Tuesday, 17th October 2017

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy by St Alphonsus Ligouri

Posted on 22. Aug, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

As the glorious Virgin Mary has been raised to the dignity of Mother of the King of kings, it is not without reason that the Church honours her, and wishes her to honoured by all, with the glorious title of Queen. ‘If the Son is King,’ says an ancient writer, ‘the Mother who begot him is rightly and truly considered a Queen and Sovereign.’1

‘No sooner had Mary,’ says St Bernadine of Sienna, ‘consented to be Mother of the Eternal Word, than she merited by this consent to be made Queen of the world and of all creatures.’2 ‘Since the flesh of Mary,’ remarks the Abbot Arnold of Chartres, ‘was not different from that of Jesus, how can the royal dignity of the Son be denied to the Mother?’3 Hence we must consider the glory of the Son, not only as being common to, but as one with, that of His Mother.’4

And if Jesus is the King of the universe, Mary is also its Queen. ‘And as Queen,’ says the Abbot Rupert, ‘she possesses, by right, the whole kingdom of her Son.’5

Example of Mary Queen of Mercy

We read, in the life of Sister Catherine of St. Augustine, that in the place where she resided, there was a woman, of the name of Mary, who in her youth was a sinner, and in her old continued so obstinate in wickedness, that she was driven out of the city, and reduced to live in a secluded cave; there she died, half consumed by disease, and without the sacraments, and was consequently interred in a field. Sister Catherine, who always recommended the souls of those who departed this world, with great fervour to God, on hearing the unfortunate end of this poor woman, never thought of praying for her, and she looked upon her (as did everyone else) as irrevocably lost.

One day, four years afterwards, a suffering soul appeared to her, and exclaimed: ‘How unfortunate is my lot, Sister Catherine! Thou recommendest the souls of all those that die to God: on my soul alone thou hast not compassion.’

‘And who art thou?’ asked the servant of God. ‘I am,’ she replied, ‘that poor Mary, who died in the cave.’ ‘And art thou saved?’ said Catherine. ‘Yes,’ she answered, ‘by the mercy of the Blessed Virgin Mary.’ ‘And how?’ ‘When I saw myself at the point of death, loaded with sins, and abandoned by all, I had recourse to the Mother of God, saying, Lady, thou art the refuge of abandoned creatures: behold me, at this moment, abandoned by all; thou art my only hope; thou alone canst help me: have pity on me. The Blessed Virgin obtained me the grace to make an act of contrition. I died, and am saved; and besides this, she, my Queen, obtained that my purgatory should be shortened, by enduring, in intensity, that which otherwise would have last for many years: I now only want a few masses to be entirely delivered; I beg thee to get them said; and on my part, I promise always to pray for thee to God and to Mary.’

Sister Catherine immediately had the masses said, and after a few days that soul again appeared to her, shining like the sun, and said: ‘I thank thee, Catherine: behold, I go to Paradise, to sing the mercies of my God, and to pray for thee.’

 

  1. Serm. De Deip. Int. op. S. Athan.
  2. Tom. Iv. 90.
  3. De Laud. Virg.
  4. Ib.
  5. In Cant. 1. 3.

Source. The Glories of Mary by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri. ISBN: 978-0-89555-021-7

The Glories of Mary by St. Alponsus Ligouri (1696-1787) is one of the greatest Catholic books ever written. Easily understood by all, this famous book is undoubtedly the best composite of teaching about the Blessed Virgin Mary ever penned and is one that will lead many souls to a greater love of Jesus through a more intimate knowledge of Mary and her exalted role in our salvation.

 

Assumption of Mary by St Alphonsus Ligouri

Posted on 14. Aug, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

In each of the saints there were different graces, as Saint Paul says, “there are diversities of graces.”32 So that each of them, by corresponding with the grace he had received, excelled in some particular virtue – the one in saving souls, the other in leading a penitential life; one in enduring torments, another in a life of prayer: and this is the reason for which the holy Church, in celebrating their festivals, says of each, ‘there was not found one like him.’33

And as in their merits they differ, so do they differ in celestial glory: “for star differeth from star.”34 Apostles differ from martyrs, confessors from virgins, the innocent from penitents. The Blessed Virgin, being full of all graces, excelled each saint in every particular virtue: she was the apostle of the apostles; she was Queen of martyrs, for she suffered more than all of them; she was the standard-bearer of virgins, the model of married people; she united in her heart all the most heroic virtues that any saint ever practised.

Hence of her it was said that “the Queen stood on Thy right hand in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety.”35 For all the graces, privileges, and merits of the other saints were all united in Mary, as the Abbot of Celles says: ‘The prerogatives of all the saints, O Virgin, thou hast united thyself.’36

She possessed them in such a degree that, as ‘the splendour of the sun exceeds that of all the stars united,’ so, says Saint Basil of Seleucia, ‘does Mary’s glory exceed that of all the blessed.’37 Saint Peter Damian adds, that ‘as the light of the moon and stars is so entirely eclipsed on the appearance of the sun, that it is as if it was not, so also does Mary’s glory so far exceed the splendour of all men and angels, that, so to say, they do not appear in heaven.’38

Hence Saint Bernadine of Sienna asserts, with Saint Bernard, that the blessed participate in part in the divine glory, but that the Blessed Virgin has been, in a certain way, so greatly enriched with it, that it would seem that no creature could be more closely united with God than Mary is: ‘She has penetrated into the bottom of the deep, and seems immersed as deeply as it is possible for any creature in that inaccessible light.’39

Blessed Albert the Great confirms this, saying that our Queen ‘contemplates the majesty of God in incomparably closer proximity than all other creatures.’40 The above named Saint Bernadine moreover says, ‘that as the other planets are illumined by the sun, so do all the blessed receive light and an increase of happiness from the sight of Mary.’41 And in another place he also asserts, that ‘when the glorious Virgin Mother of God ascended to heaven, she augmented the joy of all its inhabitants.’42

For the same reason Saint Peter Damian says, that ‘the greatest glory of the blessed in heaven is, after seeing God, the presence of this most beautiful Queen.’43 And Saint Bonaventure, that, ‘after God, our greatest glory and our greatest joy is Mary.’44

Let us, then, rejoice with Mary that God has exalted her to so high a throne in heaven. Let us also rejoice on our own account; for though our Mother is no longer present with us on earth, having ascended in glory to heaven, yet in affection she is always with us.

Let us, in the meantime, dedicate ourselves to the service of this Queen, to honour and love her as much as we can; for, as Richard of St Lawrence remarks, ‘she is not like other rulers, who oppress their vassals with burdens and taxes; but she enriches her servants with graces, merits and rewards.’47

  1. 1 Cor. Xii. 4.
  2. Non est inventus similus illi.
  3. 1 Cor. Xv. 41.
  4. Ps. Xliv. 10.
  5. Contempl. B.V. cap. ii
  6. Orat. In B.V. et Incarnat. D.N.J.C.
  7. Serm. De Assumption. B.V.M.
  8. De Exalt. B.V. art. i. cap. 10.
  9. Sup. Missus, q. lxii.
  10. Loc. Cit. art. i. cap. 3.
  11. Serm. De Exalt. B.M.V. art. i. cap. 3.
  12. Serm. i. de Nat. B.M.V.
  13. Spec. B V. lect. 6.
  14. De Laud. V. l. vi. C. 13.

 

Source. Extract from The Glories of Mary by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri. ISBN: 978-0-89555-021-7

The Glories of Mary by St. Alponsus Ligouri (1696-1787) is one of the greatest Catholic books ever written. Easily understood by all, this famous book is undoubtedly the best composite of teaching about the Blessed Virgin Mary ever penned and is one that will lead many souls to a greater love of Jesus through a more intimate knowledge of Mary and her exalted role in our salvation.

St Dominic and the Rosary

Posted on 08. Aug, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

The account of St Dominic receiving the Rosary as recorded by Blessed Alan de la Roche.

Seeing that the gravity of the people’s sins was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, St. Dominic withdrew to a forest near Toulouse. There he prayed unceasingly for three days and three nights, weeping and performing harsh penances in order to appease God’s anger. Throughout this time he flogged himself so much that his body was lacerated, and ultimately he fell into a coma.

At this point, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, accompanied by three Angels of heaven, and she said:

“My dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity has used to reform the world?” “My Lady,” replied St Dominic, “you know better than I because next to your Son Jesus Christ you were the chief instrument of our salvation.”

Our Lady added: “I want you to know that the principal means has been the Angelic Psalter (or Hail Mary), which is the foundation of the New Testament. That is why, if you want to win these hardened hearts for God, preach my Psalter.”

