Saturday, April 5, 2014

Passion Sunday 6th April 2014



Passion  Sunday


6  April 2014


 


“Amen, amen, I say to you before Abraham came to be, I am.” Jn. 8:58


 


This Sunday is called Passion Sunday because the Church begins on this day to make the sufferings of  Jesus, our Redeemer, the main object of our thought as we approach the Paschal Mysteries of our Redemption.  Dom Prosper Gueranger in The Liturgical Year, Vol. 5 reminds us: “Everything around us urges to mourn. The images of the saints, the very crucifix on our altar, are veiled from our sight. The Church is oppressed with grief. During the first four weeks of Lent, she compassionated her Jesus fasting  in the desert; His coming sufferings and crucifixion and death are what now fill her with anguish. We read in today’s Gospel, that the Jews threaten to stone the Son of God as a blasphemer; but His hour is not yet come.  He is obliged to flee and hide Himself. It is to express deep humiliation, that the Church veils the cross.  A God hiding Himself, that He may evade the anger of men –what a mystery!  Is it weakness? Is it, that He fears death?  No; we shall soon see Him going out to meet His enemies; but at present He hides Himself from them, because all that had been prophesied regarding Him has not been fulfilled.  Besides, His death is not to be by stoning:  He is to die upon a cross, the tree of malediction, which from  this time forward, is to be the tree of life.” Gueranger, p. 106  On this day, and all days, we need to see how much Jesus loves us and love Him in return. Let us open our hearts with a lively hope for our salvation is in the Passion of Christ.  In today’s Epistle to the Hebrews  (9:11-15) St. Paul “presents to us the majestic figure of Christ, the Eternal High Priest, who ‘by His Blood entered once into the holies (that is, heaven) having obtained eternal redemption.’ (Heb. 9:12)  The Passion of Jesus has redeemed us; it has opened once again our Father’s house to us; it is then the motive of our hope.”  Fr. Gabriel, OCD, Divine Intimacy, p. 371-2


 


“...how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the Holy Spirit offered himself unblemished unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Heb. 9: 14     In today’s Epistle St. Paul tells us why Christ’s sacrifice was so necessary.  All the ancient sacrifices of the Old Testament were of no avail to achieve man’s redemption.  Only Jesus Christ, “as the Lamb of God, took on Himself men’s sins and bore them away; the bond which stood against us He cancelled by fastening it to the cross: He broke by His death the power of sin, and rescuing men from its slavery, made them children of God and heirs of heaven.” Msgr. Patrick Boylan,  The Sunday Epistles and Gospels, p. 219  Christ redeemed us by His own blood: “nor again by virtue of blood of goats and calves, but by virtue of his own blood, into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption.”  Heb. 9:12  How grateful we should be for so great a sacrifice as Msgr. Boylan tells us:  “No adequate thanks can be offered by us for His sacrifice to our great High Priest. But we can please Him by joining with Him in His self-oblation to the Father. He has entered as a Victim into the most holy place of heaven, and He shows perpetually the marks of His wounds to the Father. Let us join with Him in asking the Father to accept for our sins the Blood of His Son. There is no other like offering that we can make to God to counterbalance our debt of sin.” Ibid, p. 218


 


“Which of you can convict me of sin? If I speak the  truth, why do you not believe me.”  Jn. 8:46


In today’s Gospel (Jn. 8:46-59),  St. John shows the continuing opposition of the Jewish leaders to Jesus. None of them can challenge Him on His holy life, but  yet none of them will believe Him when He tells them that truth: “Which of you can convict me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe me? Jn. 8:46 Jesus tells them the reason that  they do not believe in Him is because they are not of God:  He who is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear is that you are not of God.”  Jn. 8:47   The Jews cannot give any better argument than the “ad hominem” attack which is the poorest of arguments; they cannot say anything better that to call Jesus names: “Are we not right     in saying thou are a Samaritan, and hast a devil.” Jn. 8:48   The Jews hated the heretical Samaritans and would not even talk to them; to call Jesus a devil is blasphemous.  It was their way of retaliating for what Jesus said of them: “The father from whom you are is the devil.” Jn. 8:44  When Jesus tells them solemnly, “Amen, amen, I say to you, if anyone keep my word, he will never see death,”(Jn. 8:51) they attack Him: “Art thou greater than our father Abraham who is dead?  And the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself?” Jn. 8:53.    Jesus then tells them that His Father will glorify Him and that Abraham rejoiced that he would see His day:  “Abraham your father rejoiced that he was to see my day. He saw it and was glad.” Jn. 8:55  The Jews again fail to understand Jesus as they see only the appearances and believe that Jesus is talking of the present life: “Thou are not yet fifty years old, and has thou seen Abraham?”  Jn. 8:57  It is here that Jesus, using the words of God to Moses, solemnly claims His eternal generation as God: “Amen, amen, I say to you before Abraham came to be I am.” Jn. 8:58  For them this is too much and they take up stones to kill him, but Jesus hides Himself as it is not His time to die. He will sacrifice Himself on His terms!


 


“Strange  blindness” and “hardness of heart”


Dom Gueranger comments on the obstinacy of the Jews to the truth that Jesus reveals to them:  “Their obstinacy in refusing to acknowledge Jesus as the Messias, has led these men to ignore the very God, whom they boast of honouring; for if they knew the Father,  they would not reject His Son. Moses, and all the Psalms, and the Prophets, are a dead letter to them; ...Strange blindness, that comes from pride and hardness of heart! The feast of the Pasch is at hand; these men are going to eat, and with much parade of religion the flesh of the figurative lamb; they know full well that this lamb is the symbol, or figure, which is to have fulfilment. The true Lamb is to be sacrificed by their hands, and they will not know Him. He will shed His Blood for them, and it will not save them. How this reminds us of those sinners, for whom this Easter promises to be as fruitless as those of the past years!” Gueranger, p. 114-5


 


“The Great Work of Christ”


In Mediator Dei, (1940)Ven. Pope Pius XII also speaks of our debt to Christ:  “The great work of Christ was to reconcile man with God.  This  he did all his life by means of  a complete offering of himself to the Father.  This sacrificial offering continued all his life, to be consummated on Calvary.  All his activity has no other purpose.... lifted up between heaven and earth, he offers the sacrifice of his life and, from his pierced heart burst forth, in some way, the sacraments, which distribute to souls treasures of the redemption. In doing all this he had as his main purpose the glory of his Father and the greater sanctification of men.”  Let not our eyes be blind and our hearts be hardened for all that Jesus Christ has done for us with His sacrifice on the Cross by which he has merited for us our redemption and our eternal salvation.


“Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle!


With completed victory rife:


And above the Cross’s trophy


Tell the triumph of the strife:


How the world’s Redeemer conquered


By offering of His life.”


(Hymn for Good Friday)


 


“Could you not, then, watch one hour with Me?” Mt. 26:40


We are now in our second year of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from after Mass until Benediction at 3:10 P. M. every day. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us how very special the Holy Eucharist is:  “O precious wonderful banquet that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness......No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it, sins are purged away, virtues are increased and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift.”  “Could you not, then, watch one hour with


Me?”  Mt. 26:40


 


How to attend Holy Mass


 


“The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar.  If you wish to hear Mass, as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him.  You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words, and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.”  Pope St. Pius X


 


 


Why the Rosary is so Important.


