Mission Impossible Munich 2020

A few days ago, I posted some thoughts about the state of Catholic Action in this time of the suffering Church. Using the term Catholic Action very loosely, my concern was how can we best defend the Faith against the overwhelming tide of destruction which comes from everywhere today?  Like many of my posts, it was too vague and even my most loyal readers weren’t interested. Of those who did read, several took exception and felt a need to defend the organizers who were being “attacked” by me.

This was expected, in this time of overly sensitive victimology. The disorientation and muddled thinking will continue until grace and light return to us. We are all struggling in this satanic fog of war. And we will continue to see loss after loss until we regain clarity through God’s grace. Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Immaculate Mother have given us the keys to victory but few will hear this.  Until they do, the losses will mount and the faithful will dwindle as foretold many times. The gathering in Munich (I cannot call it a protest) is just one in a dismal string of losses, with many more to come.

Occasionally, very rarely now, I take a brief tour of the web to see what’s on the minds of others. It has been many months now and I was pleasantly surprised to discover a couple of blogs had also noted the strange character of the Munich event organized by Acies Ordinata. The site, Roma Locuta Est had a very sensible post, making sure to be clear that they were not sniping at the organizers, only suggesting some helpful considerations. And Father John Zuhlsdorf had a witty take on the organizers  being so secretive. He pointed out that although much had been made of  Matt’s “Unite the Clans”, no one had even advised him of the silent gathering. He aptly referred to it as a “self-licking ice cream cone”. 

Of course, many commenters felt the need to chide with cliches along the lines of, “at least they were doing something” and “every little bit helps”. It only proved my suspicion that many today are unable to grasp the need for clarity and objective analysis of any situation. Commenters reacted to Father Z’s carefully reasoned post with the usual subjective, emotional defense of the “victim” – Acies Ordinata. And that is one big reason that we cannot get any consensus on the actions necessary to defend the faith.

Yes, we need to unite and take action. But our actions should be firmly founded on our Catholic faith. In this, Jesus and His most Blessed Mother must be our guides. If we simply adopt the ground rules of the enemy, such as standing separately, silently, without uniting in vocal prayer – for Catholics, it has traditionally been the Rosary – you have already given the enemy a silent but significant victory.

Then, we must all figure out some way, really try to do this! – to act as grown-ups. Set aside subjectivism, that has seeped in from the all-pervasive liberalism. Criticism is not necessarily an attack on a ‘victim’ but is often a useful ‘reality check’.  It has been hard for me, but at last, I’ve begun to learn from criticism. I see that even, or perhaps especially unjust, criticism teaches me things I had not thought of. But today, looking at any lively discussion in almost any combox, you have folks who jump in to defend anyone criticised, as though they must defend the “victim”.

We’re never going to make progress, if we all are so sensitive that we cannot take criticism, simply because nothing at all can be said or done that will not draw comments from others, just and unjust.

Overlooked

Now, here is the other thing I noticed, and it, to my mind is a huge and very worrisome thing – each blog post, Roma Locuta and Father Z, had many comments and no one remarked on the fact that the leading representatives of traditional, faithful Catholics held a Catholic protest that omitted the public recitation of the Rosary. Now, of all times, we should be relying on our Most Blessed Mother.

We can certainly debate the possible reasons for the gathering not being publicised beforehand (i.e., Abp. Viganò, Cardinal Marx’s power with the gestapo and so on) but what excuse is there for ignoring Our Lady of the Rosary? Oh yes, the organizers did get a photo op with rosaries in hand, giving the impression of a Rosary protest, but that was misleading – as the “protest” was deliberately silent, no Rosary was said aloud. Note to all commenters, I am not making fussy criticism: It is a fact that we as Catholics have always, since St. Dominic’s day, used the public recitation of the Rosary as our rallying point. It was a sign of our unity in fighting the Albigensians, muslims, marxists and assorted tyrannies; and under Our Lady’s banner we shall again be victorious, as many saints have prophesied. We just need to grow up first, I guess.

