Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ways to Become a More Effective Instrument of God's Love in Redemptive Work

Continued from "The Healing Flame of Love", Part 1

Mary Magdalene with Christ1. The value of great desires.

Great desires to do things for Christ can be a great stimulant in letting us be molded into the person that can do those great things. There is great spiritual strength in collective desires. Desires can lead to increased cooperation with grace. Lack of these desires can limit our sanctity to mediocrity. If we desire great things we can say that we helped bring them about.
2. "Giving in" to God.
Increased union with God means progressive detachment from the things of this earth. This detachment can be accomplished by giving in to God every time He asks. He has a way He wants us to follow in order to do the special work assigned to our life. It may not coincide with our own idea of what is to be done or the preparation for it. We must realize that if the possession of God is so exalted, we may be asked to give up our most cherished ideas or possessions to attain it.
3. Giving God permission to sanctify us.
God has given each one of us a task; the work of attaining eternal salvation. He always gives the help, the grace necessary for any task He imposes. Due to our unwillingness to cooperate many graces are merely sufficient. If we give Him permission He can work more easily in us without forcing our free will.
4. Doing things with great love.
A perfect act of love of God has very great force - it can forgive mortal sin, subdue evil and insure future cooperation with grace. The love of neighbor, too, can be very powerful. If this is a proper love we give Christ, we give the Way, the Life, and the Truth. Therefore we give the means of salvation to others.
5. Knowing how grace acts. (See Section 2)
If we really believe that of ourselves we can do nothing to obtain eternal life, we must believe that a means to obtain it has been provided by God. This means is grace. If it is common sense to ascertain facts and then act on them, it is certainly wisdom to understand grace and to cooperate with it.
6. Habitual union of wills.
If there is an habitual union of our will with God's will, it is easier for Him to "lead us around", that is, cooperate with His grace and be led by His Spirit. If you have ever tried to make an animal do what it does not want to do you know how exasperating it can be. Likewise, in respecting our free will God has to use many and varied stratagems to get us to do the things He wants done. If we are docile and learn to take our cues from circumstances, from hints of various kinds, from needs and desires of others, etc. that God arranges He can get us sanctified and doing His work with lots less fuss, struggle and wasted energy.
7. Embracing the substance that is God's will in very circumstance.
Each moment of our life offers us a circumstance planned by God. The only worth it has is the importance He places on it. Therefore we should look beyond, or into, each situation, try to see its why and wherefore and understand its relation to God. In every event in our life we should see God's love that arranged it, His will that brought it into being and the grace that earns eternal life through it.
In any difficult or trying situation we should therefore not only accept, but embrace it. Suppose that you are confronted with such a seemingly intolerable situation that you are completely nonplussed. The usual reactions are to try to lessen the effect, to circumvent it, to change it, or to avert it entirely. But, if you immediately embrace the Will that is giving you this trial, you receive the physical help (positing continued cooperation) to accept or accomplish. Then God can either remove the difficulty or continue it. In this way there is no effort on your part to thwart God's designs.
8. The tremendous power of God that is available to me.
"I am nothing and can do nothing of myself", is one of the truths of the Catholic faith. Yet there is a tremendous reservoir of power available to me and dependent on only a relatively small action on my part (St. Paul calls it the part that is wanting). God has unheard of plans ready for the fulfillment of man's destiny. He is waiting, as it were, for man to take the initiative in helping himself and all mankind. The only necessary condition is that it be synchronized with the Will that is this power. A tremendous example is Moses, who in his weakness, could carry out the exodus.
Each moment posits a situation with a grace that has staggering possibilities. Cooperation with the Supreme Will can materialize plans beyond our fondest dreams.
9. Consecration to Our Lady.
In our natural growth God has given each of us a mother to bring us to manhood in the world of reality. In the spiritual realm He has seen fit to make available a woman preeminently capable to be our mother as she is the true spouse of the Holy Spirit. She always does her best for each one of us, contending with our spirit of worldly independence and self determination. If we choose, we can place ourselves more fully under her most wise guidance. This will enable her to more easily undertake her duties towards us, which our perverse will might otherwise resent, giving us lessons in humility, patience, love, etc., that might have remained unlearned. As we progress spiritually she will introduce us into heavenly society, especially arranging ways for us to become more fully acquainted with he divine Son.
A quotation from St. Louis de Montfort will suffice to explain our Blessed Mother's great power. "But the power of Mary over all the devils will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lay his snares against her heel; that is to say, her humble slaves and her poor children whom she will raise up to make war against him. They shall be little and poor in the world's esteem, and abased before all, like the heel trodden underfoot and persecuted as the heel is by the other members of the body. But in return for this, they shall be rich in the grace of God, which Mary shall distribute to them abundantly. They shall be great and exalted before God in sanctity, superior to all other creatures by their lively zeal, and so well sustained with god's assistance that, with the humility of their heel, in union with Mary, they shall crush the head of the devil and cause Jesus Christ to triumph." (from True Devotion to Mary).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Holy Water - A Means of Spiritual Wealth

Angel with Holy WaterHoly water is a sacramental that remits venial sin. Because of the blessing attached to it, Holy Church strongly urges its use upon her children, especially when dangers threaten, such as fire, storms, sickness and other calamities. Every Catholic home always should have in it a supply of holy water.
We do not take advantage of the benefits derived from holy water.
Let us cultivate its use.
Untold spiritual wealth is concentrated in a tiny drop of blessed water.
And we give it so little thought!
Did we realize now, as we shall realize after death, the many benefits which may be derived from holy water, we would use it far more frequently, and with greater faith and reverence.
Holy water has its great power and efficacy from the prayers of the Church, which its Divine Founder always accepts with complacency.

Following are some of the petitions the priest makes to God when he blesses water.

"O God, ... grant that this creature of Thine (water) may be endowed with divine grace to drive away devils and to cast out diseases, that whatever in the houses or possessions of the faithful may be sprinkled by this water, may be freed from everything unclean, and delivered from what is hurtful... Let everything that threatens the safety or peace of the dwellers therein be banished by the sprinkling of this water; so that the health which they seek by calling upon Thy Holy Name may be guarded from all assault."

Prayers Effective

These prayers ascend to heaven each time you take holy water and sprinkle a drop either for yourself or for another, whether he be present or absent; and God's blessing descend for soul and body.

Dispel the Devil

The devil hates holy water because of its power over him. He cannot long abide in a place or near a person that is often sprinkled with this blessed water.

Do Your Dear Ones Live At a Distance?

Holy water, sprinkled with faith and piety, can move the Sacred Heart to bless your loved ones and protect them from all harm of soul and body. When worry and fear take possession of your heart, hasten to your holy water font, and give your dear ones the benefit of the Church's prayers.

The Holy Souls Long For It

Only in Purgatory can one understand how ardently a poor soul longs for holy water. If we desire to make a host of intercessors for ourselves, let us try to realize now some of their yearnings, and never forget them at the holy water font. The holy souls nearest to Heaven may need the sprinkling of only one drop to relieve their pining souls.

Remits Venial Sins

Because holy water is one of the Church's sacramentals, it remits venial sin. Keep your soul beautifully pure in God's sight by making the Sign of the Cross carefully while saying;

"By this holy water and by Thy Precious Blood wash away my sins, O Lord."

Imprimatur: +Albert G. Meyer, Archbishop of Milwaukee, Jan. 13, 1958
Apostolate of Christian Action, P.O. Box 24, Fresno, California 93707

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mary Ward, Foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1585-1645)

Mary WardMary Ward, Foundress of the Institute B.V.M. born in England 1585, forced to leave her beloved country because of her faith, repaired first to Flanders and then to Rome. She felt inspired to found a new type of religious life, without papal enclosure, governed by one Superior General, in which women consecrated to God by the three vows could pursue good works and promote the return of England to the faith. Mary founded houses in Flanders, England, Germany, Austria, Italy, Rome itself, under the eye of Pope Urban VIII. She laboured and suffered much for her congregation bearing all her sufferings with joy. She died in England in 1645.
His Eminence, Cardinal Bourne wrote in 1921: - "I feel it a duty of gratitude to recall continually to the Catholics of England, and indeed of the whole United Kingdom, as well as to all the teaching orders of Religious women throughout the world that the very existence of the modern educational and charitable congregations, such as we know them was made possible by the supernatural foresight, the heroic perseverance, and sufferings of Mary Ward. She waged the battle to the point of apparent defeat, of which they are reaping the victory. To no one after their own special founders do they owe greater gratitude than to Mary Ward."