 


“You must know that when you ‘hail’ Mary, she immediately greets you! Don’t think that she is one of those rude women of whom there are so many—on the contrary, she is utterly courteous and pleasant. If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you!”
Saint Bernardine of Siena




“Recite your Rosary with faith, with humility, with confidence, and with perseverance.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“The rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.”  Pope Saint Pius X

Rosary is the most beautiful and the most


“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic or be led astray by the devil.”    Saint Louis de Montfort

“Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practice black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if—and mark well what I say—if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.” Saint Louis de Montfort

“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…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.”
Sister Lucia dos Santos, Fatima seer. 


 


When you say your Rosary, the angels rejoice, the Blessed Trinity delights in it, my Son finds joy in it too, and I myself am happier than you can possibly guess. After the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, there is nothing in the Church that I love as much as the Rosary.”
Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche

“‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!’ No creature has ever said anything that was more pleasing to me, nor will anyone ever be able to find or say to me anything that pleases me more.”    Our Lady to Saint Mechtilde


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Laetare Sunday 30th March 2014


The Fourth Sunday of Lent

30 March 2014

 

“Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow:”  Is. 66:10-11 (The  Introit )

Today is called Laetare Sunday after the first word of the Introit. It is  the midpoint of  Lent and the Church wants us to consider the joy that will be ours with the  Easter Mysteries.  This can be seen in the readings the Church has selected for the Epistle (Galatians 4:22-31) and the  Gospel (John 6:1-15).  In the Epistle to the Galatians, St. Paul reminds the Jewish converts in Galatia that they have been freed from the bondage of the Old Law by Jesus Christ in the New Covenant made with the sacrifice of  His own Body and Blood on Mt. Calvary.  This New Covenant of God’s love is foreshadowed in today’s gospel about Jesus’ miracle of The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes.  As Jesus feeds five thousand men not counting the women and children,” (Mt. 14:21) so He will feed all His followers in the Holy Eucharist with His Body and Blood: the Sacrament “of the New and Eternal Testament: the mystery of faith which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of  sins.” (Consecration of the Blood at Mass)   While we rejoice at this midpoint of our Lenten time of penance, we should rejoice even more because  we are children of God who have been called to eternal life in the New Jerusalem of heaven.

 

Children of Slavery or Children of Promise

In today’s Epistle to the Galatians, St. Paul resolves the controversy raging among the Jews about the need for circumcision in obedience to the Mosaic Law before becoming Christians.  St. Paul shows the Jews their error by using an example from Hebrew history, specifically the story of  Abraham’s two sons, Ishmael by the slave girl Agar, and  the other son, Isaac, by his wife Sara: “And the son of the slave-girl was born according to the flesh, but the son of free woman in virtue of the promise. This is said by way of allegory. For these are two covenants; one indeed from Mount Sinai, bringing forth children unto bondage, which is  Agar... But that Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother...Now we brethren, are the children of promise as Isaac was.” Gal. 4:23-28   Dom Prosper Gueranger summarizes St. Paul’s allegorical interpretation in The Liturgical Year, Vol. 5:  “Let us rejoice! We are children, not of Sinai, but of Jerusalem. Our mother, the holy Church, is not a bond-woman, but free; and it is unto freedom that she has brought us up.  Israel served God in fear; his heart was ever tending to idolatry, and could be kept to duty only by the heavy yoke of chastisement. More happy than he, we serve God through love; our yoke is sweet, and our burden is light! (cf. Mt. 11:30)  We are not citizens of the earth; we are but pilgrims passing through it to our true country, the Jerusalem which is above. We leave the earthly Jerusalem to the Jew, who mind only terrestrial things, is disappointed  with Jesus, and is plotting how to crucify Him.  We also have too long been grovelling in the goods of this world; we have been slaves of sin; and the more the chains of our bondage weighed upon us, the more we talked of our being free.  Now is the favourable time; now are the days of salvation: we have obeyed the Church’s call, and have entered into the practice and spirit of Lent. Sin seems to us, now, to be  the heaviest of yokes; the flesh, a dangerous burden; the world, a merciless tyrant.  We begin to breathe the fresh air of holy liberty, and the hope of our speedy deliverance fills us with transports of joy. Let us, with all possible affection, thank our divine Liberator, who delivers us from the bondage of Agar, emancipated us from the law of fear, and making us His new people, opens to us the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem, at the price of His Blood.”  p. 320-21.

 

Eucharistic Banquet in Heaven

In today’s gospel, Jesus anticipates the heavenly banquet by providing an earthly one with His miracle of  “The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes.” Jesus has compassion on the many people who had been following Him for days and were hungry.  He performs one of his greatest miracles in feeding this multitude, five thousand men not counting the women and children,” Mt. 14:21   St. John in his gospel account of this miracle places it and The Miracle of Walking on the Sea just before His promise of the Eucharist by which He will give His own flesh  to eat:  “I am the living bread that has come down from heaven. If anyone eat of this bread he shall live forever and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” Jn. 6:51-52   By the miracle of  “The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes,” Jesus shows that He has the power over nature to make bread into His own body.  Those who partake of His Body and Blood will be guaranteed eternal life in the Heavenly Jerusalem.  This is His New Covenant with His people. Sadly, many who heard Jesus did not believe Him.  The day before when he had multiplied the loaves and fishes they had wanted to make Him their King: “This indeed is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jn. 6:14  St.  John Chrysostom commenting on this scene said:  When He gave them bread and satisfied their hunger,  they called Him a prophet and tried to make Him their king; but when He instructed them concerning the spiritual food, about eternal life; when He spoke to them of the resurrection and lifted up their hopes, when more than ever they should have admired Him, then they murmured against Him and left Him.” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia: Lent and Eastertide, p. 183)

 

Eternal Life in Christ

            Today’s Liturgy reminds us that we should be filled with joy as we have reached the midpoint of our Lenten journey to the Easter Mysteries.  We are the children of the promise from Christ, our Saviour; we are not the children of the bond woman and the old law which kept the children in slavery because it could not free them from sin.  We have been freed by Christ and have been fed with His own Body and Blood which has been wonderfully multiplied and is our pledge of eternal life.  As Jesus fed the multitude, so  He will reward all with eternal life who follow Him and eat His Body and drink His Blood: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day.”  Jn. 6:55

 

The Church Fills us with joy today.

          In the Allocution on the first anniversary of his pontificate (at the beginning of World War II), Pope Pius XII said: “In the midst of penance and fasting the Church becomes a herald of Joy.  In spite of present worries and preoccupations and the threats of even worse  things to come we must seek the joy of the soul.  ‘Beloved sons; if the Church whose wise teaching joins both austerity and sweetness in one perfect harmony, today bids us rejoice, we who are sunk in sadness, and if We, in a moment of intimate contact with you, do not hesitate to repeat that counsel, it is not that we have forgotten your worries. This ‘rejoice’ which comes from the mouth of the Church, our Mother, teaches us to find the serene joy of the soul even in the sufferings of nature and bitterness of heart.’”

