Novena for the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary 2020

We offer this Novena today to begin  it tomorrow, January 24 and finish on the Vigil of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for those of us who would like to renew our Consecrations on Our Lady’s Feast day.

Please note that each day’s prayers conclude with the God the Shepherd Prayer for the Pope. This is because we really do need to pray for this benighted man. Saint Jacinta of Fatima stressed the need for us to pray for the Pope and I believe that when we pray for this poor man, it pleases Our Lady so much. I hope you will consider it.

Each day, we begin with:

Come, Holy Ghost
Come, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray.
O God, who hast taught the hearts of Thy faithful by the light of the Holy Ghost; grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may always truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolation. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

First Day:

Most holy Mary, bright Mirror of all virtues, the forty days after thy delivery were no sooner past than thou, though the purest of all virgins, didst will to be presented in the Temple to be purified according to the Law; Grant that we by imitating thee, may keep our hearts unstained by sin, that so we too may be made worthy one day to be presented to our God in Heaven.

Continue reading “Novena for the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary 2020”

Heaven in Three Hail Marys, 2020

 

A note for readers who have asked why I have not posted on the ongoing drama of the two popes – i.e., what is wrong, am a sick again, and what do I think of this or that post from various blogs. First, I do not read those blogs, no matter how many times you send them to my inbox, for I am practicing what I “preach” and making reparation. Our Lord Jesus Christ is offended and has begun chastising us. We have been given a brief period of mercy, a last chance for reparation, before the culmination. A period of unimaginable misery is upon us and many will find themselves caught up in hell on earth.

Why should you listen to me? As someone challenged, “What gives you the right to tell me to repent?, who do you think you are?”  Certainly, I am not worthy, me, least of all! – that you should listen to me, but I have passed on to you as faithfully as I am able to do, the words of Our Lord, of Our Blessed Mother, and of the saints who are approved by the true magisterium. Please do not be led astray! Hold fast to the truth, hold fast to our Queen and Mother, who will not leave us orphans.

St. Alphonsus of Liguori assures us that: “A devout servant of Mary shall never perish.” That is why it is regrettable  to see Catholics  today fall away from true devotion to our Blessed Mother. One simple but very effective little devotion to Our Lady is the venerable old practice of the Three Hail Marys. This is a long-established practice which has been promoted by some of the greatest saints, such as St. Anthony, St. Mechtilde, St. Gertrude, St. Leonard of Port Maurice and was blessed by Pope St. Pius X.

In brief, the devotion consists of the following:

Continue reading “Heaven in Three Hail Marys, 2020”

“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!

Feast of the Holy Family, 2020

 

Today, the first Sunday after Epiphany, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family, which is the last time in the liturgical year in which we honor the hidden life of Jesus. It is also the best time for the Consecration of the Family to the Holy Family and the Enthronement of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts in our homes.

Thus, it is fitting that in the Gospel today, we read of the event which comprises the Fifth Joyful Mystery, the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. In this, we commemorate the first words of Jesus recorded in the Gospel, “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

St. Luke then tells us that Jesus returned to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph “and was subject to them.” In this brief account, we have several important lessons: First, Jesus establishes His mission in His first recorded words,  “I must be about My Father’s business.” And second, Jesus was subject to Mary and Joseph. The Son of God first asserts the primacy of God, by stating that His mission is to serve the Father in all things, then Jesus affirms the importance of family, “He was subject to them.” On the firm bedrock of total obedience to God in all things, we can most perfectly live out our love of God within our families, whether they be our personal families or our religious communities. If love of God comes first, what follows cannot fail to serve Him.

 My Father's business
My Father’s business

 

As we open our minds and our hearts, lifting them to God in this, the Fifth Joyful Mystery, we consider Saint Joseph leading his Holy Family back home from the Temple. The blessed peace that surrounds them draws us in too, and we are nourished with the truths of this holy mystery. By His actions, Our Lord teaches us humility and obedience in His submission to His Father’s will and through that, because of that, His submission to Mary and Joseph. By our consecrations we submit to them too, and so we learn humility and obedience. We also learn poverty; now, in the first beatitude,  Our Lord makes us a promise for this virtue:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”

The Fatima Connection

On the fifth visit, September 13, 1917, Our Lady told the children, “In October … Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to give peace to  the world.” And in Sister Lucia’s accounts of the Sixth Visit, she related that this is precisely what occurred. You may ask, “Where then is this peace”? The answer, if you will hear it yet again, is, “Your peace is dependent upon your obedience!” As an infant receives the graces of baptism, we, the faithful have been given unimaginable graces in great profusion, awaiting only our cooperation. If we but seek them, turning to Jesus and Mary – and Joseph too!) and seeking them in humility and obedience, we shall see miracles as never before seen in this tired old world, making all things new, restoring the faith.

