Monday, February 28, 2011

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta: The Decision to Be Holy

"In order to be saints, you have to seriously want to be one. Saint Thomas Aquinas assures us that holiness 'is nothing else but a resolution made, the heroic act of a soul that surrenders to God.'

"And he adds: 'Spontaneously we love God, we run towards him, we get close to him, we possess him.”

"Our willingness is important because it changes us into the image of God and likens us to him! The decision to be holy is a very dear one. Renunciation, temptations, struggles, persecutions, and all kinds of sacrifices are what surround the soul that has opted for holiness."

~ Blessed Teresa of Calcutta ~

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sins Against Hope: Despair and Presumption

2090 When God reveals Himself and calls him, man cannot fully respond to the divine love by his own powers. He must hope that God will give him the capacity to love Him in return and to act in conformity with the commandments of charity. Hope is the confident expectation of divine blessing and the beatific vision of God; it is also the fear of offending God's love and of incurring punishment.

2091 The first commandment is also concerned with sins against hope, namely, despair and presumption:
By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God, for help in attaining it or for the forgiveness of his sins. Despair is contrary to God's goodness, to his justice - for the Lord is faithful to his promises - and to his mercy.

2092 There are two kinds of presumption. Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high), or he presumes upon God's almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit).

~ Excerpt from Catechism of the Catholic Church ~

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Trust in the Merciful Heart of Jesus

"My daughter, do whatever is within your power to spread devotion to My mercy.
I will make up for what you lack.
Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful Heart,
and I will fill it -with peace."

"Tell [all people], My daughter, that I am Love and Mercy itself.
When a soul approaches Me with trust,
I fill it with such an abundance of graces
 that it cannot contain them within itself,
 but radiates them to other souls."

~ Jesus to Saint Faustina; excerpt from her Diary, 1074 ~

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Revelations of St. Bridget: Prayers for Those Who Assist Souls in Purgatory

St. Bridget declares in her Revelations, and her testimony is quoted by Benedict XIII.,  that she heard a voice from  the depths of the Purgatorial flames pronouncing these words:
"May those be blessed, may those be rewarded, who relieve us in these pains ! "
And on another occasion :
 "Lord God, show Thy Almighty power in recompensing a hundred-fold those who assist us by their suffrages, and make the rays of the divine light to shine upon us."
In another vision the saint heard the voice of an angel saying :
"Blessed be upon earth those who, by their prayers and good works, come to the assistance of the poor suffering souls ! "
~ Excerpt from Purgatory:  Illustrated by the Lives and Legends of the Saints ~ 
 by Fr. F.X. Shouppe, S.J.

Friday, February 18, 2011

St. Anthony Mary Claret on Hell: Eternal Consequences of Unrepented Mortal Sin

“A multitude of souls fall into the depths of Hell, and it is of the faith that all who die in mortal sin are condemned for ever and ever. According to statistics, approximately 80,000 persons die every day. How many of these will die in mortal sin, and how many will be condemned! For, as their lives have been, so also will be their end.”

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pope John Paul II: "You Must Not Give Up on Praying!"

"Prayer gives us strength for great ideals, for keeping up our faith, charity, purity, generosity; prayer gives us strength to rise up from indifference and guilt,
if we have had the misfortune to give in to temptation and weakness.

Prayer gives us light by which to see and to judge from God's perspective and from eternity.
That is why you must not give up on praying!"

~ Pope John Paul II ~ 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

St. Claude de la Columbiere: Confidence in the Boundless Mercy of God

"In thinking of what could trouble me at death, that is to say past sin and future punishment, this thought came to me and I have made it my own; it is a great consolation to me: at death, when my sins known and unknown trouble me, I will take them all and cast them at Our Lord’s feet to be consumed in the fire of his mercy. The greater they are, the worse they seem to me, the more willingly will I give them to him because the offering will be all the more worthy of his mercy. It seems to me that I could do nothing more reasonable nor more glorious to God, and because of the idea I have of his goodness, this will not be difficult. I feel greatly drawn to act in this way. As for purgatory, I do not fear it. I am sorry to have deserved it because it has only been by offending God; but since I do deserve it, I am glad to go there to satisfy his justice as rigorously as possible even to the day of judgment. I know the torments are great, but I know that they honor God and that in purgatory I shall be sure of never opposing God’s will and of never complaining of the severity of his justice but of loving it and waiting patiently until it is entirely satisfied." (Retreat notes, 1674)

