And Elias, the prophet, stood up, as a fire, and his word burnt like a torch (Ecclesiasticus. 48.1, DRV)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel


Feast of St. Michael the Archangel

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in praelio, contra nequtitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidum. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princpes militiae coelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute, in infernum detrude. Amen - Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel in its traditional Latin formula and used by St. John Mary Vianney as a short form of exorcism

The English translation of the above prayer: "St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray: and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the wicked spirits, who roam through the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen."

Part of the Prayers ordered by Pope Leo XIII to be said kneeling after the Traditional Low Mass in Latin. Pope Pius XI asked that this prayer, after the "Salve Regina" ("Hail Holy Queen"), should be said for the conversion of Russia - could be one of the reasons why this was suppressed in Vatican II's "fabricated liturgy" (Card. Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI), particularly after the celebration of the "New Mass"; see our post "When Mary Comes (III): Defence of Catholic Dogma & the Failed Papal 'Consecration of Russia'"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mary in the Sacred Scriptures: Mother of Penitent Sinners


Mary in the Sacred Scriptures

Mother of Penitent Sinners
By St. Alphonsus Liguori 

Our Blessed Mother told St. Bridget that She was the Mother not only of the just and innocent, but also of sinners, provided they are willing to repent.  

Whoever aspires to be a child of this great Mother, must first abandon sin, and then may hope to be accepted as such.  Up rose Her children (Prov 31.28): the words up rose come first, and then the word children to show that no one can be a child of Mary without first endeavoring to rise from the fault into which he has fallen; for he who is in mortal sin is not worthy to be called the son of such a mother.  He who acts in a different manner from Mary, declares thereby that he will not be Her son. Mary humble, and he proud; Mary pure, and he impure, immodest, vulgar, and wicked; Mary full of love, and he hating his neighbor. The sons of Mary are Her imitators, and this chiefly in three things: in chastity, liberality, and humility; and also in meekness, mercy, and such like. “You sinners, when you want my help, call me Mother of Mercy, and at the same time do not cease by your sins to make me a Mother of sorrow and anguish. He is cursed of God that angers his mother (Ecclesiasticus 3.18). That is Mary. God curses those who by their wicked life, and still more by their obstinacy in sin, afflict this tender Mother. 

I say, by their obstinacy; for if the sinner, though he may not as yet have given up his sin, endeavors to do so, and for this purpose seeks the help of Mary, this good Mother will not fail to assist him, and make him recover the grace and friendship of God. So long then that as a sinner is obstinate, Mary cannot love him; but if he (finding himself chained by some passion which keeps him a slave of hell) recommends himself to the Blessed Virgin, and implores Her, with confidence and perseverance, to withdraw him from the state of sin in which he is, there can be no doubt but this good mother will extend Her powerful hand to him, will deliver him from his chains, and lead him to a state of salvation. 

The doctrine that all the prayers and works performed in a state of sin are sins was condemned by as heretical by the sacred Council of Trent (Sess. VI, Can. 7). St. Bernard of Clairvaux says that although prayer in the mouth of a sinner is devoid of beauty, as it is unaccompanied with charity, nevertheless, it is useful, and obtains the grace to abandon sin; for, as St. Thomas teaches (II, II, Q. 178, a. 2), the prayer of a sinner, though without merit, is an act which obtains the grace of forgiveness, since the power of impetration is founded not on the merits of him who asks, but on the divine goodness, and the merits and promises of Jesus Christ, Who has said, Every one that asketh, receiveth (Lk 11.10). The same thing must be said of prayers offered to the divine Mother. “If he who prays,” says St. Anselm, “does not merit to be heard, the merits of the Mother, to Whom he recommends himself, will intercede effectually.” 

Mary is the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Mother of all men. When She sees a sinner at enmity with Jesus Christ, She cannot endure it, and does all in Her power to make peace between them. 

