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The Patron of the Hidden Life

Today is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary

St. Joseph, husband of the Mother of God, pray for us!

My favorite prayer to St. Joseph:

    Oh, St. Joseph,
    I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath.
    St. Joseph, Patron of departed souls – pray for me. Amen.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux On Love

st. bernardI thought this was utterly beautiful. From today’s Office by St. Bernard of Clairvaux:

Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it. Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all He desires is to be loved in return…

It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given.

Read more

We Have a Mother in Heaven!

A reflection for the feast of the Assumption from the Apostleship of Prayer:

I Am All Thine, My Queen and My Mother, and All That I Have is Thine!

Blessed VirginHappy Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, body and soul, into Heaven! What a glorious feast – a reminder of our ultimate destiny! Today is also the day of consecration for those, like me, who have been following the 33 day Preparation for Total Consecration. Words of consecration, from St. Louis de Montfort

O Eternal and incarnate Wisdom! O sweetest and most adorable Jesus! True God and true man, only Son of the Eternal Father, and of Mary, always virgin! I adore Thee profoundly in the bosom and splendors of Thy Father during eternity; and I adore Thee also in the virginal bosom of Mary, Thy most worthy Mother, in the time of Thine incarnation.

I give Thee thanks for that Thou hast annihilated Thyself, taking the form of a slave in order to rescue me from the cruel slavery of the devil. I praise and glorify Thee for that Thou hast been pleased to submit Thyself to Mary, Thy holy Mother, in all things, in order to make me Thy faithful slave through her. But, alas! Ungrateful and faithless as I have been, I have not kept the promises which I made so solemnly to Thee in my Baptism; I have not fulfilled my obligations; I do not deserve to be called Thy child, nor yet Thy slave; and as there is nothing in me which does not merit Thine anger and Thy repulse, I dare not come by myself before Thy most holy and august Majesty. It is on this account that I have recourse to the intercession of Thy most holy Mother, whom Thou hast given me for a mediatrix with Thee. It is through her that I hope to obtain of Thee contrition, the pardon of my sins, and the acquisition and preservation of wisdom.

Hail, then, O immaculate Mary, living tabernacle of the Divinity, where the Eternal Wisdom willed to be hidden and to be adored by angels and by men! Hail, O Queen of Heaven and earth, to whose empire everything is subject which is under God. Hail, O sure refuge of sinners, whose mercy fails no one. Hear the desires which I have of the Divine Wisdom; and for that end receive the vows and offerings which in my lowliness I present to thee.

I, N_____, a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before. In the presence of all the heavenly court I choose thee this day for my Mother and Mistress. I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God in time and in eternity.

Receive, O benignant Virgin, this little offering of my slavery, in honor of, and in union with, that subjection which the Eternal Wisdom deigned to have to thy maternity; in homage to the power which both of you have over this poor sinner, and in thanksgiving for the privileges with which the Holy Trinity has favored thee. I declare that I wish henceforth, as thy true slave, to seek thy honor and to obey thee in all things.

O admirable Mother, present me to thy dear Son as His eternal slave, so that as He has redeemed me by thee, by thee He may receive me! O Mother of mercy, grant me the grace to obtain the true Wisdom of God; and for that end receive me among those whom thou lovest and teachest, whom thou leadest, nourishest and protectest as thy children and thy slaves.

O faithful Virgin, make me in all things so perfect a disciple, imitator and slave of the Incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ thy Son, that I may attain, by thine intercession and by thine example, to the fullness of His age on earth and of His glory in Heaven. Amen.

Total Consecration is based on de Montfort’s True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, about which John Paul II said:

“St. Louis de Montfort! I have long studied his doctrine and I like it. Besides, it’s from Montfort that I have taken my motto, “Totus Tuus” (I am all thine). Some day I’ll have to tell you Monfortians how I discovered de Montfort’s treatise on TRUE DEVOTION to Mary and how often I had to reread it to understand it.”

Indeed, rereading it has helped me to gain greater insight into the richness of this devotion and how to live it out in my daily life. The next (suggested) Total Consecration preparation begins on Nov. 5 and ends on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Order the Total Consecration book, or use this website which offers a very thorough explanation of how to proceed and includes links to all readings and prayers so that ordering books is not necessary.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

Immaculate HeartFrom Fr. Ben Nwosu’s homily this morning at Immaculate Conception church in Jeff City, MO

“Mary’s blessedness as Mother of God came from the willingness of her heart to submit to the will of God.”

