Today we consider another aspect of Our Lord’s Passion, His carrying of the Cross.
Once Pilate pronounced the sentence, Jesus was again stripped. This time the ragged mockery of a royal cloak (which had clotted to His wounds) was brutally removed and He was re-robed in His own garments and hastened away to take up His cross. Now, in those days, it was customary for there to be a delay between the sentencing and the execution.
“Since the advent of Tiberius to the imperial throne, criminals sentenced by the Roman senate were reprieved for ten days, and when the emperor had pronounced the sentence, even for thirty days.” (Fr. Groenings, “The Passion of Jesus and Its Hidden Meaning: A Scriptural commentary on the Passion”, TAN Books. Kindle Edition).
But the enemies of Christ could tolerate no delay, for they were afire to achieve their goal, the total destruction of the Son of Man and all He represented. In this, they are very like to the enemies of Christ in His Church today, who hasten in their mad rush to destroy faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and His beloved Church.
As was customary, Pilate had commanded that the notice of the crime be posted on the crucifix. in three languages, Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Fr. Groenings shares some insights on the meaning of this notice,
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).
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)
~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~
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.)
~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~
“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 admin Feb, 2019.
The six apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima all occurred on the 13th of each month, except for this one in August. This was because the Administrator of the district of Ourem, a Mason, kidnapped the children, as we discussed in our earlier post,“The Day the Masons Promoted the Message of Fatima.”
Even though the little shepherds were unable to keep their assignation with Our Lady, between 3 and 5 thousand people did come. Here is a brief account:
First, there was a thunderclap, “then came the flash of lightning, and then we began to see a little cloud, very delicate, very white, which stopped for a few moments over the tree and then rose in the air and disappeared. As we looked around us, we noticed the strange thing which we had seen before and were to see in the following months; our faces were reflecting all the colours of the rainbow, pink, red, blue… The trees seemed to be made not of leaves but of flowers; they seemed to be laden with flowers, each leaf seemed to be a flower. The ground came out in colours and so did our clothes. The lanterns fixed to the arch looked like gold.”
On Sunday, August 19, in the early afternoon, the children brought their flocks to a pasture in Valinhos. Lucia began to get the premonition that Our lady was about to appear, and since Jacinta was not with them, she sent Jacinta’s older brother to fetch her. It is an especially touching detail that Our Lady waited until Jacinta arrived before appearing.
In this visit, Our Lady again reiterated that she wanted them to continue coming to the Cova da Iria on the 13th of the month, and continue to pray the Rosary every day.“In the last month, I will work a miracle so that all may believe. If you had not been taken away to the City, the miracle would have been even greater. Saint Joseph will come with the Child Jesus, to give peace to the world. Our Lord will come to bless the people. Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows will also come.”
“A great sign appeared in heaven: a Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: because He has done wonderful things…” (from the introit for today’s Mass.)
“Through thee redeemed to endless life, thy praise let all the nations sing.”
On this her feast day, we celebrate “that which has been realized in her, the total glorification of our humanity, will be realized for us at the end of time. This privilege is very fitting for her; for she is all-pure, all-holy, whose body was never touched by any slightest shadow of sin, but was always the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Ark of the Covenant, the very Tabernacle of the Son of God. … Mary has been taken up into Heaven because she is the Mother of God. This is the greatest of her privileges., the root of all others and the reason for them…Mary’s Assumption thus confirms us in this great and beautiful truth: we are created and called to union with God. (Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen,Divine Intimacy,).
Another reason exists for the Assumption of Mary; it is a quite practical one and can be proved scientifically. There are some truths that simply cannot, indeed, will not be denied. As such, the beautiful Eucharistic miracles which prove that the Consecrated Host is truly the body and blood (Type AB no less!) of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
And we now have scientific documentation of a process called microchimerism, which refers to the process of transfer of the maternal and infant cells during pregnancy. In other words, scientists now know that it is likely that the Blessed Virgin Mary and Our Lord Jesus Christ each harbor each other’s cells in their bodies. Therefore it is even more credible that Christ Our Lord brought His Mother, body and soul to be with Him in Heaven. (For more on microchimerism, see here, here, and here.)
The presence of her Divine Son’s cells in her body is ample reason for her body not being confined to the grave. And think, her own cells are present in His Sacred Body for all time. Truly, Heart of His Sacred Heart, eternally.
