- Link to Worldwide Eucharistic Miracles (Catholic Website of the week-by the laptop computer)
- Dead Sea Scrolls Shed Light on Baptism, the Eucharist, Priesthood, and More (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- Read the totality of John 6 ("eat my flesh and drink my blood...") of the Holy Bible (Praying Hands)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
[FINAL MATERIAL is at the end]
Mother of the Eucharist
Every person whether they would admit it or not, or recognize it or not, has as their deepest need and desire to be truly loved. This is not as the world loves, but as God is Love.
The Son, Jesus, left His Father in heaven so that He could come to earth to die for your sins and mine. And then He left His Mother on earth so that He could give us Himself fully Present in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, HIS BODY, HIS BLOOD, HIS SOUL, AND HIS DIVINITY, His whole self in the Holy Eucharist.
And the love at the Holy Mass should not only be coming from one place, namely Jesus. He, Who is only Love and Mercy, must be able to dwell in us fully as He does in the tabernacle. He must do this so that you and I are not rushing from the Holy Mass cutting each other off in the parking lot, but that you and I are most desiring to lay down our lives for one another in our families (to our kids and parents, brothers and sisters), in our friendships (those old and those new friends), in our work place (the one we don’t like) and in our schools (to all our classmates).
Love starts in God’s House with you and me. So let it begin in our immediate families and our parish families. Talk to and invite over that family you do not know well in the parish, especially if they sit by you at everyMass. Visit the sick and home-bound of the parish. Ask how you can help some family in the parish that is in need or suffering in any way.
Go now to MARY, Mother of the Eucharist, MARY, who gave us Jesus in the BODY, go to Mary and THANK (Eucharist means “thanksgiving”) God for the gift of the Holy Eucharist and starting living that gift of selfless love in the here and now!!!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This coming Sunday is the Corpus Christi-Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
P.S.S. A past Sunday’s homily can be found in written form below.
For the homily from this past Sunday (it may take a while to load, please be patient):
-the ritual, sacramental action of thanksgiving to God which constitutes the principal Christian liturgical celebration of and communion in the paschal mystery of Christ [His Passion, Death, and Resurrection].
[The liturgical action called the Eucharist is also traditionally known as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is the heart of the seven sacraments of the Church; the Holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. The Sunday celebration of the Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life.]
"Also to be observed are the day of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christi, the feast of Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, the feast of Saint Joseph, the feast of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints." Catechism of the Catholic Church #2177
Recognize Jesus, fully Present in the Holy Eucharist by being Consecrated to Jesus through Mary!
Having trouble believing that Jesus is fully Present: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist? You are not alone. When someone has doubted, often a Priest, God has often sent a miracle where the Consecrated Host turns into human Flesh or Blood. Check out this site for more!
New York City, N.Y., Jun 5, 2021 / 06:01 am
A perpetual adoration chapel slated to open next spring will bring spiritual healing and revitalization to Manhattan, according to a Dominican priest overseeing the project.
"This is really a project of the Holy Spirit. There's so many times when it's seemed like we're running into snags and they just work themselves out," Fr. Boniface Endorf, a Dominican friar and pastor of St. Joseph's parish in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, told CNA.
"It's clear the Holy Spirit is a driving force, and I think this will be a spiritual gamechanger for Greenwich Village and the city of New York, to have a place where you can encounter Jesus Christ."
Manhattan, one of the most densely populated and influential areas of the entire U.S., currently lacks a perpetual adoration chapel. Last year, Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York asked Fr. Endorf if his parish would be willing to take on the challenge of opening one.
The new chapel will be constructed in a basement space that the parish is currently using for storage. At present the project is in its last stage of fundraising, with construction set to begin in early fall. The goal is to have the chapel open by Easter 2022.
Fr. Endorf's catchphrase for the project is "The city that never sleeps deserves a chapel that never closes."
The location is ideal, Fr. Endorf said, because the area is well-served by public transit. He said St. Joseph parishioners and students from the nearby universities are very excited about the project.
The neighborhood needs the graces that will come from the chapel, Fr. Endorf said. Greenwich Village is a quieter, more residential neighborhood of Manhattan, but also is known for being artistic and bohemian, and also as a haven for LGBT culture.
Fr. Endorf said he fully expects the adoration chapel to be a source of grace for vocations among those to visit; to help ordinary Catholics to grow in holiness; to aid in the strengthening of marriages in the neighborhood; and to provide spiritual healing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit New York City early, and especially hard.
In terms of aesthetics, the parish church itself is neoclassical, and the design of the chapel is somewhat romanesque. The theme for the chapel is Divine Mercy, and it will feature a mosaic of the Divine Mercy image above the monstrance.
The main design element is a large wooden rood screen, a feature born partly out of necessity— the screen protects the monstrance from theft— but which will also serve as a large, visible surface on which to place additional artistry and symbolism.
The chapel will also have choir stalls to allow the faithful to join in with the Dominicans as they pray the liturgy of the hours throughout the day. To keep worshippers safe, the chapel will be secured through a PIN-based or biometric security system, according to the project website.
Fr. Endorf said that when the chapel opens they plan to pursue locals who can sign up for an adoration slot. But he also hopes that people from across New York, as well as tourists, will take advantage of the chapel as well.
Thomas L. McDonaldJesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Revealing the Jewish Roots of Christianity
By John Bergsma
272 pages, $25
To order: amazon.com
The mystique of the Dead Sea Scrolls — from their discovery in the Judean desert in the 1940s to the long delay in publishing — has led to outlandish theories that can obscure the genuine reasons for their fascination. They provide the oldest surviving manuscripts of the Old Testament, proving the continuity and stability of the texts, as well as containing some manuscripts created during the lifetime of Jesus. They also illustrate the beliefs and practices of a community of Jews that developed shortly before the birth of Christ, casting new light on Judaism and the early Church. Most intriguingly, particularly for author and Scripture scholar John Bergsma, are the parallels between the Qumran community of Essenes and the ministries of John the Baptist, Jesus and the Church, and the tantalizing suggestions of contact among them.
Bergsma, a professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, lays out all of these issues carefully and cautiously in Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls: Revealing the Jewish Roots of Christianity. He doesn’t make any outrageous or extraordinary claims, nor engage in the flights of fancy that characterize a certain kind of writing on the Scrolls. Instead, he explores the evidence by focusing on five areas where the world of the Essenes can cast light on the roots of Christianity: baptism, the Eucharist, marriage and celibacy, the priesthood, and the Church.
Who exactly were the Essenes? Josephus counts them among the Pharisees and Sadducees as one of the sects of Judaism, known for their more rigorous lifestyles and interpretation of the Law. Like the Pharisees, they believed in the resurrection of the dead, heaven, hell, angels, demons and other aspects of first-century Judaism that would become part of the Jesus movement. To the Essenes, however, the Pharisees were slackers. They objected to the way the Temple was run, practiced demanding ascetics, engaged in more frequent ritual washings, and lived in communities with common goods.
The movement had two levels of followers: those who married and lived according to the Law in various places, and those who remained celibate and followed a proto-monastic lifestyle of work, prayer, study and copying of Scriptures. In a small settlement at Qumran on the Dead Sea, a group of Essenes awaited the coming of two messiahs — one priestly, one kingly — while they collected and produced a diverse library of documents, including copies of Hebrew scripture (both canonical and non-canonical), community rules, prophecy, apocalyptic writings, law, prayers and interpretations. This library, discovered over a span of 10 years, is what comprises the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The value to Christians of these discoveries should be obvious, since they add greatly to our understanding of religion in the period immediately before and after the Incarnation. They show that certain beliefs about the messiah, celibacy, ritual washing, communal memorial meals, and the kingdom of God were not as alien to first-century Judaism as some have suggested.
