December 16, 2018
Abandonment to God's will produces great joy, even amidst great suffering. "It is not rare," says Msgr. Gay, "for this to be sensible joy. At other times it remains purely spiritual."
The crosses of saints are heavier than those of other men; nevertheless, they are more joyously borne, for the very good reason that the saints willingly accept them. We make our own crosses, when our wills clash with God's will. But when they are in conformity with His, the result is two parallel wills - two rails on which we roll swiftly and surely toward Heaven!
Listen to the holy Cure of Ars, an illustrious Franciscan Tertiary:
"It is the Cross that gave peace to the world; it is the Cross that we should bear in our hearts. All our troubles come from not loving it. Fear of crosses increases our crosses. A cross simply and lovingly borne, no longer brings suffering. Nothing makes us more like our Lord than does carrying his Cross. All suffering is sweet in union with Him. I cannot understand a Christian who does not love his cross, or who flees from it! Do we not at the same time flee Him who willed to be nailed to it, and to die on it for us? Contradictions bring us to the foot of the Cross, and the Cross brings us to Heaven's gate. To get there, we must first be vilified, despised, crushed. Suffering? What of it? It is but for a moment. If we could spend a week in Heaven, we should understand the value of this moment of suffering - we should find no cross heavy enough, no trial bitter enough. The cross is a gift which God offers to his friends. We must pray to love our crosses, for in this way they become sweet. I experienced this for myself during four or five years. I had been slandered, contradicted, shoved about. Oh, it was almost more than I could bear! I began to beg for the love of crosses. Then I became happy. I said to myself, 'Really, crosses are the only source of true happiness!' We must never look to see where our crosses come from - they come from God. It is always God who furnishes this means of proving our love for him. Oh, when the day of judgment comes, how happy we shall be about our unhappiness; how proud of our humiliations; how rich in our sacrifices."
26 November 2018
A prayer for the conversion of a loved one
O God, you who expressly command us to love our neighbor and deign to promise such magnificent rewards to those who, for love of you, charitably do good to their brethren; it is in the name of Mary, Immaculate Virgin and refuge of sinners; it is in the name of Jesus, this Divine Lamb immolated on the Cross for the sins of the world; it is in the name of your infinite mercy, that I come to beseech you to forgive a sinning soul, to bring back a lost sheep to the fold. Ah, if this unfortunate soul but understood its sad state! If is but realized what it loses by separating itself from you, by setting its heart’s desire on this land of exile, by living as if it had no heavenly home! If it only knew—this poor soul—the fate reserved for it in eternity after a lifetime of suffering, without true consolation and without hope!...O God, deign by your divine light and by the power of your grace to open its eyes; impress its mind with the dangers of its position; and, finally, take away from it the love for those things that perish. Vouchsafe, O Lord, to inspire this new prodigal son with a burning and efficacious desire to return to you, his tender Father. Receive him in your arms; restore his right to your love and grace; and to you, O Lord, be the glory. Amen.
18 November 2018
Why are some souls so worried?
Dom Eugene Vandeur answers this question, in his book entitled Abandon a Dieu.
“I am worried! And what about?”
“I am worried about myself; it is for myself I am frightened; it is for myself that I dread so many things.
“Worry and egotism! Are they not too often the same thing?
“Always this vision of me in front of me; that is what wearies me; that is what wears me out.
“I must forget self. I must forget what I was, what I am, what I might be—and replace this memory by that of God; who is alone worthy to capture my thoughts or inebriate my heart.
“I worry about everything, because by Self is really multiple. It has multiplied itself unto so many things, from which I never manage to detach myself.
“And each one of them causes me a particular worry, more or less acute according to the degree of the attachment binding me to it. I fear to lose the things I love, that I possess, that I have so painfully accumulated: honors, riches, position, food and raiment…
“My Self fears spoliation—and will have none of it. It spends its life trying to protect what it so jealously possesses.
