Keep your eyes open!...


June 30, 2017  

(Gen 17:1-2) And after he began to be ninety and nine years old, the Lord appeared to him: and said unto him: I am the Almighty God: walk before me, and be perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee: and I will multiply thee exceedingly.


Here is the text of this spiritual-instructional letter, translated into English:

22 Feb. 88. May God’s mercy be with you, worthily respected M. Martha! You ask me to write to you, but you did not write what it is you request to know. The only thing left for me to do is to wish you salvation of soul: which I now do.

You of course know how to work for salvation… Just the same, I will remind you of what should be done before all else…

The main thing is the fear of God. When it comes, then like a good householder, it will arrange everything in the soul as it pleases. Do you have it? If you do, thank God, and preserve it; but if you do not—awaken it: for it is present in our soul, and if it does not manifest itself it is only due to our inattention.

The first child of the fear of God is a contrite spirit, a heart that is broken and humbled. May the feeling of contrition never leave the heart!

In order to uphold the fear of God, we must always hold on to the remembrance of death and judgment.

As soon as you wake up, call this remembrance to mind, and you will live the whole day with it in your heart as your first advisor.

Join to this the awareness of the Lord’s presence near you and in you, so that He sees everything, including what is most hidden. This awareness and the remembrance of death have the fear of God inseparably with them. When this trinity settles in your heart, then your prayer will come from the heart, with constant crying out to the Lord Savior.

That is all!

If you have this in you, no matter to what degree, then your work of salvation is afoot; but if not then you need to raise it all up in the heart. For if we do not have this, all else is nothing…

Save yourself!

You have done well not to try to come to our monastery, for due to my ill health I never receive visitors. All the best. Bishop Theophan.

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[Rom. 11:25-36; Matt. 12:1-8]

If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. Thus, in order to be saved from the sin of condemnation, we must obtain a merciful heart. A merciful heart not only does not condemn a seeming infringement of the law, but neither will it condemn an obvious one. Instead of judgment it feels pity, and would sooner weep than reproach.

Truly the sin of condemnation is the fruit of an unmerciful, malicious heart that takes delight in debasing its neighbor, in blackening its neighbor's name, in trampling his honor underfoot. This is a murderous affair, and is done in the spirit of the one who is a murderer from the beginning [John 8:44]. Here there occurs much slander as well, which comes from the same source — for that is what the devil is, a slanderer, spreading slanderousness everywhere.

Hurry to arouse pity in yourself every time the evil urge to condemn comes over you. Then turn in prayer to the Lord with a compassionate heart, that He might have mercy upon all of us, not only upon the one whom we wanted to condemn, but upon us as well — perhaps even more so upon us — and the evil urge will die.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

16. The heart of gluttons dreams only of food and eatables, but the heart of those who weep dreams of judgment and castigation.

June 29, 2017

(Gen 38:8-10) Juda, therefore, said to Onan his son: Go in to thy brother's wife and marry her, that thou mayst raise seed to thy brother. He knowing that the children should not be his, when he went in to his brother's wife, he spilled his seed upon the ground, lest children should be born in his brother's name. And therefore the Lord slew him, because he did a detestable thing.

LIFESITENEWS.COM: Catholics should take the time to understand Church teaching on contraception

NEWSLETTER: Broken Branches Issue 117

LACROIX INTERNATIONAL: A grave historical crisis of Church authority examined

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT: The Importance of Humanae Vitae

A bishop attends a lot of worthy public events and fundraisers. It’s part of the job. And supporting good people doing good things is always a source of satisfaction and hope. But once in a while, an event comes along with an unexpected pleasure. The June 17 luncheon on behalf of our Philadelphia Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary was just that kind of event. It drew an enthusiastic crowd — honoring Bishop John McIntyre’s 25th anniversary as a priest was part of the focus — and among the many attendees were two long-time friends: Martha and Bill Beckman.

The Beckmans have three children. A daughter will marry this fall, and twin sons are both studying for the priesthood. As members of the Neo-Catechumenal Way, they’ve devoted much of their lives to Church service. That’s included direct missionary work as a couple and as a family. Bill served on my staff during my ministry as archbishop in Denver. He helped me with a number of key projects, including a pastoral letter I released in 1998 on the 30th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae (“On Human Life.”).

Which brings me to the point of this column. Next month, July, marks another anniversary of Humanae Vitae. Few recent Catholic documents have been as reviled, but also as perceptive, important and accurate in its warnings, as Paul VI’s great encyclical. John Paul II and Benedict XVI both firmly reiterated Humanae Vitae in their teaching.

