Prayers & Reflections

Act of Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary

by St. Maximilian Kolbe

O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, (name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and proper-ty. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you. If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head,” and, “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the world.” Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed Kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter, you obtain the Grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all Graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. V. Allow me to praise you, O sacred Virgin. R. Give me strength against your enemies

The Grace of the Holy Eucharist

Only God could leave me and stay with me at the same time. His physical presence ascended into Heaven but [He] gives me His Body, Blood, soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. Every time I receive this Sacrament, whose power is beyond my comprehension, I receive more of God. The pool of my soul becomes brighter and His Divine Reflection more radiant. He knew my Faith would waver at times and I would need something tangible to speak to and gaze upon, so He gave me Himself in a miraculous way in the Holy Eucharist - as Friend when I’m in need, as Companion when I’m lonely, as Strength when I’m weak, as Mercy when I fail, as a source of Joy when I’m sad, as Peace in the midst of turmoil, and as a Power to help me press ahead with confidence for the struggle to come. He has given me His presence in Scripture - to guide me along the path of life, to direct me in the right way, to reveal to me His attributes, His Son, and His Spirit, to feed my soul with His Word, to encourage me when things go wrong, to show me His Will, to assure me of His forgiveness, to give me hope when all seems lost, to tell me how much He loves me, and to give me a glimpse of the Kingdom and the glory to come. For all eternity I will continue to receive new lights and knowledge about Him that will thrill my soul with awe and wonder… I can be so absorbed in my own problems and difficulties that the beauty and peace around me are lost in a maze of imaginary clouds that keep me in a tiny cramped world. I must look beyond what is visible and see the invisible reality. Only an Infinite Love could have the power to come down to my level, surround me with omnipotence, raise me up, and hold me in the arms of His fatherly care. Lord and Father, your Son Jesus gives me tangible proof of Your presence in my soul by giving Himself to me in the Holy Eucharist. Through the power of your Spirit’s gifts, let that Presence bear fruit and give proof to my neighbor that Jesus is Lord. Mother Angelica of the Annunciation, P.C.P.A (Mother Angelica († 2016) was a Poor Clare nun and founder of the Eternal Word Television Network. Taken from Mother Angelica On God, His Home, and His Angels. © 2017, EWTN Publishing, Inc. Distributed by Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, NH.

From the Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux

“Since my longing for martyrdom was powerful and unsettling, I turned to the epistles of St. Paul in the hope of finally finding an answer. By chance the 12th and 13th chapters of the 1st epistle to the Corinthians caught my attention, and in the first section I read that not everyone can be an apostle, prophet or teacher, that the Church is composed of a variety of members, and that the eye cannot be the hand. Even with such an answer revealed before me, I was not satisfied and did not find peace. I persevered in the reading and did not let my mind wander until I found this encouraging theme: Set your desires on the greater gifts. And I will show you the way which surpasses all others. For the Apostle insists that the greater gifts are nothing at all without love and that this same love is surely the best path leading directly to God. At length I had found peace of mind. When I had looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognized myself in none of the members which St. Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favorably within the whole body. Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and more noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I saw and realized that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting. Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and You gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.”

From a sermon by Pope St. Gregory the Great

“You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of Heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called Angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called Angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called Archangels. And so it was that not merely an Angel but the Archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest Angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages. Some Angels are given proper names to denote the service they are empowered to perform. In that holy city, where perfect knowledge flows from the vision of almighty God, those who have no names may easily be known. But personal names are assigned to some, not because they could not be known without them, but rather to denote their ministry when they came among us. Thus, Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Reme-dy.” Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, say-ing: I will ascend into Heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of Heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be al-lowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment. Then, he will fight with the Archangel Michael, as we are told by John: A battle was fought with Michael the Archangel. So too Gabriel, who is called “God’s Strength”, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus “God’s Strength” announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle. Raphael means, as I have said, “God’s Remedy”, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called “God’s remedy”.” 

Turn my heart to Your decrees - St. Robert Bellarmine,

'On the Ascent of the Soul to God' “O Lord, good and forgiving and abounding in steadfast love, who would not serve You with all his heart, when he has begun at least to taste the sweetness of Your Fatherly rule? What do You order Your servants to do, Lord? ‘Take My yoke upon You,’ You say. What is Your yoke? - ‘My yoke is easy,’ You say, ‘and My burden is light.’ Who would not willingly carry a yoke which does not press down but gives strength, and a bur-den which does not weigh heavily but refreshes? With justification, then, You also say, ‘and you will find rest for your souls’. What is this yoke of Yours that does not tire but brings rest? It is that ‘great and first commandment: you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart’. For what is easier, better and more agreeable than to love goodness, beauty and love, all of which You are, O Lord my God? Do You not offer a reward to those who keep the commandments, which are more desirable than a heap of gold and sweeter than honey from the comb? So in every way You offer a very ample reward, as James the Apostle says: ‘The Lord has prepared the crown of life for those who love Him.’ What is the crown of life? It is a good greater than all we can think of or desire: Paul quotes these words from Isaiah: ‘No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him.’ There is much reward in keeping Your commandments. That first and great commandment is not only profitable for the man who keeps it or for God who commands it: the other commandments of God also make perfect him who obeys them, improve him, instruct him and make him illustrious; in a word, they make him good and holy. If you understand this, realize that you have been created for the Glory of God and for your own eternal salvation; this is your end, this is the object of your soul and the treasure of your heart. You will be blessed if you reach this goal, but miserable if you are cut off from it. Therefore consider that to be for your real good which brings you to your goal, and that to be really bad which cuts you off from this goal. Prosperity and adversity, riches and poverty, health and sickness, honor and ignominy, life and death should not be sought after for themselves by the wise man nor are they to be avoided for themselves: if they contribute to the Glory of God and your eternal happiness, they are good and to be sought after; if they are obstacles to this, they are evil and to be avoided.”

