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Devotional

Passion and Compassion

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

The Mercy of God to a Penitent

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

from St. Maximus the Confessor

healingGod’s will is to save us, and nothing pleases him more than our coming back to him with true repen­tance. The heralds of truth and the ministers of divine grace have told us this from the beginning, repeating it in every age. Indeed, God’s desire for our salvation is the primary and preeminent sign of his infinite good­ness. It was precisely in order to show that there is nothing closer to God’s heart that the divine Word of God the Father, with untold condescension, lived among us in the flesh, and did, suffered, and said all that was necessary to reconcile us to God the Father, when we were at enmity with him, and to restore us to the life of blessedness from which we had been exiled.

He healed our physical infirmities by miracles; he freed us from our sins, many and grievous as they were, by suf­fering and dying, taking them upon himself as if he were answerable for them, sinless though he was. He also taught us in many different ways that we should wish to imitate him by our own kindness and genuine love for one another.

So it was that Christ proclaimed that he had come to call sinners to repentance, not the righteous, and that it was not the healthy who required a doctor, but the sick. He declared that he had come to look for the sheep that was lost, and that it was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel that he had been sent. Speaking more obscurely in the parable of the silver coin, he tells us ‘that the purpose of his coming was to reclaim the royal image, which had become coated with the filth of sin. You can be sure that there is joy in heaven, he said, over one sinner who repents. (more…)

Video – Visitations of Mary Pilgrimage – Variety 241

Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Click to Play Video
Variety #241 – ( 26min) >>> Play

Ave Maria!

Video highlights of the “Visitations of Mary” Pilgrimage with Fr. Joseph Michael McShane, FI.

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Christ in His Humanity

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

We know what the Incarnation means to us, that God the Son, by becoming man, caught up our human nature into His, made each one of us one with Him. He took our human nature for His own and gave us His. He experienced everything that we do, excepting sin, and He even took upon Himself the guilt and punishment of sin.
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He made Himself subject to our limitations: to discomfort, poverty, hunger and thirst, and pain. He knew fear, temptation, and failure. He suffered loneliness, betrayal, unrequited love, utter desolation of spirit, the sense of despair, and death. He suffered all these things, and all the secret, incommunicable things known to each individual, which can never be told; and He overcame them all. He overcame even death, and came back to the world bringing it life and peace and joy.
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Christ seems to have fallen in love with our suffering, so passionately has He laid hold of it and made it His. He is known to the whole world as the Man of Sorrows. Yet He came to give us life full of joy. (more…)

Time for Confession!

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

The Courage to “Cut off our sins”
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“I grant forgiveness to the man who weeps over his sins:
Not to the sinner who hopes that I will delay in coming.”
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After sinning I thought of confessing but the Enemy whispered to me,
“Do you dare? How could you bear the penance you would be given for such great offense?’
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“The punishment in this world is light compared to that in the next!”
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Out of shame I remained in this wretched state, arguing that I could not possibly confess such abominable sins to the Priest.
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“Better to feel shame before my priest than suffer it in grief when I shall pass judgment on You, and all your sins will be trumpeted in the presence of a vast multitude.”
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Say no more. I yield. I repent of my transgressions and my utter lack of prudence. Have mercy on me, O Lord.
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“Since you have surrendered to Me, I embrace you. and may this pact endure for all time, for I cannot abide ingratitude.”
+B. Jacapone da Todi OFM

Learning to Suffer Well

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

To suffer gladly when we must for the love of others is indeed not only the closest imitation of Christ, it is the essence of our own “Christhood”; but when Christ is formed in us (as he certainly is when we have learnt that much about suffering) we shall have a desire to adore God. This is bound to be so, because our minds will be like Christ’s mind.

We shall desire to be grateful, to respond for every good thing, every flower or star, every moment spent happily, we shall want to thank someone, we shall want to be conscious of the presence of One whom we can love without measure, in whom we can delight without fear of loss, in whom ultimately our griefs  will be lost as a flame is lost in the light of the sun-in a word, we shall want to adore. This is certain, for Christ’s intellect was concentrated wholly on adoration of his Father; therefore he did not only pray, he made himself a sacrifice, the most complete adoration; the sacrifice of the cross.

This we also can do through our suffering. Adoration-were it widespread on earth-would not only use, as it were, this great burden of grief that is everywhere, it would lift it and put it on the plane of joy, for it would gradually draw every heart to the light of God, making us conscious of him in everything, and in him there is our only lasting joy.