~ St. Claude: Excerpt from The Spiritual Direction of Saint Claude de la Colombière ~

Despair Prayer

Saint Claude de la Colombiere

Lord, I am in this world to show Your mercy to others. Other people will glorify You by making visible the power of Your grace by their fidelity and constancy to You. For my part I will glorify You by making known how good You are to sinners, that Your mercy is boundless and that no sinner no matter how great his offences should have reason to despair of pardon. If I have grievously offended You, My Redeemer, let me not offend You even more by thinking that You are not kind enough to pardon Me. Amen.
 An Act of Hope and Confidence in God
Saint Claude de la Colombiere 

My God, I believe most firmly that Thou watchest over all who hope in Thee, and that we can want for nothing when we rely upon Thee in all things; therefore I am resolved for the future to have no anxieties, and to cast all my cares upon Thee.

People may deprive me of worldly goods and of honors; sickness may take from me my strength and the means of serving Thee; I may even lose Thy grace by sin; but my trust shall never leave me. I will preserve it to the last moment of my life, and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to wrestle it from me.

Let others seek happiness in their wealth, in their talents; let them trust to the purity of their lives, the severity of their mortifications, to the number of their good works, the fervor of their prayers; as for me, O my God, in my very confidence lies all my hope. "For Thou, O Lord, singularly has settled me in hope." This confidence can never be in vain. "No one has hoped in the Lord and has been confounded."

I am assured, therefore, of my eternal happiness, for I firmly hope for it, and all my hope is in Thee. "In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped; let me never be confounded."

I know, alas! I know but too well that I am frail and changable; I know the power of temptation against the strongest virtue. I have seen stars fall from heaven, and pillars of firmament totter; but these things alarm me not. While I hope in Thee I am sheltered from all misfortune, and I am sure that my trust shall endure, for I rely upon Thee to sustain this unfailing hope.

Finally, I know that my confidence cannot exceed Thy bounty, and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from Thee. Therefore I hope that Thou wilt sustain me against my evil inclinations; that Thou wilt protect me against the most furious assults of the evil one, and that Thou wilt cause my weakness to triumph over my most powerful enemies. I hope that Thou wilt never cease to love me, and that I shall love Thee unceasingly. "In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Don't Take a Long Life for Granted--Remain in the State of Grace!

Philip Gerard Johnson, a 26 year old seminarian for the diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina was diagnosed with an  inoperable brain tumor in 2008.  I think most readers would find the following video powerful and inspiring and well worth their time.  About 18 minutes into the video, Philip reminds listeners to remain in the state of grace and that everything we have is a gift from God and shouldn't be  taken  for granted.  Please pray for Philip.

~ More informative links about Philip Johnson at Eucharistic Adoration for Priests ~


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pope Paul VI: The Voice of Conscience--a Law Written by God

16. In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience when necessary speaks to his heart: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged.

Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths.
~ Pope Paul VI: excerpt from Gaudium Et Spes ~

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich: Pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory

"The prayer most pleasing to God is that made for others and particularly for the poor souls.
Pray for them, if you want your prayers to bring high interest."

"The poor souls suffer inexpressibly."

"Many stay a long time in purgatory who, although not great sinners, have lived tepidly."

~ Anne Catherine Emmerich ~

"The life of Anna Katharina Emmerick is marked by her profound closeness to Christ. She loved to pray before the famous Coesfeld Cross, and she walked the path of the long Way of the Cross frequently. So great was her personal participation in the sufferings of our Lord that it is not an exaggeration to say that she lived, suffered and died with Christ. An external sign of this, which is at the same time, however, more than just a sign, are the wounds of Christ which she bore."

