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The Feast Day of St. Joseph, 2017

Today we honor St. Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Now more than ever, when traditional Catholic families are under attack even from Pope Francis and the leaders of the Church who support him, we turn to St. Joseph, strong defender of the family.

The Church liturgically honors St. Joseph tomorrow, since his feast falls on a Sunday, and so we post today, and will have another post honoring great St. Joseph tomorrow, as well.

St. Teresa of Avila, the great Carmelite reformer, mystic and doctor of the Church was especially devoted to St. Joseph. From her Autobiography we read of St. Joseph, “I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God. I have never known anyone who was truly devoted to him by particular services who did not advance greatly in virtue: for he helps in a special way those souls who commend themselves to him.”

At the last apparition of Fatima, on October 13, 1917, St. Joseph appeared holding the Child Jesus, who blessed the crowds. This was an emphatic indication of the importance of St. Joseph in these turbulent times.

St. Joseph, defender of the faith, defender of families, pray for us!

Venerable Maria de Agreda, in “The Mystical City of God”, recounts the special privileges which make St. Joseph a most powerful intercessor on behalf of his children.

  • Attaining purity and overcoming sensuality.
  • Escaping sin and returning to the faith.
  • Increasing love and devotion to his spouse, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.
  • Securing the grace of a happy death and defending the soul against the devil’s wiles at that crucial time.
  • St. Joseph is the terror of demons and they flee at his name.
  • St. Joseph is a great intercessor for all our needs, especially helpful for our families and health.

Venerable Maria de Agreda quoted Our Lady’s words to her, “That which my spouse asks of the Lord in heaven is granted upon the earth and on his intercession depend many and extraordinary favors for men if they do not make themselves unworthy of receiving them.” Indeed, trusting in St. Joseph as the foster father of our family has brought us closer to living our consecrations to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In speaking of St. Joseph, it is difficult to adequately express his tender love for us, his willingness to protect us, even from ourselves and obtain for us the graces we need to live our consecrations.

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St. Patrick’s Day, 2017

St. Patrick and Sister Lucia of Fatima, Two Prophecies

An urgent reminder for this St. Patrick’s Day, 2017:  Please, let’s keep our Lenten Fast and Abstinence. The graces they bring into this world are sorely needed! [Post updated this year.]

Let’s ignore, if possible, the discouraging aspects of the secular desecrations of great Saint Patrick’s Feast Day, (such as Cardinal Dolan and his parade of tragic perverts) and focus instead on his prophecy and how it may fit in with that of Fatima, and the Chastisement which pertains to us today.

Saint Patrick, Patron of Ireland
Saint Patrick, Patron of Ireland

St. Patrick is reputed by some accounts to have lived 120 years and to have raised no less than 33 people back to life, many of whom had been dead years. His penances, sacrifices, miracles and conversions were astounding and there are also a couple of prophecies attributed to him. The first is not of good provenance, but relates that the faith he brought to Ireland will blaze throughout the island for a period of time, then gradually dim and eventually appear to be almost extinguished, with but a few glowing embers; but then will gradually resurge, beginning in the north and eventually returning throughout Ireland. Although that might be of some comfort to faithful Catholics in Ireland, today we will consider another prophecy of the great saint of Ireland.

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A Novena for the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2017

On March 25 we will honor Our Lady’s Feast of the Annunciation. To prepare, we offer this lovely Novena. If you start it tomorrow, March 16th, you will finish on March 24, the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We post it today to give you time to diary it. We will be praying it for the repentance and re-conversion of those who have fallen from the faith and are in persistent sin, and for the intentions of the ongoing Rosary and Reparation Crusade to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  May our Most Merciful Mother hear our supplications and offer them to her Son in the chalice of her Immaculate Heart.

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.

Novena for the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin, Mother of God, Throne of Grace, miracle of Almighty Power! I greet you, Sanctuary of the Most Holy Trinity and Queen of the Universe, Mother of Mercy and refuge of sinners!

Most loving Mother, attracted by your beauty and sweetness, and by your tender compassion, I confidently turn to you, miserable as I am, and beg of you to obtain for me from your dear Son the favor I request in this novena:

(mention your request).

Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven, the most lively contrition for my many sins and the grace to imitate closely those virtues which you practiced so faithfully, especially humility, purity and obedience. Above all, I beg you to be my Mother and Protectress, to receive me into the number of your devoted children, and to guide me from your high throne of glory.

Do not reject my petitions, Mother of Mercy! Have pity on me, and do not abandon me during life or at the moment of my death. Amen.

A suggestion is to unite the prayers of this Novena with prayers for the Holy Father and the hierarchy that they repent, do penance and return to the faith. The Annunciation reminds us of the necessity of purity, humility and obedience, all those virtues which are mocked, despised or simply treated with scornful indifference by the church leaders today.

Also, let’s use this Novena to help prepare for the renewal of our Consecrations on the Feast of the Annunciation.

  Our Lady of Fatima, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, crush satan’s head and drive him from the Church!

  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. Joseph, protect our families, protect our priests!

  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

  Pray the Rosary and confound the devil and those who serve him!