Happy Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!!

Solemn Act of Consecration to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary

Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.

Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.

We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.

Amen.

–Venerable Pope Pius XII

“In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
~promise of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima

The Human Heart Needs the Sacred Heart

Sacred HeartFrom a good and holy priest in our diocese:

“I always say the human heart needs the Sacred Heart. We have the blessing of the Sacred Heart of Jesus living and beating, so to speak, in the Blessed Sacrament. It’s a great gift. I especially feel that in the morning and in the afternoon when I spend time in adoration.”

-Fr. Bill Korte, Salisbury, MO

Happy Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!

O Most Merciful Jesus, I consecrate myself today and always to Your Most Sacred Heart. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine! Most Sacred Heard of Jesus, have mercy on me!

The Month of the Rosary

October is the Month of the Holy Rosary. Bishop Finn had an excellent homily on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (Oct. 6.) The Mass was broadcast live on EWTN (video covers the procession through Bishop Finn’s homily):

Or read the homily online. And excerpt:

Hail Mary! We cry out again and again at her invitation. We persevere in trusting prayer – through the rhythms of the rosary – because she is Mother of God and our Mother. She who through the merciful plan of the Eternal Father gave the world its Redeemer wants us to know and love her Son. The mysteries of her life, of Jesus’ life, and of our lives are all intertwined. In the mystery of the Incarnation, Jesus Christ, God made man, unites Himself in some way to every man, and reveals to us who we are, and what is our high calling. (Gaudium et Spes, no. 22)

Mary’s rosary is our picture book of faith, hope, and love. Here in the unfolding images of Christ life: In His joys, through His luminous love, in His sorrows, in His glories; he prepares us for everything that will take place. The will of God is being realized in each event of Christ’s life, in Mary’s life, and in our life. And Mary will help us say “Yes,” and give our free and full assent to His divine plan.

October is also Respect Life Month. Be sure to especially pray the rosary for life this month – and for the election of good pro-life politicians in two weeks!! From Bishop’s homily:

Every day human life is under attack. If it were not enough that our elected leaders and judges too often have failed to stand up for vulnerable pre-born babies, or the disabled or the dying, every election campaign seems to be a referendum on the dignity and value of human life. Candidates who would stand with us valiantly against abortion or assisted suicide are labeled “extreme” and fanatical. Mary, we will not abandon your dear children, but we know that the proponents of these evils will not give up without a fight. Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Life: Win among us the battle we cannot win without your help. Turn back the culture of death in our nation. Save us from the tyranny and deceit of Choice. Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Pray for us sinners.

It is to Recognize our Nothingness

    Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux: Oct. 1

nullWhen asked what she meant by “remaining a little child before God,” Therese responded:

It is to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God as a little child expects everything from its father; it is to be disquieted about nothing, and not to be set on gaining our living. Even among the poor, they give the child what is neccessary, but as soon as he grows up, his father no longer wants to feed him and says: ‘Work now, you can take care of yourself.’

It was so as not to hear this that I never wanted to grow up, feeling that I was incapable of making my living, the eternal life of heaven. I’ve always remained little, therefore, having no other occupation but to gather flowers, the flowers of love and sacrifice, and of offering them to God in order to please Him.

To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues that one practices, believing oneself capable of anything, but to recognize that God places this treasure in the hands of His little child to be used when necessary; but it remains always God’s treasure. Finally, it is not to become discouraged over one’s faults, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much.” (St. Therese of Lisieux, Her Last Conversations, pp. 138-139)

Previous posts:
Unless you Become like Little Children
Darkness Within Faith

Feast of St. Augustine

St. AugustineIt doesn’t get much more beautiful than this:

Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!
Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong – I, misshapen.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being,
were they not in you.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.

Also check out: Augustine, Pelosi and Abortion

Totus Tuus

nullLast Friday’s feast of the Assumption of Mary body and soul into Heaven is always an extra special feast day for me. On this day, roughly every year for the last 10 years I renew my Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. St. Louis De Montfort calls True Devotion to Mary an “easy, short, perfect and secure way of attaining union with our Lord.”