This most benign Lady only requires that the sinner should recommend himself to Her, and purpose amendment. When Mary sees a sinner at Her feet, imploring Her mercy, She does not consider the crimes with which he is loaded, but the intention with which he comes; and if this is good, even should he have committed all possible sins, the most loving Mother embraces him, and does not disdain to heal the wounds of his soul. 

Mary is the Mother of sinners who wish to repent, and as a Mother She cannot do otherwise than compassionate them; nay more, She seems to feel the miseries of Her poor children as if they were Her own. When the Canaanite woman begged Our Lord to deliver her daughter from the devil who possessed her, she said: Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David, my daughter is grievously troubled by a devil (Matt 15.22). But since the daughter, and not the mother, was tormented, she should rather have said, “Lord, take compassion on my daughter;” and not, Have mercy on me, and she was right; for the sufferings of children are felt by their Mother as if they were Her own. And it is precisely thus that Mary prays to God when She recommends a sinner to Him who has had recourse to Her; She cries out for the sinful soul: Have mercy on me! “My Lord,” She seems to say, “this poor soul that is in sin is my daughter, and therefore, pity not so much her as me, who am her Mother.”  

In the Second Book of Kings [2 Samuel in the New versions], we read that a  wise woman of Thecua addressed King David in the following words:  My Lord, I had two sons, and for my misfortune, one killed the other;  so that I have now lost one, and justice demands the other, the only one that is left; take compassion on a poor mother, and let me not be deprived of both (14.5). David, moved with compassion towards the mother, declared that the delinquent should be set at liberty and restored to her. Mary seems to say the same thing when God is indignant against a sinner who has recommended himself to Her. “My God,” She says, “I had two sons, Jesus and man; man took the life of my Jesus on the Cross, and now Thy justice would condemn the guilty one. O Lord, my Jesus is already dead, have pity on me, and if I have lost the one, do not make me loose the other also.”

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Our Misery and God's Healing Mercy


Thirteenth  Sunday after Pentecost

In the cycle of the Sundays after Pentecost, the Holy Church brings to our attention, sometimes under one aspect, sometimes under another, the merciful action of Jesus on our souls. Two weeks ago, she told us about the deaf-mute; last Sunday, the kindness of the Good Samaritan; today, the touching scene of the ten lepers whom Jesus cured. It is in this way that the Church tries to awaken in us humble consideration of our misery and to show us the immense need we continually have of the redemptive work of Jesus; at the same time she wants to make us understand that this work is always in action and that we are living under its influence every day, every moment.

The passage in today's Gospel (Lk. 17.11-19) chosen for today's Holy Mass is especially effective in making clear the chief purpose of the Redemption: the healing of souls from the leprosy of sin. From ancient times leprosy has been considered the most fitting figure to represent the hideousness of sin, and indeed it would be difficult to picture anything more horrible and repulsive. Yet, while everybody has such a great dread of leprosy of the body, how indifferent and easy-going even Christians are in regard to leprosy of the soul. How far we are from the deep realization that the Saints had of what an offense against God really is! Our Holy Mother Teresa of Jesus exclaimed: "Why can we not realize that sin is a pitched battle fought against God with all our senses and the faculties of the soul [that is, with all our being]; the stronger the soul is, the more ways it invents to betray its King" (Exclamations of the Soul to God, 14).  One of the fruits of today's Gospel is that of awakening in us a great horror of sin, of arousing again in our souls a lively and efficacious repentance for the sins we have committed and a feeling of profound humility upon recognizing our misery. Let us go with the ten lepers to Our Lord and cry out: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!