Here, then, are reasons to learn to suffer well natural and supernatural. We increase human happiness by allowing suffering to enrich our natures; we grow in understanding, pity, and natural love; we pay our share for the debt of sin; we grow in “Christhood” and have the power of Christ to move God.  We keep Christ’s Passion ever before God’s eyes, and finally, with the very heart and mind of Christ, we adore God.

+Caryll Houselander

Safe in Our Mother’s Arms

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

Facing the Storms of Life in the Arms of Our Mother: 

May Jesus fill you with his holy love and grant you all those graces your beautiful soul desires, and I incessantly ask for you from our heavenly Father!. . . May the Lord continue to possess your heart always, rendering it holy to the degree established with eternal designs….

Do not fear the storm that roars about you, because in proportion to the rigidity of the winter, the spring will be more beautiful and richer in flowers, and the fruits more abundant. No matter what the tempter may say or do,  God is working out in you his admirable purpose, which is your sanctification. Don’t believe the murmurings and promptings of the enemy….

To be afraid of being lost while you are in the arms of divine goodness is stranger than fear on the part of a child in its mother’s arms. Banish all doubt and anxiety which are, however, allowed by infinite love for the purpose already mentioned. Be patient and don’t become discouraged if you see yourself still full of imperfections. Remember what I said to you in this regard, and make every effort to put it into practice.

When you are unable to take big steps on the path that leads to God, be content with little steps, patiently waiting until you have the legs to run.

+St. Padre Pio

The Whole World Awaits Mary’s Reply

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us. 

The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life. 

Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race. 

Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.  (more…)

Love of the Heart of Jesus for His Mother

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

“Jesus loved His Virgin Mother. At the very beginning of His public life He wished to give proofs of His filial love. It was at Cana in Galilee. Jesus and His holy Mother were present at a wedding feast and, the wine having failed, the servants came and gave the news to Mary. Immediately, the Blessed Virgin turning to her divine Son said to Him: ” They have no wine ” (John II, 3). And Jesus answering His Mother: “Woman,” said He to her, (Woman par excellence, the unique, the only one among all, who is without sin), “What is it to Me and to thee ? My hour is not yet come ” (John II,4).

I have not yet commenced to work the great miracles which I am to accomplish. But by addressing yourself to Me in this circumstance, you wish, doubtless, to recall to Me what is common between us; you wish to remind Me of the sweet bonds which unite us, the community of life, of blood, of thought, of desire and of love which exists between us. Could I resist your prayer and not anticipate the hour which I had fixed ? And the Mother of Jesus understanding His thoughts, sure of His filial Heart, turned towards the servants and said, “Whatever He shall say to you, do ye.” (more…)

Shield of St. Patrick

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

Lorica of Saint Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation. (more…)

Redemption Near At Hand

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

A certain friend of God was once asked what he would do if he had lived for a long time in grievous sins. He replied: “If I had done all prescribed to me by a prudent and wise confessor, and had given up my sins as I ought, I should wish never again to think of them, nor to stain my heart with the remembrance of them; but I would strive from that time to live so piously that God might forget all my sins. For when we neither desire nor commit sin, but turn clean away from it, then God also forgets it.”

“Yes, even if I had lived for the space of forty years in sins, and now the hour of my death had come, if I had sincerely confessed my sins, if I could, with perfect love, from the depth of my heart, even for the space of one “Hail Mary,” turn myself to God and betake myself to him, in order that I might turn utterly away from sin and entirely to God, then I might go from this world as a pure and innocent man. But if, on the other hand, I had committed only one sin, and I went hence in sorrow, contrition, and grief of heart, then, indeed, I should die as a penitent sinner.”

On the other hand, many people who have not the true fear of God are miserably deceived by flattering themselves with the idea of God’s immense mercy, while at the same time they do not correct their evil lives. Such men think little of daily venial offences; yes, even grievous sins do not much trouble them. They say to themselves: “Directly we have sighed and groaned over our iniquities, the inexhaustible mercy of God will forgive them all, and we shall go hence by a happy death.”

But as God is supremely merciful, so also is he supremely just. He is not merciful without justice nor just without mercy… Wherefore he who desires to be saved ought to embrace and to kiss both of our Lord’s feet-that is, the foot of his mercy and the foot of his justice. He ought so to trust in the infinite mercy of God as not to persevere in sin; but, turning to God-with his whole heart, he ought to strive to live a righteous and godly life. Thus living, will he die at last a holy death. 