Prayer for Beatification

O heavenly Father, Almighty God, I offer up to Thee this day all the holy Masses said throughout the whole Catholic world, to obtain the grace that the Servant of God, Mary Ward, may be publicly acknowledged worthy of Beatification. O Jesus, deign soon to glorify Thy humble servant. Amen.

We grant an indulgence of 200 days to be gained once a day by all who devoutly recite the above prayer. - Francis Cardinal Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster, May 22nd, 1928

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Healing Flame of Love

Herz Jesu IkoneHave you been disappointed in love? Alas, many people have. Even the great Saint Teresa complained that God had few friends because He treated them so roughly. (I'll bet she paid for this!) Many are frustrated in their hopes and dreams of an ideal love; disillusioned after a few years of married life; still unsatisfied after the endless pursuit of the pleasure they call love.
But, if God is love, our natural idea of love must of necessity be elevated if we are to be oriented to an eternal life of love. To many in religion, "vocation" was a story of falling in love with God. What dreams of peace and great conquests of souls! Alas, after many years of struggling, the heights look too chilly for climbing; the discomfort of the effort is seemingly out of proportion to what we are to get out of it.
We had fallen in love with God, I say, but now He does not seem to give us a feeling of being loved in return. He does not seem to speak to us to answer either our questions or our pleas for help. He must have forgotten all about us or there would be more communication between us. So we kind of sulk and miss the great significance of encountering God in the staggering possibilities that grace presents to us at each moment.
But, Christ has said "Behold this Heart which loves men so much". Do we really believe this? If we did, our eyes would sparkle, our hearts would be aflame and love would flow from our fingertips. God does speak to us but we must study and watch closely if we are to learn His language.
I must learn to understand what God wants of me by effects - what happens when I do this, when I ask for that. I must strive to penetrate the arrangement of circumstances, to see in each situation a setup for perfect success - or perfect failure. No, He does not seem to speak to me, but He does, though communication is below the level of consciousness - and this is where faith comes in. Many times He uses people to give answers - to push you when you need a push, a kind word when you need help. (You may be the instrument to bring someone into line, so take care that it is done with charity). Faith puts Him right near me when I am disposed to notice Him.
There are fabulous graces available to a person disappointed in love, for one of the wounds of crucifixion is to the heart. Crucifixion is following Christ and the short cut to sanctity.


God does have a plan - to save each one of us and to save th world. My life is not just a hit-or-miss business; there is a way planned out for me that will bring me to heaven. This is for everyone. He does not argue with us if we choose to deviate, but He gives us plenty of signals to make us stop and listen to Him. Just look around and see (in the various kinds of suffering) how hard He has to hit, yet people still will not listen.
Let us start with the fact that here is sufficient grace for all men to be saved (Christ redeemed all men). Therefore there is enough potential supernatural (not merely spiritual) energy available to save the world, if it is put to work. (Work is energy applied over a period of time.) Note that the activity must be supernatural, that is, directed by the will to God. The way to put it to work is to cooperate with God's will, God's plan to save the world. A reservoir can be a potential supply of water for a city. It is a supply, if there is a pipeline.
The Church is God's plan for the world. He works in an orderly way. Salvation is accomplished through the channels set up, that is, the Church. We can supply living water by willing to receive and transmit grace, and so give that extra something that St. Paul said was lacking. If there is not enough living water flowing - not enough supernatural work being done - we should endeavor to find out how we can increase our output.
The following sections endeavor to point out the possibilities.


a. Grace is completely available.
There is not just one thing to do at each moment, or I fail to do God's will; there are a multitude of actions presented to me by grace. Different ways to act are as available as different items in a supermarket - yet appointed for my needs with great care.
b. Grace gives physical ability to do the things necessary for salvation.
Example: You cannot put your hand in a fire and hold it there. St. Joan of Arc could put her whole body in a fire because God desired it. She was given the ability through grace.
c. Cooperation with grace puts me in touch with a tremendous power. If we believe that we are and can do nothing, we must believe that here is a power that can do everything. This power is, of course, God. Cooperation with His ideas, acceptance of His plans can make the power available.
Example: You cannot push a freight train, yet a small movement of the throttle and the whole train starts to move.
d. Grace operates below the level of consciousness.
Wonderful things - like the operation of grace, God speaking to us, the Spirit moving us, etc. - are continually causing changes in our soul. We are unaware either of their action or their significance.
Example: Consider what happens in baptism, etc., or what happened when the prodigal son said, "I will return..."
e. God will not sanctify me against my will, but He can change my will to make it agree with His desires.
f. Grace is a receiving.
The really important thing to understand about grace is that we receive it as a gift. We do not earn it or receive it because we seem to have done something to deserve it. If we are at all interested in arriving at a high degree of prayer (in order to increase our output) we must appreciate this function if grace, for in contemplation our activity is a receiving.


One of the great puzzles for anyone seeking to make progress in the spiritual life is in knowing God's will. "How do I know right now what God wants me to do?" In answer, I would say that 90% of your questions can be answered by your state in life. The other 10% are rather unpredictable, because it is in this area that God can arrange special circumstances that will orient you, reorient you, change your life etc. tc., in accordance with His plans, His providence. The way you accept, fight, or are indifferent to this orientation can be significant in your movement towards or away from God.
Let us take another view of it. In order to be saved, we have to follow God's will. In order to follow God's will we have to know what to do. He has to let us know what to do without forcing the action on me. (I have a will free to accept or reject). To do this He uses a vehicle. For example, He uses the vehicle of a hen to give us fresh eggs. The hen can be sick, well or lame, yet the egg can be a good. one. Sickness, failure, suffering can be a vehicle that brings the underlying, all-important will. Or, consider a broker scanning a ticker tape. Ordinary figures on a strip ofpaper being fed to him moment by moment engender all kinds of ideas about buying or selling, etc. So, too, God is showing us a multiplicity of things to do through grace, yet not forcing them on us.
One way of becoming more completely in accord with God and His will is to try often to put oneself in agreement with everything that is happening up to the ever-advancing 'now'. If there is anything in the world of events or in your interior thoughts that fails of a complete rapprochement with God - Who directly wills or permits these things - it is an indication that your will is not in accord with Divine Wisdom. Over a period of time obstacles to grace can thus be brought into spiritual focus and if there is willingness to remove them the ability will be forthcoming. This can be very effective in regard to acceptance of events of life that affect your personally.
Again, completely disassociate yourself from the work you do (teaching, selling, nursing etc.) insofar as it is your livelihood. Then, re assimilate it objectively as the means whereby God is sanctifying you. In this way when things occur that are difficult to reconcile with your work as a career, they can be associated with your sanctification and seen for what they are.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Be Kind !

Misericordiam voloBe kind - for oh! a kind word spoken
To those whose hearts are well-nigh broken
Shall never pass away.
That kind word is a secret treasure
Whose recompense, beyond all measure,
Waits the great reckoning day.

Be kind, be kind unto thy brother,
The love thou wouldst have from another
Do thou thyself impart.
The kind deed wrought shall pass oh! never,
Its blessed fruit remains for ever
Deep in the SACRED HEART.

Thy kindly word again shall greet thee,
When Jesus shall come forth to meet thee,
When thou His Face shalt see.
The HEART OF JESUS has remembered;
"The kindness", He will say, "thou'st rendered
Was rendered unto Me".

E. Aubry, Murray St., New York
From the Voice of the Sacred Heart

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

St. Philomena, Virgin, Martyr and Wonder Worker

Pray to St. Philomena, whatever you ask from Her She will obtain for you. (Pope Gregory XVI)

"To Philomena, nothing is refused" - Blessed Virgin Mary

Saint Philomena
O Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, whom God glorifies by so many miracles, whom the Vicar of Jesus Christ has named the Protectress of The Living Rosary and the Children of Mary, manifest, more and more plainly from the heights of Heaven, that a voice holy as thine cannot be denied and that we have the right to rely upon thine aid. Obtain for us the grace to be faithful to Jesus Christ, even to death. Amen.

After 15 hundred years of obscurity in the catacombs, the precious relics of Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, were discovered on May 25th, feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, in 1802. Within 35 years of her discovery this young Grecian Princess was raised to the altars and proclaimed the Wonder-Worker of the 19th century, so numerous and striking were the miracles obtained through her powerful intercession. Shrines, altars and monuments were erected world wide in honor of St. Philomena, Powerful with God!

While to other Saints is granted the power of helping us in one or another necessity, Saint Philomena has been granted the power of helping us in every necessity, both spiritual and temporal. Let us turn to her with great confidence, love and faith. She is the 'beloved daughter' of Jesus and Mary to whom nothing is refused.
"My children, St. Philomena, has great power with God. Her virginity and generosity in embracing her heroic martyrdom has rendered her so agreeable to God that He will never refuse her anything that she asks for us." (St. John Vianney (Curé of Ars)
"Philomena is a great Saint." (Pope Leo XII)
"Have full confidence in this great Saint, she will obtain for you all that you ask." (Ven. Pauline Jaricot)
"Our accursed enemy is this great Virgin and Martyr, St. Philomena, Devotion to her is a new and terrible warfare to hell." (devils during exorcism)

Litany of St. Philomena
(Composed by St. John Vianney)

Lord have mercy on us.
Christ have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Queen of Virgins,
St. Philomena,
St. Philomena, filled with the most abundant graces from your very birth,
St. Philomena, faithful imitator of Mary,
St. Philomena, model of Virgins,
St. Philomena, temple of the most perfect humility,
St. Philomena, inflamed with zeal for the Glory of God,
St. Philomena, victim of the love of Jesus,
St. Philomena, example of strength and perseverance,
St. Philomena, invincible champion of chastity,
St. Philomena, mirror of the most heroic virtues,
St. Philomena, firm and intrepid in the face of torments,
St. Philomena, scourged like your Divine Spouse,
St. Philomena, pierced by a shower of arrows,
St. Philomena, consoled by the Mother of God, when in chains,
St. Philomena, cured miraculously in prison,
St. Philomena, comforted by angels in your torments,
St. Philomena, who preferred torments and death to the splendors of a throne,
St. Philomena, who converted the witnesses of your martyrdom,
St. Philomena, who wore out the fury of your executioners,
St. Philomena, protectress of the innocent,
St. Philomena, patron of youth,
St. Philomena, refuge of the unfortunate,
St. Philomena, health of the sick and the weak,
St. Philomena, new light of the church militant,
St. Philomena, who confounds the impiety of the world,
St. Philomena, who stimulates the faith and courage of the faithful,
St. Philomena, whose name is glorified in Heaven and feared in Hell,
St. Philomena, made illustrious by the most striking miracles,
St. Philomena, all powerful with God,
St. Philomena, who reigns in glory.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
V.) Pray of us, Great St. Philomena,
R.) That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray

We implore Thee, O Lord, by the intercession of Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, who was ever most pleasing to Thy eyes by reason of her eminent purity and the practice of all the virtues, pardon us our sins and grant us all the graces we need (and name any special grace you may require). Amen.

Novena to St. Philomena

O great St. Philomena, glorious Virgin and Martyr, wonder-worker of our age, I return most fervent thanks to God for the miraculous gifts bestowed on thee, and beseech thee to impart to me a share in the graces and blessings of which thou hast been the channel to so many souls. Through the heroic fortitude with which thou didst confront the fury of tyrants and brave the frowns of the mighty rather than swerve from thy allegiance to the King of Heaven, obtain for me purity of body and soul, purity of heart and desire, purity of thought and affection.
Through thy patience under multiplied sufferings, obtain for me a submissive acceptance of all the afflictions it may please God to send me and as thou didst miraculously escape unhurt from the waters of the Tiber, into which thou wert cast by order of thy persecutor, so may I pass through the waters of tribulation without detriment to my soul. In addition to these favors, obtain for me, O faithful spouse of Jesus, the particular intention I earnestly recommend to thee at this moment. O pure Virgin and holy Martyr, deign to cast a look of pity from Heaven on thy devoted servant, comfort me in affliction, assist me in danger, above all come to my aid in the hour of death. Watch over the interests of the Church of God, pray for its exaltation and prosperity, the extension of the faith, for the Sovereign Pontiff, for the clergy, for the perseverance of the just, the conversion of sinners, and the relief of the souls in purgatory, especially those dear to me. O great Saint, whose triumph we celebrate on earth, intercede for me, that I may one day behold the crown of glory bestowed on thee in Heaven, and eternally bless Him who so liberally rewards for all eternity the sufferings endured for His love during this short life. Amen.


O most pure Virgin, glorious Martyr, St. Philomena, whom God in His eternal power has revealed to the world in these unhappy days in order to revive the faith, sustain the hope and enkindle the charity of Christian souls, behold me prostate at thy feet. Deign, O Virgin, full of goodness and kindness, to receive my humble prayers and to obtain for me that purity for which thou didst sacrifice the most alluring pleasures of the world, that strength of soul which made thee resist the most terrible attacks and that ardent love for our Lord Jesus Christ, which the most frightful torments could not extinguish in thee. So, that waring thy holy cord and imitating thee in this life, I may one day be crowned with thee in heaven. Amen.

Saint Philomena Powerful with God!

In our love for St. Philomena, we follow well the direction and example of the Roman Pontiffs:

Pope Leo XII granted permission for erection of altars and churches in honor of St. Philomena.
Pope Gregory XVI on January 30th, 1837, solemnly raised her to the altar giving full authority to her cult in the whole Catholic world and for all eternity.
"... When the representatives of the Living Rosary were prostrate at the feet of His Holiness, the auguest Head of the Church, deigned to bestow a special blessing upon the Association, under the auspices of St. Philomena, pronouncing these words: 'Now all the Living Rosary is under the protection of St. Philomena! PRAY TO ST. PHILOMENA, WHATEVER YOU ASK FROM HER SHE WILL OBTAIN FOR YOU.' (1836... Ven. Pauline Jaricot to Associates)
Pope Pius IX granted to her the glorious title: Patroness of the Children of Mary.
Pope Leo XIII raised the Confraternity of St. Philomena to an Archconfraternity and approved the cord of St. Philomena giving special privileges and indulgences to all who wear it.
Pope Saint Pius X raised the Archconfraternity of St. Philomena to a Universal Archconfraternity and named St. John Vianney its Patron. This Pope and great Saint of Holy Mother the Church solemnly declared:
"... to discredit the present decisions and declarations concerning St. Philomena as not being permanent, stable, valid and effective, necessary of obedience, and in full-effect for all eternity, proceeds from an element that is null and void and without merit of authority." (1912)

Saint Philomena, Patroness of the Children of Mary, pray for us!

Pauline-Marie Jaricot, Virg.The Living Rosary Association was founded by Pauline Jaricot in 1826, approved and indulgenced by the Holy Fathers. This devotion is principally dedicated to Saint Philomena and is one of the most excellent ways to pay her honor and win her favor. The principle intentions of the Universal Living Rosary are: THE TRIUMPH OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY and the honor of our beloved Patroness. Saint Philomena keeps nothing for herself but leads us to the feet of her Rosary Queen.

The Universal Living Rosary Association. The National Confraternity of St. Philomena. P.O. Box 1303, Dickinson, Texas 77539, USA