Today's Gospel shows us the remedies for sin. The first of these is the sincere humility which recognizes one's own misery [cf., also our post "Humility"]. However, humility is not enough; it needs to be accompanied by confident recourse to God. The poor lepers, knowing their miserable state, put their trust in Jesus, and full of faith made their plea to Him; this was the first step toward their cure. Some people bewail their misfortunes and are distressed because of them; still, they never succeed in being cured because they do not have recourse to Jesus and Him bruised, wounded, crushed, and Crucified, the only Physician capable of healing them. The remembrance of their past sins hold them back; they hardly dare to approach Him or to trust in His mercy. Such persons do not understand that it is just because we are sinners that we should go to Jesus, and that they that are whole, need not the physician, but they that are sick (Lk. 5.31).

Our Divine Master did not cure the poor lepers immediately, but sent them to the priests: Go show yourselves to the priests. They obeyed at once, without arguing or doubting, and as they went, they were made clean. Our Divine Physician acts in the same way with us; it is always He Who heals us, but He usually wills to do so through the mediation of His priests - that is, His true Roman Catholic priests* who administer to souls the same traditional divine remedies [there can never be "NEW" ones!]: our post, "Pastors according to God's Heart?"; not those presented by the media as 'Catholic' though already clad in Episcopalian 'Communion Service' attire: our post, "Sign of Desacralization", or may be clad in traditional vestments but in cahoots with the precursors of the Antichrist in principle (the so-called 'Conservatives', including the Neo-SSPX of Msgr. Fellay): "The Year 1929" - and this was so even of Old (cf., the Book of Numbers 21.4-9, with Moses and Aaron among His priests, Ps 99.6). Some persons do not have enough faith in the words and works of God's minister. Their faith in the efficacy of the Sacraments and in the sacramental absolution is not sufficiently strong; and therefore, they live in a state of continual anguish. When one has sincerely revealed the state of his conscience to a priest, that is, with no intention of deceiving him, he should be at peace and submit wholly to the judgment of the priest of God. In such a case, to doubt the word of God's minister (the priests, the Lord's ministers, Joel 1.9; 2.17; Is. 61.6; Jer. 33.21), to doubt the absolution he has given - whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained (Jn. 20.23), is to doubt Jesus Himself, for it is He Who is acting through His representative: He that receiveth you, receiveth Me... He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me (Mt. 10.40; Lk. 10.16). For Christ therefore we are ambassadors, God as it were exhorting by us (2 Cor. 5.20).
See also: Priests for the devil and "From the Voice of Orthodoxy in the Vatican II Era: At the Heart of the Catholic Crisis - the Priesthood"

Now, only one of the ten lepers who were cured felt the need to return and thank Our Lord. "Blessed is the soul," St. Bernard of Clairvaux comments, "who every time he receives a gift of grace from God, returns to Him, to Him Who responds to our gratitude for the favors we received by giving us new favors. The greatest hindrance to progress in the Spiritual Life is ingratitude, for God counts as lost the graces we receive without gratitude, and He refrains from giving us new graces."

"O Lord, Physician of my soul, heal me, that I may acknowledge Your gifts, O health of my soul,
and thank You with all my heart for the favors You have showered upon me since my youth,
and will continue to shower upon me unto old age.
In Your goodness, do not abandon me, I beseech You.
You made me when I did not exist;
You willed to redeem me when I was perishing and was dead.
You came down to him who was dead; You put on mortality;
a King, You came to the servant to redeem him and gave Yourself that He might live;
You endured death and conquered it, and humbling Yourself, You restored me.

I was perishing, far away, immersed in my sins;
You came for me to redeem me and You loved me so much that You shed Your Blood for me.
You loved me, Lord, more than Yourself, for You willed to die for me.
For so high a price, You brought me back from exile;
You freed me from slavery, You drew me out of torments,
gave me Your Name and marked me with Your blood,
so that I would always remember You and keep You in my heart.
Your love for me made You accept the Cross.
You anointed me O Christ, I might be called a Christian.
Your grace and mercy have always gone before me.
You often have rescued me from grave dangers, O my Deliverer.
When I strayed from the right path, You brought me back to it;
when I lay in ignorance, You instructed me;
when I sinned, You corrected me;
when I was sad, You consoled me;
when I was in despair, You strengthened me;
when I fell, You lifted me up;
when I stood up, You supported me;
when I journeyed, You guided me on my way;
when I came to You, You received me;
when I slept, You watched over me;
when I invoked You, You answered me."
- St. Augustine

