Desolation

 

Many writers have noted lately the whole world and especially the Church is in a state of extreme desolation. But today, by God’s infinite mercy, we may find that immense benefits are to be drawn from it. From St. Alphonus Liguori:

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When a soul is morally certain of being in the grace of God, although she may be deprived of worldly pleasures, as well as of those which come from God, she nevertheless rests satisfied with her state, conscious, as she is, of loving God, and of being loved by Him. But God, Who wishes to see her purified and divested of all sensible satisfaction, in order to unite her entirely to Himself by means of pure love, what does He do?

He puts her in the crucible of desolation, which is more painful to bear than the most severe trials, whether internal or external; she is left in a state of uncertainty if she be in the grace of God or not, and in the dense darkness that shrouds her, there seems no prospect of her ever more finding God. Almighty God, moreover, will sometimes permit her to be assailed by violent sensual temptations, accompanied by irregular movements of the inferior part, or perhaps by thoughts of unbelief, of despair, and even of hatred of God, when she imagines herself cast off by Him, and that He no longer hears her prayers.

And as, on the one hand, the suggestions of the devil are vehement, and the motions of concupiscence are excited, and, on the other, the soul finds herself in this great darkness, she can no longer sufficiently distinguish whether she properly resists or yields to the temptations, though her will resolutely refuses all consent. Her fears of having lost God are thus very much increased; and from her fancied infidelity in struggling against the temptations, she thinks herself deservedly abandoned by God. The saddest of all calamities seems to have befallen her,—–to be able no longer to love God, and to be hated by Him.

St. Teresa passed through all these trials, and declares that during them solitude had no charms for her, but, on the contrary, filled her with horror; while prayer was changed for her into a perfect hell. When a soul that loves God finds herself in this state, she must not lose courage; and neither must he who directs her become alarmed. Those sensual movements, those temptations against faith, those feelings of distrust, and those attacks which urge her to hate Almighty God, are fears, are tortures of the soul, are efforts of the enemy; but they are not voluntary, and therefore they are not sins.

The sincere lover of Jesus Christ resists valiantly on such occasions, and withholds all consent to such suggestions; but because of the darkness which envelops her, she knows not how to distinguish, her soul is thrown into confusion, and the privation of the presence of Divine grace makes her fearful and sad. But it can be soon discovered that in these souls, thus tried by God, all is dread and apprehension, but not truth: only ask them, even in their state of desolation, whether they would willingly commit one single deliberate venial sin; they will answer, that they are ready to suffer not one, but a thousand deaths, rather than be guilty of such displeasure to Almighty God.

It is necessary, therefore, to make this distinction, that it is one thing to perform an act of virtue, such as to repel a temptation, to trust in God, to love God, and to will what He wills; and it is another thing to have the consciousness of really making these good acts. This consciousness of doing good contributes to our pleasure; but the profit consists in the first point, that is, in actually doing good. With the first, God is satisfied, and deprives the soul of the latter—–that is, of the consciousness of doing good, in order thus to remove from her all self-satisfaction, which adds nothing to the merit of the action; for our Lord seeks more our real advantage than our own satisfaction.

St. John of the Cross wrote the following words of comfort to a desolate soul: “You were never in a better state than at present; for you were never so deeply humbled, and so cut off from all attachment to this world, and at the same time you were never so thoroughly impressed with the conviction of your own wickedness. Neither were you ever so divested and purified of all self-seeking as now.” [Lettre 8.]

Let us, then, not believe that when we feel a greater tenderness of devotion we are more beloved by God; for perfection does not consist in that, but in the mortification of our own will, and in its union with the will of God. Wherefore, in this state of desolation the soul must not heed the devil, when he suggests that God has abandoned her; nor must she leave off prayer. This is the object at which the devil is aiming, in order afterwards to drag her down some precipice.

St. Teresa writes: “The Lord proves His true lovers by dryness and temptations. What though the dryness should be of lifelong duration, let the soul never relax in prayer; the time will arrive when all will be abundantly repaid.” [Life, ch. 11.]