First Friday: 4 March 2014

Now is a good time to continue (or begin) the  devotion to the “Nine  First Fridays” of the Month.   The Sacred Heart of Jesus promised to St. Margaret Mary:  "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment." 

 

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix

(MIM)    5 April 2014

 

On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door)

  This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi,   St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”  (Article 2: Statute)

It is most important at this time in our world to come together and learn about Our Lady and her messages especially Fatima.  Pope John Paul II:  On November 9, 1976 said in the USA as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla:  “We are now standing in face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through.  I do not think that the wide circles of American society or the wide circles of  the Christian community realize this fully.  We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the Anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-gospel.”

We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of  so many souls who are in danger of being lost for all eternity in hell as Our Lady said at Fatima. 

 

 

The First Saturday: 5 April 2014

Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me."  If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation.  Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Third Sunday of Lent - 23rd March 2014

The Third Sunday of Lent
23 March 2014

“He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.” Lk. 11: 23
We are reminded by the Church in today’s Epistle (Ephesians 5:1-9) and Gospel (Luke 11:14-28) of the need to choose Christ and not evil. Nowadays, we see how many people compromise the teachings of the Church for their own convenience and suffer tragic consequences. Msgr. Patrick Boylan comments on widespread sinfulness of our time: “On all sides one hears the voices raised against every attempt to check the growth of profligacy, every effort to restrict evil amusements and evil literature. We hear constantly of the ‘sacred rights,’ of freedom—freedom, that is, to disregard the moral code, to follow the blind guidance of passion, to satisfy every form of curiosity, to see everything, to read everything. Popular literature is full of the ‘empty words’ with which all that is seductive to sense is represented as innocent because it is ‘natural, ‘ or ‘healthy,’ or because it ‘develops the personality!’” (The Sunday Epistles and Gospels, p. 191) To counteract this spirit of the world, which Msgr. Boylan points out to us, St. Paul warns us of the dangers of worldliness: “Let no one lead you astray with empty words; for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience.” Eph. 5:6 In the gospel, Jesus is even more emphatic as He condemns the leaders of the Jews for allying themselves with Satan. “He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.” Lk. 11:23 Those who are with Christ are in the light; those who choose sin and evil are children of darkness and Satan.

“Walk, then, as children of light.” Eph. 5:8
In today’s Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul reminds his converts to live according to the light of Christ. Hitherto, they were in the darkness of uncleanness and sin. Now they are to be imitators of Christ who sacrificed Himself for them and is a sweet odour to God: “...walk in love, as Christ also loved us and delivered himself up for us an offering and a sacrifice to God to ascend in fragrant odour.” Eph. 5:2 St. Paul warns the Ephesians about immorality and uncleanness: “But immorality and every uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becomes saints: or obscenity, or foolish talk or scurrility, which are out of place;” Eph. 5:3-4 Those who choose these sins will have no place with Christ: “For know this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous one (for that is idolatry) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” Eph. 5:5 Although St. Paul does not mention the devil by name, it is easy to see that those who choose evil are with the devil and not with Christ.

Two Kingdoms
In today’s gospel from St. Luke, Jesus casts out the devil from a man who was dumb; St. Matthew has the man both blind and dumb. “The Fathers, joining the two, make this man into one of the unhappy beings one could imagine, blind, dumb and possessed by Satan.... Spiritually, this man represents the soul in sin. He who might have been a son of God is now possessed by the devil; blind to the light of truth and dumb so far as singing the praises of God is concerned.” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia: Lent and Eastertide, p. 121) Those who do not believe in Jesus and accuse him of casting out the devil because He is a devil are themselves of the kingdom of the devil. After the miracle, some of those present (the Pharisees in St. Matthew’s gospel) said: “By Beelzebub, the prince of devils, he casts out devils.” Lk. 11:15 Jesus reads their thoughts and shows them the unreasonableness of these words: “... Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and house will fall upon house. If, then, Satan also is divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand.” Lk. 11: 17-8 Jesus then goes on to tell them the parable of the strong man: “But if I cast out devils by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When the strong man, fully armed, guards his courtyard, his property is undisturbed. But if a stronger than he attacks and overcomes him he will take away all his weapons that he relied upon and will divide his spoils.” Lk. 11:20-22 This stronger man is Jesus Christ who has come to conquer the kingdom of Satan and all his followers. Those who believe in Christ belong to His kingdom; those who do not believe in Jesus and deny His miraculous power belong to the kingdom of Satan.
Returning to Mortal Sin
Very few souls realize the dire consequences of returning to one’s sins after the devil has been expelled either by an exorcism or a good confession: “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he roams through waterless places in search of rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house which I left.’ And when he has come to it, he finds the place swept. Then he goes and takes seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” Lk. 11:24-26 Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year, Vol. 5, comments on this passage: “But the enemy of mankind never despairs of regaining his prey. His hatred is as active now as it was in the very beginning of the world, and he says, ‘I will return into my house, whence I came out.’ Nor will he come alone. He is determined to conquer; and therefore, he will if he thinks it needed, take with him seven other spirits, even more wicked than himself. What a terrible assault is being prepared for the poor soul, unless she be on the watch, and unless the peace, which has granted her, be one that is well armed for war! Alas! With many souls the very contrary is the case; and our Saviour describes the situation in which the devil finds them on his return: they are swept and garnished, and that is all! No precautions, no defence, no arms. One would suppose that they were waiting to give the enemy admission. Then Satan, to make his repossession sure, comes with a sevenfold force. The attack is made; but there is no resistance, and straightways the wicked spirits entering in, dwell there; so that the last state becometh worse than the first; for before there was but one enemy and now there are many.” Gueranger, p. 251

The Kingdom of God
Those who believe in Jesus cry out in praise of Jesus like the woman who praises the mother of Jesus: “Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the breasts that nursed thee.” Lk. 11 27 Jesus shows that this is true of His Mother especially because she is obedient: “Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.” Lk. 11:28 Those who believe in God and keep His commandments belong to His kingdom. These believers will enter His kingdom as they gather graces for eternal life by their faithful obedience.

Sin against the Holy Spirit
In St. Matthew’s gospel account of the miracle of casting out the devil from the blind and dumb man, Jesus says: “Therefore I say to you, that every kind of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men; but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven” Mt. 12:31 This is the sin by which a person refuses to acknowledge his sin, and, therefore, will not be forgiven. This is what the Pharisees do in today’s gospel. They blaspheme by saying, “By Beelzebub, the prince of devils, he casts out devils.” Lk. 11:15 They refuse to see the good that Jesus does and accuse Him of evil. If they had acknowledged Jesus’ miracle, they too would have been cured like the dumb man. St. Jerome tells us: “Three miracles in one man; the blind sees, the dumb speaks and the possessed finds himself free of the devil a thing which also happens in the case of those who begin to believe and who, once the devil has been cast out, receive the light and the faith opening their lips in the praises of God.”