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mary in the Sacred Scriptures: The Queen and Mother of Mercy (II)


Mary's Great Love for Us

Since Mary is our Mother, we may consider how great is the love She bears us; love towards our chil­dren is a necessary impulse of nature; and St. Thomas says that “this is the reason why the Divine law imposes on children the obligation of loving their parents; but gives no express command that parents should love their children, for nature itself has so strongly implanted it in all creatures,” that, as St. Ambrose remarks, “we know that a mother will expose herself to danger for her children, and even the most savage beasts cannot do other­wise than love their young.” It is said that even tigers, on hearing the cry of their cubs taken by hunters, will go into the sea and swim until they reach the vessel in which they are. Since the very tigers, says our most loving Mother Mary, cannot forget their young, how can I forget to love you, my children and even, She adds, were such a thing possible as that a mother should forget to love her child, it is not possible that I should cease to love a soul that has become my child: Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb ? And if she should forget, yet will I not forget thee (Is 49.15). Mary is our Mother, not, as we have already observed, according to the flesh, but by love; I am the Mother of fair love (Ecclus. 24) hence it is the love only that She bears us that makes Her our Mother; and there­fore some one remarks, that She glories in being a Mother of love, because She is all love towards us whom she has adopted for her children. And who can ever tell the love that Mary bears us miserable creatures... At the death of Jesus Christ, She desired with immense ardour to die with her Son, for love of us; “so much so,” adds St. Ambrose, “that whilst Her Son hung on the cross, Mary offered Herself to the executioners, to give Her life for us.”

But let us consider the reasons of this love; for then we shall be better able to understand how much this good Mother loves us. The first reason for the great love that Mary bears to men, is the great love that She bears to God; love towards God and love towards our neighbour belong to the same commandment, as ex­pressed by St. John: this commandment we have from God, that he who loveth God, love also his bro­ther (1 Jn 4.24); so that as the love for God becomes greater the other also increases. What have not the Saints done for their neighbour in consequence of their love towards God ! Read only the account of the labours of St. Francis Xavier in the Indies, where, in order to aid the souls of these poor barbarians and bring them to God, he exposed himself to a thousand dangers, clambering amongst the mountains, and seeking out these poor creatures in the caves in which they dwelt like wild beasts. See a St. Francis of Sales, who, in order to convert the heretics of the province of Chablais, risked his life every morning, for a whole year, crawling on his hands and feet over a frozen beam, in order that he might preach to them on the opposite side cf a river ; a St. Paulinus, who delivered himself up as a slave, in order that he might obtain liberty for the son of a poor widow; a St. Fidelis, who, in order to draw the heretics of a certain place to God, persisted in going to preach to them, though he knew it would cost him his life. The Saints, then, because they loved God much, did much for their neighbour : but who ever loved God as much as Mary? She loved Him more in the first moment of Her existence than all the saints and angels ever loved Him, or will love Him; but this we shall explain at length, when treating of her virtues. Our Blessed Lady Herself revealed to Sister Mary the Crucified, that the fire of love with which She was inflamed towards God was such, that if the heavens and earth were placed in it, they would be instantly consumed; so that the ardours of the seraphim, in comparison with it, were but as fresh breezes. And as amongst all the blessed spirits, there is not one that loves God more than Mary, so we neither have nor can have anyone who, after God, loves us as much as this most loving Mother; and if we concentrate all the love that mothers bear their children, husbands and wives one another, all the love of angels and saints for their clients, it does not equal the love of Mary towards a single soul... The love that all mothers have ever had for their chil­dren is but a shadow in comparison with the love that Mary bears to each one of us; She alone loves us more than all the angels and saints put together.