Since Mary was perfectly preserved from original sin, there was never a need for her to die. Yet she did agree to die in justice since her Divine Son and Savior chose to die, she could do no less. Our Most Blessed Mother did die for love of Him, Who was her All. And tenderly, with infinite love, He came to her and with His Angels, brought her up into eternal glory with Him.
“Hence, Mary’s death appears as a holocaust of love. The sacrifice, made under the cross in the greatest spiritual sorrow, was thereby outwardly completed in a sweet and loving manner as in a slumber of love.” (Rev. M. J. Scheeben, Mariology, Vol. II.)
“A slumber of love.” The ancient Church knew well that the death of the Mother of God was a singular event, and they referred to this “slumber of love” as her Dormition, her “falling asleep,” a clear indication that the close of the Virgin’s earthly life was peaceful, unaccompanied by any anxiety or pain. On earth, Mary lived for Jesus and for Him only. When her earthly race was run, Mary’s burning desire to be reunited forever with her Son found its fulfillment. “Now, since it is certain that the Son died of love and that the Mother died of the death of the Son,” wrote St. Francis de Sales (+1622), “we must not doubt that the Mother died of love.” (Source)
On August 13, 1917, the Freemasons of Portugal gave the Apparitions of Fatima a huge boost.
The six apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima all occurred on the 13th of each month, except for the one in August. This was because the Administrator of the district of Ourem was a Mason. Not just any Mason, the crude and brutal Arturo Oliveira Santos was the founder-president of the Masonic Lodge of Vila Nova de Ourem and the publisher of the local newspaper. As such, he wielded a tyrannical power in his district and, concerned about the rising fervor of the area’s Catholics in response to the apparitions, he determined to nip the phenomena in the bud.
First, the Administrator, Arturo Oliveira Santos, summoned the children and their fathers to an interrogation at the Town Hall of Vila Nova de Ourem on August 10. Ti Marto refused to allow Francisco and Jacinta to be interrogated, and decided to answer for them, stating that, if necessary, he would be imprisoned for them. But Lúcias father, Antonio dos Santos, complied and brought her to be questioned. He stated, “If she’s lying, it’s a good thing that she should be punished for it.”
Once before the authorities, Lúcia was brutally bullied and threatened, while her father did nothing to intervene. This lack of support caused Lúcia much suffering. Her words in this regard speak volumes for her sanctity:
“I have the happiness of suffering more! What made me suffer most, was the indifference shown me by my parents. This was all the more obvious, since I could see how affectionately my aunt and uncle treated their children. I remember thinking to myself as we went along: ‘How different my parents are from my uncle and aunt. They risk themselves to defend their children, while my parents hand me over with the greatest indifference, and let them do what they like with me! But I must be patient’, I reminded myself in my inmost heart, ‘since this means I have the happiness of suffering more for the love of You, O my God, and for the conversion of sinners.’ This reflection never failed to bring me consolation.”
When Lúcia returned home after the grueling ordeal, she raced to the old well to see Francisco and Jacinta, who had agreed to pray for her. She found them crying bitterly, and they explained to her that Lucia’s sister had come by earlier to tell them that she had heard that Lúcia had been killed by the authorities.
Although he had so far been unable to succeed in suppressing the little shepherds, the Administrator determined to kidnap them rather than allow another “hoax” appearance. And so, on the 13th, the Administrator tricked the children and brought them to Ourem.
After Our Lord fed the multitude with five loaves and two fishes, He proclaimed to them this truth: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; for he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall save it.”, (Luke 9, 23-24)
And St. Paul also reminds us, “For the word of the cross, to them indeed that perish, is foolishness; but to them that are saved, that is, to us, it is the power of God. . . . But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumblingblock, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinth. 18-25)
The three little shepherds of Fatima represented the three calls to respond to the message of Our Lady of Fatima, that is, Francisco, the mystic, consoled Our Lord and Our Lady in penitence and prayer, Jacinta’s reponse was to save souls by her sacrifices, penances and prayers, and Lucia reponded by propagating the message of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima, and by her penances and prayers. The scarlet thread that runs throughout these three calls and unites them is penance and prayer.
Perhaps we could try to make Fridays a special day of penance and prayer for this awful pope and the scandal and confusion he is spreading throughout the Church. Perhaps also, we could make reparation for the flaccid mass of indifferent (c)atholics who choose to ignore it all. The following prayer is a favorite, hope you like it too!
We will not save our souls in this time of crisis if we spurn the means Our Lord Himself has given us, which is the Immaculate Heart of Mary, His most Blessed Mother. This essential devotion is not some syrupy sentimental devotion, it is a thoroughly practical devotion which teaches us the virtues necessary for our salvation. It does this through the Rosary above all.
