Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

 

“He told me that this Heart was to be honored under the form of a heart of flesh, the picture of which He wished to be exposed and worn by me on my heart, in order to impress its love upon my heart, and fill it with all the gifts with which His Heart is full …”

In honor of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque on this, her feast day, we present a few excerpts from a delightful collection of essays by the late Solange Strong Hertz. It is available in Kindle Edition, and titled: “The Thought of Their Heart, on Devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Holy Rosary.

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

The Open Heart

by Solange Strong Hertz

The history of devotion to the Sacred Heart is in a very real sense a gradual revelation of the secret life of the Church. Its prologue, written in the heart of St. John as he reclined against the Lord’s breast at the Last Supper, broadcasts its first rhythms to the world, setting the tempo for the dramatic rending on Calvary. Veneration for the wound inflicted there seems to have been the initial form of the cult among the faithful. From this wound, the “door in the ark,” there gradually issued the proliferation of grace we now know as Sacred Heart devotion, ramifying and increasing through time, space and circumstance to fit all the needs and conditions of worshippers truly seeking intimacy with their Lord.

It elicited tears of repentance, prompted praise, encouraged confident petition and proffered earth’s reparation to heaven for its sins against Love. For centuries the movement developed quietly in the privacy of religious houses and the souls of gifted individuals until it permeated the whole Church in ranks both clerical and lay. In addition to the saints already mentioned, among its devotees must be numbered St. Anselm, St. Frances of Rome, St. Lawrence Justinian, St. Bernardine of Siena, St. Joan of Valois, St. Peter of Alcantara, St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, St. Antoninus, St. Peter Canisius, St. Francis de Sales— to list but a few of those canonized. Others who spread its benefits are legion. Carthusians, Franciscans, Benedictines, Dominicans, each produced its particular “school” of spirituality based on affection for the wounded Heart of the Savior. The wealth of art, literature, and liturgy both canonical and popular which has come down to us on the subject attests to its vigor and sanctifying power.

Not surprisingly, it was St. John Eudes, the apostle of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who was instrumental in directing modern piety towards the Heart of her Son. Called by Pope St. Pius X “initiator, teacher and apostle of the liturgical cult of the Sacred Heart,” he had begun by drawing heavily on the writings of the old Cologne Carthusians so as to establish the cult on solid theological ground. By 1672 he had succeeded in obtaining ecclesiastical approval for a Mass of the Sacred Heart to be celebrated in the communities of his own Order, the Congregation of Jesus and Mary.

The very next year, on the feast of St. John the Apostle, December 27, 1673, the torrents of private revelations converged explosively in the Visitation convent at Paray-le-Monial in France. It was there that our Lord, appearing to the humble young nun, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, chose to set the seal of divine approval on what had until then been a most salutary practice in the Church, but which nevertheless remained a private affair— a kind of “inside track” for fleeter spirits. Our Lord had once told St. Gertrude:

Whenever you desire to obtain anything from Me, offer Me My Heart, which I have so often given you as a token of our mutual friendship, in union with the love which made Me become man for the salvation of men; and I give you this special mark of friendship, …

After four great apparitions in Paray from 1673 to 1675, … devotion to the Sacred Heart was soon to be enjoined upon all. If we are to believe the words of St. John the Apostle and the ancient prophets concerning the Heart of God, we who are living three hundred years later must be about to witness nothing less than the last moments of the world. “In the latter days you shall understand these things,” promised Jeremiah. “The THOUGHTS of HIS HEART to all generations: to deliver their souls from death and feed them in famine” (Introit, Mass of the Sacred Heart).

Continue reading “Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque”

Father Davide Pagliarani Interview

 

Recent interview with SSPX Superior General, Very Reverend Father Davide Pagliarani, from FSSPX News. (Link)

The following is merely a sampling from the interview which is well worth taking the time to read!

Q.: How do you regard the Society of Saint Pius X which you will have to supervise for twelve years?

The Society holds a treasure in its hands. Some have emphasized repeatedly that this treasure belongs to the Church, but I think that we can say that it belongs to us also by full right. It belongs to us, and this is why the Society is perfectly a work of the Church. Even now!

Tradition is a treasure, but in order to preserve it faithfully we must be aware that we are vessels of clay. The key to our future is found here: in the awareness of our weakness and of the need to watch over ourselves vigilantly. It is not enough to profess the faith in its entirety, if our lives do not express this integral faith regularly and concretely. To live Tradition means to defend it, to struggle for it, to fight so that it triumphs first in ourselves and in our families, so that then it can triumph throughout the whole Church.

Our fondest wish is that the official Church will stop considering Tradition as a burden or a set of outmoded old things, but rather as the only possible way to regenerate herself. However, major doctrinal discussions will not be enough to bring this work to completion: first we have to have souls ready for all sorts of sacrifices. This is true both for consecrated persons and for the lay faithful.

We ourselves must always renew our view of Tradition, not in a purely theoretical way, but in a truly supernatural manner, in light of the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. This will protect us from two contrasting dangers that often reinforce each other, namely: a pessimistic or defeatist lethargy and a kind of arid intellectualism.

I am convinced that we have here the key with which to confront the various difficulties that we may encounter.

Q.: Including the major problem of the crisis in the Church?

What are the important topics today? Vocations, the sanctification of priests, the care of souls. The tragic situation in the Church must not have such a great psychological impact on our minds that we are no longer capable of performing our duties. Our clear-sightedness must not paralyze us; if it does, it turns into darkness. Considering the crisis in the light of the Cross allows us to keep our serenity and to stand back, since serenity and objectivity are both indispensable if we are to have a sure judgment.

The present situation of the Church is a state of tragic decline: a sharp decrease in vocations, in the number of priests, in the practice of the faith, the disappearance of Christian customs, of the most elementary sense of God, which are manifested today—alas!— in the destruction of natural morality….

Now the Society has all the necessary means to lead the movement of the return to Tradition. More precisely, we have to confront two demands:

– on the one hand, to preserve our identity by recalling the truth and denouncing error: “Praedica verbum: insta opportune, importune: argue, obsecra, increpa.” “Preach the word: be instant [persistent] in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke” (2 Tim 4:2);

– on the other hand: “in omni patientia, et doctrina,” “in all patience and doctrine” (ibid.): attract to Tradition those who are walking in that direction, encourage them, introduce them little by little to the battle and to an increasingly courageous attitude. There still are authentically Catholic souls who thirst for the truth, and we have no right to refuse them the cup of cold water that is the Gospel by an indifferent or haughty attitude. These souls often end up encouraging us by their own courage and determination.

These two demands are complementary: we cannot separate one from the other, by focusing exclusively either on the denunciation of the errors resulting from Vatican II, or on the assistance that we owe to those who are becoming aware of the crisis and need to be enlightened. This twofold demand is profoundly one, since it is the manifestation of the sole charity of truth.

Q.: How does this aid to souls thirsting for the truth take concrete form?

I think that we must not set limits on Providence, which will give us on a case-by-case basis the means suited to the different situations. Each soul is a world in herself, she has a personal journey behind her, and it is necessary to know the soul individually so as to be in a position to come to her aid effectively. This is all about a fundamental attitude that we must cultivate in ourselves, a prior disposition to come to the aid of others, and not about an illusory concern with establishing the universal user’s manual that would apply to everyone.

To give some concrete examples, our seminaries presently are welcoming several priests from outside of the Society—three in Zaitzkofen and two in La Reja—who want to see clearly in the situation of the Church and who above all wish to live out their priesthood in its entirety.

The influence of the priesthood is the sole means by which the Church will be brought back to Tradition. We categorically must revive this conviction. The Society of Saint Pius X will soon be forty-eight years old. By God’s grace, it has experienced a prodigious expansion throughout the whole world; it has works that are growing everywhere, numerous priests, districts, priories, schools…. The downside of this expansion is that the spirit of initial conquest has inevitably weakened. Without meaning to be, we are increasingly absorbed by the management of everyday problems resulting from this development; the apostolic spirit can pale as a result; the risk is that the great ideals will fade away. We are in the third generation of priests since the foundation of the Society in 1970…. It is necessary to rediscover the missionary fervor that our founder inspired in us.

 

On Our Relations with Rome

Q.: Concerning our relations with Rome, what are the real facts?

Ever since the doctrinal discussions with the Roman theologians, you can say that we are confronted with two sources of communication, two types of relations that are established on levels that must be carefully distinguished:

  1. one public, official, clear source, which still imposes on us statements with essentially the same doctrinal contents;
  2. the other one that emanates from one or another member of the Curia, with interesting private exchanges containing new elements about the relative value of the Council, about this or that point of doctrine…. These are new and interesting discussions, which certainly should be pursued, yet nevertheless remain informal, unofficial, private discussions, whereas on the official level—despite a certain evolution of language—the same demands are always repeated.

Certainly we carefully note what is said positively in private, but here it is not really Rome speaking; these are well-meaning, timid Nicodemuses, and they are not the official hierarchy. Therefore it is necessary to stick strictly to the official documents, and to explain why we cannot accept them.

The latest official documents—for example, the letter from Cardinal Müller dated June 2017—always express the same demand: the Council must be accepted as a precondition, and after that it will be possible to keep discussing what is not clear to the Society; in doing so, they reduce our objections to a subjective difficulty in reading and comprehension, and they promise to help us to understand correctly what the Council really meant. The Roman authorities turn this prior acceptance into a question of faith and of principle; they say this explicitly. Their demands today are the same as they were thirty years ago. The Second Vatican Council must be accepted in the continuity of ecclesial Tradition, as a part to be integrated into that Tradition. They concede our point that there may be reservations on the part of the Society that deserve explanations, but in no case a rejection of the teachings of the Council as such: [for them] this is purely and simply Magisterial teaching!

Now the problem is right here, always at the same place, and we cannot shift it to somewhere else: what is the dogmatic authority of a Council that intended to be pastoral? What is the value of these new principles taught by the Council, which have been applied systematically, consistently and in perfect continuity with what had been taught by the hierarchy that was responsible both for the Council and for the post-conciliar period? This real Council is the Council of religious liberty, or collegiality, of ecumenism, of the “living tradition”…, and unfortunately it is not the result of a wrong interpretation. The proof of this is that this real Council has never been rectified or corrected by the competent authority. It conveys a spirit, a teaching, a way of thinking about the Church which are an obstacle to the sanctification of souls, and its tragic results are right before the eyes of all intellectually honest men, of all people of good will. This real Council corresponds at the same time to a doctrinal teaching and a lived-out practice that have been imposed on the “People of God”; we refuse to accept this as just another council like the others. This is why we discuss its authority, but always in a spirit of charity, for we want nothing but the good of the Church and the salvation of souls. Our discussion is not a mere theological joust and, in fact, it has bearing on subjects that are not “debatable”: the life of the Church is at stake here, indubitably. And that is what God will judge us on.

This, then, is the perspective in which we stick to the official documents from Rome, with respect but also with realism; it is not about being on the right or the left, hard-line or lax: it is simply about being realistic.

Q.: What should be done while waiting?

I can answer only by mentioning a few priorities. First, trust in Providence, which cannot abandon us and which has always given us signs of its protection and its benevolence. To doubt, to hesitate, to ask for other guarantees from Providence would constitute a serious lack of gratitude. Our stability and strength depend on our trust in God: I think that all of us ought to examine our conscience on their subject.

Moreover, it is necessary to rediscover each day the treasure that we hold in our hands, to remember that this treasure comes to us from Our Lord Himself and that it cost Him His Blood. By regularly placing ourselves again in the presence of these sublime realities in all their grandeur, our souls will habitually remain in adoration and will be strengthened as needed for the day of trial.

We must also have a growing concern for the education of children. It is necessary to keep clearly in mind the goal that we wish to achieve and not be afraid to speak to them about the Cross, about the passion of Our Lord, about His love for the little ones, about sacrifice. It is absolutely necessary for the souls of children to be captured already at a very tender age by the love of Our Lord, before the spirit of the world can seduce and ravish them. This question absolutely has priority, and if we do not manage to transmit what we have received, that is the sign that we are not sufficiently convinced of it.

Finally, we must struggle against a certain intellectual laziness: doctrine indeed is what gives our battle for the Church and for souls its reason for being. It is necessary to make an effort to update our analysis of major current events, in the light of the perennial doctrine, without being content with the lazy “copy-and-paste” which the Internet—again—unfortunately promotes. Wisdom sets and resets things in order, at every moment, and each thing finds its exact place.

The Mass Crusade Archbishop Lefebvre

Q.: What can the faithful do, more particularly?

At Mass, the faithful discover the echo of the ephpheta, “be opened”, pronounced by the priest at Baptism. Their soul is opened once more to the grace of the Holy Sacrifice. Even when they are very little, children who attend Mass are sensitive to the sacred meaning that the Traditional liturgy expresses. Above all, attending Mass makes fruitful the life of married couples, with all its trials, and gives it a profoundly supernatural meaning, for the graces of the Sacrament of Matrimony flow from Our Lord’s sacrifice. Attending Mass is what reminds them that God wants to make use of them as cooperators in the most beautiful of His works: sanctifying and protecting the souls of their children.

During his jubilee in 1979, Abp. Lefebvre had invited us to a Mass crusade, for God wants to renew the priesthood and, through it, the family, which is attacked today from every side. His vision then was prophetic; nowadays it has become an observation that anyone can make. What he foresaw, we now have before our eyes:

“What is left, then, for us to do, my dear brethren? If we deepen our understanding of the great mystery which is the Mass, I think I can say that we should have a crusade, emphasizing the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ; emphasizing that invincible rock and that inexhaustible source of grace which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And we see this every day. You are here because you love the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. These young seminarians who are studying in Ecône, the United States and Germany, came to our seminaries for the Holy Mass, the Mass of All Time, which is the source of graces, the source of the Holy Ghost, the source of Christian civilization. That is what the priest is. Well, then, we must make a crusade, a crusade that emphasizes this idea of immutability, of sacrifice, in order to recreate Christendom, to re-establish a Christendom such as the Church desired, such as she has always done, with the same principles, the same Sacrifice of the Mass, the same sacraments, the same catechism, the same Sacred Scripture” (Sermon of Abp. Lefebvre on the occasion of his priestly jubilee, September 23, 1979, in Paris, Porte de Versailles).

This Christendom must be remade in everyday life, through the faithful performance of the duties of our state in life, right where the good Lord has placed us. Some rightly deplore the fact that the Church and the Society are not what they ought to be. They forget that they have the means to remedy this defect, in their place, through their personal sanctification. There, everyone is Superior General…. No need for a Chapter in order to be elected; each day it is necessary to sanctify that portion of the Church of which one is the absolute master: his soul!

Abp. Lefebvre continued: “We must recreate this Christendom, and you, my dear brethren, you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Mt 5:13-14); you are the ones whom Our Lord Jesus Christ addressed when He said to you: ‘Do not waste the spiritual fruit of My Blood, do not abandon My Calvary, do not abandon My Sacrifice.’ And the Virgin Mary who stands beneath the Cross, tells you this as well; She, whose heart is pierced, full of sufferings and sorrows, yet at the same time filled with the joy of uniting herself to the Sacrifice of her Divine Son, tells you this as well: ‘Let us be Christians, let us be Catholics!’ Let us not be carried away by all these worldly ideas, by all these currents of thought in the world which draw us to sin and to hell. If we want to go to Heaven, we must follow Our Lord Jesus Christ; we must carry our cross and follow Our Lord Jesus Christ, imitating Him in His Cross, in His suffering, and in His Sacrifice.”

And the founder of the Society of Saint Pius X launched a crusade for young people, for Christian families, for heads of families, for priests. He insisted with an eloquence that moves us today, forty years later, for we see how much this remedy applies to the present evils:

“The inheritance which Jesus Christ gave to us is His sacrifice, it is His Blood, it is His Cross. And that is the leaven of all Christian civilization and of all that is supposed to bring us to Heaven…. Keep this testament of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Keep the Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Keep the Mass of All time! And you will see Christian civilization flourish again.”

Forty years later we cannot shirk the responsibility of this crusade: it requires an even more demanding ardor and an even more enthusiastic service to the Church and to souls. As I said at the beginning of this interview, Tradition is ours, completely, but this honor creates a serious responsibility: we will be judged by our fidelity in transmitting what we have received.

Q.: Father General, before concluding, allow us to ask a more personal question. Didn’t the responsibility that fell on your shoulders on July 11 of this year frighten you?

Yes, I must admit that I was somewhat afraid, and I even hesitated in my heart before accepting it. We are all vessels of clay, and that is true also of the man who is elected Superior General: even though it is a somewhat more visible and somewhat larger vessel, it is nonetheless fragile.

The thought of the Most Blessed Virgin is the only thing that enabled me to overcome the fear: I place my trust in her alone, and I do so totally. She is not made of clay because she is of ivory; she is not a fragile vessel because she is an impregnable tower: turris eburnea [as it says in the Litany of Loreto]. She is like an army set in battle array, terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata [Canticle of Canticles 6:3], which knows in advance that victory is the only possible outcome of all its battles: “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

Saint Teresa of Jesus, wisdom and strength for today

 

“Do Thou, Lord, calm this sea, and no longer allow this ship, which is Thy Church, to endure so great a tempest.
Save us, my Lord, for we perish.”

It is a great temptation to believe that we are alone today, abandoned as we are by our own Pope and hierarchy. But we have Angels and we have saints, among them the mighty Carmelite, Teresa of Jesus, who is an especially great help for us now when we need her the most. Let’s seek her aid today on her feast day.

St. Teresa of Avila is one of the greatest saints, and yet, like St. Joseph to whom she was devoted, one of the most approachable saints. Like all our greatest saints,we often find in her writings and life practical wisdom to help us understand the challenges we face in these times; though centuries pass, her words ring just as clear today, her wisdom fresh and appropriate as always.

"Lord, calm this sea, no longer allow this ship, which is Thy Church, to endure so great a tempest. Save us O Lord, for we perish!"
“Lord, calm this sea, no longer allow this ship, which is Thy Church, to endure so great a tempest. Save us O Lord, for we perish!”

 

In her work, “The Way of Perfection”, she discusses the ‘Our Father’, Our Lord’s own prayer. She especially recommends it as part of thanksgiving after Communion. In Chapter 35, St. Teresa remarks on the evils of the protestant attacks on the Blessed Sacrament and the Mass that were even then occurring. One portion of this strikes us as most appropriate to these times in which we suffer with Christ the Passion of His Church. St. Teresa, remarking of the Lord’s Prayer,

“Let us rely on Our Lord’s command to us to pray to Him, and in fulfillment of our obedience to Him, let us beseech His Majesty, in the name of the good Jesus, … that He prevent Him from being so ill-treated. Since His Holy Son has given us this excellent way in which we can offer Him up frequently as a sacrifice, let’s make use of this precious gift so that it may stay the advance of such terrible evil and irreverence as is paid in many places to this Most Holy Sacrament.

“For as those Lutherans seem to want to drive Him out of the world again: they destroy churches, cause the loss of many priests and abolish the sacraments. And there is something of this even among Christians, who sometimes go to church meaning to offend Him rather than to worship Him.”

She then goes on to importune the Heavenly Father to spare Our Lord the offenses He suffers against His Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, begging Him, although she is unworthy,

“indeed, it may perhaps be for my sins, and because I have so greatly offended Thee, that so many evils come. What then can I do, my Creator, but present to Thee this most Holy Bread which, though Thou gavest it to us, I return to Thee, beseeching Thee, by the merits of Thy Son, to grant me this favor, which on so many counts, He has merited. Do Thou, Lord, calm this sea, and no longer allow this ship, which is Thy Church, to endure so great a tempest. Save us, my Lord, for we perish.” (Way of Perfection, p. 234-236).

In today’s Gospel, taken from St. Matthew 25, 1-13, the Church in her timeless wisom recalls the parable of the five wise virgins and the five foolish ones. The foolish ones did not take oil for their lamps and after they belatedly obtained the oil, the time for them to enter the feast had passed, When they begged, “Lord, Lord, open to us”; Our Lord tells us that the Master responds, “Amen, I know you not.” He then warns us, “Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day or the hour.”

Thus we receive many merciful warnings. 

More than ever, in this year of Our Lord, 2018, we need to recall the prayer of the great Saint Teresa of Avila:  “Do Thou, Lord, calm this sea, and no longer allow this ship, which is Thy Church, to endure so great a tempest. Save us, my Lord, for we perish.”

~ ~ ~

Here in closing, is a treasured poem of hers:

Lord, I am Thine, for I was born for Thee!

Lord, I am Thine, for I was born for Thee!
Reveal what is it Thou dost ask of me.
O sovereign Lord, of majesty supreme!
O Wisdom, that existed from all time!
Bounty, showing pity on my soul!
God, one sole Being, merciful, sublime.

Behold this basest of created things.
As thus, with hardihood its love it sings.
And tell me, Lord, what Thou dost ask of me!
Lo, I am Thine ! Thou hast created me.
And I am Thine, Thou hast redeemed me.
And I am Thine, for Thou dost bear with me.
And Thine, for Thou hast called me to Thee,
And Thine, Who dost preserve me at Thy cost,
Nor leavest me to perish ‘mid the lost.

Say what it is, Lord, Thou dost will of me.
Declare what dost decree, O Master kind!
If serf so vile have any fitting task,
And tell what office by Thy will ordained
Is work that from so base a slave dost ask!
Behold, sweet Love, I wait for Thy command,
Behold me. Lord, before Whose face I stand!
Do Thou reveal what Thou dost will of me?

Behold my heart, which here I bring, and in
Thine hand as glad entire free-offering lay,
Together with my body, life, and soul,
The love, the longings that my being sway!
To Thee, Redeemer and most gentle Spouse,
In willing holocaust I pledge my vows.
What is there. Lord, that I may do for Thee?

Bestow long life, or straightway bid me die;
Let health be mine, or pain and sickness send,
With honour or dishonour ; be my path
Beset by war, or peaceful till the end.
My strength or weakness be as Thou shalt choose.
For naught Thou askest shall I e’er refuse,
I only wish what Thou wilt have of me.

Assign me riches, keep in poverty,
And let me cherished or neglected dwell,
In joy or mourning as Thou wilt, upraised
To highest heaven, or hurled down to hell!
Whether the sky be bright, from cloudlets free,
It matters not, I leave the choice to Thee,
What lot, Lord, wilt Thou decide for me?

Give contemplation if Thou wilt, or let
My lonely soul in dryness ever pine;
Abundance and devotion be the gift
Thou choosest, or a sterile soul be mine!
Majesty supreme, in naught apart
From Thy decree can I find peace of heart!
Say what it is, Lord, Thou dost wish of me?