The Saint arose, comforted. Filled with zeal for the conversion of the Albigensians, he went straight to the cathedral church. Immediately, unseen Angels rang the bells to call to church the inhabitants of Toulouse, and St Dominic began to preach.

At the beginning of his sermon a frightful storm broke out. The earth shook, the sun became dim, and the thunder and lightning rendered his listeners pale and trembling. Their fright intensified when they glanced at an image of the Blessed Virgin, exposed in a prominent place, and saw her raise her arms to heaven three times to call down God’s vengeance upon the people of Toulouse if they failed to be converted and seek protection of the Holy Mother of God.

By means of these extraordinary happenings, God wanted to spread the new devotion of the Holy Rosary and make it more widely known.

At last, the storm came to an end in response to St Dominic’s prayers. He went on with his sermon and explained the value of the Holy Rosary so fervently and effectively that almost all the people of Toulouse embraced it and renounced their wrong beliefs. In a short time, a great change was seen in the city: people renounced their bad habits and began living truly Christian lives.

Source: The Secret of the Rosary by St Louis de Montfort (ISBN 978-0-89942-108-7)

“Martha, Martha” Catena Aurea by St Thomas Aquinas

Posted on 27. Jul, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

For the feast of St Martha on the 29th July we will look at Luke 10:40 which describes Martha serving while her sister Mary sits at our Lord’s feet listening to him.  Using St Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea we can understand the passage more fully in light of the teachings of the Church Fathers.

Luke 10:40

  1. Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
  2. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
  3. But Martha was cumbered about much serving and came to him, and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone, bid her therefore that she help me.
  4. And Jesus answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things:
  5. But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Below is St Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea description of the passage citing the Church Fathers

St Augustine. But the Lord, who came to his own, and his own received him not, was received as a guest, for it follows, and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house, as strangers are accustomed to be received. But still a servant received her Lord, the sick her Savior, the creature her Creator. But if any should say, “O blessed are they who have been thought worthy to receive Christ into their houses,” grieve not you, for He says, for inasmuch as you have done it to the least of my brethren, you have done it to me. But taking the form of a servant, He wished therein to be fed by servants, by reason of His condescension, not His condition. He had a body in which He was hungry and thirsty, but when He was hungry in the desert, Angels ministered to Him. In wishing therefore to be led, He came Himself to the feeder. Martha then, setting about and preparing to feed our Lord, was occupied in serving, but Mary her sister chose rather to be fed by the Lord, for it follows, and she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

St John Chrysostom. It is not said of Mary simply that she sat near Jesus, but at His feet, to show her diligence, steadfastness, and zeal, in hearing, and the great reverence which she had for our Lord.

St Augustine. Now as was her humility in sitting at His feet, so much the more did she receive from him. For the waters pour down to the lowest part of the valley, but flow away from the rising of the hill.

St Basil. Now every work and word of our Saviour is a rule of piety and virtue for to this end did He put on our body, that as much as we can we might imitate His conversation.

St Cyril. By His own example then He teaches His disciples how they ought to behave in the houses of those who receive them, namely, when they come to a house, they should not remain idle, but rather fill the minds of those who receive them with sacred and divine teaching. But let those who make ready the house, go to meet their guests gladly and earnestly, for two reasons. First, indeed, they will be edified by the teaching of those whom they receive; nest also they will receive the reward of charity. And hence it follows here, But Martha was cumbered about much serving,

St Augustine. Martha was as well engaged in ministering to the bodily wants or wishes of our Lord, as of one who was mortal, but He who was clothed in mortal flesh, in the beginning was the Word. Behold then what Mary heard, The Word was made flesh. Behold then Him to whom Martha ministered. The one was laboring, the other at rest. But yet Martha, when much troubled in her occupation and business of serving, interrupted our Lord, and complained of her sister. For it follows, and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? For Mary was absorbed in the sweetness of our Lord’s words; Martha was as preparing a feast for our Lord, in whose feast Mary was now rejoicing. While then she was listening with delight to those sweet words, and was feeding on them with the deepest affection, our Lord was interrupted by her sister. What must we suppose was her alarm, lest the Lord should say to her, “Rise, and help your sister?” Our Lord therefore, who was not at a loss, for He had shown He was the Lord, answered as follows, And Jesus answered and said to her, Martha, Martha. The repetition of the name is a mark of love, or perhaps of drawing the attention, that she should listen more earnestly. When twice called, she hears, you are troubled about many things. That is, you art busied about many things. For man wishes to meet with something when he is serving, and cannot; and thus between seeking what is wanting and preparing what is at hand, the mind is distracted. For if Martha had been sufficient of herself, she would not have required the aid of her sister. There are many, there are diverse things, which are carnal, temporal, but one is preferred to many. For one is not from many, but many from one. Hence it follows, but one thing is needful. Mary wished to be occupied about one, according to that, it is good for me to cling close to the Lord. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, are one. To this one he does not bring us, unless we being many have one heart.

St Cyril. Or else, when certain brethren have received God, they will not be anxious about much service, nor ask for those things which are not in their hands, and are beyond their needs. For everywhere and in everything that which is superfluous is burdensome. For it begets weariness in those who are wishing to bestow it, while the guests feel that they are the cause of trouble.

St Basil. It is foolish also to take food for the support of the body, and thereby in return to hurt the body, and to hinder it in the performance of the divine command. If then a poor man come, let him receive a model and example of moderation in food, and let us not prepare our own tables for their sakes, who wish to live luxuriously. For the life of the Christian is uniform, ever tending to one object, namely, the glory of God. But the life of those who are without is manifold and vacillating, changed about at will. And how in truth can you, when you set your table before your brother with profusion of meats, and for the pleasure of feasting sake, accuse him of luxury, and revile him as a glutton, censuring his indulgence in that which you yourself afford him? Our Lord did not commend Martha when busied about much serving.

St Augustine. What then? Must we think that blame was cast upon the service of Martha, who was engaged in the cares of hospitality, and rejoiced in having so great a guest? If this be true, let men give up ministering to the needy; in a word, let them be at leisure, intent only upon getting wholesome knowledge, taking no care what stranger is in the village in want of bread; let works of mercy be unheeded, knowledge only be cultivated.

St Theophylact. Our Lord does not then forbid hospitality, but the troubling about many things, that is to say, hurry and anxiety. And mark the wisdom of our Lord, in that at first He said nothing to Martha, but when she sought to tear away her sister from hearing, then the Lord took occasion to reprove her. For hospitality is ever honored as long as it keeps us to necessary things. But when it begins to hinder us from attending to what is of more importance, then it is plain that the hearing of the divine word is the more honourable.

St Augustine. Our Lord then does not blame the actions, but distinguishes between the duties. For it follows, Mary has chosen that good part, not yours a bad one, but hers a better. Why a better? because it shall not be taken away from her. From you the necessary burden of business shall one time be taken away. For when you come into that country, you will find no stranger to receive with hospitality. But for your good it shall be taken away, that what is better may be given you. Trouble shall be taken away, that rest may be given. You are yet at sea; she is in port. For the sweetness of truth is eternal, yet in this life it is increased, and in the next it will be made perfect, never to be taken away.

St Ambrose. May you then like Mary be influenced by the desire of wisdom. For this is the greater, this the more perfect work. Nor let the care of ministering to others turn your mind from the knowledge of the heavenly word, nor reprove or think indolent those whom you see seeking after wisdom.

St Augustine. Now mystically, by Martha’s receiving our Lord into her house is represented the Church which now receives the Lord into her heart. Mary her sister, who sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word, signifies the same Church, but in a future life, where ceasing from labour, and the ministering to her wants, she shall delight in Wisdom alone. But by her complaining that her sister did not help her, occasion is given for that sentence of our Lord, in which he shows that Church to be anxious and troubled about much service, when there is but one thing needful, which is yet attained through the merits of her service; but He says that Mary has chosen the good part, for through the one the other is reached, which shall not be taken away.

St Gregory. Or by Mary who sat and heard our Lord’s words, is signified the contemplative life; by Martha engaged in more outward services, the active life. Now Martha’s care is not blamed, but Mary is praised, for great are the rewards of an active life, but those of a contemplative are far better. Hence Mary’s part it is said will never be taken away from her, for the works of an active life pass away with the body, but the joys of the contemplative life the rather begin to increase from the end.

Source: Catena Aurea by St Thomas Aquinas.

St. Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea is a masterpiece anthology of Patristic commentary on the Gospels – it includes the work of over eighty Church Fathers.