As I wrote in the earlier post:

I am convinced that the way to restore the spiritual life – indeed, the only way – is through devotion to the Mother of God. From my readers, it has become clear that we need to return to some very fundamental aspects, returning to the very meaning and context of the prayers of the Holy Rosary. I hope that by doing so, we can revitalize our Rosaries. For we are engaged, whether we acknowledge it or not, in a life or death spiritual combat. This was brought home to me very recently, when a prominent group of lay Catholic leaders gathered in Munich:

“An international coalition of lay Catholics mobilized in Munich today to silently pray in “firm protest against the German Episcopal Conference and its President” Cardinal Marx on account of the prelates’ plan to embark on a “synodal path” that critics say would create a “new church” that departs from Catholic teaching on priestly celibacy, contraception, homosexuality, and fornication.” (Lifesite News)

Quoting from the article,

Called Acies ordinata, the international coalition derives its name from a title reserved for Our Lady who assembles an army of the faithful to defeat her enemies. The Latin phrase “terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinate” is applied to Mary in battle and is taken from the Old Testament Song of Songs canticle (6:3, 6:10).”

The citation above, correctly taken is: from Solomon’s Canticle of Canticles. The link allows you to read the Vulgate alongside the Douay version.

In order to dispel some confusion, here is more from the Lifesite article, FYI:

About the name of the organization: “Called Acies ordinata, the international coalition derives its name from a title reserved for Our Lady who assembles an army of the faithful to defeat her enemies. The Latin phrase “terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinate” is applied to Mary in battle and is taken from the Old Testament Song of Songs canticle (6:3, 6:10).” Direct quote.

NOTE: That quote is: Quæ est ista quæ progreditur quasi aurora consurgens, pulchra ut luna, electa ut sol, terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata?  (Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?) By the way, it is verse 9, not verse 10.

“The hour of silent prayer and meditation ended with the collective singing of the Creed, during which, to express their love for the Church, the participants raised their voices to sing the words Et unam Sanctam Catholicam Ecclesiam (one holy Catholic Church) #AciesOrdinata pic.twitter.com/0Mb0JugifC”. Direct quote.

LINK to above quotes: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-laityprotest-cdl-marx-call-him-to-repent-for-leading-german-church-down-schismatic-synodal-path

Now readers, who among you believes that “Our Lady’s army in battle array” just stands around silently, unarmed, refusing to use the weapon she gives us – that is, her rosary?

What struck me is that an organization of the most prominent lay Catholic leaders  have staged a protest in the name of Mary that was silent. That did not publically recite her Rosary? Think of that. Silent.

That is, they chose to forego the true traditional Catholic protest of respectfully reciting the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary in public; a practice that goes back so many centuries and is so richly indulgenced that it would have brought down floods of grace and strengthened the participants while weakening and driving out the ancient enemy. In place of the Rosary of the Mother of God – which she has continuously asked us for – they decided to stand in silent protest, not united in the one effective prayer that is actually the weapon of Our Lady, but instead in the silent interior of each one “praying in their own way” as is the way of the worldly today. A way that is perfectly acceptable to the false ecumenists of the neo-modernist, neo-paganist church of the man they propose to protest, Cardinal Marx. How he must have laughed at their impotent “protest”.

We seem to have reached a new low, when prominent lay Catholic leaders form themselves into an army of Our Lady while eschewing her own weapons in order to adopt the stance of the freemasonic enemy. Just think a moment of the many triumphs of Our Lady of the Rosary – and see the futility of this silly posing.

Yes, I said, silly posing. To pose for a photo holding a rosary, when the event had no intention of reciting the rosary in unity, openly, is pointless, utterly useless. A symbol, if you will of our failure to stand up for the only true Faith by which we are saved.

The Message of Fatima is that she herself desires that we call her, Our Lady of the Rosary. 

Return to Fatima!

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!

 

Effective Catholic Action

“The only hope for civilization in its present crisis is that Catholics succeed in leavening society. Their success in doing so depends primarily not on their organization but on their interior life and personal love of God.” (Dom Eugene Boylan, ‘This Tremendous Lover’, 1951)

Dom Boylan continues,

Once Catholic Action puts the emphasis on the “Action” and forgets the real meaning of “Catholic” – which, in its essence is the result of union with Christ, – then the failure of Catholic Action has begun. And if we Catholics have not had the influence on society . . . the reason is to be found in our lack of the interior life. All Catholicity – individual, social, secular, or regular – must begin and end in interior union with Christ. “For there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved.” (Acts, 4. 12)

Happily, there is a shortcut to that union with Christ for the individual and for society. For as (Saint) Pius X taught, “They are miserable and unfortunate who, under the pretext of honoring Christ neglect Mary, for they do not know that the Child cannot be found except with His Mother.” And the same Holy Father quotes the text of the Apocalypse:

“And 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. And being with child, She cried, travailing in birth and was in pain to be delivered.” (Apoc. 12, 1,2)

and (Pope St. Pius X) applies it to Our Lady, who, though blessed in heaven, is still laboring in a mysterious birth. “Whose birth?” asks the Holy Father:

“Clearly ours, who are still detained in exile and have yet to be brought forth to the perfect charity of God and eternal happiness.” (Ad diem illum, 1904)

The part played by Our Lady in our sanctification is so important that it calls for a book in itself. . .