Moreover, our Mother loves us much, because we were recommended to Her by Her beloved Jesus, when He before expiring said to her, Woman, behold thy son! for we were all represented in the person of St. John, as we have already observed: these were His last words; and the last recommendations left before death by persons we love are always treasured and never for­gotten. But again, we are exceedingly dear to Mary on account of the sufferings we cost her; mothers generally love those children most, the preservation of whose lives has cost them the most suffering and anxiety; we are those children for whom Mary, in order to obtain for us the life of grace, was obliged to endure the bitter agony of herself offering her beloved Jesus to die an ignominious death, and had also to see Him expire be­fore Her own eyes in the midst of the most cruel and unheard-of torments. It was then by this great offering of Mary that we were born to the life of grace; we are therefore Her very dear children, since we cost Her so great suffering. And thus, as it is written of the love of the Eternal Father towards men, in giving His own Son to death for us, that God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son. “So also,” says St. Bonaventure, we can say of Mary, that She has so loved us as to give Her only-begotten Son for us.” And when did She give Him? She gave Him... when She granted Him permis­sion to deliver Himself up to death; She gave Him, when, others neglecting to do so, either out of hatred or from fear, She might Herself have pleaded for the life of Her Son before the judges; and well may it be supposed that the words of so wise and loving a mother would have had great weight, at least with Pilate, and might have prevented him from sentencing a man to death whom he knew and had declared to be innocent. But no, Mary would not say a word in favour of Her Son, lest She might prevent that death on which our salva­tion depended. Finally, She gave Him a thousand and a thousand times, during the three hours preceding His death, and which She spent at the foot of the cross; for during the whole of that time She unceasingly offered, with the extreme of sorrow and the extreme of love, the life of her Son in our behalf, and this with such constancy, that St. Anselm and St. Antoninus say, that if executioners had been wanting, She Herself would have crucified Him, in order to obey the Eternal Father, who willed His death for our salvation. If Abraham had such fortitude as to be ready to sacrifice with his own hands the life of his son, with far greater fortitude would Mary (far more holy and obedient than Abraham) have sacrificed the life of Hers. But let us return to the consideration of the gratitude we owe to Mary for so great an act of love as was the painful sacrifice of the life of Her Son, which She made to obtain eternal salva­tion for us all. God abundantly rewarded Abraham for the sacrifice he was prepared to make of his son Isaac; but we, what return can we make to Mary for the life of her Jesus, a Son far more noble and beloved than the son of Abraham? “This love of Mary,” says St. Bonaventure, “has indeed obliged us to love Her; for we see that She has surpassed all others in love towards us, since She has given her only Son, whom she loved more than herself, for us.”