Continue reading “Feast of the Holy Family, 2020”

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”

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”

His Name Shall be Called Emmanuel, 2019

 

We pray that you all have a  very Merry and Blessed  Christmas
and a fruitful New Year!

“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel.”

His name shall be called Emmanuel, that is, “God with us.” This is truly the meaning of Christmas, the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, God with us!  For, as St. Jean-Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars tells us, “… the second Person of the Trinity had taken a human nature, a human body, and a human soul, the same as we have. He has become one of us. He is like us in all things, with the exception of sin, says the Apostle. That is the first step of the mercy of God which we devoutly adore in the crib at Bethlehem. Sin separated man from God; between man and God there yawned a deep chasm, which man was not capable of bridging over.” (1)

And, in infinite humility, He comes not as a ruler of this world, in great pomp and pageantry but as a Child, entering our world as helplessly as we ourselves do. From St. Jean Vianney again, “Who can comprehend the greatness of the mercy of God in His abasement? Let the eagle become a worm, and at the same time preserve his eagle nature, you give him the greatest torture, because he can no longer move his wings. Give the lion, with his lion nature, the form of a snail, and he would roar with pain. What a fetter is our body for our soul! But it bears no comparison to the abasement which God laid upon Himself when He took a human body and abased Himself like unto a man.”

And why was this so?

Continue reading “His Name Shall be Called Emmanuel, 2019”

The Coming of Christ our Savior, 2019

The Coming of Christ our Savior

And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. (Isaias 11)

 

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, in his Life of Christ, asserts that if God were to send His Son as Savior of the world, the least He would do is to announce His birth and the details surrounding His birth; after all, even auto makers announce their new models and diplomats, when arriving in a country, provide papers, produced beforehand that announce their coming.

We know of numerous prophecies in the centuries before Christ’s birth, prophecies of many other cultures which foretold of the coming of Christ. For instance:

  • Tacitus speaking of the ancient Roman prophecies said, “The East was to prevail and from Judea was to come the Master and Ruler of the world.”
  • From the Chinese Annals of the Celestial Empire: “In the 24th year of Tchao-Wang of the Dynasty of the Tcheou, on the 8th day of the 4th moon, a light appeared in the Southwest which illumined the king’s palace. The monarch, struck by its splendor, interrogated the sages. They showed him books in which this prodigy signified the appearance of the great Saint of the West whose religion was to be introduced into their country.”
  • From the ancient Greeks, Aeschylus, 6 centuries before Christ wrote, “Look not for any end to this curse until God appears, to accept upon His head the pangs of thy own sins vicarious.”
  • Virgil, in his Fourth Eclogue speaks of their ancient prophecies that a King would come whom they must recognize in order to be saved, and wrote of “a chaste woman, smiling on her Infant Boy, with whom the iron age would pass away.”

And yet, we know nothing of the mother of Buddha or Confucius. The false prophets, such as Joseph Smith of the Mormons, or Mohammed for his false god, Allah, have had to take recourse in an after-the-fact myth of revelation. They just arrived and demanded, “Here I am, believe me.” But the Old Testament is replete with numerous, detailed prophecies predicting the events surrounding Christ’s birth.

The Archbishop recounts that the the Bible of the Alexandrian Jews, the Septuagint predicts the Virgin Birth, the sufferings of Christ and His everlasting reign. Abp. Sheen states that Christ’s coming is distinguished from all other claimants by three facts:

  • First, He was expected; we have numerous proofs from other cultures around the world that indicate a longing for a redeemer to as Aeschylus said, unloose man from the “primal eldest curse”.
  • Second, At His appearance, He made such an impact that He split history in two, dividing it into two periods, that before His coming and that after it. The Jewish and Roman civilizations were changed from that time on. (Of course, now, with satan firmly in charge, the world is fiercely working to change that, which plays into another prophecy, for another time.)
  • Third, is that unlike every false savior, who came into the world to live, Jesus Christ came in order to die for our sins. Indeed, what is missing from the false christs is the true concept of sin, much as with today’s Modernists – is it any wonder that they show such ecumenical fervor for these false faiths and such disdain for faithful Christians?

As we look upon the helpless Infant born into poverty in a nondescript village in an insignificant country, we understand that truly, God reveals Himself  only  to the pure of heart, not to the proud, and wicked and worldly Herod, Sanhedrin, Roman rulers, or even to the other members of the house of David gathered in the town, but only to the shepherds who kept watch in silence and prayer, and therefore heard the Angel, “For unto you is born this day a Saviour Who is Christ, the Lord.” (Luke 2, 11).

Let’s use this remaining time to prepare the way for the coming of our Saviour with prayer. If we seek Him with the purity of our hearts, He will come to us, in the dark quiet of the night of our soul and with His most Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, this Holy Family will be our family, a never-failing haven from the betrayal of this sad and lost world.   Although He could have come to us in power and glory,  He comes to us as a Child so that we may hold Him lovingly to our hearts, and to remind us that we too, must be children of this Immaculate Mother.

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 Precious Blood of Jesus, save us, save our priests.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come – Viva Cristo Rey!
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
  Remember, pray the rosary and confound satan!

[This post originally from 2015 by evensong. Updated and reposted by peregrine, December 20, 2017.]

Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

 

St. Joseph’s Role in the Coming of Christ, 2019

 

Today, we offer a few thoughts on St. Joseph’s role in the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the writings of Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.

ST. JOSEPH’S EXCEPTIONAL MISSION

To St. John the Baptist was entrusted the task of announcing the immediate coming of the Messiah. It can be said then that he was the greatest precursor of Jesus in the Old Testament; and it is in this sense that St. Thomas understands our Lord’s pronouncement in St. Matthew’s Gospel:  “Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of woman a greater than John the Baptist.”  But our Lord immediately adds: “Yet he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

The kingdom of heaven is the Church on earth and in heaven, the New Testament surpassing the perfection of the Old although some just men of the Old have been holier than many of the New. And in the Church who is “he that is the lesser”? These mysterious words have received more than one interpretation. They make us think of words spoken later by Jesus: “For he that is the lesser among you all, he is the greater.”

The lesser means the most humble, the servant of all, and therefore, because of the connection and proportion of the virtues, the one who has the greatest charity. And who in the Church is the most humble? He who was neither apostle nor evangelist nor martyr—exteriorly at least—nor pontiff nor priest, nor doctor, but who knew and loved Christ Jesus certainly no less than the apostles, the Evangelists, the martyrs, the popes and doctors of the Church: the humble artisan of Nazareth, the humble Joseph.

The apostles were called to make the Savior known, to preach the gospel that men might be saved. Their mission, like John the Baptist’s, belongs to the order of grace necessary for the salvation of all; but an order still higher than the order of grace exists, one constituted by the very mystery of the Incarnation, the order of the hypostatic or personal union of the humanity of Jesus with the very Word of God. Mary’s unique mission of divine motherhood adjoins this order, and Joseph’s hidden mission also, in a sense, has a like position. . . .

Bossuet expresses all this with lovely clarity in his first panegyric on this great saint when he tells us:

“Among vocations I have noticed two in the Scriptures that seem direct opposites, the apostles’ and Joseph’s. Jesus is revealed to the apostles to be announced throughout the universe; He is revealed to Joseph to be passed over in silence and to be kept hidden. The apostles act as light, to show Jesus Christ to the world. Joseph serves as a veil to cover Him; and under this mysterious veil are hidden for us Mary’s virginity and the Savior’s greatness. . . . He who glorifies the apostles with the honor of preaching glorifies Joseph with the humility of silence.”

Before the manifestation of the first Christmas should come, it had to be prepared for by thirty years of hidden life. For each of us perfection consists in doing what God wills in the life to which He has called us. Joseph’s entirely exceptional vocation seems, in its silence and obscurity, to surpass the calling of the greatest apostles, touching so closely the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation. After Mary, Joseph appears nearer than anyone else to the Author of grace; and if he was, then he received in the silence of Bethlehem, during the sojourn in Egypt, and in Nazareth’s little home, more graces than any other saint will ever receive. His special mission in regard to Mary consisted chiefly in contracting with the Mother of God a real and absolutely holy marriage.

Continue reading “St. Joseph’s Role in the Coming of Christ, 2019”