“And peace is lost, that serenity of soul, which has, and can have, no other basis than the Immovable, i.e., God alone.
“But nothing is so disquieting as the future.
“The past, however painful, I have lived, suffered, and borne. It is over and done with. I have perhaps triumphed over it.
“The present, I live in, however hard. I know where I am; I know what my difficulties are; I am working to overcome them.
“But the future! The future! What will that be? What is going to happen to me tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, a year from now, ten years from now?
“Where shall I be? What shall I be doing? And what is to become of me and mine, and all those whom I love? (Oh, what a worry that is!) And my dwindling resources? And my growing children, noisy, venturesome, thrilled at life?
To be continued:
12 November 2018
The child has no self-knowledge, does not indulge in introspection; is incapable of self-study and of self-observation. He takes himself as he is, and goes straight ahead.
The spiritual child, likewise, is not curious about turning his thoughts inward, nor to see what is passing within. He takes what God gives him, and is content to be at each moment what God wants him to be. He does not judge of the goodness of his meditations, communions, or other practices, according to his passing moods; but leaves the judgment up to God.
Provided that the innermost dispositions of his soul do not change, he rises above all the vicissitudes of the spiritual life. He knows that it has its winters, its tempests, and its clouds; that is, its dryness, its disgusts, its inner doldrums, and its temptations. He stoutheartedly goes through every trial and calmly awaits the return of fair weather.
He is not anxious about his spiritual progress. He does not look back to see how much ground he has covered; but follows the path without thinking that he is walking, and advances so much the more because he does not look to see if he is advancing. Hence, he is neither disquieted nor discouraged. Should he chance to fall, he humbles himself, but at once picks himself up; and runs on with renewed ardor.
The child is weak, and knows he is weak. This is what renders him so submissive, so distrustful of self, and so trustful toward those whom he knows have his welfare at heart.
In the same way, the spiritual child knows that he is weakness itself — that of himself he is unable to stand, or to take so much as a single step without stumbling. This, distrustful of his own strength, he places all his trust in God. Far from him, then, is the thought of crediting himself with the good that he accomplishes or the victories he gains — he ascribes all the glory to God. He does not prefer himself to others, but is intimately convinced that, should God abandon him, he would fall into the greatest of sins; and that if others had the same graces as himself, they would have known better how to profit by them.
For the same reason that he knows his frailty, he is not astonished at his falls. His self-love feels no affront; instead he calls God to his aid.
He never undertakes anything on his own; but let God once speak, and he is willing to undertake anything and to expose himself to every danger—so certain is he of success, in spite of all the opposition of men and demons.
Innocence, peace, and pure joy are the appanage of childhood. Children are happy without knowing it; they are carefree. The parents think of everything for them. Thus they are in a continual state of enjoyment.
This is a very feeble picture of spiritual childhood. The happiness of spiritual childhood, like that of natural childhood, is unperceived and unplotted, but nonetheless real and enjoyed. God Himself pours it into the soul. He thinks of everything; he provides for everything. This happiness endures in the midst of the greatest storms of the spiritual life. It is not that spiritual childhood makes us insensible; but it raises us, through our abandonment to God’s will, to an imperturbable peace, far above all feeling.
This may be judged of only by experience.” St. Therese of the Child Jesus, with her “little way,” and St. Francis of Assisi by his simple and obedient life, teach us nothing other than this. Let us learn from them and we shall achieve the same kind of sanctity!
Photo Credit: Celine Martin
4 Nov 2018
What is spiritual childhood? Part I, by Richer-Marie Beaubien, O.F.M.
"Spiritual childhood is a state of soul for which we should all aim; and which consists in acquiring those spiritual dispositions which correspond to a child’s natural dispositions.