From this arises another motive for the love of Mary towards us; for in us She beholds that which has been purchased at the price of the death of Jesus Christ. If a mother knew that a servant had been ransomed by a beloved son at the price of twenty years of imprison­ment and suffering, how greatly would she esteem that servant, if on this account alone! Mary well knows that her Son came into the world only to save us poor creatures, as He Himself protested, I am come to save that which was lost (Lk. 19.10).  And to save us He was pleased even to lay down His life for us, having become obe­dient unto death (Phil. 2.8). If, then, Mary loved us but little, She would show that She valued but little the blood of Her Son, which was the price of our salvation. To St. Elizabeth of Hungary it was revealed, that Mary, from the time she dwelt in the Temple, did nothing but pray for us, begging that God would hasten the coming of His Son into the world to save us. And how much more must we suppose that She loves us, now that She has seen that we are valued to such a degree by her Son, that He did not disdain to purchase us at such a cost. And because all men have been redeemed by Jesus, therefore Mary loves and protects them all. It was She who was seen by St. John in the Apocalypse, clothed with the sun : And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun (Apoc. 12.1). She is said to be clothed with the sun, because as there is no one on earth who can be hidden from the heat of the sun - There is no one that can hide himself from his heat (Ps. 18.7) - so there is no one living who can be deprived of the love of Mary. "From its heat," that is, as blessed Raymond Jordan applies the words, “from the love of Mary.” “And who,” exclaims St. Antoninus, “can ever form an idea of the tender care that this most loving Mother takes of all of us,” offering and extending Her mercy to everyone for our good Mother desired the salvation of all, and cooperated in obtaining it. “It is evident,” says St. Bernard, “that She was solicitous for the whole human race.” Hence the custom of some of Mary's clients, spoken of by Cornelius a Lapide, and which consists in asking our Lord to grant them the graces that our Blessed Lady seeks for them, succeeds most advantageously: they say, Lord, grant me that which the most Blessed Virgin Mary asks for me. “And no wonder,” adds the same writer, for our Mother desires for us better things than we can possibly desire ourselves.” The devout Bernardine da Busto says, that Mary loves to do us good, and dis­pense graces to us far more than we to receive them.” On this subject St. Albert the Great applies to Mary the words of the Book of Wisdom: She pre­venteth them that covet her, so that She first showeth Herself unto them  (Wis 6.14). Mary anticipates those who have recourse to Her by making them find Her before they seek her. “The love that this good Mother bears us is so great,” says Richard of St. Lawrence, that as soon as She perceives our wants, She comes to our assistance. She comes before She is called.”

And now, if Mary is so good to all, even to the un­grateful and negligent, who love her but little, and seldom have recourse to her, how much more loving will she be to those who love her and often call upon her! She is easily found by them that seek her (Wis 6.13). “How easy,” adds the same St. Albert, “is it for those who love Mary to find Her, and to find Her full of compassion and love!” In the words of the Book of Proverbs, I love them that love me (Prov 8.17) , She protests that she cannot do otherwise than love those who love Her. And although this most loving Lady loves all  men as Her children, yet, says St. Bernard, “She recog­nises and loves,” that is, she loves in a more special manner, “those who love Her more tenderly.” Blessed Raymond Jordano asserts that these happy lovers of Mary are not only loved but even served by Her ; for he says that those who find the most Blessed Virgin Mary, find all; for She loves those who love Her, nay more, She serves those who serve Her. Let us love Her as so many of Her servants have loved Her, who never could do enough to show their love. – St. Alphonsus Liguori

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mary, Our Life: Hidden with Christ in God


Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Sacred [Traditional] Liturgy enthusiastically celebrates Mary's Nativity and makes it one of the most appealing feasts of Marian devotion. We sing in today's Office : "Thy Nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, brings joy to the whole world, because from you came forth the Sun of Justice, Christ, our God." Mary's birth is a prelude to the birth of Jesus because it is the initial point of the realization of the great mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God for the salvation of mankind. How could the birthday of the Mother of the Redeemer pass unnoticed in the hearts of the redeemed? The Mother proclaims the Son, making it known that He is about to come, that the divine promises, made centuries before, are to be fulfilled. The birth of Mary is the dawn of our redemption; her appearance projects a new light over all the human race : a light of innocence, of purity, of grace, a resplendent presage of the great light which will inundate the world when Christ, " lux mundi," the Light of the World, appears. Mary, preserved from sin in anticipation of Christ's merits, not only announces that the Redemption is at hand, but she bears the first fruits of it within herself; she is the first one redeemed by her divine Son. Through Her, all-pure and full of grace (Lk 1.28, only in the Sacred Latin Vulgate and the DRV), the Blessed Trinity at last fixes on earth a look of complacency, finding in her alone a creature in whom the infinite beauty of the Godhead can be reflected.