Father Boylan wrote the above December 8, 1945, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the Introduction to his beautiful, “This Tremendous Lover”. I use it today as the hopeful introduction to a series of articles aimed at renewing our focus on the importance of this most  glorious creature of God, created in perfect sinlessness, filled with all grace and love of God, in order to be the very Spouse of God the Holy Spirit, and the Mother of God the Son, Saviour of mankind, and thus, the Mother of all who are of His Mystical Body.

Dom Boylan summed up the essentials of the spiritual life very simply, in just five points: faith, hope, charity, humility, and a generous acceptance of God’s will. It has always been my intention, in all that I share with you, to emphasise these points as well. If we but look around, we may easily discern how the dearth of these virtues has impoverished the Faith today.

With Dom Boylan, I am convinced that the way to restore the spiritual life – indeed, the only way – is through devotion to the Mother of God. From my readers, it has become clear that we need to return to some very fundamental aspects, returning to the very meaning and context of the prayers of the Holy Rosary. I hope that by doing so, we can revitalize our Rosaries. For we are engaged, whether we acknowledge it or not, in a life or death spiritual combat. This was brought home to me very recently, when a prominent group of lay Catholic leaders gathered in Munich:

“An international coalition of lay Catholics mobilized in Munich today to silently pray in “firm protest against the German Episcopal Conference and its President” Cardinal Marx on account of the prelates’ plan to embark on a “synodal path” that critics say would create a “new church” that departs from Catholic teaching on priestly celibacy, contraception, homosexuality, and fornication.” (Lifesite News)

Quoting from the article,

Called Acies ordinata, the international coalition derives its name from a title reserved for Our Lady who assembles an army of the faithful to defeat her enemies. The Latin phrase “terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinate” is applied to Mary in battle and is taken from the Old Testament Song of Songs canticle (6:3, 6:10).”

The citation above, correctly taken is: from Solomon’s Canticle of Canticles. The link allows you to read the Vulgate alongside the Douay version.

In order to dispel some confusion, here is more from the Lifesite article, FYI:

About the name of the organization: “Called Acies ordinata, the international coalition derives its name from a title reserved for Our Lady who assembles an army of the faithful to defeat her enemies. The Latin phrase “terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinate” is applied to Mary in battle and is taken from the Old Testament Song of Songs canticle (6:3, 6:10).” Direct quote.

NOTE: That quote is: Quæ est ista quæ progreditur quasi aurora consurgens, pulchra ut luna, electa ut sol, terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata?  (Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?) By the way, it is verse 9, not verse 10.

“The hour of silent prayer and meditation ended with the collective singing of the Creed, during which, to express their love for the Church, the participants raised their voices to sing the words Et unam Sanctam Catholicam Ecclesiam (one holy Catholic Church) #AciesOrdinata pic.twitter.com/0Mb0JugifC”. Direct quote.

LINK to above quotes: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-laityprotest-cdl-marx-call-him-to-repent-for-leading-german-church-down-schismatic-synodal-path

Now readers, who among you believes that “Our Lady’s army in battle array” just stands around silently, unarmed, refusing to use the weapon she gives us – that is, her rosary?

What struck me is that an organization of the most prominent lay Catholic leaders  have staged a protest in the name of Mary that was silent. That did not publically recite her Rosary? Think of that. Silent.

That is, they chose to forego the true traditional Catholic protest of respectfully reciting the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary in public; a practice that goes back so many centuries and is so richly indulgenced that it would have brought down floods of grace and strengthened the participants while weakening and driving out the ancient enemy. In place of the Rosary of the Mother of God – which she has continuously asked us for – they decided to stand in silent protest, not united in the one effective prayer that is actually the weapon of Our Lady, but instead in the silent interior of each one “praying in their own way” as is the way of the worldly today. A way that is perfectly acceptable to the false ecumenists of the neo-modernist, neo-paganist church of the man they propose to protest, Cardinal Marx. How he must have laughed at their impotent “protest”.

