Monday, January 31, 2011

St. John Bosco: How to Overcome Evil Inclinations

"Once a man came from a distance to ask Father [St. Joseph] Cafasso what he should do to overcome his evil inclinations. Father Cafasso’s answer was quite brief: "Subdue them." The man went away satisfied. I decided to put this advice to the test and always found it quite effective. Some people think that they can pacify evil passions by giving in to them. This is a mistake. If a man has the dropsy, the more he drinks, the thirstier he becomes. Our evil inclinations are like snarling dogs, nothing will satisfy them. The more one panders them, the more they demand. An alcoholic may think that he will satisfy his craving by getting drunk, but it will only make his craving all the stronger. Do you want to banish evil thoughts? Control your sight, taste, and hearing. Give up certain kinds of talk and books. This is the only way you will still your passions, be victorious, and enjoy peace of mind."

~ St. John Bosco ~ 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cardinal Francis Xavier Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan: 10 Rules of Life

“In our country there is a saying: ‘A day in prison is worth a thousand autumns of freedom.' I myself experienced this. While in prison, everyone waits for freedom, every day, every minute. We must live each day, each minute of our life as though it is the last.”

~ Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan ~

Ten Rules of Life of Nguyễn Văn Thuận

I will live the present moment to the fullest.
I will discern between God and God’s works.
I will hold firmly to one secret: prayer.
I will see in the Holy Eucharist my only power.
I will have only one wisdom: the science of the Cross.
I will remain faithful to my mission in the Church and for the Church as a witness of Jesus Christ.
I will seek the peace the world cannot give.
I will carry out a revolution by renewal in the Holy Spirit.
I will speak one language and wear one uniform: Charity.
I will have one very special love: The Blessed Virgin Mary.

This documentary explores the life of the heroic spiritual leader of Vietnam, Cardinal Van Thuan, who despite thirteen years in a brutal Communist prison, nine of which were in solitary confinement, became a powerful prophet of hope. The powerful film traces the history of Thuan from his privileged upbringing in a powerful political family to decades of war, betrayal and imprisonment—when he would celebrate Mass in secret with three drops of wine in the palm of his hand and the host smuggled inside a flashlight by his faithful. Featuring interviews with those who knew him best, never before seen family videos, and rare archival footage, "Road of Hope" offers an unprecedented glimpse into the life of a modern day martyr and saint.

Available from Ignatius Press. Call 1-800-651-1531 or go to to order.

~ Related posts from Eucharistic Adoration for Priests ~

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Heroic and Inspiring True Love Story: The Sanctifying Power of Sacrificial Love

Now my Dad was not a person who would ever seek or relate to mystical experiences. So much so that if I would have told him that I had a vision while praying in church he would have scoffed and probably left the room.

I was therefore astonished as Dad related the following to me. He said that the previous night he was again awakened to find red light in his bedroom. This time there were three lights instead of one. He said he again got up and looked out the window to discover whether the light could be emanating from outside the bedroom. He said he even closed his door and the curtains to eliminate the possibility. He then again sat on the edge of his bed to smoke a cigarette to make sure he was awake. After the cigarette was put out he said, “I looked into the lights and suddenly the bedroom disappeared and there was Heaven. And there sat Vera on a throne. She was wearing a beautiful blue robe and looked as she did when she was about 30 years old but even more beautiful. There was a great light shining on her from beyond the edge of what I could see. Also standing beside her was an unrecognizable person all made of light. I thought it was her Guardian Angel. Seated on her lap were four children. I said to Vera, “I recognize the two sitting on your knees as Roger and Patricia (my brother the first born of my siblings, and my sister Patricia the last born both of whom died within one week of their birth) but who are the other children sitting on your lap?” And Vera said, “These are the two children we lost through miscarriage. They do not have any names. What do you want to call them?” Dad answered,, “Joseph and Mary.” Dad then said that standing near Vera’s side was a little girl. Dad asked, “Who is the little girl?” And Mom answered, “This is Katherine, the little girl that Phyllis and Richard lost through crib death." (She was our daughter who we lost at seven months.) Next my Dad said, “Then I saw the most amazing thing. Below Vera, beside her on both sides, and above her, as far back as I could see there were millions of babies. All of them looked different. And I asked Vera, “What are all these babies?” And she answered, “We got these from the abortion chambers.” Then Dad said, “Vera told me many other things but they are not your business.” And until the day he died in 1992 he never told me what Mom told him.