The birth of Jesus excepted, no other was so important in God's eyes or so fruitful for the good of humanity, as was the birth of Mary. Yet it has remained in complete obscurity. There is no mention of it in Sacred Scriptures and when we look for the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel, we find only what refers to Joseph; we find nothing explicit about Mary's ancestry except the allusion to her descent from David. Our Lady's origin is wrapped in silence, as was her whole life. Thus, her birth speaks to us of humility. The more we desire to grow in God's eyes, the more we should hide ourselves from the eyes of creatures. The more we wish to do great things for God, the more we should labor in silence and obscurity.

In the Gospel (Mt. 1.1-16) the figure of Mary is, as it were, com­pletely overshadowed by that of her divine Son; the Evan­gelists tell us only what is necessary to present the Mother of the Redeemer, and in fact, she enters on the scene only when the narrative of the Incarnation of the Word begins. Mary's life is confounded with, is lost in, the life of Jesus : truly she lived "hidden with Christ in God." Let us note, too, that she lived in obscurity, not only during the years of her childhood, but also during the whole period of her divine maternity, yes, even during the triumphal moments in the public life of her Son, even when a certain woman, enthusiastic about the wonderful things that Jesus did, cried out in the midst of the crowd :  Blessed is the womb that bore Thee and the breasts that nursed Thee!  (Lk 11.27).

The Feast which we celebrate today is an invitation to the hidden life, to hide ourselves with Mary in Christ, and with Christ in God. Many times it is God Himself who, through circumstances or the decisions of our superiors, makes us live in obscurity. We should be very grateful for this, and take advantage of these opportunities to make more progress in the practice of humility and self-effacement. At other times, however, God gives us responsibilities, offices, apostolic works which bring us into prominence, but even in such circumstances we should try to efface ourselves as much as possible. Certainly we must not refuse the assignment, but we should know how to withdraw as soon as our activity is no longer needed for the success of the work entrusted to us. All the rest—praise, applause, the account of our success or the excuse for our failure—should not concern us. In the face of all this we should strive to remain wholly indifferent. An interior soul should long to hide itself as much as it can under the shadow of God, for, if it has been able to accomplish some little good, it is convinced that in reality all has been the work of God; therefore, it eagerly seeks that all may redound to His glory alone.

Let Mary's humble, hidden life be the model of ours, and if, in emulating Her, we have to struggle against our ever-recurrent tendencies to pride, let us confidently seek her maternal aid, and She will help us to triumph over all vainglory.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Restore Everything In Christ Through Mary


Feast of Pope St. Pius X

"Restore Everything Through Mary" - Pope St. Pius X
(from the Encyclical 'Ad diem illum laetissimum', Feb.2, 1904)

True devotion: conversion of heart

No homage is more agreeable to her, none is sweeter to her than that we should know and really love Jesus Christ. Let then crowds fill the churches—let solemn feasts be celebrated and public rejoicings be made. Such manifesta­tions are eminently suited for enlivening our faith. But un­less heart and will be added, they will all be empty forms, mere appearances of piety. At such a spectacle the Virgin, borrowing the words of Christ, would address us with the just reproach: "This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me" (Matt. 15.8).

For to be genuine, our piety to the Mother of God must spring from the heart. Exterior acts have neither utili­ty nor value if the acts of the soul have no part in them. Now these latter can only have one object, which is that we should fully carry out what the Divine Son of Mary com­mands. For if true love alone has the power to unite the wills of men, it is of prime necessity that we should have one will with Mary to serve Jesus our Lord. What this most prudent Virgin said to the servants at the marriage feast of Cana she addresses also to us: Whatever He shall say to you, do ye (Jn. 2.5 ). Now here is the word of Jesus Christ: If you would enter into life, keep the commandments (Matt. 19.17).

Let then each one fully convince himself of this, that if his piety toward the Blessed Virgin does not hinder him from sinning, or does not move his will to amend an evil life, it is a deceptive and lying piety, wanting, as it is, in proper effect, and in his natural fruit.

