On Meditation, Contemplation and Perseverance

 

Some readers have told me of their difficulty with Ignatian spirituality and one reader reported that the Ignatian retreat she attended was helpful but that the method itself did not seem to be a good fit for her. I agreed that I had the same experience and would have profited more during my retreat from spiritual reading and hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Dom  Boylan’s practical approach helped me immensely and so I offer it to readers, for those who may find it useful. In coming weeks, I hope to write also on St. Teresa’s advice in the matter, as well, from her “Way of Perfection” and from Father Frasinetti’s “Treatise on Prayer with St. Teresa’s Pater Noster”.

Today’s offering is from the conclusion of “Difficulties in Mental Prayer”.  I am presenting this portion, which is out of sequence, because it seems indicated by several questions I received from readers lately, who advise me that they truly have nowhere  else to turn to for assistance. Although this writing is primarily aimed at the religious life, Dom Boylan states that it is also meant to be beneficial for laity who seek perfection, as we all should.

† . † . †

In the conclusion of his book, Dom Boylan offers a quote from St. John of the Cross, the authority par excellence on the subject of mental prayer.  In “The Living Flame of Love”, when treating of the development of the prayer of meditation, he writes:

“The state of beginners… is one of meditation and of acts of reflection. It is necessary to furnish the soul in this state with matter for meditation, that it may make reflections and interior acts, and avail itself of the sensible spiritual heat and fervor, for this is necessary in order to accustom the senses and desires to good things, that, being satisfied by the sweetness thereof, they may be detached from the world.

“When this is in some degree effected, God begins at once to introduce the soul into the state of contemplation, and that very quickly, especially in the case of religious, because these, having renounced the world, quickly fashion their senses and desires according to God; they have, therefore, to pass at once from meditation to contemplation.”

“This passage, then, takes place when the discursive acts and meditation fail, when sensible sweetness and first fervors cease, when the soul cannot make reflections as before, nor find any sensible comfort, but is fallen into aridity, because the chief matter is changed into the spirit, and the spirit is not cognizable by sense. As all the natural operations of the soul, which are within its control, depend on the senses only, it follows that God is now working in a special manner in this state, that it is He that infuses and teaches, that the soul is the recipient on which He bestows spiritual blessings by contemplation, the knowledge and the love of Himself together; that is, He gives it loving knowledge without the instrumentality of its discursive acts, because it is no longer able to form them as before.

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

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

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

Continue reading “On Meditation, Contemplation and Perseverance”

January 1, 2020 Mary, the Mother of God

“Call me and my image the Perfect Virgin Mary, Holy Mother of God, the one who crushes the serpent.” Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego

Much of the Church celebrates today as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and it seems appropriate to offer a small portion of Holy Church’s immense treasury of Marian writings to counter-act this horrid pope’s barrage of denigrating statements against the most holy Mother of God.

By focusing our devout attention on what is exalted and holy and beautiful, we hope to make worthy reparation for the unkind words and actions of the unfortunate man who has usurped the See of Peter. Pope Francis uses his power as the Vicar of Christ to attack Christ’s own Mother! Ah, but we know how this must end, don’t we? And so we watch and pray.

Much of the following is taken from the writings of Saint John Eudes, particularly “The Admirable Heart of Mary”  available from KIC,( Link) or may be downloaded free from Archive.org, (Link)

As I write this, it is very late on New Year’s Eve, and all around us, the worldly celebrate with fireworks and of course, the occasional gunshot and ambulances scream urgently. The world around me isn’t exactly in “solemn stillness” this night, and I must admit, my heart is also not in stillness but wrenched to its core as I think on the hideous talk given by Pope Francis on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In her revelations to us through St. Juan Diego, Our Most Blessed Mother taught us, “Call me and my image the Perfect Virgin Mary, Holy Mother of God, the one who crushes the serpent.” In that brief statement, she affirms her Immaculate Conception (perfect), her Perpetual Virginity and her most august title, Mother of God. For the Pope to manipulate this occasion with snide remarks is beyond all tolerance. No faithful Catholic is comfortable with criticising the Pope, but this pope forces us if we are to remain in a state of grace. For it is impossible to agree with his statements!  Indeed, there should have been a strong response against the Pope’s insults from every Bishop throughout the Church. But how few have done this!  And so the faithful are disheartened and left in confusion, and the ancient enemy of Our Lady rejoices.

And here we begin to see the root of Bergoglio’s problem with the most Blessed Virgin; his need to insist she is, “a normal girl”, Pope Francis is reported to have said, “She never wanted for herself something that was of her son,” … “She never introduced herself as co-redemptrix. No. Disciple,” … “Mary woman, Mary mother, without any other essential title,” It seems that he cannot help himself from showing disdain for her. But why? Is it perhaps that he hates Our Dear Lord so much? Let us think on the relation between the hearts of Jesus and Mary. St. John Eudes will be our guide in this.

Jesus Christ, the Heart of the Eternal Father, is the Heart of His Holy Mother. Is not the heart the principle of life? And what is the Son of God to His dear Mother? He always was and will be forever the heart of her heart, the soul of her soul, the spirit of her spirit, and the sole principle of all the movements, uses and functions of her most holy life. St. Paul tells us that it is not himself who lives but Jesus Christ who lives in him (Gal. 2, 20). Our Lord is the life of all Christians (Col. 3, 4) so who could doubt that He abides in His holy Mother, and that He is the life of her life, the heart of her heart, in a union incomparably more excellent even than with St. Paul and the other faithful saints?

Let us listen to what Our Lady revealed to St Brigid: “My Son was truly my Heart to me. When He left my bosom to be born, it seemed as though half of my Heart were going forth from me. When He suffered, I felt His pain as though my Heart endured the identical sorrows and torments that He endured. When my Son was being scourged and torn with whips, my Heart was scourged and whipped with Him. When He looked at me from the Cross, and I at Him, two streams of tears gushed from my eyes; and when He saw me oppressed with sorrow, He experienced such violent anguish at my desolation that the pain caused by His sorrow was my sorrow as His Heart was my Heart. Because Adam and Eve together betrayed the world for one, single forbidden fruit, so did my beloved Son wish that I should cooperate with Him in redeeming it with one Heart…”

Saint John Eudes continues, “… her Heart mirrors His Sacred Heart. So it is that Jesus is the principle of life in His most holy Mother. So it is that He is the Heart of her Heart and the life of her life. St. Brigid once heard her say: “Every homage rendered to my Son is likewise rendered to me, and whoever dishonors Him dishonors me. We have always had such perfect mutual love that we seemed to have as it were but one Heart for both…”

St. John Eudes relates that Our Lord revealed these thoughts to St. Mechtilde in 1300, that He wishes her (and us) to honor His Mother’s Heart as an ocean of grace and a treasure of blessings, as the humblest heart of any creature, asserting that it was her humility which drew Him from His Father’s bosom and rendered her worthy to conceive in her chaste womb of the Holy Ghost. He further explained that Mary should be honored as most prudent and wise for keeping in her Heart “the memory of each event of My childhood, youth and adult life” and making holy use of this remembrance. Our Lord also urged that we honor the heart of His most beloved Mother as the most faithful, “for she not only consented to permit Me, her only Son, to be sacrificed, but she also offered Me to my Eternal Father as a sacrifice for the redemption of the world.”

And finally, He tells us of her excellence, that she is “the most vigilant and most zealous for the interests of the nascent Church, for the care she took to pray unceasingly could not be disregarded” and also, that we should, “glorify her Heart as raised to the highest degree of uninterrupted contemplation, for no tongue can worthily speak of the graces and favors that men owe to the power of her intercession.”

There are just a few more quotes we should include here if we are to use these thoughts in our reparation to our Most Beloved Mother. Saint John Eudes rhetorically quotes Jesus thus,

…As her Heart is the first object of the love of my Heart, after the Eternal Father, it is likewise, after God, the first object of your most tender and holy affection.Therefore have I given it to you to be an inexhaustible fountain of blessings in your midst.”

“I have given the Heart of my incomparable Mother to you as a holy Rule that will enable you to become saints, if you faithfully observe it. It is the rule of the divine life you should lead, of the high qualities and habits you must assume, of the evangelical teachings you are to follow. By this rule you must measure the holiness that should permeate all your actions, the sentiments and affections that should fill your hearts. It is the rule of the love and hatred, the joy and sorrow, the desires and fears that must be yours, if you are to please me and sanctify yourselves.

“I have given her Heart to you as a vast ocean of graces of every kind, from which you must draw the graces you need at every hour, every moment, every place and every occasion, to avoid the manifold snares of Satan, which cover the entire earth, and to be able to serve God in justice and holiness all the days of your lives.

“In order to make this come true, you must renounce entirely your own heart, that is, your mind, your will and your love of self. Strive, therefore, to rid yourself of your earthly heart that is depraved and wicked, and you shall receive an entirely heavenly, holy and divine Heart.

“I have finally given this marvelous Heart as an inestimable treasure containing every possible blessing. It is for you, beloved children, to engrave in your hearts a high esteem, a profound respect and a particular affection for so rich a treasure, and to preserve it jealously by the continuation and increase of your veneration for a Heart so holy and amiable. “It is to encourage you to do so that I have said these things. Set down my words in your hearts and practice them faithfully. In this way, you will become the true children of my holy Mother’s Heart, and you will live according to my own.

My eyes and my Heart shall ever watch over your necessities. I will carry you in my innermost Heart. You will yourselves be my Heart, my joy and my delight. I will love you as my own Heart, and I will prepare a glorious habitation for you throughout eternity in my Heart and in the Heart of my blessed Mother, which is one with my own. You shall abide forever in our Hearts, and live by their life, you shall possess all the treasures enclosed in our Hearts, and be immersed and buried in their joys.

Our Hearts shall be your paradise, the life of your life, the Heart of your heart. “In the love of these Hearts, or rather, this one Heart, you will eternally love, bless and glorify my holy Mother and the Sovereign monarch of all hearts, which is the adorable Heart of the most Holy Trinity. May It be forever praised, adored, and loved by all the hearts of angels and of men!”

In closing, Saint John Eudes wrote this prayer which I dare to make my own for you dear readers, on this first day of the year 2020: Offered with love and many prayers, always,

O most holy Mary, Thy divine Son, Jesus, hath created thy Heart, and He alone knows the great treasures He has hidden therein. He it was who lit the fire burning in this furnace, and none but He can measure the heights reached by the flames which leap from its abyss. He alone can measure the vast perfections with which He has enriched the masterpiece of His all-powerful goodness, or count the innumerable graces He has poured into this ocean of grace: “He created her in the Holy Ghost, and saw her, and numbered her, and measured her” (Eccles. 1, 9).

And now I beseech thee, O most Blessed Virgin Mary, through thy Heart and for the honor of that very Heart, to offer me to thy beloved Son and to pray that He may annihilate my personality and set Himself in the place of my nothingness, so that not my voice but His may be heard. May Jesus Christ be the author of this book, and I but the instrument of His surpassing love for thee and of the zeal with which He watches over the honor of thy most worthy Heart.

May He inspire the thoughts He wishes to see expressed in (these writings) and the very words He desires I should use. May His blessing rest in fullest measure on the readers of (these writings), and may He transform all its words into bright and ardent coals, so that their hearts may be purified, enlightened and inflamed with the sacred fire of His love. In a word, may they become worthy to live according to God’s Heart and to be numbered among the children of the maternal Heart of God’s own Mother.

Sources for the above are two of Marianna Bartold’s publications, Guadalupe: Secrets of the Image and  The Admirable Heart of Maryby St. John Eudes, ed. Marianna Bartold.

Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey:  First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.

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

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

Dross into Gold, 2019

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

And to Sister Josefa:

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

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

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

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

Continue reading “Dross into Gold, 2019”

Sister Lúcia of Fatima, our guide in 2020

 

As we prepare for the new year ahead, Sister Lúcia of Fatima will be our guide through the trials ahead.

“Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved.
He wants to establish the Devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world.”

Sister Lúcia of Fatima has the distinction of being canonized in her lifetime by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. When Our Lady visited the three shepherd children 102 years ago on June 13, 1917, Lúcia pleaded with her,  “I would like to ask you also to take us to Heaven.”

“Yes”, Our Lady answered, “I will take Francisco and Jacinta soon. You, however, are to stay here a longer time. Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish the Devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it and their souls will be loved by God as flowers placed by myself to adorn His throne.”

Lúcia was filled with sadness to hear the news that she was to be left alone in the world, and cried out, “Am I going to stay here alone?”

“No, my daughter.” Our Lady responded tenderly to Lúcia, whose eyes were brimming with tears,

“Does this cause you to suffer a great deal? I will never leave you! My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.“

Although all three children were promised Heaven, it was to Lúcia that Our Lady made the promise that she would be with her always. What a remarkable thing it must have been for that child to hear from the Mother of God that, “Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved.“

This world is dying under the errors which have been growing and spreading ever since the arch-heretic Martin Luther revolted against the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ, tearing Christendom asunder. In response to this grave attack, Jesus requested public devotion to His Sacred Heart. He specifically asked that the image of this adorable Heart be placed publicly, revered publicly. We all know that this was not done and so the Masonic revolution, which was not publicly known at that time, grew in power until it finally erupted in bloody violence in the French Revolution, in which the King was beheaded and the Church suppressed and persecuted.

In time, this same satanic force even penetrated the Vatican, and at this point our Lord Jesus Christ sent His Blessed Mother to Fatima with a message, “Jesus wants to use you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish the Devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world.”

The disobedience of the Popes caused the withdrawal of God’s grace and they found themselves unable to obey Our Lady’s message, but Jesus still wants to use Sister Lúcia to make the Immaculate Heart of Mary known and loved. In fact, the message is all the more urgent at this late date. 

We are all being called to hear and spread Sister Lúcia’s message to Return to Fatima, return and renew our devotion to the full message of our Immaculate Mother. It is so urgent that we all, every one of us who hear these words, allow the Immaculata to make us her apostles in these latter times. How I wish I were free to say all that is in my heart in this regard! But I can say this, if you will pray your Rosary to Our Lady, with Sister Lúcia, you will understand and be better able to implement Our Lady of Fatima’s requests for us, for the Church.

Sister Lúcia assured us of the efficacy of the Rosary;

“The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary, to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations, that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary. With the Holy Rosary we will save ourselves, we will sanctify ourselves, we will console Our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls.”

And she also explained devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

“Finally, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Most Holy Mother, consists in considering Her as the seat of mercy, of goodness and of pardon, and as the certain door by which we are to enter Heaven.”

Please note the above quote referring to devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary does not consist of “filial devotion to the ‘Holy Father’ “. The contention that it does is an error of the conciliar Church and has no place in true devotion to the Message of Fatima. We must hold firm to the true teachings of Sister Lúcia, and follow her to true devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Although Sister Lúcia was silenced by the disobedient Vatican, her message speaks clearly to us today. 

How great must have been her suffering to have the very Church she was vowed to obey refuse her every effort to perform her task of spreading devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  As great as her suffering was, how much more must be her reward! The doctors and saints of the Church assure us that there is no great work which is accomplished without great suffering. Sister Lúcia’s sufferings at the hands of the dark forces controlling the Church are a rich source of graces for us now. Our Lady herself assured us that Sister Lúcia is her chosen apostle and that she would join her in Heaven. Please consider turning to her now to help your efforts bear fruit in the service of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Sister Lúcia’s  life’s work appeared to have been fruitless in the eyes of the worldly, but to think so ignores the fact that Christ, – and His Immaculate Mother – triumph today as they always have. As they did on Golgotha’s bloody rock. With our blessed Lúcia’s help, we will keep to the safe path offered by Our Lady of the Rosary!

Although there is not much hope that the Church in its current chaotic state will honor this extraordinary saint, we offer the following prayer for the recognition of her heroic sanctity. It is inspired by the prayers of Fatima.

Prayer for Canonization of Sister Lúcia of Fatima
Sister Lucia of Fatima at Dorothean Convent, 1945
Sister Lúcia of Fatima at Dorothean Convent, 1945

O Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee. My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament!
O my Jesus, I love Thee! Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly with all the powers of my soul, and I thank Thee for the apparitions of the most Holy Virgin in Fatima which have made manifest to the world the treasures of her Immaculate Heart.

By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I implore Thee, if it should be for Thy greater glory and the good of our souls, to glorify in the sight of Thy Holy Church Lúcia, the Apostle of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, by granting us through her intercession the grace we implore. Amen.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, be our refuge; lead us to Jesus!

   Sister Lúcia of Fatima, pray for us!
  Saint Jacinta of Fatima pray for us!
  Saint Francisco of Fatima, pray for us!

~ by evensong, for love of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary

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

December 26, 1957

 

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

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

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

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

Sister Lúcia’s 1957 interview with Father Augustin Fuentes

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

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

Continue reading “December 26, 1957”

His Name Shall be Called Emmanuel, 2019

 

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

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

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

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

And why was this so?

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

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

 

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

ST. JOSEPH’S EXCEPTIONAL MISSION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes Towards Consecration to Mary

A reader who wishes to maintain her anonymity offered a couple of articles taken from the great Thomist, Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. as an aid towards our Renewal of our Consecrations next Sunday, for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I am so grateful!

Consecration to Our Lady is a practical form of recognition of her universal mediation and a guarantee of her special protection. It helps us to have continual childlike recourse to her and to contemplate and imitate her virtues and her perfect union with Christ. In the practice of this complete dependence on Mary, there may be included—and St. Grignon de Montfort invites us to it—the resignation into Mary’s hands of everything in our good works that is communicable to other souls, so that she may make use of it in accordance with the will of her Divine Son and for His glory.

“I choose thee this day, O Mary, in the presence of the whole court of Heaven, as my Mother and Queen. I give and consecrate to you as your slave my body and my soul, my interior and exterior possessions, and even the value of my past, present and future good actions, allowing you the full right to dispose of me and of all that belongs to me, without any exception whatever, according to your good pleasure, for the greater glory of God, in time and in eternity.”

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Return to Fatima, Nov. 26, 2019

 

Retirement

Updated 12-20-2019: It is our intention here at Return to Fatima to remake the site into a resource for those who are devoted to Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima. I hope to leave the site up, not as a blog, but as a place where people who are interested in learning more about the message of Our Lady of Fatima and its relationship to the current crisis in the Church within the context of the approved prophecies of the Church, and including Sacred Scriptures as well.

For those who have come to enjoy my frequent articles, I hope to offer a newsletter, which will begin soon after the new year, God willing.

We are on the brink of an even worse crisis; it is the time of winnowing; We have no lack of posers who represent themselves as leading traditional Catholics. But what is needed are generous souls to follow Our Lady, for as Sister Lucia assures us, “she is the seat of mercy, of goodness and of pardon, and (is) the certain door by which we are to enter Heaven.”

Now is the time to prepare for our re-consecrations! The link for our post on the Rosary Novena for the Immaculate Conception of Mary is here: LINK

Continue reading “Return to Fatima, Nov. 26, 2019”

For Saint Gertrude, with love

 

Although there was little among the archives of evensong’s drafts, we have not desired to allow Saint Gertrudes’ feast day to go unhonored. And so with apologies for the poverty of our offering, we have the following quotes from the archives. These have not been reviewed for accuracy or edited, thus, an additional apology is due.

The first great saint of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is St. Gertrude, the only female saint honored by the Church with the title, “Great”. In her writings and in her actions, Saint Gertrude provides us with the certainty that devotion to His Immaculate Mother is the devotion which pleases Him most of all. Indeed, as we shall see, Our Lord Himself states clearly what is most pleasing to Him:

Continue reading “For Saint Gertrude, with love”