Sins against the Holy Spirit
Other sins against the Holy Spirit are: 1. Presumption, 2. Despair, 3. Resisting the known truth, 4. Envy of another’s spiritual good, 5. Obstinacy in sin, 6. Final impenitence. (The Penny Catechism, p. 54) Those who are guilty of these sins have hardened their hearts against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, and refuse to see their sins because of their pride. This is the reprobate sense that St. Paul speaks of in the Epistle to the Romans: “And as they have resolved against possessing the knowledge of God, God has given them up to a reprobate sense, so that they do what is not fitting, being filled with all iniquity, malice, immorality, avarice, wickedness; being full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity; being whisperers, detractors, hateful to God, irreverent, proud, haughty, plotters of evil; disobedient to parents, foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy.” Rom. 1: 28-32 This final state of reprobate sinner is a state that will take a miracle of grace to overcome. This is why Our Lady said at Fatima, “Many souls go to hell because no one prays and sacrifices for them.” Let us pray our rosary every day and sacrifice so that many sinners can be saved


Why the Rosary is so important!


“Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.” Pope Blessed Pius IX

“If you persevere in reciting the Rosary, this will be a most probable sign of your eternal salvation.” Blessed Alan de la Roche

“The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary.” Saint Francis de Sales


“When the Holy Rosary is said well, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious than any other prayer.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“The Holy Rosary is the storehouse of countless blessing.” Blessed Alan de la Roche

“One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.” Saint Dominic

“If you say the Rosary faithfully unto death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins, ‘you will receive a never-fading crown of glory’ (1 St. Peter 5:4).” Saint Louis de Montfort


“You must know that when you say ‘hail’ Mary, she immediately greets you! Don’t think that she is one of those rude women of whom there are so many—on the contrary, she is utterly courteous and pleasant. If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you!” Saint Bernardine of Siena




Friday, March 14, 2014

The Second Sunday of Lent - 16th March 2014

The Second Sunday of Lent
16 March 2014

“This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear him.” Mt. 17:5

In today’s Gospel (Mt. 17:1-9), we are given a glimpse of the great glory of God in heaven. While His stunned apostles, Peter, James and John look on the transfigured Jesus talks of His coming passion with the Prophet Elias, and the Father of the Law, Moses. It is truly a revelation beyond our earthly comprehension. It is a penetrating (or “rare”) vision of eternity. Jesus reveals the glory of His Divinity as St. John told us in the beginning of his gospel: “And we saw his glory—glory as of the only begotten of the Father—full of grace and truth.” Jn. 1:14. In today’s Epistle (I Thess: 4:1-7) St. Paul tells the Thessalonians that they must continue in a life of holiness: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” I Thess. 4:3 Only those who do God’s will and are holy will enjoy the glory of God in heaven. The message of the Transfiguration is that there will be no glory unless we suffer with Christ who died on Mt. Calvary.

“For God has not called you to uncleanness, but unto holiness.” I Thess. 4:7
In addressing the Thessalonians, St. Paul is aware that they have only been converted for one year, therefore he reminds them not to revert back to their pagan practices of uncleanness; “For this is the will of God, your sanctification that you abstain from immorality; not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God...” I Thess. 4:3 & 5. Only the clean of heart will see God in His glory as Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God.” Mt. 5:8

Christ destroys death
Jesus has conquered death by His cross and resurrection. St. Luke alone tells us that Jesus is talking to Moses and Elias about His “death, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem.” Lk. 9:31. St. Peter does not seem to understand the need for Jesus to suffer and die, and he wants to build three tents there to prolong the glory of the moment: “It is good for us to be here.” Mt. 17:4 Peter’s wish, of course, is not possible because Jesus has come to suffer and die for our sins. He is doing the Father’s will, and this is why the Father is well-pleased with Him: “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well-pleased; hear him.” Mt. 17:5 . In this scene, we have a theophany, a revelation of God as the Blessed Trinity: the Son is transfigured in glory, the Father speaks, and the Holy Spirit overshadows them in a cloud (like He overshadowed the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament). What greater confirmation could the apostles have of Jesus’ mission? Pope St. Leo the Great comments on Jesus’ divinity overshadowing Elias and Moses: “He is the one who teaches the truth of prophecy (Elias) through His presence, and makes the obedience to the Commandments (Moses) possible through grace.” Pope St. Leo also tells us that Jesus reveals Himself to the Apostles to remove from them the scandal of the cross which He had revealed to them several days previously when He told them that He would suffer and die and rise from the dead: “…the primary purpose of this transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of Christ’s disciples; the greatness of His glory was revealed to them to prevent their faith from being shaken by the self-abasement of the suffering He was voluntarily to undergo.” By showing the apostles His transfigured Body, Jesus would sustain them for His future suffering and death.

The Glory of Jesus’ Human Nature

Dom Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Life, Vol. 5 comments on the dramatic action of the Transfiguration on Mt. Thabor: “He (Jesus) therefore leaves the rest of the disciples in the plain near Nazareth, and goes in company with the three privileged ones towards a high hill called Thabor.... No sooner has He reached the summit of the mountain, than the three apostles observe a sudden change come over Him; His Face shines as the sun, and His humble garments become white as snow. They observe two venerable men approach and speak with Him upon what He is about to suffer in Jerusalem. One is Moses, the lawgiver; the other is Elias, the prophet, who was taken up from the earth on a fiery chariot without having passed through the gates of death. These two great representatives of the Jewish religion, the Law and the Prophets, humbly adore Jesus of Nazareth. The three apostles are not only dazzled by the brightness which comes from their divine Master; but they are filled with such a rapture of delight, that they cannot bear the thought of leaving the place. Peter proposes to remain there forever and build three tabernacles, for Jesus, Moses and Elias. And while they are admiring the glorious sight, and gazing on the beauty of their Jesus’ human Nature, a bright cloud overshadows them, and a voice is heard speaking to them: it is the voice of the eternal Father, proclaiming the Divinity of Jesus, and saying: ‘This is My beloved Son!’
“This transfiguration of the Son of Man, this manifestation of His glory, lasted but a few moments: His mission was not on Thabor; it was humiliation and suffering in Jerusalem.” Gueranger, p. 187-9

Suffer for Christ
Like Jesus, we also have to carry our cross in this life. Rather than remain joyful and glorious on Mt. Thabor as the three apostles had desired, we have to suffer with Jesus on Mt. Calvary. St. Paul tells of Jesus’ great joy in carrying His cross: “…Jesus, who for joy set before him, endured a cross, despising shame.” Heb. 12:2 For Jesus, the cross is not shameful or scandalous. It is His glory for He obeys His Father and shows His great love for us. He could have redeemed us with a prayer, a sigh, a tear, a word…, but He preferred to suffer an ignominious death on the cross: “Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jn. 15:13 This is why St. Teresa loved the picture of the suffering and thorned-crown Christ. This is why she said, “Lord, let me suffer or die.” St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi said, “Lord, don’t let me die, but suffer!” St. John of the Cross wanted the favour of suffering and being despised for Christ: “I wish to suffer and be despised for you!” Cardinal Mercier, in the early part of the 20th century, refused a needle to ease his pain: “No, I will never allow this, because our Lord did not have that when He was in His agonizing pain.” This is the language of the saints.