To begin to understand this, we begin at the beginning, which is the Joyful Mysteries. Any other practical means we use to help ourselves or to help others, will be utterly fruitless without understanding and making use of, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary through her Rosary.
To be clear, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, through the Rosary, the means she has asked of us, must be the solid basis of all our effective actions in the world. We are in a spiritual war for our souls, it is foolish to rush into battle unprepared.
† . † . †
Immaculate Heart of Mary, you conceived the Word of God in your heart before you conceived Him in your womb, pray for us. (Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, also quoted by Father Stehlin in “Who are you, O Immaculata?”)
In the Litany to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we give voice to a profound and significant truth, one that I confess I had not fully considered until reading, and re-reading Father Stehlin’s beautiful treatise on Our Lady, “Who Are You, O Immaculata?”For me, that book has been a pivotal point and I hope that you will take time to read it.
A reader who has followed our posts for some time has requested assistance with sharing the Message of Fatima with those who reject or are indifferent to Our Lady of Fatima, To answer her question, we find once again that the answer is the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the key to unlock the mystery is found in the prayer above.
In her Rosary, Our Lady shares this beautiful mystery with us. Let’s return to her at the Annunciation, when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. Our Lady was rapt in adoration of God. Her soul, unencumbered by any slightest sin, joyfully accepted His will, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Be it done unto me according to thy word. And the Word was made flesh.
By accepting God’s will, Mary began her task with a full nine months of the most intimate closeness with the Word, treasuring Him in her Immaculate Heart for nine months. These two pure and Sacred Hearts, both totally devoted to doing the will of the Father, spent nine months in loving concourse, sharing the thought of their heart, one heart really, beating in the two human persons closest to the Heavenly Father, the Creator. As Adam gave Eve his rib, from which she was made, the new Eve, Mary, gave Jesus her Heart. These Hearts are inseparable, that is why I say one heart.
And so, we think on this in the beautiful First Joyful Mystery. In the Second Mystery, we see these two hearts working together, to baptise John the Prophet, chosen to prepare the way of the Lord. Thus, Jesus worked His first miracle from within the very womb of Mary. See how Our Lord illustrates His deepest messages with such clear scenes of His actions; actions which cannot be twisted and misconstrued, but viewed clearly show that Jesus chose Mary, first as His Mother, and then as His mediatrix, casting satan from John, and consecrating him to the service of Jesus Christ, as we all must be consecrated to Him through Mary.
In the Third Mystery, we see, literally see this Divine Child, the long-awaited Savior of the world, born not in the glory and pomp of this passing world, which was still in thrall to satan, but in the serene and humble stable of Bethlehem. Note that we do not see this until the time was ripe for it. First, the Immaculata conceived the Word in her pure heart, then He was made flesh within her flesh, and the two hearts grew as one. Only then at the time designated by Our Father, did He come to dwell among us. And then, even then, not to all but to those who were prepared to receive Him.
In the Fourth Mystery, we see Mary, led by Joseph – this is important – bring the Son of God, this Divine Infant, to the Temple of God to fulfill the Law. At this time, the Holy Family made the customary offering of the poor. This humility, this obedience, this poverty – this is an essential lesson for us. Think on it. Without these virtues, we are not in any way serving God. We should never underestimate the importance of this Mystery,
In the last Joyful Mystery, we see Mary and Joseph searching for Our Lord. Many much wiser see deeper messages in this Mystery. Mine is simple. In this Mystery, we see Mary and Joseph (this is why St. Joseph is shown to us in the last vision at Fatima) Mary and Joseph are here in this Mystery to process through the City of God, which is now in darkness and ruins, to gather us and lead us. We too join the procession. Together, we find Him again. And wonder of wonders, we find Him in His Church! For while we have been searching, following Mary and Joseph, we are being prepared to perceive Him with the clear and perfect vision of children of Mary, the clear vision of her Immaculate Heart. And so we return, full circle, (as in St. John Bosco’s vision) and the Word is made flesh and dwells among us. In our hearts, united to the Heart of our most pure and loving Mother.
This is the answer. Do this, live this, every day. When you are this, those who are His, will come to Him, through Mary. Not through what you do on your own but through His grace, mediated by Mary, His Mother. She depends on us, but we, much more so, on her. When we allow ourselves to be her instruments, led by her, miracles happen. But it is not us, not ever us. We go to Jesus through Mary.
Pray the Rosary with confidence and joy!
† 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!