St. Thomas Aquinas’ work demonstrates intimate acquaintance with the Church Fathers and is an excellent complement to the more recent attempts to understand the inner meaning of the Sacred Scriptures. For each of the four Gospel writers, the Catena Aurea starts by indicating the verses to be analysed, then phrase-by-phrase, provides the early Fathers’ insights into the passage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conversion of St Mary Magdalen

Posted on 20. Jul, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

 

Jesus ascended the mountain with his disciples, followed by the Pharisees, the Herodians, and the Sadducees, and took the teacher’s chair.

Magdalen had taken her seat among the other women with the self-confident air of a lady of the world, but her manner was assumed. She was inwardly confused and a prey to interior struggle.

At first she gazed around upon the crowd, but when Jesus appeared and began to speak, her eyes and soul were riveted upon Him alone. His exhortations to penance, His lively pictures of vice, His threats of chastisement, affected her powerfully, and unable to suppress her emotions, she trembled and wept beneath her veil.

When Jesus, Himself shedding tears full of loving compassion, cried out for sinners to come to Him, many of His hearers were transported with emotion. There was a movement in the circle and the crowd pressed around Him. Magdalen also , and following her example the other women likewise, took a step nearer.

But when Jesus exclaimed: “Ah! If even one soul would come to Me!” Magdalen was so moved that she wanted to fly to Him at once. She stepped forward; but her companions, fear some disturbance, held her back, whispering: “Wait! Wait!” This movement of Magdalen attracted scarcely any notice among the bystanders, since the attention of all was riveted upon Jesus’ words.

Jesus, aware of Magdalen’s agitation, uttered words of consolation meant only for her. He said: “If even one germ of penance, of contrition, of love, of faith, of hope has, in consequence of My words, fallen upon some poor, erring heart, it will bear fruit, it will be set down in favour of that poor sinner, it will live and increase. I Myself shall nourish it, shall cultivate it, shall present it to My Father.”

These words consoled Magdalen while they pierced her inmost soul, and she stepped again among her companions.

 

The above extract was taken from the book ‘The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations – From the Visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich 1774 to 1824’, as recorded in the Journals of Clemens Brentano, arranged and edited by Very Reverend Carl E. Schmoger, C.SS.R. Volume Two of Four. TAN Books. ISBN 978-0-89555-788-9

Of the Scapular given to St Simon Stock

Posted on 13. Jul, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

As men esteem it an honour to have persons who wear their livery, so also is our Blessed Lady pleased that her clients should wear her scapular, as a mark that they have dedicated themselves to her service, and that they are members of the household of the Mother of God.

Modern heretics, as usual, ridicule this devotion; but the holy Church has approved it by many bulls and indulgences. Fathers Crasset and Lezzana, speaking of the scapular of Mount Carmel relate, that towards the year 1251, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Simon Stock, an Englishman, and giving him the scapular, said, that all who should wear it would be saved from eternal damnation.

She said, ‘Receive my beloved son, this scapular of thy order, the badge of my confraternity, a privilege granted to thee and to all Carmelites: whoever dies clothed with it will not suffer eternal flames.’

Moreover, Father Casset relates that Mary appeared to Pope John XXII., and commanded him to make it known that all those who should wear this scapular would be delivered from purgatory on the Saturday after their deaths; and this he did by a bull, which was afterwards confirmed by Alexander V., Clement VII., and other Pontiffs.

Paul V., as we have remarked in the first chapter of this work, gives us to understand the same thing, and seems to explain the bulls of his predecessors, and prescribes in his the conditions on which the indulgences may be gained. These conditions are: that each one should observe the chastity required in his state of life, and recitation of the little office of the Blessed Virgin; those who cannot do so must exact in keeping the fast-days prescribed by the Church, and abstain from meat on Wednesdays.

The indulgences, moreover, which are annexed to this scapular of Mount Carmel, as also to those of the Seven Dolores, of our Lady of Mercy, and especially to that of her Immaculate Conception, are innumerable, as well partial as plenary, both in life and for the hour of death. For my own part I have been careful to receive all these scapulars. To that of the Immaculate Conception in particular, very great indulgences have been attached by various sovereign pontiffs.

 

Source. The Glories of Mary by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri. ISBN: 978-0-89555-021-7

The Glories of Mary by St. Alponsus Ligouri (1696-1787) is one of the greatest Catholic books ever written. Easily understood by all, this famous book is undoubtedly the best composite of teaching about the Blessed Virgin Mary ever penned and is one that will lead many souls to a greater love of Jesus through a more intimate knowledge of Mary and her exalted role in our salvation.

Saint Benedict – Chapter 7 on Humility

Posted on 06. Jul, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

This Tuesday 11th July we celebrate the Feast of Saint Benedict who was born around 480 as a son of Roman noble of Norcia. He founded the famous monastery of Monte Cassino in Italy which became the roots of the Church’s monastic system and after 1500 year’s Benedictine monks still follow his rule even here in Ireland. In 1964 Pope Paul VI declared St Benedict Patron Saint of Europe.

Below is a part of Chapter 7 from the Rule of St Benedict on Humility:

Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying,
“Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,
and he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11).
In saying this it shows us
that all exaltation is a kind of pride,
against which the Prophet proves himself to be on guard
when he says,
“Lord, my heart is not exalted,
nor are mine eyes lifted up;
neither have I walked in great matters,
nor in wonders above me” (Ps. 130[131]:1)
But how has he acted?
“Rather have I been of humble mind
than exalting myself;
as a weaned child on its mother’s breast,
so You solace my soul” (Ps. 130[131]:2).

Hence, brethren,
if we wish to reach the very highest point of humility
and to arrive speedily at that heavenly exaltation
to which ascent is made through the humility of this present life,
we must
by our ascending actions
erect the ladder Jacob saw in his dream,
on which Angels appeared to him descending and ascending.
By that descent and ascent
we must surely understand nothing else than this,
that we descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility.
And the ladder thus set up is our life in the world,
which the Lord raises up to heaven if our heart is humbled.
For we call our body and soul the sides of the ladder,
and into these sides our divine vocation has inserted
the different steps of humility and discipline we must climb.

 

Source. Rule of Saint Benedict by Saint Benedict.

Except I See His Hands by St John Chrysostom

Posted on 29. Jun, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

John 20:24-25

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said, Except I shall see in His hands —I will not believe.”

As to believe carelessly and in a random way, comes of an over-easy temper; so to be beyond measure curious and meddlesome, marks a most gross understanding. On this account Thomas is held to blame. For he believed not the Apostles when they said, “We have seen the Lord”; not so much mistrusting them, as deeming the thing to be impossible, that is to say, the resurrection from the dead. Since he says not, “I do not believe you,” but, “Except I put my hand— I do not believe.” But how was it, that when all were collected together, he alone was absent? Probably after the dispersion which had lately taken place, he had not returned even then. But do thou, when you see the unbelief of the disciple, consider the lovingkindness of the Lord, how for the sake of a single soul He showed Himself with His wounds, and comes in order to save even the one, though he was grosser than the rest; on which account indeed he sought proof from the grossest of the senses, and would not even trust his eyes. For he said not, “Except I see,” but, “Except I handle,” he says, lest what he saw might somehow be an apparition. Yet the disciples who told him these things, were at the time worthy of credit, and so was He that promised; yet, since he desired more, Christ did not deprive him even of this.

And why does He not appear to him straightway, instead of “after eight days”? John 20:26 In order that being in the meantime continually instructed by the disciples, and hearing the same thing, he might be inflamed to more eager desire, and be more ready to believe for the future. But whence knew he that His side had been opened? From having heard it from the disciples. How then did he believe partly, and partly not believe? Because this thing was very strange and wonderful. But observe, I pray you, the truthfulness of the disciples, how they hide no faults, either their own or others’, but record them with great veracity.

Jesus again presents himself to them, and waits not to be requested by Thomas, nor to hear any such thing, but before he had spoken, Himself prevented him, and fulfilled his desire; showing that even when he spoke those words to the disciples, He was present. For He used the same words, and in a manner conveying a sharp rebuke, and instruction for the future. For having said,

John 20:26

“Reach hither your finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither your hand, and thrust it into My side”; He added,

“And be not faithless, but believing.”

Do you see that his doubt proceeded from unbelief? But it was before he had received the Spirit; after that, it was no longer so, but, for the future, they were perfected.

And not in this way only did Jesus rebuke him, but also by what follows; for when he, being fully satisfied, breathed again, and cried aloud,

John 20:28

“My Lord, and my God,” He says,

John 20:29

“Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.”