Hope for heaven
St. Bede, the great English monk, in commenting on this passage of the Gospel tells us that Our Lord “in a loving concession allowed Peter, James and John to enjoy for a very short time the contemplation of the happiness that lasts forever, so as to enable them to bear adversity with greater fortitude.” Commentary on St. Mark, 8:30; Mk 1,3) St. John Chrysostom tells us that we, in time of temptation and difficulty, should think of our heavenly glory: “(There), all is repose, joy and delight; all serenity and calm, all peace, splendour and light. It is not a light such as we enjoy now, and which, compared to that is no more than a lamp placed beside the sun…For there, there is no night, or twilight, heat or cold, or any change in one’s being, but a state such as can be understood only by those who are worthy to possess it. There, there is no old age, or sickness, or anything allied to corruption, because it is the place and the home of immortal glory.
And above all this the everlasting presence and possession of Christ, of the angels…everyone perpetually of like mind, without any fear of Satan or the snares of the devil or the threats of hell or death.” (Epistle to Theodore, 11)

“…regaining lost joy...”
If we want to regain some of the lost joy that we should have in this world when we think of our heavenly home then we need to make a good confession of ours sins. Pope John Paul in his Apostolic Exhortation, Reconciliation and Penance, (2 December, 1984, 31, III) tells us that every contrite confession is “a drawing near to the holiness of God, a rediscovery of one’s true identity, which has been upset and disturbed by sin, a liberation in the very depths of one’s self and thus a regaining of lost joy, the joy of being saved, which the majority of people in our time are no longer capable of experiencing.”

“Could you not, then, watch one hour with Me?” Mt. 26:40

St. Thomas Aquinas tells us how very special the Holy Eucharist is: “O precious wonderful banquet that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness......No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it, sins are purged away, virtues are increased and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift.” “Could you not, then, watch one hour with Me?” Mt. 26:40

Why the Rosary is so important!
“Continue to pray the Rosary every day.”
Our Lady of Fatima to Sister Lucia

“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.”
Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche

“Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.” Pope Blessed Pius IX

“If you persevere in reciting the Rosary, this will be a most probable sign of your eternal salvation.” Blessed Alan de la Roche

“The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary.” Saint Francis de Sales


“When the Holy Rosary is said well, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious than any other prayer.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“If you say the Rosary faithfully unto death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins, ‘you will receive a never-fading crown of glory’ (1 St. Peter 5:4).” Saint Louis de Montfort



Sunday, March 9, 2014

The First Sunday of Lent 9th March 2014

The First Sunday of Lent
9 March 2014
“Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!” II Cor. 6:2

Today, the Church gives us the penitential season of Lent in order to prepare us for the glorious resurrection at Easter. In today’s Epistle (II Cor. 6:1-10) St. Paul reminds us of the spiritual warfare that we all face in working out our salvation. “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!” Likewise the Gospel (Mt. 4:1-11), teaches us in the three temptations of Jesus to arm ourselves with the grace of God’s Word in order to conquer Satan who is always trying to tempt us to do evil and serve his kingdom. In The Liturgical Year Vol. 5 by Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., we are given the traditional teaching of the Church on how these temptations relate to Lent and the spiritual life.

The Spiritual Battle against the Devil
Dom Gueranger dismisses those commentators of his day (19th Century) and, even more so, in our day that St. Paul is not to be taken literally because he was writing only for the early days of the Church when the Christians were continually facing death. This false interpretation “is full of that discretion which meets with the applause of our cowardice, and it easily persuades us to be at rest, just as though we had no dangers to fear, and no battle to fight; whereas, we have both: for there is the devil, the world, flesh and blood. ....That such a misfortune may not befall us, the Church cries out to us, in the words of St. Paul: “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!’” II Cor. 6:2 (p. 131) We have the example of St. Paul who tells us of all the sufferings and the indifference and hatred of some of the Corinthians to his apostolic work: “We give no offense to anyone, that our ministry may not be blamed...in much patience; in tribulations, in hardships, in distress; ...in honour and dishonour, in evil report and good report...as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet enriching many, as having nothing yet possessing all things.” II Cor. 6: 3-10 Only by overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil will we attain eternal life.

“The World, the Flesh and the Devil”
In his commentary on today’s gospel, Dom Gueranger tells how we need to overcome our enemies: “We have three enemies to fight against; our soul has three dangers; for, as the beloved disciple says, all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life (cf. Jn. 2:16). By the concupiscence of the flesh is meant the love of sensual things, which covets whatever is agreeable to the flesh, and, when not curbed, draws the soul into unlawful pleasures. Concupiscence of the eyes expresses the love of the goods of this world, such as riches, and possessions; these dazzle the eye, and then seduce the heart. Pride of life is that confidence in ourselves, which leads us to be vain and presumptuous, and makes us forget that all we have, our life and every good gift, we have from God.
“Every one of our sins comes from one of these three sources; every one of the temptations aims at making us accept the concupiscence of the flesh, or the concupiscence of the eyes (the world), or the pride of life (the devil). Our Saviour, then who would be our model in all things, deigned to subject Himself to these three temptations.” Gueranger, p. 125

The Three Temptations of Satan
Dom Gueranger shows us how the three temptations of Jesus by Satan correspond to “the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life (cf. Jn. 2:16) p. 125: First of all Satan tempts Him in what regards the flesh: he suggests to him to satisfy the cravings of hunger, by working a miracle, and changing the stones into bread. If Jesus consents, and shows an eagerness in giving this indulgence to His body, the tempter will conclude that He is but a frail mortal, subject to concupiscence like other men. When he tempts us, who have inherited evil concupiscence from Adam, his suggestions go further than this: he endeavours to defile the soul by the body. But the sovereign holiness of the Incarnate Word could never permit Satan to use upon Him the power which he has received of tempting man in his outward senses. The lesson, therefore, which the Son of God here gives us, is one of temperance: but we know that, for us, temperance is the mother of purity, and that intemperance excites our senses to rebel.
“The second temptation is to pride: ‘Cast thyself down; the angels shall bear thee up in their hands.’ Ps. 90:11 The enemy is anxious to see if the favours of heaven have produced in Jesus’ soul that haughtiness, that ungrateful self-confidence, which makes the creature arrogate God’s gifts to itself, and forget its benefactor. Here, also, he is foiled; our Redeemer’s humility confounds the pride of the rebel angel.
“He then makes a last effort: he hopes to gain over by ambition Him who has given such proofs of temperance and humility. He shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and says to Him: ‘All these will I give thee, if falling down, Thou wilt adore me.’ Mt. 4:9 Jesus rejects the wretched offer, and drives from Him the seducer, the prince of this world (cf. Jn. 14:30); hereby teaching us that we must despise the riches of this world, as often as keeping or getting them is to be on the condition of our violating the law of God and paying homage to Satan.” Gueranger, p. 125-6