It remains a powerful counter-witness to the widespread sexual dysfunction of our age. As other Christian communities, and even many Catholics, have collapsed in their defense of sexual integrity, Humanae Vitae has remained a testimony to the truth.

Bill recently sent me his thoughts on Humanae Vitae as a husband, father and man of faith. First published last year in the Archdiocese of Omaha’s The Catholic Voice, they warrant sharing (slightly adjusted for 2017) here.

He writes:

July 25, 2017, will mark forty-nine years since the publication of the encyclical Humanae Vitae (HV), subtitled “On the Regulation of Birth.” The eighth and last encyclical letter of Blessed Pope Paul VI was easily the most controversial Church document since the Reformation and its core teaching the most rejected. It remains so today.

Pope Paul reiterated what had always been the teaching of the Church, namely, that married couples must be open to life in every act of marital intercourse and that any act or omission intended to prevent conception is morally wrong. This is because the marital act bears within it by nature the capacity for the couple’s intimate union and the procreation of new human life. These twin aspects ought never to be willfully separated if the gift of marital love is to be respected and lived responsibly.

The pope presented this teaching in a tone which was at once compassionate and realistic toward couples facing difficulties, and pessimistic about the long-term consequences of deliberately separating the unitive and procreative truths of marriage. His predictions that moral standards would decline, infidelity and illegitimacy would increase, women would be reduced to objects for pleasure and that governments would grow more coercive in the goals of population control all have proven true. Other damaging consequences can be shown as well.

But it mattered little. HV was countered by a perfect storm. The Anglican Church had permitted contraception more than thirty years earlier, and the decade of the 1960s was marked by selfish individualism crowned by the invention of the birth control pill, the “free love” movement and liberalized divorce laws. Maybe most damaging was the fact that the papal commission studying the issue had voted to permit birth control. The commission report was leaked and became a rallying point for those opposed to the pope’s clear teaching.

Those opponents included not a small number of influential clergy and academics who publicly dissented by signing protest ads in major newspapers, and the dissenters soon included a substantial majority of ordinary Catholics. The Church was divided and seriously wounded over a matter of utmost importance – the truth and meaning of marriage and the sanctity of life.

Today the rift and wounds remain, and only the Holy Spirit can bring healing and wholeness. In the face of almost 50 years of selfishness and disobedience, I pray that the Church will zealously teach the truth and beauty of this encyclical, urge repentance for the manifest sins against the sanctity of marriage and life, and call the faithful to complete openness to the innumerable blessings which flow from the Lord and Giver of Life.

The best response I can make, or anyone can make, is: Amen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

15. The perfect find their time of gladness and consolation in freedom from care in all things; the warrior-ascetic delights in the heat of the battle; but the slave of the passions revels in feasts.

June 27, 2017

(Mat 10:29-33) Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: better are you than many sparrows. Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.

POPE FRANCIS: "Even today persecution against Christians is present. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted and praise God because, despite this, they continue to testify to their faith with their courage and fidelity. Their example helps us not to hesitate to take position in favor of Christ, witnessing to it courageously in everyday situations, even in seemingly peaceful contexts".

ASIANEWS.IT REVIEW: The last 10 years of the Church in China: from the Letter of Benedict XVI to the silence on the arrest of Msgr. Shao Zhumin

CHIESA: China. Why the Agreement With Rome Is Slow In Coming

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE: Vatican calls on China to let bishop exercise his ministry

The Vatican expressed "grave concern" over the situation of a bishop in mainland China who has been in government custody for almost 10 months and moved repeatedly in an apparent attempt to prevent him from assuming leadership of his diocese.

Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin had been coadjutor bishop of Wenzhou and should have taken over leadership of the diocese in September when his predecessor died. Instead, officials took him to northern China "on a trip."

"The Holy See is following with grave concern the personal situation of Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou, forcibly removed from his episcopal see some time ago," said Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office, in a statement June 26.

"The diocesan Catholic community and his relatives have no news or reasons for his removal, nor do they know where he is being held," Burke said.

The treatment of Bishop Zhumin "and other similar episodes," Burke said, do not foster the kind of understanding that the Vatican wants to reach with the Chinese government.

While Bishop Zhumin was approved by the Vatican as bishop of Wenzhou, his election was not recognized by the government.