Bergsma begins with John the Baptist, who seems as though he could spring out of some of the texts found among the scrolls. Writers less cautious than Bergsma have suggested that, in fact, he is directly referenced in the Scrolls. Like the Essenes, his ministry was prophetic, ascetic and celibate, which made it distinct in the milieu of first-century Judaism. John’s ministry in the Judean wilderness was a half-day’s walk from Qumran, and his use of ritual washing done with repentance and humility echoes particular practices of the community. John’s language of repentance finds parallels in scrolls such as the Damascus Documents, where the Essenes are called the “repentant ones of Israel.”
John identifies himself with Isaiah as a “voice crying out in the wilderness,” which is similarly cited in the Community Rule of Qumran. The passage, in fact, drew both John and the Essenes to choose the wild areas as the locus of their work. Both were preparing for the coming of messiahs. Part of joining the Qumran community was a pledge not to take food prepared outside of the community, except for things found in the wild, which may explain John’s peculiar diet of locusts and honey. The scrolls even detail how to prepare locusts for eating. None of this proves that John was an Essene, but it’s certainly suggestive.
Bergsma also explores a kind of sacred meal of bread and wine practiced by the Essenes. We already knew of these second hand from Josephus, but now the scrolls provide primary evidence that men in priestly garments (white linen) performed ritual immersions and then took a meal in which bread and wine was blessed, prayers were said, and lessons read from scripture or community documents. Interestingly, the Scrolls state that the men are to take their seats according to rank, which evokes Luke 22:24, in which the apostles argue over rank.
These points are just a sample of the connections Bergsma outlines as he views the New Testament through the lens of the Scrolls, casting light on issues such as the Eucharist, the date and location of the Last Supper, celibacy and marriage, the organization of the Church, and the priesthood. These are not all new observations, but they’ve never be synthesized this well for a general readership in such a clear and engaging way.
The subtitle is the key to understanding Bergsma’s project: Christianity grew in Jewish soil and has Jewish roots. By illuminating the beliefs and practices found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, we understand that soil and those roots far better. Even if there were no direct connections between Qumran and early Christianity, we can still learn an immense amount about how Christianity took shape, its concerns and forms, from analyzing the scrolls. And while Bergsma doesn’t prove the link between Qumran and Christianity, he amply and convincingly illustrates its plausibility.
Thomas L. McDonald writes from New Jersey.
After almost 2,000 years of Catholic teaching, the Church boldly proclaims in the Catechism, “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it'” (CCC 1324).
It is a striking statement, one that shows how much the Church values the Eucharist in the present age. Yet, is this belief something new, introduced during the last few centuries? Or has it been part of the Church’s teachings since the very beginning?
To help illustrate that point, here is a small selection of quotes from these Christians that detail their beliefs about the Holy Eucharist. After reading these, it becomes clear how the Church has passed on this teaching over the years virtually unchanged.
On the Lord’s own day, assemble in common to break bread and offer thanks; but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure. However, no one quarreling with his brother may join your meeting until they are reconciled; your sacrifice must not be defiled. For here we have the saying of the Lord: “In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a mighty King, says the Lord; and my name spreads terror among the nations.” (Didache, c. 90)
For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus. (St. Justin Martyr, c. 100)
They [Gnostics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead. (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110)
[Christ] has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own Blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own Body, from which he gives increase to our bodies. (St. Irenaeus of Lyons, c. 140)
The Word is everything to a child: both Father and Mother, both Instructor and Nurse. “Eat My Flesh,” He says, “and drink My Blood.” The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients. He delivers over His Flesh, and pours out His Blood; and nothing is lacking for the growth of His children. O incredible mystery! (St. Clement of Alexandria, c. 150)
“These are the heroes. This is heroism of the family!” the pontiff said during his Jun. 6 catechesis.
The Pope spoke of men and women who come to work, sleep-deprived after having cared for a sick family member.
“This hidden heroism is done with tenderness and with courage when someone is sick at home,” he said.
The Pope's address, delivered Wednesday to pilgrims in Saint Peter's Square, was the latest in a series of catechesis dedicated to the family. Since late year, the pontiff has been centering his Wednesday addresses on this theme as part of the lead-up to the World Day of Families in September, as well as October’s Synod of Bishops on the Family.
Pope Francis focused his latest address on the particular sufferings experienced when a family member falls ill.
“It is an experience of our fragility which we live mostly in the family, from children, and above all the elderly,” he said.
He added that because of the love we feel for family members and loved ones, we feel their sufferings even more.
This is particularly the case when parents suffer from the illness of a son or daughter, he said.
In many parts of the world, families do not have ready access to hospitals, the pontiff noted. In these cases, the family becomes the “closest hospital,” in that caring for the sick person falls to the parents, grandparents, and siblings.
Pope Francis observed how, in general, families grow in times of sickness. For this reason, he stressed the importance of teaching children from a young age with a sense of solidarity during such times.
“We must educate children to solidarity with the sick so that they are not anesthetized to the sufferings of others, but rather are capable of helping the ill and of living fully each human experience,” the Pope said.
Throughout his catechesis, the Holy Father recounted several scenes from the Gospel in which Jesus heals the sick.
“(Jesus) publicly demonstrates himself as one who fights against illness, and who has come to heal man of every evil: The evil of the spirit and the evil of the body,” he said.
Pope Francis recalled a scene from the Gospel of Mark in which the people brought sick and possessed people to Jesus.
Recalling how the doctors of the law reproved Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, the Pope said: “But the love of Jesus was to give health, and do good.”
The pontiff cited particularly the scene of the man born blind, and the debate over whether he had been deprived of sight because of his sins or his parents' sins. “The Lord clearly said: neither him nor his parents; and thus he manifested in him the work of God, and healed him.”
This is God's glory, and the Church's task, the Pope said: “to always help, console, to lift up, and be close to the sick.”
Pope Francis also emphasized the Church's invitation to continuously pray for those “struck by disease.”
“And we must pray more, be it personally or in community.”
Pope Francis said that the Christian community knows that the family, in times of sickness, is never alone.
“We must thank the Lord for the beautiful experiences of fraternity in the Church which help families through difficult moments of pain and suffering,” he said.
“This Christian closeness, from family to family, is a real treasure for the parish: a treasure of wisdom, which helps families during difficult times and makes them better understand the Kingdom of God.”
“These are God's caresses,” he said.
On the feasts of the Lord, when the faithful receive the Body of the Son, they proclaim to one another the Good News that the first fruits of life have been given, as when the angel said to Mary Magdalene, "Christ is risen!" Now too are life and resurrection conferred on whoever receives Christ. -Catechism of the Catholic Church #1391
The Point of A Conference Call
A conference call is the best way for a dozen people to say “bye” 300 times.
Liz Hackett On What The ’80s Taught Her
If growing up in the ’80s taught me one thing, it’s that my friends and I should have found a treasure map by now.
When there's a will, I want to be in it.
When you don't know what you are doing, do it neatly.
Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard drive on my computer?
Who stopped payment on my reality check?
Why is abbreviation such a long word?
Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds?
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted then used against you.
You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me and not you!
After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee (of Tiberias).
A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, "Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?"
He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, "Two hundred days' wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little (bit)."
One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
"There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?"
Jesus said, "Have the people recline." Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, "Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted."
So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, "This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world."
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.
When it was evening, his disciples went down to the sea,
embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum. It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.
When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid.
But he said to them, "It is I. Do not be afraid."
They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading.
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left.
Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks.
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"
Jesus answered them and said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal."
So they said to him, "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?"
Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent."
So they said to him, "What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
So Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
So they said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.
But I told you that although you have seen (me), you do not believe.
Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it (on) the last day.
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him (on) the last day."
The Jews murmured about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven,"
and they said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, 'I have come down from heaven'?"
Jesus answered and said to them, "Stop murmuring among yourselves.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets: 'They shall all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?"
Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?"
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, "Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe." Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father."
As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. [perhaps the saddest line in Sacred Scripture]
Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."
Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?"
He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot; it was he who would betray him, one of the Twelve.
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
Solemnity of Corpus Christi-the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – Sunday, June 6th, 2021
The First Reading- Exodus 24: 3-8
When Moses came to the people and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD, they all answered with one voice, "We will do everything that the LORD has told us." Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and, rising early the next day, he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. Then, having sent certain young men of the Israelites to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls as peace offerings to the LORD, Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls; the other half he splashed on the altar. Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people, who answered, "All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do." Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words of his."
In our first reading, we see the Covenant between God and the Israelites being sealed in blood. There’s a lot of talk about blood in today’s readings! That’s because, from humanity’s earliest days, they knew that life depended on blood. People began to sacrifice animals to try and give some of that gift back to God, and to show our sorrow when we sinned. We don’t sacrifice animals anymore. God told us not to and also made Jesus the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. His blood took away all of our sins and was the perfect gift to God in response to the gift of life that God gives us.
Adults - Reflect this week on the enormity of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, and be especially thankful for that gift this week.
Teens - Our relationship with God is a covenant. Research the difference between contract and covenant, and reflect on what you find out.
Kids - In this reading Moses built an altar for worship. Where do you see an altar?
Responsorial- Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-16, 17-18
R.I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
-Pray the name of Jesus as a prayer when you are troubled this week.
The Second Reading- Hebrews 9:11-15
Brothers and sisters: When Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation, he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer's ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God. For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.
St. Paul tells us in the second reading that Jesus’ sacrifice would “cleanse our consciences from dead works.” That means that Jesus gives us an opportunity to turn away from the things that keep us from living fully, and begin to only do things that bring true life. So, we should remember that God gives us all good things, be grateful for them, and act in ways that show our gratitude.
What actions can you do that will show your gratitude to God?
The Holy Gospel according to Mark 14: 12-16, 22-26
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples said to him, "Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?" He sent two of his disciples and said to them, "Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"' Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there." The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover. While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Today we celebrate the gift of Jesus’ body and blood offered to us in the Eucharist. In fact, “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.” So, we recognize the gift of life that God gives us in general, and the gift of spiritual life that Jesus gives us in the Eucharist, and we are thankful. St. Augustine said that we should “become what we eat.” When we keep the gift of Jesus in our hearts always, we do become Jesus’ presence to other people. After the Last Supper, as we hear in today’s Gospel, Jesus and the Apostles went to the Mount of Olives where Jesus would get arrested. Like the Apostles, we’re supposed to go out into all of the difficult situations in the world, taking Jesus with us.
Adults - How does the Eucharist help you to take Jesus with you into the difficult situations in your life?
Teens - Catholics believe that the Eucharist is truly the body and blood (soul and divinity) of Christ. Some of our non-Catholic, Christian friends believe it to be a symbol. How would you explain to your friends what you believe?
Kids - Have you received your first Communion yet? If you did, how does receiving Jesus make you feel? If you didn’t what are you most looking forward to about it?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! – “In the Most Holy Eucharist, Mother Church with steadfast faith acknowledges the Sacrament of redemption, joyfully takes it to herself, celebrates it and reveres it in adoration, proclaiming the death of Christ Jesus and confessing his Resurrection until he comes in glory to hand over, as unconquered Lord and Ruler, eternal Priest and King of the Universe, a kingdom of truth and life to the immense majesty of the Almighty Father. The Church’s doctrine regarding the Most Holy Eucharist, in which the whole spiritual wealth of the Church is contained - namely Christ, our Paschal Lamb - the Eucharist which is the source and summit of the whole of Christian life, and which lies as a causative force behind the very origins of the Church, has been expounded with thoughtful care and with great authority over the course of the centuries in the writings of the Councils and the Supreme Pontiffs. Most recently, in fact, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, in the Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, set forth afresh certain elements of great importance on this subject in view of the ecclesial circumstances of our times.”
Heavenly Trinity-earthly trinity – Homily outline for Most Holy Trinity Sunday 2007
Tremendous Joy to be with you around the altar-table of the Lord on the great Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity!!!
The Central Mystery of our Faith. God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Three Person, One God. God is a Communion of Persons, a family. More than this, He is only Love and Mercy.
Without God there would be no world, no earthly family, no St. Michael (Barbara).
God is Father so He wants us to be His sons and daughters.
God the Son had a Mother so that we might be His sisters and brothers.
The Holy Spirit remains with us so that He can “guide us to all truth” as Jesus told you and me this morning in the holy Gospel.
We cannot fathom this. Judaism knows of God as merciful, but seemingly distant. Islam calls God “Master” and would never dare or dream to call Him “Father,” saying that is not of God, but of lowly earth.
But God is Father, because the Son Jesus Christ, Eternal Wisdom, the one we heard about in the first reading, has “delight in the human race,” and revealed His Father as OUR FATHER. More than this, the Holy Spirit has shown God as the heavenly Trinity so that we may have an earthly trinity: Father, Mother, Child. The family on earth is made in the ‘image and likeness’ of the God of Love. You are “very good” says Sacred Scripture.
And our families are meant to be very good, places to be loved and learn to give life, but some are not and if our family is ever not a reflection of the heavenly Trinity. Know that you have afamily to which you belong God, your Father, Jesus, your brother, the Holy Spirit your Consoler and Advocate.
Who will lead us into and help us become part of this heavenly family? She who is the heart of this family, Mary, Mary!
God’s love poured forth from the Father in that He made Mary, His daughter. The Holy Spirit took Mary as His spouse so that Jesus Christ could be her Son and Mary could be His Mother. Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, Spouse of the Holy Spirit. mary, Mary, MARY!
This Holy Mass, this morning we go to Mary, so that we get to know well now, the family with whom we want to spend all eternity: God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
This is the final installment of Marian Consecration. The day of Consecration is Saturday June 16th, the feast of Immaculate Heart of Mary. The below act of Consecration may be made anytime that day. If possible, it should be made at the Holy Mass as will happen at St. Michael at the 5pm. But if not, it quite suffices to recite the Consecration at any convenient time of day, prepared for by prayer.
Please read below for instructions from St. Louis Marie Gringion de Montfort himself:
“231. At the end of these three weeks (we did 5 weeks) they should go to confession and Holy Communion with the intention of consecrating themselves to Jesus through Mary as slaves of love. When receiving Holy Communion they could follow the method given later on. They then recite the act of consecration which is given at the end of this book. If they do not have a printed copy of the act, they should write it out or have it copied and then sign it on the very day they make it.
232. It would be very becoming if on that day they offered some tribute to Jesus and his Mother, either as a penance for past unfaithfulness to the promises made in baptism or as a sign of their submission to the sovereignty of Jesus and Mary. Such a tribute would be in accordance with each one's ability and fervour and may take the form of fasting, an act of self-denial, the gift of an alms or the offering of a votive candle. If they gave only a pin as a token of their homage, provided it were given with a good heart, it would satisfy Jesus who considers only the good intention.”
So this week:
1) Try to get to Confession. (Examination at end)
2) Try to receive Holy Communion on Profession Day
3) Totally entrust all that you are and have to Mary!
4) Offer Prayer of Consecration on a feast of Mary (Sat) (you may choose either version at end of this)
5) Daily renew this consecration with the words:
“I am all yours and all I have is yours, O dear Jesus, through Mary, your holy Mother."
“O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee and all who do not have recourse to thee, especially the enemies of the Church and those recommended to thee. Amen.”
True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort
[Both of the above will be given below in their entirety in the next 5 weeks.]
Final part of True Devotion to Mary
CHAPTER SEVEN - PARTICULAR PRACTICES OF THIS DEVOTION
1. Exterior Practices
226. Although this devotion is essentially an interior one, this does not prevent it from having exterior practices which should not be neglected. "These must be done but those not omitted." If properly performed, exterior acts help to foster interior ones. Man is always guided by his senses and such practices remind him of what he has done or should do. Let no worldling or critic intervene to assert that true devotion is essentially in the heart and therefore externals should be avoided as inspiring vanity, or that real devotion should be hidden and private. I answer in the words of our Lord, "Let men see your good works that they may glorify your Father who is in heaven." As St. Gregory says, this does not mean that they should perform external actions to please men or seek praise; that certainly would be vanity. It simply means that we do these things before men only to please and glorify God without worrying about either the contempt or the approval of men.
I shall briefly mention some practices which I call exterior, not because they are performed without inner attention but because they have an exterior element as distinct from those which are purely interior.
1. Preparation and Consecration
227. Those who desire to take up this special devotion, (which has not been erected into a confraternity, although this would be desirable), should spend at least twelve days in emptying themselves of the spirit of the world, which is opposed to the spirit of Jesus, as I have recommended in the first part of this preparation for the reign of Jesus Christ. They should then spend three weeks imbuing themselves with the spirit of Jesus through the most Blessed Virgin. Here is a programme they might follow:
228. During the first week they should offer up all their prayers and acts of devotion to acquire knowledge of themselves and sorrow for their sins.
Let them perform all their actions in a spirit of humility. With this end in view they may, if they wish, meditate on what I have said concerning our corrupted nature, and consider themselves during six days of the week as nothing but sails, slugs, toads, swine, snakes and goats. Or else they may meditate on the following three considerations of St. Bernard: "Remember what you were - corrupted seed; what you are - a body destined for decay; what you will be -food for worms."
They will ask our Lord and the Holy Spirit to enlighten them saying, "Lord, that I may see," or "Lord, let me know myself," or the "Come, Holy Spirit". Every day they should say the Litany of the Holy Spirit, with the prayer that follows, as indicated in the first part of this work. They will turn to our Blessed Lady and beg her to obtain for them that great grace which is the foundation of all others, the grace of self-knowledge. For this intention they will say each day the Ave Maris Stella and the Litany of the Blessed Virgin.
229. Each day of the second week they should endeavour in all their prayers and works to acquire an understanding of the Blessed Virgin and ask the Holy Spirit for this grace. They may read and meditate upon what we have already said about her. They should recite daily the Litany of the Holy Spirit and the Ave Maris Stella as during the first week. In addition they will say at least five decades of the Rosary for greater understanding of Mary.
230. During the third week they should seek to understand Jesus Christ better. They may read and meditate on what we have already said about him. They may say the prayer of St. Augustine which they will find at the beginning of the second part of this book. Again with St. Augustine, they may pray repeatedly, "Lord, that I may know you," or "Lord, that I may see." As during the previous week, they should recite the Litany of the Holy Spirit and the Ave Maris Stella, adding every day the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus.
231. At the end of these three weeks they should go to confession and Holy Communion with the intention of consecrating themselves to Jesus through Mary as slaves of love. When receiving Holy Communion they could follow the method given later on. They then recite the act of consecration which is given at the end of this book. If they do not have a printed copy of the act, they should write it out or have it copied and then sign it on the very day they make it.
232. It would be very becoming if on that day they offered some tribute to Jesus and his Mother, either as a penance for past unfaithfulness to the promises made in baptism or as a sign of their submission to the sovereignty of Jesus and Mary. Such a tribute would be in accordance with each one's ability and fervour and may take the form of fasting, an act of self-denial, the gift of an alms or the offering of a votive candle. If they gave only a pin as a token of their homage, provided it were given with a good heart, it would satisfy Jesus who considers only the good intention.
233. Every year at least, on the same date, they should renew the consecration following the same exercises for three weeks. They might also renew it every month or even every day by saying this short prayer: "I am all yours and all I have is yours, O dear Jesus, through Mary, your holy Mother."
2. The Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin
234. If it is not too inconvenient, they should recite every day of their lives the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin, which is composed of three Our Fathers and twelve Hail Marys in honour of the twelve glorious privileges of Mary. This prayer is very old and is based on Holy Scripture. St. John saw in a vision a woman crowned with twelve stars, clothed with the sun and standing upon the moon. According to biblical commentators, this woman is the Blessed Virgin.
235. There are several ways of saying the Little Crown but it would take too long to explain them here. The Holy Spirit will teach them to those who live this devotion conscientiously. However, here is a simple way to recite it. As an introduction say:" Virgin most holy, accept my praise; give me strength to fight your foes", then say the Creed. Next, say the following sequence of prayers three times: one Our Father, four Hail Marys and one Glory be to the Father. In conclusion say the prayer Sub tuum - "We fly to thy patronage".
3. The Wearing of Little Chains
236. It is very praiseworthy and helpful for those who have become slaves of Jesus in Mary to wear, in token of their slavery of love, a little chain blessed with a special blessing.
It is perfectly true, these external tokens are not essential and may very well be dispensed with by those who have made this consecration. Nevertheless, I cannot help but give the warmest approval to those who wear them. They show they have shaken off the shameful chains of the slavery of the devil, in which original sin and perhaps actual sin had bound them, and have willingly taken upon themselves the glorious slavery of Jesus Christ. Like St. Paul, they glory in the chains they wear for Christ. For though these chains are made only of iron they are far more glorious and precious than all the gold ornaments worn by monarchs.
237. At one time, nothing was considered more contemptible than the Cross. Now this sacred wood has become the most glorious symbol of the
Christian faith. Similarly, nothing was more ignoble in the sight of the ancients, and even today nothing is more degrading among unbelievers than the chains of Jesus Christ. But among Christians nothing is more glorious than these chains, because by them Christians are liberated and kept free from the ignoble shackles of sin and the devil. Thus set free, we are bound to Jesus and Mary not by compulsion and force like galley-slaves, but by charity and love as children are to their parents. "I shall draw them to me by chains of love" said God Most High speaking through the prophet. Consequently, these chains are as strong as death, and in a way stronger than death, for those who wear them faithfully till the end of their life. For though death destroys and corrupts their body, it will not destroy the chains of their slavery, since these, being of metal, will not easily corrupt. It may be that on the day of their resurrection, that momentous day of final judgment, these chains, still clinging to their bones, will contribute to their glorification and be transformed into chains of light and splendour. Happy then, a thousand times happy, are the illustrious slaves of Jesus in Mary who bear their chains even to the grave.
238. Here are the reasons for wearing these chains:
(a) They remind a Christian of the promises of his baptism and the perfect renewal of these commitments made in his consecration. They remind him of his strict obligation to adhere faithfully to them. A man's actions are prompted more frequently by his senses than by pure faith and so he can easily forget his duties towards God if he has no external reminder of them. These little chains are a wonderful aid in recalling the bonds of sin and the slavery of the devil from which baptism has freed him. At the same time, they remind him of the dependence on Jesus promised at baptism and ratified when by consecration he renewed these promises. Why is it that so many Christians do not think of their baptismal vows and behave with as much licence as unbelievers who have promised nothing to God? One explanation is that they do not wear external sign to remind them of these vows.
239. (b) These chains prove they are not ashamed of being the servants and slaves of Jesus and that they reject the deadly bondage of the world, of sin and of the devil.
(c) They are a guarantee and protection against enslavement by sin and the devil. For we must of necessity choose to wear either the chains of sin and damnation or the chains of love and salvation.
240. Dear friend, break the chains of sin and of sinners, of the world and the worldly, of the devil and his satellites. "Cast their yoke of death far from us." To use the words of the Holy Spirit, let us put our feet into his glorious shackles and our neck into his chains. Let us bow down our shoulders in submission to the yoke of Wisdom incarnate, Jesus Christ, and let us not be upset by the burden of his chains. Notice how before saying these words the Holy Spirit prepares us to accept his serious advice, "Hearken, my son," he says, "receive a counsel of understanding and do not spurn this counsel of mine."
241. Allow me here, my dear friend, to join the Holy Spirit in giving you the same counsel, "These chains are the chains of salvation". As our Lord on the cross draws all men to himself, whether they will it or not, he will draw sinners by the fetters of their sins and submit them like galley-slaves and devils to his eternal anger and avenging justice. But he will draw the just, especially in these latter days, by the chains of love.
242. These loving slaves of Christ may wear their chains around the neck, on their arms, round the waist or round the ankles. Fr. Vincent Caraffa, seventh General of the Society of Jesus, who died a holy death in 1643, carried an iron band round his ankles as a symbol of his holy servitude and he used to say that his greatest regret was that he could not drag a chain around in public. Mother Agnes of Jesus, of whom we have already spoken, wore a chain around her waist. Others have worn it round the neck, in atonement for the pearl necklaces they wore in the world. Others have worn chains round their arms to remind them, as they worked with their hands, that they are the slaves of Jesus.
4. Honouring the mystery of the Incarnation
243. Loving slaves of Jesus in Mary should hold in high esteem devotion to Jesus, the Word of God, in the great mystery of the Incarnation, March 25th, which is the mystery proper to this devotion, because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit for the following reasons:
(a) That we might honour and imitate the wondrous dependence which God the Son chose to have on Mary, for the glory of his Father and for the redemption of man. This dependence is revealed especially in this mystery where Jesus becomes a captive and slave in the womb of his Blessed Mother, depending on her for everything.
(b) That we might thank God for the incomparable graces he has conferred upon Mary and especially that of choosing her to be his most worthy Mother. This choice was made in the mystery of the Incarnation. These are the two principal ends of the slavery of Jesus in Mary.
244. Please note that I usually say "slave of Jesus in Mary", "slavery of Jesus in Mary". We might indeed say, as some have already been saying, "slave of Mary", "slavery of Mary". But I think it preferable to say, "slave of Jesus in Mary". This is the opinion of Fr. Tronson, Superior General of the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice, a man renowned for his exceptional prudence and remarkable holiness. He gave this advice when consulted upon this subject by a priest.
Here are the reasons for it:
245. (a) Since we live in an age of pride when a great number of haughty scholars, with proud and critical minds, find fault even with long-established and sound devotions, it is better to speak of "slavery of Jesus in Mary" and to call oneself "slave of Jesus" rather than "slave of Mary". We then avoid giving any pretext for criticism. In this way, we name this devotion after its ultimate end which is Jesus, rather than after the way and the means to arrive there, which is Mary. However, we can very well use either term without any scruple, as I myself do. If a man goes from Orleans to Tours, by way of Amboise, he can quite truthfully say that he is going to Amboise and equally truthfully say that he is going to Tours. The only difference is that Amboise is simply a place on the direct road to Tours, and Tours alone is his final destination.
246. (b) Since the principal mystery celebrated and honoured in this devotion is the mystery of the Incarnation where we find Jesus only in Mary, having become incarnate in her womb, it is appropriate for us to say, "slavery of Jesus in Mary", of Jesus dwelling enthroned in Mary, according to the beautiful, prayer, recited by so many great souls, "O Jesus living in Mary".
247. (c) These expressions show more clearly the intimate union existing between Jesus and Mary. So closely are they united that one is wholly the other. Jesus is all in Mary and Mary is all in Jesus. Or rather, it is no longer she who lives, but Jesus alone who lives in her. It would be easier to separate light from the sun than Mary from Jesus. So united are they that our Lord may be called, "Jesus of Mary", and his Mother "Mary of Jesus".
248. Time does not permit me to linger here and elaborate on the perfections and wonders of the mystery of Jesus living and reigning in Mary, or the Incarnation of the Word. I shall confine myself to the following brief remarks. The Incarnation is the first mystery of Jesus Christ; it is the most hidden; and it is the most exalted and the least known.
It was in this mystery that Jesus, in the womb of Mary and with her co- operation, chose all the elect. For this reason the saints called her womb, the throne-room of God's mysteries.
It was in this mystery that Jesus anticipated all subsequent mysteries of his life by his willing acceptance of them. Consequently, this mystery is a summary of all his mysteries since it contains the intention and the grace of them all.
Lastly, this mystery is the seat of the mercy, the liberality, and the glory of God. It is the seat of his mercy for us, since we can approach and speak to Jesus through Mary. We need her intervention to see or speak to him. Here, ever responsive to the prayer of his Mother, Jesus unfailingly grants grace and mercy to all poor sinners. "Let us come boldly before the throne of grace."
It is the seat of liberality for Mary, because while the new Adam dwelt in this truly earthly paradise God performed there so many hidden marvels beyond the understanding of men and angels. For this reason, the saints call Mary "the magnificence of God", as if God showed his magnificence only in Mary.
It is the seat of glory for his Father, because it was in Mary that Jesus perfectly atoned to his Father on behalf of mankind. It was here that he perfectly restored the glory that sin had taken from his Father. It was here again that our Lord, by the sacrifice of himself and of his will, gave more glory to God than he would have given had he offered all the sacrifices of the Old Law. Finally, in Mary he gave his Father infinite glory, such as his Father had never received from man.
5. Saying the Hail Mary and the Rosary
249. Those who accept this devotion should have a great love for the Hail Mary, or, as it is called, the Angelic Salutation.
Few Christians, however enlightened, understand the value, merit, excellence and necessity of the Hail Mary. Our Blessed Lady herself had to appear on several occasions to men of great holiness and insight, such as St. Dominic, St. John Capistran and Blessed Alan de Rupe, to convince them of the richness of this prayer.
They composed whole books on the wonders it had worked and its efficacy in converting sinners. They earnestly proclaimed and publicly preached that just as the salvation of the world began with the Hail Mary, so the salvation of each individual is bound up with it. This prayer, they said, brought to a dry and barren world the Fruit of Life, and if well said, will cause the Word of God to take root in the soul and bring forth Jesus, the Fruit of Life. They also tell us that the Hail Mary is a heavenly dew which waters the earth of our soul and makes it bear fruit in due season. The soul which is not watered by this heavenly dew bears no fruit but only thorns and briars, and merits only God's condemnation.
250. Here is what our Blessed Lady revealed to Blessed Alan de Rupe as recorded in his book, The Dignity of the Rosary, and as told again by Cartagena: "Know, my son, and make it known to all, that lukewarmness or negligence in saying the Hail Mary, or a distaste for it, is a probable and proximate sign of eternal damnation, for by this prayer the whole world was restored."
These are terrible words but at the same time they are consoling. We should find it hard to believe them, were we not assured of their truth by Blessed Alan and by St. Dominic before him, and by so many great men since his time. The experience of many centuries is there to prove it, for it has always been common knowledge that those who bear the sign of reprobation, as all formal heretics, evil-doers, the proud and the worldly, hate and spurn the Hail Mary and the Rosary. True, heretics learn to say the Our Father but they will not countenance the Hail Mary and the Rosary and they would rather carry a snake around with them than a rosary. And there are even Catholics who, sharing the proud tendencies of their father Lucifer, despise the Hail Mary or look upon it with indifference. The Rosary, they say, is a devotion suitable only for ignorant and illiterate people.
On the other hand, we know from experience that those who show positive signs of being among the elect, appreciate and love the Hail Mary and are always glad to say it. The closer they are to God, the more they love this prayer, as our Blessed Lady went on to tell Blessed Alan.
251. I do not know how this should be, but it is perfectly true; and I know no surer way of discovering whether a person belongs to God than by finding out if he loves the Hail Mary and the Rosary. I say, "if he loves", for it can happen that a person for some reason may be unable to say the Rosary, but this does not prevent him from loving it and inspiring others to say it.
252. Chosen souls, slaves of Jesus in Mary, understand that after the Our Father, the Hail Mary is the most beautiful of all prayers. It is the perfect compliment the most High God paid to Mary through his archangel in order to win her heart. So powerful was the effect of this greeting upon her, on account of its hidden delights, that despite her great humility, she gave her consent to the incarnation of the Word. If you say the Hail Mary properly, this compliment will infallibly earn you Mary's good will.
253. When the Hail Mary is well said, that is, with attention, devotion and humility, it is, according to the saints, the enemy of Satan, putting him to flight; it is the hammer that crushes him, a source of holiness for souls, a joy to the angels and a sweet melody for the devout. It is the Canticle of the New Testament, a delight for Mary and glory for the most Blessed Trinity. The Hail Mary is dew falling from heaven to make the soul fruitful. It is a pure kiss of love we give to Mary. It is a crimson rose, a precious pearl that we offer to her. It is a cup of ambrosia, a divine nectar that we offer her. These are comparisons made by the saints.
254. I earnestly beg of you, then, by the love I bear you in Jesus and Mary, not to be content with saying the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin, but say the Rosary too, and if time permits, all its fifteen decades, every day. Then when death draws near, you will bless the day and hour when you took to heart what I told you, for having sown the blessings of Jesus and Mary, you will reap the eternal blessings in heaven.
6. Praying the Magnificat
255. To thank God for the graces he has given to our Lady, her consecrated ones will frequently say the Magnificat, following the example of Blessed Marie d'Oignies and several other saints. The Magnificat is the only prayer we have which was composed by our Lady, or rather, composed by Jesus in her, for it was he who spoke through her lips. It is the greatest offering of praise that God ever received under the law of grace. On the one hand, it is the most humble hymn of thanksgiving and, on the other, it is the most sublime and exalted. Contained in it are mysteries so great and so hidden that even the angels do not understand them.
Gerson, a pious and learned scholar, spent the greater part of his life writing tracts full of erudition and love on the most profound subjects. Even so, it was with apprehension that he undertook towards the end of his life to write a commentary on the Magnificat which was the crowning point of all his works. In a large volume on the subject he says many wonderful things about this beautiful and divine canticle. Among other things he tells us that Mary herself frequently recited it, especially at thanksgiving after Holy Communion. The learned Benzonius, in his commentary on the Magnificat, cites several miracles worked through the power of this prayer. The devils, he declare, take to flight when they hear these words, "He puts forth his arm in strength and scatters the proud-hearted".
7. Contempt of the world
256. Mary's faithful servants despise this corrupted world. They should hate and shun its allurements, and follow the exercises of the contempt of the world which we have given in the first part of this treatise.
8. Special interior practices for those who wish to be perfect
257. The exterior practices of this devotion which I have just dealt with should be observed as far as one's circumstances and state of life permit. They should not be omitted through negligence or deliberate disregard. In addition to them, here are some very sanctifying interior practices for those souls who feel called by the Holy Spirit to a high degree of perfection. They may be expressed in four words, doing everything through Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary, in order to do it more perfectly through Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus, and for Jesus.
258. We must do everything through Mary, that is, we must obey her always and be led in all things by her spirit, which is the Holy Spirit of God. "Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God," says St. Paul. Those who are led by the spirit of Mary are children of Mary, and, consequently children of God, as we have already shown. Among the many servants of Mary only those who are truly and faithfully devoted to her are led by her spirit.
I have said that the spirit of Mary is the spirit of God because she was never led by her own spirit,, but always by the spirit of God, who made himself master of her to such an extent that he became her very spirit. That is why St. Ambrose says, "May the soul of Mary be in each one of us to glorify the Lord. May the spirit of Mary be in each one of us to rejoice in God." Happy is the man who follows the example of the good Jesuit Brother Rodriguez, who died a holy death, because he will be completely possessed and governed by the spirit of Mary, a spirit which is gentle yet strong, zealous yet prudent, humble yet courageous, pure yet fruitful.
259. The person who wishes to be led by this spirit of Mary:
1) Should renounce his own spirit, his own views and his own will before doing anything, for example, before making meditation, celebrating or attending Mass, before Communion. For the darkness of our own spirit and the evil tendencies of our own will and actions, good as they may seem to us, would hinder the holy spirit of Mary were we to follow them.
2) We should give ourselves up to the spirit of Mary to be moved and directed as she wishes. We should place and leave ourselves in her virginal hands, like a tool in the hands of a craftsman or a lute in the hands of a good musician. We should cast ourselves into her like a stone thrown into the sea. This is done easily and quickly by a mere thought, a slight movement of the will or just a few words as, "I renounce myself and give myself to you, my dear Mother." And even if we do not experience any emotional fervour in this spiritual encounter it is none the less real. It is just as if a person with equal sincerity were to say - which God forbid! - "I give myself to the devil." Even though this were said without feeling any emotion, he would no less really belong to the devil.
3) From time to time during an action and after it, we should renew this same act of offering and of union. The more we do so, the quicker we shall grow in holiness and the sooner we shall reach union with Christ, which necessarily follows upon union with Mary, since the spirit of Mary is the spirit of Jesus.
260. We must do everything with Mary, that is to say, in all our actions we must look upon Mary, although a simple human being, as the perfect model of every virtue and perfection, fashioned by the Holy Spirit for us to imitate, as far as our limited capacity allows. In every action then we should consider how Mary performed it or how she would perform it if she were in our place. For this reason, we must examine and meditate on the great virtues she practised during her life, especially:
1) Her lively faith, by which she believed the angel's word without the least hesitation, and believed faithfully and constantly even to the foot of the Cross on Calvary.
2) Her deep humility, which made her prefer seclusion, maintain silence, submit to every eventuality and put herself in the last place.
3) Her truly divine purity, which never had and never will have its equal on this side of heaven.
And so on for her other virtues.
Remember what I told you before, that Mary is the great, unique mould of God, designed to make living images of God at little expense and in a short time. Anyone who finds this mould and casts himself into it, is soon transformed into our Lord because it is the true likeness of him.
261. We must do everything in Mary. To understand this we must realise that the Blessed Virgin is the true earthly paradise of the new Adam and that the ancient paradise was only a symbol of her. There are in this earthly paradise untold riches, beauties, rarities and delights, which the new Adam, Jesus Christ, has left there. It is in this paradise that he "took his delights" for nine months, worked his wonders and displayed his riches with the magnificence of God himself. This most holy place consists of only virgin and immaculate soil from which the new Adam was formed with neither spot nor stain by the operation of the Holy Spirit who dwells there. In this earthly paradise grows the real Tree of Life which bore our Lord, the fruit of Life, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which bore the Light of the world.
In this divine place there are trees planted by the hand of God and watered by his divine unction which have borne and continue to bear fruit that is pleasing to him. There are flower-beds studded with a variety of beautiful flowers of virtue, diffusing a fragrance which delights even the angels. Here there are meadows verdant with hope, impregnable towers of fortitude, enchanting mansions of confidence and many other delights.
Only the Holy Spirit can teach us the truths that these material objects symbolise. In this place the air is perfectly pure. There is no night but only the brilliant day of the sacred humanity, the resplendent, spotless sun of the Divinity, the blazing furnace of love, melting all the base metal thrown into it and changing it into gold. There the river of humility gushes forth from the soil, divides into four branches and irrigates the whole of this enchanted place. These branches are the four cardinal virtues.
262. The Holy Spirit speaking through the Fathers of the Church, also calls our Lady the Eastern Gate, through which the High Priest, Jesus Christ, enters and goes out into the world. Through this gate he entered the world the first time and through this same gate he will come the second time.
The Holy Spirit also calls her the Sanctuary of the Divinity, the Resting-Place of the Holy Spirit, the Throne of God, the City of God, the Altar of God, the Temple of God, the World of God. All these titles and expressions of praise are very real when related to the different wonders the Almighty worked in her and the graces which he bestowed on her. What wealth and what glory! What a joy and a privilege for us to enter and dwell in Mary, in whom almighty God has set up the throne of his supreme glory!
263. But how difficult it is for us to have the freedom, the ability and the light to enter such an exalted and holy place. This place is guarded not by a cherub, like the first earthly paradise, but by the Holy Spirit himself who has become its absolute Master. Referring to her, he says: "You are an enclosed garden, my sister, my bride, an enclosed garden and a sealed fountain." Mary is enclosed. Mary is sealed. The unfortunate children of Adam and Eve driven from the earthly paradise, can enter this new paradise only by a special grace of the Holy Spirit which they have to merit.
264. When we have obtained this remarkable grace by our fidelity, we should be delighted to remain in Mary. We should rest there peacefully, rely on her confidently, hide ourselves there with safety, and abandon ourselves unconditionally to her, so that within her virginal bosom:
1) We may be nourished with the milk of her grace and her motherly compassion.
2) We may be delivered from all anxiety, fear and scruples.
3) We may be safeguarded from all our enemies, the devil, the world and sin which have never gained admittance there. That is why our Lady says that those who work in her will not sin, that is, those who dwell spiritually in our Lady will never commit serious sin.
4) We may be formed in our Lord and our Lord formed in us, because her womb is, as the early Fathers call it, the house of the divine secrets where Jesus and all the elect have been conceived. "This one and that one were born in her."
For Mary 265. Finally, we must do everything for Mary. Since we have given ourselves completely to her service, it is only right that we should do everything for her as if we were her personal servant and slave. This does not mean that we take her for the ultimate end of our service for Jesus alone is our ultimate end. But we take Mary for our proximate end, our mysterious intermediary and the easiest way of reaching him.
Like every good servant and slave we must not remain idle, but, relying on her protection, we should undertake and carry out great things for our noble Queen. We must defend her privileges when they are questioned and uphold her good name when it is under attack. We must attract everyone, if possible, to her service and to this true and sound devotion. We must speak up and denounce those who distort devotion to her by outraging her Son, and at the same time we must apply ourselves to spreading this true devotion. As a reward for these little services, we should expect nothing in return save the honour of belonging to such a lovable Queen and the joy of being united through her to Jesus, her Son, by a bond that is indissoluble in time and in eternity. Glory to Jesus in Mary! Glory to Mary in Jesus! Glory to God alone!
SUPPLEMENT - THIS DEVOTION AT HOLY COMMUNION
Before Holy Communion266. 1) Place yourself humbly in the presence of God.
2) Renounce your corrupt nature and dispositions, no matter how good self-love makes them appear to you.
3) Renew your consecration saying, "I belong entirely to you, dear Mother, and all that I have is yours."
4) Implore Mary to lend you her heart so that you may receive her Son with her dispositions. Remind her that her Son's glory requires that he should not come into a heart so sullied and fickle as your own, which could not fail to diminish his glory and might cause him to leave. Tell her that if she will take up her abode in you to receive her Son - which she can do because of the sovereignty she has over all hearts - he will be received by her in a perfect manner without danger of being affronted or being forced to depart. "God is in the midst of her. She shall not be moved."
Tell her with confidence that all you have given her of your possessions is little enough to honour her, but that in Holy Communion you wish to give her the same gifts as the eternal Father gave her. Thus she will feel more honoured than if you gave her all the wealth in the world. Tell her, finally, that Jesus, whose love for her is unique, still wishes to take his delight and his repose in her even in your soul, even though it is poorer and less clean than the stable which he readily entered because she was there. Beg her to lend you her heart, saying, "O Mary, I take you for my all; give me your heart."
During Holy Communion 267. After the Our Father, when you are about to receive our Lord, say to him three times the prayer, "Lord, I am not worthy." Say it the first time as if you were telling the eternal Father that because of your evil thoughts and your ingratitude to such a good Father, you are unworthy to receive his only-begotten Son, but that here is Mary, his handmaid, who acts for you and whose presence gives you a special confidence and hope in him.
268. Say to God the Son, "Lord, I am not worthy", meaning that you are not worthy to receive him because of your useless and evil words and your carelessness in his service, but nevertheless you ask him to have pity on you because you are going to usher him into the house of his Mother and yours, and you will not let him go until he has made it his home. Implore him to rise and come to the place of his repose and the ark of his sanctification. Tell him that you have no faith in your own merits, strength and preparedness, like Esau, but only in Mary, your Mother, just as Jacob had trust in Rebecca his mother. Tell him that although you are a great sinner you still presume to approach him, supported by his holy Mother and adorned with her merits and virtues.
269. Say to the Holy Spirit, "Lord, I am not worthy". Tell him that you are not worthy to receive the masterpiece of his love because of your luke-warmness, wickedness and resistance to his inspirations. But, nonetheless, you put all your confidence in Mary, his faithful Spouse, and say with St. Bernard, "She is my greatest safeguard, the whole foundation of my hope." Beg him to overshadow Mary, his inseparable Spouse, once again. Her womb is as pure and her heart as ardent as ever. Tell him that if he does not enter your soul neither Jesus nor Mary will be formed there nor will it be a worthy dwelling for them.
After Holy Communion 270. After Holy Communion, close your eyes and recollect yourself. Then usher Jesus into the heart of Mary: you are giving him to his Mother who will receive him with great love and give him the place of honour, adore him profoundly, show him perfect love, embrace him intimately in spirit and in truth, and perform many offices for him of which we, in our ignorance, would know nothing.
271. Or, maintain a profoundly humble heart in the presence of Jesus dwelling in Mary. Or be in attendance like a slave at the gate of the royal palace, where the King is speaking with the Queen. While they are talking to each other, with no need of you, go in spirit to heaven and to the whole world, and call upon all creatures to thank, adore and love Jesus and Mary for you. "Come, let us adore."
272. Or, ask Jesus living in Mary that his kingdom may come upon earth through his holy Mother. Ask for divine Wisdom, divine love, the forgiveness of your sins, or any other grace, but always through Mary and in Mary. Cast a look of reproach upon yourself and say, "Lord, do not look at my sins, let your eyes see nothing in me but the virtues and merits of Mary. "Remembering your sins, you may add, "I am my own worst enemy and I am guilty of all these sins." Or, "Deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man." Or again, "Dear Jesus, you must increase in my soul and I must decrease." "Mary, you must increase in me and I must always go on decreasing." "O Jesus and Mary, increase in me and increase in others around me."
273. There are innumerable other thoughts with which the Holy Spirit will inspire you, which he will make yours if you are thoroughly recollected and mortified, and constantly faithful to the great and sublime devotion which I have been teaching you. But remember, the more you let Mary act in your Communion the more Jesus will be glorified. The more you humble yourself and listen to Jesus and Mary in peace and silence - with no desire to see, taste or feel - then the more freedom you will give to Mary to act in Jesus' name and the more Jesus will act in Mary. For the just man lives everywhere by faith, but especially in Holy Communion, which is an action of faith.
Guide for Examination of Conscience for Confession of Sins FOR ADULTS
6 STEPS FOR A GOOD CONFESSION
1) Examine your conscience - what sins have you committed since your last good confession.
2) Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
3) Confess your sins to the priest.
4) Make certain that you confess all your mortal sins and the number of them.
5) After your confession, do the penance the priest gives to you.
6) Pray daily for the strength to avoid the occasion of sin, especially for those sins you were just absolved from.
ACT OF CONTRITION
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.
"I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before Me." (Ex 20:2,3)
Did I doubt or deny that God exists?
Did I refuse to believe what God as revealed to us?
Did I believe in fortune telling, horoscopes, dreams, the occult, good-luck charms, tarot cards, palmistry, Ouija boards, seances, reincarnation?
Did I deny that I was Catholic?
Did I leave the Catholic Faith?
Did I give time to God each day in prayer?
Did I love God with my whole heart?
Did I despair of or presume on God's mercy?
Did I have false gods in my life that I gave greater attention to than God, like money, profession, drugs, TV, fame, pleasure, property, etc.?
"You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain." (Ex 20:7)
Did I blaspheme or insult God?
Did I take God's name carelessly or uselessly?
Did I curse, or break an oath or vow?
Did I get angry with God?
"Remember that you keep holy the Sabbath Day." (Ex 20:8)
Did I miss Mass Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation through my own fault?
Did I come to Mass on time? Leave early?
Did I do work on Sunday that was not necessary?
Did I set aside Sunday as a day of rest and a family day?
Did I show reverence in the presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament?
"Honor your father and your mother." (Ex 20:12)
Did I disobey or disrespect my parents or legitimate superiors?
Did I neglect my duties to my husband, wife, children or parents?
Did I neglect to give good religious example to my family?
Did I fail to actively take an interest in the religious education and formation of my children?
Did I fail to educate myself on the true teachings of the Church?
Did I give scandal by what I said or did, especially to the young?
Did I cause anyone to leave the faith?
Did I cause tension and fights in my family?
Did I care for my aged and infirm relatives?
Did I give a full day's work for a full day's pay?
Did I give a fair wage to my employees?
"You shall not kill." (Ex 20:13)
Did I kill or physically injure anyone?
Did I have an abortion, or advise someone else to have an abortion? (One who procures and abortion is automatically excommunicated, as is anyone who is involved in an abortion, Canon 1398. The excommunication will be lifted in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.)
Did I use or cause my spouse to use birth control pills (whether or not realizing that birth control pills do abort the fetus if and when conceived)?
Did I attempt suicide?
Did I take part in or approve of "mercy killing" (euthanasia)?
Did I get angry, impatient, envious, unkind, proud, revengeful, jealous, hateful toward another, lazy?
Did I give bad example by drug abuse, drinking alcohol to excess, fighting, quarreling?
Did I abuse my children?
SIXTH AND NINTH COMMANDMENT
"You shall not commit adultery." (Ex 20:14) "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife." (Ex 20:17)
Note: In the area of deliberate sexual sins listed below, all are mortal sins if there is sufficient reflection and full consent of the will. "No fornicators, idolaters, or adulterers, no sodomites,... will inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor 6:9-10) "Anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his thoughts." (Mt 5:28)
Did I willfully entertain impure thoughts or desires?
Did I use impure or suggestive words? Tell impure stories? Listen to them?
Did I deliberately look at impure TV, videos, plays, pictures or movies? Or deliberately read impure materials?
Did I commit impure acts by myself (masturbation)?
Did I commit impure acts with another - fornication (premarital sex), adultery (sex with a married person)?
Did I practice artificial birth control (by pills, device, withdrawal)?
Did I marry or advise anyone to marry outside the Church?
Did I avoid the occasions of impurity?
Did I try to control my thoughts?
Did I engage in homosexual activity?
Did I respect all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as objects?
Did I or my spouse have sterilization done?
Did I abuse my marriage rights?
SEVENTH & TENTH COMMANDMENTS
"You shall not steal." (Ex 20:15) "You shall not covet your neighbor's goods." (Ex 20:17)
Did I steal, cheat, help or encourage others to steal or keep stolen goods? Have I made restitution for stolen goods?
Did I fulfill my contracts; give or accept bribes; pay my bills; rashly gamble or speculate; deprive my family of the necessities of life?
Did I waste time at work, school or at home?
Did I envy other people's families or possessions?
Did I make material possessions the purpose of my life?
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." (Ex 20:16)
Did I lie?
Did I deliberately deceive others, or injure others by lies?
Did I commit perjury?
Did I gossip or reveal others' faults or sins?
Did I fail to keep secret what should be confidential?
Did I fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday?
Did I eat meat on the Fridays of Lent or Ash Wednesday?
Did I fail to receive Holy Communion during Eastertime?
Did I go to Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin? Without fasting (water and medicine permitted) for one hour from food and drink?
Did I make a bad confession?
Did I fail to contribute to the support of the Church?
"Whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily sins against the Body and Blood of the Lord. ... He who eats and drinks without recognizing the Body eats and drinks judgement on himself." (1 Cor 11:27-29)
So, to receive Holy Communion while in the state of mortal sin (having committed a mortal sin which has not been confessed and forgiven in the Sacrament of Confession) is itself a mortal sin - a mortal sin of sacrilege.
Act of Consecration to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom,
through the Blessed Virgin Mary
O ETERNAL and Incarnate Wisdom! O sweetest and most adorable Jesus! True God and true Man, only Son of the Eternal Father and of Mary ever virgin! I adore You profoundly in the bosom and splendors of Your Father during eternity, and I adore You also in the virginal bosom of Mary, Your most worthy Mother, in the time of Your Incarnation.
I give You thanks for You have annihilated Yourself, taking the form of a slave, in order to rescue me from the cruel slavery of the devil. I praise and glorify You because You have been pleased to submit Yourself to Mary, Your holy Mother, in all things, in order to make me Your faithful slave through her. But, alas! Ungrateful and faithless as I have been, I have not kept the promises which I made so solemnly to You in my Baptism; I have not fulfilled my obligations; I do not deserve to be called Your child, nor yet Your slave; and as there is nothing in me which does not merit Your anger and Your repulse, I dare not come by myself before Your most holy and august Majesty. It is on this account that I have recourse to the intercession of Your most holy Mother, whom You have given me for a mediatrix with You. It is through her that I hope to obtain of You contrition, the pardon of my sins, and the acquisition and preservation of wisdom.
Hail, then, O Immaculate Mary, living tabernacle of the Divinity, where the Eternal Wisdom willed to be hidden and to be adored by Angels and by men! Hail, O Queen of Heaven and earth, to whose empire everything is subject which is under God. Hail, O sure refuge of sinners, whose mercy fails no one. Hear the desires which I have of the Divine Wisdom; and for that end receive the vows and offerings which in my lowliness I present to you.
I, (name), a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before.
In the presence of all the Heavenly Court, I choose you this day for my Mother and mistress. I deliver and consecrate to you, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions-----past, present and future-----leaving to you the entire and full right of disposing of me and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to your good pleasure, for the greater glory of God, in time and in eternity.
Receive, O benignant Virgin, this little offering of my slavery, in honor of and in union with that subjection which the Eternal Wisdom deigned to have to your maternity, in homage to the power which both of you have over this poor sinner and in thanksgiving for the privileges with which the Holy Trinity has favored you. I declare that I wish hereafter, as your true slave, to seek your honor and to obey you in all things.
O admirable Mother, present me to your dear Son as His eternal slave, so that as He has redeemed me by you, by you He may receive me! O Mother of Mercy, grant me the grace to obtain the true Wisdom of God, arid for that end receive me among those whom you do love and teach, whom you do lead, nourish and protect as your children and your slaves.
O faithful Virgin, make me in all things so perfect a disciple, imitator and slave of the Incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ your Son, that I may attain, by your intercession and by your example, to the fullness of His age on earth and of His glory in Heaven. Amen.
Another Consecration Prayer
(Composed 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 property. 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 whole 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
Having passed from this world to the Father, Christ gives us in the Eucharist the pledge of glory with him. Participation in the Holy Sacrifice identifies us with his Heart, sustains our strength along the pilgrimage of this life, makes us long for eternal life, and unites us even now to the Church in heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints. Catechism of the Catholic Church #1419