For this is of faith, to receive things not seen; since, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 And here He pronounces blessed not the disciples only, but those also who after them should believe. “Yet,” says someone, “the disciples saw and believed.” Yes, but they sought nothing of the kind, but from the proof of the napkins, they straightway received the word concerning the Resurrection, and before they saw the body, exhibited all faith. When therefore anyone in the present day say, “I would that I had lived in those times, and had seen Christ working miracles,” let them reflect, that, “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.”

 

Source. Translated by Charles Marriott. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 14. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1889.)

Sacred Heart Promises to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Posted on 21. Jun, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is this Friday 23rd June 2017. It is a good time to reflect on the apparition of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, where Jesus gives these twelve promises for those who are devoted to His Sacred Heart.

Prayer:

The Twelve Promises of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary for those devoted to His Sacred Heart:

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
  2. I will establish peace in their families.
  3. I will console them in all their troubles.
  4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.
  5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
  6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
  9. I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
  10. I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
  11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.
  12. The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

“Look at this Heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth.”

Corpus Christi by St Peter Julian Eymard

Posted on 14. Jun, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

Haec est dies quam fecit Dominus.
This is the day which the Lord hath made. (Psalm cxvii. 24.)

Every day comes from God. They unfailingly succeed one another through His loving kindness. God allows man six days of the week for his labor and his needs, but the seventh He reserves for Himself. Sunday is therefore more particularly the day of the Lord. But of all the days there is one which is, in a more excellent manner, the day of God and is called the day of God: Fête-Dieu, as the French put it, which, done literally into English, would read God’s Feast Day. That is truly the day which the Lord has made for Himself, for His own glory, and for the manifestation of His love. Corpus Christi! God’s Feast Day! What a beautiful name! God’s Feast Day and ours also! Let us see in what way.

I. This feast day of God, which the Church calls Festum sacratissimi Corporis Christi, “Feast of the most sacred Body of Christ,” is the only day dedicated exclusively to the honor of His adorable Person, of His living presence in our midst.

The other feasts commemorate some mystery of His past life; they are beautiful; they glorify God; and they are a rich source of graces for us. But after all they are only reminders, anniversaries of an already distant past, which relives only in our piety and devotion. Our Savior is no longer personally present in those mysteries; He accomplished them once for all and left only His grace in them. But Corpus Christi is an actual mystery; the object of this feast is our Lord’s Person, living and present in our midst. That is why the celebration of it has a character all its own. No relics or symbols of the past are exposed, but the very object of the feast, which is living. In the countries where God is free, see how all the people proclaim His presence, how they prostrate themselves before Him! The impious themselves tremble and bow the head; God is there! How glorious for our Lord’s presence is this feast, on which all men acknowledge His presence and adore Him!

Corpus Christi is also the most lovable of feast days. We were not present at all the mysteries of our Savior’s life and death which we celebrate in the course of the year. We find joy in them because they are sources of grace. But on the feast of Corpus Christi we participate in the mystery itself, which takes place under our eyes. This mystery is for us.

There is a relation of life between Jesus living in the Sacrament and ourselves living in the midst of the world: a relation of body to body. For that reason this feast is not called simply the feast of our Lord, but the Feast of the Body of our Lord: Corpus Christi. Through this Body we touch Him; through it He is our Food, our Brother and our Guest. Feast of the Body of Jesus Christ: a name as full of love as it is unpretentious and well adapted to our misery! Our Lord asked for this Feast so as to draw still closer to us, just as a father is desirous of being wished a happy birthday by his child in order to have a reason for giving him a more ardent proof of his paternal affection, and or granting him some special favor.

Let this Feast therefore be one of joy, and let us expect from it the most abundant blessings. All the hymns and canticles of this solemnity express the thought that on this day our Lord will show Himself more gracious than ever. The Church, it seems, should have celebrated Corpus Christi on Holy Thursday, since the Eucharist was instituted on that day. But she could not have duly expressed her joy on that day of mourning; the Passion begins in Holy Thursday, and it is impossible to rejoice at the thought of death which predominates during the solemn days of Holy Week.

Corpus Christi
was also postponed until after the Ascension because sad farewells had still to be bidden and a painful separation effected. It was put off until after Pentecost so that, filled with the graces and joys of the Holy Ghost, we might be able to celebrate with all possible splendor the Feast of the Divine Bridegroom Who dwells among us.

II. CORPUS CHRISTI is the most solemn Feast of the Church. The Church is the Bride of our Lord in all His risen glory, not of Jesus Christ at His birth or His death; when these last two mysteries took place the Church was not yet in existence. Of course she follows her Divine Bridegroom to the Crib and accompanies Him in His sufferings, but of these mysteries she has only the remembrance and grace. But Jesus Christ lives with His Church in His Sacrament.

People who have never set foot inside one of her churches think she is widowed. They look upon her as a corpse, and upon her temples as places where only death and suffering are spoken of. But today the very ones who never attend her solemn festivals will see her in all her wealth and beauty, in a natural attractiveness which God, her Bridegroom, will enhance with His presence. What magnificence in the processions as they pass by! What reverence in the faithful as they kneel down!! The Church shows to everyone her Bridegroom in the radiant monstrance. Ah! Who today will presume to say she is widowed? Her friends are in adoration and her enemies tremble. Jesus shows Himself to all men; He gives His blessing to the good; He looks on sinners with compassion; He calls them and draws them to Himself. The Council of Trent calls this Feast the triumph of faith, and rightly so. It is also the triumph of the Church through her Divine Bridegroom.

 

Source. The Divine Eucharist: Meditations suitable for adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. First Series: The Real Presence (from the 9th French ed). By Saint Peter Julian Eymard (New York: Fathers of the Blessed Sacrament, 1906).

St Leo the Great’s Sermon on the Most Holy Trinity

Posted on 06. Jun, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

The Holy Ghost’s work did not begin at Pentecost, but was continued because the Holy Trinity is One in action and in will

Today’s festival, dearly-beloved, which is held in reverence by the whole world, has been hallowed by that advent of the Holy Ghost, which on the fiftieth day after the Lord’s Resurrection, descended on the Apostles and the multitude of believers, even as it was hoped. And there was this hope, because the Lord Jesus had promised that He should come, not then first to be the Indweller of the saints, but to kindle to a greater heat, and to fill with larger abundance the hearts that were dedicated to Him, increasing, not commencing His gifts, not fresh in operation because richer in bounty.

For the Majesty of the Holy Ghost is never separate from the Omnipotence of the Father and the Son, and whatever the Divine government accomplishes in the ordering of all things, proceeds from the Providence of the whole Trinity. Therein exists unity of mercy and loving-kindness, unity of judgment and justice: nor is there any division in action where there is no divergence of will.

What, therefore, the Father enlightens, the Son enlightens, and the Holy Ghost enlightens: and while there is one Person of the Sent, another of the Sender, and another of the Promiser, both the Unity and the Trinity are at the same time revealed to us, so that the Essence which possesses equality and does not admit of solitariness is understood to belong to the same Substance but not the same Person.

Each Person in the Trinity took part in our Redemption

The fact, therefore, that, with the co-operation of the inseparable Godhead still perfect, certain things are performed by the Father, certain by the Son, and certain by the Holy Spirit, in particular belongs to the ordering of our Redemption and the method of our salvation.

For if man, made after the image and likeness of God, had retained the dignity of his own nature, and had not been deceived by the devil’s wiles into transgressing through lust the law laid down for him, the Creator of the world would not have become a Creature, the Eternal would not have entered the sphere of time, nor God the Son, Who is equal with God the Father, have assumed the form of a slave and the likeness of sinful flesh. But because “by the devil’s malice death entered into the world -Wisdom 2:24,” and captive humanity could not otherwise be set free without His undertaking our cause, Who without loss of His majesty should both become true Man, and alone have no taint of sin, the mercy of the Trinity divided for Itself the work of our restoration in such a way that the Father should be appeased, the Son should appease, and the Holy Ghost enkindle.

For it was necessary that those who are to be saved should also do something on their part, and by the turning of their hearts to the Redeemer should quit the dominion of the enemy, even as the Apostle says, “God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying Abba, Father – Galatians 4:6,” “And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty – 2 Corinthians 3:17,” and “no one can call Jesus Lord except in the Holy Spirit – 1 Corinthians 12:3 .”

 

Source. Translated by Charles Lett Feltoe. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 12. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.