+Blosius the Venerable

 

Prayer and Apostolate

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5)

God wants us to be his instruments for making his redemptive work present in the midst of secular tasks, in ordinary life. But how can we be good instruments of God if we do not ourselves really cherish our life of piety, if we do not really have a personal relationship with Christ in prayer?

Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not fall into a pit?  The apostolate is the fruit of love for Christ.  It is He who is the Light with which we are to give light, the Truth that we must teach, the Life that we have to communicate.  And this will only be possible if we are men and women who are united to God through prayer. It is moving to see how, in the midst of so much apostolic activity, Our Lord gets up early in the morning, a great while before day, to talk to his Father God and to entrust the new day to Him, a day that will be full of attention to particular souls.

We must imitate him. It is in prayer, in talking to Jesus, that we learn to understand to remain cheerful, to welcome and to appreciate the people God places in our path. Without prayer, the Christian would be like a plant without roots: a plant that quickly dries up and cannot bear any fruit. (more…)

Father, Why do I Need Lent?

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

I had just placed ashes on his head. I was looking at him – with his dirty forehead lying there on the white sheets of the hospital bed – when he said, “Father can I ask you a question?”

“Yes,”, I replied, realizing full well there was an ashen cross on this sinner’s forehead too.

Then he asked: “Why do I need Lent?”

I thought for a moment and answered: “Lent confronts the horror of my sin before the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who knew no sin (See 2 Cor. 5:21). Without coming to grips with my sin, I can’t see how much I need God’s love. I need to see His love for me in the cross of Christ and the glory of Easter.”

Sins really do matter. We deceive ourselves into thinking we are not really that bad compared to everyone else – God is not really concerned about my little sins. We have an eternal soul and Lent is a mini-purgatory. In purgatory the soul stands before God Almighty, helpless, stripped, naked just like the Lord has always seen us. We can’t dress up our sin to hide it from God. We stand like our Lord Jesus stripped of His garments before He was nailed to the cross. (more…)

Quid est veritas?

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

For this was I born and for this came I into the wold: that I should give testimony to the truth. Everyone that is of truth, heareth My voice.” (Jn.23:37) “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Jn 8:32)

The truth of God is immutable and cannot change. Holy Church possesses it in its entirety. If among the events and the vicissitudes of time it seems to change, it is only an appearance. The human intellect, according as it is more or less pure, grasps its meaning more or less clearly. Truth can increase and develop, or on the contrary, it can dwindle away in the intellect of man, but in itself, it is one and unchangeable. It can make itself more precise, it can be more firmly established, it can be defined and explained, and that is the justification of the slow but incessant development of the truths taught by the Church. Really new truths, especially truths in contradiction with the original truth, cannot exist.

+Mother Louise Margaret de la Touche

Joy in God

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Ave Maria Meditations

The marriage at Cana is a showing of the joy that Christ brought into the world.  Here at His Mother’s request, our Lord worked his first public miracle.  It is a delight to think that this first miracle was in no way connected with unhappiness.  It was not healing sickness, forgiving sins, or raising the dead; it was simply giving joy, more joy, to people who were already rejoicing…

It is true that a change of heart is the only thing that can begin to bring happiness back into the world. It is true too that it is not in our own power or strength to change our own hearts, and what is needed is a miracle.

First of all what must this change really be like? It must be an absolute change, a change like that which happens to a piece of grey cloth dipped into a crimson dye, and dyed all through. The symbol of the wine at Cana is apt: wine restores vigor to an exhausted man, warms him all through, brings color back to his face, gives him courage, softens his heart, takes away his sense of insufficiency, and sets him free.

The joy of God is a wine that changes the drab, cold, colorless substance of human nature into the rich, crimson, warm vitality of supernatural life. It changes discouragement to hope, doubt to faith, it lights up the mind and in its light men see that the problems of the world today, which seemed insurmountable, are straws in the power of God, and in his name even a creature as little and weak as man can overcome them.

How can such a change of heart happen? Only by a miracle, it is true, and who can work such a miracle but Christ? When a man comes to this world with Christ in his heart, he too can work this miracle in Christ’s name…Love when it is joyful radiates, a few reflect its light,  and the secret glory waxes into the world like morning into the sky.

+ Caryll Houselander

Our Lady: Causa Nostrae Laetitiae (Cause of Our Joy), pray for us!