In such a state of suffering, a person should humble himself by the reflection that his offences against God are undeserving of any milder treatment: he should humble himself, and be fully resigned to the Divine will, saying: “O my Lord, behold me at Thy feet; if it be Thy will that I should remain thus desolate and afflicted for my whole life, and even for all eternity, only grant me Thy grace and the gift of Thy love, and do with me whatever Thou wilt.”

It will be useless then, and perhaps a source of greater disquiet, to wish to assure yourself that you are in the grace of God, and that what you experience is only a trial, and not abandonment on the part of God. At such times it is not the will of God that you should have this assurance; and He so wills it for your greater advantage, in order that you may humble yourself the more, and increase your prayers and acts of confidence in His mercy. You desire to see, and God wills that you should not see. For the rest, St. Francis de Sales says: “The resolution not to consent to any sin, however small, is a sure sign that we are in God’s grace.” [Spirit, ch. 4.]

But a soul in profound desolation cannot even clearly discern this resolution; nevertheless, in such a state she must not aim at feeling what she wills; it is enough to will with the point of the will. In this manner she should entirely abandon herself into the arms of the Divine goodness. Oh, how do such acts of confidence and resignation ravish the heart of God, when made in the midst of the darkness of desolation! Ah, let us simply trust in a God, Who (as St. Teresa says) loves us far better than we love ourselves. Let these souls, then, so dear to God, and who are resolutely determined to belong entirely to Him, take comfort, although at the same time they see themselves deprived of every consolation. Their desolation is a sign of their being very acceptable to God, and that He has for them a place prepared in His heavenly kingdom, which overflows with consolations as full as they are lasting,

And let them hold for certain, that the more they are afflicted in the present life, so much the more they shall be consoled in eternity: According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, Thy comforts have given joy to my soul. [Ps. xciii. 19.]

Example.

For the encouragement of souls in desolation, I will here mention what is related in the life of St. Jane Frances de Chantal. For the space of forty years she was tormented by the most fearful interior trials, by temptations, by fears of being in enmity with God, and of being even quite forsaken by Him. Her afflictions were so excruciating and unremitting, that she declared her sole ray of comfort came from the thought of death.

Moreover she said: “I am so furiously assaulted, that I know not where to hide my poor soul. I seem at times on the point of losing all patience, and of giving up all as utterly lost.” “The tyrant of temptation is so relentless,” she says, “that any hour of the day I would gladly barter it with the loss of my life; and sometimes it happens that I can neither eat nor sleep.” [Mem. de la M. de Chaugy, p. 3. ch. 27.] During the last eight or nine years of her life, her temptations became still more violent.

Mother de Chatel said that her saintly Mother de Chantal suffered a continual interior martyrdom night and day, at prayer, at work, and even during sleep; so that she felt the deepest compassion for her. The Saint endured assaults against every virtue (except chastity), and had likewise to contend with doubts, darkness, and disgusts. Sometimes God would withdraw all lights from her, and seem indignant with her, and just on the point of expelling her from Him; so that terror drove her to look in some other direction for relief: but failing to find any, she was obliged to return to look on God, and to abandon herself to His mercy.

She seemed each moment ready to yield to the violence of her temptations. The Divine assistance did not indeed forsake her; but it seemed to her to have done so, since, instead of finding satisfaction in anything, she found only weariness and anguish in prayer, in reading spiritual books, in Communion, and in all other exercises of piety. Her sole resource in this state of dereliction was to look upon God, and to let Him do His will.

The Saint said: “In all my abandonments my mere life is a new cross to me, and my incapability of action adds considerably to its heaviness.” And it was therefore that she compared herself to a sick person overwhelmed with sufferings, unable to turn from one side to the other, speechless, so as not to be able to express his ills, and blind, so as not to discern whether the attendants are administering to him medicine or poison. And then, weeping bitterly, she added, “I seem to be without faith, without hope, and without love for my God.”

Nevertheless, the Saint maintained throughout her serenity of countenance and affability in conversation, and kept her looks fixedly bent towards God, in the bosom of Whose blessed will she constantly reposed. Wherefore St. Francis de Sales, who was her director, and knew well what an object of predilection her beautiful soul was to Almighty God, wrote thus of her:

“Her heart resembled a deaf musician, who, though he may sing most exquisitely, can derive no pleasure from it himself.” And to herself he wrote as follows: “You must endeavor to serve your Saviour solely through love of His blessed will, utterly deprived of consolations, and overwhelmed by a deluge of fears and sadness.” [Love of God, B, 9. ch. 11.]

It is thus that the Saints are formed:

“Long did the chisels ring around,
Long did the mallet’s blows rebound,
Long work’d the head and toil’d the hand,
Ere stood thy stones as now they stand.”
—–Offic. Dedic. eccl.

The Saints of whom the Church sings are precisely these choice stones, which are reduced to shapeliness and beauty by the strokes of the chisel,—–that is, by temptations, by fears, by darkness, and other torments, internal and external,—–till at length they are made worthy to be enthroned in the blessed kingdom of Paradise.

From: Uniformity with God’s Will and the Practice of Love of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus Liguori, by Veritatis Splendor, Kindle. LINK.

Please, Pray the Rosary and confound satan and those who serve him!

†  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!

 

~ 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 Love of His Sacred Heart

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus are inseparable, although the modernist church certainly does try! For today, let’s revisit this fine old essay by the incomparable Solange Hertz.

For love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we offer this essay of Solange Hertz, from her book (highly recommended!), The Thought of Their Heart, on Devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Holy Rosary”.

The Open Heart

by Solange Strong Hertz

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

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 “For Love of His Sacred Heart”

Doldrums

“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)

Today’s post was requested by several readers who have asked for more articles to help with their practice of prayer.  Many are noticing a spiritual lassitude and an unaccustomed resistance to their devotions. A book that has helped me is Dom Boylan’s “Difficulties in Mental Prayer” which I obtained a long time ago second hand. It is now quite expensive through Amazon but Abe Books has it reasonably priced. If you find this helpful and would like more posts in this line, let me know.

One quick note before we get into this, please help the brave and wonderful faithful of Ireland with their 40 Days of Prayer and Penance. See the article on Lifesite News and please, wherever you are, make it a priority to support this wonderful effort. Many of us owe the faith we have today to the unflagging efforts and greatness of soul of the Irish priests, nuns and brothers who brought the faith to our families many generations ago. My own family was brought back to the faith by a fiery Irish priest who shamed my mother into returning to the faith and getting her heathen children catechised. And Matt Talbot is amighty warrior for those of us who battle alchoholism on behalf of our poor family members too weak to defend themselves.  So, please, let’s help the Irish who have helped the Church so much!

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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.

Purity of Conscience

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

† . † . †

NOTES:

“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.” Our Lord told Sister Lucia that the reparation He desires is that we fulfill the duties of our state in life in a faithful manner. This is a call to humble obedience in the little, but demanding, trying tasks that humble and exasperate us day by day.

“Try to look God in the face, in all reverence, at least once every day, without rushing into some form of vocal prayer.”  This is precisely what my confessor told me some time ago. “You must begin by kneeling before the Crucifix and do not talk. Be silent before Him and allow Him to speak to your heart.”

“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 is sometimes a very humbling and hard lesson. It is only when we realize how little and utterly helpless we are and surrender ourselves to Him with humble resignation that He lifts us up.  And often that takes a bit of time. Patience.

“I Myself will come and save you!”

Please, Pray the Rosary and confound satan and those who serve him!

†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.

Padre Pio and the Immaculata, 2018

Something beautiful for you today!

Update for 25 May: Today is St. Pio’s birthday- He is so generous that I bet if you prayed to him today, he will be very generous to intercede for you!

St. Pio of Pietrelcina’s loving meditation on the Immaculate Conception of Mary and his prayer to her:

“Cleanse my mind that it may reach up to Him and contemplate Him and adore Him in spirit and in truth.”