The Victory of the Holy Cross – Sermon by St. John Chrysostom

“Have you seen the wonderful Victory? Have you seen the splendid deeds of the Holy Cross? Shall I tell you something still more mar-velous? Learn in what way the Victory was gained, and you will be even more astonished. For by the very means by which the devil had conquered, by these Christ conquered him; and taking up the weapons with which he had fought, He defeated him. Listen to how it was done. A virgin, a tree and a death were the symbols of our defeat. The virgin was Eve: she had not yet known man; the tree was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; the death was Adam’s penalty. But behold again a Virgin and a tree and a death, those symbols of de-feat, become the symbols of His Victory. For in place of Eve there is Mary; in place of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the tree of the Holy Cross; in place of the death of Adam, the death of Christ. Do you see him defeated by the very things through which he had conquered? At the foot of the tree the devil overcame Adam; at the foot of the tree Christ vanquished the devil. And that first tree sent men to Hades; this second one calls back even those who had al-ready gone down there. Again, the former tree concealed man al-ready despoiled and stripped; the second tree shows a naked Victor on high for all to see. And that earlier death condemned those who were born after it; this second death gives life again to those who were born before it. Who can tell the Lord’s mighty deeds? By death we were made immortal: these are the glorious deeds of the Holy Cross. Have you understood the Victory? Have you grasped how it was wrought? Learn now, how this Victory was gained without any sweat or toil of ours. No weapons of ours were stained with blood; our feet did not stand in the front line of battle; we suffered no wounds; witnessed no tumults; and yet we obtained the Victory. The battle was the Lord’s, the crown is ours. Since then Victory is ours, let us imitate the soldiers, and with joyful voices sing the songs of Victory. Let us praise the Lord and say, Death is swallowed up in Victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The Holy Cross did all these wonderful things for us: the Holy Cross is a war memorial erected against the demons, a sword against sin, the sword with which Christ slew the serpent. The Holy Cross is the Father’s Will, the glory of the Only-begotten, the Spirit’s exultation, the beauty of the angels, the guardian of the Church. Paul glories in the Holy Cross; it is the rampart of the saints, it is the light of the whole world.”

From a discourse by St. Andrew of Crete on the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

“The fulfilment of the law is Christ Himself, who does not so much lead us away from the letter as lift us up to its spirit. For the law’s consummation was this, that the very lawgiver accomplished His work and changed letter into spirit, summing every-thing up in Himself and, though subject to the law, living by Grace. He subordinated the law, yet harmoniously united Grace with it, not confusing the distinctive characteristics of the one with the other, but effecting the transition in a way most fitting for God. He changed whatever was burdensome, servile and oppressive not what is light and liberating, so that we should be enslaved no longer under the elemental spirits of the world, as the Apostle says, nor held fast as bondservants under the letter of the law. This is the highest, all-embracing benefit that Christ has be-stowed on us. This is the revelation of the mystery, this is the emptying out of the Divine Nature, the union of God and man, and the Deification of the manhood that was assumed. This radiant and manifest coming of God to men most certainly needed a joyful prelude to introduce the great gift of salvation to us. The present festival, the birth of the Mother of God, is the prelude, while the final act is the fore-ordained union of the Word with flesh. Today the Virgin is born, tended and formed and prepared for her role as Mother of God, who is the universal King of the ages. Justly, then, do we celebrate this mystery since it signifies for us a double Grace. We are led towards the Truth, and we are led away from our condition of slavery to the letter of the law. How can this be? Darkness yields before the coming of the light, and Grace exchanges legalism for freedom. But midway between the two stands today’s mystery, at the frontier where types and symbols give way to reality, and the old is replaced by the new. Therefore, let all creation sing and dance and unite to make worthy contribution to the celebration of this day. Let there be one common festival for saints in Heaven and men on earth. Let everything, mundane things and those above, join in festive celebration. Today this created world is raised to the dignity of a holy place for Him who made all things. The creature is newly pre-pared to be a Divine dwelling place for the Creator.

Surrender to Jesus

“As our last end, our center, and Supreme Good, God alone is capable of giving us true peace, perfect rest, and of filling and satiating the immense capacity of our soul. When our soul renounces everything earthly to give itself entirely to its Creator, He fills it with ineffable repose, with a peace surpassing all understanding and the reward of infinite blessings. As a prototype He gives us the model and example of admirable perfection and sanctity, saying: Be holy because I am holy (Lv 11:44). Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48). Be merciful as your Father is merciful (Lk 6:36). Be imitators of God, beloved children (Eph 5:1). Furthermore, He imprints His Divine Image upon souls who give themselves entirely to Him. O my God, I surrender myself to You; engrave in my soul a perfect image of Your sanctity and Your Divine Perfections. As king, ruler, and protector, God rules us by the holiest laws, and He is ceaselessly vigilant in governing and protecting us. As judge, He continually exercises His justice and His judgment in the world, giving to everyone according to his works, punishing some and rewarding others. Let us adore and bless God in all the effects He has produced and will produce in creatures by His claims upon man. Let us thank Him for the blessings He has produced in us or would have produced if we had not prevented Him. Let us ask par-don for our resistance. Let us give ourselves to Him that He may exercise all His Divine Powers over us as He pleases and make them as fruitful in us as He desires.” St. John Eudes (St. John (+1680) founded the Society of Jesus and Mary (Eudists) and promoted devotion the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
 

From the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

In their sermons and speeches on the feast day of the Assumption of the Mother of God, the holy fathers and the great doctors of the Church were speaking of something that the faithful already knew and accepted: all they did was to bring it out into the open, to explain its meaning and substance in other terms. Above all, they made it most clear that this feast commemorated not merely the fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary did not experience bodily decay, but also her triumph over death and her heavenly glory, following the example of her only Son, Jesus Christ. Thus St. John Damascene, who is the greatest exponent of this Tradition, compares the bodily Assumption of the revered Mother of God with her other gifts and privileges: It was right that she who had kept her virginity unimpaired through the process of giving birth should have kept her body without decay through death. It was right that she who had given her Creator, as a child, a place at her breast should be given a place in the dwelling-place of her God. It was right that the bride espoused by the Father should dwell in the heavenly bridal chamber. It was right that she who had gazed on her Son on the Cross, her heart pierced at that moment by the sword of sorrow that she had escaped at His birth, should now gaze on Him seated with His Father. It was right that the Mother of God should possess what belongs to her Son and be honored by every creature as God’s Mother and handmaid. St. Germanus of Constantinople considered the preservation from decay of the body of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and its elevation to Heaven as being not only appropriate to her Motherhood but also to the peculiar sanctity of its virgin state: It is written, that you appear in beauty, and your virginal body is altogether holy, altogether chaste, altogether the dwelling-place of God; from which it follows that it is not in its nature to decay into dust, but that it is transformed, being human, into a glorious and incorruptible life, the same body, living and glorious, unharmed, sharing in perfect life. Another very ancient author asserts: Being the most glorious Mother of Christ our savior and our God, the giver of life and immortality, she is given life by Him and shares bodily incorruptibility for all eternity with Him who raised her from the grave and drew her up to Him in a way that only He can understand. All that the holy fathers say refers ultimately to Scripture as a foundation, which gives us the vivid image of the great Mother of God as being closely attached to her Divine Son and always sharing His lot. It is important to remember that from the second century onwards the holy fathers have been talking of the Virgin Mary as the new Eve for the new Adam: not equal to Him, of course, but closely joined with Him in the battle against the enemy, which ended in the triumph over sin and death that had been promised even in Paradise. The glorious resurrection of Christ is essential to this Victory and its final prize, but the Blessed Virgin’s share in that fight must also have ended in the glorification of her body. For as the Apostle says: When this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the Scripture will be fulfilled that says “Death is swallowed up in victory”. So then, the great Mother of God, so mysteriously united to Jesus Christ from all eternity by the same decree of predestination, Immaculately Conceived, an intact virgin throughout her Divine Motherhood, a noble associate of our Redeemer as He defeated sin and its consequences, received, as it were, the final crowning privilege of being preserved from the corruption of the grave and, following her Son in His Victory over death, was brought, body and soul, to the highest glory of Heaven, to shine as Queen at the right hand of that same Son, the immortal King of Ages.

Reflection from the Spiritual Canticle by St John of the Cross:

“The soul united to God and transformed in Him draws from within God a Divine Breath, much like the most high God Himself. And God, abiding in the soul, breathes forth the Life of the soul as its exemplar. This I take to be what Paul meant when he said: Because you are Children of God, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, “Abba, Father;” this is what takes place in those who have achieved perfection. One should not wonder that the soul is capable of so sublime an activity. For if God so favors her that she is made God-like by union with the most Holy Trinity, I ask you then, why it should seem so incredible that the soul, at one with the Trinity and in the greatest possible likeness to it, should share the understanding, knowledge and love which God achieves in Himself? How this is possible no other power or wisdom can express, save by explaining how the Son of God obtained this sublime state for us and won for us the power to be the Children of God, as He asked of the Father: Father, I desire that where I am those you have given me may also be with me, that they may see the glory you have given me, that is, that they may share with certainty the very task I perform? And then He said: Not for them alone do I ask but also for those who will come to believe in me through their teaching, that all may be one as you, Father, are one in me and I in you, that they may be one in us; that the world may believe that you have sent me. And the glory you have given me I have given them that they may be one as we are. I in them, you in me, that they may be made perfect, and the world will know that you sent me and as you have loved me, so I have loved them. The Father thus gives them the same love He shares with the Son, though not by nature as with the Son, but through unity and transformation of Love. One should not think that the Son is asking the Father to make the saints one with Him in essence and nature as the Son is with the Father, but rather that they be united with Him in Love, just as the Father and Son are one in the essential unity of Love. Accordingly, souls possess the same goods by participation that the Son possesses by nature. As a result, they are truly Divine by participation, equals and companions of God. Thus Peter said: May grace and peace be perfected in you in the knowledge of God and Christ Jesus our Lord. For all things of his divine power, which are given to us for our life and goodness, are given through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and power, by which he has given us great and precious promises, that by these we may be made partakers of the divine nature. So the soul, in this union which God has ordained, joins in the work of the Trinity, not yet fully as in the life to come, but nonetheless even now in a real and perceptible way. O my soul, created to enjoy such exquisite gifts, what are you doing, where is your life going? How wretched is the blindness of Adam’s children, if indeed we are blind to such a brilliant light and deaf to so insistent a voice.”

Prayer for any time of day to defeat temptation

Popular tradition holds that St. Anthony of Padua taught a prayer to a poor woman who sought help against the temptations of the devil. The Franciscan Pope, Sixtus V, had the prayer - also called “the motto of St. Anthony” - engraved into the base of the obelisk erected in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. In the original Latin, the prayer says:


Ecce Crucem Domini!

Fugite partes adversae!

Vicit Leo de tribu Juda, Radix David!

Alleluia!


And translated, it reads


Behold, the Cross of the Lord!

Begone, all evil powers!

The Lion of the tribe of Judah, The Root of David, has conquered!

Alleluia!

Go to Joseph

“Go, then to Joseph, and do all that he shall say to you; Go to Joseph, and obey him as Jesus and Mary obeyed him; Go to Joseph, and speak to him as they spoke to him; Go to Joseph, and consult him as they consulted him; Go to Joseph, and honor him as they honored him; Go to Joseph, and be grateful to him as they were grateful to him; Go to Joseph, and love him, as they love him still.” St. Alphonsus Liguori “Some Saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others; but our holy patron St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking.” St. Thomas Aquinas

Reflection by St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

To approach God we must believe. Thus speaks St. Paul. He also says, Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. That is, “Faith makes so present and so certain future goods, that by it they take on existence in our soul and subsist there before we have fruition of them.” St. John of the Cross says that it serves as “feet” to go to God, and that it is “possession in an obscure manner.” It alone can give us true light concerning Him whom we love, and our soul must choose it as the means to reach blessed union. It pours out in torrents in the depths of our being all spiritual goods. Christ, speaking to the Samaritan woman, indicated Faith when He promised to all those who would believe in Him that He would give them a Fountain of Water springing up unto life everlasting. Thus even in this life Faith gives us God - covered, it is true, with a veil, but nonetheless God Himself. When that which is perfect comes, that is, clear vision, then that which is imperfect, in other words, knowledge given through Faith, will receive all its perfection (1 Cor 13:10). We have come to know and to believe in the Love God has for us. That is our great act of Faith, the way to repay our God Love for Love; it is the mystery hidden in the Father’s Heart, of which St. Paul speaks, which, at last, we penetrate and our whole soul thrills! When it can believe in this exceeding Love which envelops it, we may say of it as was said of Moses, he was unshakable in Faith as if he had seen the Invisible (Heb 11:27). It no longer rests in inclinations or feelings; it matters little to the soul whether it feels God or not, whether He sends it joy or suffering: it believes in His Love. The more it is tried, the more its Faith increases because it passes over all obstacles, as it were, to go rest in the Heart of Infinite Love who can perform only works of Love. So also to this soul wholly awakened in its Faith the Master’s voice can say in intimate secrecy the words…God in peace, your Faith has saved you.

Prayer to Our Lady Mount Carmel (Feast: July 16)

O most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine; splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity (name intention). O star of the sea, help me and show me herein you are my Mother. O holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart, to aid me in my need; there are none that can withstand your power. O show me herein you are my Mother. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. (3x) Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands. (3x)
 

Prayer for Priests by St. Teresa of Avila

“O my Most Sweet Jesus, O Jesus, Eternal High Priest, keep Thy priests in the shelter of Thy Sacred Heart, where no one can hurt them. Keep their anointed hands unsullied, which daily handle Thy Sacred Body. Keep pure the lips which are reddened with Thy Precious Blood. Keep pure and unworldly their hearts which are sealed with the sublime token of Thy glorious Priesthood. Cause them to grow in love and loyalty to Thee and protect them from the contamination of the world. With their power of transforming bread and wine, give them the power of transforming hearts. Bless their work with rich fruit and grant them one day the crown of Eternal Life. Amen.”


Daily Offering to the Father - by St Gertrude the Great (1256-1302)

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Holy Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, for those in my own home, and in my family. Amen.
 

From the Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila

“What person, however careless, who had to address someone of importance, would not spend time in thinking how to approach him so as to please him and not be considered tedious? He would also think what he was going to ask for and what use he would make of it, especially if his petition were for some particular thing, as our good Jesus tells us our petitions must be. This point seems to me very important. Could you not, my Lord, have ended this prayer in a single sentence, by saying: “Give us, Father, whatever is good for us”? For, in addressing One Who knows everything, there would seem to be no need to say any more. Eternal Wisdom! Between you and your Father this was quite sufficient. This is how you made your request of Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. You showed Him what You wished for and what You feared, but left it all in His hands. But You know us, my Lord, and You know that we have not given ourselves up to the Will of Your Father as completely as You did. For us, it is best to pray for specific things, so that as each of them comes to mind we can pause to consider whether it is something good that we are asking for; so that if it is not, we should refrain from asking for it. Otherwise (being what we are, free will and all) we will not accept what God chooses to give us, even if it is far better than what we asked for, simply because it is not exactly what we asked for. We are the sort of people who cannot feel rich unless we feel the weight of the actual coins in our hand. Now the good Jesus bids us say these words, in which we pray that the Kingdom may come in us: Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come. See how great our Master’s Wisdom is! I am thinking of what it is we are asking for when we ask for the Kingdom: it is important that we should understand this. His Majesty saw that because of our weakness we could not hallow or praise or magnify or glorify the Holy Name of the Eternal Father in a way adequate to its greatness. We could not, that is, do it by ourselves, if His Majesty did not help us by giving us His Kingdom here on earth. And so the good Jesus places these two petitions - Hallowed be Thy Name and Thy Kingdom come next to each other, so that we can understand what we are asking for and why it is important to beg for it and to do all we can to please the One who is able to give it to us. Let me explain how I understand it. Now, then. The greatest joy in the Kingdom of Heaven (the greatest among many) seems to me to be that we will no longer be tied up with earthly concerns but will have rest and glory within us - rejoicing that gives joy to everyone, peace that lasts forever - satisfaction in ourselves, a satisfaction that comes from seeing how everyone is praising the Lord and blessing and hallowing His Name, while no one offends Him. Everyone loves Him. Each soul has no wish other than to love Him: it cannot stop loving Him because it knows Him truly. If only we knew Him like that even here on earth, we would love Him in the same way - not with that degree of perfection, of course, but in a very different way from the way we love Him now.”

From St Cyprian's treatise on the Lord's Prayer

“Christ has clearly added a law here, binding us to a definite condition, that we should ask for our debts to be forgiven us only as much as we ourselves forgive our debtors, knowing that we cannot obtain what we seek in respect of our own sins unless we ourselves have acted in exactly the same way to those who have sinned against us. This is why He says in another place: By whatever standard you measure, by that standard will you too be measured. And the servant who had all his debt forgiven him by his Master but would not forgive his fellow-servant was cast into prison: because he would not forgive his fellow-servant, he lost the indulgence that his Master had granted him. And Christ makes this point even more strongly in His teaching: When you stand up to pray, He says, if you have anything against anyone, forgive it, so that your Father who is in Heaven may forgive your sins. But if you do not forgive, nor will your Father in Heaven forgive you. On the day of judgment there are no possible excuses: you will be judged according to your own sentence, and whatever you have inflicted, that is what you will suffer. For God commands us to be peacemakers, and to agree, and to be of one mind in His House. What He has made us by the second birth He wishes us to continue during our infancy, that we who have begun to be children of God may abide in His peace, and that having one Spirit we should also have one heart and one mind. Thus God does not accept the sacrifice of one who is in disagreement but commands him to go back from the altar and first be reconciled with his brother, so that God may be placated by the prayers of a peacemaker. Our peace and concord are the greatest possible sacrifice to God - a people united in the unity of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Not even when Abel and Cain were making the first sacrifice - not even then did God pay attention to their gifts. He looked into their hearts, and the gift that was acceptable was the one offered by the one who was acceptable in his heart. Abel, peaceable and righteous in sacrificing in innocence to God, taught the rest of us that when we bring our gift to the altar we should come, like him, with the Fear of God, with a heart free of deceit, with the law of righteousness, with the peace of concord. He sacrificed in such a way, and so he was worthy to become, afterwards, himself a sacrifice to God: he who bore witness through the first martyrdom, who initiated the Lord’s passion by the glory of his blood, had both the Lord’s righteousness and the Lord’s peace. Such are those who are crowned by the Lord at the end; such are those who will sit and judge with Him on the day of judgment. But he who quarrels and stirs up discord, he who is not at peace with his brethren - the Apostle and holy Scripture together testify that even if he meets death for the sake of Christ’s Name, he will still be held guilty of fraternal dissension, for it is written, whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and the murderer cannot attain the Kingdom of Heaven or abide with God. No-one can be with Christ who preferred to imitate Judas rather than Christ.”

Lectio Divina

Introductory Prayer + Humbly recognize the loving Presence of the indwelling Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

+ Praise and thank Him for His Word and this moment of prayer.

+ Ask the Holy Spirit for the gift to receive the Word of God as He wills. Lectio (Reading)

What does the Word of God say?

+ Slowly read the passage a few times with great attentive reverence, aloud if possible.

+ Notice the words that strike you in a particular way, positively or negatively. Meditatio (Meditation) What does the Word of God say to me? + Dialog with God about why those particular words and phrases struck you; how do they apply to you?