Overcome Satan with the Word of God
“But let us observe how it is that our divine Model, our Redeemer, overcomes the tempter. Does he hearken to His words? Does He allow the temptation time, and give it strength by delay? We did so, when were tempted; and we fell. But our Lord immediately meets each temptation with the shield of God’s word. He says: ‘It is written: Not on bread alone doth man live.’ Deut. 8:3 ‘It is written: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’ Deut. 6:16 ‘It is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve.’ Deut. 6:13. This then, must be our practice for the time to come. Eve brought perdition on herself and on the whole human race because she listened to the serpent. He that dallies with temptation is sure to fall.” Gueranger, p. 126-7

Holy Season of Lent
Dom Gueranger again reminds us how the Church prepares us for the glory of Easter Sunday if we are faithful to the example of Jesus Christ: “We are now in the season (Lent) of extraordinary grace; our hearts are on the watch, dangerous occasions are removed, everything that savours of worldliness is laid aside; our souls, purified by prayer, fasting, and alms deeds, are to rise with Christ, to a new life; but, shall we persevere? All depends upon how we behave under temptation. Here, at the very opening of Lent, the Church gives us this passage of the holy Gospel, that we may have not only precept but example. If we be attentive and faithful, the lesson she gives us will produce its fruit; and when we come to the Easter Solemnity, we shall have those sure pledges of perseverance: vigilance, self-diffidence, prayer, and the never-failing help of divine grace.” Gueranger, p. 126 Let us do all that we can during this holy penitential season of Lent. Jesus told us that “...unless you repent, you will all perish in the same manner.” Lk. 13:3 Let us deny ourselves in all things as the Angel told the three little children at Fatima: “Make everything a sacrifice!” In this time of great evil in the world Our Lady at Fatima asked to “Pray the rosary,” and “Pray and sacrifice for many souls go to Hell because no one prays and sacrifices for them.” Let us do all that we can this Lent to save our own soul and the souls of our families, our friends and the world.

St. Maximilian Kolbe on Our Lady

"By a special divine grace only Mary, the Mother of God, from the first moment of Her existence, avoided original sin and for this reason became the worthy Mother of the Man-God, who is unlimited purity and infinite sanctity." (SK #1203)

"Whoever does not want to have Mary Immaculate for Mother will neither have Christ the Lord for brother, God the Father will not send him the Son, the Son will not descend in his soul, the Holy Spirit will not form by His graces the mystical body according to the pattern of Christ, because all of this takes place in Mary Immaculate, full of grace, and only in Her." (SK #1295)

"I adore you, O our Heavenly Father, because you placed in the most pure womb of Mary your only begotten Son. I adore you, O Son of God, because you condescended to enter Her womb and you became truly, really, Her Son. I adore you, o Holy Spirit, because you deigned to form in Her immaculate womb the body of the Son of God. I adore you, O Most Holy Trinity, o one God in the Holy Trinity, for having ennobled the Immaculate in such a divine way." (SK #1305)

"Who are you, o Lady? Who are you, o Immaculate?...You are not just a creature, you are not just an adoptive daughter, but you are the Mother of God and not just an adoptive mother, but the true Mother of God." (SK #1305)

"For all eternity, O Immaculate, God will call you 'My Mother'…He who established the fourth commandment will honour you for all eternity, always…Who are you, o Divine Lady? He Himself, God Incarnate, loved to call Himself, 'the Son of Man'. But men did not understand Him. And today as well, how few are those souls who understand Him, and still how imperfectly they understand Him." (SK #1305)


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Quinquagesima Sunday, 2 March 2014

Quinquagesima Sunday
2 March 2014

“And if I distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, yet do not have charity, it profits me nothing.” I Cor. 13: 3

In this last Sunday before the holy season of Lent, the Church gives us scriptural readings that are most appropriate for this penitential season. In the Epistle (I Cor. 13:1-13), St. Paul tells us of the importance of charity in the spiritual life: “And if I distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, yet do not have charity, it profits me nothing.” I Cor. 13:3 Without charity, we are nothing, even if we could perform miracles, prophesy, and have faith to move mountains. In the Gospel (Lk. 18:31-43), Jesus, who is charity itself (cf. I Jn. 4:16) cures the blind man who, according Pope St. Gregory the Great, represents the human race: “The man born blind of whom the Gospel tells is surely the human race. Ever since man has been turned out of Paradise in the person of our first father, he has not known the light of heaven, and therefore has suffered through being plunged into the darkness of condemnation.” Jesus speaks to the Apostles about His impending passion and death on the cross to prepare them for the ultimate proof of His love for the human race. This is why He is headed for Jerusalem: “Behold, we are going to Jerusalem, and all things that have been written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished...and after they have scourged him, they will put him to death; and on the third day he will rise again.” Lk. 18:33 With charity and the cross, we see the two great teachings of the spiritual life, not only for Lent but also for the whole of the liturgical year. Sadly, many are blind to the importance of charity and the cross. This is why the miracle which Jesus works on the blind man (whose name is Bartimeus in St. Mark’s Gospel) is most significant; he is blind but so also are the Apostles who do not understand that Jesus must suffer to enter into His glory. The blind man has faith in Jesus and is cured. The Apostles will only see the truth of the cross after the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The people of Corinth are also blind and this is why St. Paul has to tell them how important charity is in comparison to the charismatic gifts of tongues, prophesy, knowledge and even faith. If we are going to enter into the truth of charity and the cross, we too need a miracle of grace which only Jesus can give us. Charity and the cross go together and cannot be separated; without charity, the cross is purposeless and the cross without charity “profits nothing.” I Cor. 13:3

Without Charity, the Cross is nothing
Dom Prosper Gueranger in his classic work, The Liturgical Year Vol. 4 comments on today’s epistle: “How appropriate for this Sunday is the magnificent eulogy of charity, here given by our apostle! This virtue, which comprises the love both of God and of our neighbour, is the light of our souls. Without charity we are in darkness, and all our works are profitless. The very power of working miracles cannot give hope of salvation, unless he who does them has charity. Unless we are in charity, the most heroic acts of other virtues are but one snare more for our souls. Let us beseech our Lord to give us this light. But let us not forget that, however richly He may bless us with it here below, the fullness of its brightness is reserved for when we are in heaven; and that the sunniest day we can have in this world, is but darkness when compared with the splendour of our eternal charity. Faith will then give place, for we shall be face to face with all truth; hope will have no object, for we shall possess all good; charity alone will continue, and, for this reason, is greater than faith and hope, which must needs accompany her in this present life. This being the glorious destiny reserved for man when redeemed and enlightened by Jesus, is it to be wondered at that we should leave all things, in order to follow such a Master? What should surprise us, and what proves how degraded is our nature by sin is to see Christians, who have been baptized in this faith and this hope, and have received the first-fruits of this love, indulging, during these days, in every sort of worldliness, which is only the more dangerous because it is fashionable. ...If there be charity within our souls, it will make us feel these offences that are committed against our God, and inspire us to pray to Him to have mercy on these poor blind sinners, for they are our brethren.” Gueranger, p. 188-9