"This is the thought our Lord means to convey when he says to us, “Unless you become as little children, you will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”
"If we are to have some slight grasp of the meaning of spiritual childhood (unless we are already in the state of proficient), we need graces of illumination obtainable by prayer and detachment…
"Nevertheless, we are still able to get some idea, by comparing it with natural childhood. Fr. Grou in his Manuel des ames interieures (Manual for Contemplatives) draws an apt parallel, as you can see for yourselves:
"The child does not reason; does not reflect; possesses neither prudence nor foresight; and is without malice. It is the same way with spiritual childhood. The first thing that God does, when he places us in this state, is to suspend the operations of the intelligence. He arrests the constant flow of reasonings and reflections, and replaces them by simple and direct operations; which issue, so to speak, from the soul. And he does this in such a fashion that the soul believes that it no longer thinks (although it continues to think, but in a manner more elevated, and more approximating the thought of God; since God has but one infinitely simple thought). The soul no longer reasons or reflects; and is not concerned with either past or future, but solely with the present. It forms no projects; but lets itself be guided from moment to moment – interiorly, by the Spirit of God; exteriorly, by his providence. Its actions and speech contain nothing of malice; because it does nothing, and says nothing, designedly or with premeditation.
"Stripped of its own prudence, the soul is clothed with that of God; who always causes it to speak and act opportunely, so long as it is faithful in not consulting its own reason.
"The child does not dissimulate. (As soon as he is capable of dissimulation, he is no longer a child.)
"Likewise, nothing approaches the candor of the spiritual child. He does not assume an “appropriate expression;” his recollection is not strained; all—words, actions, and demeanor—is natural in him.
“What he says, he means.”
“What he offers, he wished to give.”
“What he promises, he wishes to fulfill.”
“He does not attempt to appear other than what he is, nor to conceal his imperfections or sins. He does not have a special confessor for his serious faults.”
“He tells the good and bad about himself with the same simplicity; he keeps nothing back from those to whom he ought to speak.
The child manifests his love with simplicity. Everything in him expresses the sentiments of his heart. He is so much the more touching and persuasive, because his manner is unstudied.
It is the same way with the spiritual child in his demonstrations of love for God, and in his charity toward his neighbor.
He goes to God simply and unaffectedly. He lets his heart speak; without the use of fixed forms, or chosen words. He knows no other “prayer method” than that of being near God, looking at him, listening to him and possessing him; expressing all the sentiments inspired by grace –sometimes with words, and more often, without.
“He loves his neighbor sincerely and wholeheartedly; bearing him neither envy nor jealousy. He neither ridicules, criticizes, nor despises him; and never deceives him. He never flatters him (having lost the habit of those vain compliments which do not come from the heart). He takes from politeness only what the Gospel authorizes, rising above it by charity and cordiality.
“He loves no less when he reproves, than when he approves; when he condemns, than when he prizes. He does good to others without affectation; under the eyes of God, without looking for gratitude.
“The child is docile and obedient. He feels that he was not made to do his own will.
“Likewise, the first thing that the spiritual child renounces is his own will; which he submits entirely to God’s will; and to all that represents God to him. He does not wish to govern himself in anything; but abandons himself for his interior conduct, unreservedly to the Spirit of God, and to the director in whom his confidence has been placed. As for his exterior conduct, he willingly yields to all those in authority over him. In indifferent things, he prefers to accommodate himself to the will of others, rather than to bring others to follow his own will."
To be continued...
By Jessie Eastland
27 October 2018
Black storm-clouds scud threateningly by;
Thick darkness has scattered light;
Terrified, ignorant, foolish folk
Proclaim a perpetual night!
But somewhere the sun still is bright,
And soon he will reappear;
And golden gleams from his glorious beams
Will banish the midnight fear.
Though Sun of the Soul seem to hide –
Thick darkness enshroud the soul –
Shaking her faith, grieving her heart,
Till she almost forgets her high goal;
Away with such puerile despair!
Deep anguish and needless plight!
But swift-footed, run to greet our Sun—
With burning love and delight!