Lord, give me wisdom, or, if love demand.
Leave me in ignorance ; it matters naught
If mine be years of plenty, or beset
With famine direful and with parching drought!
Be darkness over all or daylight clear.
Despatch me hither, keep me stationed here,
Say what it is, Lord, Thou wilt have of me?

If Thou shouldst destine me for happiness,
For Love’s sake, joy and happiness I greet;
Bid me endure and labour till I die.
Resigned, in work and pain my death I’ll meet,
Reveal the how, the where, the when; for this
Is the sole boon, O Love, I crave of Thee,
That thou declare what Thou wouldst have of me!

Let Calvary or Thabor be my fate,
A desert or a fertile land of rest;
Like Job, in sorrow let me mourning weep,
Or lie, like John, in peace upon Thy breast;
Bear fruit and flourish, or, a withered vine
I’ll perish fruitless, so the choice be Thine!
Reveal, O Lord, what Thou dost ask of me!

Like Joseph as he lay in shackles bound.
Or holding over Egypt first command;
David chastised, atoning for his sins,
Or David crowned as ruler o’er the land;
With Jonas struggling, ‘mid the raging sea
Submerged, or set from ills and tempests free
Declare, O Lord, what Thou wilt have of me!

Then bid me speak or bid me silence keep,
Make me a fecund or a barren land;
Expose my wounds by the stern Law’s decree
Or comfort me by Gospel message bland.
Let me in torture lie or comfort give,
I crave alone that Thou within me live,
And shouldst reveal what Thou wilt have of me!

Lord, I am Thine, for I was born for Thee!
Reveal what is it Thou dost ask of me.

by St. Teresa of Avila

(I am indebted for this poem to Rorate Caeli)

To the inevitable criticism that I am ignoring the horridly scandalous canonization of the destructive Pope Paul VI, for those who read carefully, I have been commenting on just these things…

  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.

 St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us! Pray for the Pope!

 Remember, pray the Rosary and confound satan and all who serve him.

~ by evensong, for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin. Give me strength against thine enemies.

 

October 13, 1917, the Message and the Promise

This post updated 10:13, see in red below.

101 years ago today, Heaven came to earth. Here is the Message and the Promise for us today.

Today we mark the 101st  anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun during Our Lady’s Sixth Visit to Fatima.  In order to understand the Message of Our Lady of Fatima,  we will briefly review the historical account of the event considering three aspects, the words of Our Lady, the Visions seen by the children and then the Miracle of the Sun witnessed by the spectators. For our detailed account of the October 13 visit, please see: The Sixth Visit, October 13, 1917.

The Message

On this sixth and last visit, Our Lady’s words to Jacinta, Francisco and Lúcia were, “I want a chapel to be built here in my honor. I am Our Lady of the Rosary. Continue to say the Rosary every day. …. People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins.” Then, growing sadder, “They must not offend Our Lord any more for He is already too much offended.”

I want a chapel to be built in my honor

This refers back to the visit of June 13 when Our Lady told Lúcia, Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to those who embrace it …” In this, she states clearly that it is Jesus Christ Our Lord who wants to establish devotion to her Immaculate Heart. Note the word, “establish”:  For it is only by the authority of the Vicar of Christ that devotions are “established”.  Thus, Our Lady and Our Lord ask for the obedience of the Pope. She is asking the Holy Father to lead his flock to devotion to her Immaculate Heart as a sure remedy in the coming trials.

Our Lady of the Rosary

These are fighting words! By identifying herself as Our Lady of the Rosary, the Blessed Virgin indicates her intention to do as she has done before, conquer heresy and drive it out by means of her Rosary. As with the Albigenses, who disdained her and predictably disdained life as well, so it will be with the modernists who infest the Holy Church now.  As it was at Lepanto, so it will be soon, those who seek to destroy Christian civilization will be vanquished. We have her word on this!.

Pray the Rosary Every Day

At every visit, from May 13 onwards, Our Lady stressed the necessity of the daily Rosary.  She did not spend time on pleasantries, did not thank the children for being there (as in false apparitions), did not even get into the finer details of how we are to pray the Rosary. Simply, Pray the Rosary every day! Therefore, we conclude that it is impossible to  comply with Our Lady’s Message if we fail this small but essential step. When people tell me, “I am not interested in the Rosary”, I try to help them see that this is the reason they absolutely must pray the Rosary! Our Lady told Blessed Alan de la Roche, “Know, my son, that a probable and proximate sign of eternal damnation is aversion for, lukewarmness and carelessness in saying the Angelic Salutation…”  Distaste for her Rosary is an indication of danger, a warning that a soul is drifting from the true path.

Repent Your Sins and Make Reparation

The Message of Fatima is clear on  this point: God’s justice is deeply offended by our sins. While He is infinitely merciful to those who sincerely repent, His Justice demands that His children confess their sins and repent them.  It is a great tragedy that those deepest in sin lose their awareness of their plight. They become so inured in their sins that they are unable to repent,  and thus, the most Merciful Virgin calls to us, her children to pray the Rosary and offer reparation, beseeching  her Divine Son,  Who will come to be ourJudge, to grant us the graces to repent our sins.  We must do this!

Our Lady’s request for the First Saturdays of Reparation and for the Consecration of Russia are logically included in this repentance and reparation. For when we have strayed, the remedy is always by way of humble and contrite obedience. I tell you, we will not get the humble, contrite and obedient Pope and Bishops we need until we ourselves become humble, contrite and obedient by adhering to the Message of Fatima!

Do Not Offend Our Lord Any More!

In this visit, Our Lady’s parting words were, “They must not offend Our Lord any more for He is already too much offended.”

In her Memoirs,  Sister Lúcia recounted,  “The words most deeply engraved upon my heart are those of the request made by our Heavenly Mother: ‘Do not offend Our Lord and God any more, for He is already so much offended’. How loving a complaint, how tender a request! Who will grant me to make it echo through the whole world, so that all the children of Our Mother in Heaven may hear the sound of Her voice! “(Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, “The Whole Truth about Fatima – Vol I”).

Our Lady’s final words on this visit bear repeating: “They must not offend Our Lord any more for He is already too much offended.”  Almost immediately after this Sixth Visit, just as Our Lady predicted, Russia did fall to satanic control by way of the marxist revolution. Because the Popes had become worldly, they did not fight this danger with the spiritual means they had been given, but chose to respond with worldly measures, thus fighting fire with gasoline. Never a very helpful measure! And so, from the time of Pope Pius XI on,  the spiritual darkness of the Vatican increased, by small measures at first but accelerating  more and more, until the avalanche set off by Pope John XXIII’s shocking disobedience.

Although we say “shocking” now, at the time, Pope John’s refusal to obey the Blessed Mother was little noted and did not bring about any criticism. The only effect it had was to accelerate the suppression of the message.  I was a young adult at the time and can verify that most people, myself included began to take less interest in Fatima. For if the “Holy Father” does not think it appropriate for our needs, then it must not be good to pursue it, or so the general impression went.

And so, the spoken Message of this Sixth Visit was to re-emphasise  the absolute necessity of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary,  the requirement for at a minimum, five decades of the Rosary a day, combined with heartfelt desire to amend our lives, to make reparation for sins, and to seek the conversion of sinners.

If this portion of Our Lady’s request had been heeded, especially by the Pope who was informed of Our Lady’s words at this visit, that is, if the Pope (at this time the elderly Benedict XV and then Pius XI) had taken this up and begun the institution of Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as Our Lady asked for, the rest of Our Lady’s Message, that is, the three-part Secret, would have easily been  accepted. As  we look back at the very beginnings of the Church’s response to Our Lady at Fatima, we see that the seeds of dissent were there almost from the start.

The Vision Seen by the Children

In her Fourth memoir, Sister Lúcia recounted, “We beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands.” “When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Sorrows. Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done.” “This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.” (Sister Maria Lúcia of the Immaculate Heart. Fatima in Lúcia’s Own Words: The Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, the Last Fatima Visionary,  KIC. Kindle Edition).

In this quick series of visions, we see again the emphasis on the Rosary. The first stage of the vision shows the Holy Family and represents the Joyful Mysteries. In the second stage, we see Our Lord and Our Lady portrayed as Our Lady of Sorrows. This vision represents the Sorrowful Mysteries and emphasises  Our Lady’s role in these mysteries.  This is essential and we will discuss this more thoroughly soon. The last stage of the children’s vision represents the Glorious Mysteries, with Our Lady robed in the habit of Carmel and extending a brown scapular to them. To any faithful child of Mary, it is clearly a request for us to take up the scapular, her “little habit” in order to save our souls.

After this Sixth Visit, the children took up the requests of Our Lady in this vision: Francisco specialised in the consoling, contemplative path, Jacinta took the Apostolate of self-sacrifice, applying her sufferings joyfully to save sinners from hell, as had the Little Flower of Carmel, St. Therese, before her. While Lúcia herself took both parts, entering Carmel, consoling Our Lord, and offering adoration while suffering greatly for love of the Sacred Hearts and the salvation of souls. We have been prevented from knowing the richness of her beautiful life by the ancient enemy which for the moment controls the narrative, but if you are attentive in your rosary, it is possible to learn much. We do well to invite St. Lúcia into our devotions, for she loves to teach.

The Great Miracle of the Sun

As Our Lady took leave of the children and rose, she spread her hands, which emitted brilliant rays of light. As she pointed towards the sun, the light from her hands brightened the very sun itself. At this precise moment, the crowds gathered there were astonished to see the dark clouds dispersed and the sky clear. And then the sun, which appeared as a brightly polished mother of pearl disc, began to spin, zig-zag and throw off brilliant flashes of light, blue and violet and golden yellow. Then it suddenly began hurtling towards the earth, while the crowds screamed and fell to their knees in  terror. Just as suddenly as it started, it was over and the sun resumed its place. As people sighed with relief and thanked God, all were amazed that the muddy field was dry and their own shoes and clothes were dry and clean.

The Sun Obeys the Mother of God, Why Not the Pope?

By her stunning Miracle of the Sun, Our Lady of the Rosary  graciously provided our weak and doubtful natures a clear and vivid proof of her power over the forces of nature.  In this astounding feat, she proved that she is more brilliant than the sun and that the sun obeys her will.

The lesson for our day is even more astounding, but was not much noted at the time. The field of the Cova had been ploughed and then had gotten utterly drenched in a steady downpour. Thousands of people and their horses and donkeys had packed into it, sinking into the ankle-deep mud. Everyone was literally soaked to the bone and their shoes and clothes caked with the mire. it was not possible to be in that place, at that time and not become befouled by the mud of the pasture mixed with the filth of animal waste.

Yet after Our Lady’s Miracle, the multitudes found themselves and the muddy Cova now dry, with no mud on them.

The Sun, a Figure of the Church
Cardinal Danneels, Patron of Children ?

In prophecy, the sun is a figure of the Church. The sun, like the Church is something we were accustomed to as a certainty, unfailingly dependable. In the Fatima miracle, the sun began exhibiting all the colors of the rainbow. Now, the rainbow is a Divine sign, given to us by a loving Father. Yet today this beautiful sign – the rainbow – has been co-opted by  the forces of satan to corrupt the Church, thus offending God even more. When Our Lady performed this stunning miracle, she was affirming her control over these pernicious forces. She knew that the significance of the rainbow colors would be overlooked by Catholics at that time, but it is obviously a sign to us as we watch the ilk of Danneels prance about in their rainbow vestments while they seek to entrench their perversions in the practice of the faith.