We seem to have reached a new low, when prominent lay Catholic leaders form themselves into an army of Our Lady while eschewing her own weapons in order to adopt the stance of the freemasonic enemy. Just think a moment of the many triumphs of Our Lady of the Rosary – and see the futility of this silly posing.

The Message of Fatima is that she herself desires that we call her, Our Lady of the Rosary. 

Return to Fatima!

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!

 

 

“This Tremendous Lover” – Union with Christ

“Our humility and obedience are but the exercise of our love and desire for Jesus, they are but means of giving ourself completely to Him, as He does to us . . .” Dom Eugene Boylan, “This Tremendous Lover”.

The following essay is based on Dom Eugene Boylan’s book primarily Chapter XVII, “Union with Christ through Humility”.  I had begun this post a couple years back, but set it aside. Recent events, of no particular interest to anyone but myself, caused me to take it up again. To be brief, I am learning (painfully slowly!) to accept the humiliations that Providence hands me. For He doesn’t “reward our goodness” with the praise of others – quite the opposite – the applause of others tends to draw us away from God, while the humbling we get from those who despise us are often the greatest help to our true growth. It is after all, from the Cross that we learn the most essential lessons.

Grace to the Humble

Abandonment to Divine Providence is but the outward expression of that virtue of humility which is the foundation of the whole spiritual life. We have already referred to humility as that by which the obstacles to the outpourings of God’s goodness are removed, for “God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.”

If one asks, “How am I to become humble?” the immediate answer is “By the grace of God” and that is indeed the truth. Only the grace of God can give us that insight into our own condition and the realization of His exaltation that make for humility. But even though it be a grace, it is a grace with which we must co-operate. The first thing to do is to ask in prayer for the grace of humility, and to ask sincerely. The second thing is to accept humiliations when they come our way; but never forget that there is an enormous difference between being humble and being humiliated. The next thing is to accept as lovingly as we can, our own limitations, our own defects, our own lowliness; and even to be resigned – if we cannot be glad – when these shortcomings become known to others. Human nature being what it is, this is not easy; in fact, without confidence in God, it is morally impossible.

Confidence and humility always go together. One of the reasons why men are so anxious to exalt themselves – to overestimate their own value and their own powers – to resent anything that would tend to lower themselves in their own esteem or in that of others – is because they see no other hope for their happiness save in themselves. That is why they are so “touchy” so resentful of criticism, so impatient of opposition, so insistent on getting their own way, so eager to be known, so anxious for praise, so determined on ruling their surroundings. They clutch at themselves like drowning men clutch at a straw. And as life goes on, still far from being satisfied; their attitude borders on the feverish and hysterical; whatever they may have got, they are certainly far from having found peace.

The attitude of the man who has true Christian humility is just the opposite. Since his hope is placed in God instead of himself, he has no worries about getting his own way. Insofar as he trusts in God, he can accept whatever outcome, in the knowledge that God can perfectly well turn any outcome into serving His glory. Now, this attitude of working our best, but relying on God to determine the outcome, is not passivity and it does not require constant self-deprecation.

Humility is not so much self-deprecation as self-forgetfulness. It is a return to the simplicity of childhood based upon a realization of the Fatherhood of God. It is to realize that our sanctification is the work of God, and that we are rather an obstacle to His work than otherwise. It is a realization and a glad acceptance of the fact that we have nothing which we have not received. That is, we frankly acknowledge that whatever skills and abilities we have are gifts of God, generously offered to us in order to allow us to partner with Him.

The truly humble never desire to appear before God as workers who have accomplished all their tasks perfectly and who therefore expect their full wages as their due. Such workers, of course, will receive their just reward; if we appeal to God’s justice, he will be just with us. But which of us dare stand in such confidence before the judgement seat of God and put our hope in His just retribution? Such an attitude is the height of folly. The wise man closes his eyes to any good he may have done and goes to God as his Saviour, relying on God’s mercy and upon his own poverty. For that is the claim to the kingdom of Heaven recognized by Our Lord Himself. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”

