith you had to purchase heaven, we that are so easily led to break the law of God, so tardy in our conversion, so weak in faith and charity? And yet, we are made for that same heaven, which you now possess. God holds out a crown to us also, and we are not at liberty to refuse it. Rouse up our courage, brave Martyrs! Get us a spirit of resistance against the world and our evil inclinations; that thus, we may confess our Lord Jesus Christ, not only with our lips, but with our works too, and testify, by our conduct, that we are Christians.



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lenten Resolutions

Lenten resolution: return to the basics, courtesy of St. Francis de Sales.  The following excerpt comes from 'The Introduction to the Devout Life':

Call often to mind that our Saviour redeemed us by bearing and suffering, and in like manner we must seek our own salvation amid sufferings and afflictions; bearing insults, contradictions and troubles with all the gentleness we can possibly command. Do not limit your patience to this or that kind of trial, but extend it universally to whatever God may send, or allow to befall you. Some people will only bear patiently with trials which carry their own salve of dignity,--such as being wounded in battle, becoming a prisoner of war, being ill-used for the sake of their religion, being impoverished by some strife out of which they came triumphant.

Now these persons do not love tribulation, but only the honour which attends it. A really patient servant of God is as ready to bear inglorious troubles as those which are honourable. A brave man can easily bear with contempt, slander and false accusation from an evil world; but to bear such injustice at the hands of good men, of friends and relations, is a great test of patience.

Be patient, not only with respect to the main trials which beset you, but also under the accidental and accessory annoyances which arise out of them. We often find people who imagine themselves ready to accept a trial in itself who are impatient of its consequences. We hear one man say, "I should not mind poverty, were it not that I am unable to bring up my children and receive my friends as handsomely as I desire." And another says, "I should not mind, were it not that the world will suppose it is my own fault;" while another would patiently bear to be the subject of slander provided nobody believed it.

If any trouble comes upon you, use the remedies with which God supplies you. Not to do this is to tempt Him; but having done so, wait whatever result He wills with perfect resignation. If He pleases to let the evil be remedied, thank Him humbly; but if it be His will that the evil grow greater than the remedies, patiently bless His Holy Name.
 
 
Follow St. Gregory's advice:
 
When you are justly blamed for some fault you have committed, humble yourself deeply, and confess that you deserve the blame.

If the accusation be false, defend yourself quietly, denying the fact; this is but due respect for truth and your neighbour's edification. But if after you have made your true and legitimate defence you are still accused, do not be troubled, and do not try to press your defence--you have had due respect for truth, have the same now for humility. By acting thus you will not infringe either a due care for your good name, or the affection you are bound to entertain for peace, humility and gentleness of heart.

Complain as little as possible of your wrongs, for as a general rule you may be sure that complaining is sin; (3) the rather that self-love always magnifies our injuries: above all, do not complain to people who are easily angered and excited. If it is needful to complain to some one, either as seeking a remedy for your injury, or in order to soothe your mind, let it be to some calm, gentle spirit, greatly filled with the Love of God; for otherwise, instead of relieving your heart, your confidants will only provoke it to still greater disturbance; instead of taking out the thorn which pricks you, they will drive it further into your foot.

As to the trials which you will encounter in devotion (and they are certain to arise), bear in mind our dear Lord's words: "A woman, when she is in travail, hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world." (5) You, too, have conceived in your soul the most gracious of children, even Jesus Christ, and before He can be brought forth you must inevitably travail with pain; but be of good cheer, for when these pangs are over, you will possess an abiding joy, having brought such a man into the world. And He will be really born for you, when He is perfected in your heart by love, and in your actions by imitating His life.

Gaze often inwardly upon Jesus Christ crucified, naked, blasphemed, falsely accused, forsaken, overwhelmed with every possible grief and sorrow, and remember that none of your sufferings can ever be compared to His, either in kind or degree, and that you can never suffer anything for Him worthy to be weighed against what He has borne for you.

Consider the pains which martyrs have endured, and think how even now many people are bearing afflictions beyond all measure greater than yours, and say, "Of a truth my trouble is comfort, my torments are but roses as compared to those whose life is a continual death, without solace, or aid or consolation, borne down with a weight of grief tenfold greater than mine."


I thank the 'Saint Louis Catholic' for posting this.  Kind of makes you think.

ASH WEDNESDAY




PRAY, FAST, AND DO PENANCE. THIS IS HOW WE GET THINGS DONE!
(Joel II. 12-19)

Thus with the Lord: 'Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. And rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God; for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. Who knoweth but he will return, and forgive, anal leave a blessing behind him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Sion: sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather together the people; sanctify the Church; assemble the ancients; gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts; let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of her bride-chamber. Between the porch and the altar the priests, the Lord's ministers, shall weep; and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people; and give not thine inheritance to reproach, that the heathens should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations: Where is their God? The Lord hath been zealous for his land, and hath spared his people. And the Lord answered, and said to his people: 'Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and you shall be filled with them; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations, with the Lord Almighty.'

The Prophet Joel exhorts the Jews to sorrow and penance for their sins, that they evade the expected judgment to be sent by God upon the city of Jerusalem. He required of them to show their repentance not merely by rending their garments, a sign of mourning with the Jews, but by a truly contrite heart. The Church wishes us to see plainly from this lesson of the prophet what qualities our penance should possess, if we desire reconciliation with God, forgiveness of our sins, and deliverance at the Last Day, which qualities are not merely abstinence from food and amusements, but the practice of real mortification of our evil inclinations, thus becoming with our whole heart converted to God.

GOSPEL (Matt. VI. 16-21): At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: "When you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head and wash thy face, that thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee. Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth, where the rust and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also."

Jesus forbids us to seek the praises of men when performing good works, (fasting is a good work,) and still worse it would be to do good as the Pharisees, through hypocrisy. He also warns us against avarice and the desire for temporal riches, urging us to employ our temporal goods, in giving alms, and doing works of charity, thus laying up treasures in heaven, which are there rewarded and will last there forever. "What folly", says St. John Chrysostom, "to leave our goods where we cannot stay, instead of sending them before us where we are going — -to heaven!"'


Don't forget!



St. Charles Borromeo gives us the following reasons for this practice: '...that the faithful may be moved to sincere humility of heart; that the heavenly blessing may descend upon them, by which they, being really penitent, will weep with their whole soul for their sins, remembering how earth was cursed because of sin, and that we have all to return to dust; that strength to do true penance may be given the body, and that our soul may be endowed with divine grace to persevere in penance.'
With such thoughts let the ashes be put upon your head, while you ask in all humility and with a contrite heart, for God’s mercy and grace.

Let's make this Lent a fruitful one. And be cheerful about it!

DON'T MAKE ME COME OVER THERE!