The Nativity Scene of the Bergoglian Church

The sun, always so dependable, like the stalwart, trustworthy Church, suddenly broke free of its moorings and hurtled towards the crowd. Even faithless unbelievers who had come to scoff, were heard praying devoutly at that terrifying moment. That was a very clear warning that the Church, once secure in the faith, would become unmoored if it disobeyed the Queen of Heaven.

Prophecies and visions are rarely understood at the time they occur, but become clearer at the appropriate time.  As we see, the time for
“this prophecy is upon us.

 

The Immaculata, Mother of Mercy, spared the crowd and in the flash of an instant, restored the sun and eradicated all of the mud and filth. And she stands ready now to remedy all the errors that plague the Church. She alone can restore the Church to its rightful place and cast the filth from the Church, restoring all things in Christ, the King.

 

“This kind can go out by nothing but by prayer and fasting.”

UPDATE: This morning’s Lifesite News provides yet more evidence that the evil forces in control of the Vatican are determined to continue to wallow in the mire. Read, if you will, the articles, “How a global ‘LGBT’ coalition is trying to lobby the Vatican Youth Synod“, “Francis’ glowing send-off of Wuerl signals he’s ‘not the Pope to clean out the stables’: scholar“,  “Chicago cathedral hosts gay ‘meet-up’ group led by ‘gay’ priest-masseur” . “Source: Vatican cardinal was at drug-fueled homosexual party, and Pope knows it“,  

Now, there is much more to include, but that last one about the infamous Cocopalmerio, is accompanied by news that instead of defrocking Cocopalmerio, the Pope has assigned him to represent the Vatican at an ecumenical gathering (LINK). And there is further information at the same site (Lifesite News) that Archbishop Hebda actually invited another infamous promoter of priestly perversion, Bishop Lynch of Florida to speak at a conference in his diocese and only withdrew the invitation after the faithful complained. The ancient enemy is thus firmly entrenched in the Vatican, but we have the means to crush his hateful head!

These corrupt and deceitful prelates prefer filth to the purity of the faith and they believe that they are unmoveable. Yet,  as foretold in the Apocalypse of Babylon, 

“Because she saith in her heart, “A queen I sit, no widow am I, and mourning I shall not see”; therefore in one day her plagues shall come, death and mourning and famine, and with fire she shall be consumed; for the Lord God is strong, who judgeth her.’ ” (Apoc. 18)

Pray the Rosary!

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ 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!

© All Content Copyright 2013-2017 ReturntoFatima.org. All Rights Reserved.

Twelve Points of the Humility of Mary

Note: Yet another hurricane is threatening, this time it is the Gulf Coast of Florida, but likely coming up to the Carolinas with a great deal of rainfall. Please pray for those in the path of the storm. We offer again our Family Prayer for Protection in Storms.

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In this precious month of the Holy Rosary, we offer this brief snippet from a very worthwhile book, “The Admirable Heart of Mary“, in the hope that thinking on these aspects of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will aid your Rosary meditations. I am not able to write more as I would have preferred to do, but hope that by now, you readers will “fill in the blanks” possibly better than I could!

Abyss of Humility

Deep calleth upon deep,
Thy billows are passed o’er me.

In the abyss of my heart,
nothingness beckons to Thee, my love
Look upon my nothingness
And fill my darkness with Thy Light.

The following is from Part 8, Chapter 5

The Humility of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Consider the words of the Holy Ghost: “Deep calleth on deep” (Ps. 41, 8). What do they mean? They mean that the Holy Ghost sets before us the image of a twofold or dual abyss.

The first is the humble heart immersed by profound humility in the realization of its own nothingness, an abyss that engulfs the humble man, preventing him from seeing in himself anything but nothingness and making him love the lowliness and abjection of such nothingness.

The second is the abyss of graces and celestial blessings that every, where surround and accompany the truly humble heart. The first depth calls for the second: “Deep called on deep,” because the prayer of the humble heart has such power with God, that it is always heard. Divine Goodness can refuse it nothing.

It is the profundity that summons and attracts all the graces of Heaven; God showers them into the lowly soul with open hand and without reserve. Humility is the guardian of all other graces and virtues, and they are safe where it abides, according to the words of St. Basil: “Humility is the safe treasury of all virtues.”

All the greatness of the Blessed Virgin was accomplished by the humility of her most holy Heart. From the first to the last moment of her life, her humility never ceased to invoke and draw upon her grace after grace, perfection after perfection, holiness upon holiness, until it brought her to the summit of the grace and holiness that next to that of Christ ever was or shall be greatest among men.

Humility is our Savior’s own spiritual virtue, which He constantly preached by His example and earnestly recommended with the words: “Learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart” (Matt. 11, 29), so can we say that humility is also the most beloved virtue of His dearest Mother. She urges us to practice it by her example.

On its twelve principal manifestations.

The first manifestation was the complete self-annihilation with which she adored God from the very beginning of her life as her Creator and Sovereign Lord.

The second manifestation … was the uneasiness she felt on hearing the salutation of the Angel Gabriel.
“She was troubled at his saying” (Luke 1, 29), because he greeted her as full of grace, as one having the Lord with her in a special manner, and as being blessed among all women. That salutation is what troubles her most humble Heart, which cannot listen to such exalted praises without trembling. (Eudes quotes St. Thomas Aquinas)

The third effect … was that, after hearing St. Gabriel’s proclamation, she answered: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.” Instead of taking pride, she humbled herself, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.”

St. Bonaventure exclaims: “How wonderfully deep is Mary’s humility! An archangel salutes her; she is called full of grace; she is told the Holy Ghost will overshadow her; she becomes the Mother of God Himself; she is raised above all creatures; she is appointed sovereign Lady of Heaven and earth; and yet instead of becoming filled with pride, she humbles herself most deeply, saying, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord.’

The fourth manifestation of her humility: Her stupendous silence at the Incarnation of the Son of God within her immaculate womb. After she had conceived the Only-begotten Son of God in her blessed womb, she revealed to no one, not even to her spouse St. Joseph, the tremendous mystery which exalted her to the highest pinnacle.

Then, quoting St. Thomas of Villanova, St. John Eudes writes: “The greatest mystery, the most incomparable marvel, has been wrought in thee by the divine power, and thou dost tell no one. No human being knows the vital miracle, so jealously dost thou guard thy secret! Thou dost remain in profound silence, until, in the house of thy cousin Elizabeth, beholding that God Himself has revealed this miracle of miracles, then only dost thou breathe thy blessed silence, and raise to Heaven the sublime canticle of praise and adoration for the author of all these marvels: “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” (Luke 1, 46)

The fifth effect of Mary’s humility was accomplished during her visit to her cousin St. Elizabeth, concerning SL John the Baptist. (Note: This fifth effect seems to have been glossed over by St. John Eudes, but when we consider his words here, immediately following the fourth point, seems to indicate not the Magnificat, which was covered in point four, but the Holy Virgin’s excellent submission to the will of God as she brought Our Lord to St. John, each of them enclosed within their Mothers’ wombs, thus allowing Our Lord to baptize the baptizer himself!  In this action Mary demonstrates the action of the priest who allows himself to be the vehicle for Christ’s saving grace as he administers the sacraments.

The sixth effect was manifested in her relationship with St. Joseph, whom she regarded and honored as her husband, not disdaining to serve him, and be subject to his will. What exalts her humility above all admiration is that she prefers to endure an unspeakable humiliation rather than reveal to Joseph the admirable mystery wrought in her by God, and her newly received rank of Mother of the promised Messias.

The seventh effect of the humility of the royal Heart of Mary was revealed at the birth of Her Divine Son in a stable at Bethlehem. . . . being turned away from every house, was obliged to seek the lowly abode of animals. There she brought forth the only Son of God the Father, the King of Glory, the sovereign Lord of all things. And she sustained these humiliations without a complaint and with most perfect humility.

The eighth effect of the admirable humility of the Mother of God became apparent when she subjected herself to the Hebrew law of Purification. (Note: again, St. John Eudes is rather terse, which leaves space for us to turn to Our Lady herself to tell us the rest by means of her Holy Rosary. I also recommend the excellent writings available at The Rosary to the Interior; for the Purification of the Church. I also have written of the Mystery of the Purification in these pages.)

The ninth effect of the humility of the blessed Heart of Our Savior’s Mother was the virtue she practiced during the forty days’ penance of her Divine Son in the desert. Remember what we have said above; namely, that our Savior’s incomparable love for His Blessed Mother made Him desire her to resemble Him as closely as possible, and caused Him to engrave in her Heart a perfect image of all the states and mysteries of His most holy life.

The tenth effect of the humility of Mary’s all-pure Heart became manifest at the wedding of Cana in Galilee, where she obtained from her beloved Son the miracle whereby He changed water into wine. But how did she induce Him to perform that miracle? Was it by exerting her authority as His Mother? By no means. . .  she did not even presume to entreat Him, but merely made plain to Him, with the greatest modesty and humility, the need for additional wine. Mary left it entirely to His divine will to act as He thought best.

The eleventh effect of the humility of the admirable Heart of the Mother of Jesus was that she suffered with her beloved Son all the contempt and insults He endured during His public ministry from His enemies. . . She likewise endured with her Son all the indignities and ignominies of His passion when He was treated as a criminal, bound and throttled like a thief, torn with whips, crowned with thorns, reviled by the shocking preference of the mob for Barabbas, and nailed to a Cross between two bandits.

Yes, my Jesus, Thy most worthy Mother bore with Thee all this shame and humiliation! As Thy glory is now her glory, so were Thy ignominies her very own, which she bore with such humility that she never uttered a complaint to God or man. 0 prodigious humility! Most humble Mary, pray to thy dear Son that He may grant us the grace to learn from Himself and from thee how to suffer insults and humiliations patiently and with humility, and never to complain.

The twelfth effect of the humility of the Admirable Heart of Mary is recorded in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles where it is written that, after the Ascension of Christ into Heaven, St. Peter, St. John and the other disciples withdrew to the Cenacle of Jerusalem.

There they remained until the coming of the Holy Ghost, united in prayer with the holy women and Mary, Mother of Jesus, whom St. Luke the Evangelist mentions last, not only after the holy Apostles, but even after the sinner from whom our Savior had driven seven devils. How can it be that she who is the first in dignity, in merit, and in sanctity should be put in the last place?

It is that her most profound humility compelled her scribe, St. Luke, to name her thus in the last place, according to the lowliness of her self- estimation, considering and treating herself as the least and most unworthy of creatures. What peerless humility!  (. . . )

0 Queen of the humble, thou seest how remote we are from the practice of true and perfect humility. Obtain from thy beloved Son the pardon of all the sins we have committed against this great virtue; offer to Him thy very humble Heart in reparation and satisfaction for our misdeeds; and entreat Our Lord to grant us the graces we need to enable us to imitate carefully and faithfully the most holy humility of the amiable Heart of Jesus and Mary.

Eudes, St. John. The Admirable Heart of Mary. KIC. Kindle Edition.

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ 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!

An Open Letter from Father Vernoy

Breaking news from Vox Catholica.

Fr. Marc Vernoy: An Open Letter To My Brother Priests

 

 

On the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, August 29th, 2018, Fr. Marc Vernoy, Prior of St. Thomas More Church in Sanford, Florida wrote a letter to his brother priests in Florida. This letter is wide ranging in scope, and deals with the current crisis in the Catholic Church, and what priests can do to fight back against the overwhelming wave of corruption that is consuming God’s Holy Church.