“From all eternity, Almighty God took delight in what was to be the most perfect work of His hands, and anticipated this wonderful plan with an outpouring of His grace. Man, created innocent, fell by disobeying Him; the mark of original sin remained engraved on his forehead and that of his progeny who will bear its consequences until the end of time.

A woman brought ruin, and a woman was to bring salvation. The one, being tempted by a serpent, stamped the mark of sin on the human race; the other was to rise, through grace, pure and immaculate. She would crush the head of the serpent who was helpless before her and who struggled in vain under her heel; for she was conceived without sin and through her came grace to mankind.

Protected by grace by Him Who was to be the Savior of mankind that had fallen into sin, she escaped all shadow of evil. She sprang from the mind of God as a pure ray of light, and will shine like a morning star over the human race that turns to her. She will be the sure guide who will direct our steps toward the Divine Sun which is Jesus Christ. He makes her radiant with divine splendor and points to her as our model of purity and sanctity. No creature surpasses her, but all creation defers to her through the grace of Him Who made her Immaculate. He Whom she was to carry in her womb was the Son of God participating with the Father and the Holy Ghost in the glory of her conception.

Continue reading “Padre Pio and the Immaculata, 2018”

K.I.S.S…

Keep It Simple is a good rule to help us stay on the true path in the post-Vatican II confusion and wreckage of the faith.

Much of the confusion results from faithful Catholics and even hierarchy not knowing the basics of their faith.  Readers ask about  various “apparitions”  which seem to them to be pious and helpful. There is also a steady drip of those who seek to promote false visions and false prophets; many of whom visited Medjugorje and decided to start their own cottage industry of pious frauds.

At times, readers point out that a particular “apparition” has the approval of the local Bishop.  That happens as a result of the disorientation caused by the Church’s defiance of Our Lady’s Message of Fatima. Disobedience breeds confusion.  When you see disobedience and confusion, you are seeing the hand of satan in the Church.

The remedy is the same as always, return to the last point at which there was the certainty of the true faith: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. If the proposed devotion contradicts or distracts from these vital devotions, turn away!

Today, the faithful are by turns confused, misled and eventually battered into indifference by the failure of the hierarchy to provide true guidance. It has helped me considerably to simply adhere to the rule of obeying the requests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. That little rule excludes all these diverting, even contradictory  apparitions and messages.

But since questions continue, here are a few particulars:

God is always the same, He is never going to command one thing today and then contradict Himself at a later date. This is the all-pervasive error of modernism, that God’s truth evolves to meet new situations.  Example: The Ten Commandments are as relevant today as they were in the time of Moses. By adhering to this simple rule, we avoid being misled by the false teachings of Pope Francis and his ilk on marriage and the Sacraments.

In the same vein, when God makes a demand on us, He does not withdraw it even if centuries go by without our obedience to His command. This means that Our Lord’s request to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque for public devotion to His Sacred Heart is just as imperative in 2018 as it was in 1689. The command of Our Lord Jesus Christ has not diminished in urgency in all this time; in fact, it weighs more heavily in the balance against us as time passes.

The Message of Fatima is organically coherent with that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In it Our Lord Himself requests that devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary be placed alongside of devotion to His most Sacred Heart.  There is absolutely no contradiction between these two devotions. They are united, complementary, that is, they complement, complete, and strengthen each other, even as the Hearts ofJesus and Mary are united. There is a beautiful theology there, which is totally consonant with all of the true faith, and an unending source of edification and grace.  There is no need or benefit from distracting apparitions, even if they at times may seem pious or at least innocuous.

After Fatima, the Catholic world was flooded with apparitions and today many even have the approval of the sorts of Bishops which have plagued the Church since the revolution of Vatican II. But if we simply use our common sense, (that is our Catholic sense!) we  readily discern that true devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary noes not benefit from most of these new devotions.

For instance, we know that Jesus asked St. Margaret Mary Alacoque for public and private veneration for the image of His Most Sacred Heart. And we know that at Fatima, Our Lady told us that Our Lord wants the Church to establish devotion to her Immaculate Heart by means of her Rosary and First Saturdays of Reparation to her Immaculate Heart and for this devotion to be placed alonside of devotion to His Sacred Heart.

And yet, Sister Faustina’s Divine Mercy devotion would have us believe that within the same timeframe of the Fatima request,  that Jesus was also appearing to Faustina requesting a different devotion, this time to an image which omits His Sacred Heart and requires the use of Our Lady’s Rosary to recite prayers which supplant her own prayers, approved by countess popes, encyclicals, saints and centuries of thoroughly Catholic piety. Why would Jesus ask for this different devotion when the earlier requests for devotion to the Immaculate Heart and the even earlier request for the Sacred Heart devotion, were not fulfilled?

Ask yourself, does this new devotion further the propagation of the earlier devotion?

Applying the same rule to the apparitions of Akita and Our Lady of Nations, we see the difference in the two: Akita’s message simply points to the suppressed portion of the Message of Fatima, reinforcing it, while the false Lady of Nations diverts attention in another direction, leading the faithful to actions which do not fulfill the commands of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Once again, the requests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary must be our guiding rule.

Another way of expressing this rule is: the earlier approved devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary take precedence over any proposed new message of devotion. If the proposed new devotion does not help us to fulfill the commands of the earlier devotion, then turn away and refocus on the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. Obedience first, last and always.

At Return to Fatima, we urge all faithful to  Consecrate ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary and live our Consecrations in all the daily duties of our lives. There is no need for seeking after newer devotions, newer prophecies, more and more knowledge. We find our inspiration in Eucharistic Adoration (in a truly Catholic Church) in the sacraments and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in our Rosaries, offering all to Jesus through the Immaculata: “O Jesus it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

It is such a practical, clear solution to the confusion: Look to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, heed their requests, devote ourselves to living as they have asked us to live. It is simple, even a child can do it, as Saints Jacinta and Francisco showed us one hundred years ago!

 

Please, Pray the Rosary and confound satan and those who serve him!

. 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 2013-2018 ReturntoFatima.org. All Rights Reserved.

 

Another Look at the Angel’s Prayer

A commenter recently corrected us regarding the “Most Holy Trinity” Prayer taught by the Angel of Fatima.

The commenter stated:

“This is the correct version of the Prayer of the Angel:

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly, and I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the same Son Jesus Christ, present in *all* the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the *outrages, sacrileges,* and indifferences by which He Himself is offended.  And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg *of Thee* the conversion of poor sinners.

* words that were omitted or reversed in the version originally posted”

I wish I was possessed of the confidence of that commenter! I have dozens of books on Fatima and there are many  variations in that prayer.  On the page which  the commenter cited, I had inadvertently omitted the phrase,  “of Thee”,  leaving the last sentence to read “I beg the forgiveness of poor sinners.” So, I  corrected that mistake in the one instance in which it appeared.

Three Versions

There are several variations on the Angel’s Prayer. Here are three examples  from authoritative sources. I have others.

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly, and I offer Thee the Most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the same Son Jesus Christ, present in the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the sacrileges, outrages, and indifferences by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of sinners.”

That is the version published in the booklet, “The True Story of Fatima” by Father John de Marchi, published by the Fatima Center. It is found on page 7 and again in  “The Seven Fatima Prayers” on page 96. You’ll notice that the order of the reparations, that is “sacrilges, outrages and indifferences” is the same as we have used consistently here. Father Gruner was the Director at the time this booklet was published.

Next, from Frere Michel de la Sainte Trinite. The Whole Truth about Fatima – Vol I :

Continue reading “Another Look at the Angel’s Prayer”

St. Hermenegild and Modernist Ploys

NOTE: To be clear: I do not intend ever, to support the “resistance” movement.  I offer these thoughts, always with love and the utmost filial respect and obedience.

We repost last year’s tribute to a little known but relevant saint for our times.

You are a slave of the devil because you have a false faith, you’re not Catholic! And I will not receive Holy Communion from sacrilegious hands!”

The Triumph of St. Hermenegild, Martyr for the Faith
The Triumph of St. Hermenegild, Martyr for the Faith

 

Today, April 13, is the feast of day of St. Hermenegild and so we offer an updated tribute to this young saint who stood up against heresy, even the heresy of his own father. His example teaches us much about the current crisis.

St. Hermenegild was a Visigoth Prince martyred for the faith in 585. He was put to death by his own father, the Arian King Leovigild for holding firm to the Catholic faith. His father cast him into a dungeon and after several months, sent an Arian Bishop to him on Easter Sunday to offer him a pardon if he would accept Communion from him. By his firm refusal to yield his faith to heresy, even to his father’s heresy, he earned a martyr’s crown. His story has a particular relevance to this unique and tragic time in the Church.

A few years ago, Bishop Tissier de Mallerais gave a sermon on St. Hermenegild:

Continue reading “St. Hermenegild and Modernist Ploys”

Begin at the Beginning, 2018

We will not save our souls in this time of crisis if we spurn the means Our Lord Himself has given us, which is the Immaculate Heart of Mary, His most Blessed Mother. This essential devotion is not some syrupy sentimental devotion, it is a thoroughly practical devotion which teaches us the virtues necessary for our salvation. It does this through the Rosary above all.

To begin to understand this, we begin at the beginning, which is the Joyful Mysteries. Any other practical means we use to help ourselves or to help others, will be utterly fruitless without understanding and making use of, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary through her Rosary.

To be clear, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, through the Rosary, the means she has asked of us, must be the solid basis of all our effective actions in the world. We are in a spiritual war for our souls, it is foolish to rush into battle unprepared.

† . † . †

Immaculate Heart of Mary, you conceived the Word of God in your heart before you conceived Him in your womb, pray for us.  (Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, also quoted by Father Stehlin in “Who are you, O Immaculata?”)

In the Litany to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we give voice to a profound and significant truth, one that I confess I had not fully considered until reading, and re-reading Father Stehlin’s beautiful treatise on Our Lady, “Who Are You, O Immaculata?” For me, that book has been a pivotal point  and I hope that you will take time to read it.

A reader who has followed our posts for some  time has requested assistance with sharing the Message of Fatima with those who reject or are indifferent to Our Lady of Fatima,  To answer her question, we find once again that the answer is the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the key to unlock the mystery is found in the prayer above.

In her Rosary, Our Lady shares this beautiful mystery with us. Let’s return to her at the Annunciation, when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. Our Lady was rapt in adoration of God. Her soul, unencumbered by any slightest sin, joyfully accepted His will, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Be it done unto me according to thy word. And the Word was made flesh.

By accepting God’s will, Mary began her task with a full nine months of the most intimate closeness with the Word, treasuring Him in her Immaculate Heart for nine months. These two pure and Sacred Hearts, both totally devoted to doing the will of the Father, spent nine months in loving concourse, sharing the thought of their heart, one heart really, beating in the two human persons closest to the Heavenly Father, the Creator. As Adam gave Eve his rib, from which she was made, the new Eve, Mary, gave Jesus her Heart. These Hearts are inseparable, that is why I say one heart.

And so, we think on this in the beautiful First Joyful Mystery. In the Second Mystery, we see these two hearts working together, to baptise John the Prophet, chosen to prepare the way of the Lord.  Thus, Jesus worked His first miracle from within the very womb of Mary. See how Our Lord illustrates His deepest messages with such clear scenes of His actions; actions which cannot be twisted and misconstrued, but viewed clearly show that Jesus chose Mary, first as His Mother, and then as His mediatrix, casting satan from John, and consecrating him to the service of Jesus Christ, as we all must be consecrated to Him through Mary.

In the Third Mystery, we see, literally see this Divine Child, the long-awaited Savior of the world, born not in  the glory and pomp of this passing world, which was still in thrall to satan, but in the serene and humble stable of Bethlehem. Note that we do not see this until the time was ripe for it. First, the Immaculata conceived the Word in her pure heart, then He was made flesh within her flesh, and the two hearts grew as one. Only then at the time designated by Our Father, did He come to dwell among us. And then, even then, not to all but to those who were prepared to receive Him.

In the Fourth Mystery, we see Mary, led by Joseph – this is important – bring the Son of God, this Divine Infant, to the Temple of God to fulfill the Law. At this time, the Holy Family made the customary offering of the poor.  This humility, this obedience, this poverty – this is an essential lesson for us. Think on it. Without these virtues, we are not in any way serving God.  We should never underestimate the importance of this Mystery,

In the last Joyful Mystery, we see Mary and Joseph searching for Our Lord. Many much wiser see deeper messages in this Mystery. Mine is simple. In this Mystery, we see Mary and Joseph (this is why St. Joseph is shown to us in the last vision at Fatima) Mary and Joseph are here in this Mystery to process through the City of God, which is now in darkness and ruins, to gather us and lead us. We too join the procession. Together, we find Him again. And wonder of wonders, we find Him in His Church! For while we have been searching, following Mary and Joseph, we are being prepared to perceive Him with the clear and perfect vision of children of Mary, the clear vision of her Immaculate Heart. And so we return, full circle, (as in St. John Bosco’s vision) and the Word is made flesh and dwells among us. In our hearts, united to the Heart of our most pure and loving Mother.

This is the answer.  Do this, live this, every day. When you are this, those who are His, will come to Him, through Mary. Not through  what you do on your own but through His grace, mediated by Mary, His Mother. She depends on us, but we, much more so, on her. When we allow ourselves to be her instruments, led by her, miracles happen. But it is not us, not ever us. We go to Jesus through Mary.

Pray the Rosary with confidence and joy!

†  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!


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

© All Content Copyright 2013-2018 ReturntoFatima.org. All Rights Reserved.

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, in which Our Lord introduces to us His Mother, and shows us her loveliness, her excellent virtues and her unique stature before the Holy Trinity. Thus, He shows us the model for our lives; “Here is My Mother”, He says, “see, we shall have the same Mother. She will teach you the virtues necessary to advance toward union with Me, so that we may rejoice together in heaven.”

Nestled within the feast of the Annunciation is the feast of the Incarnation of our Savior. The Annunciation carries within it the humility and obedience of Jesus and Mary, Who are our models for perfect, loving obedience, even unto death. And this obedience begins with the humble obedience of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word.

“Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word.”

In the Gospel of St Luke, the Holy Spirit reveals the unique importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary in God’s plan of Salvation for us. Let’s see what He tells us:

Luke, Chapter 1, 26-35. “And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of His kingdom there shall be no end.” And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?” And the angel answering, said to her: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

 

Continue reading “The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary”

Mary, Temple of the Trinity, 2018

Today, the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation,  we conclude our Novena. And again we share the popular poem for the Annunciation by peregrine, a reader/contributor.

 

                 Annunciation

Hail Mary, Temple of the Trinity!

        Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,

Art thou astonished at His deference?

Fear not, for thou hast found grace with God.
             Thou shalt conceive … and bring forth a Son
                               Thou shalt call His name Jesus.

How shall it be?
          (Mindful of thy chastity)

And yet . . . it is thy purity draws Him down
Captivated by thy pure and humble love
                Thy Creator awaits at the door of thy will,

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee
          . . .  the most High shall overshadow thee . . .
                        the Holy born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

His will is clear
          . . . moved by His will alone . . .

Behold the handmaid of the Lord
Be it done unto me…

The Architect of earth and heaven
                    Thus closed Himself in thy pure frame.
At thy “fiat” the Almighty Word
               leapt down from heaven
                              The Sword of Truth wrought death to death,
Obedient, He vanquished disobedient pride.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,

peregrine, March 25, 2004

© All Content Copyright 2013-2018 ReturntoFatima.org. All Rights Reserved.