31 July 2009
30 July 2009
1. St. Peter and the other apostles and apostolical men, seeing the Son of God born in poverty, and then living so absolutely without anything, that He had not where to lay His Head, and contemplating Him dead and naked on a cross, stripped themselves also of all things, and took the road of the evangelical counsels.
2. Nothing unites the soul to God more closely, or breeds contempt of the world sooner, than being harassed and distressed.
3. In this life there is no purgatory; it is either hell or paradise; for to him who serves God truly, every trouble and infirmity turns into consolations, and through all kinds of trouble he has a paradise within himself even in this world: and he who does not serve God truly, and gives himself up to sensuality, has one hell in this world, and another in the next.
4. To get good from reading the Lives of the Saints, and other spiritual books, we ought not to read out of curiosity, or skimmingly, but with pauses; and when we feel ourselves warmed, we ought not to pass on, but to stop and follow up the spirit which is stirring in us, and when we feel it no longer then to pursue our reading.
5. To begin and end well, devotion to our Blessed Lady, the Mother of God, is nothing less than indispensable.
6. We have no time to go to sleep here, for Paradise was not made for poltroons.
7. We must have confidence in God, who is what He always has been, and we must not be disheartened because things turn out contrary to us.
8. Men should not change from a good state of life to another, although it may be better, without taking grave counsel.
9. Let every one stay at home, that is, within himself, and sit in judgment on his own actions, without going abroad to investigate and criticise those of others.
10. The true servants of God endure life and desire death.
11. There is not a finer thing on earth, than to make a virtue of necessity.
12. To preserve our cheerfulness amid sicknesses and troubles, is a sign of a right and good spirit.
13. A man should not ask tribulations of God, presuming on his being able to bear them: there should be the greatest possible caution in this matter, for he who bears what God sends him daily does not do a small thing.
14. They who have been exercised in the service of God for a long time, may in their prayers imagine all sorts of insults offered to them, such as blows, wounds, and the like, and so in order to imitate Christ by their charity, may accustom their hearts beforehand to forgive real injuries when they come.
15. Let us think of Mary, for she is that unspeakable virgin, that glorious lady, who conceived and brought forth, without detriment to her virginity, Him whom the width of the heavens cannot contain within itself.
16. The true servant of God acknowledges no other country but heaven.
17. When God infuses extraordinary sweetnesses into the soul, a man ought to prepare for some serious tribulation or temptation.
18. When we have these extraordinary sweetnesses, we ought to ask of God fortitude to bear whatever He may please to send us, and then to stand very much upon our guard, because there is danger of sin behind.
19. One of the most excellent means of obtaining perseverance is discretion; we must not wish to do everything at once, or become a saint in four days.
20. In our clothes we ought, like S. Bernard, to love poverty, but not filthiness.
21. He who wishes to advance in spirituality, should never slur over his defects negligently without particular examination of conscience, even independent of the time of sacramental confession.
22. A man should not so attach himself to the means as to forget the end; neither must we give ourselves so much to mortify the flesh as to forget to mortify the brain, which is the chief thing after all.
23. We ought to desire the virtues of prelates, cardinals, and popes, but not their dignities.
24. The skin of self-love is fastened strongly on our hearts, and it hurts us to flay it off, and the more we get down to the quick, the more keen and difficult it is.
25. This first step, which we ought to have taken of ourselves already, we have always in our mind, yet never put it in execution.
26. A man ought to set about putting his good resolutions in practice, and not change them lightly.
27. We must not omit our ordinary devotions for every trifling occasion that may come in the way, such as going to confession on our fixed days, and particularly hearing mass on week-days: if we wish to go out walking, or anything of that sort, let us make our confession, and perform our usual exercises first, and then go.
28. It is very useful for those who minister the word of God, or give themselves up to prayer, to read the works of authors whose names begin with S, such as Saint Augustine, Saint Bernard, &c.
29. Nothing more glorious can happen to a Christian, than to suffer for Christ.
30. There is no surer or clearer proof of the love of God than adversity.
31. When God intends to grant a man any particular virtue, it is His way to let him be tempted to the opposite vice.
O St.Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St.Joseph, do assist me by thy most powerful intercession and obtain for me from thy Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. O St.Joseph I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thy arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St.Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.
This prayer was found in the fiftieth year of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent by the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle.
Whoever reads this prayer or hears it or carries it, will never die a sudden death, nor be drowned, nor shall poison take effect on them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy, nor be burned by fire, nor shall they be overpowered in battle. Make this prayer known eveywhere.