Father’s suggested remedies (attending the Mass, praying our daily Rosary, adoration and contemplation, and sincere prayers to the Mother of God) are all things we can also do as lay Catholics to beg God for an end to the crisis, and a restoration of our Holy Mother Church.

Please share this video (especially to priests who aren’t in a Traditional order), and subscribe to the YouTube channel. This will be a great help to continue building this new apostolate.

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Dear Brother Priest,

Greetings in the united Hearts of Jesus and Mary. My name is Marc Vernoy, I was ordained a Catholic priest for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X on June 29, 1995. After having been sent to Asia, Europe and Africa. I was assigned in Sanford, Florida, eight years ago to establish our Priory.

We are “a priestly society of common life without vows, after the example of the Societies of Foreign Missions.”[1] Our “purpose is the priesthood and all that pertains to it and nothing but what concerns it; i.e., the priesthood as Our Lord Jesus Christ willed it when He said, “Do this for a commemoration of me.”[2]

Before founding our Society, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre led the largest Catholic missionary congregation, the Holy Ghost Fathers and was the Apostolic Delegate for West Africa. His experience showed him the necessity of a real common life to preserve and strengthen our priestly life against the challenges and dangers of modern life in this world.

As our Lord suffered His terrible Passion, so His Mystical Body, holy Mother the Church is atrociously suffering today through so many victims, children and young adults and in her immaculate and divine dignity. Some of her beloved sons, consecrated in the Priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ, have appallingly betrayed her and have sorely defiled their persons with horrible crimes. Their unnatural depravation is so evil that Holy Scripture[3] places it among the four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. In their sacrilegious abuses, they crucify the whole Church, they desecrate their holy Unction and even give up their fatherhood and their human dignity, as there is no dignity anymore when you depart so sinfully from God, our Creator and Redeemer.

As poor sinners, we all know that human nature is weak and wounded, always ready to fall into sin. Thus, our Lord Jesus Christ is alerting us, “watch ye, and pray that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”[4]. He constantly admonishes us against the perils of the world, whose Prince is Satan[5], and has no positive or “optimistic attitude” towards them. “The world does hate me, because I denounce it for its evil doings.”[6] “If you belonged to the world, the world would know you for its own and love you; it is because you do not belong to the world, because I have singled you out from the midst of the world, that the world hates you.”[7] “Have you never been told that the world’s friendship means enmity with God, and the man who would have the world for his friend makes himself God’s enemy?”[8]

However, after the Second Vatican Council and through the liturgical reform as well, these evangelical exhortations have been silenced in the Church. In the General Audience of July 3, 1974, Pope Paul VI explained this change as follows: “We have certainly heard of the severity of the saints for the evils of the world. Many are still familiar with the books of asceticism, which have a generally negative judgment on earthly corruption. But it is also certain that we live in a different spiritual climate, being invited, especially by the recent council, to take an optimistic look at the modern world, its values, its conquests.”[9] He then continues his speech praising modern materialism, comfort and technology and gave this advice: “We must maintain a line of demarcation between Christian life and secular life. Between the spiritual and the temporal there cannot exist this communion – or rather this confusion – of interests and ways of life that the old unitary conception of Christianity made easier and more habitual.”[10]

We Catholics, faithful to the Word of our Lord and to the holy Tradition of His Church have always been aware of the distinction between the spiritual and the temporal worlds, but not a separation, “a line of demarcation”, as we believe in the social Kingship of the Son of God. We are for a communion coming from subsidiarity, but certainly not for any confusion. We want divine Love to be known in this world, to spread and to be loved.

These words of Paul VI along with many others regarding a new “spiritual” attitude towards the “world” are very disturbing and confusing, as they frankly depart from divine doctrine and from the constant teaching and practice of the Catholic Church. The absence of God the Father in any society is at the root of all evils we may witness today. How could Paul VI open the gates of the Church to the fetid and evil spirit of the world, promoting a liberal and godless attitude with the world? This invitation has unfortunately been observed in what was called the aggiornamento of our Church. The holy Father, instead promoting the salvific influence of the Church in our world and caring for the spiritual good of his flock, exposed both to the sinful contamination of the world for their own ruin. At the first rank of this contamination have been the consecrated persons. 120,000 priests left the priesthood for the world and its corruption and many who stayed in their position have greatly suffered. Also, the changes in the liturgy contributed to a confusion regarding the identity of the Priest and even to a desecration of Priesthood. Every day of our life we need to be reminded about our sacred identity and divine vocation.

Paul VI concluded the Second Vatican Council with these words: “Indeed, an immense love for men profoundly permeated it. Human needs examined and considered in detail… have absorbed the attention of our Synod. You worshipers of humanity (cultores humanitatis) who renounce transcendental truths ought to pay tribute to the Council for at least this and acknowledge our new Humanism. For we also, and we more than anyone, are worshipers of man.”[11]

This new horizontal attitude, worldly and man-centered, forgetting the primal and preliminary vertical attitude towards God Almighty altered completely the meaning of Christian life and had enormous effects on Catholic doctrine and liturgy.

Nevertheless, the Apostle admonished the Romans regarding this very attitude leading to all perversions and abuses. “For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man… Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonor their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, that prompts them to disgraceful acts. They are versed in every kind of injustice, knavery, impurity, avarice, and ill-will; spiteful, murderous, contentious, deceitful, depraved, backbiters, slanderers, God’s enemies; insolent, haughty, vainglorious; inventive in wickedness, disobedient to their parents; without prudence, without honor, without love, without loyalty, without pity. Yet, with the just decree of God before their minds, they never grasped the truth that those who so live are deserving of death; not only those who commit such acts, but they also that consent to them that do them.”[12]

Let us keep in mind that Saint Paul is not targeting only abusers, but also those who cover for and promote this kind of behavior. As a consequence, it is quite clear that this new “optimistic look at the modern world” deprives the flock from any spiritual protection and abandon them to pride, idolatry, adultery, egotism, narcissism, “selfism”, blindness, contraception and abortion, addiction, practical atheism, abuse of power, irresponsibility, revolutionary feminism, social chaos, homosexuality and many other evils that we do better not to name.

In a society as large as the Church, there is a force of inertia that can still give the illusion of its strength, and cohesion for a certain time after a serious and disabling event. The Church is partially unplugged for half a century, as God did not fully abandon her. Confused and without a clear supernatural goal, her human side simply continued to roll thanks to the strength it had accumulated until those years and thanks to an intense and overwhelming emphasis on administration. Many societies deprived of fatherhood, a loving authority that gives a vision, have forgotten the “why” of their lives to focus on the “how” of their organization.

Today, we are witnessing the result of a disconnection with God the Father, the batteries are very low and the spectacle of the fall in shameful convulsions is lamentable. While Pope Paul VI approved and promoted the disconnection, some Roman Pontiffs tried to fix things, especially the moral life with cosmetic measures, which are worthless, as the only effective medicine, which is in the truth of our Faith in the Word of God and in His mystical Body. Very few in the Catholic Church are those who really believe in this article of Faith that She in union with Her Head Who is Christ, is the only One Who provides the necessary means of salvation to human beings[13].

The true Church and chaste celibacy cannot be the cause of today’s scandals. The crime comes from a carelessness for spiritual good, from an invasive anti-Catholic subculture and from the absence of true Shepherds and Fathers. The new collegial way of governing the Church deprived the Fathers of their full authority, responsibility and accountability and finally of their paternal heart.

The Second Vatican Council and its consequences were supposed to revivify the Church with a reformation, but it obviously favored a dreadful deformation. Never has a true Catholic reformation ever been liberal and confusing in its teaching, lax and permissive in its practice, as it clearly was in the last Council.

We know that a fish rots from the head, but we also know that the good outcome always comes from Peter and we must pray for the Pope. “Thou art Peter, and it is upon this rock that I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”[14]

However, in his Letter to the People of God[15], Pope Francis unfortunately avoids the deep causes of so many heartbreaking scandals. Three key words are missing: “homosexual”, “bishop” and “sacrilege”. We do not hear Peter warning us and taking any concrete measure against the liberal and homosexual subculture, corrupting from the highest prelates to the simple assistant priest. We know for years that many in the hierarchy are covering up for and even promoting this evil subculture, liberal in its theory and confusing and perverting in its latest practical consequences. We unfortunately know today that Peter is apparently tainted with this subcultural influence[16]. In the Letter to the People of God Pope Francis gives no concrete direction. Being accountable and responsible for whatever happens under their authority to the flock, Pope Francis is not asking his brother bishops to investigate, to inquire, to thoroughly and canonically visit their diocese. Where is the sense of Fatherhood? Though, “no man can serve two masters!”[17] and we expect our Holy Father to set a clear example, as the Vicar of our Lord and to act as a true Father in order to confirm His Brothers under the authority our only Master, Christ our Lord.

Background checks are a cosmetic measure. We need the help of God the Father, we need to beg the Holy Ghost for the grace to keep the Faith, the grace to persevere in His Charity and Love, the grace to be led by His Hope and to live in His Peace. This requires remaining in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. The very minimum we must do is to pray faithfully our Breviary, our Rosary, to reserve a quiet time of contemplation, another to savor Holy Scripture, to entertain a deep love for the sacrament of Penance and its frequent use and finally a supreme devotion for the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the summit of our lives and reminds us who we are. We must also ask for prayers. Traditionally, first Thursdays are dedicated to pray for priests, at masses, adoration, holy hour, etc. Our brother priests need our presence and comfort to avoid the curse of loneliness that affects many, which is a deadly danger and for some a foretaste of Hell. “Woe to him that is alone, for when he falls, he has none to lift him up.”[18]

We, first sons of our Immaculate Blessed Lady, need to ask her intercession to live a holy and chaste life. It is a gift that we must daily beg through prayer, fasting, corporal penance and ascetic life. “They that are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences.”[19] Our Lord warns us, “unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish”[20]. The first move of a worldly life is to abandon the ascetic life and the splendid and radiating virtue of chastity. The gift of this delicate virtue is a fruit of our constant understanding, renewal and love of our consecration.

We have been set apart and we shall not take back what we have sacrificed and given to God Almighty. The holy sacrifice of the Mass is at the core of our fidelity and a necessity to continue to grow in the dedication of our own “fiat”. “Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood. Meditate upon these things, be wholly in these things: that thy profiting may be manifest to all. Take heed to thyself and to doctrine: be earnest in them. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.”[21] Our identity is a divine gift and we must have a vivid sense of it to live it wholly.

We, priests of our Lord Jesus Christ are expected to preach fully, courageously and without any ambiguity the mysteries of God and all the means He gives us to live these mysteries.

The doctrine regarding sin and the last ends are extremely efficient. “Sin is the one and only evil in the world. We mortals are accustomed to regard the sufferings and contradictions of this life as evils, whereas they are graces in reality; since, far from separating us from God, they bring us nearer to Him. Through sin man becomes worthless in God’s sight; through sin, he, who is made of nothing, returns to his original nothingness. St. John Chrysostom says: ‘Many consider eternal damnation to be the greatest of all evils; but for my part, I always assert that to offend Jesus Christ is a far greater evil’. Sin is a greater evil than the annihilation of the world, nay, of a million worlds, with their countless inhabitants. Sin is the only real disgrace.”[22]

We, priests and sinners, united with the Passion and Crucifixion of our Redeemer, alter Christus, must fulfil our duty of reparation and expiation for the sin of the world, the sin of our fallen brothers and set a good example for this purpose. In these troubled and confused times, we have the great duty to remind ourselves and the faithful about the evil of the practice of homosexuality and seriously fight against its unnatural contamination.

We pray to Mary Immaculate, who prophesized this crisis at Akita, Fatima, La Salette, Quito, etc. We pray to her for the Church and for you my dear brother priest, who are expected, after our necessary and certainly sorrowful purification, to be a key instrument in the absolutely needed conversion and reformation to return to the Love of Christ.

Sources:

[1] F.S.S.P.X Statutes (I:1) “approved by a decree of the Bishop of Fribourg, November 1, 1970, and praised in a letter from the Sacred Congregation of the Clergy, dated February 18, 1971”.

[2] Idem (II:1)

[3] Gn 18:20-21

[4] Mk 14:38

[5] Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Ap 12:9; etc.

[6] Jn 7:7

[7] Jn 15:19

[8] Js 4:4

[9] https://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/it/audiences/1974/documents/hf_p-vi_aud_19740703.html

[10] Idem

[11] Paul VI, Homily of the closing Mass of the Second Vatican Council on December 7, 1965, from the original Latin version: http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/la/speeches/1965/documents/hf_p-vi_spe_19651207_epilogo-concilio.html

[12] Rm 1:22-32

[13] Salus extra ecclesiam non est, St Cyprian Ep 4:4; Ep 73:21,2. Extraordinary Magisterium: Innocent III, 4th Lateran Council. Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam. Eugene IV, Cantate Domino. All Popes taught this dogma, especially from Leo XII to Pius XII.

[14] Mt 16:18-19

[15] http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2018/documents/papa-francesco_20180820_lettera-popolo-didio.html

[16] https://s3.amazonaws.com/lifesite/TESTIMONYXCMVX-XENGLISH-CORRECTED-FINAL_VERSION_-_G-2.pdf : TESTIMONY by His Excellency Carlo Maria Viganò Titular Archbishop of Ulpiana Apostolic Nuncio.

[17] Mt 6:24

[18] Eccles 4:10

[19] Gal 5:24-25

[20] Lk 13:3

[21] 1Tim 4:14-16

[22] The Catechism explained, Spirago, III Sin 2:3

 

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray the Rosary for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

Our Lady of the Rosary, Victorious in Battle

 

During this October, the month of Our Lady’s Holy Rosary, we honor her as Our Lady of Victory, for it is by this very Rosary that she will triumph over the enemies of the faith .

When the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the shepherd children of Fatima, she identified herself as the Lady of the Rosary. As we know, everything she says is significant. In this case, by claiming the title of Our Lady of the Rosary,  the title of Our Lady of Victory was implied. For history is replete with her victories through her most Holy Rosary. (Here and here).

By the Rosary, She shall crush the head of satan!

We have explained in previous posts that the Feast of the Holy Rosary is celebrated on October 7th because of Our Lady’s Victory at the Battle of Lepanto where the murderous hordes of Mohammed were driven from Christendom on that day in 1571. Today, the Church is beset by enemies from within who are just as determined as the muslims of four centuries ago. This month, it is good to dwell on Our Lady’s Rosary as the means by which she will be victorious in the ongoing battle with the forces of satan in the world and within the Church itself.

We know Our Lady has already given us the keys to victory – her Rosary and devotion to her Immaculate Heart. The evil within the heart of our Church can only be defeated by Our Lady of the Rosary, Victorious in Battle. To help illustrate this we recently posted a little known vision of St. John Bosco, which we share with you again:

“It was a dark night. Men could no longer tell which way to take in order to return to their homes. Suddenly there appeared in the heavens a very bright light that illuminated the steps of the travelers as though it were mid-day. At that moment there was seen a host of men and women, of young and old, of nuns, monks and priests with the Holy Father at the head. They were going out from the Vatican and were arranging themselves in line for a procession. “Then there came a furious storm which clouded that light somewhat and made it appear that light and darkness were engaged in battle. In the meantime, they arrived at a little square covered with dead and wounded, some of whom cried aloud and asked for help.

“Very many were dropping out of the line of procession. After having walked for a time that would correspond to two hundred risings of the sun (200 days) they all realized that they were no longer in Rome. Struck with fear they all ran to the Holy Father to defend him personally and to attend his wants. Instantly two angels were seen carrying a banner, going they presented it to the Holy Father and said: ‘Receive the banner of He Who fights and scatters the strongest armies of the world. Your enemies are dispersed. Your children with tears and sighs beg you to return.’ “Looking at the banner one could see written on one side, ‘Queen conceived without sin,’ and on the other side, ‘Help of Christians.’

In this, as in his prophecy of the Two Pillars, St. John Bosco affirms that Christ the King prefers to conquer through means of His Most Blessed Mother. The banner of Christ the King bears two of her titles: The first, “conceived without sin” is of course, the Immaculate Conception and the second title is also very informative, Mary Help of Christians, that is, Our Lady of Victory. That is her title for vanquishing the Muslims, which will be accomplished at her last (seventh) apparition at Fatima to end the Islamist war on Christians with the conversion of muslims to the true faith. It is obvious as well, that this Queen will also vanquish the heresies which have thrown the Church into such darkness and disarray. She has promised us, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

The following Novena prayer is for a Novena of Rosaries, that is, nine days of praying the 15 decade, complete Rosary. For those unable to complete the entire Rosary each day, it can also be prayed as a 27 day novena, by saying one five-decade rosary daily, which makes a complete 15 decade rosary each 3 days. For that longer Novena it is good to mark each day on the calendar as it’s completed. There is another lovely tradition, which has worked many miracles, of praying yet another 27 day novena following the first, in thanksgiving for the favor requested. The willingness to pray with faith and gratitude for a favor perhaps not yet granted, is said to be very pleasing to Our Lady. On a personal note, I have made use of this as a 54 day novena of Rosaries on several occasions and have been astounded at Our Lady’s generosity. She truly never fails us when we pray for the salvation of others with this novena of rosaries.

Continue reading “Our Lady of the Rosary, Victorious in Battle”

Dom Eugene Boylan on Prayer 101

 

Today, a brief article from a favorite author of mine, Dom Eugene Boylan, titled, “Difficulties in Mental Prayer”.

Prayer develops just as human intimacy develops, and, like it, has its seasons and its variations. If, therefore, our way of praying is not adapted to the particular state of our intimacy with God, there is bound to be difficulty.

If, for example, one is ready and fitted for affective prayer, meditation–that is, discursive prayer–becomes a profitless burden; if, perhaps, one act or one type of act is sufficient to keep the soul occupied at prayer, then any striving to multiply these acts will be found most difficult and disturbing. If the heart wants to speak to God without words, any attempt to force it to make a series of distinct acts may destroy the prayer.

Again, if God gives His grace to the will alone, and wishes us to unite ourselves to Him in naked faith, any effort to set the mind or the imagination to work will only be a distraction, and is really a resistance to grace. Then, too, souls who have once reached a high degree of prayer and then fallen into some serious infidelity, cannot resume their former manner of praying without repairing the fault; and though they will not have to climb up the whole of the ladder again, yet their restoration has its own problems. Thus, each degree of intimacy with Our Lord has its proper manner of prayer, and difficulties can arise from failure to choose the right one.

But the greatest difficulties in prayer, and the greatest obstacles to its progress, have their roots outside prayer in the general condition of our spiritual life. On the sincerity of our purpose, the truth of our loyalty, the genuineness of our love–on such things does our prayer greatly depend. Everything that can make or mar friendship and its intimacy will make or mar prayer. We have already noted how the familiarity with God and His teaching that comes from spiritual reading is essential to prayer, and can be a great help for its progress; this, however, is by no means sufficient.

The fundamental dispositions from which prayer flows, and on which its progress depends, are humility, confidence, and a thirst and need for God which shows itself in seeking Him in prayer and, in fact, at all times by doing His Divine will. Any defect in these dispositions will be reflected in a corresponding failure in prayer.

Prayer will not develop unless the soul is advancing towards the fourfold purity of conscience, of heart, of mind, and of action.

Purity of Conscience

As to the first of these, prayer is a loving intimacy with God. Now, this is impossible if the conscience is stained with a deliberate habit of sin, for that is a direct denial of love to God and a definite withdrawal of part of our heart and our life from Him. Even an habitual infringement of a rule, in which we deliberately persist after we have adverted to it, makes it impossible for us to try to look God in the face, so to speak, to go into His presence with that readiness of heart for His service, which is the secret of all true devotion and prayer.

That is why it is so important that every priest or religious, and every soul who wishes to advance, should try to look God in the face, in all reverence, at least once every day, without rushing into some form of vocal prayer.

In its perfection, purity of conscience consists in a firm disposition of the will never to consent deliberately to any offence against God or to any departure from His holy will, and is such that as soon as any act is seen to be opposed to the will of God, it is immediately retracted. Faults of frailty and thoughtlessness will always occur, but we must try more and more to prevent all deliberate faults; and as often as they occur, even be it seventy times seven times in the day, we must so often immediately renounce them and seek God’s pardon by a glance of contrition and confidence in His mercy.

In this way we shall gain more in humility than we have lost by our fault, and the confident return to God can give Him more honor than the offence has denied to Him. It is, therefore, an illusion to hope to become a man of prayer while one comes to terms with the enemy. Human weakness and bad habits will cause many a defeat, but the war must be kept up with unceasing courage, and with a grim determination to keep the conscience clean of all that can offend God.

Purity of heart

Purity of heart consists in keeping all the affections of the heart for God alone. It is not enough to rule out all sinful attachments, for if our heart is divided by any inordinate attachment, even to lawful recreations, to our work, to persons, or to anything else, we cannot say we love God with our whole heart. There always will be attachments in the human heart, but they must be subordinate to God and to His will, so that they can never usurp His place as the mainspring of our actions.

The spiritual life is a love affair with Jesus; He has given us His whole Heart, pouring out for US’ the last drop of His Blood in the agonizing death of the Cross; He demands the whole of our heart, and we cannot refuse to want, at least, to give it all to Him. Without this willingness it is impossible to remain in loving silence before Our Lord.

Nothing so darkens our gaze on God, nothing so weakens our desire for God, nothing so lessens our striving for God, nothing so deafens our hearing for God, as a single inordinate attachment. That is the great source of many difficulties in prayer. Nor are the baneful effects of such attachments confined to this simplified prayer of silence. The very first “act” we try to make at prayer rings hollow and false in our own ears, as soon as we are conscious that we are dividing our heart between God and His creatures. And we cannot be intimate with God for long before He points out to us some of those attachments that cause rapine in the holocaust; for God is a jealous God–He is a consuming fire.

Purity of mind

Under purity of mind we include the careful and constant control of our thoughts and memories, by prudently excluding all that is unnecessary, frivolous and vain, and by gradually building up a continual recollection of God and His works. This is also one of the most important of all mortifications for those who would progress in the spiritual life, and far more effective than the most penitential macerations of the flesh. In fact, without it, corporal penance is almost useless. This internal mortification should be extended to the control of our emotions, especially those of anger, fear, hope, sorrow and joy.

The man whose hope, love and trust are fixed in God does not give way to anger when God sends him trials or when people try his patience to its limits, nor does he vainly fear God’s loving Providence, which he knows covers every single detail of his life. Nor, again, does sorrow at his material losses enter deeply into his heart when it is set on the riches of God; and the joys of this life seem trivial, aye, unworthy even, to one who knows the delight of God’s love.