~ posted by evensong with love the Sorrowful and 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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Crowning the King of Martyrs

Then the soldiers of the governor taking Jesus into the hall, gathered together unto Him the whole band; And stripping Him, they put a scarlet cloak about him. And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand. And bowing the knee before Him, they mocked Him, saying: Hail, king of the Jews.  And spitting upon Him, they took the reed, and struck His head.  And bowing their knees, they adored Him.

Behold the Man, your King!

Even the pagan soldiers knew that a King must be invested with the symbols of his royalty, that is, draped with a royal mantle, crowned, and finally, given a scepter as a sign of his power and rule. And so the soldiers obliged this strange King, who had said “but now My kingdom is not from hence”. And so, what royal insignia might they find fitting?

The soldiers soon found a discarded scarlet rag of large enough size and after first ripping off His outer garment, they draped His now freshly bleeding shoulders in this dirty mockery of a robe. As we think on the vivid symbolism in this scene compare it to our Pontiff’s words and actions – what homage does he offer to the King of Kings? A royal robe?

Now, the Roman soldiers clearly understood the necessity of the Crowning, for their gods were always crowned, Apollo with laurel, Bacchus with grape vines, Jupiter with gold. And so a crown fit for this King must be found.

And the Jews too, understood that their high priest wore a tiara when he offered the sacrifice. And did not their bridegroom according to their custom, wear a diadem at his wedding?

And we who watch this scene, we also recall that in those days a conqueror was often crowned to celebrate his victory; how much more so then, this King who by His death and resurrection will conquer sin and death!

What crown for this Son of Man, who told Pilate, “Thou sayest that I am a King.”

What crown for this Priest, who sacrifices His own Body and Blood for the salvation of those He loves.

What crown for this Divine Bridegroom, about to redeem His Bride with His own Blood, giving His life for her that she may live.

Father Groenings tells us that no other mantle was befitting for the Redeemer of the world. He was the picture of the world’s sins, which were red as scarlet, but through Him were to become white as snow. The mantle should be red as a sign that His kingdom, founded in blood, was to be spread by means of blood, that is, by the blood of the apostles and of the martyrs. It was ragged and torn in token that, in imitation of Christ, His ministers would redeem the souls of men and subject them to Christ, not by means of gold and silver, but through the hardships of poverty.

Ed. comment: Today, I would add that the Lavender Mafia headed by Pope Francis has given a new meaning to the foul and ragged mantle with which the pagan soldiers humiliated our Lord Jesus Christ. For they have befouled His Church and humiliated this lovely Bride of Christ as never before in history. See here for a Lifesite News article on one example of Pope Francis’s choice of prelates. There are many others. Thus, the pope makes a mockery of the true King of Kings!

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Pray to St. Philomena for John Vennari

We are late posting this, but do hope that if possible, you will make time to pray this Novena to St. Philomena for John Vennari. John’s wife Susan has requested that this be done for him. Please see the Remnant for more information, here.

Novena to St. Philomena

St. Philomena, please intercede for John Vennari

O great St. Philomena, glorious Virgin and Martyr, wonder-worker of our age, I return most fervent thanks to God for the miraculous gifts bestowed on thee, and beseech thee to impart to me a share in the graces and blessings of which thou hast been the channel to so many souls.

Through the heroic fortitude with which thou didst confront the fury of tyrants and brave the frowns of the mighty rather than swerve from thy allegiance to the King of Heaven, obtain for me purity of body and soul, purity of heart and desire, purity of thought and affection.

Through thy patience under multiplied sufferings, obtain for me a submissive acceptance of all the afflictions it may please God to send me and as thou didst miraculously escape unhurt from the waters of the Tiber, into which thou wert cast by order of thy persecutor, so may I pass through the waters of tribulation without detriment to my soul. In addition to these favors, obtain for me, O faithful spouse of Jesus, the particular intention I earnestly recommend to thee at this moment.

St. Philomena, please obtain a complete cure for John Vennari.

O pure Virgin and holy Martyr, deign to cast a look of pity from Heaven on thy devoted servant, comfort me in affliction, assist me in danger, above all come to my aid in the hour of death.

Watch over the interests of the Church of God, pray for its exaltation and prosperity, the extension of the faith, for the Sovereign Pontiff, for the clergy, for the perseverance of the just, the conversion of sinners, and the relief of the souls in Purgatory, especially those dear to me.

O great Saint, whose triumph we celebrate on earth, intercede for me, that I may one day behold the crown of glory bestowed on thee in Heaven, and eternally bless Him who so liberally rewards for all eternity the sufferings endured for His love during this short life. Amen.

Imprimatur: Canon Emmanuel Anaquim, V.G. Lisbon, November 21, 1945

 

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Lent 2017 – Nisi solum Jesum

Lent should be an especially fruitful season for us who are blessed to attend the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in His Mystical Body, the Church. The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent is from St. Matthew’s account of the Transfiguration. In it, Jesus took Peter, James and John up on Mount Tabor and revealed to them the very slightest bit of His infinite glory for a few brief moments in order to confirm their faith; knowing as He did, that the events of His passion were to shake their faith utterly.

