Make Straight the Way

As we know, the very first miracle performed by our Lord Jesus Christ was performed through the Blessed Virgin Mary to free John the Baptist from original sin in order to prepare him for his great task as the precursor. Matthew introduces John to us as he trekked through Judea proclaiming:  “Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. … Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”  (Matt 3, 2-3)

Today, we offer evensong’s post from a year ago recommending the Novena to the Holy Ghost. If we begin today, we will conclude on the Eve of the greatest of Marian Feasts, the Immaculate Conception of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

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It is only by prayer and fasting, that these demons can be cast out. For make no mistake, the devil is in control in that house run by Ricca. See here, here and here

Where will this all end?

Where Our Lord Jesus Christ and His most pure Mother have told us. In the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph!

Think on it and please consider the Novena to the Holy Ghost.  If we want good priests, let us at least pray to deserve them!

Prayers are being answered, faithful prelates are responding to the crisis. In response to requests for devotions for this time of crisis, we suggest the Litany of Our Lady of Victory, the Irresistible Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the following Novena to the Holy Ghost, any or all should help immensely as we strive to support our holy priests and Bishops in this historical battle for the Faith. If we begin this Novena tomorrow, we shall conclude it on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception,  thus a fitting start for our preparations for the Birth of our Savior, the Light of the World, Who comes to drive out the darkness in His Church.

"Make of us a strong army to defend Thy heritage against Thine enemies."
“Make of us a strong army to defend Thy heritage against Thine enemies.”

NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST

Day 1:

O Holy Spirit! Lord of light!
From Thy clear celestial height,
Thy pure and beaming radiance give!

Colloquy: The Holy Ghost

Only one thing is important – eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared – sin. Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and especially indifference. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us.”

Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given us forgiveness of all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from Heaven upon us Thy sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation

On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself body and soul to Thee, eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Thy purity, the unerring keenness of Thy justice and the might of Thy love. Thou art the strength and light of my soul. In Thee I live and move and have my being. I desire never to grieve Thee by unfaithfulness to grace, and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against Thee. Make me faithful in every thought, and grant that I may always listen to Thy voice, watch for Thy light, and follow Thy gracious inspirations.

I cling to Thee and give myself to Thee, and I ask Thee by Thy compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced feet of Jesus, beholding His five wounds, trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened side and stricken Heart, I implore Thee, adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Thy grace that I may never sin against Thee.

Grant to me the grace, O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son, to say to Thee always and everywhere, “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant hears.” Amen.

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Lord Jesus Christ, Who before ascending into Heaven didst promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Thy work in the souls of Thine Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Ghost to me, that He may perfect in my soul the work of Thy grace and Thy love. Grant me:

  • the Spirit of Wisdom, that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal;
  • the Spirit of Understanding, to enlighten my mind with the light of Thy Divine truth;
  • the Spirit of Counsel, that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining Heaven;
  • the Spirit of Fortitude, that I may bear my cross with Thee and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation;
  • the Spirit of Knowledge, that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints;
  • the Spirit of Piety, that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable;
  • the Spirit of Fear, that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him.

Mark me, Dear Lord, with the sign of Thy true disciples, and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.

Day 2

Come, Thou Father of the poor!
Come, with treasures which endure!
Come, Thou light of all that live!

Colloquy: The Gift of Fear

The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of Hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.”

Prayer

Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set Thee, my Lord and God, before my face forever; help me to shun all things that can offend Thee, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Thy Divine Majesty in Heaven, where Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, one God, world without end. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation (as above)
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost (as above)

Day 3

Thou of all Consolers best,
Visiting the troubled breast,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.

Colloquy: The Gift of Piety

The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.

Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Day 4

Thou in toil art Comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat,
Solace in the midst of woe.

Colloquy: The Gift of Fortitude

By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to undertake without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”

Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Day 5

Light immortal! Light Divine!
Visit Thou these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill.

Colloquy: The Gift of Knowledge

The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth—–in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. “Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it.”

Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thine eternal rewards. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Day 6

If Thou take Thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill.

Colloquy: The Gift of Understanding

Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Ghost, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion. By faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them, It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and,through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to “walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son, Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Day 7

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness, pour Thy dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away.

Colloquy: The Gift of Counsel

The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must be done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Catholic citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. “Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth.”

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy Commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Day 8

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

Colloquy: The Gift of Wisdom

Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things Divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a Divine sweetness according to the words of the Savior: “Take up thy cross and follow Me, for My yoke is sweet and My burden light.”

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

Day 9

Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold Gifts descend.
Give them comfort when they die;
Give them life with Thee on high;
Give them joys which never end. Amen.