+ Reflect on your own reactions to the Word; what is God showing you about yourself?

+ Write down reflections and insights. Oratio (Praying) What do I say to God in response to His Word?

+ Respond sincerely in a conversation with God as with a friend; talk about what is really in your heart.

+ Praise, thank, trust Him; ask for forgiveness; intercede, petition for graces. Contemplatio (Contemplation) What conversion of heart is God asking of me?

+ Be present with the Word and rest in God.

+ Thank Jesus for living this gift of Himself in me. Concluding Prayer

+ Praise and thank God for the graces received.

+ Close with an Our Father

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St . Margaret Mary Alacoque :

Our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to St. Margaret Mary between 1673-1675. Among the words spoken to her, she heard Jesus make 12 promises to those who would respond to the pleading of His Heart and make an effort to return His Love. St. Margaret Mary once said, “I do not know of any other exercise in the spiritual life that is more calculated to raise a soul in a short amount of time to the height of perfection and to make it taste the true sweetness to be found in the service of Jesus Christ.”
1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life. 2. I will establish peace in their homes. 3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions. 4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death. 5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings. 6. Sinners will find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of Mercy. 7. Lukewarm souls shall become fervent. 8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection. 9. I will bless every place in which an image of My Heart is exposed and honored. 10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts. 11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart. 12. I promise you in the excessive Mercy of My Heart that My all powerful Love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in My disgrace, nor without receiving their Sacraments. My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

The Anima Christi

The Anima Christi is a prayer from around the 14th century. It is still widely used after receiving the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Holy Communion. Soul of Christ, sanctify me Body of Christ, save me Blood of Christ, inebriate me Water from Christ's side, wash me Passion of Christ, strengthen me O good Jesus, hear me Within Thy wounds hide me Suffer me not to be separated from Thee From the malicious enemy defend me In the hour of my death call me And bid me come unto Thee That I may praise Thee with Thy saints and with Thy angels, Forever and ever. Amen. http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/

The Holy Trinity (From a letter by St. Athanasius)

“It will not be out of place to consider the ancient tradition, teaching and Faith of the Catholic Church, which was revealed by the Lord, proclaimed by the apostles and guarded by the fathers. For upon this Faith the Church is built, and if anyone were to lapse from it, he would no longer be a Christian either in fact or in name. We acknowledge the Trinity, holy and perfect, to consist of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In this Trinity there is no intrusion of any alien element or of anything from outside, nor is the Trinity a blend of creative and created being. It is a wholly creative and energizing reality, self-consistent and undivided in its active power, for the Father makes all things through the Word and in the Holy Spirit, and in this way the unity of the Holy Trinity is preserved. Accordingly, in the Church, one God is preached, one God who is above all things and through all things and in all things. God is above all things as Father, for He is principle and source; He is through all things through the Word; and He is in all things in the Holy Spirit. Writing to the Corinthians about spiritual matters, Paul traces all reality back to one God, the Father, saying: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone. Even the Gifts that the Spirit dispenses to individuals are given by the Father through the Word. For all that belongs to the Father belongs also to the Son, and so the Graces given by the Son in the Spirit are true Gifts of the Father. Similarly, when the Spirit dwells in us, the Word who bestows the Spirit is in us too, and the Father is present in the Word. This is the meaning of the text: My Father and I will come to him and make Our home with him. For where the light is, there also is the radiance; and where the radiance is, there too are its power and its resplendent Grace. This is also Paul’s teaching in his Second Letter to the Corinthians: The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. For Grace and the Gift of the Trinity are given by the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. Just as Grace is given from the Father through the Son, so there could be no communication of the Gift to us except in the Holy Spirit. But when we share in the Spirit, we possess the Love of the Father, the Grace of the Son and the Fellowship of the Spirit Himself.”

Prayer to the Virgin Mary:

My Queen, my Mother, I give myself entirely to you, and to show my devotion to you, I consecrate to you this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my entire self without reserve. As I am your own, my good Mother, guard me and defend me as your property and possession. Amen.

Prayer to St. Joseph:

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls - pray for me. Amen.


Spiritual Communion Prayer:

My Jesus, I believe that You are truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally in the Most Holy Eucharist, please come at least spiritually into my heart now. I spiritually em-brace You and choose to unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You and Your Love. Thank You, Jesus! I love You! Amen

Prayer for Priests by St. Therese of Lisieux, Carmelite

O Jesus, eternal Priest, keep you priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart, where none may touch them. Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Your Sacred Body. Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with Your Precious Blood. Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the Priesthood. Let Your holy Love surround them and shield them from the world’s contagion. Bless their labors with abundant fruit and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here and in Heaven their beautiful and everlasting crown. Amen.

Victory in our Lord’s Precious Blood

“I, Caterina, servant and slave of the servants of Christ crucified, am writing to you in His Precious Blood. I long to see you sharing in the Blood of God’s Son - as a son created by the supreme Father in His image and likeness and as a ransomed servant, so that you may walk in love and in holy awe of God… What heart is so hard and stubborn that it would not melt contemplating the affectionate love Divine Goodness bears for it? Love, then, love! Ponder the fact that you were loved before ever you loved. For God looked within Himself and fell in love with the beauty of His creature and so created us. He was moved by the fire of His ineffable Charity to one purpose only: that we should have Eternal Life and enjoy the infinite good God was enjoying in Himself. Oh boundless Love, well have you shown that Love! When we lost grace by deadly sin, by disobedience to You, my Lord, we lost Love. But look at the way the Holy Spirit’s clemency chose to restore grace to us. See how God’s supreme exaltedness took on the servitude of our humanity in such lowliness and profound humility that our pride ought to be utterly confounded! Adam’s foolish children may well be ashamed. For is there any greater sight than to see God stooped down to humanity - as if humanity were in control of God rather than God having control over humanity? For humanity is nothing of itself; what we have, we have from God by grace, not because He owes it to us. This is why no man who knows himself will ever mortally offend God or become proud because of his position or greatness or power. If he were lord of the whole world, he would consider himself nothing… This is why the saints say that God’s servants are the ones who are free sovereigns; they have won the victory. There are many who have been victorious over a city or a fortress, but if they have failed to conquer themselves and their enemies - the world the flesh, and the devil - one could say they have nothing at all… Choose to hold fast your lordship over the city of your soul. Fight fiercely against those three enemies… These enemies of ours have been rendered powerless, because the spotless Lamb gave Himself up to the shameful death of the most Holy Cross in order to restore our liberty and make us free.” From a letter by St. Catherine of Siena (+1380) Doctor of the Church, Third Order Dominican, stigmatist and papal counselor

The Victory of the Holy Cross:

“Death trampled our Lord underfoot, but He in His turn treated death as a highroad for His own feet. He submitted to it, enduring it willingly, because by this means He would be able to destroy death in spite of itself. Death had its own way when our Lord went out from Jerusalem carrying His Cross; but when by a loud cry from that Cross He summoned the dead from the underworld, death was powerless to prevent it. Death slew Him by means of the Body which He had assumed, but that same Body proved to be the weapon with which He conquered death. Concealed beneath the cloak of His manhood, His Godhead engaged death in combat; but in slaying our Lord, death itself was slain. It was able to kill natural human life, but was itself killed by the Life that is above the nature of man. Death could not devour our Lord unless He possessed a Body, neither could hell swallow Him up unless He bore our flesh; and so He came in search of a chariot in which to ride to the underworld. This chariot was the Body which He received from the Virgin; in it He invaded death’s fortress, broke open its strong-room and scattered all its treasure. At length He came upon Eve, the mother of all the living. She was that vineyard whose enclosure her own hands had enabled death to violate, so that she could taste its fruit; thus the mother of all the living became the source of death for every living creature. But in her stead Mary grew up, a new vine in place of the old. Christ, the new Life, dwelt within her. When death, with its customary impudence, came foraging for her mortal fruit, it encountered its own destruction in the hidden Life that fruit contained. All unsuspecting, it swallowed Him up, and in so doing released Life itself and set free a multitude of men. He who was also the carpenter’s glorious Son set up His Cross above death’s all-consuming jaws, and led the human race into the dwelling place of Life. Since a tree had brought about the downfall of mankind, it was upon a Tree that mankind crossed over to the realm of life. Bitter was the branch that had once been grafted upon that ancient tree, but sweet the young shoot that has now been grafted in, the shoot in which we are meant to recognize the Lord whom no creature can resist. We give glory to You, Lord, who raised up Your Cross to span the jaws of death like a bridge by which souls might pass from the region of the dead to the land of the living. We give glory to You who put on the Body of a single mortal man and made it the source of Life for every other mortal man. You are incontestably alive. Your murderers sowed Your living Body in the earth as farmers sow grain, but it sprang up and yielded an abundant harvest of men raised from the dead. Come then, my brothers and sisters, let us offer our Lord the great and all-embracing Sacrifice of our Love, pouring out our treasury of hymns and prayers before Him who offered His Cross in Sacrifice to God for the enrichment of us all.” (St. Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church)

All are called to Holiness:

“If the business of becoming holy seems to present insufferable difficulties, it is merely because we have a wrong idea of it. In reality, holiness consists of one thing only: complete loyalty to God’s Will. Now everyone can practice this loyalty, whether actively or passively. To be actively loyal means obeying the laws of God and the Church and fulfilling all the duties imposed on us by our way of life. Passive loyalty means that we lovingly accept all that God sends us at each moment of the day. Now is there anything here too difficult for us? Certainly nothing in active loyalty, for if the duties are beyond our powers, we are not expected to attempt to fulfill them. If we are too ill to go to (Holy) Mass, we need not. And it is the same for all other precepts which lay down duties. But, of course, there can be no exemption from precepts which forbid wrongdoing, for we are never allowed to sin. Can anything be more sensible? Or easier? We are left with no excuse. Yet God asks nothing more than this. But He does require it from everyone without exception. Class, time and place mean nothing. Everyone must obey.” Abandonment to Divine Providence, by Fr. Jean-Pierre Caussade

Archdiocesan Synod Prayer to St Joseph Year of St Joseph— December 8, 2020 – December 8, 2021

Heavenly Father, who gave St. Joseph to Jesus and Mary as protector and guide, grant that our Archdiocesan Synod, under his protection and guidance, may help us discern your direction for our Church. May we listen as he listened, trust as he trusted, obey as he obeyed, receive as he received, love as he loved, and share in his life of devotion to Jesus and Mary. Amen. St. Joseph, pray for us. archspm.org/synod/stjoseph

Prayer for Priests by St. Therese of Lisieux, Carmelite

O Jesus, eternal Priest, keep you priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart, where none may touch them. Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Your Sacred Body. Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with Your Precious Blood. Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the Priesthood. Let Your holy Love surround them and shield them from the world’s contagion. Bless their labors with abundant fruit and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here and in Heaven their beautiful and everlasting crown. Amen.


Spiritual Communion Prayer:

My Jesus, I believe that You are truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally in the Most Holy Eucharist, please come at least spiritually into my heart now. I spiritually embrace You and choose to unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You and Your Love. Thank You, Jesus! I love You! Amen.
 

RENEWAL OF BAPTISMAL PROMISES

V. Do you reject Satan?

R. I do.

V. And all his works?

R. I do.

V. And all his empty promises?

R. I do.

V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth?

R. I do.

V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?

R. I do.

V. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?

R. I do.

Lord Jesus, Have Mercy on Us (Diary of St. Faustina, 72 & 73)

“O Jesus, eternal Truth, our Life, I call upon You and I beg Your mercy for poor sinners. O sweetest Heart of my Lord, full of pity and unfathomable mercy, I plead with You for poor sinners. O Most Sacred Heart, Fount of Mercy from which gush forth rays of inconceivable graces upon the entire human race, I beg of You light for poor sinners. O Jesus, be mindful of Your own bitter Passion and do not permit the loss of souls redeemed at so dear a price of Your most Precious Blood. O Jesus, when I consider the great price of Your Blood, I rejoice at its immensity, for one drop alone would have been enough for the salvation of all sinners. Although sin is an abyss of wickedness and ingratitude, the price paid for us can never be equaled. Therefore, let every soul trust in the Passion of the Lord, and place its hope in His mercy. God will not deny His mercy to anyone. Heaven and earth may change, but God's mercy will never be exhausted. Oh, what immense joy burns in my heart when I contemplate Your incomprehensible goodness, O Jesus! I desire to bring all sinners to Your feet that they may glorify Your mercy throughout endless ages. O my Jesus, despite the deep night that is all around me and the dark clouds which hide the horizon, I know that the sun never goes out. O Lord, though I cannot comprehend You and do not understand Your ways, I nonetheless trust in Your mercy. If it is Your will, Lord, that I live always in such darkness, may You be blessed. I ask You only one thing, Jesus: do not allow me to offend You in any way. O my Jesus, You alone know the longings and the sufferings of my heart. I am glad I can suffer for You, however little. When I feel that the suffering is more than I can bear, I take refuge in the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and I speak to Him with profound silence.”