Blindness of the Body and the Soul
Today’s Gospel sets before us additional examples of two types of blindness: the most apparent is that of the blind man at Jericho; the second blindness is that of the Apostles who cannot understand what Jesus is saying about His coming passion and death. In the passage for today’s gospel in St. Matthew (and also in St. Mark), the mother of two of the Apostles, James and John, wants her sons to “sit one at thy right hand and one at thy left hand, in thy kingdom.” Mt. 20:21. Ironically, this is right after Jesus spoke of His coming passion. The blind man is cured, but the Apostles will not be cured of their blind ambition until the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost when they will realize that Jesus had to suffer death and rise again in order to redeem mankind. The Apostles were blinded by their hopes that Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom in which they would be leaders of the people. The blind man recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Lk. 18:38. Even when he is told to be quiet, he cried out all the louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” Lk. 18:39 Jesus recognizes His faith and asks him what he wishes. The blind man said, “’Lord, that I may see.’ And Jesus said, to him, ‘Receive thy sight, thy faith has saved thee.’” Lk. 18: 41-42.

“Lord, that I may see.” Lk. 18:41
The lesson for today’s gospel is that we all need to cry out with the blind man, “Lord, that I may see.” Lk. 18:41. He was physically blind, but he could see spiritually that Jesus could cure him. The Corinthians in today’s Epistle are blinded by their charismatic gifts and fail to see the need to practice charity. The Apostles are blinded by ambition and fail to see the need of the cross. Only with charity, does the suffering of the cross take on its fullest meaning: “...and if I give my body to be burned, yet do not have charity, it profits me nothing.” I Cor. 13:3. St. Augustine remarked: “It is not the martyrdom that makes the martyr, but the motive for it. A fanatic can give his life for a cause which is not right or just.” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia, p. 686)

What is Charity?
St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that charity is the most important virtue for the Christian. It is better than all the charismatic gifts: “And I point out to you a yet more excellent way, If I should speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have charity, I have become a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And If I know prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith to remove mountains, yet do not have charity, I am nothing...” I Cor. 13:1-2. Charity encompasses all the virtues: “Charity is patient, is kind; charity does not envy, is not pretentious, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, is not self-seeking, is not provoked; thinks no evil, does not rejoice over wickedness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I Cor. 13:4-7 There is nothing greater in this world than charity, and there is no explanation of charity better nor more lyrical than St. Paul’s: “Charity is patient, is kind; charity does not envy ...”


Ash Wednesday, 5 March 2014
“Remember, man, that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.” (cf. Gen. 3:19)
Blessed Ashes will be distributed at the 7:30 A.M Mass and at 7:00 P.M. Mass. In the evening, after the distribution of Ashes, confession will be available. Let us make this Lent a season of penance and prayer for our world. Our Lady said at Fatima that “whole nations could be annihilated.” This is certainly possible in these times when nation threatens nation. Let us meditate on these words from II Chronicles 7:14: “...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn away from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14


First Friday: 7 March 2014
Now is a good time to continue (or begin) the devotion to the “Nine First Fridays” of the Month. The Sacred Heart of Jesus promised to St. Margaret Mary: "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment." There is no better way of honouring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus than in receiving Holy Communion on the “Nine First Fridays.”.


St. Maximilian Kolbe explains how to achieve heaven even here on earth.

“In any case, those who on this earth have had a chance to taste in advance a little bit of heaven can get some idea of what it will be like. Now everyone can have this experience. All he needs to do is to go to confession with sincerity, diligence, a deep sorrow for his sins and a firm resolve to amend his life. He will suddenly feel a peace and happiness compared with which all the fleeting, unworthy pleasures of this world are really an odious torment. Let everyone seek to come and receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist with proper preparation. Let him never permit his soul to remain in sin, but let him purify it immediately. Let him do his duty manfully. Let him address humble and frequent prayers to God’s throne, especially through the hand of the Immaculate Virgin. Let him welcome his brethren with a charitable heart, bearing for God’s sake the sufferings and difficulties of life. Let him do good to all, even his enemies, solely for the love of God and not in order to be praised or even thanked by men. Then he will come to understand what it means to have a foretaste of paradise; and perhaps more than once he will find peace and joy even in poverty, suffering, disgrace and illness.”

“…regaining lost joy ...”

Pope John Paul in his Apostolic Exhortation, Reconciliation and Penance, 2 December, 1984, 31, III tells us that every contrite Confession is, “a drawing near to the holiness of God, a rediscovery of one’s true identity, which has been upset and disturbed by sin, a liberation in the very depths of one’s self and thus a regaining of lost joy, the joy of being saved, which the majority of people in our time are no longer capable of experiencing.”

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sexagesima Sunday 23 February 2014


Sexagesima Sunday

23 February 2014

 

To you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’”Lk. 8:10

 

As we learned last week, in these three  Sundays before Lent,  the texts of the Liturgy help us  recognize ourselves as weak sinners who need to repent in preparation for Lenten and Paschal mysteries.  With this in mind, we can understand   the explanation Jesus gave to the Apostles about why He spoke in parables.  It is not to confuse people, but to make them search more into their own hearts in order to understand what Jesus  teaches in His parables. Dom Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year Vol. 4, Septuagesima, comments on today’s liturgy:  “The Church offers to our consideration, during this week of Sexagesima, the history of Noah and the deluge... This awful chastisement of the human race by the deluge was a fresh consequence of sin.  This time, however, there was found just one man; and it was through him and his family that the world was restored. Having once more mercifully renewed His covenant with His creatures, God allows the earth to be repeopled, and makes the three sons of Noah become the fathers of the three great families of the human race....This is the mystery of the Divine Office during the week of Sexagesima. The mystery expressed in today’s Mass is full of greater importance.  The earth is deluged by sin and heresy. But the word of God, the seed of life, is ever producing a new generation: a race of men, who like Noah, fear God. It is the word of God that produces those happy children, of whom the beloved disciple speaks, saying: ‘They are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ Jn. 1:13 ...What we have to do, during these days of Septuagesima, is to escape from the deluge of worldliness, and take shelter in the Ark of salvation; we have to become that good soil, which yields a hundredfold from the heavenly seed.  Let us flee from the wrath to come, lest we perish with the enemies of God: let us hunger after the word of God, which converteth and giveth life to souls” (cf. Ps. 18).  Gueranger, p. 148-150.  We can see how many fail to produce fruit from the word of God  in today’s Gospel (Luke 8:4-15) where Jesus tells the people the Parable of the Sower where three out of the four types of souls do not bear fruit. The fourth   type of soil is the good ground which will yield fruit “a hundredfold.” St. Paul in today’s Epistle (II Cor. 11: 19-33; 12:1-9) shows how he has yielded much fruit in all  the sufferings he underwent for the gospel.  