Colloquy: The Fruits of the Holy Ghost

The gifts of the Holy Ghost perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to Divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Ghost, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Ghost. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

Prayer

Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thine inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary once each.
Glory be to the Father seven times.

Act of Oblation
Prayer for Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

[This Novena is widely available on the net in slightly varied forms. It was originally composed and disseminated by the Holy Ghost Fathers. In this version, I have used basically the wording of the Novena available from Angelus Press, although the words of the Hymn which is quoted are from another version.]

Today, unfortunately, we see everywhere evidence that satan is redoubling his efforts most furiously. But he is helpless before the Immaculate Mother of God. And as we look to her now, our Blessed Mother points us to her Spouse, the Holy Ghost, to prepare us for the coming purification of the Church. Let us never doubt that God defends His most chaste Bride, the Church no less than He defends His most cherished creature, the Immaculata!

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Spouse of the Holy Ghost, intercede for us and for the Church!

Remember, Pray the Rosary and confound the devil!

~ evensong,  for love of the Immaculata
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies!

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2017

Today, we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary on the feast day of her Presentation in the Temple, when her parents, Joachim and Anne, who had consecrated her to the Lord God, brought her to the Temple of Jerusalem.

"Hearken O Daughter and consider, and incline thine ear, forget also thine own people, and thy father's house. And so shall the King desire thy beauty, for He is the Lord thy God."
“Hearken O Daughter and consider, and incline thine ear, forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house. And so shall the King desire thy beauty, for He is the Lord thy God.”

 

We don’t expect that Pope Francis will honor Our Lady on her feast day today, so it is up to us, her children to honor our Mother today.  Although modernists disparage this feast for what they perceive as a “lack of historicity”, for those who are consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, this beautiful feast teaches volumes about Mary’s devotion to the most Holy Trinity. According to Venerable Maria de Agreda,  this beautiful mystery is a lesson of the importance of humility. Thus, it is a worthwhile meditation for our preparation for our Total Consecration soon.

The Hebrew Ark of the Covenant was but a foreshadowing of the true Ark which is the most Blessed Virgin Mary herself; she who was foreordained to bear our Lord Jesus Christ, Savior. As our Little Office proclaims, “Thou wast the Mother of Him Who made thee, and thou remainest a Virgin forever”. And so, Joachim and Anne brought the true Royal Ark of the Covenant to the Temple, but to all appearances they were merely ordinary pious Jews of their time  bringing yet another consecrated child to the Temple.

Mother Maria de Agreda tells us of Mary, that God  “ordained in her regard that she receive no honor or recognition at that time, so that she (would) be the shining example of humility, of retirement, of contempt and horror for the dreadful vanity of the world, of love for sufferings … and dishonors inflicted by creatures. All holiness is adverse and contrary to the applause, honors and estimation of the world.”

“In ascending the fifteen stairs the Child brought to fulfillment, that, which Jacob saw happening in sleep; for here too were angels ascending and descending: the ones accompanying, the others meeting their Queen as She hastened up; whereas at the top God was waiting in order to welcome Her as his Daughter and Spouse.” (Ven. Agreda, “The Mystical City of God”)

What a fruitful scene for our meditations!  Firstly, we note that the Temple is stated to have 15 steps – which leads us to consider the 15 decades of the  Rosary by which we approach the Living Temple of the Trinity, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Think now, of this – the bittersweet moment of leave-taking for Joachim and Anne, who had prayed for many years for God to send them a child, only to be called to surrender her at the tender age of three! Then think of the Blessed Virgin responding to Our Father’s call. Psalm 44 speaks to us of this moment of surrender,

“Hearken O Daughter and consider, and incline thine ear, forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house. And so shall the King desire thy beauty, for He is the Lord thy God.” (Psalm 44, 11,12) . 

Think too, that this is actually the first time that the Blessed Virgin meets Simeon and Anna, for it was Simeon who received her as she ascended the stairs and he brought her to Anna, who brought her up as her own. And so we see that this moment foreshadows the fateful moment when Our Lady brought her own Divine Son to the Temple, and handed Him to Simeon and Anna.

Tradition tells us that she danced on the steps, on her way to her life of consecration to the Lord. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen tells us that this total consecration is a matter of detaching the affections, of seclusion from the world. Not always a material seclusion but it is absolutely essential that it be a matter of being “in the world, but not of the world”. He continues,

Corresponding to complete separation is oblation, total consecration. Mary gave herself wholly to God, unreservedly, forever.

“Lord, in the simplicity of my heart I offer myself to Thee this day as Thy servant forevermore, for Thy homage and for a sacrifice of perpetual praise.” (Imitation of Christ, IV, 9,1).

