Thoughts of St. Francis de Sales for Lent

 

For Ash Wednesday, to start Lent off right.

I was won over to St. Francis de Sales when I obtained a battered paperback copy of his “Introduction to the Devout Life” for 25 cents in our church thrift shop many  years ago, and recently have been reading an ebook of his as part of my Lenten reading.  “The Saint Francis de Sales Collection, 16 Books”, by Catholic Way)

Here are some excerpts from this great Saint:

A Time of Fear
What words can oppose the flood of thoughts troubling your heart? Do not attempt to stop them; that will only make the pain worse. Do not try to conquer the temptations; the effort will only make them stronger. Disdain them, and do not dwell on them. Bring to mind an image of Jesus Christ crucified and say, “Here is my hope; here is the flowing fountain of my happiness. Here is the heart of my soul and the soul of my heart.” Hear our Lord say to Abraham and to you: “Be not afraid; I am your protector” (cf. Gen. 15:1). What is it that you seek upon the earth other than your God? And you already possess Him.

Be firm in your resolutions. Stay in the boat. Let the storm come. While Jesus lives, you will not die. He is sleeping, but He will awaken to calm the storm at the right time (Matt. 8:24-26). St. Peter, the Scriptures tell us, saw the great storm and was afraid, and as soon as he was afraid, he began to sink and drown. Whereupon he cried out, “O Lord, save me!” And our Lord took him by the hand and said to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:29-31). See this great apostle: he walked with dry feet upon the water, protected from wind and wave, but the fear of the wind and the wave would have killed him had not his Master relieved him.

(In that way) Fear is a greater evil than evil itself. O you of little faith: what is it you fear? Do not be afraid. You are walking on water, amid wind and wave, but you are with Jesus. What is there to fear? If fear takes hold of you, cry out strongly, “O Lord, save me!” He will hold out a hand to you. Hold on tight, and go forward with joy. (I love that quote!)

† .  † .  †

Means to Preserve Peace of Soul in Time of Trial
Nothing disturbs us so much as self-love and self-esteem. If our heart does not overflow with tender emotions, if our mind does not teem with sublime sentiments, if our soul is not inundated with exquisite sweetness, we are sad; if anything difficult is to be done, if any obstacle opposes our just designs, behold us in a state of precipitation to have it overcome, and we are overcome ourselves by the precipitation.

Why is this so? Undoubtedly, because we are too much attached to our comfort, our ease, our convenience. We would wish to say our prayers in a region of eau de cologne, and practice heroic virtue eating sugar cake; but we do not consider the meek Jesus, prostrate on the earth, sweating blood, through the dreadful combat that rages in His interior, between the feelings of the inferior part of His soul and the resolutions of the superior part.

Hence it happens that when we fall into any fault or sin, we are astonished, troubled, and impatient. We only desire consolations, and are unwilling to put a finger on our misery, our weakness, or our nothingness.  .  . Distrust over-anxious desires for good; they are full of self-love and of impatience to be something  . . .  In order to obtain the remission of light faults, it is better, after having acknowledged them, to turn humbly and lovingly towards God, than to preserve a sad remembrance of them and to remain a long time in fear. Whether your prevarications be serious or trivial, remain in pious sentiments of confidence towards the Lord, casting your sins into the abyss of His mercy, that they may be forever lost there; for there is no damnation to those who are in Jesus.

Peace
Were we to do a few things, we should find peace: let us have a pure intention to seek on all occasions the honour and glory of God; let us perform the little we can for this object, according to the advice of our spiritual father, and leave the rest to God. Why should he who has God for the object of his intentions, and who does what he can, torment himself? What has he to fear?

No, no, God is not so terrible to those who love Him; He is content with a little, for He knows that we have not much. And know that Our Lord is called in Scripture the Prince of Peace, and hence, wherever He is absolute Master, He preserves peace.

And War
It is nevertheless true, that, before establishing peace in any place, He first makes war there, separating the heart and soul from their dearest and most intimate affections, such as immoderate love of oneself, confidence and complacency in oneself, and other like evils. When Our Lord separates us from these cherished and favourite passions, it seems as if He excoriated our living heart, and we are filled with the most bitter sentiments; we can hardly prevent our whole soul from discussing its misfortune, so sensible is this separation.

But all this disputation of mind is not inconsistent with peace, when, though almost submerged by desolation, we still keep our will resigned to that of Our Lord, nailed to His divine good pleasure, and cease not from the performance of our duties, but fulfill them courageously.

Of which Our Lord gives us an example in the Garden; for, overwhelmed with interior and exterior affliction, He resigned His heart sweetly into His Father’s will, saying: “Not my will, but Thine be done,” and ceased not, great as was His anguish, to visit and admonish His disciples. To preserve peace in the midst of war, and sweetness in the midst of bitterness, is indeed worthy of the Prince of Peace.

From what I have just said, I desire you to draw three conclusions:

  • That we often imagine peace to be lost, because we are in pain, while it is not lost, as may easily be known by the fact that we still wish to renounce ourselves, to depend on the good pleasure of God, and to fulfill the duties of our state;
  • That we must of necessity endure interior pain, while God tears away the last remnant of the old man, to renovate us in the new man who is created according to God, and therefore we should not be troubled, or suppose that we have fallen into disgrace with Our Lord;
  • That all those thoughts which cause vexation and agitation of mind cannot proceed from God, who is the Prince of Peace, but are temptations of the enemy, and therefore to be rejected and disregarded.

In the draft post there was a note which appears a paraphrase and it seems to fit here:

To a nun who asked how to avoid distractions withdrawing the soul from God, the saint replied:

Distraction cannot withdraw your soul from God, since nothing withdraws us from God but sin, and the resolution we make in the morning to keep our soul united to God, and attentive to His presence, has the effect of preserving us thus always, even when we sleep, since we do all in the name of God, and according to His most holy will.

Even venial sins are not capable of turning us aside from the way which conducts to God; they undoubtedly retard us a little on our course, but they do not turn us aside: much less simple distractions. So far as prayer is concerned, it is not less useful, or less agreeable to God, when accompanied with many distractions; on the contrary, it may be more useful than if we had many consolations, because it is more laborious: provided, however, that we have the wish to withdraw from those distractions, and do not allow our mind to dwell on them willingly.