"...Anna Katharina Emmerick understood her suffering as a service to salvation. Dr. Wesener, her doctor, recounts her petition in his diary: “I have always requested for myself as a special gift from God that I suffer for those who are on the wrong path due to error or weakness, and that, if possible, I make reparation for them.”

~ Pope John Paul II; excerpts from Homily ~


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mother Angelica: Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell

"Everyone in Heaven radiates God in a different way and degree. Each one will have that degree of love and union he had at the moment of death. When we die, we cease to merit; we cease to use our talents; it is the time of reward or punishment. Whatever talents we have been given, used, and increased will be ours for all eternity. We will be rewarded in proportion to the way our free will chose God above ourselves and the world."

~ Mother Angelica: excerpt from Inside the Kingdom ~

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

St. Josephine Bakhita, Set Free by Love: How Not to Be a Prisoner of Our Past

This is the miracle of Saint Bakhita. There was no trace of bitterness in her. The cruel degradations and unspeakable moral outrages suffered as a slave, though never forgotten, had no hold on her. She to whom men had refused mercy persevered to the end in a ready mercy for others. She was not a prisoner of her past. We who are so often prisoners of the past, unable to let go, unable to forgive, unable to move beyond old hurts, do well today to seek her intercession.

Looking to the future does not mean forgetting the past; it means transfiguring it. It means re-reading it with eyes of mercy in the light of faith. We need not remain slaves of our own histories, chained to the evil things, the hurtful things, the unjust things that happened ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, or seventy-five years ago. There is another way: the way of those set free by love.

Toward the end of her life, Mother Bakhita used to smile and say: "I travel slowly, one step at a time, because I am carrying two big suitcases. One of them contains my sins, and in the other, which is much heavier, are the infinite merits of Jesus. When I reach heaven I will open the suitcases and say to God: 'Eternal Father, now you can judge.' And to St. Peter: 'Close the door, because I'm staying.'"

Saint Josephine Bakhita, intercede for us that,
freed from the chains that bind us to the past,
we may go forward into freedom.
For each of us the path forward is the Communion procession to the altar.
The Most Holy Eucharist is the mystery of our liberation,
the healing of memories,
the Bread to children given,
the Chalice of undying love lifted daily to the lips of the Bride.

~ Fr. Mark Kirby;  excerpts from A Saint for Those Who Are Prisoners of Their Past ~

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sudden and Unprepared Deaths: Acts of God's Justice or Mercy?

Such deaths are sometimes an act of justice, sometimes one of mercy. When a soul is timid and God knows it is well prepared to appear before Him, He takes it out of this world suddenly to spare it the terrors it might experience at the last moment. Sometimes, also, God takes souls in His justice. They are not for this reason eternally lost, but their Purgatory is much more severe and prolonged than it would otherwise have been, since they were either deprived of the Last Sacraments or received them hastily and so were unprepared for their passage into eternity. Others having filled up the measure of their crimes and having remained deaf to all inspirations of Divine Grace are taken by God out of this world so that they may not excite His vengeance still more.

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

Friday, February 4, 2011

Penance Purifies Souls

"Penance is the rampart protecting chastity.
Penitence appeases God's justice and transforms it into graces.
It purifies souls,
extinguishes the fires of purgatory
and receives in heaven a most sublime recompense.
 Penance pays for personal faults and those of others.
Penance is the sister of mortification. Both work together hand in hand.
Penance helps the soul rise above things of the earth.
Penance cooperates with the Redemption of the world.
Penance humbles man,
it penetrates him with an inner feeling of his baseness and his wretchedness.
Penance brings light to the soul.
 It consumes and causes to disappear all in it that is purely material.
It raises him higher and higher above the earth,
making him taste of delights hitherto unknown and pure.
But this penance should be the daughter of reverence and exist in the soul,
hidden from all humans"

~ Jesus to Venerable Concepcion Cabrera de Armida,
from Conchita, A Mother's Spiritual Diary, Sept. 24, 1895).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Presentation of Jesus: Consecration to God

"Christ has no body now but mine.
He prays in me,
 works in me,
looks through my eyes,
speaks through my words,
works through my hands,
walks with my feet
and loves with my heart."

~ St. Teresa of Avila ~