“We ought to conform our will to that of God in those natural things that are beyond our control,” says Fr. St. Jure. “Heat, cold, wind, hair, storms, thunder, lightning, pestilence, famine, in a word, all inclement weather, and the disorder of the elements. We ought to be pleased with whatever kind of weather God sends; and not endure it with impatience and anger, as people have the habit of doing when it is not to their liking. We must not say, ‘What terrible weather!’ or employ other terms which show how vexed and displeased we are. We ought to want the kind of weather we have, for God made it; and say with the three children in the fiery furnace of Babylon ‘Cold and heat, ice and snow, lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord; praise and glorify him forever!’ These creatures do so unceasingly, through their obedience to God and their doing of His most holy will. In the same way, we ought to bless and glorify Him with them. Now to check these unjust feelings and unbridled words, we ought to think that if this weather inconveniences us, it is helpful to another; that if it hinders our plans, it furthers those of our neighbor; if it is not good for a part, it is useful for the whole. And should it be otherwise, is it not enough for us that it should always be good for God’s glory; since it is according to His will and pleasure?”
19 October 2018
A Prayer to Jesus, the Eternal High Priest
O Jesus, eternal High Priest, divine Sacrificer, you who in an unspeakable burst of love for men, your brothers, caused the Christian priesthood to spring forth from your Sacred Heart, vouchsafe to pour forth upon your priests continual living streams of infinite love.
Live in them, transform them into yourself. Make them by your grace, fit instruments of your mercy. Act in them and through them, and grant that they may become wholly one with you by their faithful imitation of your virtues; and, in your name and by the strength of your spirit, may they do the works which you accomplished for the salvation of the world.
Divine Redeemer of souls, behold how great is the multitude of those who still sleep in the darkness of error; reckon up the number of those unfaithful sheep who stray to the edge of the precipice; consider the throngs of the poor, the hungry, the ignorant and feeble, who groan in their abandoned condition.
Return to us in the person of your priests; truly live again in them; act through them and pass once more through the world, teaching, comforting, sacrificing, ad renewing the sacred bonds of love between the Heart of Jesus and the heart of man. Amen.
12 October 2018
Hosts for priests, cont:
“The more you are hosts, the more they will be priests!” And naturally, a soul will say to herself, “The less I am a host, the less they will be priests!” This pertinent reflection is no less an incentive to sacrifice and heroism. If priests are “less priests,” the glory they will give to God will be less; souls saved will be fewer; the number of the damned will be greater. Who would dare assume such a responsibility?
A soul who has understood the role of the host, can no longer refuse anything to God. For priests she prays; for priests she sacrifices herself; for priests, she would even despoil herself of all her merits in order to enrich them. Like St. Catherine of Sienna, like St. Teresa of Avila, or St. Therese of the Child Jesus, this soul makes the sanctification of the souls of priests the constant object of all her efforts. She lets no opportunity slip by.
Misunderstood, she does not complain. She offers her sufferings to God. May she merit for priests the grace to understand souls! So many souls who are misunderstood, thus fail to give their full measure! She forbids herself all complaint, but keeps smiling. Her sufferings – if God wills to accept them – will preserve the precious health of priests. How many souls ever offer up their lives for priests! I understand them. They could not sacrifice themselves for a more noble cause. She is ready for every task. Is it given her to choose? She reserves for herself the most painful and humble task. To hear her tell it, she is never tired! What is the secret of her energy? She hopes to merit needed strength for priests. Is it not to such souls that certain priests owe their long and fruitful careers?”
Monsignor Ambroise Leblanc, OFM
St. Therese of the Child Jesus made this reply one day to her nurse who gently chided her – with her feeble strength – for walking in the garden. “I am walking,” she answered with a smile, “for a missionary who can go no further.”
Let us listen to her once more in these touching lines addressed to her sister: “In the brief moments still remaining to us, let us not waste time, but save souls. I know that Jesus asks us to quench his thirst by giving him souls, especially souls of priests...Yes, let us pray for priests. Let our lives be devoted to them.” On the eve of her profession, she declared, “I came to Carmel to save souls and to pray for priests.”
For her, it is a conviction. Whoever does not pray, who does not immolate himself for priests, cannot flatter himself that he loves God.
“To live by love, this is, O Divine Master,
To beg of thee to pour thy sacred fire
Into the chosen, holy soul of this, thy priest.
Make him more pure than Heaven's seraphim!
Protect thy Church immortal – I beg of thee –
each moment of the day.
Her child, I immolate myself for her.
I live by love!”
Elsewhere, Little Therese had chanted her prayer:
“I would have the soul of a priest
Resemble an angel in Heaven.
I would have him born again
Before he ascends thine altar!"
She has no illusions. Such miracles are the fruit of ardent prayer and of long immolation. Thus she adds:
“That this miracle may take place,
Many souls burning with love,
Day and night, near the tabernacle,
Must immolate themselves.”
5 October 2018
What are “hosts for priests”?
“Hosts for priests” those generous souls who pray, sacrifice, and immolate themselves for the sanctification of priests and the fruitfulness of their ministry.
After the priesthood itself, could there be a more beautiful vocation?
A source of greater merit?
It has been well said: “Working on priests is working on multipliers,” or again, as St. Therese of the Child Jesus put it, “It is doing business wholesale!”
For the priest is not saved alone, and alas, is not lost alone. The priest will enter Heaven with an innumerable number of elect; or he will fall into Hell followed by a multitude of lost souls, who will forever be his shame and confusion.
“Contributing to the vocation and sanctification of just one priest means snatching souls from Hell and working toward the salvation of an entire population.” “Making a holy priest,” said Msgr. De Segur, “means saving thousands of souls.”
“Making good priests,” declared St. Vincent de Paul, “means working at a masterpiece, beyond which one can think of nothing greater or more important! Oh, what a great thing it is to be a good priest! What conversions may he not obtain! What the pastor may be, so are the people.”
We hear many criticisms today about priests...if instead of criticizing, we prayed for them to become saints, don't you think it would be better?
You no doubt have a high idea of the priesthood, and when you meet a priest, you expect to meet a saint. You are quite right. Every priest ought to be a saint. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The priest has his faults, a fallen nature like your own, and temptations perhaps greater than yours....the Devil works harder to ruin one priest than he does to ruin a hundred laymen; for well he knows that the priest who saves his soul will same many other souls; and that the priest who loses his soul will drag down many other souls with him in his fall.
All these considerations, of course, do not justify the weaknesses of certain unfortunate priests...but be sure of one thing. Criticizing them is not the way to make saints of them. Instead, you will draw down upon yourselves the curse of God; you will scandalize your hearers; and perhaps fall yourselves into greater faults...
Let us pray for them, then, and pray to God for holy priests. Not just good priests, but holy priests. Do not be afraid of asking too much of God – this does him honor. He is not like men, but is rich and generous.
It is to the advantage of the faithful to pray for the sanctification of the clergy, for they are first to benefit from them.
A holy priest makes the people fervent.
A fervent priest makes the people good.
A good priest makes the people mediocre.
A mediocre priest makes the people bad.
A bad priest makes the people impious.
Hence, the heavy responsibility of the priesthood. The priest says to himself, “I am the yeast which ought to make the dough rise! I am the salt, and must answer for whatever around me has lost its strength. I am the beam; and if the building crashes, God is going to ask me why! I am the lighthouse God has set up to shine in the darkness; and if so many unfortunate souls are lost, perhaps it is because of my ineptness – because I am night in the night, instead of Christ's burning lamp...
Generous readers who read these lines, can you still hesitate a single instant to become “hosts of priests?” Can you refuse to priests this assistance they expect of you?...this sublime vocation many be embraced not only by religious by also by all laymen.
That was why on August 3, 1908, St. Pius X was able to write: “We rejoice at the thought that a large number of faithful of every condition, are preoccupied with the welfare of the clergy and of the Church, uniting themselves to Us; and it is no less pleasing to Us to learn that there are many generous souls, not only in the cloister, but likewise in the world; who, in an uninterrupted oblation, present themselves as victims to God to their end.”
27 September 2018
Before we came into existence, God loved us. His love for us dates from all eternity.
He it is who created us; and ever since we entered the world, He has preserved our lives.
Every step that we take on the road of life, we owe to Him. Let Him but suddenly cease His sustaining action, and we are blotted out from the number of the living. His goodness follows us everywhere; His love envelops us and protects us. For us, He became a little Child. For us, He preached the Gospel and founded His Church. For us, He shed the last drop of His blood. For us, He has gone so far as to let Himself be eaten – by the institution of His Sacrament of love, the Holy Eucharist! For us, He has prepared a place in His Heaven!
What gratitude and love should be ours toward Him who has shown us only goodness and mercy! How we should show forth our tender and loving gratitude for the immense benefits we have received from Him, never wearying of blessing and admiring Him, and of tasting the ineffable sweetness of His love, making it the constant object of our contemplation.
Richer-Marie Beaubien, O.F.M.
16 September 2018
I’ve recently had a difficult decision to make concerning whether or not I would keep this website open with the new requirements for compliance brought about by the European Union and other new restrictions. While major corporations are hiring staff to bring their sites into compliance, this website cannot afford such an expense. Nevertheless, I have decided to make the commitment necessary to meet the new requirements, if possible, and to continue to grow this Catholic website.
It’s been a long road in a relatively short amount of time.
I think back a little over a decade and remember seeking advice from someone who used to work for a large Catholic publisher. I had an idea for a children’s book, and didn’t know how to proceed. I was advised that it is indeed difficult to get published, but to write the book anyway, for if it was God’s will, the book would somehow be published. It was good advice, but getting a book published and having it read by a large audience are two very different things. I will never forget the support and encouragement I received at this time from two people: Fr. Nicholas Gruner, known as the Fatima Priest, and John Vennari, publisher of Catholic Family News. John told me he had picked up my book after his daughter had been attracted to the illustrations. John then wrote the very first review for my first book, “Learning to Love God,” publishing it in his paper. Fr. Gruner purchased the book for sale in his bookstore.
My next book followed at the request of a good priest, and because of my desire to correct the record about the Spanish knight and hero Rodrigo Diaz, El Cid. That book became “El Cid, God’s Own Champion,” which received quite a reception. It is now used in many Catholic schools, where the life of the hero stands as an example for our children to emulate. I was four chapters into my next book about St. Fernando III, king of Castile, when I received a phone call from a Catholic publisher asking if I would consider writing a book about the saint. Once again, it was amazing to see the hand of God at work. I answered that I had already begun a book about St. Fernando, read the publisher a paragraph I had just written, and the book was sold, becoming “St. Fernando III, A Kingdom for Christ.” No sooner was that book finished than I received a phone call from an abbot I had never met asking for what became my next book, “Defenders of Christendom.”
Part of the reason I have decided to keep the website open is because of the support of these good men, because they believed in me and because they believed that what I was doing was important. Thankfully, I have also heard from people all over the world during these years about how much my books have impacted them and inspired them and their children to be good, strong Catholics. Both John and Fr. Gruner have already gone on to their eternal reward, and as I remain humbled by their assistance, I also realize that I must continue so that their support for me is not made vain. They fought the good fight and have run their race. In my own small way, I intend to do the same.
Joseph John Vennari, R.I.P. Fr. Nicholas Gruner, R.I.P.
Thank you for your prayers on behalf of the young priest who had part of his leg amputated. The surgery went well, but Father has a long recovery ahead of him. Please continue to remember him in your prayers.
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Our Lady of Saideneida, The story of the shrine of Our Lady of Saideneida
Godfrey of Bouillon
Tancred, Prince of Galilee
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Knighthood, What was it like to be a knight in the Middle Ages
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Myths about the Crusades
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