The very same observation applies to the difficulty which, during the day, we feel to fix our mind on God, and on heavenly things: provided we endeavor to keep our thoughts from running after trifles, and learn patience, by not growing weary of our labor, which is suffered for the love of God.

We must distinguish between God and a perception of God, between faith and a feeling of faith. A person about to suffer martyrdom for God does not always think of God at that time; and though he has no feeling of faith, yet he does not cease to merit, or to perform an act of the greatest love.

I recall reading St. Maximilian Kolbe to that same effect; having consecrated ourselves and all our works and intentions to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we may confidently proceed without scrupulosity. For it is not about our sensibilities but about surrendering our will to God. Humility. Obedience.

†. Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey:  First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
 Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

Obedience and Our Mother’s Rosary

 

Obedience

“He was wounded for our iniquities … bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His bruises we are healed.”

Among the many things to love about the rosary, is the way the various mysteries interconnect and thereby reinforce and enrich each other. In general, the Joyful Mysteries emphasize the virtue of obedience. This obedience is reinforced by the Sorrowful Mysteries. Mary’s “Be it done unto me according to thy word”, in the Annunciation is echoed by Christ’s, “Yet not My will, but Thine be done.” in the Agony in the Garden. And then the Glorious Mysteries reveal the joyful glory of our heavenly reward, which follows this obedience and is eternal!

St. Augustine tells us, “And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith” (Apology, Book II, Chapter XII).

Regarding obedience, St. John Bosco was given a horrible vision of Hell in which his guide told him that the most serious sin causing people to be damned in Hell is the sin of disobedience. He explained that while pride is the root of sin, its practical application is disobedience, in other words, prideful disobedience causes the most people to fall from grace and be doomed to Hell. And so  between St. Augustine and St. John Bosco, we see that a key to disobedience is the refusal of faith. Had Eve accepted the virtue of faith offered to her, she would not have disobeyed. There is a lesson here for disobedient prelates, but I digress…

St. John tells us in his First Epistle, Chapter Two, “For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever.” Now, it has always been the teaching of the Church, from the earliest times that the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience counteract these sins.

Although these counsels are vowed by those in the consecrated life, we of the lay faithful are urged to practice them according to our state. The lust of the flesh can thereby be counteracted by modesty and faithfulness to one’s spouse, the lust of the eyes, that is greed and consumerism can be counteracted by moderation, humility and self-denial such as fasting and abstaining. But it is with our obedience, which defeats pride, that we progress the best, no matter our state in life. The very best teacher of obedience is Mary, Our Mother.

Continue reading “Obedience and Our Mother’s Rosary”

Auto-demolition

The following is a post from 2015 and is outdated. I’ve chosen to leave it that way to give you a glimpse of what was and what has been “accomplished” since then under the most humble Bishop of Rome.

Miserabilism demands that the Church and her hierarchy divest of all properties and splendor and become truly indigent. It was evident particularly in the Protestant revolution which hated the beauty of Catholic art, architecture, music and all that caused the Church to have dignity. Miserabilism would strip the Church of her beauty, both spiritual and temporal in the name of a false humility.This heretical tendency is among the many that were part of the revolution of Vatican II and now reaches its full flowering in miserabilist Pope Francis, the First Humble Pope in History®.

Msgr. Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, made this astonishing prophecy on the future upheaval in the Church:

“I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to Lucia of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy, Her theology and Her soul. … I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject Her ornaments and make Her feel remorse for Her historical past.

“A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, ‘Where have they taken Him?'” (Roche, Pie XII Devant L’Historie, p. 52-53, quoted by Father Kramer in “The Devil’s Final Battle”, 2002, Good Counsel Publications. Thorough documentation on this quote, including the date, 1933, can be found at the website of Atila Sinke Guimaraes, Tradition in Action.)

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was defined and proclaimed in the 19th century, and early in the 20th century, our Lord Jesus Christ sent His Mother to request devotion to her Immaculate Heart as a remedy for the increasing heresies of scientism and modernism, the increasing apostasy from the faith. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is absolutely inimical to the Lord of the World, Satan, who is at war always and everywhere with the Church, the Bride of Christ, and with her Mother. Exorcists have amply demonstrated this intense hatred which Satan bears for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his impotence where she is concerned. This is documented in the writings of Fathers Gabriele Amorth, Malachi Martin and Leon Cristiani.

Satan’s immense pride demands that he not be subject to the truly pure and humble Virgin of Nazareth. And that is precisely why Jesus Christ wills that the instrument He will use (and is using!) for the ultimate humiliating defeat of the so-called “Lord of the World” will be accomplished through this Immaculate Virgin, Queen of the Church, Mother of God, Mary Most Holy. With each rosary, with each First Saturday of Reparation to her, we contribute to Satan’s ultimate demise.

No Pope since Fatima has followed the Queen of Heaven’s request. There is no such thing as ‘close enough’ when obeying God. After years of disobedience, the mind and conscience of the Popes was sufficiently darkened to allow Pope John XXIII to simply outright deny Our Lady’s requests in 1960, choosing instead to lock away the document (Third Secret). This breath-taking hubris was followed by the most disastrous decision in the history of the Church, i.e., to convene an Ecumenical Council that would define no doctrine, simply issue a deluge of vague and ambiguous documents.

Continue reading “Auto-demolition”

Designs of Mercy – Part IV, Jacinta’s Last Days

 

Today’s post honors Saint Jacinta of Fatima on the 100th anniversary of her death in Lisbon, Portugal. Saint Jacinta died as Our Lady of the Rosary had promised, alone in a hospital far from home and her loved ones, but comforted by Our Lady who cradled this pure soul in her own immaculate arms and carried her to be a beautiful flower, placed by her before the throne of Jesus, her one true Love.

Herein we chronicle the final stage in little Saint Jacinta’s brief life on earth. Our last post brought Jacinta’s life up til the end of July, 1918 with Jacinta suffering greatly from the lingering influenza, pleurisy and a large draining abscess in the side of her chest. The decision had been made –  Jacinta had no choice but must leave her family and Lúcia to be treated in yet another hospital. Frère Michel continues the narrative:

“Poor Holy Father! We must pray much for him!”

In the first few days of July, Mr. Marto took in his arms the emaciated body of his daughter, placed her as best he could upon his donkey, and conducted Jacinta to Vila Nova de Ourem. There the sick child was given intensive treatment, but with no result. During her two month stay at the hospital, Jacinta suffered much, and more than anything else she suffered from the cruel loneliness.

According to Sister Lúcia: ‘When her mother went to see her, she asked if she wanted anything. She told her that she wanted to see me. This was no easy matter for my aunt, but she took me with her at the first opportunity. As soon as Jacinta saw me, she joyfully threw her arms around me, and asked her mother to leave me with her while she went to do her shopping. Then I asked her if she was suffering a lot. ‘

‘Yes, I am. But I offer everything for sinners, and in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’ Then, filled with enthusiasm, she spoke of Our Lord and Our Lady: ‘Oh, how much I love to suffer for love of Them, just to give Them pleasure! They greatly love those who suffer for the conversion of sinners.’

When two months passed and no improvement was noted, the hospital and doctors released Jacinta home to the care of her family. The abscess in her side was draining purulent infection and required care beyond her family’s ability.  Frère Michel’s account quotes two witnesses to that period to give us some insight into Jacinta’s pitiable state:

The first is Mrs. Maria da Cruz Lopes, who visited Aljustrel in September. She poignantly remarked that Jacinta’s fragile body, huddled in a white woolen robe, reminded us of birds who ruffle their wings to fly to milder climates.” The second testimony is from the good Canon Formigao, who saw her on October 13, 1919.  But his account is even sadder: “Will Jacinta die? Accompanied by her mother, she arrives here. Both of them are in intense mourning over the death of Francisco… The child is like a skeleton. Her arms are frighteningly thin. Since she left the hospital of Vila Nova de Ourem, where she was treated for two months, without any results, she always has a fever. Looking at her moves one to pity. Poor child! Only last year full of life and health, and now already like a wilted flower, with one foot in the grave! After an attack of tuberculosis and broncho-pneumonia, pleurisy wastes away her weakened body. Only appropriate treatment in a good sanatorium might perhaps save her. But her parents, although they are not completely indigent, nevertheless cannot afford such expenses.”

Jacinta’s Prayers

Like Lúcia, Jacinta was in the habit of reciting often the prayers of the Angel, even during the night. Like the Angel, the girls would prostrate themselves on the (floor), in the spirit of humility and adoration.

Lúcia relates: In spite of her state of extreme weakness, Jacinta strived to remain faithful to this practice. She confided to Lúcia: “When I’m alone, I get out of bed to recite the Angel’s prayer. But now I’m not able to touch the ground any more with my head, because I fall over; so I only pray on my knees.” One day, I had the opportunity of speaking to the Vicar (Father Faustino Jacinto Ferreira, dean of Olival). . . . I told him what I thought about (Jacinta’s) condition, and afterwards related what she had said to me about being unable to touch the ground when she prayed. His Reverence sent me to tell her that she was not to get out of bed in order to pray, but that she was to pray lying down, and then only as long as she could do so without getting tired. I delivered the message at the very first opportunity. “And will Our Lord be pleased?” she asked. “He is pleased”, I replied. “Our Lord wants us to do whatever the Reverend Vicar says.” “That’s all right, then. I won’t get up any more.”

Another Trial – Visitors and Questions

What distressed her most (Lúcia assures us) were the frequent visits and questioning on the part of many people who wanted to see her, and whom she could no longer avoid by running off to hide. Jacinta had to undergo detailed and exhausting interrogations. She never showed the slightest impatience or repugnance, but simply told me later: “My head aches so much after listening to all those people! Now that I cannot run away and hide, I offer more of these sacrifices to Our Lord.”

Jacinta was frank with the crowds who sought to talk with her and cautioned them strictly, “Don’t say that; it offends the Lord Our God.” “Don’t let your children commit sin, or they could go to hell.” Of adults, “Tell them not to do that, it is a sin, they are offending Our Lord God, and then they could be damned.” But still the crowds came, especially the children who were drawn to Jacinta.

One day Jacinta confided to Lúcia: “If only I could put into everybody’s heart the fire I have in my breast, which makes me burn with such love for the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary!” In her simplicity, and to the extent she could, Jacinta did strive to make these Hearts known and loved. In a charming passage, Lúcia relates how Jacinta extemporaneously taught catechism to her little companions who felt such a mysterious attraction towards her, combining with their affection for her a reserve and respect which “kept them somewhat at a distance” from her: “When I went to visit her during her illness, I often found a large group waiting at the door, hoping to be able to come in with me and see her. They seemed to be held back by a certain sense of respect.” . . . She prayed the Rosary with them, and counselled them not to commit sin, and so avoid offending the Lord Our God and going to hell . Some of them spent whole mornings and afternoons with her, and seemed very happy in her company.”

 

Our Lady of the Rosary calls on Jacinta

In December, 1919, Our Lady visited Jacinta to tell her that the hour had come and there were new crosses and sacrifices awaiting her. Per Lúcia: (Jacinta) gave me the news:

“She told me that I am going to Lisbon to another hospital; that I will not see you again, nor my parents either, and after suffering a great deal, I shall die alone. But She said I must not be afraid, since She Herself is coming to take me to Heaven.” She hugged me and wept: “I will never see you again! You won’t be coming to visit me there. Oh please, pray hard for me, because I am going to die alone!”

“Jacinta suffered terribly right up to the day of her departure for Lisbon. She kept clinging to me and sobbing: “I’ll never see you again! Nor my mother, nor my brothers, nor my father! I’ll never see anybody ever again! And then, I’ll die all alone!” . . . “Will I die alone without receiving the Hidden Jesus? Oh, if only Our Lady would bring Him to me when She comes to take me!” she exclaimed. “To die alone”

Frère Michel writes, “Nothing frightened her more. She reminds us of Saint Joan of Arc, who more than anything else feared dying by fire! But like Saint Joan, Jacinta was ready to suffer everything. In her memoirs Sister Lúcia gives us this beautiful insight into this heroic little saint’s soul:

To keep from getting too frightened over the approaching separation, Jacinta kept repeating: “But it doesn’t matter; Our Lady will come to find me to take me to Heaven.”

“What are you going to do in Heaven?” “I’m going to love Jesus very much, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, too. I’m going to pray a lot for you, for sinners, for the Holy Father, for my parents and my brothers and sisters, and for all the people who have asked me to pray for them … When her mother looked sad at seeing her child so ill, Jacinta used to say; “Don’t worry mother. I’m going to Heaven, and there I’ll be praying so much for you!” Like Saint Therese, Jacinta had resolved to “spend her Heaven doing good on earth.”

But then Lúcia’s narrative returns to the fact that even though Jacinta was so fragile and so ill, she was still called to traverse the dark path of the great mystic saints and martyrs of the faith and despite Jacinta’s most fervent efforts, at times she was simply overwhelmed with fright and foreboding, as she tells us:

On one occasion, I found her clasping a picture of Our Lady to her heart, and saying, “O my dearest Heavenly Mother, do I have to die all alone?”. . . I tried to comfort her, saying: “What does it matter if you die alone, so long as Our Lady is coming to fetch you?” “It’s true, it doesn’t matter, really. I don’t know why it is, but I sometimes forget Our Lady is coming to take me. I only remember that I’ll die without having you near me.”

Frère Michel notes that, “It was when her soul was deprived of all consolation, frightened at the thought of the sufferings at hand, that there sprung from her soul the purest, the most heroic, and the most meritorious affections of love. Lúcia recalls: “At times, she kissed and embraced a crucifix, exclaiming: “O my Jesus! I love You, and I want to suffer very much for love of You!” How often did she say: “O Jesus! Now you can convert many sinners, because this is really a big sacrifice!”

A Visit from Dr. Lisboa

The year drew to a close and in January, 1920, a Dr. Lisboa of some renown visited the Marto family to see Jacinta. The doctor and his wife were accompanied by Canon Formigao. The following commentary is from Dr. Lisboa:

“Little Jacinta was very pale and thin, and walked with great difficulty… When I censured them for their lack of effort to save their daughter, they told me that it was not worth while, because Our Lady wished to take her, and that she had been interned for two months in the local hospital without any improvement in her condition. I replied that Our Lady’s will was certainly more powerful than any human efforts and that in order to be certain that She really wished to take Jacinta, they must not neglect any of the normal aids of science to save her life.”

As a result, Jacinta was sent to her final hospital stay, ” to be treated by the best doctors in one of the hospitals in the capitol.”  Before leaving however, Jacinta had one more task. She asked her mother to take her for a last visit to the Cova da Iria. And so, Olimpia took Jacinta on the family donkey and on the way, they stopped at the Carreira pool and  gathered a few flowers for the Chapel, where they knelt and prayed a Rosary. As they were leaving, Jacinta glanced at the site and told her Mother, “When Our Lady went away She passed over those trees, and afterwards She went into Heaven so quickly that I thought She would get Her feet caught!”

On January 21, 1920, Olimpia and her oldest son, Antonio took Jacinta by train to Lisbon. They had not taken a train before and so it must have been quite the adventure. Once in Lisbon, the first disappoint arrived promptly: The woman who had agreed to shelter them reneged, Frère Michel explained, “The little girl was exhausted, pus was flowing from the wound in her side, and it gave a nauseous odour. To agree to take care of her was a rough task and a grave responsibility.”  After being turned away repeatedly, they found lodging for Jacinta in an orphanage called “Our Lady of Miracles”, located at 17 Rua de Estrela. It was named after a chapel next door, consecrated under this title. The foundress and directress was Mother Maria of the Purification Godinho, a pious but unlearned woman. Mother Godinho said of her little charge,

“I saw what an angelic creature the Blessed Virgin had sent me. For a long time I had desired to see the privileged children to whom Our Lady had appeared. I was far from imagining that one day my poor abode would house Jacinta.”

It was in this place that Jacinta’s fondest desire was achieved, and she was able daily to attend Mass and receive Our Lord in Holy Communion. Jacinta’s mother, Olimpia recalled, ” I remember how one day, she said to me: “Mother, I want to go to confession.” And so we went, although dawn had not yet broken, … When we came out, the child was very consoled and kept repeating: ‘Oh, mother! What a good Father! What a good Father!… He asked me so many things!’… I would sure like to know what the priest asked her! But the things of confession are not to be spoken about ….  She was carried in my arms, or in the arms of the Superior, when she went to the altar of the chapel and the Communion Table.”

‘Those stupid country people’

While Jacinta was in the orphanage, efforts were underway by the learned and powerful to exert pressure on Olimpia Marto to allow Jacinta admittance into the hospital for another operation. Jacinta’s father Ti Marto, recalls, “They wrote to see if there was not some way to stop her (Olimpia) opposing what they wanted to do. The letter said these country people are so stupid that they don’t even want a good deed done for them.”  Ti Marto at last agreed to the hospitalization and on February 2, 1920, the feast of the Purification, Jacinta was transferred to the hospital of Dona Estefania at Lisbon.

Jacinta knew that all this was useless, but no one in authority appeared to understand that Our Lady had already assured her of her approaching death. And now, in this strange place she would no longer have the presence of the Hidden Jesus, and the comfort of receiving Him every day into her soul. On February 5, Olimpia left for Fatima and Jacinta surrendered her last earthly comfort. Thus the prophecy of Our Lady was fulfilled: Jacinta found herself all alone in a great hospital, to die there.

“Purulent pleurisy, and osteitis of the seventh and eighth left ribs.” Such was the diagnosis of Jacinta by Doctor Castro Freire, who welcomed her to the hospital. On February 10th, Jacinta’s operation took place at his hands. She suffered greatly, for they could not give her chloroform because of her extreme weakness, and they had to make do with a local anaesthetic, which was applied very imperfectly in those times. Nevertheless, she suffered even more from the humiliation of seeing all her clothes removed.

Two ribs were extracted from her left side, leaving a wound as wide as a hand. This caused her great suffering, and the pain was revived every time the wound had to be dressed. However, her only cry was: “Aie! Aie!… Oh! Our Lady!” She would add: “Patience! We must all suffer to get to Heaven!”

Our Lady Visits Jacinta

However, as a good mother, the Blessed Virgin took pity on Her child and came soon to lighten her trial…  Three days before dying, Jacinta confided in Mother Godinho, who had come to visit, “Godmother, I’m no longer in pain!” (The night before she had confided that she was suffering great pains.) “Our Lady appeared to me again. She told me that She would come to take me soon and that I wouldn’t suffer any more.” And in fact, from that day she did not show any more signs of suffering. Dr. Lisboa wrote in his report: “As a matter of fact, right after this apparition in the middle of the hospital room, all her sufferings disappeared, and she was able to distract herself by looking at pious images, one of which was Our Lady of Sameiro, which was later offered to me as a souvenir of Jacinta. The child said that this image reminded her the most of the Virgin such as She appeared to her.”

A few days after the operation, Dr. Lisboa, full of hope for his patient’s chances, wrote to Mr. Marto and the Baron of Alvaiazère, telling them that everything had gone well. Jacinta, however, knew the day and hour of her death.  Here is Dr. Lisboa’s report: “On the evening of that 20th of February, at about six o’clock, Jacinta said that she felt worse and wished to receive the sacraments. The parish priest, Dr. Pereira dos Reis, was called and he heard her confession about eight o’clock that night.

“I was told that Jacinta had insisted that the Blessed Sacrament be brought to her as Viaticum but that Father Reis had not concurred because she seemed fairly well. He promised to bring her Holy Communion in the morning. Jacinta again asked for Viaticum, saying that she would die shortly. And indeed, around half past ten that night, she died peacefully, but without having received Holy Communion.”

A Promise Kept

Frere Michel writes, “Everything was accomplished. The prophecy of Our Lady had been fulfilled: Jacinta died alone, without parents or friends, and without anyone to attend her in her last moments. She was even deprived of the supreme comfort: the sweet Presence of Jesus in the Host, which she had so long desired for that supreme moment – and it had been refused her. What a sacrifice! Once again she could repeat:

“O Jesus, now You can convert many sinners, because I suffer a great deal!”

The two long and lonely hours which elapsed between her confession and her death – what were they like? This is a secret of her soul, a soul thirsting for the salvation of sinners, and of her heart, a heart burning with love for Jesus and Mary… But we can be certain of one thing: Our Lady surely kept Her promise; She Herself came to fetch Her child, to introduce her, finally, into the infinite beatitude of Heaven!”

After sweet Jacinta’s death, a white dress and blue sash, suitable for First Holy Communion, were provided for Jacinta and her body was taken to the Church of the Holy Angels where the same good priest, Father Reis, who had refused her Viaticum, protested against her body being in his sacristy, objecting to the sanitary concerns and the crowds. Eventually he allowed Jacinta’s coffin to be placed in a room above the sacristy with the undertaker on guard lest anything unseemly occur.

This undertaker later testified, “I feel as though I can still see this little angel. Lying in her casket, she seemed to be alive, with her lips and cheeks a beautiful rosy colour. I have seen many dead people, young and old, but I have never seen anything like her… The most obstinate unbeliever would not have been able to doubt. Think of the odour corpses often give off, which cannot be borne without repugnance! Yet the little girl was dead for three and a half days, and the odour she exhaled was like a bouquet of various flowers…”

The funeral took place on February 24, 1920. Dr. Lisboa then testified, “…the perfume exhaled by the body at the moment the coffin was closed was very pleasant, like that of sweet-smelling flowers, a very singular fact given the purulent character of the illness and the prolonged time the body had remained in the open air. . .(Jacinta’s) casket was deposited in the family vault of the Baron of Alvaiazere, at Vila Nova de Ourem.”

We close with a small poem from Sister Lucia:

Swift through the world, you went a-flying,
Dearest Jacinta, in deepest suffering,
Jesus loving.
Forget not my plea and prayer to you:
Be ever my friend before the throne
of the Virgin Mary!
O lily of candour, shining pearl,
Up there in Heaven, you live in glory,
O seraphim of love,
with your little brother, at the Master’s Feet,
Pray for me.

Saint Jacinta of Fatima, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

†. Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey:  First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

Return to the Garden, 2020

 

Sacrilege, Outrage and Indifference

In her revelations, Anne Catherine Emmerich spoke poignantly of the suffering of Our Lord during His agony in the Garden. She witnessed the enemies of Christ attacking Him, heaping upon Him  “the most fearful outrages, cursing, striking, wounding, and tearing Him in pieces.and then explained that “these apparitions were all those persons who in divers ways insult and outrage Jesus, really and truly present in the Holy Sacrament.”

“I recognised among them all those who in any way profane the Blessed Eucharist . . . by neglect, irreverence, and omission of what was due to Him; by open contempt, abuse, and the most awful sacrileges; by the worship of worldly idols; by spiritual darkness and false knowledge; or finally, by error, incredulity, fanaticism, hatred, and open persecution.

Continue reading “Return to the Garden, 2020”

From Saint Thérèse for Lent

By request:

Among the beautiful works which have meant so much to me over the years are the writings of the great Carmelite saints. Last year, we offered the following from a small book called “Thoughts of the Servant of God Thérèse of the Child Jesus”, available through archive.org  (link).

 

On Faith

Life is passing, eternity draws nigh; soon shall we live the very life of God.

He whose Heart ever watches, taught me that while for a soul whose faith equals but a tiny grain of mustard seed, He works miracles, in order that this faith which is so weak may be fortified; yet for His intimate friends, for His Mother, He did not work miracles until He had put their faith to the test.

Did He not let Lazarus die though Martha and Mary had sent to tell Him that he was sick? At the marriage at Cana, the Blessed Virgin having asked Him to come to the assistance of the Master of the house, did He not reply that His hour was not yet come?  But after the trial, what a recompense! Water changed to wine, Lazarus restored to life. . . (Hist. d’une ame, Ch. VI)

 

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

The Lowest Place
The only thing not subject to be envied is the lowest place. It is therefore this lowest place alone which is without vanity and affliction of spirit. Still, the way of a man is not always in his power and sometimes we are surprised by a desire for that which glitters.  Then, let us take our place humbly amongst the imperfect, deeming ourselves little souls whom the good God must sustain at each moment.

As soon as He sees us truly convinced of our nothingness and we say to Him:  ‘My foot hath slipped: Thy mercy, O Lord, hath held me up.’ He stretches out His Hand to us; but if we will attempt to do something grand, even under pretext of zeal, He leaves us alone. It is enough therefore that we humble ourselves, and bear our imperfections with sweetness: there, for us, lies true sanctity.  (Counsels and Reminiscences)

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

In a Strange Land
Life is passing, eternity draws nigh; soon shall we live the very life of God.  After having drunk deep at the fount of bitterness, our thirst will be quenched at the very source of all sweetness.

Yes, the figure of this world passes away,  soon shall we see new heavens; a more radiant sun will brighten with its splendours ethereal seas and infinite horizons …  We shall no longer be prisoners in a land of exile;  all will be at an end and with our Heavenly Spouse we shall sail o’er boundless waters: now our harps are hung upon the willows that border the rivers of Babylon,  but in the day of our deliverance what harmonies will then be heard!  With what joy shall we not make every chord of our instruments to vibrate!  Today, we weep remembering Sion . . . how shall we sing the songs of the Lord in a strange land?  (V Letter to her sister Celine)

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

Of Humility, a Peach
The most eloquent discourses would be incapable of inspiring one act of love without the grace that moves the heart.

See a beautiful, rose-tinted peach, of so sweet a savour that no craft of confectioner could produce nectar like it. Is it for the peach itself that God has created this lovely colour and delicate velvety surface?  Is it for the sake of the peach that He has given it so delicious a flavour? No, it is for us; what alone belongs to it and forms the essence of its existence is its stone. It possesses nothing more.

Thus is Jesus pleased to lavish His gifts on some of His creatures, that through them,  He may draw to Himself other souls. But in His mercy He humiliates them interiorly, and gently constrains them to recognize their nothingness and His Omnipotence. These sentiments form in them, as it were,  a kernel of grace, which Jesus hastens to develop for that blessed day when clothed with a beauty immortal, imperishable, they shall without danger have place at the Celestial banquet. (xvi Letter to her sister Celine.)

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

We have taken nothing
The Apostles, without Jesus, laboured long– a whole night– without taking any fish.  Their toil was pleasing to Him but He wished to show that He alone can give anything. He asked only an act of humility:  “Children, have you any meat?   And St. Peter confesses his helplessness:  “Lord we have laboured all night and have taken nothing.”

It is enough! The Heart of Jesus is touched. … Perhaps if the Apostle had taken a few little fishes the Divine Master would not have worked a miracle; but he had nothing, and so through God’s power and goodness his nets were soon filled with great fishes. That is just our Lord’s way.  He gives as God, but He will have humility of heart.  (XVII Letter to her sister Celine)

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

Discouragement
A novice confided to her that she made no progress and felt quite discouraged.
“Till the age of fourteen,” said Thérèse, “I practised virtue without feeling its sweetness. I wished for suffering but had no thought of finding my joy therein; that is a grace which has been granted me later. My soul was like a beautiful tree whose blossoms no sooner opened than they fell.

“Offer to the good God the sacrifice of never gathering the fruits of your labours. If He so will that during your whole life you feel a repugnance to suffer and to be humiliated, if He permit that all the flowers of your desires and of your good-will fall to earth without fruit, be not troubled.  At the moment of your death. He will know well how to bring to perfection,  in the twinkling of an eye, beautiful fruits on the tree of your soul.

“We read in the Book of Ecclesiasticus: “There is an inactive man that wanteth help, is very weak in ability, and full of poverty: yet the eye of God hath looked upon him for good, and hath lifted him up from his low estate,  and hath exalted his head;  and many have wondered at him and have glorified God.  Trust in God, and stay in thy place. For it is easy in the eyes of God, on a sudden to make the poor man rich. The blessing of God maketh haste to reward the just, and in a swift hour His blessing beareth fruit!”  (Counsels and Reminiscences.)

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

On Pride
“To avoid this calamity I have but to say humbly from the depths of my heart: ‘O my God, I implore of Thee, suffer me not to be unfaithful!’

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

On Humility – The Valley
“Oh when I think of all I have to acquire!” exclaimed a novice.
“Say, rather, ‘to lose’. Jesus it is who charges Himself with the care of filling your soul according as you free it from its imperfections. I plainly see that you are taking the wrong road; you will never arrive at the end of your journey.

You wish to scale a mountain and the good God wants to make you descend: He is waiting for you down in the fertile valley of humility.” (Counsels and Reminiscences).

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

Of Criticism and Praise
In a moment of temptation and combat a novice received this note(from St. Thérèse :  “The just man shall correct me in mercy and reprove me; but let not the oil of the sinner anoint my head.” I cannot be corrected or tried except by the just, inasmuch as all my Sisters are pleasing to God. It is less bitter to be reproved by a sinner than by the just; but through compassion for sinners, to obtain their conversion, I pray Thee, O my God, that I may be bruised by the just souls who are roundabout me.

Again, I beg that the oil of praise, so sweet to nature, anoint not my head, that is to say, enervate not my mind, by making me believe that I possess virtues which I have only with difficulty practised several times.

“O my Jesus! Thy Name is as oil poured out, it is in this divine perfume that I wish to be wholly bathed, far away from the notice of creatures.”  (Counsels and Reminiscences)

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

We hope to have more writings from St. John of the Cross, and from St. Francis de Sales and others this Lent. Let’s make the most of this precious time given to us to prepare  our souls for our destiny and to draw graces for our brothers and sisters in the faith, especially for our priests who today are suffering so greatly. Satan wars against them most intensely,  but we have the assurance that our Immaculate Mother will refuse us nothing that we implore with her Rosary and so we pray for them with joyful confidence!

† . Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† . Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
† . Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
† . St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
† . St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

originally posted by evensong in February, 2018, reposted by peregrine Feb, 2020.

Notes for the Time of Dry Wood

 

The release of the much hyped “Apostolic Exhortation” proves that once again, the man from Argentina has outsmarted his critics. For months now, we’ve been warned of the end of the celibate priesthood, women priests and so on. Then, when the Exhortation did not do as feared, we are all reassured that the Exhortation is the best possible document in this current pontificate. I recommend caution! How many times must they play this game? And will the faithful always be this gullible? Years ago, Rorate explained a particularly effective  Peronist tactic used by Bergoglio in his pre-Vatican days. He is his most avuncular, agreeable self precisely when he is most effectively undercutting his opposition.

Note this in ¶3:

“…I would like to officially present the Final Document, which sets forth the conclusions of the Synod, which profited from the participation of many people who know better than myself or the Roman Curia the problems and issues of the Amazon region, since they live there, they experience its suffering and they love it passionately. I have preferred not to cite the Final Document in this Exhortation, because I would encourage everyone to read it in full.

I have much to tell you about what this all really means but perhaps the words of another will be better understood; you really must take this to heart. Although most are deceived today by the fog of war, that is, the confusion  of the terrible combat being waged, the true children of Our Lady of the Rosary will understand this:

The image of the world is always presented to our eyes as a statue of gold, brass, iron, and clay. This mystery of iniquity, shown in a dream to Nabuchodonosor, (Dan. 2) is nothing but a confused medley of all the actions, interior and exterior, of the children of darkness. This is also typified by the beast coming out of the pit to make war, from the beginning of time, against the interior and spiritual life of man. All that takes place in our days is the consequence of this war. Monster follows monster out of the pit, which swallows, and vomits them forth again amidst incessant clouds of smoke.

The combat between St. Michael and Lucifer, that began in Heaven, still continues. The heart of this once magnificent angel, has become, through envy, an inexhaustible abyss of every kind of evil. He made angel revolt against angel in Heaven, and from the creation of the world his whole energy is exerted to make more criminals among men to fill the ranks of those who have been swallowed up in the pit. Lucifer is the chief of those who refuse obedience to the Almighty. This mystery of iniquity is the very inversion of the order of God; it is the order, or rather, the disorder of the devil. This disorder is a mystery because, under a false appearance of good, it hides irremediable and infinite evil.

Our Lady of the Dry Tree
“For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?” *

Every wicked man, who, from the time of Cain, up to the present moment, has declared war against God, has outwardly been great and powerful, making a great stir in the world, and being worshiped by all. But this outward semblance is a mystery. In reality they are beasts which have ascended from the pit one after another to overthrow the order of God. But this order, which is another mystery, has always opposed to them really great and powerful men who have dealt these monsters a mortal wound. As fast as hell vomits them forth, Heaven at the same time creates fresh heroes to combat them. Ancient history, sacred and profane, is but a record of this war. The order of God has ever remained victorious and those who have ranged themselves on the side of God have shared His triumph, and are happy for all eternity.

Injustice has never been able to protect deserters. It can reward them only by death, an eternal death. Those who practise iniquity imagine themselves invincible. O God! who can resist You? If a single soul has the whole world and all hell against it, it need have no fear if, by abandonment, it takes its stand on the side of God and His order. The monstrous spectacle of wickedness armed with so much power, the head of gold, the body of silver, brass, and iron, is nothing more than the image of clay; a small stone cast at it will scatter it to the four winds of Heaven. How wonderfully has the Holy Spirit illustrated the centuries of the world!

All this is like the dream of Nabuchodonosor, forgotten on awaking, however terrible the impression it made at the time. All these monsters only come into the world to exercise the courage of the children of God, and if these are well trained, God gives them the pleasure of slaying the monsters, and sends fresh athletes into the arena.

And this life is a spectacle to angels,
causing continual joy in Heaven,
work for saints on earth,
and confusion to the devils in hell.

So all that is opposed to the order of God renders it only the more to be adored. All workers of iniquity are slaves of justice, and the divine action builds the heavenly Jerusalem on the ruins of Babylon. (Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade S.J.,“Abandonment to Divine Providence” Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition).

Dear Reader, don’t become so enthralled by the dream of Nabuchodonosor! This horrid pope is merely another “come into the world to exercise the courage of the children of God”. And as always, the monsters will be slayed and in the end, the Immaculata will triumph, for as Jesus tells us, “the victory has been given to her.”

* NOTE: The quote of Our Lord cited beneath the portrait, “Madonna of the Dry Tree” is verse 31 from Luke 23; the previous verse, “Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills: Cover us.” reminds us of another, verse 16 of Apoc. 6, “And they say to the mountains and the rocks: Fall upon us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb:” Those interested may note the following verse of Apoc. 6 as well.

†  Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey:  First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

 

Saint Catherine of Siena and the Message of Fatima

 

The Dialogue of the Seraphic Virgin, St. Catherine of Siena has much to avail us in this current conflict: By reading it prayerfully, we come to understand the overwhelming need for charity to motivate our penances and prayers for sinners, especially our priests and bishops who have fallen into error, and many have lost the faith. Yet we are called to pray for them without ceasing.

How finite works are not sufficient for punishment or recompense without the perpetual affection of love.

Leave all to Him, let go of yourself.
Lose yourself on the cross, and you will find yourself entirely.

 

Then, the Eternal Truth seized and drew more strongly to Himself her desire, doing as He did in the Old Testament, for when the sacrifice was offered to God, a fire descended and drew to Him the sacrifice that was acceptable to Him; so did the sweet Truth to that soul, in sending down the fire of the clemency of the Holy Spirit, seizing the sacrifice of desire that she made of herself, saying:

“Do you not know, dear daughter, that all the sufferings, which the soul endures, or can endure, in this life, are insufficient to punish one smallest fault, because the offense, being done to Me, who am the Infinite Good, calls for an infinite satisfaction? However, I wish that you should know, that not all the pains that are given to men in this life are given as punishments, but as corrections, in order to chastise a son when he offends; though it is true that both the guilt and the penalty can be expiated by the desire of the soul, that is, by true contrition, not through the finite pain endured, but through the infinite desire; because God, who is infinite, wishes for infinite love and infinite grief. Infinite grief I wish from My creature in two ways:

    • in one way, through her sorrow for her own sins, which she has committed against Me her Creator;
    • in the other way, through her sorrow for the sins which she sees her neighbors commit against Me.

Of such as these, inasmuch as they have infinite desire, that is, are joined to Me by an affection of love, and therefore grieve when they offend Me, or see Me offended, their every pain, whether spiritual or corporeal, from wherever it may come, receives infinite merit, and satisfies for a guilt which deserved an infinite penalty, although their works are finite and done in finite time; but, inasmuch as they possess the virtue of desire, and sustain their suffering with desire, and contrition, and infinite displeasure against their guilt, their pain is held worthy. Paul explained this when he said: If I had the tongues of angels, and if I knew the things of the future and gave my body to be burned, and have not love, it would be worth nothing to me. The glorious Apostle thus shows that finite works are not valid, either as punishment or recompense, without the condiment of the affection of love.

Desire and Contrition

How desire and contrition of heart satisfies, both for the guilt and the penalty in oneself and in others; and how sometimes it satisfies for the guilt only, and not the penalty.

“I have shown you, dearest daughter, that the guilt is not punished in this finite time by any pain which is sustained purely as such. And I say, that the guilt is punished by the pain which is endured through the desire, love, and contrition of the heart; not by virtue of the pain, but by virtue of the desire of the soul; inasmuch as desire and every virtue is of value, and has life in itself, through Christ crucified, My only begotten Son, in so far as the soul has drawn her love from Him, and virtuously follows His virtues, that is, His Footprints.

In this way, and in no other, are virtues of value, and in this way, pains satisfy for the fault, by the sweet and intimate love acquired in the knowledge of My goodness, and in the bitterness and contrition of heart acquired by knowledge of one’s self and one’s own thoughts. And this knowledge generates a hatred and displeasure against sin, and against the soul’s own sensuality, through which, she deems herself worthy of pains and unworthy of reward.”

The sweet Truth continued:
Continue reading “Saint Catherine of Siena and the Message of Fatima”

A Miracle at Lourdes

Today, February 11th, we honor the first apparition of the Immaculate Conception to Bernadette of Lourdes. and so we offer today the following narrative of a remarkable cure at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes;  it’s a favorite of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren and I hope you’ll like it too!

IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR

The first world war broke out in 1914, and Jack Traynor was mobilized with the Royal Naval Reserve, to which he belonged. He was in the naval brigade that took part in the unsuccessful Antwerp expedition of October, 1914, and was in the last battalion to retreat. He was carrying one of his officers to safety, when he was hit on the head by shrapnel. He did not regain consciousness until five weeks later, when he woke up after an operation in a Marine hospital in England. He recovered rapidly and went back into service.

In 1915, Traynor was lent to the 1st Dublin Fusiliers as physical instructor, and was a member of the expeditionary force sent to Egypt and the Dardanelles. On April 25th, 1915, he took part in the landing from the steamship River Clyde at Gallipoli. He was in charge of the first boat to leave the ship and was one of the few to reach the shore that day. From their positions in the steep banks above the beach the Turks raked the Clyde and the boats with deadly gunfire. The casualties were so heavy that the operation was suspended until nightfall.

Meanwhile all the officers in the landing parties had been killed, and Traynor found himself in charge of about 100 men, who took cover in a shallow trench. A Catholic chaplain, Father Finn, was killed in the second boat, from which he fell. Traynor dragged him from under the barbed wire and later he and his comrades buried him on shore. After dusk more officers and men landed, and the small force began to fight its way, with severe losses, up to the sand hills. For days the bitter fighting continued. Traynor took part, without injury, until May 8th, when he was hit by machine gun fire during a bayonet charge.

He seems to have been literally sprayed with bullets. He was wounded in the head and chest, while a bullet tore through the inner side of his upper right arm and lodged under the collar-bone. Medical corps men brought him back, dazed and suffering, to the beach, and he was shipped to the base hospital at Alexandria, Egypt. Now began his long years as an invalid and as the patient of unsuccessful operations. A well-known English surgeon, Sir Frederick Treves, operated on him in Alexandria, in an attempt to sew together the severed nerves in the upper arm, which the bullet wound had left paralysed and useless.

The attempt failed, and so did another, made by another surgeon, on the hospital ship that brought Traynor from Alexandria to England. In September, 1915, in the Haslar naval hospital, England. a third operation was performed with the same object-and the same result. While on the hospital ship Traynor suffered his first epileptic attack. These attacks became frequent.

INCURABLE

The surgeon-general of the navy now advised amputation of the paralysed arm, as there seemed to be no hope of ever joining the torn and shrunken nerves. Traynor would not consent. In November, 1916, another doctor tried to suture the nerves, bringing the number of unsuccessful operations up to four. By this time Traynor had been discharged from the service, first on 80 per cent pension, then on 100 per cent, as being permanently and completely disabled. He had to spend months in various hospitals as an epileptic patient.

Continue reading “A Miracle at Lourdes”

The Last Words of Christ and the Passion of His Church

 

I wrote the following in 2013, a few months after Bergoglio had begun his destructive reign. It might be useful to revisit it as we approach our eighth Lent* beneath the yoke of this scourge of the faith.

Consider for a moment the last words of Jesus as He was dying on the Cross. There is a tradition in the Church that compares the Passion of Christ to the Passion of His Mystical Body, the Church. We may find it fruitful to think of Our Lord’s last words, which He uttered at such great cost, as they relate to the history of the Church. Here is an example:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) The First Word was spoken by Jesus as He was nailed to the Cross and raised up to the jeering mockery of His executioners and passersby. It can be applied to the earliest period of the Church, a time of severe persecution, as many early Christians followed their Master to death at the hands of anti-Christians. Continue reading “The Last Words of Christ and the Passion of His Church”