28 July 2009
11 July 2009
Every day you are complaining about your children, are you not? Your complaint is that you can no longer control them? That is very true. You have perhaps forgotten the day that you said to your son or your daughter: "If you want to go to the fair at Montmerle, or even to the vogue at the cabaret, you can go there. But you must come back early." Your daughter told you that it would be just as you wished. "Go along so; you never go out. You should have some moments of pleasure." You will not say: "No!" Later on, you will have no need, either, to urge or even to give her permission to go. Then you will be in a terrible state because she has gone without telling you. Look back, my dear mother, and you will recall that you gave her the permission once .... which was for all time.... You wanted her to get to know the right people so that she could get married and settle down. In fact, as the result of gadding about, she will get to know many people.... Is not this the way, my dear mother? "Let the Pastor talk away, go along just the same, be good, come back at an early hour, and all will be well." This is very good, my dear mother, but listen: One day I found myself walking along near where a big fire was burning. I took a handful of very dry straw and I threw it into the fire, telling it not to burn. Those who watched what I was doing told me, as they laughed at me, "You do well to tell it not to burn. Nothing will stop it from burning." "But how will that be," I answered, "when I told it not to?" What do you think of that, my dear mother? Do you recognise yourself? Is not that exactly what you are doing? .... Tell me, my dear mother, if you have any sentiments of religion and of affection for your children, should you not be doing everything you possibly can to help them to avoid the evil that you did yourself when you were the same age as your own daughter? Let us put it a bit more bluntly. You are not sufficiently content with being unhappy yourself, but do you want your children to be unhappy, too? And you, my daughter, you are unhappy in your own home? I am very distressed about that, I am very troubled by it, but I am less surprised than if you said you were happy, with all the pressure that is brought to bear upon you to get married. Yes, my dear brethren, corruption among the young people today has grown to such a high degree that it would be almost as impossible to find among them those who worthily receive this Sacrament as it would be impossible to see a damned soul ascending to Heaven. But, you will tell me, there are still some among them. Alas, my friends, where are they? .... Ah, yes, fathers and mothers see no harm in leaving a girl with a young man for three or four hours in the evening, or even when they are out at Vespers. But, you will say, they are very good. Yes, without any doubt, they are very good. Charity urges us to believe that. But tell me this, my dear mother, were you so very good when you were in the same circumstances as your own daughter? .... Alas, it would seem today that if a young man or a young girl wish to settle down, it must follow that they abandon God. .... No, we will not go into details; we will come back to that some other time.... What I have said to you today amounts to only a glance at the subject. Come back on Sunday, fathers and mothers, leave your children to mind the house, and I will go further -- without being able to get you to know half the significance of what I am saying! Alas, what about you, you poor children! .... Being your spiritual father, I give you this advice: When you see your parents, who miss religious services, who work on Sundays, who eat meat on the forbidden days, who do not go to the Sacraments any more, who do not improve their minds on religious matters -- do the very opposite before them, so that your good example may save them, and if you are wise and good enough to do this, you will have gained everything. That is what I most desire for you.
I am going to talk to you as simply as I possibly can, so that you can easily understand what your duties are and carry them out. I tell you:
1. That as soon as a woman is pregnant, she should say some prayers or give some alms. Better still, if she can do so, she should have a Mass said to ask the Blessed Virgin to take her under her protection, so that she may obtain from God the blessing that this little child may not die without having received holy Baptism. If a mother truly had the religious spirit, she would say to herself: "Ah! If I could only be sure of seeing this little child becoming a saint, of seeing him for all eternity by my side, singing the praises of God! What a joy that would be for me!" But no, my dear brethren, that is not the thought which occupies the mind of an expectant mother. She will experience, rather, a devouring resentment on beholding herself in this state and perhaps the thought of even destroying the fruit of her womb will come to her. Oh, dear God! Can the heart of a Christian mother conceive such a crime? Yet we shall see some of them who unashamedly will have entertained such homicidal thoughts!
2. I tell you that an expectant mother who wishes to preserve her child for Heaven should avoid two things. The first is carrying loads which are too heavy and lifting her arms to take something; this could be injurious to her poor child and cause its death. The second thing to be avoided is the taking of remedies which could be too harsh on her child or which could heat her blood to an extent which could be fatal to it. Husbands should overlook a great many things which they would not put up with at any other time. If they will not do this for the sake of the mother, let them do it for the sake of the little child. For perhaps the child might lose the grace of Holy Baptism, which would be the greatest evil of all!
3. As soon as a mother sees her confinement approaching, she should go to Confession -- and for many reasons. The first is that many women die during their confinements, and if she should have the misfortune to be in a state of sin, she would be damned. The second is that being in a state of grace, all the sufferings and the pains which she will endure will gain merit for Heaven. The third is that God will not fail to give her all the blessings which she will desire for her child. A mother at her confinement should preserve modesty as far as is possible in her state and never lose sight of the fact that she is in the presence of God and in the company of her Guardian Angel. She should never eat meat on the forbidden days without permission, a practice which would draw down punishment upon herself and her child.
4. A child should never be left longer than twenty-four hours without being baptised.