The truth is that we do not understand the value of our own weakness. We want to be conscious of our strength, and we want others to be conscious of it also; we want to do great things – for God, as we like to say – and we want others to know that we have done them: we want to acquire a store of merit and an armoury of virtues so that we can feel secure in our spiritual riches; and we want good to be done – but we want to have the doing of it ourselves so that we may be rich in what we think are good works. Thus, we forget what the Holy Spirit writes:

“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 lifteth him up from his low estate, and hath exalteth his head . . . 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.” (Ecclesiasticus 21, 12)

Emptiness

Dom Eugene Boylan reminds us here of a quote from Father Clerissac, “it is our emptiness and thirst that God needs, not our plenitude.” …

It is far better for us to be conscious of our own weakness, to accept others’ perception of our faults and shortcomings, so that God Himself is seen as the author of good works. We serve God greatly in doing whatever He puts before us, the humble tasks as well as the greater ones. We should be indifferent to what others may think of our achievements – or the lack of them. Rather than seeking on our own to store up spiritual riches, merits and virtues for ourselves, we much more effectively amass them by maintaining our focus on serving God, minute by tedious minute in the course. of our daily duties, for it is by accepting their tedium and the constant pricks to our ego provided by our little failings that true spiritual riches are given generously to us by our loving Father who always sees our good intentions in such a way as to overlook our mishaps.

And so, we place our entire confidence in His mercy and infinite love for us. Our zeal for God’s glory drives us with a keen desire to serve Him with good works, and our humility leads us to trust in Him as to the outcome. We know that all belongs to Him, and the value of all our works has already been consecrated to Him through the Immaculate Heart of Mary;  we are her children, after all.

Humility is the sticking point in our relationship with the world. It is the bone of contention. Indeed, personal achievement, “self-esteem”, “self-confidence”, those are the core of modern values. This is virulent neopagan pride and it infects Catholics, even traditional Catholics, almost as pervasively as it has infected the vast secular majority today. Until this pride and its progeny, liberty and tolerance, are defeated, the spiritual chastisement must intensify.

Dom Boylan notes that “cultivation of humility should commence in the interior. It will be learned by keeping good company and the best company is that of Jesus and Mary. If we but read the life of Our Lord as that of a friend, we cannot help being influenced by His constant example. Frequent meditation on the Passion will bring us more quickly to humility than anything else; and while humility is dependent upon true self-knowledge, such knowledge is better obtained by studying what God is than what we ourselves are. The continual remembrance of God is one of the best ways of ensuring humility, for humility is really reverence for God and advance in humility means advance in reverence for God.”

“Here again, we find that the Christian life is but a continuation of the Mass. In the Mass we offer Sacrifice to assure God that we are nothing and that He is all, to offer Him our adoration and our reverence. If we are sincere in our protestation, we shall maintain that attitude of humility of heart during the rest of the day.” . . .

It is only by humility that our love for Our Lord will fully take flight. As the Holy Spirit teaches us, God is a jealous God; this divine jealousy is not the vain self-love of original sin, but the jealousy of the Divine Lover, what Dom Boylan refers to as the Tremendous Lover who knows that He, and He alone, can give happiness to His beloved. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and thy whole soul, with all thy mind and all thy strength.”

St. Thomas a Kempis puts these words on Our Lord’s lips:

“What more do I ask of thee than to give thyself up entirely to Me? Whatever thy givest besides thyself is nothing to Me. I seek not thy gift but thyself! Just as thou couldst not be content without Me, though thou possessest everything else, so nothing thou offerest can please Me unless thou offerest Me thyself! Behold, I offered My whole self to the Father for thee, and I have given My whole Body and Blood for thy food, that I might be all thine, and thou might be all and always Mine. But if thou wilt stand upon thy own strength, and wilt not offer thyself freely to My will, thy offering is not perfect, nor will there be an entire union between us.” (Imitation of Christ, 4,8) [Note: This is Dom Boylan’s citation, I cannot locate this quote in my copies of the Imitation.]

 

Love and Desire

Dom Boylan: Our humility and obedience are but the exercise of our love and desire for Jesus, they are but means of giving ourself completely to Him, as He does to us in the Mass, and that is what, by our Communion and assistance at Mass, we signify our readiness to do. For that is the whole spiritual life – a love-union with Jesus, in which each of the lovers, the Divine and the human, give themselves completely to one another. It is not so much an acquisition of virtue, of performing heroic deeds, of amassing merit, of bearing fruit in the Church; these things are excellent , especially in so far as they come from love. But nothing less than our very self in its entirety will satisfy the Heart of Jesus, and all He asks is that we give Him our whole self in poverty and nothingness. The great way to do that is the way shown by Jesus and Mary – by love through humility and abandonment.