Mary gave herself wholly to God, allowing Him to exercise over her all His rights as Sovereign, Lord, and Master. She made no objections nor did she marvel that her immolation should reach such proportions; had she not offered herself without reserve? And when her offering was consummated she did nothing but repeat: “Fiat! Ecce ancilla Domini!”

Let us ask Mary, presented in the Temple, to take our poor offering into her immaculate hands, to purify and complete it by her offering, so pure, so perfect; to include it and hide it in hers, and being thus purified and renewed, may it be agreeable to God.

St. Alphonsus Liguori’s Prayer for the Presentation:

“O dearly Beloved of God, most amiable Child Mary, would that today I could offer to you the first years of my life and consecrate myself to your service, my blessed and sweet Lady, as you presented and consecrated yourself in the Temple for the honor and glory of God … but time has slipped away and so many years have been spent in serving the world and my own caprice, forgetful of you and of God. Woe to the time when I did not love you! But better late than never. Behold, O Mary, I present myself to you this day, offering myself entirely to your service for the number of days, be they few or many, that are left to me on earth. I renounce all creatures as you did and vow myself entirely to the love of my Creator.

“I consecrate to you  my Queen, my intellect that it may always think upon the love that you deserve, my tongue that it may praise you, my heart that it may love you. Accept Most Holy Virgin, the offering which this wretched sinner presents to you; accept it, I beg, by the consolation your heart felt when you gave yourself to God in the Temple. And if I am late in putting myself at your service, it is but fitting that I redeem the time lost by redoubling my devotions and my love for thee.

“O Mother of Mercy, help my weakness by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Son Jesus, the strength to be faithful to you until death. Grant that after having served you in this life I may go to praise you eternally in Paradise. Amen.”

We must always understand that our turning from creatures does not at all mean that we love them less, but that by loving them through God, that is for love of Him, we love them much more beneficently than when we loved them for our own satisfaction. Our Lord taught us, in His Beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt. 5,3) As always, Mary leads the way, making her first vows at the age of three, she left all to become poor in spirit. We are her children after all!

 

  O Immaculate Queen of our hearts, make our hearts like unto thine!

  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.

 Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!

  St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family, 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!

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From the Heart of St. Margaret Mary

On her feast day, we offer a few excerpts from the Autobiography which St. Margaret Mary Alacoque wrote in obedience to her superiors. Her flawless humility and obedience made her the perfect choice to reawaken  devotion to  Our Lord’s most Sacred Heart, and this extraordinary saint still inspires us with her devotion to serving Our Lord with mortifications and the most perfect obedience.

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

When you read the following words of this saint, do not get disheartened, but instead be thankful that we have Our Lady of the Rosary to keep us close to her Immaculate Heart. For she leads her children securely to the safety of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus,  and we know that He has reserved a place for her children.

St. Margaret Mary’s heroic virtues seem to place her on a hopelessly high level, too far above us to even aspire towards, but she arrived there by love, and so we too,  petition our Blessed Mother for the grace to ever love her Son more and more. We beg her for generous, sacrificial hearts.  The following is a personal favorite; it’s useful to review from time to time to ward off  self-indulgence and renew our resolution.

Saint Margaret Mary’s Recipe for Success:

. He willed that I should receive everything as coming from Him without procuring anything for myself; that I should abandon all to Him without disposing of anything; and that I should thank Him for suffering as well as for enjoyment.

. On the most painful and humiliating occasions I should consider that I not only deserved these, but even greater ones, and should offer the pain I experienced for the persons who afflicted me.

. Further, I was always to speak of Him with great respect, of my neighbor with esteem and compassion, and of myself never, or, at least, briefly and with contempt, unless for His glory He should make me do otherwise.

. I was ever to attribute all the good and the glory to His sovereign Greatness, and all the evil to myself; never to seek consolation out of Him, and even when He granted it to me, to renounce and offer it to Him.

. I was to cling to nothing, to empty and despoil myself of everything, to love nothing but Him, in Him and for the love of Him, to see in all things naught but Him and the interests of His glory in complete forgetfulness of myself.

. And though I was to do all my actions for Him, He willed that His Divine Heart should have a special part in each one. For example, when at recreation, I was to offer Him Its share by enduring sufferings, humiliations, mortifications and the rest, with which He would always provide me, and which on that account I was to accept willingly.

. In like manner in the refectory I was to give up for Its satisfaction whatever was most to my taste, and so on with all my other exercises.

. He likewise forbade me to judge, accuse or condemn anyone but myself.

. He gave me many other instructions, and as I was astonished at their number,  He told me to fear nothing, for He was a good Master, being as powerful to have His teaching carried into effect, as He was all-wise both to teach and to govern well.

. Thus I can affirm that, whether I would or not, I was obliged to do what He wished in spite of my natural repugnance.

Continue reading “From the Heart of St. Margaret Mary”