It is for the reader to discern both the validity of the experiences my Dad related to me and to glean insights meaningful to him or her. As for me, I have thought and prayed about what my Dad told me many times in the years since his death and am personally comfortable with any number of personal insights and interpretations. These I will keep mostly to myself. There are some the reader will find obvious, the consolation Dad received in seeing Mom and the children in Heaven, the joy of speaking to her and seeing her whole and happy. One can speculate about the secrets and assume some of them concerned my Dad’s destiny to be with Mom forever in heaven. But of all that transpired while Dad was caring for Mom and of all those things he related in his vision of her, there are these two that I think about most often. The first is Mom’s often repeated statement, “The Blessed Mother told me things.” I have often thought that, while Mom was in her coma, the Blessed Mother gave her a choice -- to die right then or, for reasons unknown to any of us on this earth, to accept the sacrifice of a 6 ½ year crucifixion. I do believe that Mom’s sacrifice, among other things, involved the salvation of her family and perhaps the Blessed Mother made that precise promise to her.

The second involves Dad’s vision of the aborted babies in Heaven. My mother was an ardent right-to-life activist, literally from the time of the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States. I find it fascinating and heartwarming to think that God will for all eternity associate my mother with those children whose lives she prayed and worked so diligently to protect.

~ Deacon Richard Tappe: Read the whole inspiring story  here ~

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Parable of the Sower and the Eternal Harvest

Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. Mt,6:19-20

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Greatness and Goodness of Almighty God

September 7, 1875. "Great though He is, Almighty God does not hesitate to lower Himself to the soul which loves Him. He treats with such a soul even on the smallest details that concern her. How good God is to us. Are there not secrets in our souls that God alone understands and of which we can speak to Him alone?"

~ Sr. M.G., a nun soul from Purgatory; excerpt from An Unpublished Manuscript  on Purgatory ~

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Matter of Expiation in Purgatory: Intemperance of the Tongue

 In a monastery of the Order of Citeaux...lived two young Religious, named Gertrude and her sister Margaret. The former, although otherwise virtuous, did not sufficiently watch over her tongue; she frequently allowed herself to transgress the rule of silence prescribed, some times even in choir, before and after the chanting of the Office. Instead of recollecting herself with the reverence due to that holy place, she addressed useless words to her sister, who was placed next to her, so that, besides her violation of the rule of silence and her lack of piety, she was a subject of disedification to her companion. She died whilst still young, and a very short time after her death, Sister Margaret, on going to Office, saw her come and place herself in the same stall she had occupied whilst living.

At this sight the sister was almost about to faint. When she had sufficiently recovered from her astonishment, she went and told the Superior what she had just seen. The Superior told her not to be troubled, but, should the d ceased appear again, to ask her, in the name of God, why she came.

She reappeared the next day in the same way, and, according to the order of the Prioress, Margaret said to her, " My dear Sister Gertrude, whence do you come, and what do you want?" "I come," she said, "to satisfy the Justice of God in this place where I have sinned. It was here, in this holy sanctuary, that I offended God by words, both useless and contrary to religious respect, by disedification to all, and by the scandal which I have given to you in particular. Oh, if you knew," she added, "what I suffer ! I am devoured by flames, my tongue especially is dreadfully tormented." She then disappeared, after having asked for prayers.

~ Excerpt from Purgatory:  Illustrated by the Lives and Legends of the Saints by Fr. F.X. Schouppe, S.J.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gossip Divides and Destroys

"If something uncharitable is said in your presence,
either speak in favour of the absent,
or withdraw,
or if possible stop the conversation."