(I obtained my copy of “This Tremendous Lover” from AbeBooks.com, but I was told that Baronius Press now offers a reprint of this book.)

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!

On Meditation, Contemplation and Perseverance

 

Some readers have told me of 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. In coming weeks, I hope to write also on St. Teresa’s advice in the matter, as well, from her “Way of Perfection” and from Father Frasinetti’s “Treatise on Prayer with St. Teresa’s Pater Noster”.

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 perfection, 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, 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.

“At this time, then, the direction of the soul must be wholly different from what it was at first. If formerly it was supplied with matter for meditation and it did meditate, now that matter must be withheld and meditation must cease, because, as I have said, it cannot meditate, do what it will, and distractions are the result.

“If before it looked for fervor and sweetness and found them, let it look for them no more nor desire them; and if it attempt to seek them, not only will it not find them, but it will meet with aridity, because it turns away from the peaceful and tranquil good secretly bestowed upon it, when it attempts to fall back on the operations of sense. In this way it loses the latter without gaining the former, because the senses have ceased to be the channel of spiritual good.”

The primary purpose in quoting this long passage is to draw attention to the words in which the Saint indicates for us the fundamental disposition for the passage to contemplation, namely: that one has fashioned one’s senses and desires according to God, which disposition, with its result, He expects to find quickly reached in the case of religious. But the whole passage has been quoted because it sums up in pregnant language, weighted with all the authority of the Church’s Doctor of Prayer, all that these pages have been trying to say.

Continue reading “On Meditation, Contemplation and Perseverance”

Of Wise Men and Fools, 2020

 

Among the obstacles faced by the Magi, perhaps the greatest was the sheer indifference of the Israelites themselves. And yet, the Magi persisted, seeking this new born King. Our essay is based on a sermon from St. Jean Marie Vianney.

Let us consider to what degree the persistence of the Wise men attained. On their arrival at Jerusalem, the star which had guided them on the journey disappeared. They imagined without doubt that they had reached the place where our Saviour was born, and so they expected that the whole of Jerusalem would be filled with joy at the birth of its Redeemer.

What astonishment was theirs to see that Jerusalem showed no signs of joy whatever and in fact, did not even know its Redeemer is born at all! The Jews are so surprised to see how the Wise men came to worship the Messiah, that the Wise men began to wonder why the event was announced to them at all. Instead of bolstering their hopes, it seemed to them that their faith was being tested.  Was it not rather calculated to deter them from their journey, and to tempt them to return home secretly, for fear that they might become the laughing stock of Jerusalem?

Continue reading “Of Wise Men and Fools, 2020”

Slash and Burn, Reboot 2020

Slash and burn, reboot
Fresh, new growth springs from the ashes.

Slash and burn agriculture is the process of cutting down the vegetation in a particular plot of land, setting fire to the remaining foliage, and using the ashes to provide nutrients to the soil for the use of planting food crops.

Recently, a kind and gentle reader remarked, “it is not surprising that we see the ground being prepared, tilled so to speak, in order to receive the seed of the consecration.”

I’ve taken some time to consider this reader’s thoughtful comment and concluded that the ground will be prepared by a slightly different method.

In the slash and burn method, as detailed above, what is hindering the restoration of the faith and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the glut of arrogant, disobedient and indifferent catholics who now occupy the Church, as laity and above all, as consecrated leaders, who conspire against her and serve the lord of this world.  By His usual effective methods, I believe that God will clear away the debris, and in these ashes, by the humility and obedience of the survivors, and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Church will rise again. A chastened Pope will consecrate Russia, and a chastened Russia will welcome this.

Continue reading “Slash and Burn, Reboot 2020”

First Blood, 2020

For the Holy Day of the Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is also honored in the “New Order” as the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, we have added to this favorite post in order to counter-act the blasphemous slurs against Our Lady offered by Pope Francis. Thus, we shall offer a “First Blood, Part II” later today.

“Contemplating Him, we shall learn that deeds are better than words, that the greater the sacrifices they require, the greater the proof they give of real love. Furthermore, every undertaking must receive its baptism of blood in order to be fruitful.” (Divine Intimacy)

Today, the Octave of Christmas is the day we commemorate the first shedding of the precious blood of our Saviour, at His Circumcision.  It is fitting that we start off  the year with this commemoration of the first sacrifice of the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is His vivid lesson in humility and obedience, always necessary virtues.