Purity of action

Purity of action, which is often called purity of intention, consists in a continual watch over the motives which animate our actions, and in a constant effort to act only for the love of God and according to His will. It demands a relentless war on that self–love that is always seeking to inspire all our deeds.

When a religious has settled down in the religious life, and has become faithful in his observance of the rule, further progress is to be sought for, not in violent efforts to do extraordinary actions, but in an ever–increasing purity of intention in the ordinary works of everyday life. This is the surest way, in fact–apart from very special cases–it is the only way, to fulfill that law of Christian perfection, which St. John the Baptist so well laid down: “He must increase–I must decrease.”

All search for our own honor, for our own undue ease, all self–seeking, however much it be cloaked by the plea of altruistic motives, or the search of higher sanctity, is directly opposed to that great rule given us by Christ of denying ourselves and following Him. This, perhaps, may seem too hard, and might lead only to discouragement. But perfection of this fourfold purity is not required for progress in prayer, for such perfection is synonymous with sanctity; we must, however, continually strive towards these dispositions of purity. We must desire this purity, we must pray for it, we must make earnest efforts to acquire it.

But without a special help from God, it is unlikely that we should achieve a sufficient measure of it. There is, however, no limit to God’s goodness, and it is at this stage that He is accustomed to intervene, taking compassion on our infirmities; after we have been toiling all night and caught little or nothing, He acts through His special Providence, and in a short time He has advanced us beyond all expectation. But He demands that we do our part that we keep on putting out to sea, so to speak, and persevere in our attempts to make ourselves pleasing to Him, and to pray to Him, no matter how fruitless they appear.

The perfect picture that St Thérèse of Lisieux has drawn of the spiritual life will help to give us courage. She sees it as a stairway to be climbed, at the top of which God is waiting, looking down in Fatherly love at His child’s efforts to surmount the first step. The child, who represents ourselves, fails to manage to climb even the first step; it can only keep on lifting up its tiny little foot. Sooner or later God takes pity on it, and comes down and sweeps the child right up to the top in His arms; but–and St. Teresa insists on this as much as she insists on God’s loving kindness–we must keep on lifting up our foot.

The soul must never be discouraged by the fruitlessness of its repeated efforts. It seems to be laws of the spiritual life that, since all progress ultimately depends on God, He lets us first learn our complete helplessness by long and weary efforts that come to naught. But we have His word: “I Myself will come and save you!”

Dom Eugene Boylan. Difficulties in Mental Prayer (pp. 47-52). Catholic Way Publishing.

†  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
†  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
†  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
†  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
†  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ 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!

For Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Today, to honor Saint Thérèse of Lisieux on her feast day, we offer some quotes and prayers of hers, with which we hope to gain insight into her spirituality.

Among my treasures is a small book called “Thoughts of the Servant of God Thérèse of the Child Jesus”.  The little book may still be available through archive.org, but they are quickly purging the most truly Catholic works from their archives. It seems they find a problem with the content and so must remove them. Hmmm …

And so, today we offer a bit of beauty and wisdom from the Little Flower.

On Faith
He whose Heart ever watches, taught me that while for a soul whose faith equals but a tiny grain of mustard seed, He works miracles, in order that this faith which is so weak may be fortified; yet for His intimate friends, for His Mother, He did not work miracles until He had put their faith to the test.

Did He not let Lazarus die though Martha and Mary had sent to tell Him that he was sick? At the marriage at Cana, the Blessed Virgin having asked Him to come to the assistance of the Master of the house, did He not reply that His hour was not yet come?  But after the trial, what a recompense! Water changed to wine, Lazarus restored to life. . . (Hist. d’une ame, Ch. VI)

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

The Lowest Place
The only thing not subject to be envied is the lowest place. It is therefore this lowest place alone which is without vanity and affliction of spirit. Still, the way of a man is not always in his power and sometimes we are surprised by a desire for that which glitters.  Then, let us take our place humbly amongst the imperfect, deeming ourselves little souls whom the good God must sustain at each moment.

As soon as He sees us truly convinced of our nothingness and we say to Him:  ‘My foot hath slipped: Thy mercy, O Lord, hath held me up.’ He stretches out His Hand to us; but if we will attempt to do something grand, even under pretext of zeal, He leaves us alone. It is enough therefore that we humble ourselves, and bear our imperfections with sweetness: there, for us, lies true sanctity.  (Counsels and Reminiscences)

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

In a Strange Land
Life is passing, eternity draws nigh; soon shall we live the very life of God.  After having drunk deep at the fount of bitterness, our thirst will be quenched at the very source of all sweetness.

Yes, the figure of this world passes away,  soon shall we see new heavens; a more radiant sun will brighten with its splendours ethereal seas and infinite horizons …  We shall no longer be prisoners in a land of exile;  all will be at an end and with our Heavenly Spouse we shall sail o’er boundless waters: now our harps are hung upon the willows that border the rivers of Babylon,  but in the day of our deliverance what harmonies will then be heard!  With what joy shall we not make every chord of our instruments to vibrate!  Today, we weep remembering Sion . . . how shall we sing the songs of the Lord in a strange land?  (V Letter to her sister Celine)

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

Of Humility, a Peach
The most eloquent discourses would be incapable of inspiring one act of love without the grace that moves the heart.

See a beautiful, rose-tinted peach, of so sweet a savour that no craft of confectioner could produce nectar like it. Is it for the peach itself that God has created this lovely colour and delicate velvety surface?  Is it for the sake of the peach that He has given it so delicious a flavour? No, it is for us; what alone belongs to it and forms the essence of its existence is its stone. It possesses nothing more.

Thus is Jesus pleased to lavish His gifts on some of His creatures, that through them,  He may draw to Himself other souls. But in His mercy He humiliates them interiorly, and gently constrains them to recognize their nothingness and His Omnipotence. These sentiments form in them, as it were,  a kernel of grace, which Jesus hastens to develop for that blessed day when clothed with a beauty immortal, imperishable, they shall without danger have place at the Celestial banquet. (xvi Letter to her sister Celine.)

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

We have taken nothing
The Apostles, without Jesus, laboured long– a whole night– without taking any fish.  Their toil was pleasing to Him but He wished to show that He alone can give anything. He asked only an act of humility:  “Children, have you any meat?   And St. Peter confesses his helplessness:  “Lord we have laboured all night and have taken nothing.”

It is enough! The Heart of Jesus is touched. … Perhaps if the Apostle had taken a few little fishes the Divine Master would not have worked a miracle; but he had nothing, and so through God’s power and goodness his nets were soon filled with great fishes. That is just our Lord’s way.  He gives as God, but He will have humility of heart.  (XVII Letter to her sister Celine)

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

Discouragement
A novice confided to her that she made no progress and felt quite discouraged.
“Till the age of fourteen,” said Thérèse, “I practised virtue without feeling its sweetness. I wished for suffering but had no thought of finding my joy therein; that is a grace which has been granted me later. My soul was like a beautiful tree whose blossoms no sooner opened than they fell.

“Offer to the good God the sacrifice of never gathering the fruits of your labours. If He so will that during your whole life you feel a repugnance to suffer and to be humiliated, if He permit that all the flowers of your desires and of your good-will fall to earth without fruit, be not troubled.  At the moment of your death. He will know well how to bring to perfection,  in the twinkling of an eye, beautiful fruits on the tree of your soul.

“We read in the Book of Ecclesiasticus: “There is an inactive man that wanteth help, is very weak in ability, and full of poverty: yet the eye of God hath looked upon him for good, and hath lifted him up from his low estate,  and hath exalted his head;  and many have wondered at him and have glorified God.  Trust in God, and stay in thy place. For it is easy in the eyes of God, on a sudden to make the poor man rich. The blessing of God maketh haste to reward the just, and in a swift hour His blessing beareth fruit!”  (Counsels and Reminiscences.)

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

On Pride
“To avoid this calamity I have but to say humbly from the depths of my heart: ‘O my God, I implore of Thee, suffer me not to be unfaithful!’

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

On Humility – The Valley
“Oh when I think of all I have to acquire!” exclaimed a novice.
“Say, rather, ‘to lose’. Jesus it is who charges Himself with the care of filling your soul according as you free it from its imperfections. I plainly see that you are taking the wrong road; you will never arrive at the end of your journey.

You wish to scale a mountain and the good God wants to make you descend: He is waiting for you down in the fertile valley of humility.” (Counsels and Reminiscences).

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

Of Criticism and Praise
In a moment of temptation and combat a novice received this note (from St. Thérèse :  “The just man shall correct me in mercy and reprove me; but let not the oil of the sinner anoint my head.” I cannot be corrected or tried except by the just, inasmuch as all my Sisters are pleasing to God. It is less bitter to be reproved by a sinner than by the just; but through compassion for sinners, to obtain their conversion, I pray Thee, O my God, that I may be bruised by the just souls who are roundabout me.

Again, I beg that the oil of praise, so sweet to nature, anoint not my head, that is to say, enervate not my mind, by making me believe that I possess virtues which I have only with difficulty practised several times.

“O my Jesus! Thy Name is as oil poured out, it is in this divine perfume that I wish to be wholly bathed, far away from the notice of creatures.”  (Counsels and Reminiscences)

~ ∞ ~ ∞ ~

The following prayer of Oblation was found in the copy of the Gospels which she carried always close to her heart. We have included a few other of her personal prayers.  The citation for the source is at the end of the post.

AN ACT OF OBLATION AS A VICTIM OF DIVINE LOVE 

O my God, O Most Blessed Trinity, I desire to love Thee and to make Thee loved–to labour for the glory of Holy Church by saving souls here upon earth and by delivering those suffering in Purgatory. I desire to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, and to reach the degree of glory Thou hast prepared for me in Thy Kingdom. In a word, I wish to be holy, but, knowing how helpless I am, I beseech Thee, my God, to be Thyself my holiness.

Since Thou hast loved me so much as to give me Thy Only-Begotten Son to be my Saviour and my Spouse, the infinite treasures of His merits are mine. Gladly do I offer them to Thee, and I beg of Thee to behold me only through the Eyes of Jesus, and in His Heart aflame with love. Moreover, I offer Thee all the merits of the Saints both of Heaven and of earth, together with their acts of love, and those of the holy Angels. Lastly, I offer Thee, O Blessed Trinity, the love and the merits of the Blessed Virgin, my dearest Mother–to her I commit this Oblation, praying her to present it to Thee.

During the days of His life on earth her Divine Son, my sweet Spouse, spake these words: “If you ask the Father anything in My Name, He will give it you.” Therefore I am certain Thou wilt fulfill my longing. O my God, I know that the more Thou wishest to bestow, the more Thou dost make us desire. In my heart I feel boundless desires, and I confidently beseech Thee to take possession of my soul. I cannot receive Thee in Holy Communion as often as I should wish; but, O Lord, art Thou not all powerful?

Abide in me as Thou dost in the Tabernacle–never abandon Thy Little Victim. I long to console Thee for ungrateful sinners, and I implore Thee to take from me all liberty to sin. If through weakness I should chance to fall, may a glance from Thine Eyes straightway cleanse my soul, and consume all my imperfections–as fire transforms all things into itself. I thank Thee, O my God, for all the graces Thou hast granted me: especially for having purified me in the crucible of suffering.

At the Day of Judgment I shall gaze on Thee with joy, as Thou bearest Thy sceptre of the Cross. And since Thou hast deigned to give me this precious Cross as my portion, I hope to be like unto Thee in Paradise and to behold the Sacred Wounds of Thy Passion shine on my glorified body.

After earth’s exile I trust to possess Thee in the Home of our Father; but I do not seek to lay up treasures in Heaven. I wish to labour for Thy Love alone–with the sole aim of pleasing Thee, of consoling Thy Sacred Heart, and of saving souls who will love Thee through eternity. When comes the evening of life, I shall stand before Thee with empty hands, because I do not ask Thee, my God, to take account of my works. All our works of justice are blemished in Thine Eyes. I wish therefore to be robed with Thine own Justice, and to receive from Thy Love the everlasting gift of Thyself. I desire no other Throne, no other Crown but Thee, O my Beloved! In Thy sight time is naught – “one day is a thousand years.”

Thou canst in a single instant prepare me to appear before Thee. In order that my life may be one Act of perfect Love, I offer myself as a Victim of Holocaust to Thy Merciful Love, imploring Thee to consume me unceasingly, and to allow the floods of infinite tenderness gathered up in Thee to overflow into my soul, that so I may become a very martyr of Thy Love, O my God!

May this martyrdom, after having prepared me to appear in Thy Presence, free me from this life at the last, and may my soul take its flight without delay into the eternal embrace of Thy Merciful Love! O my Beloved, I desire at every beat of my heart to renew this Oblation an infinite number of times, “till the shadows retire,” and everlastingly I can tell Thee my love face to face. Amen.

A MORNING PRAYER

O my God! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to Its infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Its Merciful Love.

O my God! I ask of Thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in Heaven for all Eternity. Amen.

PRAYER  TO  OBTAIN  HUMILITY
(Written for a Novice)

O JESUS! When Thou wast a wayfarer upon earth, Thou didst say:–“Learn of Me, for I am Meek and Humble of Heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.” O Almighty King of Heaven! my soul indeed finds rest in seeing Thee condescend to wash the feet of Thy Apostles – “having taken the form of a slave.”

I recall the words Thou didst utter to teach me the practice of humility: “I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also. The servant is not greater than his Lord. If you know these things, you shall be blessed if you do them.” I understand, dear Lord, these words which come from Thy Meek and Humble Heart, and I wish to put them in practice with the help of Thy grace. I desire to humble myself in all sincerity, and to submit my will to that of my Sisters, without ever contradicting them, and without questioning whether they have the right to command.

No one, O my Beloved! had that right over Thee, and yet Thou didst obey not only the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, but even Thy executioners. And now, in the Holy Eucharist, I see Thee complete Thy self-abasement. O Divine King of Glory, with wondrous humility, Thou dost submit Thyself to all Thy Priests, without any distinction between those who love Thee and those who, alas! are lukewarm or cold in Thy service. They may advance or delay the hour of the Holy Sacrifice: Thou art always ready to come down from Heaven at their call.

O my Beloved, under the white Eucharistic Veil Thou dost indeed appear to me Meek and Humble of Heart! To teach me humility, Thou canst not further abase Thyself, and so I wish to respond to Thy Love, by putting myself in the lowest place, by sharing Thy humiliations, so that I may “have part with Thee” in the Kingdom of Heaven.

I implore Thee, dear Jesus, to send me a humiliation whensoever I try to set myself above others. And yet, dear Lord, Thou knowest my weakness. Each morning I resolve to be humble, and in the evening I recognise that I have often been guilty of pride. The sight of these faults tempts me to discouragement; yet I know that discouragement is itself but a form of pride. I wish, therefore, O my God, to build all my trust upon Thee. As Thou canst do all things, deign to implant in my soul this virtue which I desire, and to obtain it from Thy Infinite Mercy, I will often say to Thee: “Jesus, Meek and Humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine.” Amen.

(Saint Thérèse de Lisieux. The Story of a Soul (L’Histoire d’une Âme): The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux (Link)

 

. Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
. St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
. St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ 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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The Rosary to the Interior: Light in the Darkness

In the darkness and desolation of the faith, there is an unfailing light for those who would see: the Rosary of Our Lady. And now, there is a project to shine that light ever brighter, to dispel the darkness and deceit of these foul times. This worthy project is the Rosary to the Interior. LINK.  In today’s post, we will introduce you to the project, but I hope that you will follow the link and learn more from the site itself: and then please spread the word! If we start today, it will not be a minute too soon!

Dear Readers, this indeed is the project which I have been praying for, so many, many rosaries now, beseeching God’s mercy for worthy leaders to lead us, in humility and obedience, to take up the fight against the powers of darkness which assail the Bride of Christ everywhere, from within and from without the Church. As you read the following, and then explore the articles on the Rosary to the Interior site, you will see that this is the path forward and you will realize how blessed we are to be a part of this holy effort.

On February 2, 2019, which is the day celebrating the double Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (also called Candlemas), there will again occur throughout the  United States the gathering of faithful in their parish churches  to pray the Rosary for the intention of the Purification of the Church, and the Triumph of the Light of Christ over all sin and error.

The Presentation celebrates the coming of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, into His Temple. It is, in fact, the premier Feast of Light¸ and the Triumph of Light over the Darkness of Evil. Traditionally called Candlemas, it signifies the “success” and triumph of the Incarnation, has been traditionally celebrated with triumphal candlelight processions, and is the liturgical day designated for the blessing of candles.

The Purification is the Feast of Our Lady considered to be the oldest Marian liturgical Feast in the Church (having its beginnings in the liturgical life of the Church in Jerusalem) which, while exteriorly signifying an act which fulfilled the prescription of the Old Law, interiorly represents a whole new reality. The purification prescribed in the Old Law was in consequence of original sin and the pain and “sorrow” which now accompanied all childbirth. Mary, conceived without sin, was free from this sorrow. The Purification of the New Testament is therefore to be identified with the interior suffering of Mary, and the prayer and penance of her spiritual children, which is necessary for the purification of the  Church in order that Christ’s Light may radiate throughout the Church, and from there into the world:

“And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

The Church has now been penetrated by a darkness greater than at any time in its history – not only the darkness of sexual sins and other moral “filth”, but that which consists of every conceivable form of error masking itself as truth, and of darkness masquerading as light. The task of unmasking these “thoughts”, and thus paving the way to the Triumph of the Truth of Christ, has been entrusted to Mary. Most specifically, it has been entrusted to Our Lady of the Rosary. St. Paul writes, “The night is passed, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light.” The Rosary, as revealed in the messages of Our Lady of Fatima, is this armor of light possessing the power from God to cast off the works of darkness which now pervade the Church, the world, and especially the minds and hearts of individual Catholics.

We need to be immensely grateful to Poland for beginning this militant crusade with its “Rosary on the Borders”, and for Catholics in Italy and Ireland who have followed suit. The title “Rosary to the Interior” is singularly appropriate to such an effort in the United States, since we are a primary source of the evils that have permeated the modern world: abortion, contraception, the destruction of the family, pornography, homosexuality, materialism and consumerism, all the evils of the media which destroy the intelligence and morality of young and old alike, denial of the Kingship of Christ over all nations, and manifold heresies in regard to the Truths of Christ.

We also need to recognize that Polish Catholics were right in coupling this collective praying of the Rosary to the fate of their nation. St. James the Apostle declares: “the friendship of this world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). In the United States this “friendship of the world” has taken the form of constant compromise with American culture and politics, which has produced all those evil “fruits” mentioned above. The campaign of the Enemy within the Church is now taking the form of declaring an end to this “enmity” between Christ and the world, and of promoting inclusiveness towards every conceivable form of evil. The Rosary must therefore be embraced not only as a form of armor protecting us from personal evil, but as a militant weapon in order to defeat the deceits of those who work in darkness, from within, to overthrow Christ and His Church. It must now, first and foremost, be directed in intention towards the Interior of the Church.

Finally, it would seem especially necessary, given the profound lack of unity which exists among various apostolates and agendas operating within the United States, that this effort not be taken over by any one organization. We pray that it will rise from the hearts of many, be promoted by every form of organization and media, and be subsumed by none. Let it thus proceed as a united effort to purify the Church and convert our nation.

Additional Considerations:

We are at a point in the history of the Church in which none of the normal apostolates which sustain the life of the Church – catechesis, proper intellectual formation, all sorts of organizations in defense of faith and morals, apologetics, etc. seem to possess the power to resist and defeat the enemy, who is always encroaching and making progress against what appear to be even our best defenses (including the rosary). We pray the rosary “against” Islamic jihad, secularism, abortion, and all those forces and institutions which wage war against all that we hold sacred (including Marriage and the Family), and we pray the rosary “for” an end to these things. And yet they continue to advance, seemingly at a geometrically increasing pace. We must ask why.

The answer consists in that truth which has been succinctly expressed in a great many ways by such Popes as Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pope Pius X: namely, that only the Catholic Church possesses the light and the power to build, nourish, and protect Christian civilization. And, tragically, this power and light has now been weakened and dimmed to a point that the Church has largely been reduced to the status of a minor character and victim upon the world stage. The salt has lost its savour, the light is hidden, the bride befouled. And what is most debilitating about this interior pollution, both within our individual selves and the Church as a whole, is that it is self-perpetuating and increasingly blinding. The more compromised with the world we become, the greater becomes the hidden guilt which causes us to be obsessed with the enemy without, rather than doing what is necessary to restore the light within.

The Rosary To The Interior: For the Purification of the Church, while being inspired by the Rosary on the Borders in Poland on Oct 7, and the Rosary on the Coast in Ireland on Nov 26, is indeed constituted as something quite different. It requires that we turn our gaze inward in order to see both the problem and the solution. It certainly may be amended to suit individual circumstance, but the intention should remain the same. It is a Rosary to the Interior. It is a Rosary for Interior Purification. It is a Rosary to rekindle a Light that has been profoundly dimmed. And this is why it almost cries out for Candlemas – the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary – for its occurrence.

As to organization of this event: This effort is designed to begin in the hearts and minds of individual believers, inspire them in a missionary effort towards their local parishes and pastors, and culminate in rosaries and prayers in these churches for the purification of the Church. By its very nature it requires not organization along secular lines (states, nations, geographical boundaries, etc.), but is designed to move along, and upwards through, the sinews of the divinely constituted structure of the Church. Letters have already been sent to over 200 bishops detailing the nature and purpose of this event. These letters were not intended for making this event into something which would begin from the top of the hierarchy. Informing the bishops was simply the Catholic thing to do, and hopefully will help create an attitude of receptivity among them. We might tend to think that it is only the simple faithful who possess the poverty of spirit necessary to utter this cry for help (and this truly is what this event must be), but it is also true that any bishop or priest who loves Christ and Church (and we certainly are not allowed to make preemptory judgments about who may or may not possess such a love) must also now be in a state of increasing helplessness, where he too might be open to God’s grace, and to seeing that the solution to our present crisis lies in the supernatural means which God has provided. In the charity we are to possess as Catholics, and as members of the same Mystical Body, we must not in any way dismiss or ignore them.

Note: Any of the above may be freely used and copied. As long as the intention remains the same – “Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church” – it may also be amended to suit individual circumstances. We suggest that parish priests and bishops be asked for permission to use their Church, and even to promote this endeavor from the pulpit and the church bulletin. Finally, we would ask all those interested in participating in this Rosary to the Interior to consider what contacts they might make in order to promote this effort towards the purification of their Church. Its power and effectiveness, with the aid of God’s grace, is designed to begin in the heart of each individual believer and multiply to unity with all the faithful in a cry for God’s mercy and assistance.

The above text is reprinted with permission from the RosarytotheInterior.org.

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!