St Alphonsus Ligouri – Visitation of Mary Pt.3

Posted on 29. May, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

To be convinced of the desire that Mary has to be of service to all, we need only to consider the mystery of the present festival, that is, Mary’s visit to Saint Elizabeth. The Blessed Virgin, tender and delicate as she then was, and unaccustomed to such fatigue, did not delay her departure. And what was it that impelled her? It was that great charity with which her most tender heart was filled that drove her, so to say, to go and at once commence her great office of dispenser of graces.

Observe especially, says Saint Bonaventure, in this visit of Mary to Saint Elizabeth, the great power of her words. According to the Evangelist, at the sound of her voice the grace of the Holy Ghost was conferred on Saint Elizabeth, as well as her son Saint John the Baptist: “And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb, and she was filled with the Holy Ghost.”52

On this text Saint Bonaventure says, ‘See how great is the power of the words of our Lady; for no sooner, has she pronounced them, than the Holy Ghost is given.’53

“Let us go, therefore, with confidence to the throne of grace,” says the Apostle, exhorting us, “that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid.”58 ‘The throne of grace is the Blessed Virgin Mary,’59 says blessed Albert the Great. If, then, we wish for graces, let us go to the Throne of Grace, which is Mary; and let us go with the certain hope of being heard; for we have Mary’s intercession, and she obtains from her Son all whatever she asks.

And if we credit that celebrated saying of Saint Anselm, ‘that salvation is occasionally more easily obtained by calling on the name of Mary than by invoking that of Jesus;62 we shall sometimes sooner obtain graces by having recourse to Mary than by having directly recourse to our Saviour Jesus Himself; not that He is not the source and Lord of all graces, but because, when we have recourse to the Mother, and she prays for us, her prayers have greater efficacy than ours, as being those of a mother. Let us never leave the feet of this treasurer of graces, but ever address her in the words of Saint John Damascene: ‘O Blessed mother of God, open to us the gate of mercy; for thou art the salvation of the human race.’63

A Most Beautiful Example

In the Franciscan chronicles it is related, that two religious of that order, who were going to visit a sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin, were overtaken by night in a great forest, where they became so bewildered and troubled, that they knew not what to do. But, advancing a little further, dark as it was, they thought they discovered a house. They went towards it, and felt the wall with their hands; they sought the door, knocked, and immediately heard someone within asking who they were. They replied that they were two poor religious, who had lost their way in the forest, and that they begged at least for shelter, that they might not be devoured by the wolves.

In an instant, the doors were thrown open, and two pages richly dressed stood before them, and received them with the greatest courtesy. The religious asked them who resided in that palace. The pages replied that it was a most compassionate Lady. ‘We should be glad to present her our respects, and thank her for her charity.’ ‘She also,’ the pages answered, ‘wishes to see you; and we are now going to conduct you into her presence.’ They ascended the staircase, and found all the apartments illuminated, richly furnished, and scented with an odour of Paradise.

Finally, they entered the apartment of the Lady, who was majestic and most beautiful in her appearance. She received them with the greatest affability, and then asked them where they were going. They answered, that they were going to visit a certain church of the Blessed Virgin, ‘O, since that is the case,’ she replied, ‘I will give you before you go a letter, which will be of great service to you.’ Whilst the Lady was addressing them, they felt their hearts inflamed with the love of God, and an internal joy which they had never before experienced. Then they retired to sleep, if, indeed, they could do so, overcome as they were by the happiness they experienced; and in the morning, they again went to take leave of the Lady and thank her, and also receive the letter, which she gave them, and they then departed.

But when they got a short distance from the house, they perceived that the letter had no direction; they turned about, and sought first on one side, then another, but in vain; they could no longer find the house. Finally, they opened the letter to see for who it was meant, and what it contained; and they found that it was from the most Blessed Virgin Mary, and addressed to themselves. In it she told them that she was the Lady whom they had seen the night before, and that on account of their devotion for her she had provided a lodging and refreshment for them in that wood.

She exhorted them to continue to serve her and to love her, for she always would amply reward their devotion, and would succour them in life and at death. At the foot of the page they read her signature: ‘I, Mary the Virgin’.

Let each one here imagine the gratitude of these good religious, and how they thanked the Divine Mother, and how greatly they were inflamed with the desire to love and serve her for their whole lives.65

 

52. Luc. i. 41.

53. Med. Vit. Christi, cap. v.

58. Heb. Iv. 16.

59. Serm. Liii. De Dedic. Eccl.

62. De Excel. B.M.V. cap. vi.

63. In Annunt.

65. Lyraeus, Tris. Mar. 1. 2. M. 26

 

Source. The Glories of Mary by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri. ISBN: 978-0-89555-021-7

The Glories of Mary by St. Alponsus Ligouri (1696-1787) is one of the greatest Catholic books ever written. Easily understood by all, this famous book is undoubtedly the best composite of teaching about the Blessed Virgin Mary ever penned and is one that will lead many souls to a greater love of Jesus through a more intimate knowledge of Mary and her exalted role in our salvation.

St Alphonsus Liguori – Visitation of Mary Pt.2

Posted on 22. May, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

Saint Bonaventure, speaking of the field in the gospel, in which a treasure is hidden, and which should be purchased at however great a price, “the kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field, which a man having found hid it, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath and buyeth that field,”17 says that ‘our Queen Mary is this field, in which Jesus Christ , the treasure of God the Father, is hid,’18 and with Jesus Christ the source of and flowing fountain of all graces.

Saint Bernard affirms that our Lord ‘has deposited the plenitude of every grace in Mary, that we may thus know that if we possess hope, grace, or anything salutary, that it is from her that it came.’19 Of this we are also assured by Mary herself, saying, “In me is all grace of the way and of the truth;”20 in me are all the graces of real blessings that you men can desire in life. Yes, sweet Mother and our Hope, we know full well, says Saint Peter Damian, ‘that all the treasures of Divine mercies are in thy hands.’21

Before Saint Peter Damian, Saint Ildephonsus asserted the same thing in even stronger terms, when, speaking to the Blessed Virgin, he said, ‘O Lady, all the graces that God has decreed for men He has determined to grant through thy hands; and therefore to thee has He committed all the measures and ornaments of grace;’22 so that, O Mary, concludes Saint Germanus, no grace is dispensed to anyone otherwise than through thy hands: ‘there is no one saved but by thee; no one who receives a gift from God but through thee.’23

Blessed Albert the Great makes a beautiful paraphrase of the words of the angel addressed to the most Blessed Virgin, “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God:’24 ‘Fear not, O Mary, for thou hast found, not taken grace, as Lucifer tried to take it; thou hast not lost it as Adam lost it; thou hast not bought it as Simon Magus would have bought it; but though hast found it because thou hast desired and sought it.’25

Though hast found increated grace; that is, God himself become thy Son; and with that grace thou hast found and obtained every created good. Saint Peter Chrysologus confirms this thought, saying, ‘This great Virgin and Mother found grace to restore thereby salvation to all men.’26

And elsewhere he says that Mary found a grace so full that it sufficed to save all: ‘Thou hast found grace, but how great a grace! It was such that it filled thee; and so great was its plenitude, that it could be poured down as a torrent on every creature.’27 So much so indeed, says Richard of Saint Lawrence, ‘that God made the sun, that by its means light might be diffused on the whole earth, so has He made Mary, that by her all Divine mercies may be dispensed to the world.’28

Saint Bernadine adds, that ‘from the time that the Virgin Mother conceived the Divine word in her womb, she obtained a kind of jurisdiction, so to say, over all temporal manifestations of the Holy Ghost; so that no creature can obtain any grace from God that is not dispensed by this tender and compassionate Mother.’29

Hence let us conclude this point in the words of Richard Saint Lawrence, who says, ‘that if we wish to obtain any grace, we must have recourse to Mary, the finder of grace, who cannot but obtain all that she asks for her servants; for she has recovered the Divine grace which was lost, and always finds it.’30 This thought he borrowed from Saint Bernard, who says, ‘Let us seek grace, and seek it by Mary; for that which she seeks she finds, and cannot be frustrated.’31

If we, then, desire graces, we must go to this treasurer and dispenser of graces; for it is the sovereign will of the Giver of every good thing; and we are assured of it by the same Saint Bernard, that all graces should be dispensed by the hands of Mary: ‘for such is His will, who is pleased that we should have all by Mary.’32 All, all; and he who says all excludes nothing.