Shedding His innocent blood, He revealed His obedience and His humility.

From Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. we read:

The Magnificat antiphon of First Vespers of the Feast sums up perfectly the spirit of this day, ‘For His great love, wherewith He loved us, He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.’ This liturgical solemnity unites to the consideration of God’s immense charity, which illumines and dominates all the feasts of the Christmas cycle, this vision of the Incarnate Son of God in the likeness of sinful man. In order to transform us from sinners into children of God, the only Son of the Father willed to be clothed in human nature, thereby putting on our sinful flesh and submitting to all its most humiliating consequences. The law of circumcision could in no way affect Jesus, the Son of God, the Most Holy One; but Jesus willed to submit to it as the least of the sons of Abraham, for as St. Paul says, ‘It behooved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren … that He might be a propitiation for the sins of the people’ (Heb. 2, 17). The rite … caused the first drops of the Precious Blood to be shed from the immaculate flesh of Jesus. Thus, eight days after His birth, He is beginning His redemptive mission. He has not yet spoken; the world does not yet know Him; but He is already shedding His blood for the salvation of mankind.

Contemplating Him, we shall learn that deeds are better than words, that the greater the sacrifices they require, the greater the proof they give of real love. Furthermore, every undertaking must receive its baptism of blood in order to be fruitful. “

Father reminds us that this first shedding of the Blood of Our Savior marks the beginning of the civil year, consecrating it, making it truly the “year of Our Lord”, since time itself belongs to God. Our life too, belongs to God; it has been redeemed and sanctified by the Blood of Christ.

Quoting St. Ambrose, Father Gabriel points out that circumcision represents purification from sins and that we too, can “become new creatures, purified in the Blood of Christ, vivified and nourished by His grace, so that it may no longer be we who live, but Christ Who lives in us. A new year! A new life! The new year which begins today will acquire value only if lived in this light.” Continue reading “First Blood, 2020”

Updating Our Subscription Program

Dear Readers,

First thank you very much, all who have responded to my emails to you. I was sorry to impose on you this way, but did not know of another way to accomplish this.

Your responses to the emails is a great help!

We are bringing our subscription database up to date and deleting inactive addresses prior to transitioning to a new subscription program.

We hope this will improve the process of subscribing, unsubscribing,  and commenting.

If you would like to continue to subscribe, and did not receive an email from me within the last 2 -3 days, please email me:  evensong (at) returntofatima (dot) org.

Those addresses which have not responded will be removed from the database prior to posting the next article.

If all goes well, readers should still be able to subscribe, (I hope) in the current subscription program, which will remain until I can complete the transition to a new subscription program.

I was unable to contact readers who subscribe via WordPress. If you do not want to email me and are dropped, it should be possible for you to resubscribe through WordPress. You will need to handle that through them.

Thank you for your help, and I hope this hassle will bear fruit – that people who want to unsubscribe will never receive an unwanted email from me, and that those who do want to subscribe will be able to do so easily.

Update as of Jan. 10, 2020: We hope soon to have a new subscription program. Until then, I am still unable to manually add subscriptions,

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.

Dross into Gold, 2019

 

 ‘Gold is purified in the fire.’ So tribulation purifies and fortifies the soul, and the time of temptation is of great profit both to you and to souls.’
(Our Lord to Sister Josefa Menendez)

 

Today, December 29, we mark the 95th anniversary of the death of Sister Josefa Menendez, the humble nun who wrote “The Way of Divine Love” in obedience to her superiors.  In paperback from TAN, or on Kindle. We’ve written about the beautiful Way of Divine Love before (here) and about Sister Josefa’s deep devotion to the Divine Infant (here). But now, we will focus on the most often overlooked or misunderstood concept in Josefa’s writings: true humility.

The writings of Sister Josefa echo in many ways the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and one can discern a hint of them in Sister Lucia’s writings as well. I strongly suspect that the true writings of Sister Lucia would bear even more resemblance to both of them were we to have access to them. This is because Our Lord Jesus Christ has been telling us in no uncertain terms, what is necessary to counter-act the arrogant self-centeredness which prevails in the world today.