This is the devotion consists in making oneself a slave of Mary, doing all our actions by Mary, with Mary, in Mary and for Mary. We offer to the Blessed Mother every thought, word, deed and desire so that she might purify them and present them to our Lord to be distributed where they are most needed. It is a total abandonment to the Blessed Virgin Mary who will in turn lead us into a perfect union with Christ, her Son.

By Jesus Christ, with Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ we can do all things; we can render all honor and glory to the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost; we can make ourselves perfect and be for our neighbor a fragrance of eternal life.

If, then, we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ. (True Devotion, n. 60-61)

What I love about this devotion is that it is nothing short of a perfect imitation of Christ who spent almost His entire life on earth completely subject to His Blessed Mother. I think of the finding in the temple, when Jesus, ready begin his public ministry at age 12, left His parents in Jerusalem to go preach to the elders in the temple. Seeing how this upset his Mother, Jesus returned home and was “obedient” to her, living hidden in Nazzareth with his mother for another 18 years. This devotion echoes not only Christ’s love for His Mother, but also His sublime humility.

If you have not yet read St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion, I highly recommend it! But don’t just take my word for it. JP II said:

“St. Louis de Montfort! I have long studied his doctrine and I like it. Besides, it’s from Montfort that I have taken my motto, “Totus Tuus” (I am all thine). Some day I’ll have to tell you Monfortians how I discovered de Montfort’s treatise on TRUE DEVOTION to Mary and how often I had to reread it to understand it.”

Indeed, rereading it has helped me to gain greater insight into the richness of this devotion and how to live it out in my daily life. The next (suggested) Total Consecration preparation begins on Nov. 5 and ends on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Order the Total Consecration book, or use this website which offers a very thorough explanation of how to proceed and includes links to all readings and prayers so that ordering books is not necessary.

Feast of St. Martha

St. MarthaFrom a sermon by St. Augustine – out of today’s Office of Readings:

Our Lord’s words teach us that though we labour among the many distractions of this world, we should have but one goal. For we are but travellers on a journey without as yet a fixed abode; we are on our way, not yet in our native land; we are in a state of longing, not yet of enjoyment. But let us continue on our way, and continue without sloth or respite, so that we may ultimately arrive at our destination.

Martha and Mary were sisters, related not only by blood but also by religious aspirations. They stayed close to our Lord and both served him harmoniously when he was among them. Martha welcomed him as travellers are welcomed. But in her case, the maidservant received her Lord, the invalid her Saviour, the creature her Creator, to serve him bodily food while she was to be fed by the Spirit. For the Lord willed to put on the form of a slave, and under this form to be fed by his own servants, out of condescension and not out of need. For this was indeed condescension, to present himself to be fed; since he was in the flesh he would indeed be hungry and thirsty.

Thus was the Lord received as a guest who came unto his own and his own received him not; but as many as received him, he gave them the power to become sons of God, adopting those who were servants and making them his brothers, ransoming the captives and making them his co-heirs. No one of you should say: “Blessed are they who have deserved to receive Christ into their homes!” Do not grieve or complain that you were born in a time when you can no longer see God in the flesh. He did not in fact take this privilege from you. As he says: Whatever you have done to the least of my brothers, you did to me.

But you, Martha, If I may say so, are blessed for your good service, and for your labours you seek the reward of peace. Now you are much occupied in nourishing the body, admittedly a holy one. But when you come to the heavenly homeland will you find a traveller to welcome, someone hungry to feed, or thirsty to whom you may give drink, someone ill whom you could visit, or quarrelling whom you could reconcile, or dead whom you could bury?

No, there will be none of these tasks there. What you will find there is what Mary chose. There we shall not feed others, we ourselves shall be fed. Thus what Mary chose in this life will be realised there in all its fullness; she was gathering fragments from that rich banquet, the Word of God. Do you wish to know what we will have there? The Lord himself tells us when he says of his servants, Amen, I say to you, he will make them recline and passing he will serve them.

Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Our Lady of Mt. CarmelToday is the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and the end of the Mt. Carmel Novena:
Ninth Day

O Most Holy Mother of Mount Carmel, when asked by a saint to grant privileges to the family of Carmel, you gave assurance of your Motherly love and help to those faithful to you and to your Son.
Behold us, your children.
We glory in wearing your holy habit, which makes us members of your family of Carmel, through which we shall have your powerful protection in life, at death and even after death.
Look down with love, O Gate of Heaven, on all those now in their last agony!
Look down graciously, O Virgin, Flower of Carmel, on all those in need of help!
Look down mercifully, O Mother of our Savior, on all those who do not know that they are numbered among your children.
Look down tenderly, O Queen of All Saints, on the poor souls!
(pause and mention petitions)

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

For more information on Our Lady of Mt. Carmel listen to this “Saint of the Day” podcast for July 16.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

St. AnthonyFrom a sermon by St. Anthony of Padua:

The man who is filled with the Holy Spirit speaks in different languages. These different languages are different ways of witnessing to Christ, such as humility, poverty, patience and obedience; we speak in those languages when we reveal in ourselves these virtues to others. Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak. We are full of words but empty of actions, and therefore are cursed by the Lord, since he himself cursed the fig tree when he found no fruit but only leaves. Gregory says: “A law is laid upon the preacher to practice what he preaches”. It is useless for a man to flaunt his knowledge of the law if he undermines its teaching by his actions.

But the apostles spoke as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech. Happy the man whose words issue from the Holy Spirit and not from himself! For some men speak as their own character dictates, but steal the words of others and present them as their own and claim the credit for them. The Lord refers to such men and others like them in Jeremiah: So, then, I have a quarrel with the prophets that steal my words from each other. I have a quarrel with the prophets, says the Lord, who have only to move their tongues to utter oracles. I have a quarrel with the prophets who make prophecies out of lying dreams, who recount them and lead my people astray with their lies and their pretensions. I certainly never sent them or commissioned them, and they serve no good purpose for this people, says the Lord.

We should speak, then, as the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of speech. Our humble and sincere request to the Spirit for ourselves should be that we may bring the day of Pentecost to fulfilment, insofar as he infuses us with his grace, by using our bodily senses in a perfect manner and by keeping the commandments. Likewise we shall request that we may be filled with a keen sense of sorrow and with fiery tongues for confessing the faith, so that our deserved reward may be to stand in the blazing splendour of the saints and to look upon the triune God.

Happy Solemnity of Corpus Christi!

Institution of the EucharistI am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.

Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever. (Jn. 6:51, 53-58)

Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.” (Lk. 22:19-20)

The weather was not great this morning so there was no Eucharistic procession for us today. Fr. Z has photos from the Mass and procession in Rome last Thursday (the traditional feast of CC). A good article from Zenit: Pope: Eucharist Linked to Marriage

Happy Birthday, Holy Mother Church!

PentecostAnd I guess we should say Happy Mother’s Day, too! Today, the Solemnity of Pentecost, marks the birth of the Catholic Church. Today we reflect on the mystery of the Body of Christ, the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the life of the Church. Saturday’s office of readings had a wonderful sermon from a sixth century African priest’s sermon on how the Church in its unity speaks in the language of every nation. An excerpt:

The disciples spoke in the language of every nation. At Pentecost God chose this means to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit: whoever had received the Spirit spoke in every kind fo tongue. We must realize, dear brothers, that this is the same Holy Spirit by whom love is poured out in our hearts. It was love that was to bring the Church of God together all over the world. And as individual men who received the Holy Spirit in those days could speak in all kinds of tongues, so today the Church, united by the Holy Spirit, speaks in the language of every people,

Therefore if somebody should say to one of us, “You have received the Holy Spirit, why do you not speak in tongues?” his reply should be, “I do indeed speak in the tongues of all men, because I belong to the body of Christ, that is the Church, and she speaks all languages. What else did the presence of the Holy Spirit indicate at Pentecost, except that God’s Church was to speak in the language of every people?”

Come, O Creator Spirit blest! And in our souls take up Thy rest; Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid, To fill the hearts which Thou hast made. Great Paraclete! To Thee we cry, O highest gift of God most high! O font of life! O fire of love! And sweet anointing from above.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts art known, The finger of God’s hand we own; The promise of the Father, Thou! Who dost the tongue with power endow.
Kindle our senses from above, And make our hearts overflow with love; With patience firm and virtue high The weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread, And grant us Thy true peace instead; So shall we not, with Thee for guide, Turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow The Father and the Son to know, And Thee, through endless times confessed, Of both, the eternal Spirit blest.
All glory while the ages run Be to the Father and the Son Who rose from death; the same to Thee, O Holy Ghost, eternally. Amen.

Spirit Gives Life to Universal Church, on Pope Benedict’s Pentecost message.