 

  1. Matt. Xiii. 44.
  2. Spec. M.M.V. lect. Vii.
  3. Serm. De Aquad.
  4. Eccles. Xxiv. 25.
  5. Serm. Ii. In Nat. B.M.V.
  6. In Cor. Virg. Cap. xv.
  7. De Zon. V.
  8. Luc. i. 30.
  9. Bbl. Mar. in Luc.
  10. Serm. Iii. De Annunt.
  11. Serm ii. De Annut.
  12. De Laud. V. 1. Vii. C. 3.
  13. Pro Fest. V.M. s. 5, c.8.
  14. De Laud. V. lib. Ii. Cap. 5.
  15. Serm. De Aquad.
  16. Mariam. – lb.

Source. The Glories of Mary by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri. ISBN: 978-0-89555-021-7

The Glories of Mary by St. Alponsus Ligouri (1696-1787) is one of the greatest Catholic books ever written. Easily understood by all, this famous book is undoubtedly the best composite of teaching about the Blessed Virgin Mary ever penned and is one that will lead many souls to a greater love of Jesus through a more intimate knowledge of Mary and her exalted role in our salvation.

St Alphonsus Ligouri – Visitation of Mary Pt.1

Posted on 16. May, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

Fortunate does that family consider itself which is visited by a royal personage, both on account of the honour that redounds from such a visit, and the advantages that may be hoped to accrue from it. But still more fortunate should that soul consider itself which is visited by the Queen of the world, the most holy Virgin Mary, who cannot but fill with riches and graces those blessed souls whom she deigns to visit by her favours. The house of Obededom was blessed when visited by the ark of God: “And the Lord blessed his house.”1 But with how much greater blessings are those persons enriched who receive a loving visit from this living ark of God, for such was the Divine Mother!

‘Happy is that house which the Mother of God visits,’2 says Engelgrave. This was abundantly experienced by the house of Saint John the Baptist; for Mary had scarcely entered it when she heaped graces and heavenly benedictions on the whole family; and for this reason the present feast of the Visitation is commonly called that of ‘our Blessed Lady of Graces’. Hence we shall see in the present discourse that the Divine mother is the treasurer of all graces.

We shall divide it into two parts. In the first we shall see that whoever desires graces must have recourse to Mary. In the second, that he who has recourse to Mary should be confident of receiving the graces he desires.

First point – After the blessed Virgin had heard from the archangel Gabriel that her cousin Saint Elizabeth had been six months pregnant, she was internally enlightened by the Holy Ghost to know that the Incarnate word, who had become her son, was pleased then to manifest to the world the riches of his mercy in the first graces that He desired to impart to all that family. Therefore, without interposing any delay, according to Saint Luke, “Mary, rising up,… went into the hill-country with haste.”3 Rising from the quiet of contemplation to which she was always devoted, and quitting her beloved solitude, she immediately set out for the dwelling of Saint Elizabeth; and because “charity beareth all things,”4 and cannot support delay, as Saint Ambrose remarks on this Gospel, ‘the Holy Holy Ghost knows not slow undertakings;’5 without even reflecting on the arduousness of the journey, this tender Virgin, I say, immediately undertook it.

On reaching the house, she salutes her cousin: “And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.”6 Saint Ambrose here remarks that Mary was ‘the first to salute’7 Elizabeth. The visit of Mary, however, had no resemblance with those of worldlings, which, for the greater part, consist in ceremony and outward demonstration, devoid of all sincerity; for it brought with it an accumulation of graces.

The moment she entered that dwelling, on her first salutation, Elizabeth was filled with the holy Ghost; and Saint John was cleansed from original sin, and sanctified; and therefore gave that mark of joy by leaping in his mother’s womb, wishing thereby to manifest the grace that he had received by the means of the Blessed Virgin, as Saint Elizabeth herself declared: “As soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.”8 Thus, as Bernadine de Bustis remarks, in virtue of Mary’s salutation Saint John received the grace of the Divine Spirit which sanctified him: ‘When the Blessed Virgin saluted Elizabeth, the voice of the salutation, entering her ears, descended to the child, and by its virtue he received the Holy Ghost.’9

And now, if all these first-fruits of Redemption passed by Mary as the channel through which grace was communicated to the Baptist, the Holy Ghost to Elizabeth, the gift of prophecy to Zachary, and so many other blessings to the whole house, the first graces which to our knowledge the Eternal Word had granted on earth after His Incarnation, it is quite correct to believe that from thenceforward God made Mary the universal channel, as she is called by Saint Bernard, through which all the other graces which our Lord is pleased to dispense to us should pass.

With reason, then, is this Divine Mother called the treasure, the treasurer, and the dispenser of Divine graces. She is thus called by the venerable Abbot of Celles, ‘the Treasure of God, and the Treasurer of graces;’10 by Saint Peter Damian, ‘the Treasurer of Divine graces;’11 by Blessed Albert the Great, ‘the Treasurer of Jesus Christ;’12 by Saint Bernadine, ‘the Dispenser of graces;’13 by a learned Greek, quoted by Petavius, ‘the Storehouse of all good things.’14 So also by Saint Gregory Thaumatiurgus, who observes that ‘Mary is said to be thus full of grace, for in her all the treasures of grace were hidden.’15

Richard of St Lawrence also says that ‘Mary is a treasure, because God has placed all gifts of graces in her as in a treasury; and from thence he bestows great stipends on his soldiers and labourers.’16 She is a treasury of mercies, whence our Lord enriches his servants.

  1. Paralip. Xiii. 14.
  2. Coel. Panth. In Vis 2.
  3. Luc. i. 39.
  4. 1 Cor. Xiii. 7.
  5. Exp. Evang. Sec. Luc. Lib. Ii. No. 19.
  6. Luc. 1. 40.
  7. Loc. Cu. No. 22.
  8. Luc. 1. 44.
  9. Marial. P. vi. Serm. 1, p. 3.
  10. Contempl. De. B.V.M. in Prol.
  11. Serm. Ii. De .nat. B.V.M.
  12. Thesauraria Jesu Christi.
  13. Serm. De Exalt. B.M.V. art. Ii. Cap. 3.
  14. Tu promtuarium omnium bonorum.
  15. Serm. 1. In Annunt. B.M.V.
  16. De Laud. V. 1. Iv. C. 21.

Source. The Glories of Mary by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri. ISBN: 978-0-89555-021-7

The Glories of Mary by St. Alponsus Ligouri (1696-1787) is one of the greatest Catholic books ever written. Easily understood by all, this famous book is undoubtedly the best composite of teaching about the Blessed Virgin Mary ever penned and is one that will lead many souls to a greater love of Jesus through a more intimate knowledge of Mary and her exalted role in our salvation.

St Alphonsus Ligouri – Mary obtains us the Pardon of our Sins

Posted on 02. May, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

To understand why the holy Church makes us call Mary our life, we must know, that as the soul gives life to the body, so does Divine grace give life to the soul; for a soul without grace has the name of being alive, but is in truth dead, as it was said of one in the Apocalypse, “Thou hast the name of being alive, and thou art dead.”1

Mary, then, in obtaining this grace for sinners by her intercession, thus restores them to life. See how the Church makes her speak, applying to her the following words of Proverbs: “They that in the morning early watch for me shall find me.”2 They who are diligent in having recourse to me in the morning, that is, as soon as they can, will most certainly find me. In the Septuagint the words “shall, find me” are rendered “shall find grace.” So that to, have recourse to Mary is the same thing as to find the, grace of God. A little further on she says, “He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.”3

‘Listen,’ exclaims St Bonaventure on these words, ‘listen, all you who desire the kingdom of God; honour the most Blessed Virgin Mary, and you will find life and eternal salvation.’4

St Bernadine of Siena says, that if God did not destroy man after his first sin, it was on account of His singular love for this holy Virgin, who was destined to be born of this race. And the Saint adds, ‘that he has no doubt but that all the mercies granted by God under the old dispensation were granted only in consideration of this most Blessed Lady.’5

Hence, St Bernard was right in exhorting us ‘to seek for grace, and to seek it by Mary;’6 meaning, that if we have had the misfortune to lose the grace of God, we should seek to recover it, but we should do so by Mary; for though we have lost it, she has found it; and hence the Saint calls her’ the finder of grace.”7 The angel Gabriel expressly declared this for our consolation, when he saluted the Blessed Virgin, saying, “Fear not, Mary, thou hast found grace.’8 But if Mary had never been deprived of grace, how could the archangel say that she had then found it?

A thing may be found by a person who did not previously possess it; but we are told by the same archangel that the Blessed Virgin was always with God, always in grace, nay, full of grace. “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.”9 Since Mary, then, did not find grace for herself, she always being full of it, for whom did she find it? Cardinal Hugo, in his commentary on the above text, replies that she found it for sinners who had lost it. ‘Let sinners, then,’ says this devout writer, ‘who by their crimes have lost grace, address themselves to the Blessed Virgin; for with her they will surely find it; let them humbly salute her, and say with confidence, ‘Lady, that which has been found must be restored to him who has lost it; restore us, therefore, our property which thou hast found.’10

On this subject, Richard of St Lawrence concludes, ‘that if we hope to recover the grace of God, we must go to Mary, who has found it, and finds it always.’11 And as she always was and always will be dear to God, if we have recourse to her, we shall certainly succeed.

  1. Apoc. iii. 1.
  2. Prov. viii. 17.
  3. Prov. viii. 35.
  4. Ps. Xlviii. B.V.
  5. Tom. Iv. Serm. 5, de B.V. c. 2.
  6. Serm. De Aquoed.
  7. De adv. D. Serm. 2.
  8. Luc. i. 30.
  9. Luc. i. 28.
  10. In cap. i. Luc.
  11. De Laud. V. l. ii. c. 5.

Source. The Glories of Mary by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri. (ISBN: 978-0-89555-021-7)

The Glories of Mary by St. Alponsus Ligouri (1696-1787) is one of the greatest Catholic books ever written. Easily understood by all, this famous book is undoubtedly the best composite of teaching about the Blessed Virgin Mary ever penned and is one that will lead many souls to a greater love of Jesus through a more intimate knowledge of Mary and her exalted role in our salvation.

St Leo the Great, Christ’s Passion is Realised Today

Posted on 24. Apr, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

The Present effect of Christ’s Passion is realised daily by Christians
Sermon by St Leo the Great

All therefore that the Son of God did and taught for the world’s reconciliation, we not only know as a matter of past history, but appreciate in the power of its present effect. It is He Who, born of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost, fertilizes His unpolluted Church with the same blessed Spirit, that by the birth of Baptism an innumerable multitude of sons may be born to God, of Whom it is said, “who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn 1:13).”

It is He, in Whom the seed of Abraham is blessed by the adoption of the whole world (Gn 22:18), and the patriarch becomes the father of nations by the birth, through faith not flesh, of the sons of promise. It is He Who, without excluding any nation, makes one flock of holy sheep from every nation under heaven, and daily fulfils what He promised, saying, “Other sheep also I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd” (Jn 10:16).

For though to the blessed Peter first and foremost He says, “Feed My Sheep” yet the one Lord directs the charge of all the shepherds, and feeds those that come to the rock with such glad and well-watered pastures, that countless sheep are nourished by the richness of His love, and hesitate not to perish for the Shepherd’s sake, even as the good Shepherd Himself was content to lay down His life for His sheep. It is He whose sufferings are shared not only by the martyrs’ glorious courage, but also in the very act of regeneration by the faith of all the new-born.

For the renunciation of the devil and belief in God, the passing from the old state into newness of life, the casting off of the earthly image, and the putting on of the heavenly form— all this is a sort of dying and rising again, whereby he that is received by Christ and receives Christ is not the same after as he was before he came to the font, for the body of the regenerate becomes the flesh of the Crucified.

Source. Translated by Charles Lett Feltoe. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 12. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace.

Holy Trinity Parish, Easter Ceremonies

Posted on 10. Apr, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

Lent, What St Catherine of Siena Teaches Us

Posted on 03. Apr, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

We continue our reflection on prayer with Saint Catherine of Siena who is one of the Church’s greatest mystics. She was born on the 25th March 1347 and died at the age of 33 years on the 29th April 1380 as one of the most remarkable women in history.

In April 1375, at Pisa, she received the Stigmata in the church of Santa Cristina and made such a profound impression upon the pope in June 1376 that he returned to Rome on 17th January 1377 from his exile in Avignon, France.

Below is an extract from the book ‘The Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena’ which treats of the whole spiritual life of man in the form of a series of colloquies between the Eternal Father and the human soul (represented by Catherine herself). It is regarded as one of the greatest books of mystical theology ever written:

A Treatise of Prayer

Of the means which the soul takes to arrive at pure and generous love; and here begins the Treatise of Prayer.

“When a soul has passed through the doctrine of Christ crucified, with true love of virtue and hatred of vice, and has arrived at the house of self-knowledge and entered therein, she remains, with her door barred, in watching and constant prayer, separated entirely from the consolations of the world. Why does she shut herself in? She does so from fear, knowing her own imperfections, and also from the desire, which she has, of arriving at pure and generous love.

And because she sees and knows well that in no other way can she arrive thereat, she waits, with a lively faith for My arrival, through increase of grace in her. How is a lively faith to be recognised? By perseverance in virtue, and by the fact that the soul never turns back for anything, whatever it be, nor rises from holy prayer, for any reason except (note well) for obedience or charity’s sake. For no other reason ought she to leave off prayer, for, during the time ordained for prayer, the Devil is wont to arrive in a soul, causing much more conflict and trouble than when the soul is not occupied in prayer. This he does in order that holy prayer may become tedious to the soul, tempting her often with these words: ‘This prayer avails you nothing, for you need attend nothing except your vocal prayers.’

He acts thus in order that, becoming wearied and confused in mind, she may abandon the exercise of prayer, which is a weapon with which the soul can defend herself from every adversary, if grasped with the hand of love, by the arm of free choice in the light of holy Faith.”

Lent, What St Louis de Montfort Teaches Us.

Posted on 27. Mar, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

For just as fasting and almsgiving is essential in the Christian’s journey throughout Lent so equally is prayer. St Louis de Montfort who was born on the 31st January 1673 and died on the 28th April 1716 and was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1888 offers us a most powerful and beautiful teaching.

Below is an extract from his book ‘The Secret of the Rosary’:

The Rosary is A Sublime Prayer

In any case, do not be like a certain devout but self-willed woman in Rome who is mentioned in the book The Wonders of the Rosary. She was so devout that by her holy life she put to shame even the strictest religious in the Church.

One day, she went to St Dominic to consult with him about her spiritual life and asked him to hear her confession. For penance, he gave her one Rosary to say and counseled her to say a Rosary every day. She immediately began to make excuses: she had her own well-regulated set of devotions; each day she obtained the indulgence of the Stations of Rome, always wore sackcloth and a hair shirt, and used the discipline several times a week. She also fasted much and carried out acts of penance.

St Dominic urged her again to take his advice and say a Rosary every day, but she would not hear of it. She left the confessional almost scandalised by the advice of this new spiritual director, who had tried so hard to get her to take on a devotion not to her liking.

Later, when she was at prayer, she fell into an ecstasy and had a vision of her soul appearing before our Lord’s Judgement Seat. St Michael put all her penances and other good works on one side of the scales and all her sins and imperfections on the other. The side of her good works was greatly outweighed by the side of her sins and imperfections.

Terrified, she cried for Mercy. She implored the help of the Blessed Virgin, her gracious Advocate, who took the one Rosary she had said for her penance and dropped it on the side of her good works. This one Rosary was so heavy that it outweighed both her sins and her good works. The Blessed Virgin then reproved her for refusing to follow the advice of her servant St Dominic and for failing to say the Rosary every day.

As soon as she came to herself, she rushed to throw herself at the feet of St Dominic. She told him all that had happened, asked his forgiveness for her unbelief, and promised to say the Holy Rosary every day. By this means she rose to Christian perfection and then to the glory of everlasting life.

You who are people of prayer, learn from this the power, value, and importance of the devotion of the Holy Rosary when it is said together with meditation on the sacred Mysteries. Few Saints have reached the same heights of prayer as St Mary Magdalene. She was lifted up to heaven seven times each day by Angels and had learned at the feet of our Lord Himself and His Holy Mother.

Yet one day when she asked God to show her a sure way of advancing in love of Him and arriving at the height of perfection, He sent St Michael the Archangel to tell her, on His behalf, that there was no other way to arrive at perfection than by meditating on our Lord’s Passion. So, St Michael placed a Cross in front of her cave and told her to pray before it, contemplating the Sorrowful Mysteries, which she had seen take place with her own eyes.

The example of St Francis de Sales, the great spiritual director of souls in his day, should impel you to join the Holy Confraternity of the Rosary*. Great Saint that he was, he bound himself by oath to say the Rosary every day as long as he lived.

St Charles Borromeo also said it every day and strongly recommended this devotion to his priests and seminarians as well as to all people. St Pius V, one of the greatest Popes who ever ruled the Church, said the Rosary every day. St Thomas of Villanova, who was Archbishop of Valence, St Ignatius, St Francis Xavier, St Francis Borgia, St Teresa, and St Philip Neri as well as many other illustrious people I have not mentioned were deeply devoted to the Rosary. Follow there example.