Tragically, this selfishness has so captivated the souls of mankind that today among the vast majority of people, there is a rigid resistance to Our Lord’s plea for humility of heart. Mankind has developed a resistance to the grace of God much as some disease bacteria develop a resistance to antibiotics, and now it is common in our culture to despise the “poor in spirit” as lacking in self esteem, and to care not a whit for the “Kingdom of Heaven”.

It is true that the Message of Divine Love is Christ’s plea for our love but it is also a valuable reminder that we must become truly as a little child, poor in spirit, meek and pure of heart in order to be able to receive His love,  Otherwise we risk succumbing to the darkness that cannot grasp the light. The worldly are unable to grasp Our Lord’s words to St. Margaret Mary:

“If I had been able to find a creature more miserable than you,” He said to Saint Margaret Mary, “I should have chosen her….”

And to Sister Josefa:

“If I could have found a more wretched creature, I should have chosen her for my special love, and through her revealed the longings of My Heart. But I have not found one, and so I have chosen you.” (June 7th, 1923).

Why does Our Lord speak so?  Think on it. The devil draws us after him with sweetness, flattery, for he knows that hides his poison best.  And we are so easily lured away from Christ! Do we really think that Christ will try to out-flatter the devil in order to lure us to His side with sweet words? God forbid!

Our Lord Jesus Christ loves us despite the ingrained sins and weakness which so distort the beauty of our souls. He knows that flattering and praising us will not free us from these deep sins; in fact, will only confirm us in them. Through devotion to His Sacred Heart, He offers us the flame of His Divine love which consumes in us all these weaknesses and impurities to strengthen us against the false promises of the ancient deceiver, if we allow it.

It is with those few who have kept His grace in their hearts, who seek His “hard sayings” that we share the truth of the Way of Divine Love.

Continue reading “Dross into Gold, 2019”

December 26, 1957

 

If I were to tell you, many nations will disappear from the face of the earth. She (Our Lady) said that Russia will be the instrument of chastisement chosen by Heaven to punish the whole world”, you would dismiss me. In fact, I have been dismissed by many, even some well known bloggers.

But when I have asserted that indeed, many nations are going to disappear and Russia will, in very fact, be the instrument of chastisement, I am only quoting Sister Lúcia of Fatima who stated this fact to Father Fuentes 62 years ago today.

After Lúcia made this statement, both she and Father Fuentes were silenced. And the evil forces at war with the Church redoubled their efforts to destroy the Blessed Virgin’s message of Fatima. In itself, it is not surprising that the devil’s forces would war against the Message of the Holy Virgin. What is however, most regrettable is that so few true traditional Catholics leaders are willing to warn the faithful. The result of their indifference is that anyone such as myself, who attempts to warn faithful Catholics, is disregarded out of hand. I know very well that it is a great blessing for me to be humbled and ignored,  but it is such a shame for Our Lady’s message of Fatima to be so disregarded! Sister Lúcia  was faithfully reporting what Our Lady of the Rosary told her “many times” – and she it is who should be heeded! And so it is fitting that we revisit her interview with Father Fuentes from 62 years ago.

Our source is Volume III of Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité’s “The Whole Truth About Fatima”.  Editor comments are in black.

Sister Lúcia’s 1957 interview with Father Augustin Fuentes

Father Augustin Fuentes was a Mexican priest, the vice-postulator of the causes for beatification of Francisco and Jacinta,  and simultaneously postulator for the causes of the Mexican martyrs under the Masonic persecution of Elias Calles (1924-1928).  In effect, he had the privilege of speaking at length with the Fatima seer on December 26, 1957. He had already met Sister Lúcia on August 10, 1955. After his return to Mexico, on May 22, 1958, he gave a conference to the mother-house of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Guadalupe. During this conference he reported Sister Lúcia’s words. The account of this conference was published, Father Alonso stresses, ‘with every guarantee of authenticity and with due episcopal approval, including that of the Bishop of Leiria.’ Father Fuentes made it clear that this was a message received ‘from the very lips of the principal seer.’ Here are the excerpts of the original Spanish text quoted by Father Alonso: [Note: Fr. Alonso was the official Archivist of Fatima.]

Father Fuentes’ introduction: “I wish only to tell you about the last conversation which I had with Sister Lúcia on the 26th of December last year. I met her in her convent. She was very sad, very pale and emaciated. She said to me:

Continue reading “December 26, 1957”