The ABC's of Mercy:

The message of Mercy is that God loves us - all of us, no matter how great our sins. He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. It is a message we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC. Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world. Be Merciful to Others. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us. Completely Trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.

What is the Easter Octave?

The octave of Easter is made up of the eight days from Easter Sunday to Divine Mercy Sunday (the Second Sunday of Easter). It is a way of continuing in the experience of the spiritual blessings of Easter Sunday and prolonging the joy of Jesus’ victory over sin and death. Spiritually, each day of the Octave calls us to continue to experience the joy we celebrate in the mystery of Christ’s love for us and His promise to give us a share in His victory.

Prayer Before the Crucifix:

Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus while before Your face I humbly kneel and, with burning soul, pray and beseech You to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of Faith, Hope, and Charity; true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment. While I contemplate, with great love and tender pity, Your five most Precious Wounds, pondering over them within me and calling to mind the words which David, Your prophet, said of You, my Jesus: “They have pierced My hands and My feet, they have numbered all My bones.” Amen.
 

Jesus: Our Consolation:

“Go and sin no more. This is what Jesus says to me every time I go to confession. How great is the goodness of heart of my Beloved, and I wish to respond to His delicacy towards me with a pure soul and the heart of an angel! These words of our Lord touch me to the quick. How delicate is the Heart of Jesus. Such love and such tenderness could proceed only from God! I undertake, O my Jesus, to sin no more. At your feet in the Sacrament of Penance, I, a penitent sinner, will humbly implore your infinite Mercy. I will be direct and open, and will ask you unceasingly for that grace, which is so uncommon, to walk straight before the Lord… You have the words of Eternal Life, and I will listen to no other voice but Yours, Jesus, the God of my soul! Only You, O my Jesus, Life of my life, speak to my heart. O divine Speech, O beloved Word! O beloved Host! O my Jesus meek and humble of Heart. Speak to my heart and calm the storms which agitate it. Say but a word, and peace will return to it. Speak, my Lord, speak; your poor servant listens to You, one word from You and my soul shall be saved. To whom shall I go, Life of my life, if not to You who are Life Eternal? When my soul is sad and weary through desolation and abandonment, where shall I find refreshment, and peace, if not in Your most Precious Blood, which rejoices the soul by the visits of Its Grace. When I am overcome with weakness and discouragement, when temptations surround me on every side, to whom shall I have recourse, but to Him who is consolation and strength itself? And when my soul is flooded and filled with consolation, and peace and happiness reign in my heart, to whom shall I go, if not to You, O my Jesus, that I may share my joy and happiness with You. On every occasion, O my Beloved, it is to You that I wish to go; it is upon Your most loving Heart that I wish to lean, both now and through eternity.” --Blessed Concepcion Cabrera de Armida (Blessed Concepcion (+1937),also known as ‘Conchita’, was a wife, mother, widow and mystic; and the first Mexican laywoman to be beatified.)

God’s trust in St. Joseph:

“If the name of trustee is a mark of honor and testifies to probity; if, in order to confide a trust, we choose the one whose virtue is most assured, whose fidelity is most proven, and finally, the one who is the most intimate and most confidential of our friends, then how shall we measure the glory of Saint Joseph? God made him the trustee not only of blessed Mary, whose angelic purity made her so acceptable in his eyes, but still more of his own Son, the sole object of his delight and the unique hope of our salvation. Saint Joseph he made the trustee of the common treasure of God and man: the person of Jesus Christ. What eloquence could equal the grandeur and majesty of this title? He cannot be rightly praised without the assistance of grace. Grace will help me to plumb so deep a mystery… The first of the treasures committed to his trust - the first, that is, in the order of time - was the holy virginity of Mary, which he had to preserve inviolate under the sacred veil of marriage, and which he always religiously protected as a sacred trust. The second and the more imposing was the person of Jesus Christ, whom the heavenly Father placed in his hands so that he might serve as the earthly father of the Holy Child. The third you will find most admirable, if I am able to explain it to you clearly. To understand it, we must realize that a secret is a kind of treasure. To betray the secret of a friend is to violate the sanctity of trust. The law says that if you spread abroad the secret of a testament that I confide in you, I may then take action against you for your lapse as trustee. The reason for this is plain: a secret is a kind of trust. From this you will easily comprehend that Joseph was the trustee of the eternal Father because God told him His secret. Which secret? The marvelous secret of the Incarnation of His Son. God’s plan was not to reveal Jesus Christ to the world before His hour had come. Saint Joseph was chosen not only to keep the secret, but even to conceal it. Thus, we read in the Gospel that, with Mary, he marveled at all that was said of the Savior, but we do not read that he spoke, because the eternal Father revealed the mystery to him in secret and under the obligation of silence. Saint Bernard explained: “God desired to entrust to his faithfulness the most sacred secret of His heart.” How precious you are to God, O peerless Joseph, for to you He confided His three great treasures: the virginity of Mary, the person of His only-begotten Son, and the secret of all His mystery.” Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet (+1704)

 

True Love

“But remember, we cannot attain such a great good as seeing God without first making an effort in this life to experience Him through burning, blazing love, a love that attracts and embraces all the virtues. Anyone who has been wounded by the arrow of Divine Charity will not be lacking in virtue, and that Charity is gotten at the table of the most Holy Cross, where the spotless Lamb is table, food, and waiter. Now how can we keep from loving our gentle Savior, when we see how much we have been loved by Him? It is the character and way of Love always to return Love for Love, and lover is trans-formed into beloved. So it is with the soul, Christ’s bride, who sees herself loved by Him: let her show that she wants to make a return to Him by returning His Love. I mean, let her because of her Love be willing to endure pain and dishonor for Him, and she will thus be transformed and become one with Him through Love and desire. She will Love what God Loves and hate what God hates, for she will see that the gentle Jesus found His greatest joy in enduring the burdensome Cross for Love of the Father’s honor and our salvation, as one who relished souls. And we must relish them in the same way, and conform ourselves with Him. So let’s run! Let’s sleep no longer in the bed of apathy! Let’s run to get to this true Good! I’ll say no more. Keep living in God’s holy and tender Love. Gentle Jesus! Jesus Love!” St. Catherine of Sienna (d. 1380; Doctor of the Church, Dominican, stigmatist and papal counselor)

The Year of St. Joseph Prayer

Ad te, beate Ioseph: To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our afflictions, and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also. Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by His Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities. O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be kind to us and from Heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness. As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in Heaven. Amen. by Pope Leo XIII in his 1889 encyclical, Quamquam Pluries.

True Wisdom

Boasting only in our Lord “The wise man must not boast of his wisdom, nor the strong man of his strength, nor the rich man of his riches. What then is the right kind of boasting? What is the source of man’s greatness? Scripture says: The man who boasts must boast of this, that he knows and understands that I am the Lord. Here is man’s great-ness, here is man’s glory and majesty: to know in truth what is great, to hold fast to it, and to seek glory from the Lord of glory. The Apostle tells us: The man who boasts must boast of the Lord. He has just said: Christ was appointed by God to be our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption, so that, as it is written, a man who boasts must boast of the Lord. Boasting of God is perfect and complete when we take no pride in our own righteousness but acknowledge that we are utterly lacking in true righteousness and have been made righteous only by Faith in Christ. Paul boasts of the fact that he holds his own righteousness in con-tempt and seeks the righteousness in Faith that comes through Christ and is from God. He wants only to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and to have fellowship with His sufferings by taking on the likeness of His death, in the hope that somehow he may arrive at the resurrection of the dead. Here we see all overweening pride laid low. Humanity, there is nothing left for you to boast of, for your boasting and hope lie in putting to death all that is your own and seeking the future life that is in Christ. Since we have its first fruits we are already in its midst, living entirely in the grace and gift of God. It is God who is active within us, giving us both the will and the achievement, in accordance with His good purpose. Through His Spirit, God also reveals His wisdom in the plan He has preordained for our glory. God gives power and strength in our labors. I have toiled harder than all the others, Paul says, but it is not I but the grace of God, which is with me. God rescues us from dangers beyond all human expectation. We felt within ourselves that we had received the sentence of death, so that we might not trust ourselves but in God, who raises the dead; from so great a danger did He deliver us, and does deliver us; we hope in Him, for He will deliver us again.” (From a homily by Saint Basil the Great, bishop)

Our Life, our Sweetness, our Hope!

“The Kingdom of Mercy would be of no use if there were none who needed mercy; because it would be a kingdom without sub-jects. “Who are the subjects of mercy,” asks St. Bernard, “if not the miserable?” The Kingdom of Mary, Queen of Mercy, is immense, and extends over the whole earth; because the whole earth is full of miseries. But of all miseries, the greatest is sin; of all who are miserable, the most miserable are sinners. Over these, more than all others, does Mary, the Queen of Mercy, exercise her power and command. These are the subjects who most of all oppress her heart, and em-ploy all her cares, all her thoughts, and all her authority, in order to liberate them from their extreme miseries and render them happy and blessed, provided they only desire it. These are the most precious gems of her royal crown. Come from Lebanon, my spouse; come from Lebanon, come, says the Holy Spirit, her Spouse. You shall be crowned…from the dens of the lions, from the mountains of the leopards (Sg 4:8). Why should her crown be so monstrous, so horrible, composed of lions, of leopards, tigers, and wild beasts? These monsters, these wild beasts, are the bright gems in the crown of the Queen of Mercy, for these monsters and these wild beasts are sinners, whom Mary has converted and saved. “You shall be crowned from the dens of these lions,” says Rupert the Abbot, “for their salvation shall be your crown.” St. Gertrude once saw this most merciful Lady with her mantle spread out, and under it lions, bears, tigers, and many other wild beasts, who were gathered together and protected by Mary, with the greatest kindness; and the saint understood that those wild beasts were sinners, not yet lost, on whom Mary exercises her most tender compassion.” Dom roberto, ER. CAM. (Dom Roberto was a 17th-century Camaldolese hermit at Monte Corona in Italy. Taken from The Love of Mary: Readings for the Month of May. © 1984, TAN Books, Charlotte, NC)

Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe that Thy Divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen.

 

Act of Hope

O my God, relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

 

Act of Charity (Love)

O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all good and worthy of all my love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen.

 

Prayer to the Virgin Mary: 
My Queen, my Mother, I give myself entirely to you, and to show my devotion to you, I consecrate to you this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my entire self without reserve. As I am your own, my good Mother, guard me and defend me as your property and possession. Amen.

Prayer is the light of the soul

Prayer and converse with God is a Supreme Good: it is a partnership and union with God. As the eyes of the body are enlightened when they see light, so our spirit, when it is intent on God, is illumined by His Infinite Light. I do not mean the prayer of outward observance but prayer from the heart, not confined to fixed times or periods, but continuous throughout the day and night. Our spirit should be quick to reach out toward God not only when it is engaged in meditation; at other times also, when it is carrying out its duties, caring for the needy, performing works of charity, giving generously in the service of others, our spirit should long for God, and call Him to mind, so that these works may be seasoned with the salt of God’s Love, and so make a palatable offering to the Lord of the universe. Throughout the whole of our lives we may enjoy the benefit that comes from prayer if we devote a great deal of time to it. Prayer is the light of the spirit, true knowledge of God, mediating between God and man. The spirit, raised up to Heaven by prayer, clings to God with the utmost tenderness; like a child crying tearfully for its mother, it craves the milk that God provides. It seeks the satisfaction of its own desires, and receives gifts outweighing the whole world of nature. Prayer stands before God as an honored ambassador. It gives joy to the spirit, peace to the heart. I speak of prayer, not words. It is the longing for God, love too deep for words, a gift not given by man but by God’s grace. The Apostle Paul says: We do not know how we are to pray but the Spirit Himself pleads for us with inexpressible longings. When the Lord gives this kind of prayer to someone, He gives him riches that cannot be taken away, heavenly food that satisfies the spirit. One who tastes this food is set on fire with an eternal longing for the Lord: His Spirit burns as in a fire of the utmost intensity. Practice prayer from the beginning. Paint your house with the colors of modesty and humility. Make it radiant with the light of justice. Decorate it with the finest gold leaf of good deeds. Adorn it with the walls and stones of Faith and generosity. Crown it with the pinnacle of prayer. In this way you will make it a perfect dwelling place for the Lord. You will be able to receive Him as in a splendid palace, and through His grace you will already possess Him, His image enthroned in the temple of your spirit. From a homily by St. John Chrysostom