God's sanctity demanded the Immaculate Conception

If anyone desires a confirmation of this, it may easily be found in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. For prescinding from Tradition which, as well as Scripture, is a source of truth, whence has this conviction of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin shown itself in every age to be so much in keeping with the Christian mind as to appear fixed and innate in the hearts of the faithful. We shrink with horror from saying, as Denis the Carthusian so well expresses it, that "this Woman who was to crush the head of the serpent should have been crushed by him, and that the Daughter of God should have ever been the daughter of the evil one."  No, to the Christian intelligence the idea is unthinkable that the flesh of Christ, holy, stainless, innocent, was formed in the womb of Mary of a flesh which had ever, if only for the briefest moment, contracted any stain. Is there not an infinite opposition between God and sin? There certainly we have the origin of the conviction common to all Christians that, before Jesus Christ, clothed in human nature, cleansed us from our sins in His blood (cf. Apoc. 7.14), He accorded Mary the grace and special privilege of being preserved and exempted from the first moment of Her conception, from all stain of orig­inal sin.

Devotion leads to imitation

Whoever, then, wishes—and no one ought not so to wish—that his devotion should be perfect and worthy of her, should go further, and strive to his utmost to imitate her example. It is a divine law that those only attain everlasting hap­piness who have by such faithful imitation reproduced in themselves the form of the patience and sanctity of Jesus Christ: "For whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8.29).

But so deplorable is our weakness that we are some­times discouraged by the greatness of such an example. By the providence of God, however, another example is pro­posed to us, which is both as near to Christ as human na­ture allows, and more nearly accords with the weakness of our nature. And this is no other than that of the Mother of God: "Such was Mary," very pertinently points out St. Ambrose, "that Her life is an example for all."

And therefore he rightly concludes: "Have then before your eyes the virginity and life of Mary from whom as from a mirror shines forth the brightness of chastity and the form of virtue."
Now if it becomes children not to omit to imitate any of the virtues of this most blessed Mother, we yet wish that the faithful apply themselves by preference to the princi­pal virtues which are, as it were, the nerves and fibers of the Christian life—we mean faith, hope and charity toward God and our neighbor.

Although no part of the life of Mary fails to show the brilliant character of these virtues, yet they attained their highest degree of splendor at the time when She stood by Her dying Son. Jesus is nailed to the Cross, and He is re­proached with maledictions, for having made Himself the Son of God (Jn. 19.7). But She unceasingly recognized and adored the divinity in Him. She bore His dead body to the tomb, but never for a moment doubted that He would rise again. Then the love of God with which She burned made Her a partaker in the sufferings of Christ and the associate in His Passion; with Him, moreover, as if forgetful of Her own sorrow, She prayed for the pardon of the executioners although they in their hate cried out: His blood be upon us and upon our children (Matt. 27.25).

Salvation is in the "Blood of the Lamb"

Apocalypse XIV now unfolding (cf., our posts "The Wine of the Wrath of God" and "After Pope Benedict XVI, the 'Last' Roman Pontiff?"). The divine chastisement of world-wide conflagration (Lk. 17.29-30, cf., our post "Our Lady, Vatican II Disorientation, and the Annihilation of Many Nations") to annihilate the 'super-power' and cities and nations drunk with the wine of its immodesty, impurity, fornication, homosexuality, and blasphemies (Apoc. 14.8) is imminent - the close of our end-times period (distinct from the consummation of the world, Mt. 28.20).

They... have made them white in the Blood of the Lamb
(Apoc. 7.14) ... All things... are cleansed with Blood: and without shedding of Blood there is no remission (Heb. 9.22).

The Blood of the [Divine] Lamb can be availed of in the traditional Rite of the Sacrament of Penance (cf., our post "On Concealing Sins in Confession") and of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (the Traditional Latin Mass). Go to our traditional Catholic Mass Centers (links on the left-side bar of this site). Flee to the mountains... (Mt. 24.16).

See also the Messages and Appeals (on the upper right-side bar) of the Apocalyptic Woman in her title of Our Lady of Fatima.