* For more information about joining the Holy Confraternity of the Rosary in Ireland go to http://dominicans.ie/rosary/

Lent, What Saint Leo The Great Teaches Us

Posted on 19. Mar, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

For just as fasting is essential in the Christian’s journey throughout Lent so equally is almsgiving, as outlined here by St Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church who was Pope in the year 440. Below is a sermon given by St Leo the Great regarding almsgiving.

Our goods are given us not as our own possessions but for use in God’s service

And what so suitable to faith, what so much in harmony with godliness as to assist the poverty of the needy, to undertake the care of the weak, to succour the needs of the brethren, and to remember one’s own condition in the toils of others. In which work He only who knows what He has given to each, discerns aright how much a man can and how much he cannot do. For not only are spiritual riches and heavenly gifts received from God, but earthly and material possessions also proceed from His bounty, that He may be justified in requiring an account of those things which He has not so much put in our possession as committed to our stewardship.

God’s gifts, therefore, we must use properly and wisely, lest the material for good work should become an occasion of sin. For wealth, after its kind and regarded as a means, is good and is of the greatest advantage to human society, when it is in the hands of the benevolent and open-handed, and when the luxurious man does not squander nor the miser hoard it; for whether ill-stored or unwisely spent it is equally lost.

And its efficacy, as Scripture proves, is incalculable

Let no one therefore, dearly beloved, flatter himself on any merits of a good life, if works of charity be wanting in him, and let him not trust in the purity of his body, if he be not cleansed by the purification of almsgiving. For almsgiving wipes out sin, kills death, and extinguishes the punishment of perpetual fire.

But he who has not been fruitful therein, shall have no indulgence from the great Recompenser, as Solomon says, “He that closes his ears lest he should hear the weak, shall himself call upon the Lord, and there shall be none to hear him” (Proverbs 21:13). And hence Tobias also, while instructing his son in the precepts of godliness, says, “Give alms of your substance, and turn not your face from any poor man: so shall it come to pass that the face of God shall not be turned from you.” This virtue makes all virtues profitable; for by its presence it gives life to that very faith, by which “the just lives” (Habakkuk 2:4), and which is said to be “dead without works” (James 2:26): because as the reason for works consists in faith, so the strength of faith consists in works.

“While we have time therefore,” as the Apostle says, “let us do that which is good to all men, and especially to them that are of the household of faith.” “But let us not be weary in doing good; for in His own time we shall reap.” And so the present life is the time for sowing, and the day of retribution is the time of harvest, when everyone shall reap the fruit of his seed according to the amount of his sowing. And no one shall be disappointed in the produce of that harvesting, because it is the heart’s intentions rather than the sums expended that will be reckoned up.

And little sums from little means shall produce as much as great sums from great means. And therefore, dearly beloved, let us carry out this Apostolic institution. And as the first collection will be next Sunday, let all prepare themselves to give willingly, that everyone according to his ability may join in this most sacred offering. Your very alms and those who shall be aided by your gifts shall intercede for you, that you may be always ready for every good work in Christ Jesus our Lord, Who lives and reigns for ages without end. Amen.

Source. Translated by Charles Lett Feltoe. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 12. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.)

Saint Patrick – Patron of Ireland

Posted on 13. Mar, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

Bishop Confessor (c.385-461)

Taken from the book ‘Saint Companions for Each Day’ by A.J.M. Mausolfe & J.K. Mausolfe. Printed by The Saint Paul Society who proclaim the Gospel through the media of Social Communication.

St Patrick, the great apostle and patron of Ireland, was the son of Calpurnius, a Roman Decurio in Brittany (Britain), and through his mother was closely related to St Martin of Tours. At 16, he was carried off by some Irish raiders into captivity, whereby he spent the next 6 years as a shepherd in the service of the chief Milch in Dalradia (Antrim) before he was able to escape and make his way to Brittany and the monastery of Tours. His spiritual understanding and prayer life having meanwhile developed greatly, he longed to instruct the pagan Irish in the faith, but some 20 years were to pass before he would return to them in the official capacity of a missionary.

The British Bishop Palladius was sent to Ireland by Celestine I in 430 “to the Scots who believe in Christ”, but the hostility he encountered at the hands of the pagans compelled him to return to England where he died soon after. Thereupon Patrick, then in his forties, was consecrated Bishop and commissioned to evangelise the land of his one-time captors. He too was at first driven back to his ship by the Druids; but landing further north, he converted the chieftain Dichu by a miracle and dedicated the first Christian sanctuary at a place called Sabhall (Saul).

When some years later, all the chieftains had assembled at the hill of Slane near Tara, Patrick seized the opportunity to expound the faith boldly, using the “Shamrock” to illustrate the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. One stem, three leaves; one nature, three persons, was the core of his preaching. The enraged Druid priests demonstrated their demonical powers by levitation, etc. but when St Patrick’s prayer was able to bring them to naught, King Leoghaire gave him permission to teach Christianity throughout the isle. It was at this point of time that the Saint composed the magnificent hymn we call St Patrick’s Breastplate”:

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Amen.
(Shortened version)

Patrick spent 7 years in the zealous evangelisation of Connaught and then wandered through Ulster, Meach, Leinster and Limerick working numerous miracles. He and his companions were thrown in prison numerous times and even threatened with death, but in the end his success was astounding, chiefs and common people coming into the fold by the thousands.

The Pope sent him three auxiliary Bishops, and two years later St Patrick went to Rome to report his work to his Holiness.  Upon his return, he kept on travelling about Ireland, organising parishes and the diocese with a native clergy, and before long there also sprang up a number of convents and monasteries – the training schools for those later Saints who contributed so greatly to saving the faith in Europe.

Humble, yet courageous, St Patrick’s determination to accept suffering and success with equal candour guided him in winning most of Ireland for Christ. Indeed, by the time he died in Saul in 461, he had established the Catholic Church in Ireland on a truly solid foundation. So rapid and thorough had been the country’s conversion, that within 10 years of his landing he had been called upon to aid in the revision of its laws on a Christian basis.

Until his very end, this great man of prayer never relaxed his penitential exercises and mortifications. As for his indisputably genuine writings that have come down to us, his “Confessio” and his “Epistola Coroticum” deserve to be more widely known and appreciated, for they reveal God’s wonderful and providential workings in and through this great soul.

 

Lent, What St Thomas Aquinas Teaches Us

Posted on 13. Mar, 2017 in Featured, NEWS

We fast for three reasons.

(i) To check the desires of the flesh. So St. Paul says in fastings, in chastity (Cor 6:5), meaning that fasting is a safeguard for chastity. As St. Jerome says, “Without Ceres, and Bacchus, Venus would freeze” as much as to say that lust loses its heat through sparseness of food and drink.

(ii) That the mind may more freely raise itself to contemplation of the heights. We read in the book of Daniel that it was after a fast of three weeks that he received the revelation from God (Dan 10:2-4).

(iii) To make satisfaction for sin. This is the reason given by the prophet Joel, be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning (Joel 2:12). And here is what St. Augustine writes on the matter: “Fasting purifies the soul. It lifts up the mind, and it brings the body into subjection to the spirit. It makes the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of desire, puts out the flames of lust and the true light of chastity.”

There is commandment laid on us to fast.

For fasting helps to destroy sin, and to raise the mind to thoughts of the spiritual world. Each man is then bound, by the natural law of the matter, to fast just as much as is necessary to help him in these matters. Which is to say that fasting in general is a matter of natural law. To determine, however, when we shall fast and how, according to what suits and is of use to the Catholic body, is a matter of positive law. To state the positive law is the business of the bishops, and what is thus stated by them is called ecclesiastical fasting, in contradistinction with the natural fasting previously mentioned.

The times fixed for fasting by the Church are well chosen.

Fasting has two objects in view:

(i) The destruction of sin, and

(ii) the lifting of the mind to higher things.

The times self-indicated for fasting are then those in which men are especially bound to free themselves from sin and to raise their minds to God in devotion. Such a time especially is that which precedes that solemnity of Easter in which baptism is administered and sin thereby destroyed, and when the burial of Our Lord is recalled, for we are buried together with Christ by baptism into death (Rom 6:4). Then, too, at Easter most of all, men’s minds should be lifted, through devotion to the glory of that eternity which Christ in his resurrection inaugurated.

Wherefore the Church has decreed that immediately before the solemnity of Easter we must fast, and, for a similar reason, that we must fast on the eves of the principal feasts, setting apart those days as opportune to prepare ourselves for the devout celebration of the feasts themselves.