~ St. Jean Vianney ~

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Soul in Purgatory Because of Sins of the Tongue

Another fault against which we must guard, because we so easily fall into it, is the unmortification of the tongue. Oh ! how easy it is to err in words! How rare a thing it is to speak for any length of time without offending against meekness, humility, sincerity, or Christian charity! Even pious persons are often subject to this defect; when they have escaped all the other snares of the demon, they allow themselves to be taken, says St. Jerome, in this last trap--slander. Let us listen to what is related by Vincent de Beauvais. 

When the celebrated Durand, who, in the eleventh century, shed lustre on the Order of St. Dominic, was yet a simple Religious, he showed himself a model of regularity and fervour ; yet he had one defect. The vivacity of his disposition led him to talk too much ; he was excessively fond of witty expressions, often at the expense of charity. Hugh, his Abbot, brought this under his notice, even predicting that, if he did not correct himself of this fault, he would certainly have to expiate it in Purgatory. Durand did not attach sufficient importance to this advice, and continued to give himself, without much restraint, to the disorders of the tongue. After his death, the prediction of the Abbot Hugh was fulfilled. Durand appeared to a Religious, one of his friends, imploring him to assist him by his prayers, because he was frightfully punished for the unmortification of his tongue. In consequence of this apparition, the members of the community unanimously agreed to observe strict silence for eight days, and to practise other good works for the repose of the deceased. These charitable exercises produced their effect; some time after Durand again appeared, but now to announce his deliverance.

~ Excerpt from Purgatory: Illustrated by the Lives and Legends of the Saints
 by Fr. F.X. Shouppe, S.J. ~

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI: St Catherine of Genoa's Mystical Experience of Purgatory

"Thus, for Catherine, 'the soul is aware of God's immense love and perfect justice; as a consequence, it suffers for not having responded to that love perfectly, and it is precisely the love of God Himself which purifies the soul from the ravages of sin'".

"St. Catherine's life teaches us that the more we love God and enter into intimate contact with Him through prayer, the more He makes Himself known and enflames our hearts with His love. By writing about Purgatory, the saint reminds us of a fundamental truth of the faith which becomes an invitation for us to pray for the dead, that they may achieve the blessed vision of God in the communion of the saints". 

~ Pope Benedict XVI, from VIS ~

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blessed James Alberione: What is Heaven Worth?

"Heaven is worth giving up everything to gain. 
We ought to relinquish everything to gain everything.
Heaven is always a bargain, no matter what it costs.
Our days are valuable in proportion to what they earn for eternity."

~ Blessed James Alberione ~

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez: Where True Peace and Happiness are to be Found

"My appeal is addressed to all:
to those consecrated in religion and to those living in the world,
to the good and to sinners,
to the learned and to the illiterate,
to those in authority and to those who obey.
To each of them I come to say:
if you seek happiness you will find it in Me.
If riches, I am infinite Wealth.
If you desire peace, in Me alone is peace to be found.
I am Mercy and Love!
and I must be sovereign King..."

~ Jesus to St. Josefa Menendez from The Way of Divine Love ~

Friday, January 7, 2011

St. Malachy's Deceased Sister Appears to Him Asking for Masses

In his beautiful Life of St. Malachy St. Bernard highly praises that prelate for his devotion towards the souls in Purgatory. When he was as yet deacon, he loved to assist at the funerals of the poor, and at the Mass which was celebrated for them ; he even accompanied their remains to the cemetery with as much zeal as he ordinarily saw those unfortunate creatures neglected after their death. But he had a sister, who, filled with the spirit of the world, thought that her brother degraded himself and his whole family by thus associating with the poor. She reproached him, showing by her language that she understood neither Christian Charity nor the excellence of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Malachy, notwithstanding, continued the exercise of his humble Charity, contenting himself with replying to his sister that she had forgotten the teaching of Jesus Christ, and that she would one day repent of her thoughtless words.

In the meantime the imprudent rashness of this woman was not to remain unpunished ; she died whilst still young, and went to render an account to the Sovereign Judge of the worldly life she had led.

Malachy had reason to complain of her conduct, but when she was dead he forgot all the wrongs she had done him, and thinking only of the needs of her soul, he offered the Holy Sacrifice and prayed much for her. In the course of time, however, having many others to pray for, he neglected his poor sister. " We may believe," says Father Rossignoli, "that God permitted that she should be forgotten, in punishment for the want of compassion which she showed towards the dead."

However this may be, she appeared to her holy brother during his sleep. Malachy saw her standing in the middle of the area before the church, sad, clad in mourning, and entreating his compassion, complaining that for the last thirty days he had neglected her. He thereupon awoke suddenly, and remembered that in reality it was thirty days since he had celebrated Mass for his sister. On the following day he began anew to offer the Holy Sacrifice for her. Then the deceased appeared to him at the door of the church, kneeling upon the threshold, and lamenting that she was not allowed to enter. He continued his suffrages. Some days later he saw her enter the church and advance as far as the middle of the aisle, without being able, not withstanding all her efforts, to approach the altar. He saw, therefore, it was necessary to persevere, so he continued to offer the Holy Sacrifice for the repose of her soul. Finally, after a few days he saw her near the altar, clad in magnificent attire, radiant with joy, and free from suffering.

" By this we see." adds St. Bernard, " how great is the efficacy of the Holy Sacrifice to remit sins, to combat the powers of darkness, and to open the gates of Heaven to those souls which have quitted this earth."

~ Excerpt from Purgatory Illustrated by the Lives and Legends of the Saints by Fr. F.X. Shouppe, S.J. ~

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Penance Needed for Sins Against Our Loving God

1. The malice of sin is very great. What appear to us small faults are in reality serious offenses against the infinite goodness of God. It is enough to see how the Saints wept over their faults.

We are weak, it may be urged. That is true, but then God offers us abundant graces to strengthen our weakness, gives us light to see the gravity of our faults, and the necessary force to conquer temptation. If we are still weak, the fault is all our own. We do not use the light and strength God so generously offers us; we do not pray; we do not receive the Sacraments as we should.

2. An eminent theologian wisely remarks that if souls are condemned to Hell for all eternity because of one mortal sin, it is not to be wondered at that other souls should be detained for long years in Purgatory who have committed countless deliberate venial sins, some of which are so grave that at the time of their commission the sinner scarcely knows if they are mortal or venial. Too, they may have committed many mortal sins for which they have had little sorrow and done little or no penance. The guilt has been remitted by absolution, but the pain due to the sins will have to be paid in Purgatory.

Our Lord tells us that we shall have to render an account for each and every idle word we say and that we may not leave our prison until we shall have paid the last farthing. (Cf. Matt. 5:26.)

The Saints committed few and slight sins, and still they sorrowed much and did severe penances. We commit many and grave sins, and we sorrow little and do little or no penance.

~ Excerpt from Read Me Or Rue It by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P. ~

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Reverencing the Holy Name of Jesus and Reparation for Irreverent Use

 January 03, 2011
On the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, Fr. Bonaventure preaches on the power of His name. The Jews never used the name of God because it implied a power over God. For this reason reverence should be exercised whenever invoking Jesus' name and certainly we must avoid any misuses especially using it in vain or even in a blasphemous way. Ave Maria!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

St. Therese of Lisieux: Her Little Way of Avoiding Purgatory

"Let us make the flames of divine love devour our sins
and thus we will avoid the fires of Purgatory."

“ The chief plenary indulgence, which is within reach of everybody, and can be
gained without the ordinary conditions, is that of charity –
 which ‘covereth a multitude of sins.’”

~ St. Therese of Lisieux ~


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Holy Mary, Mother of God

"As to the Blessed Virgin, we see her in the body. She comes to Purgatory on her feasts and she goes back to Heaven with many souls. While she is with us we do not suffer. St. Michael accompanies her. When he comes alone, we suffer as usual."

~ Sr. M.G., a nun soul from Purgatory:  excerpt from An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory ~