Desolation

 

Many writers have noted lately the whole world and especially the Church is in a state of extreme desolation. But today, by God’s infinite mercy, we may find that immense benefits are to be drawn from it. From St. Alphonus Liguori:

† . † . †

When a soul is morally certain of being in the grace of God, although she may be deprived of worldly pleasures, as well as of those which come from God, she nevertheless rests satisfied with her state, conscious, as she is, of loving God, and of being loved by Him. But God, Who wishes to see her purified and divested of all sensible satisfaction, in order to unite her entirely to Himself by means of pure love, what does He do?

He puts her in the crucible of desolation, which is more painful to bear than the most severe trials, whether internal or external; she is left in a state of uncertainty if she be in the grace of God or not, and in the dense darkness that shrouds her, there seems no prospect of her ever more finding God. Almighty God, moreover, will sometimes permit her to be assailed by violent sensual temptations, accompanied by irregular movements of the inferior part, or perhaps by thoughts of unbelief, of despair, and even of hatred of God, when she imagines herself cast off by Him, and that He no longer hears her prayers.

And as, on the one hand, the suggestions of the devil are vehement, and the motions of concupiscence are excited, and, on the other, the soul finds herself in this great darkness, she can no longer sufficiently distinguish whether she properly resists or yields to the temptations, though her will resolutely refuses all consent. Her fears of having lost God are thus very much increased; and from her fancied infidelity in struggling against the temptations, she thinks herself deservedly abandoned by God. The saddest of all calamities seems to have befallen her,—–to be able no longer to love God, and to be hated by Him.

St. Teresa passed through all these trials, and declares that during them solitude had no charms for her, but, on the contrary, filled her with horror; while prayer was changed for her into a perfect hell. When a soul that loves God finds herself in this state, she must not lose courage; and neither must he who directs her become alarmed. Those sensual movements, those temptations against faith, those feelings of distrust, and those attacks which urge her to hate Almighty God, are fears, are tortures of the soul, are efforts of the enemy; but they are not voluntary, and therefore they are not sins.

The sincere lover of Jesus Christ resists valiantly on such occasions, and withholds all consent to such suggestions; but because of the darkness which envelops her, she knows not how to distinguish, her soul is thrown into confusion, and the privation of the presence of Divine grace makes her fearful and sad. But it can be soon discovered that in these souls, thus tried by God, all is dread and apprehension, but not truth: only ask them, even in their state of desolation, whether they would willingly commit one single deliberate venial sin; they will answer, that they are ready to suffer not one, but a thousand deaths, rather than be guilty of such displeasure to Almighty God.

It is necessary, therefore, to make this distinction, that it is one thing to perform an act of virtue, such as to repel a temptation, to trust in God, to love God, and to will what He wills; and it is another thing to have the consciousness of really making these good acts. This consciousness of doing good contributes to our pleasure; but the profit consists in the first point, that is, in actually doing good. With the first, God is satisfied, and deprives the soul of the latter—–that is, of the consciousness of doing good, in order thus to remove from her all self-satisfaction, which adds nothing to the merit of the action; for our Lord seeks more our real advantage than our own satisfaction.

St. John of the Cross wrote the following words of comfort to a desolate soul: “You were never in a better state than at present; for you were never so deeply humbled, and so cut off from all attachment to this world, and at the same time you were never so thoroughly impressed with the conviction of your own wickedness. Neither were you ever so divested and purified of all self-seeking as now.” [Lettre 8.]

Let us, then, not believe that when we feel a greater tenderness of devotion we are more beloved by God; for perfection does not consist in that, but in the mortification of our own will, and in its union with the will of God. Wherefore, in this state of desolation the soul must not heed the devil, when he suggests that God has abandoned her; nor must she leave off prayer. This is the object at which the devil is aiming, in order afterwards to drag her down some precipice.

St. Teresa writes: “The Lord proves His true lovers by dryness and temptations. What though the dryness should be of lifelong duration, let the soul never relax in prayer; the time will arrive when all will be abundantly repaid.” [Life, ch. 11.]

In such a state of suffering, a person should humble himself by the reflection that his offences against God are undeserving of any milder treatment: he should humble himself, and be fully resigned to the Divine will, saying: “O my Lord, behold me at Thy feet; if it be Thy will that I should remain thus desolate and afflicted for my whole life, and even for all eternity, only grant me Thy grace and the gift of Thy love, and do with me whatever Thou wilt.”

It will be useless then, and perhaps a source of greater disquiet, to wish to assure yourself that you are in the grace of God, and that what you experience is only a trial, and not abandonment on the part of God. At such times it is not the will of God that you should have this assurance; and He so wills it for your greater advantage, in order that you may humble yourself the more, and increase your prayers and acts of confidence in His mercy. You desire to see, and God wills that you should not see. For the rest, St. Francis de Sales says: “The resolution not to consent to any sin, however small, is a sure sign that we are in God’s grace.” [Spirit, ch. 4.]

But a soul in profound desolation cannot even clearly discern this resolution; nevertheless, in such a state she must not aim at feeling what she wills; it is enough to will with the point of the will. In this manner she should entirely abandon herself into the arms of the Divine goodness. Oh, how do such acts of confidence and resignation ravish the heart of God, when made in the midst of the darkness of desolation! Ah, let us simply trust in a God, Who (as St. Teresa says) loves us far better than we love ourselves. Let these souls, then, so dear to God, and who are resolutely determined to belong entirely to Him, take comfort, although at the same time they see themselves deprived of every consolation. Their desolation is a sign of their being very acceptable to God, and that He has for them a place prepared in His heavenly kingdom, which overflows with consolations as full as they are lasting,

And let them hold for certain, that the more they are afflicted in the present life, so much the more they shall be consoled in eternity: According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, Thy comforts have given joy to my soul. [Ps. xciii. 19.]

Example.

For the encouragement of souls in desolation, I will here mention what is related in the life of St. Jane Frances de Chantal. For the space of forty years she was tormented by the most fearful interior trials, by temptations, by fears of being in enmity with God, and of being even quite forsaken by Him. Her afflictions were so excruciating and unremitting, that she declared her sole ray of comfort came from the thought of death.

Moreover she said: “I am so furiously assaulted, that I know not where to hide my poor soul. I seem at times on the point of losing all patience, and of giving up all as utterly lost.” “The tyrant of temptation is so relentless,” she says, “that any hour of the day I would gladly barter it with the loss of my life; and sometimes it happens that I can neither eat nor sleep.” [Mem. de la M. de Chaugy, p. 3. ch. 27.] During the last eight or nine years of her life, her temptations became still more violent.

Mother de Chatel said that her saintly Mother de Chantal suffered a continual interior martyrdom night and day, at prayer, at work, and even during sleep; so that she felt the deepest compassion for her. The Saint endured assaults against every virtue (except chastity), and had likewise to contend with doubts, darkness, and disgusts. Sometimes God would withdraw all lights from her, and seem indignant with her, and just on the point of expelling her from Him; so that terror drove her to look in some other direction for relief: but failing to find any, she was obliged to return to look on God, and to abandon herself to His mercy.

She seemed each moment ready to yield to the violence of her temptations. The Divine assistance did not indeed forsake her; but it seemed to her to have done so, since, instead of finding satisfaction in anything, she found only weariness and anguish in prayer, in reading spiritual books, in Communion, and in all other exercises of piety. Her sole resource in this state of dereliction was to look upon God, and to let Him do His will.

The Saint said: “In all my abandonments my mere life is a new cross to me, and my incapability of action adds considerably to its heaviness.” And it was therefore that she compared herself to a sick person overwhelmed with sufferings, unable to turn from one side to the other, speechless, so as not to be able to express his ills, and blind, so as not to discern whether the attendants are administering to him medicine or poison. And then, weeping bitterly, she added, “I seem to be without faith, without hope, and without love for my God.”

Nevertheless, the Saint maintained throughout her serenity of countenance and affability in conversation, and kept her looks fixedly bent towards God, in the bosom of Whose blessed will she constantly reposed. Wherefore St. Francis de Sales, who was her director, and knew well what an object of predilection her beautiful soul was to Almighty God, wrote thus of her:

“Her heart resembled a deaf musician, who, though he may sing most exquisitely, can derive no pleasure from it himself.” And to herself he wrote as follows: “You must endeavor to serve your Saviour solely through love of His blessed will, utterly deprived of consolations, and overwhelmed by a deluge of fears and sadness.” [Love of God, B, 9. ch. 11.]

It is thus that the Saints are formed:

“Long did the chisels ring around,
Long did the mallet’s blows rebound,
Long work’d the head and toil’d the hand,
Ere stood thy stones as now they stand.”
—–Offic. Dedic. eccl.

The Saints of whom the Church sings are precisely these choice stones, which are reduced to shapeliness and beauty by the strokes of the chisel,—–that is, by temptations, by fears, by darkness, and other torments, internal and external,—–till at length they are made worthy to be enthroned in the blessed kingdom of Paradise.

From: Uniformity with God’s Will and the Practice of Love of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus Liguori, by Veritatis Splendor, Kindle. LINK.

Please, Pray the Rosary and confound satan and those who serve him!

†  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!

 

~ 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!

A Novena for Our Lady of Perpetual Help

 

As we prepare to honor Our Mother of perpetual Help, we offer two Novenas, one long and one short. If we begin today, we complete it on the vigil of her feast, which we commemorate on June 27th.

 

NOVENA  PRAYER  TO  OUR  MOTHER  OF  PERPETUAL  HELP

(The long version.)

“There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.”

Behold at thy feet, O Mother of Perpetual Help, a wretched sinner who has recourse to thee and confides in thee. O Mother of mercy, have pity on me! I hear thee called by all, the Refuge and the Hope of sinners, be then, my refuge and my hope. Assist me for the love of Jesus Christ. Stretch forth thy hand to a miserable fallen creature, who recommends himself to thee snd who devotes himself to thy service forever. I bless and thank Almighty God, Who in His mercy has given me this confidence in thee, which I hold to be a pledge of my eternal salvation.

It is true, dearest Mother, that in the past I have fallen miserably into sin, because I had not recourse to thee. I know that with thy help, I shall conquer. I know too, that thou wilt assist me if I recommend myself to thee, but I fear, dear Mother, that in time of danger, I may neglect to call on thee, and thus, may lose my soul. This grace then, I ask of thee, and this I beg, with all the fervor of my soul, that in all the attacks of hell, I may ever have recourse to thee.

O Mary, help me! O Mother of Perpetual Help, never let me lose my God!

Nine Hail Marys

O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke thy most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying. O Purest May! O Sweetest Mary! Let thy name be ever on my lips. Delay not O Blessed lady, to help me when I call on thee, for in all my temptations, in all my needs, I shall never cease to call on thee, ever repeating thy sacred name, Mary, Mary! O, what consolation, what sweetness, what confidence fills my soul when I utter thy name or think of thee! I thank the Lord for having given thee for my good, so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely uttering thy name, let my love for thee prompt me ever to hail thee,  my Mother of Perpetual Help!

Nine Hail Marys

O Mother of Perpetual help, thou art the dispenser of all the gifts which God grants to miserable sinners, and for this end, He has made thee so powerful, so rich in mercy, so bountiful in order that thou may help us in our adversity. Thou art the advocate of wretched and abandoned sinners who have recourse to thee. Come to my aid, dearest Mother. In thy hands I place my eternal salvation and to thee I entrust my soul.  Count me among thy most devoted servants and take me under thy protection. For if thou protect me, dear Mother, I shall fear nothing; not from my sins because thou wilt obtain for me pardon from them;  nor from devils, because thou art more powerful than all hell, nor even from Jesus, my Just Judge, because by one prayer from thee, He will be appeased.

Only one thing do I fear, that in the hour of temptation, I may through negligence fail to have recourse to thee and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me therefore, the  pardon of my sins, the love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace to have recourse to thee, O Mother of Perpetual Help.

Nine Hail Marys

Pray for us, O Mother of Perpetual Help.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ who didst give us Thy Mother Mary, whose renowned image we venerate, to be a Mother always ready to help us, grant we beseech Thee, that we who constantly implore her maternal aid may merit to enjoy perpetually the fruits of Thy redemption,  who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.

Novena Prayer to Our Mother of Perpetual Help

Short Version

Mother of Perpetual help, dispenser of every grace that God grants us in our misery; Mother so powerful and yet so merciful, thou art the advocate of the most wretched and abandoned sinners, and so I come to thee, mindful that thy own dear Son, when dying for my sins, entrusted me to thee.

In thy pure hands I place my eternal salvation; I trust my soul and all my needs to thee. If thou wilt take me under thy protection, I shall fear no evil, trusting thy promise: thou wilt not forsake me and thy Immaculate Heart will be my refuge and sure way to Jesus.

I beg thee, most dear Mother, obtain for me an ever greater love for Jesus, the grace of true contrition, forgiveness of my sins, final perseverance, and the favor that I now request, _________.  Mother of Perpetual Help, I give thee thanks for answering my prayer and will proclaim always thy goodness and mercy. Amen.

Thank you for reading, I pray for you always!

Please, Pray the Rosary and confound satan and those who serve him!

†  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!

Five Principles in Time of Crisis

The following is in response to the requests of our readers.  Several readers have expressed their distress over the lack of a leader to confront the errors in the church.   And so, let us begin with the five principles explicated by Father Stehlin. That will be the basis for subsequent discussions. The emphasis is ours and there is no commentary for now.

From SSPX: News and Events,

Fr. Karl Stehlin’s letter to Rev. Fr. Antoine, Rev. Fr. Jean, and the whole community of Reverend Capuchin Fathers:[1]

Warsaw, February 6, 2014
Rev. Fr. Jean,

I just received your sermon from the Third Sunday after the Epiphany, and I must tell you that it deeply moved me. It reminded me of those days when I had the honor of receiving you into the Militia Immaculatae [M.I.], and of your visit to Poland to participate in our great pilgrimage to Czestochowa. What is more, you know how attached I am to you Capuchin Fathers, especially since it is through you that the M.I. spread in France, forming knights of the Immaculate willing to work for the conversion of souls. Finally, what a joy it has been for me to see Polish postulants enter your monastery and the convent of the Poor Clares.

All this to say that I read your sermon with the utmost attention, all the more so since you Fathers rarely speak “ad extra”.

How right you are to insist that we must be men of principle, and that our principles must be inflexible, with no possible compromise. I admit that I have been thinking about this very point for a long time, and wishing to be a man of principle after the example of a Cardinal Pie and an Archbishop Lefebvre, I have tried to gather together the main principles (I found five) and place them before my conscience in order to examine whether I strive to put them into practice. Allow me to expose them to you, not in hierarchical order, but as they come to mind.

First principle: the good of obedience

Reading your words as a son of St. Francis and of our beloved St. Maximilian Kolbe, I thought first of all of how much the latter insisted on supernatural obedience. You know his famous texts and you know better than I that for St. Maximilian, the only sure mark of the voice of the Immaculate is the voice of one’s superiors. This saint practiced this obedience to the point of heroism and that is the profound reason for his influence and the success of the Immaculate. I have always admired the Capuchin Fathers for being champions of the practice of this great principle. And St. Maximilian (and St. Thomas before him) tells again that only if superiors ask of us something immoral or against the Faith must we respect the greater obedience towards God and therefore refuse to obey His human instruments. Thanks to this principle, which is the essence of obedience, we have chosen the superior obedience towards God over obedience to His instruments who ask us to do or accept things against Faith and morals.

But if I am in front of a legitimate superior (see the second principle), I owe him total obedience, through which I accomplish the will of the Immaculate in perfect safety. And St. Maximilian insists that this obedience is thus supernatural because of our love for God and our submission to Him.

I admit that it is sometimes hard. And I can still hear Fr. Antoine saying during a retreat: “you have to hold on tight” to persevere on the path of obedience. And I am so happy and grateful to my superiors who not only have never asked of me (nor of anyone I know) anything bad, but on the contrary: how many times have their orders saved me, although at the time I didn’t understand, and I thought that humanly speaking such order seemed to make little sense. But the principle is formal: as long as there is no act, order, or demand against Faith and morals, complete and total obedience! How I wish the sons of St. Francis and of St. Maximilian Kolbe would remind us of this principle that is the source of all sanctity and apostolic fecundity. All of us priests ordained in Tradition made a solemn promise at the moment of our priestly ordination, and in the light of this, how painful it is to read the declaration of the priests that call themselves “the Resistance”.[2]

Second principle: authority

Another principle linked to the first is the principle of authority in se, which alone can save us from the Protestant free inquiry. All of Tradition holds together through this principle, without which everything would fall apart, for the duty to refuse the ordinary authority in order to safeguard the Faith implies the duty to submit to the authority of extraordinary supplied jurisdiction. Tradition has survived because Providence provided this supplied jurisdiction through the founding of the SSPX to which were attached friendly communities.[3]

The minute we reject this authority, we endorse terrible consequences:

Without it there is no unity. Look at the 20 sedevacantist sects, look at “the Resistance” after less than two years: no principle of unity except that of fighting against the SSPX. Among them there are already a good number of formal sedevacantists,[4] one preaches that today a priest has to be a bit of an anarchist, etc. Look at your sermon and your tract:[5] it is your interpretation, it is your point of view, and you have no way of giving any other credit to your text besides the arguments you offer. You quote the bishops of the Society, criticizing them for each having a different point of view on the situation. Look at your own beautiful monastery: perhaps one priest has another vision of things, and yet another comes to a sedevacantist conclusion. And then what will become of the Father Guardian?[6] For in the name of safeguarding the Faith, all the Fathers will “put their priesthood at the faithful’s disposition” and do what they want. Please, Father, by refusing legitimate authority one destroys one’s own authority. At this point I would like to draw your attention to Bishop Williamson. You know well that we have been trying for years to prepare the conversion of a good number of Protestant pastors. Well, their testimony is interesting. They say that in reading Bishop Williamson’s Kyrie Eleison,[7] they are strangely reminded of the “prophets of the 19th century” in the Lutheran church, who shared their apocalyptic interpretations, always with the conclusion that the world is going to end and it is all over. All there is left to do is wait for the last day. Each one believed he held the true Gospel according to the principle: objectivity is me!

Continue reading “Five Principles in Time of Crisis”

The moment has come

 

“The moment has come … ” With these words, Our Lady of Fatima began the most significant and mystical vision of all the Marian apparitions when she appeared to Sister Lucia at Tuy on June 13, 1929.

In this post we will attempt to understand the vision and its message for us today in light of the Apocalypse and the events of this past year.

Previously, in Apocalypse 12 we saw that great red dragon, whom Pope Leo XIII referred to as, “the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan” go to war against the Woman clothed with the Sun, and prepare to make war with “her seed”, the faithful Church.  Chapter 12 ends:

And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  And he stood upon the sand of the sea.

Now, we arrive at Apocalypse 13, which reveals the strategy of the dragon, which is satan. In her book, “Beyond Politics”, Solange Hertz describes the scene for us,

Before St. John’s eyes a diabolic trinity began taking shape which appears to be a blasphemous parody of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The Apostle sees a beast coming up out of the sea, followed by another beast coming from the earth. These two are joined in a close relationship with each other and with the Dragon, who is, of course, Satan himself, and who animates and directs them in such a way that the three operate as one. St. John saw the Dragon give the first beast “his own strength and great power,” so that the reprobates “adored the dragon which gave power to the beast.” The second beast also derives his power from the Dragon, but through the medium of the first beast. We are told, “He executed all the power of the former beast in his sight; and he caused the earth and them that dwell therein to adore the first beast,” just as this first beast had caused them to adore the Dragon. Thus the Dragon mimics the role of God the Father in the Blessed Trinity, source of both the Son and the Holy Ghost, whose parts are played by the two Beasts in the diabolic threesome.

What does St. John tell us of this second beast, the one who arises from the earth, which is symbolic of the Church?  Continue reading “The moment has come”

I will never forsake you!

We offer our traditional post for June 13, a day early because we have a special post for you for  tomorrow.

“Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”

On the feast of St. Anthony, June 13, 1917, Francisco, Jacinta and Lúcia returned as they had promised the Lady. At this visit, Our Lady made three requests:

“I wish you to come here on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary each day, and to learn how to read. Later, I will tell you what I want.”

Lúcia then ventured to make a courageous request:  “I would like to ask you to take us to Heaven.”

“Yes, I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. But you are to stay here some time longer. Jesus wishes to make use of you to make Me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. To whoever embraces this devotion I promise salvation; these souls shall be dear to God, as flowers placed by Me to adorn His throne.”

Lúcia:  “Am I to stay here alone?”

“No, My daughter. Do you suffer a great deal? Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”

Lúcia then tells us,

“As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands and for the second time, She communicated to us the rays of that immense light. We saw ourselves in this light, as it were, immersed in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in that part of the light which rose towards Heaven, and I in that which was poured out on the earth.

“In front of the palm of Our Lady’s right hand was a heart encircled by thorns which pierced it. We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity and seeking reparation.

Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité comments on this sublime vision:

” …  through the rays coming forth from the hands of Mary, they saw themselves submerged in God … and in the great light of God, it was given to them to contemplate the secret of Mary, to see Her pierced Heart. ‘In front of the palm of Our Lady’s right hand was a heart encircled by thorns which pierced it. We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity, and seeking reparation.’ ”  Continue reading “I will never forsake you!”

Song of the Soul

Something lovely for you today. It had been intended for an earlier date but got overlooked. This is a fine translation by Roy Campbell of St. John’s mystical poem, a favorite of mine. I do hope you like it

 

Song of the soul that is glad to know God by faith
by Saint John of the Cross

 

How well I know that fountain’s rushing flow
Although by night

Its deathless spring is hidden. Even so
Full well I guess from whence its sources flow
Though it be night

Its origin (since it has none) none knows:
But that all origin from it arose
Although by night.

I know there is no other thing  so fair
And earth and heaven drink refreshment there
Although by night.

Its clarity unclouded still shall be:
Out of it comes the light by which we see
Though it be night.

Flush with its banks the stream so proudly swells:
I know it waters nations, heavens and hells
Though it be night.

The current that is nourished by this source
I know to be omnipotent in force
Although by night

From source and current a new current swells
Which neither of the other twain excels
Though it be night.

The eternal source hides in the  Living Bread
That we with life eternal may be fed
Though it be night.

Here to all creatures it is crying, hark!
That they should drink their fill though in the dark,
For it is night.

This living fount which is to me so dear
Within the bread of life I see it clear
Though it be night.

 

If there is an interest, I will also post E. Allison Peers’ version of the poem.

Please, Pray the Rosary and confound satan and those who serve him!

†  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!

~  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!

Holiness and the Sacred Heart of Jesus

One of the grandest successes of the ancient enemy, the deceiver, is his triumph in convincing almost the whole of mankind that “holiness” is a smarmy, simpering falsity, indeed, a hypocrisy which actually covers a heaping pile of uncharitableness and every politically incorrect sentiment.

And yet Christ urges us to be holy even as He is holy.  How did we ever get into such a mess, so far from God’s will in our culture, in the life of our Church! For now, we have churchmen, even to the very top of the hierarchy, who have given up on holiness, indeed, have reframed it into environmentalism! “Turn off the lights when you leave the room” has supplanted “Avoid the occasions of sin.”

Readers, we need to get back to holiness, seek it for ourselves as the great and necessary good that it is. To this end, we offer a brief essay on holiness by Father Arnoudt, author of the Imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a book written in the manner of the great spiritual classic, The Imitation of Christ. I have updated the writing a bit to make it easier to read, while keeping the meaning. My book of reference is a very old paperback with pages falling out, published by TAN Books in 1974, but many newer reprints are available at Abe Books or on Amazon. There are also e-versions available.

† . † . †

1. The voice of Jesus. Be holy, My Child, because I am holy. Whosoever longs to be a perfect Disciple of My Heart, strives to become holy, even as I also am holy, by an interior, true, and solid holiness. Holiness is a great good, it contains all blessings desirable upon earth, and begets everlasting bliss in Heaven.   Continue reading “Holiness and the Sacred Heart of Jesus”

The Sacred Heart of Jesus, 2018

“Embrace the cross lovingly, whenever it comes, as the most precious token of love I can give you in this life.”
(Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque)

Today, the Third Friday after Pentecost and nine days after the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Church honors the Sacred Heart of Jesus. At this time, we should have completed the reparative Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which we began on June 15th, Corpus Christi. Today is an excellent time to renew our Family Consecrations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Reparation and Penance, Signs of Love

The themes of reparation and penance are prominent in Our Lord’s revelations to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and those of His Blessed Mother to Sister Lucia and the little shepherds of Fatima. It’s worth noting that while Our Lord’s messages to St. Margaret Mary were so tender, personal and appealing, those of St. Michael the Angel of Fatima and of Our Lady of Fatima stressed the impending Justice of God in an appeal for reparation.

“I will reveal My love to them more and more …”

Centuries have passed; the Sacred Heart of Jesus and now the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with Him, have alike been spurned, even by Catholics.  Although Catholics are at least somewhat familiar with the Promises of the Sacred Heart, few take note of a most important passage contained in Our Lord’s  words to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. This overlooked passage is His Promise of the Cross.

St. Margaret Mary wrote the following in a letter to her former Superior, Mother Grayfie,

“It seems to me that our Lord made me see several names written in His Sacred Heart owing to their desire to cause It to be honored … But He does not say say that His friends would have nothing to suffer because He wishes that they make all their happiness consist in tasting His sorrows… Our Lord has never given us stronger proofs that He loves us than by making us share in His sufferings.”

And In a letter to Mother de Saumaise she wrote that Our Lord had explained to her, “Embrace the cross lovingly, whenever it comes, as the most precious token of love I can give you in this life.”  (“The Promises of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary“, by Father Paul Wenisch, S. J., Tamil Nadu, India).

It is eminently true to say that the Heart of Jesus was opened to bring us life.

But the Promise of the Cross does not mean that we will be forsaken, far from it! Taste and see the goodness of the Lord! St. Augustine, commenting on today’s Gospel (John 19, 31-37) notes that “The Evangelist says, ‘opened’ to show us  that thereby the door of life was thrown open, through which the Sacraments of the Church flow forth.”  And Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene adds, “And it is through these Sacraments that we receive the life of grace.”
Continue reading “The Sacred Heart of Jesus, 2018”

Perseverance in Prayer

Over the years here, many readers have expressed their dismay at the lack of spiritual training available today. Many who are disappointed in the lack of spiritual guidance attend independent or Society chapels or TLMs at Novus Ordo parishes. All tell me the same things, that their priests brush them off and the best they get is a string of platitudes. My experience has been similar, although I have been blessed at times with stunningly simple  gems of spiritual guidance.

Readers have also noted their difficulty with Ignatian spirituality and one reader reported that the Ignatian retreat she attended was helpful but that the method itself did not seem to be a good fit for her. I agreed that I had the same experience and would have profited more during my retreat from spiritual reading and hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  Dom Boylan’s practical approach helped me immensely and so I offer it to readers, for those who may find it useful.

Today’s offering is from the conclusion of “Difficulties in Mental Prayer”.  I am presenting this portion, which is out of sequence, because it seems indicated by several questions I received from readers lately, who advise me that they truly have nowhere  else to turn to for assistance. Although this writing is primarily aimed at the religious life, Dom Boylan states that it is also meant to be beneficial for laity who seek perfections, as we all should.

† . † . †

In the conclusion of his book, Dom Boylan offers a quote from St. John of the Cross, the authority par excellence on the subject of mental prayer.  In “The Living Flame of Love”, when treating of the development of the prayer of meditation, he writes:

“The state of beginners… is one of meditation and of acts of reflection. It is necessary to furnish the soul in this state with matter for meditation, that it may make reflections and interior acts, and avail itself of the sensible spiritual heat and fervor, for this is necessary in order to accustom the senses and desires to good things, that, being satisfied by the sweetness thereof, they may be detached from the world.

“When this is in some degree effected, God begins at once to introduce the soul into the state of contemplation, and that very quickly, especially in the case of religious, (italics are ours) because these, having renounced the world, quickly fashion their senses and desires according to God; they have, therefore, to pass at once from meditation to contemplation.”

“This passage, then, takes place when the discursive acts and meditation fail, when sensible sweetness and first fervors cease, when the soul cannot make reflections as before, nor find any sensible comfort, but is fallen into aridity, because the chief matter is changed into the spirit, and the spirit is not cognizable by sense. As all the natural operations of the soul, which are within its control, depend on the senses only, it follows that God is now working in a special manner in this state, that it is He that infuses and teaches, that the soul is the recipient on which He bestows spiritual blessings by contemplation, the knowledge and the love of Himself together; that is, He gives it loving knowledge without the instrumentality of its discursive acts, because it is no longer able to form them as before.  Continue reading “Perseverance in Prayer”

Politics and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 2018

 

Today we consider a neglected aspect of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that is, its political aspect.  For this essay, I am indebted to a favorite author, Solange Hertz.  In her book, “Utopia Nowhere“,  Solange Hertz proves the importance of the political aspect in a most elegant manner, beginning with her assertion that devotion to the Sacred Heart was established on Golgotha when the Roman Centurion Longinus plunged his lance into the Heart of Jesus, the Heart of “The King of the Jews”, as Pilate’s notice proclaimed.

Longinus, the official representative of the ruling power, thereby performed a political act which stands to this day as a necessary reminder of the battle between the dark powers that rule this world and the power of Christ the King:

Devotion to His Sacred Heart is therefore no sentimental devotion to be pursued only in private. Essentially, it is a political commitment. The Sacred Heart of Christ the King is source and center of the Christian state, human manifestation of the divine Monarchy from which all monarchy takes its name. Its temporal dimensions extend into eternity. Only when viewed from this perspective can the true purpose of Sacred Heart devotion be discerned. Otherwise it is simply a super-excellent practice among many others designed by God to bring the individual into greater intimacy with Him.

Sacred Heart devotion does this, to be sure, but its objective is ultimately and fundamentally political in the real sense of the word politics. It was forged by the divine Wisdom to bring not only the individual, but whole nations into intimacy with God. [“Utopia Nowhere”].

Although devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was evident throughout the long history of the Church, and especially in the lives of many of the mystics of the Church in the Middle Ages, it was not until Our Lord’s revelations to the Visitation nun, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1689 that we began to see the vigorous political thrust of the Sacred Heart.  From Hertz:

The substance of our Lord’s message had been conveyed in six letters written by St. Margaret Mary, five of them to her former Superior, Mother de Saumaise, and the last one to her Jesuit spiritual director, Fr. Croiset. The second letter, dated June 17, 1689, begins by speaking of some great political designs of our Lord:

Behold this Heart which has so loved men…

… which can be executed only by His almighty power … It seems to me He wishes to enter with pomp and magnificence into the homes of princes and kings so as to be honored there to the same degree that He was outraged, despised and humiliated in His Passion, and to receive as much pleasure on seeing the world’s great ones reduced and humbled before Him as He felt bitterness on seeing Himself reduced to nothing at their feet.

And here are the words I heard regarding our King: ‘Inform the eldest son of My Sacred Heart that … he will secure his birth into grace and glory by the consecration he will make of himself to My adorable Heart … and through his mediation, that of the great ones of the earth. He (the Sacred Heart) wishes to reign in his palace, to be painted on his standards and to be graven on his arms to render them victorious over all his enemies, by bringing these proud, arrogant heads under his heel and effect his triumph over all the enemies of the Church.’

There were other requests. In the saint’s fifth letter, dated August 28 of the same year, she says our Lord desired a building to be erected in which would be displayed an image of the divine Heart, to which the King and his entire court would formally consecrate themselves. The King, furthermore, chosen by our Lord as “His faithful friend,” was to ensure that a special Mass in His honor would be authorized by the Holy See and a formal cultus established.

In return the King was promised divine protection against his “enemies, both visible and invisible.” It is now known that these invisible enemies were the occult forces of Freemasonry set into motion by the “merchants of light.” Already they had crossed the Channel from England and were gathering strength in France. And speaking of channels, our Lord made it clear that the Jesuit Fr. de la Chaize, Louis XIV’s confessor, had been chosen by God to see to the execution of His designs.

The Role of the Jesuits

St Margaret Mary explained, “By virtue of the power He had given him [Father de la Chaize], over the heart of our great King, the success of the matter depended on him.” And yet, incredibly, even Jesuit scholars have determined that Fr. de la Chaize never relayed Our Lord’s message to the King.  Hertz suggests that it was Jesuit obedience that withheld him, as it is known that the Father General, Fr. Thyrsus Gonzalez de Santalla was hostile to devotion to the Sacred Heart, as it is documented that he censured and banished  Father Croiset, St. Margaret Mary’s devout confessor for having written an account of the revelations.

To what can we describe such a thing? It seems another instance of the workings of the mystery of iniquity. Thus, the devotion so dear to Our Lord was allowed to languish, and the cause was simply obedience to disobedience. This has worked so well for the ancient enemy, sad to say.

Hertz affirms that the tradition of the French Visitation nuns holds it for certain that Louis XIV did nevertheless learn of the desires of the Sacred Heart through other sources. We know that Louis XIV was already privately practicing the devotion as preached by St. John Eudes, to whom he had allocated 2000 pounds for France’s first chapel to be dedicated to the Sacred Heart. Hertz is certain that the King would have, as piety dictated, submitted St. Margaret Mary’s requests to his spiritual director for approval, with a view to acting on them, but it is clear that no approval was given. Once again, obedience to those who are disobedient to Christ.

In her essay, Hertz stresses an important point, “The divine communications had been directed to Louis XIV’s person [as Monarch], but not to him as an individual. Had this been the case the extraordinary means used would have been entirely disproportionate. It was Louis as King who was addressed.” What we are to understand from this is that God made a request of the French Monarch, not a personal request to one single person, King Louis XIV, but to the French Monarchy to re-establish the ancient and sacred compact between the French Monarchy and the Church. instituted by King Clovis. Let’s delve a bit deeper here, for this has significance for us today.

Fr. Bainvel, theologian of the Sacred Heart, writes:

“The three objects of the message [of the Sacred Heart]: the church, the consecration, the flag are by their very nature national, durable and perpetual; the triumph over the enemies of God and the Church resulting from the accomplishment of the message is even more national, inasmuch as it involves the whole future of France and her providential Catholic mission, her vocation and her raison d’ être.”

In the person of the King all his successors and the nation itself are addressed. The entire court was to take part in the consecration. God’s gifts being without repentance, no time limit was set, and presumably God still waits. Thus, we see that Our Lord Jesus Christ still awaits the obedience of the French Monarch to His demands, as He awaits the obedience of the Pope and Bishops to the demands of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, His most Beloved Mother.

Why the King of France?

Continue reading “Politics and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 2018”