The Vatican hopes that the bishop "may return as soon as possible to the diocese and that he can be assured the possibility of serenely exercising his episcopal ministry," Burke said.

Michael Clauss, Germany's ambassador to China, posted a statement on his embassy's website June 20 saying the bishop appears to have been forced by authorities to move to unknown locations four times over the past year, the Associated Press reported. The ambassador called on China to allow the bishop full freedom of movement.

AsiaNews, a Rome-based Catholic news agency, said June 21 that Chinese authorities appeared to be trying to get Bishop Zhumin to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. The bishop was seen arriving at Wenzhou airport June 16, "accompanied by government officials, who took him to an unknown location," AsiaNews said.

MORE: Holy See has expressed “grave concern” over the fate of Mgr Shao Zhumin, held by police for more than a month

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

9. Often vanity proves an enemy of gluttony, and between themselves they quarrel over the wretched monk as for a purchased slave. The one urges him to relax, while the other proposes that he should make his virtue triumph. The wise monk will shun both, at the right time shaking off each passion by the other.

June 23, 2017

(Joh 19:33-35) But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side: and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it hath given testimony: and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true: that you also may believe.

POPE FRANCIS: "I offer a special thought for young people, the sick, and newlyweds. Next Friday, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, is the day when the Church supports all priests with prayers and affection. Dear young people, draw from the Heart of Jesus the nourishment for your spiritual life and the source of your hope; dear people who are sick, offer your sufferings to the Lord, so that He may pour His love into the hearts of men; and you, dear newlyweds, partake of the Eucharist, so that, nourished by Christ, you may be Christian families touched by the love of that divine Heart".

FATHER BROOM BLOG: Sacred Heart of Jesus, Burning Furnace of Charity

: History & Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary

FISH EATERS: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus


First Friday Devotion Booklet

The Devotion to the Sacred Heart

UNIVERSALIS: St Bonaventure: With you is the source of life

  You who have been redeemed, consider who it is who hangs on the cross for you, whose death gives life to the dead, whose passing is mourned by heaven and earth, while even the hard stones are split. Consider how great he is; consider what he is.

  In order that the Church might be formed from the side of Christ as he slept on the cross, in order that the word of scripture might be fulfilled – ‘They shall look on him whom they have pierced’ – God’s providence decreed that one of the soldiers should open his sacred side with a spear, so that blood with water might flow out to pay the price of our salvation. This blood, which flowed from its source in the secret recesses of his heart, gave the sacraments of the Church power to confer the life of grace, and for those who already live in Christ was a draught of living water welling up to eternal life.

  Arise, then, bride of Christ, be like the dove that nests in the rock-face at the mouth of a cavern, and there, like a sparrow which finds its home, do not cease to keep vigil; there, like a turtle-dove, hide the fledglings of your chaste love; place your lips there to draw water from the wells of your Saviour. For this is the spring flowing from the middle of paradise; it divides and becomes four rivers, then spreads through all devout hearts, and waters the whole world and makes it fruitful.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

6. He who fondles a lion often tames it, but he who coddles the body makes it still wilder.

June 22, 2017

(Luk 12:43-48) Blessed is that servant whom, when his lord shall come, he shall find so doing. Verily I say to you, he will set him over all that he possesseth. But if that servant shall say in his heart: My Lord is long a coming; and shall begin to strike the men-servants and maid-servants, and to eat and to drink and be drunk: The lord of that servant will come in the day that he hopeth not, and at the hour that he knoweth not: and shall separate him and shall appoint him his portion with unbelievers. And that servant, who knew the will of his lord and prepared not himself and did not according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not and did things worthy of stripes shall be beaten with few stripes. And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more.

SIGN.ORG: Cardinals Opposing Cardinals, Bishops Against Bishops… by Ted Flynn

CRISIS MAGAZINE: Amoris Laetitia and the Four Last Things

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[Rom. 7:14-8:2; Matt. 10:9-15]

The Lord also said to the apostles that if a city does not receive them, and will not hear their words, then It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. And what will happen to us for our not hearing the words of Divine Revelation? It will be immeasurably intolerable be for us. To disbelieve the truth of God after so many tangible proofs is the same as reviling the Holy Spirit, and blaspheming. And yet we have no fear. The spiritists [and Hindus] say, “What judgment! We just have to be born a few more times.” The scientists say, “Whom is there to judge? Everything is made of atoms; they will fly apart and that will be the end.” But, my friends, the hour of death will come; these dreams will fly away like phantoms, and we will all be faced with inevitability reality. What then?...

What wretched times we live in! The enemy has contrived to destroy our souls. He knows that fear of death and judgment is the strongest means for sobering up a soul — and so he makes every attempt to drive this away; and he succeeds. But extinguish the fear of death and fear of God will disappear; and without the fear of God the conscience becomes mute. The soul becomes empty, it becomes a waterless cloud, carried by any wind of teachings and various fits of passions.

St. Michael New York: From the Pastor by Fr. George W. Rutler

Our Lord's admonition that much will be required of those to whom much has been given, applies most vividly to us. We have been given so much in the way of inventions and medicine and comparative wealth, but above all in knowledge of the world around us. No king in his silken bed at Versailles knew the luxury of instant information that we have. "YouTube" gives us access to great music for which the Bourbon monarchs had to summon their court musicians, while we need only press a button on the computer.

I have been listening on YouTube to the choir of Saint Paul's Cathedral in London singing the Victorian John Stainer's setting of John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have everlasting life." They are the most wondrous and mysterious words ever spoken and have to be sung, for they are a love song. A young man shyly told me that he knelt to propose marriage to the girl he loved, even though he thought she might laugh at him. But in the humility of true love, he meant what he said, and they are now married.

God so loved the world. That means all he has created in the world. I confess that I do not yet share my Creator's affection for all things. For instance, I do not like, let alone love, mosquitoes. Perhaps our Lord sees, through his aesthetic lens, a mathematical symmetry and power of endurance that I will only appreciate during my first years of assimilation in Purgatory. For that matter, I find it hard to like, let alone love, some of the people rambling along 34th Street at a snail's pace, oblivious to those behind them, and speaking loudly and rudely on their cell phones. I am not God, who loves them as I try only feebly to do. He even died for them. And for me.

Jesus became human, but from the perspective of heavenly glory, he might just as easily have become a mosquito. In the divine eye, humans are no more or less attractive than bugs, but God took upon himself the form of a slave (Philippians 2:7) because humans have the unique gift of reciprocating the love that made them. By reflecting that love, through worship and service, we are God's agents in making the world into what he wants it to be.

I am not a mosquito, but that makes no difference to my Creator. In the seventeenth-century words of Samuel Crossman, now accessible on YouTube:

My song is love unknown,
My Saviour's love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I,
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh and die?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

5. Satiety in food is the father of fornication; but affliction of the stomach is an agent of purity.

June 20, 2017

(Php 3:18-20) For many, as I have often told you and now tell you even in tears, conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. Their minds are occupied with earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

USCCB: Fortnight For Freedom


June 21 marks the start of the U.S. bishops’ annual “Fortnight for Freedom” running through Independence Day on July 4. The fortnight seeks to highlight America’s “first freedom” — religious liberty. It also seeks to encourage Catholics to work for religious freedom both here and abroad.

This year’s theme is “freedom for mission.” The reason should be obvious. Activist groups and public officials today increasingly try to force Church-related hospitals and social ministries to violate their Catholic identity. Catholic beliefs on marriage, family and the sanctity of life are targets in an on-going culture war against the biblical truths of human sexuality, nature and purpose.

The Church did not want this war and did not choose it. But she cannot in good conscience avoid it. The Obama administration’s bullying of the Little Sisters of the Poor (“Little Sisters of the Government” in a famously sardonic Wall Street Journal editorial) was only one of many recent examples.

It’s a time in our nation’s history when ideas like “the Benedict Option,” i.e., withdrawing from a hostile secular culture to protect our families and faith, can seem attractive. And separating ourselves — in our thoughts, choices and behaviors — from the emptiness and noise of modern consumer life does, in fact, make a lot of sense.

The question arises: Can the piety of an authentic Christian life and patriotism for a secular state coexist in such a conflicted time?

Scripture tells us to respect and pray for our civic leaders, even when we dislike them; even when they persecute us. Jesus himself said that Caesar has a realm of legitimate authority. That realm is limited in scope, but we have a duty to obey civil authority so long as it does not demand a kind of practical idolatry. Christians were martyred not because they hated Roman power, but because they wouldn’t burn incense to the emperor’s “genius” or sacred spirit – in other words, they wouldn’t treat him as divine.

It’s true that in the first three centuries after Jesus, Early Church scholars like Tertullian, Hippolytus and Tatian all rejected military and even civil service for believers. But that changed as the empire gradually became Christian, and changed radically after the Emperor Constantine converted from paganism. From the late Fourth Century on, St. Augustine’s “just war” teaching on the legitimate use of force in situations related to self-defense came to dominate Christian thought.

Augustine also taught that Christian political engagement and public service can be morally worthy, so long as our expectations of remaking reality are modest. All human structures are flawed by sin. The City of Man can never be the City of God.

And that’s a wisdom we need to remember. Christianity is not finally about our place in this world. It’s about our place in the next. We have duty to make the material world, and especially the people around us, better for our passing. We can’t and shouldn’t try to escape from the challenges and responsibilities of the place where God plants us. We need to be a leaven for goodness, here and now. But our real citizenship, our real goal, is heaven. We belong to heaven first.

So it’s worth unpacking those two words, patriotism and piety.

The word “patriotism” comes from the Latin pater (father) and patria (homeland, native soil). As with any human father, the nation-state is not a little godling. It can never require our worship. It can never demand that we violate our religious identity and beliefs. But properly understood, patriotism is a virtue and a form of filial love. We’re sons and daughters of the land of our birth. It’s natural and deeply human to love our home and be faithful to the best qualities in our native land.

The word “piety” comes from the Latin pietas, meaning humility and a devotion to the gods. Pietas was the highest Roman virtue and a powerful force in shaping early Roman life. It’s no accident that Rome’s ancient poet Virgil, in his epic work The Aeneid, described Aeneas, the legendary founder of Rome, as pious Aeneas repeatedly.

Aeneas and his piety are pertinent for this reason. One of the great scholars of the last century, the British Catholic historian Christopher Dawson, demonstrated that all great human civilizations have started from some form of a religious founding. And as the essence of that founding is lost, illness of the soul sets in.

Humans are addicts for meaning. We’re also inescapably mortal, which means we instinctively look for purpose outside and higher than ourselves. The “God question” matters because God made us. Thus in our own country, from the very start, biblical language, belief and thought have provided our moral meaning. The more we discard these precious things, the more alien we become to ourselves and to the nation we were meant to be.

This year and every year, the most fertile witness we can offer as citizens is to speak, and to act on, and to organize our lives around, the words Jesus Christ is Lord. Defending our liberty to do that is why the “fortnight for freedom” matters.

PODCAST: Crushing Modernism & Regaining a Catholic Worldview

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

4. Gluttony deludes the eyes of others; while appearing to receive in moderation, it intends to devour everything at once.

June 2, 2017  


(Joh 14:16-18) And I will ask the Father: and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever: The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him. But you shall know him; because he shall abide with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you.

POPE FRANCIS: “Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you on the path of life and of everyday life. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace to distinguish good from less good, because it is easy to distinguish good from evil.”

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE: One in the Spirit: Catholics, Pentecostals celebrate Pentecost with pope


In life today do we most need the Holy Spirit to transform us? What are our peculiar spiritual disabilities?

Our unique weaknesses, like our strengths, are legion. However, for our generation, a number of things might be singled out as particularly debilitating to the soul: Our propensity for distraction, our tendency to see individual fulfilment as salvation, our proclivity for ideology and fundamentalism, and our obsession with sexuality.

We could use a particular infusion from the Holy Spirit to help us with these.

For example: Distraction is perhaps the most powerful narcotic on the planet. Simply put, what this means is that our daily communion, the manna that sustains us, is distraction – television, game shows, sporting events, sitcoms, talk shows, entertainment news, scandals reported in the daily papers, pop music, movies, theatre, and the like. Not that these are bad. What’s bad is that they eventually anesthetize us: We watch the late-night comedians on TV, scotch in hand, laugh as they spoof the day’s events, let the tensions of the day subside, and sleep pretty well. Not bad, not bad at all, except we do it again the next night and the night after and onwards ever after, slowly numbing ourselves to the deeper issues of meaning, pain, justice, self-sacrifice, love, death.

For our own Pentecost, we need then to pray for the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of depth, the spirit of courage, and (given the over-sophistication of so much of today’s entertainment) the spirit of chastity.

UNIVERSALIS: A treatise "Against the Heresies" by St Irenaeus The sending of the Holy Spirit

When the Lord told his disciples to go and teach all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he conferred on them the power of giving men new life in God.

  He had promised through the prophets that in these last days he would pour out his Spirit on his servants and handmaids, and that they would prophesy. So when the Son of God became the Son of Man, the Spirit also descended upon him, becoming accustomed in this way to dwelling with the human race, to living in men and to inhabiting God’s creation. The Spirit accomplished the Father’s will in men who had grown old in sin, and gave them new life in Christ.

  Luke says that the Spirit came down on the disciples at Pentecost, after the Lord’s ascension, with power to open the gates of life to all nations and to make known to them the new covenant. So it was that men of every language joined in singing one song of praise to God, and scattered tribes, restored to unity by the Spirit, were offered to the Father as the first-fruits of all the nations.

  This was why the Lord had promised to send the Advocate: he was to prepare us as an offering to God. Like dry flour, which cannot become one lump of dough, one loaf of bread, without moisture, we who are many could not become one in Christ Jesus without the water that comes down from heaven. And like parched ground, which yields no harvest unless it receives moisture, we who were once like a waterless tree could never have lived and borne fruit without this abundant rainfall from above. Through the baptism that liberates us from change and decay we have become one in body; through the Spirit we have become one in soul.

  The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of God came down upon the Lord, and the Lord in turn gave this Spirit to his Church, sending the Advocate from heaven into all the world into which, according to his own words, the devil too had been cast down like lightning.

  If we are not to be scorched and made unfruitful, we need the dew of God. Since we have our accuser, we need an advocate as well. And so the Lord in his pity for man, who had fallen into the hands of brigands, having himself bound up his wounds and left for his care two coins bearing the royal image, entrusted him to the Holy Spirit. Now, through the Spirit, the image and inscription of the Father and the Son have been given to us, and it is our duty to use the coin committed to our charge and make it yield a rich profit for the Lord.

ST. BASIL:  “Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the kingdom of heaven and adopted as children, given confidence to call God father and to share in Christ’s grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory.”

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

3. Gluttony is a deviser of seasoning, a source of sweet dishes.  You stop one spout, and it spurts up elsewhere; you plug this too, and you open another.

June 1, 2017

(Luk 1:46-48) And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

POPE FRANCIS: The motherly presence of Mary reminds us that God never tires of lowering himself in mercy over humanity.

HOMILY: Great Kingdoms, Great Queen Mothers


INSIDE THE VATICAN: Letter #28: The last battle

A Moment with Mary: This apparition to Sister Lucia is less well-known and yet it is significant

The date of May 29, 1930, is not well known in the history of Fatima, Portugal. Yet this is an important date, almost as important as that of May 13, or October 13, 1917. Indeed, a few days before May 29, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Lucia, who was then a novice at the Sisters of St. Dorothy in Tui, Spain, indicating that the time had come to ask the Holy Father for the approval of the reparatory communion of the first Saturdays of the month.

This request was the culmination of various celestial interventions since 1917, including that of December 10, 1925, in Pontevedra, where Our Lady, as she had promised, appeared to Lucia, then a postulant at the Sisters of St. Dorothy’s convent, to give her the details of the devotion of the First Saturdays of the month and ask her to begin to spread it.

Immediately, Lucia confided everything to her confessor, Don Lino Garcia. On February 15, 1926, the Infant Jesus appeared to Lucia in Pontevedra. At her request, he relaxed the conditions set by the Blessed Virgin two months earlier and confirmed the will of Heaven to see this devotion spread.


UNIVERSALIS: A sermon by St Bede the Venerable: Mary proclaims the greatness of the Lord working in her soul

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.  With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given. Then she recalls God’s universal favours, bestowed unceasingly on the human race.

  When a man devotes all his thoughts to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims God’s greatness. His observance of God’s commands, moreover, shows that he has God’s power and greatness always at heart. His spirit rejoices in God his saviour and delights in the mere recollection of his creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation.

  These words are often for all God’s creations, but especially for the Mother of God. She alone was chosen, and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived. Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her saviour, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.

  For the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.

  She did well to add: and holy is his name, to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name. For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation according to the words of the prophet: and it will come to pass, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. This is the name she spoke of earlier: and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.

  Therefore it is an excellent and fruitful custom of holy Church that we should sing Mary’s hymn at the time of evening prayer. By meditating upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled, and by remembering the example of God’s Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue. Such virtues are best achieved in the evening. We are weary after the day’s work and worn out by our distractions. The time for rest is near, and our minds are ready for contemplation.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

2. Gluttony is hypocrisy of the stomach; for when it is glutted, it complains of scarcity; and when it is loaded and bursting; it cries out that it is hungry.
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