Nisi solum Jesum

“His face did shine as the sun and His garments became white as snow.” (Matthew 17, 2) In this vision the Apostles saw Moses and Elias speaking with Jesus. St. Luke tells us that, “they spoke of His decease that He should accomplish in Jerusalem”. (Luke 9, 31) By placing the Transfiguration narrative in this timeframe, the Church wishes to illustrate the close connection between the Transfiguration and the Passion and Death of Jesus. By revealing this brief glimpse of His glory, Jesus was showing His Apostles that it was impossible for Him as well as for them to reach the full glory of the Resurrection without passing through suffering. After the Resurrection, He would confirm that lesson as He met them at Emmaus, “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and so to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24, 26).

Peter, ever the impetuous one, became so caught up in the rapture of the moment, that he cried out, “It is good for us to be here!”. And then he offered to make three tabernacles, one each for Jesus, Moses and Elias, but as he was speaking the Lord God interrupted him peremptorily, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him!”

There is much to learn from this gospel. Peter was understandably impressed with the splendor of the moment and strongly desired to remain right there, in such a spiritually satisfying place. But that would have been to miss the whole point of it, which was to prepare them for the immense scandal of the Passion, the terrible spectacle of their Master humbled even to the lowest imaginable specter of a common criminal, mocked and spit upon, stripped of all dignity and nailed to a cross to die in ignominy.

And so, God by His reply told Peter in no uncertain terms to listen to Jesus and follow Him. if Peter was to lead the Church, he must learn to follow Christ all the way to Golgotha, up to the place of the skull. In time, he must even follow Him to his own crucifixion. Father Gabriel in his meditations on the Transfiguration assures us, “God does not console us for our entertainment but rather for our encouragement, for our strengthening, for the increase in our generosity in suffering for love of Him.” (Divine Intimacy, TAN)

Abruptly, the glorious vision ended, “And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus.” In the Vulgate, “Levantes autem oculos suos, neminem viderunt, nisi solum Jesum.” (Matthew 17, 8). Nisi solum Jesum, with Jesus alone, they came down from the mountain. Nisi solum Jesum, Jesus alone is sufficient for us. Everything else, even friends, family, encouragement, approval, may be stripped away; yet Jesus alone remains. If He in His wisdom withdraws all else, yet He abides with us, even when we “know Him not”. And we must affirm this, even though He choose for us to follow Him through His suffering, being faithful even unto the awful moment when we cry out in our soul’s desolation, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”

Not as the world gives, does Jesus give. When it seems to the soul that He has withdrawn His love, withdrawn all consolation, it is only so that we follow Him with love and absolute trust as He endures the darkness of His Passion in order that He may bring about the glory of His true and lasting Transfiguration and share His glory with us eternally. This is as true for the Church as it is for us personally.

Just as the Transfiguration was only a momentary glimpse of His glory, so too the passion and death of Our Lord are destined to pass and yield to His glorious Resurrection. Let us keep our perspective then, even in these chaotic times, and abide “with Jesus alone”, accepting all that is given to us from His wounded hands, trusting in Jesus alone.

  Queen of the most Holy Rosary, hasten the triumph of thine Immaculate Heart through the consecration of Russia.

  Most Precious Blood of Jesus, save us, save our priests.

  St. Joseph, Protector of the Church, protect our priests!

  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculata ~

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

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Obedience, the Rosary and the Passion of the Church

Rediscovering Obedience

“He was wounded for our iniquities … bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His bruises we are healed.”

Among the many things to love about the rosary, is the way the various mysteries interconnect and thereby reinforce and enrich each other. In general, the Joyful Mysteries emphasize the virtue of obedience. This obedience is reinforced by the Sorrowful Mysteries. Mary’s “Be it done unto me according to thy word”, in the Annunciation is echoed by Christ’s, “Yet not My will, but Thine be done.” in the Agony in the Garden. And then the Glorious Mysteries reveal the joyful glory of our heavenly reward, which follows this obedience and is eternal!

St. Augustine tells us, “And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith” (Apology, Book II, Chapter XII).

Regarding obedience, St. John Bosco was given a horrible vision of Hell in which his guide told him that the most serious sin causing people to be damned in Hell is the sin of disobedience. He explained that while pride is the root of sin, its practical application is disobedience, in other words, prideful disobedience causes the most people to fall from grace and be doomed to Hell. And so  between St. Augustine and St. John Bosco, we see that a key to disobedience is the refusal of faith. Had Eve accepted the virtue of faith offered to her, she would not have disobeyed. There is a lesson here for disobedient prelates, but I digress…

St. John tells us in his First Epistle, Chapter Two, “For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever.” Now, it has always been the teaching of the Church, from the earliest times that the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience counteract these sins.

Although these counsels are vowed by those in the consecrated life, we of the lay faithful are urged to practice them according to our state. The lust of the flesh can thereby be counteracted by modesty and faithfulness to one’s spouse, the lust of the eyes, that is greed and consumerism can be counteracted by moderation, humility and self-denial such as fasting and abstaining. But it is with our obedience, which defeats pride, that we progress the best, no matter our state in life. The very best teacher of obedience is Mary, Our Mother.

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