 

St. Paul, a true Apostle

Nowhere in all of the epistles of St. Paul do we find so many examples of what he had to endure to spread the gospel of  Jesus Christ.  St. Paul is not boasting, but he wants to show his followers what he has endured for them and the gospel. He first reminds them “For you gladly put up with fools, because you are wise yourselves! For you suffer it if a man enslaves you, if a man devours you, if a man takes from you, if a man is arrogant, if a man slaps your face!” I Cor. 11: 19-20.  These pseudo- apostles,” and “ministers of Satan” (II Cor. 11:13-5)--- “those brethren from Jerusalem ... had come to Corinth boasting of their pure-blooded Judaism  and casting suspicions on St. Paul’ Apostolic Mission. It is only the need of his Corinthian flock that drives the Apostle to that boasting of his origin and his work—which in other circumstances he would have despised, and even now in his heart regards as foolish. ”  Msgr. Patrick Boylan, “The Sunday Epistle and Gospels,” p. 135.    “Are they ministers of Christ?  I—to speak as a fool—am more: many labours, in prisons more frequently, in lashes above measure, often exposed to death. From the Jews five times I received forty lashes less one. Thrice I was scourged, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and day I was adrift on the sea, in journeyings often, in perils from floods, in perils from robbers, in perils from my own nation....” II Cor. 12:23-26  The litany of his sufferings continued as St. Paul wanted to prove how much he was a true apostle to refute his adversaries.  No one can read  the summary of his sufferings without being impressed  by the many  trials  he endured for preaching the gospel. Later, he mentions that the Lord sent him “a thorn in  the flesh, messenger from Satan, to buffet me.”  ( II Cor. 12:7) lest he puffed up with pride.  Like a true Apostle, he will suffer it for the Lord: “Gladly therefore I will glory in my infirmities, that the strength of Christ may dwell in me.” II Cor. 12: 9 St. Paul’s life  yielded fruit not just a hundredfold but a thousandfold and more than a thousandfold.

 

Souls without fruit

In today’s parable of  The Sower,” we see that those who do not bear fruit are represented by three of the four types of  ground in which the seed is sown.  The seed is good, but the fruit  it bears is dependent on the place where it is sown.  The hard ground: souls that are frivolous, dissipated, open to all distractions, rumors, and curiosity; admitting all kinds of creatures and earthly affections.  The word of God hardly reaches their heart when the enemy (the devil), having free access, carries it off, thus preventing it from taking root.  The stony ground: superficial souls with only a shallow layer of good earth, which will be rapidly blown away, along with the good seed, by the winds of passion. These souls easily grow enthusiastic, but do not persevere and ‘in time of temptation fall away.’ (Lk. 8:13) They are unstable, because they have not the courage to embrace renunciation and to make the sacrifices which are necessary if one wishes to remain faithful to the word of God and to put it into practice in all circumstances. Their fervor is a straw fire which dies down and goes out in the face of the slightest difficulty.  The ground covered with thorns:  souls that are preoccupied with worldly things, pleasures, material interests and affairs. The seed takes root, but the thorns soon choke it by depriving it of air and light. Excessive solicitude for temporal things eventually stifles the rights of the spirit.” Fr. Gabriel, OCD, Divine Intimacy, p. 249 

 

“And other seed fell upon good ground, and sprang up and yielded fruit a hundredfold.” Lk. 8:8

Lastly, the good ground is compared by Jesus to those who, ‘with a right and good heart, having heard  the word, hold it fast, and bear fruit in patience.’ Lk. 8:15  The good and upright heart is the one which always gives first place to God, which seeks before everything else the kingdom of God and His justice.  The seed of the divine word will bear abundant fruit in proportion to the good dispositions it finds in us: recollection, a serious and profound interior life, detachment, sincere seeing for the things of God above  and beyond all earthly things, and finally perseverance without which the word of God cannot bear its fruit in us.” Divine Intimacy, p. 249  Those “with a right and good heart” (Lk. 8:15) will yield fruit a hundredfold  as God’s grace is always fruitful: “And other seed fell upon good ground, and sprang up and yielded fruit a hundredfold.” Lk. 8: 8.   All we have to do is to look at the lives of the saints, like St. Paul in today’s II Epistle to the Corinthians, and we can see God’s grace bear fruit even beyond a hundredfold to a thousandfold and even more.  

         

Who are saved?

          If we apply the message of today’s Gospel to our world, we might not see a pretty picture.   Things have not changed with human nature.  Jesus knew what kind of men his listeners were.  So too today!  The vast majority of souls are those who are represented by the seed on the wayside path, the rocky ground, and thorny bushes.  They are not interested in God’s word.    If  they do have some interest, the cares of the world and pleasures of  riches distract them.  In his treatise, “The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved,”  St. Leonard of Port Maurice*** quotes St. Augustine: “The ark (Noah’s Ark)  was the figure of the Church. And these eight people who were saved signify that very few Christians are saved, because there are very few who sincerely renounce the world, and those who renounce it only in words do not belong to the mystery represented by that ark.” p. 5   Were it not for the grace of God which comes to us through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and through the hands of our  Immaculate Mother, there would be little hope for all of humanity.  This is why Our Lady at  Fatima in 1917 asked us to pray and sacrifice because she said that “many souls go to hell because no one prays and sacrifices for them.”  This is why Our Lady begged us to pray the Rosary.  Let us pray the Holy Rosary in the family and make sacrifices, and then many souls, especially in our families, will be saved and  go to heaven.  

*** This treatise of St. Leonard’s is in our repository.   Or contact lanhernefriars@talktalk.net

 

“Could you not, then, watch one hour with Me?” Mt. 26:40

 Last week, in the Sunday Bulletin, we quoted St. Ambrose on how Jesus is the leaven to change the whole world. We have Jesus as true leaven and the Bread of Life in the Blessed Sacrament.  Go to Jesus in the Sacred Host and ask Him to take over your life. “Therefore, if the Lord is wheat (as He Himself says in John 12:24), the Lord is the leaven, too, since leaven is usually made only of wheaten flour. Therefore, the Lord is rightly compared to leaven for when He was in the form of man, made small by humility and despised for His weakness, He contained within Himself such power of wisdom that the world itself could scarcely contain His doctrine. When He began to diffuse Himself throughout the world by virtue of His divinity, He immediately drew the entire human race into His substance by His power so that He might place the yoke of His Holy Spirit upon all of them, that is, make all Christians to be what Christ is....so Christ (like leaven) is broken up and dissolved by His various sufferings, and His moisture, that is, His precious blood, was poured out for our salvation, that it might by mingling  itself with the whole human race, consolidate that race, which lay scattered abroad.”  St. Ambrose in Cornelius A Lapide,  Commentary on John’s Gospel, p. 29-30

 

 

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix (MIM)    1 March 2014

 

On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door)

  This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi,   St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”  (Article 2: Statute)

It is most important at this time in our world to come together and learn about Our Lady and her messages especially Fatima.  Pope John Paul II:  On November 9, 1976 said in the USA as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla:  “We are now standing in face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through.  I do not think that the wide circles of American society or the wide circles of  the Christian community realize this fully.  We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the Anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-gospel.”

We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of  so many souls who are in danger of being lost for all eternity in hell as Our Lady said at Fatima. 

 

 

The First Saturday: 1 March 2014

Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me."  If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation.  Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays!