Monthly Archives: March 2017

From Our Lenten Recipe Box: Käsespätzle

31 March 2017

Cheese Spaetzle Noodle Casserole – Kaesespaetzle

By Jennifer McGavin
German Food Expert
About.com – Food

7331509876_ddd4ec9566_oKäsespätzle is a popular dish in Germany and people like to recreate it in the US because it is so simple and tastes so good. Cheese Noodle Casserole is foolproof if you take the time to make it right. Homemade Spätzle are the best for this dish, although you can substitute dried noodles from the store, if necessary.

Caramelizing the onions takes about 1 hour, noodles – 30 minutes and casserole bakes about 35 minutes.

Serves 2 – 4, depending on hunger and side dishes served.

Ingredients

***Caramelized Onions***
2 tsp. olive oil (20 ml)
1 tsp. butter 9(10 ml)
2 medium onions (400 grams) quartered and sliced
***Spaetzle – Noodles***
2 eggs
1/2 c. water (125 ml)
2 c. all purpose flour (250 grams)
1/2 tsp. salt
***Casserole***
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
4 oz. (100 grams) Gruyère
Butter and breadcrumbs for casserole dish

Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 85 minutes

Preparation
Start Browning Onions Early

Start by making the caramelized onions about one hour before the casserole needs to go into the oven. Heat the butter and oil in a non-stick pan on medium, turn heat to low and add onions. Stir every few minutes for about an hour, or until onions are lightly browned and sweet enough for your taste. Here is more information on caramelizing onions.

Turn off heat and set onions and set aside.

Make the Spätzle

Here is a step by step guide to making Spätzle with a Spätlebrett (wooden board used to make drop noodles). You may use a colander to form the noodles or a grater – like device with a hopper on it called a Spätzle Maker.

Place a large pot of water on to boil. You may add salt if you wish, I do not.

To make the dough, mix the eggs with water and add to the flour and salt. Mix or beat for several minutes, or until dough is smooth. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then beat it again. Add water or flour to adjust consistency to a thick batter. (Like brownie batter)

Place half of the dough in the hopper of the Spätzle Maker (or see here for more instructions) which is placed over the simmering water. Push and pull the hopper back and forth, creating a dough wave inside the hopper. Little bits of dough are pushed out the other side and drop into the water. They are fatter and more tear drop shaped than the Spätzle you make with a board.

The noodles drop to the bottom of the pot, then rise to the surface. Let them sit there for another two or three minutes, then scoop them out with a slotted spoon or small sieve. Rinse briefly in hot water, then drain well and set aside.

Using the second half of the dough, make another batch of noodles. If the noodles stick to the bottom of the pan, give a quick stir to loosen. They should then rise to the top.

Assemble Casserole

Butter and line a 1 1/2 – 2 quart casserole dish with bread crumbs (“Paniermehl”).

When noodles are done, add them to the (cooled) pan with the onions. Add the grated nutmeg and 3/4 of the grated cheese and stir to mix.

Gruyère cheese can be used, as well as Emmentaler or Raclette, but any smooth melting, slightly stinky cheese can be substituted as long as you like it.

Spoon noodles into casserole, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake, covered, at 350ºF for 20 minutes, then uncovered for 15 minutes. If you like, brown the cheese topping with the broiler during the last 5 minutes.

Serve hot.


14 Day Lenten Series: Part 4 – “How St. John Vianney was Persecuted by Demons”

31 March 2017
(Above Picture from left to right: The bedroom of St. Jean Marie Vianney, where many of his battles with the demonic took place; a portrait of the saint in prayer)

(Above Picture from left to right: The bedroom of St. Jean Marie Vianney, where
many of his battles with the demonic took place; a portrait of the saint in prayer)

How St. John Vianney was Persecuted by Demons

The numerous instances recorded in the lives of the saints, of the manner in which those holy men were assailed and tormented by wicked and malignant spirits, appear to have found their counterpart in that marvellous episode in Vianney’s life which now lies before us.

Soon after the Cure d’Ars had opened his house of refuge for the poor orphans of the district, the strangest noises began to disturb his rest at night, and to trouble the quiet of his presbytery. His own account of the origin of these persecutions is as follows: “It was about nine o’clock at night, I was just going to bed, when the demon came to torment me for the first time. Three heavy blows were levelled at the door of my court-yard: you would have thought some one was trying to break it open by force. I opened my window, and asked ‘Who is there?’ but I saw nothing, and commending myself to God, I quietly retired to rest. I had not, however, gone to sleep, before I was again startled by three still louder knocks, not now at the outer door, but at that on the staircase, which led to my chamber. I rose up, and cried out a second time, “Who is there?” No one replied. At the first commencement of these noises at night, I imagined that they were caused by robbers, and fearing lest the beautiful ornaments of the Viscount d’Ars might be in danger of being carried off, I thought it well to take precautions. Accordingly, I had two courageous men to sleep in the house, who were ready to assist me in case of need. They came several nights successively. They heard the noise, but discovering nothing, they were convinced that it proceeded from other causes than the malice of men. I myself soon came to the same conclusion; for one night in the midst of winter, three violent knocks were heard. I rose quickly from my bed, and went down into the court-yard, expecting to see the intruders making their escape, and intending to call for help; but, to my astonishment, I saw nothing, I heard nothing, and, what is more, I discovered no traces of foot-marks upon the snow. I resigned myself to God’s will, praying Him to be my guard and protector, and to surround me with his angels if my enemy should again return to torment me.”

If the object of Vianney’s invisible persecutor was to strike terror into his heart, he succeeded only too well; for the poor Cure confessed that in the early times, before the cause of these mysterious noises, which were renewed every night for hours together, was known, he was often ready to die with fear in his bed. His health, indeed, was so much affected by the strain upon his nerves, caused by the terrible apprehension he endured, that he visibly declined. Kind friends offered to keep watch round the house, and to sleep in the room adjoining his own; and several young men, under arms, stationed themselves near the church, where they could command a view of all the approaches to the presbytery.

Some of these good people were very much terrified, among others, Andre Verchere, the wheelwright of the village, who, when his turn to act as sentinel came round, was installed, his gun by his side, in a room in the presbytery. At midnight he heard a frightful crash close to him. It seemed to him that all the furniture in the room fled to pieces under a storm of invisible blows. The poor man cried out for help, and the Cure came quickly to his assistance. They searched the room and the house, examining every corner, but all in vain.

When Vianney was entirely convinced that these unearthly sounds had no humanly assignable cause, he dismissed his guards. By degrees his alarm was, in some measure, allayed, and in the end he became in a manner accustomed to this terrible visitation.

Before this period poor Vianney had been a prey to a different kind of conflict. He had been tormented by the most despairing thoughts of his future destiny. He seemed continually to see under his feet the lake of fire, and to hear a voice telling him that his place was already marked in it. Day and night he was haunted by the fear of being eternally lost; and, after having combated and overcome this internal temptation, he had less difficulty in resisting his external, though invisible foes. Still, the martyrdom to which he was now subjected was no light one. It lasted, not for days or months, but for thirty-five years, with different phases, and under different forms, but almost without intermission.

At midnight three violent knocks against the door of the presbytery generally warned the Cure d’Ars of the presence of his enemy; these knocks were followed by others more or less heavy, according as his sleep was more or less profound. After having diverted himself by making a frightful uproar on the staircase, the demon entered the room, seized the curtains of the bed, shook them so furiously that the poor inmate never could understand why they were not torn to atoms. Sometimes the malignant spirit knocked like some one who was demanding admittance, and the next moment, without the door being opened, he was in the room, moving about the chairs, deranging the furniture, rummaging everywhere, calling the Cure with a mocking voice, ‘Vianney, Vianney!’ and adding to his name the most outrageous qualifications and menaces. ‘Eater of truffles, we shall have you, we shall have you! We hold you, we hold you!’

At other times, without giving himself the trouble to mount, he hailed Vianney from the court-yard, and, after having vociferated for a long time, he would imitate a charge of cavalry, or the noise of an army in march. Sometimes he drove nails into the floor, with heavy strokes as of a hammer, sometimes he cut wood, sometimes sawed and planed planks like a carpenter actively employed in the interior of a house, or he would play upon the table, the chimneypiece, and especially upon the water-jug, always choosing in preference the most sonorous objects.

Sometimes the Cure’ heard in the hall below him a noise like that of a horse bounding up to the ceiling and again falling down heavily on his four feet. At other times it was the noise of a great flock of sheep grazing above his head. One night when he was more than usually disquieted, he said, ‘My God, I willingly make to Thee the sacrifice of some hours’ sleep for the conversion of sinners. Immediately the infernal troupe disappeared, and all was silent. All these details were given by M. Vianney himself.

For several nights consecutively, he heard such loud and menacing clamours in the court, that he trembled with fear. These voices spoke in an unknown tongue, and in the most confused manner. The tumult they made recalled to Vianney’s mind the recent invasion; he compared it to the noise of an Austrian army. And on another occasion, making a still more characteristic comparison, he said that, ‘Troops of demons had held their parliament in his court.’

Rumours of these marvellous histories were circulated far and wide; they were received in divers manners, and elicited the most contradictory opinions. It appears, however, to have been universally acknowledged by all who knew Vianney that he had not the temperament of a visionary, but was possessed of all the qualifications of a good witness–good eyes, good ears, and a good judgment.

Catherine relates many confidences made to her by the Cure, during the early days of this extraordinary and mysterious persecution. The following extracts are taken from her notes:

M. le Cure often says, “I do not know if they are demons, but they come in great bands; you would say they were a large flock of sheep: I can hardly sleep.” One day he remarked, “I was just falling asleep, when the grappin (The nom de guerre which Vianney gave to the demon whom he supposed to be his chief tormentor) began to make a noise like that of a man hooping a cask with bands of iron.”

“August 18, 1825. M. the Cure told us yesterday that the demon sung in his chimney like a nightingale!

“September 15th. M. the Cure has ordered us to enlarge his mattress, because the demons throw him out of bed. “I have not seen him,” said he, “but he has many times seized me and precipitated me out of my bed.” One night, when M. the Cure had come to the Providence to visit a patient, he said to me, ‘Listen to what happened to me this morning. I had something on my table–you know what it was. (It was his discipline.) Suddenly it rose up and moved along like a serpent. This frightened me a little. You know there is a rope fastened to one end of it; I seized hold of it, it was as stiff as wood. I placed it again on the table; it again began to move, and went round three times.'”

Vianney’s brother-priests were at first little disposed to believe in the reality of these diabolical manifestations; they sought to account for them by natural and physiological causes. “If the Cure d’Ars lived like other men,” said they “if he took a proper quantity of sleep and nourishment his imagination would be calmed, his brain would no longer be peopled with spectres, and all this infernal phantasmagoria would vanish.”

About this time a venerable cure, M. Granger, who had known and loved Vianney since the commencement of his ministry at Ars, anxious to procure for his people the benefit of his presence amongst them, prayed him to join the missionaries who were about to celebrate the approaching jubilee with the usual services. Vianney immediately acceded to his friend’s wishes; he remained three weeks at Saint-Trivier, preached from time to time, and confessed many penitents.

The vexation to which the Cure d’Ars was subjected on the part of his spiritual foes was now everywhere talked about. His clerical companions made it a subject of amusement, “Come, come, dear Cure,” said they, “do as others do, nourish yourself better: that is the way to finish with all their jugglery.”

One night, however, they assumed a more serious tone, the discussion became more animated, and the raillery of Vianney’s companions more bitter and reproachful. It was agreed that all this infernal mystification had no other origin than delirium and hallucination, and the poor Cure was consequently treated as a visionary and an enthusiast. To all this he answered not a word, but retired to his room, apparently insensible to everything but the joy of being persecuted. Soon afterwards his joking companions separated for the night, with the indifference of wise men, who, if they believed in the existence of the devil at all, had at least a very feeble faith in his intervention in the affairs of the Cure d’Ars.

But behold! at midnight all the inmates of the house are awakened by a horrible fracas. The cure is shaken from the very foundation, the doors bang, the windows clatter, the walls totter, sinister cracks are heard, as if the whole building were just about to fall to the ground.

In a moment everyone was on his feet. They recollected that the Cure d’Ars had said, “You must not be surprised if you should hear a noise this night.” They rushed simultaneously into his room, where they found him in tranquil repose. “Get up,” cried they, “the house is falling to the ground.” “Oh, I know what it is,” replied he, smiling; “return to your rest, there is nothing to fear.” They were reassured, and the clamour ceased.

An hour later in the night a faint bell was heard. The Abbe Vianney rose up and went to the door, where he found a man who had travelled several leagues to confess to him. This, we are told, was no unusual occurrence; it often happened that after the most cruel nights the Cure found at his door in the morning pilgrims who had made long journeys in order to be confessed by him.

Indeed, when the persecution to which he was subjected was more than usually violent, he received it as a sign of some signal mercy, or some special consolation about to be granted to him. One of the missionaries, an ancient soldier of the empire–M. the Abbe Chevalon–was so much struck with the strange adventure we have just recounted, that, when afterwards relating it, he said, “I have made a vow to God never again to joke over these histories of apparitions and nocturnal noises; and as for the Cure d’Ars, I believe him to be a saint.”

In the meantime Vianney’s tormentor appeared to be unceasingly occupied in devising new modes of attack. No longer content with disturbing his unfortunate victim by frightful noises and knocking of doors, he now sometimes hid under his bed; and the whole night long the poor Cure’s repose was interrupted and his ear distracted by piercing cries, or mournful groans, or smothered sighs.

“The demon is very cunning,” said he one day, in his catechism, “but he is not strong; a sign of the cross soon puts him to flight. A few days since he made an uproar, like the driving of all the carriages in Lyons, over my head; only last night troops of demons were shaking my door–their speech was like an army of Austrians, I did not understand a word of their jargon,–I made the sign of the cross, and they departed.”

One night he was suddenly awakened by feeling himself lifted up in the air. “Gradually je perdais mon lit,” said he. “I armed myself with the sign of the cross, and the grappin left me.”

Another time the demon is said to have assumed the form of a soft pillow, and when the poor Cure placed his head upon it, there issued forth a plaintive groan. He confessed that this time he was really terrified; it seemed to him that this new device of his enemy imperilled his soul. He invoked the aid of Heaven, and he was immediately left in peace.

When he was called on one occasion to assist in some missionary labour at Montmerle, his indefatigable foe followed him; and on the first night of his stay, he found himself drawn all round the room in his bed. He arose early the next morning, and went to the confessional. He had hardly sat down before he felt himself lifted up and tossed about, as if he had been on a rough sea in a frail bark.

“I once went on a mission to Montmerle,” he remarked, long afterwards, to the Abbe Toccanier; “et je m’en suis bien vu avec le grappin. He amused himself by carrying me round the room in a bed on rollers.”

When he went to Saint-Trivier, to preach at the jubilee, he set out on foot early in the morning. As he walked along, reciting his chaplet, the air around him became full of sinister light; the whole atmosphere appeared to be on fire, and the trees on either side his path like columns of flaming light. He, however, quietly pursued his way, trusting to the protection of the Virgin and his good angel, and seeing nothing in these manoeuvres of his enemy but a new sign of God’s blessing upon his work.

We believe it was about the same time that the destruction, or, at least, the profanation, of a picture of the Annunciation, which the poor Cure highly valued, took place.

The relation of M. Monnin is as follows: “Seeing that the Cure d’Ars honoured this sacred image with a special worship, what did the wicked grappin? Every day he covered and disfigured it with mud. It was in vain that it was cleansed and washed; the next day it was found blacker and more polluted than ever. These cowardly insults were repeated, till at length M. Vianney, renouncing the consolation which he derived from the contemplation of this picture, determined to have it removed. Several individuals were witnesses of these odious profanations, or have, at least, had the opportunity of observing the traces of them. M. Renard testifies to having seen this picture so contaminated, that the face of the Holy Virgin was hardly discernible.”

Towards the end of Vianney’s life these demoniacal persecutions were less violent and less continuous; during the last six months they ceased altogether; and even before that time his invisible foe ceased to disturb him at night, and confined his attacks to the short interval of rest which the poor Cure allowed himself in the afternoon. Sometimes on these occasions he raised a hue and cry at his door, imitating alternately the growling of a bear, the barking of a dog, and the howling of a wolf.

Sometimes he called him, with his rude and insolent voice, ‘Vianney, Vianney, come!’ giving him to understand that numerous penitents were awaiting him.

Vianney often expatiated to his friends upon the vexation he experienced, when one day his malignant enemy seized a vessel containing holy water, which was placed at the head of his bed, and broke it to pieces before his eyes.

But what appears to us to be one of the most extraordinary of these demoniacal manifestations was the burning of Vianney’s bed. We relate the circumstance exactly as it is recorded by the Abbe Monnin, who was at Ars at the time, and all but an eye-witness of the fact:

“One morning, at the time of the first celebration of the quarante heures at Ars, as I was going out very early, in order to assist in the services, I perceived at the threshold of my door a strong and overpowering smell of burning. The mass, the catechism, and some confessions detained me at the church till nine o’clock; on my return, I found all the village congregated round the presbytery ‘What is the matter?’ said I, approaching one of the groups. ‘What! do you not know,’ cried they, ‘that the devil set fire last night to M. Vianney’s bed?’ . . . . . I entered the house, and went straight to the Cure’s sleeping apartment, where I indeed found all the traces of a recent and hardly-extinguished conflagration. The bed, the curtains, and all that surrounded them–including some old paintings on glass, which Vianney greatly valued, and of which he had said only a few days previously that they were the only things in this world that he prized, and that he had refused to sell them, because he wished to leave them to the missionaries–all had been consumed. The fire had stopped before the shrine of Saint-Philomene; and, describing from that point an exact geometrical line, it had destroyed all that was on the one side, and spared all that was on the other side of the holy relique. In the midst of the confusion the Cure arrived; but he hardly appeared to perceive what was going on. He crossed several people who were carrying away the debris without asking them any questions; and it was not till after the mass that, as he was signing some images, he suddenly interrupted himself, and fixing upon me his grave and gentle gaze, he said, ‘I have long besought this grace of God, and now at last He has granted my request: now I am the poorest in the parish; they have all a bed, and I, thanks to God, none have.’ At noon, when he came to see me, we conversed a little more in detail over the event of the night. I told him that everyone was agreed in thinking it a wicked trick of the demon; and asked whether he too thought that the malignant spirit had had to do with it. ‘Oh, my friend,’ replied he, ‘that is very evident; not being able to burn the man, he has burnt his bed . . . . .he is very angry. . . . . It is a good sign'”

In 1829, a young priest, the son of the good widow whose acquaintance we made in the first pages of this book–the Abbe Bibost–came to Ars, in order to make a retreat in the parish of the man he so highly revered. M. Vianney, who had directed his first steps in the priesthood, received him with much kindness, and offered him a room in his house.

“I was intimately acquainted with this priest,” says the Abbe Renard, “and it happened that Providence also led me to my native parish at the time of his stay there. In our first interview the conversation turned upon the extraordinary events which were occurring at Ars, and of which the whole country were talking.

“‘You sleep at the presbytery,’ said I, ‘tell me, is it true that the devil makes all this clamour at night?’

“‘Yes,’ replied he, ‘I hear him every night. He has a rough, harsh voice, like the cry of a wild beast; he seizes the bed-curtains of M. Vianney, and shakes them violently. He calls him by his name; I have distinctly heard these words, Vianney, Vianney, what are you doing there? Go away, go away!’

“‘These frightful cries must have terrified you?’

“‘Not exactly; I am not fearful, and besides, the presence of M. Vianney reassured me; but I sincerely pity the poor Cure. I should not like to live with him.’

“‘Have you questioned M. Vianney upon this subject?’

“‘No; I have frequently thought of it, but the fear of giving him pain has closed my lips. Poor Cure! Poor holy man! How can he live in the midst of this uproar?'”

In 1842, an ancient officer of the French army, who was at that time attached to a brigade of the gendarmes, came to Ars. He had risen, on one occasion, at midnight, and was, with many others, awaiting Vianney at the door of the chapel. Finding the Cure did not immediately appear, he took a turn round the presbytery, in order to keep himself awake. He was sad at heart, having lately been visited by a heavy affliction; but he states that at this moment he was oppressed by a sensation of mingled disquietude and apprehension, for which he was unable to account.

Suddenly he was startled by a strange and unearthly sound, which appeared to proceed from the window of the presbytery. He distinctly heard these words several times repeated, in a rough, harsh, and shrill voice: ‘Vianney, Vianney! come, come!’

Seized with horror, he fled from the spot. The church clock at that moment struck one, and soon the Cure appeared–a light in his hand. He found the unfortunate gendarme in the most violent agitation. He endeavoured to reassure him, and conducted him to the church.

Before he had asked a question, or heard one word of his history, he astonished him with these words: “My friend, you are in much affliction; you have just lost your wife, but trust God, and He will come to your aid. First, put your conscience in order, and then will you more easily put your worldly affairs in order.”

“Yielding to the counsel of the holy man,” said the tried penitent, “I began my confession. In my trouble I could hardly put two words together, but the good Cure assisted me. He penetrated the very depths of my soul, and he revealed to me many things of which he could not have been informed, and which astonished me beyond expression. I did not know that it was possible to read men’s hearts in this manner.”

It is attested by Catherine, and the other directresses, that at the Providence strange noises were heard on the stairs and in the dormitories, which never could be accounted for, and the cause of which could never be discovered.

Many other instances of these mysterious and terrible manifestations are attested by the Abbe Monnin, but we think that those which we have stated may suffice.

We cannot, however, close this chapter without recording one or two facts, too closely connected with the subject which has now been engaging our attention, to be omitted. It is affirmed that several persons came to Ars from different places, and at divers periods, bearing marks, more or less positive, of demoniacal possession.

Two of these unhappy beings–a man and a woman–constantly appeared at Ars, and were known by all the inhabitants. Vianney did not profess to practise exorcism, but, in the instance before us, he treated one of these afflicted individuals as if his body only, and the other as if body and soul were possessed. It is affirmed that when, in the midst of the most fearful and violent attacks, he pronounced his blessing over them, they instantly became calm.

The following dialogue is declared to have been found in a narrative of undoubted authenticity, and bearing every mark of incontestable truth. It is entitled, “Dialogue between a Possessed, from the neighbourhood of Puy, in Velay, and the Cure d’Ars.” This colloquy took place in the afternoon of January 23, 1840, in the chapel of Saint-John Baptist, and in the presence of eight witnesses:

The Possessed–‘I am immortal.’

Cure– ‘Are you then the only person who will not die?’

The Possessed–‘I have never committed but one sin in my life, and the fruit of that sin I am ready to share with all who will. . . .’

The Cure– ‘In quis es?’

The Possessed– ‘Magister caput.’ Then continuing in French, ‘Vilain crapaud noir! How you torment me! It is a mutual warfare between us, which shall overcome the other; but, do what you will, you are often doing my work. You think your people well disposed; they are not. Why do you examine the consciences of your penitents? What is the use of so much investigation? Is not my examination sufficient?’

The Cure–‘You say you examine the conscience of my penitents? Have they not recourse to God before all?’

The Possessed–‘Yes, with their lips. I tell you it is I who examine them. I am oftener in your chapel than you think. My body goes out, but my spirit remains . . . . . I like to hear plenty of talking . . . . All who come to you are not saved. You are a miser.’

The Cure–‘It would be difficult for me to be a miser. I have but little, and that little I give with all my heart.’

The Possessed–‘It is not of that kind of avarice that I speak. You are a miser of souls. You rob me of all you can, but I shall endeavour to get them back again. You are a liar! You said, a long while ago, that you wished to depart from this place, and here you still remain. What do you mean by that? Why do you not retire and rest, as others do? you have worked long enough. You wished to go to Lyons.’ [This was true. M. Vianney thought much, at that time, of Fourvieres.] ‘ At Lyons you would have been as avaricious as you are here. You talked of retiring into solitude.’ [This was also true. He was anxious to make a retreat to Fourvieres, or to La Trappe.] ‘Why do you not do so? ‘

The Cure–‘Have you anything else to reproach me with?’

The Possessed–‘ I sifted you well last Sunday, during the mass, you remember?’ [The Cure confessed that he had, at that precise time, experienced extraordinary trouble and embarrassment.] ‘Your violet robe has just written to you, but I so managed it that he forgot what should have formed an essential part of his letter, and he is greatly vexed thereby.’ [M. Vianney had that day received a letter from his Bishop.]

The Cure–‘Will my lord allow me to depart?’

The Possessed–‘He loves you too much. . . Your violet robe is as great a miser as you are, and he equally embarrasses me; but, no matter, we have lulled him to sleep with respect to an abuse in his diocese. . . . Come, lift up your hand over me, as you do over so many others who come here every day. You imagine that you convert them all. You are mistaken. It is very well for a moment, but I find them again. I have some of your parishioners on my list.’

The Cure–‘What do you think of . . . ?’ naming a priest of great piety.

The Possessed–‘I do not like him.’ [These words were pronounced in a tone of concentrated rage, accompanied by frightful grinding of the teeth.]

The Cure–‘And of . . . ?’ naming another.

The Possessed–‘Very well. He lets me do what I like; there are crapauds noirs, who do not embarass me as you do. I perform their mass; they say mine.’

The Cure–‘Do you perform mine?’

The Possessed–‘You weary me. Ah, if the Virgin did not protect you; but, patience, we have brought greater than you to ruin; you are not dead yet. Why do you rise so early? You disobey your violet robe, who has ordered you to take more care of yourself. Why do you preach so simply? You will pass for an ignorant man. Oh, how I like those grand sermons which disturb no one, and which allow people to live in their own way, and do as they like! Many sleep at your catechisms, but there are others who are touched to the heart by your simple words.’

The Cure–‘What yo you think of the dance?’

The Possessed–‘I surround a dance as a wall surrounds a garden.’

On one occasion an unhappy woman, who gave proof of possession, said to Vianney: ‘Why do you make me suffer so much? If there were three upon earth like you, my kingdom would be destroyed. You have robbed me of eighty thousand souls.’ The Cure addressed himself to the daughter of this unfortunate woman. ‘You will commence,’ said he, ‘this day a neuvaine to Sainte-Philomene, and you will bring her to me to-morrow in the sacristy. I will hear her confession after I have performed the mass. In the meantime, let her kneel down, and I will give her my blessing.’

The poor child implored him to deliver her mother, but he refused, saying he was not authorised.

This poor woman passed ten days at Ars, made a general confession, and left in a much more tranquil state. She exclaimed before several people, at a moment when she was much agitated: ‘Ah, if all the lost could come to Ars, they would profit by it more than you all.’

Some one asked her what made the tables turn. She answered, ‘It is I; magnetism, somnambulism–all that is my affair.’

Saint John Vianney

Saint John Vianney

Prayer To Obtain The Conversion Of Sinners.
St. John’s Manual, 1856

O God, have mercy on me a sinner, and permit me to offer Thee my earnest supplications on behalf of all souls in sin; for Thou willest not the death of a sinner, but his conversion. When Moses besought Thee to pardon a rebellious nation, Thou couldst not resist his entreaties. It grieves Thee, when none interpose to appease Thine anger; Thou commandest us to pray for one another, assuring us that; by causing a sinner to be converted from the error of his ways, we deliver our own souls from death, and cover a multitude of iniquities. Relying on thy merciful promises, I come before Thee with great confidence, to implore for others the pity I so much need myself. Forgive them, O Lord! for they know not what they do; open their eyes, that entering into themselves, they may see the extent of their crimes, and feel how sad a misfortune it is to have forsaken Thee.

Open their ears to the sound of that Almighty voice, which can raise the dead to life; soften the obduracy of their hearts, that they may no longer resist Thy grace. Remember Thy tender mercies; remember the precious blood of Jesus Christ; save the souls which have been purchased at so great a price. Hear our prayers, inspired by the Spirit of thine own charity, and offered from the sole motive of pleasing and glorifying Thee. Amen.

Prayer to Obtain a Firm Purpose of Amendment

My God, I desire to do all that Thou hast asked of me. Permit me, prostrate at Thy feet, to declare my devotion to Thy service. Too long, O Lord, have I served the devil and the world! I will now, in Thy presence, renew with true sincerity the promises I made at Baptism:

“I renounce the devil with all his works, the world with all its pomps, the flesh with all its temptations, and I will cling to Jesus alone forever and ever.”

Repeat this several times, and say a decade of the Rosary to obtain strength to keep your good resolution.

Source: Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals


14 Day Lenten Series: Part 3 – “Temptation and the Devils Who Tempt”

30 March 2017
(Above Picture from upper left to right: Christ is tempted by Satan, Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert, St. Catherine besieged by demons. Botom row: Temptation of St. Thomas Aquinas, Temptation of St. Jerome )

(Above Picture from upper left to right: Christ is tempted by Satan, Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert,
St. Catherine besieged by demons. Botom row: Temptation of St. Thomas Aquinas, Temptation of St. Jerome )

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The Devils who Tempt Title

Lift up therefore thy face to heaven. Behold I, and all My saints with Me, who in this world have had a great conflict, do now rejoice, are now comforted, are now secure, are now at rest, and they shall for all eternity abide with Me in the kingdom of My Father.

Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis

Temptation is the action of the evil spirit upon our soul, in order to induce us to sin; he excites within us the concupiscence of the eyes, or the pride of life. Remember the temptation of Eve in paradise, and the threefold temptation of Our Lord in the desert. All the saints were greatly tempted: St. Hugh, Bishop of Grenoble, was tempted to blaspheme; St. Francis of Sales was tempted to despair; St. Francis of Assisi was tormented by suggestions of impurity. Some saints experienced temptations against the faith; some temptations lasted for years. God tempteth no man (Jas. i. 13); He simply permits man to be tempted. It is the devil who hammers at you when you are tempted. “Our wrestling is against the spirits of wickedness in high places ” (Eph. vi. 12). On earth we are surrounded by robbers; many of us are overcome and wounded by them.

The conflict with the spirit of evil is a more critical struggle; it is carried on covertly, and against a more powerful adversary–one who spares no pains and knows no shame; who, when he is repulsed, returns all the more defiantly to the attack. For six thousand years he has tempted mankind; such long practice has made him perfect. He excites within us concupiscence of the flesh, or concupiscence of the eyes, or the pride of life (1 John ii. 16). In this threefold manner he tempted Our Lord. Many temptations come upon a man through no fault of his own (witness Job); some are the result of culpable negligence (witness Eve). The evil enemy as a rule attacks our weak point, our affection for creatures. Like a fowler, he attracts the birds to his net by offering them the food they like best. Physical infirmities give the devil more power over us; everyone knows how apt the sick are to be fretful, impatient and exacting. The devil sets to work craftily. He transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Cor. xi. 14); that is, he deceives us by assuming an appearance of candor and piety. His artifices prove his weakness; he would not resort to them were he powerful enough to do without them.

Temptation is not in itself sinful, only acquiescence in the suggestions of the tempter is sin. Hence we ought not to be alarmed and uneasy when we feel the incentive to sin, but we should trust in God’s help, saying: “O Lord, make haste to help me! Jesus and Mary be my help!” To tremble in the hour of temptation betrays a want of confidence in the divine assistance; the devil will assail the fearful soul only the more fiercely. Unless we remain calm, we cannot possibly conquer. Those who lose their composure are like a bird caught in the net; the more it flutters and tries to escape, the more it becomes entangled in the meshes. Our Lord promises us: “In your patience you shall possess your souls” (Luke xxi. 19). The good Christian is like a soldier, who as a rule rejoices when war breaks out, in the prospect of gaining rich booty.

2. God allows us to be tempted out of mercy, for the good of our souls. As the schoolmaster examines his scholars in order to give them a good testimonial, so God deals with the souls of men; He allows us to be tried by temptation to give us the opportunity of manifesting our loyalty to Him, and acquiring a claim to the recompense He promises us. Thus He has only our welfare in view. The tempter however, the evil enemy, means no good to us; he aims at our ruin, as the history of Job testifies. Temptations may therefore be said to be a mark of the divine favor. The archangel Raphael said to Tobias: “Because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee ” (Tob. xii. 13). God sends temptations to those whom He trusts; hence it is that those who fear Him are more sorely tempted than other men. The devil does not tempt those who are already in his power, but those whom he fears will elude his grasp or who may be injurious to him. St. Ephrem in a vision saw a large city, the inhabitants of which were very corrupt; only one devil was sitting on the wall, and he was half asleep. But in the desert he saw a whole swarm of devils busily engaged within the cell of a hermit. Thus the fact that a man is greatly tempted proves him to be a friend of God, and a stranger to, an enemy of the devil. Pirates do not attack an empty ship, but one which they know to be returning home with a valuable cargo. A king does not take up arms against loyal subjects, but against rebels who resist his authority. Temptations have besides the following advantages: They rouse us from a state of tepidity (they are what the spur is to the horse); they cleanse us from imperfections, as the stormy sea throws out foreign substances; they make us humble, by acquainting us with our frailty; they increase our strength, as a high wind makes the tree strike deeper root; they augment our charity, as the breeze makes the flame burn more fiercely; they afford us a means of expiating sin in this life; finally, they add to our glory hereafter, as the beauty of a jewel is enhanced by polishing. Thus we see that the tempter does us good service, and his temptations are steps in the ladder which leads to heaven. Therefore let him who is tempted rather pray for strength to resist the temptation than for its entire removal. We read that St. Paul thrice besought the Lord that the angel of Satan might depart from him, and asked in vain (2 Cor. xii. 8).

God permits every man to be tempted, but He never permits us to be tempted beyond our strength. Temptations must come to every man. No one can be crowned unless he has conquered; no one can conquer unless he fight, and no one can fight without an adversary. Hence temptations must come. For this reason God subjected the angels to a probation, and also our first parents. And subsequently to the Fall trials have been the lot of mankind (witness Job and Tobias). ” The life of man upon earth is a warfare ” (Job vii. 1). The Apostle compares the Christian to one who runs in a race (1 Cor. ix. 25). “Yet God will not suffer us to be tempted above that which we are able to bear” (1 Cor. x. 13). The devil can only tempt man within the limit God sets him, as we learn from the history of Job. And when God permits violent temptations to assail us, He gives grace sufficient to enable us to withstand them (2 Cor. xii. 9). The stronger the temptation, the more abundant is the grace; the greater the danger, the more potent the divine assistance. No sinner can venture to say as his excuse that the temptation was too great for him to resist.

3. We ought to protect ourselves from temptation by assiduous work, by keeping our thoughts fixed upon God, and by continual self-conquest. In order to hold a fortress against the enemy two things are necessary: (1) Strong fortifications and well-guarded gates; (2) In case of attack valiant defense. In like manner we must protect our soul, to prevent the entrance of the evil enemy. Our fortifications will be: Continual occupation; this is the surest means of holding temptations aloof. Thieves do not break into a house where work is going on. Idleness is the parent of crime. We shall also find it easy to resist temptation, if we keep our mind fixed on God. A traveler journeying towards a fixed destination meets with few difficulties on his way, whereas the vagrant, wandering hither and thither, is sure to get in trouble. So it is with the Christian who makes God his final end, and one who has no aim in life. Hence Christ exhorts us: “Watch ye and pray, that you enter not into temptation ” (Matt. xxvi. 41). Wolves do not approach a watch fire and the devil leaves those alone who are on their guard. When Moses stood with arms uplifted to God, Israel was victorious; but when through weariness he let them fall, that moment the enemy prevailed. The majority of the sins good people commit come from forgetfulness of God’s presence; the habit of self-control also greatly helps us to conquer temptation. He who is accustomed to repress his impulses is like a soldier, well trained in the use of arms before he goes to battle. Practice in self-conquest strengthens the will. But attachment to creatures makes a man an easy prey to the devil; just as one who carries a heavy load cannot run away when robbers attack him.

4. When we are tempted we ought to betake ourselves immediately to prayer, or think of our last end, or of the evil consequences of sin. If the enemy dares to attack the fortress in spite of the ramparts raised about it, it behooves us to defend it manfully. When assailed we must instantly assume the defensive; for of all things it is most important to repulse the first onslaught. The greater our determination, the sooner will our adversary be discouraged. If we falter, he will force an entrance, and gain the mastery over our imagination. He acts like soldiers, who when they have taken the enemy’s guns, instantly turn them upon him. St. Jerome says that he who does not resist immediately is already half conquered. A conflagration can be extinguished at the outset, but not later on. A young tree is easily bent, not an old one. But since we can do nothing in our own strength, we must strive to obtain divine grace. Wherefore let him who is tempted have recourse to prayer; let him imitate the apostles when a storm arose on the sea of Genesareth; or the child who, when he sees a large dog coming, runs to his mother. He who neglects prayer in the time of temptation is like a general, who, when surrounded by the enemy, does not ask for reinforcements from his monarch. Adam fell into sin because when he was tempted he did not look to God for help. We should say a Hail Mary, or at least devoutly utter the holy names of Jesus and Mary. ” These holy names,” St. John Chrysostom declares, ” have an intrinsic power over the devil, and are a terror to hell.” At the name of Mary the devils tremble with fear; when she is invoked their power forsakes them as wax melts before the fire. Prayer is the weapon wherewith to ward off the assaults of our spiritual foe; it is more potent than all the efforts of the demons because by prayer we procure the assistance of God, and nothing can withstand His might. Prayer is exactly opposed to temptation for it enlightens the understanding and fortifies the will. The sign of the cross and holy water have also great efficacy against the spirit of evil. He flies from the cross as a dog flies at the sight of the whip. Holy water derives its efficacy from the prayers of the Church. St. Thomas Aquinas and many other saints frequently made use of the sign of the cross with excellent results. St. Teresa on the other hand constantly employed holy water. It is well to sprinkle the sick and dying with holy water, and we should never omit to take it on entering a church.

A second means of conquering temptations is to turn our thoughts elsewhere, above all to think of the last things: of death, of the judgment, of eternal punishment. “Remember thy last end and thou shalt never sin” (Ecclus. vii. 40). Or we may consider the terrible consequences of sin. The Romans used to say: “Whatever thou doest, act wisely and think of the end.” In some cases, especially when temptations against the faith or against purity present themselves, the wiser course is to despise the temptation rather than grapple with it. Proud people, like the devil, are soonest got rid of by ignoring them altogether. If the passer-by takes no notice of the dog, he soon leaves off harking. If one keeps still the bees do not harm him, but if one drives them off, then they sting. Again, we may follow Our Lord’s example, and resolutely forbid the tempter to remain. Christ repulsed him with the words: “Begone, Satan” (Matt. iv. 10). St. James bids us: “Resist the devil and he will fly from you ” (James. iv. 7). One may also retort upon the tempter by quoting the word of God, as Our Lord did. St. Peter says: “Whom resist ye, strong in faith” (1 Pet. v. 9). Another means of overcoming temptation is by humbling ourselves before God. “To the humble He giveth grace” (1 Pet. v. 5). St. Augustine in the hour of temptation was accustomed to exclaim: “Thou knowest, O Lord, that I am but dust and my frailty is great.” When we are pressed hard by temptation, it is well to confess to the priest those sins of our past life of which we are most ashamed; this is a sure means of repelling the severest temptations. It is advisable to acquaint one’s confessor with all one’s temptations. Satan would have us keep silence concerning them, whereas it is God’s will that we should discover them to our superiors and spiritual guides, for if sinful thoughts are disclosed, the temptation is already half overcome. To open its griefs gives, moreover, great relief to the troubled heart.

Devils who Tempt

The Devils who Tempt 02All the angels whom God created were, at the beginning, in the grace of God and well pleasing to Him. But many of the angels sinned through pride, and were cast down by God into hell forever (2 Pet. ii. 4). When God created the angels, He created them all in His grace. But none can be crowned without a struggle (2 Tim. ii. 5), and God subjected the angels to trial, that so, according to the universal law of the universe, they might earn their reward of eternal happiness. In this trial a large number of the angels fell. They desired to be equal to God, and refused to submit their will to His (Cf. Is. xiv. 12-14). They did not abide in the truth (John viii. 44). Hence arose a great war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought, and prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. The dragon was cast out and all his angels with him (Apoc. xii. 8, 9). They were all cast down to hell; not that they were confined to any local hell, for they are allowed to wander about the earth tempting men, but they carry their hell with them wherever they go, inasmuch as they everywhere suffer the torments of hell. Their leader was Satan, or Lucifer, for this was his name before he fell, and he is said to have been the highest of all the angels. The number of the fallen angels is less than that of those who remained faithful. The fall of the angels was the more terrible, because they had previously enjoyed such a high estate. The higher the place from which we fall, the worse the fall. At the Last Day the evil angels will be judged, and their wickedness and its punishment will be made known to the whole world (Jude 6; 2 Pet. ii. 4). To deny the existence of the evil angels is a grievous sin against faith.

The evil angels are our enemies; they envy us, seek to lead us to sin, and can, with God’s permission, injure us in our bodies, or in our worldly goods. The evil spirits are our enemies. With all their spite they can do nothing against God; so they vent their fury against men, who bear the image of God. Many theologians have asserted that the places of the angels who fell will be filled in heaven by men. “The knowledge that a creature of earth will occupy his place in heaven,” says St. Thomas, “causes the devil more pain than the flames of hell.” It was the devil who led our first parents to sin, and also Judas (John xiii. 27). The devil can also, so far as God permits, injure the bodies and the goods of men, as in the case of Job and the possessed in Our Lord’s time. The devil’s great object is to effect the ruin of the Church, which he knows is to be the means of destroying his power on earth (Matt. xvi. 18; Luke xxii. 31). He also knows that he and his angels will one day be judged by the saints (1 Cor. vi. 3). Many believe that as God assigns to each child at its birth a guardian angel, so the devil assigns to each a special devil to tempt it. Hence we must imitate the Jews when rebuilding the Temple (2 Esdr. iv. 17). We must work with one hand and with the other defend ourselves against the foe.

Yet the devil cannot do real harm to anyone who keeps the commandments of God and avoids all sin. The dog that is tied up cannot do any harm to those who keep out of range of his chain. The devil is like this dog. He can work on our memory and our imagination, but he has no power over our will or our understanding. He can persuade us, but he cannot compel us to evil. We must therefore energetically and promptly repel all bad thoughts that the devil puts into our heads. “Resist the devil,” says St. James (iv. 7), “and he will fly from you.” Our Lord dispatched the devil very promptly when He said “Begone, Satan!” It is a great thing to treat the devil and his temptations with great contempt, and also to turn our thoughts to other things, and not allow ourselves to be disturbed or troubled by his suggestions. He who allows himself to dwell on evil thoughts draws near to the dog who is chained, and is almost sure to be bitten by him. If the devil were allowed to use his full power against us we could not resist him, for when he fell he did not lose any of his natural powers, though he lost eternal happiness.

God gives the devil special power over some men:

1. God often allows men who are striving after high perfection, whom He especially favors, to be tried by the devil for long years in some extraordinary way, in order to cleanse them from their imperfections, and thoroughly humble them.

God allows His elect to be constantly besieged by the devil for years, and to endure temptations of extraordinary violence. Sometimes the devil appears to them in visible form; sometimes he assails their ears with hideous sounds; sometimes he is permitted to strike them and to throw them on the ground. God protects their life, but allows the devil to torment them with bodily pain and with sickness. They suffer the most terrible temptations against faith and against purity. The evil one has no power over their souls, but sometimes God allows him power over their bodies, so that they do and say the most extraordinary things in spite of themselves, in order that so they may be humbled in the eyes of men. Holy Job was assailed by the devil; and so was Our Lord in the desert; so were St. Anthony, St. Teresa, St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi, the Cure d’Ars, and many other saints. These holy persons knew that God would never allow them to be tempted beyond their powers of resistance, and that God permitted these temptations for their greater sanctification. They were perfectly resigned to the will God, and at length drove away the devil by their fearless resistance to his assaults.

Thus when the devil threatened the life of St. Catharine of Sienna, she answered, “Do what you can; what is pleasing to God is pleasing to me.” St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi said to him, “You do not seem to know that you are preparing for me a glorious victory.” St. Anthony in the desert defied him, saying, “How feeble you are! I suppose that is why you are bringing such a crowd of devils to tempt me.” When those who are tempted meet the devil with the courage of a lion, he has no more power against them than a startled hare, but when they fear him, then he comes on with all the force and boldness of a lion. He can always be driven away by the means of grace provided by the Church; by the sign of the cross, by invoking the name of Jesus and Mary, by holy water, by earnest prayer, by the use of relics, etc. The more violent the assaults of the devil, the greater will be the protection afforded by almighty God to His servants; often during times of trial they have revelations from God, or saints and angels appear to them to console and strengthen them. Those who deny the reality of these occurrences, of which we so often read in the lives of the saints, show very little acquaintance with the spiritual life.

Yet it is the spirit of the Church to receive all accounts of these preternatural and supernatural occurrences with great caution, as there is always a danger of illusion or deceit. Nor need ordinary mortals fear such special attacks of the evil one; they are reserved for the special friends and favorites of God.

2. It also sometimes happens that God allows men of vicious lives, or those who sin against faith, to be punished or led astray by evil spirits. God sometimes permits that the bodies of men who have given themselves over to the indulgence of their passions be possessed by evil spirits, as a town is occupied by a general who has conquered it. This state is called possession. In the time of Our Lord there were many thus possessed, and who in consequence were dumb (Matt. ix. 32), blind (Matt. xii. 22), and exceeding fierce (Matt. viii. 28). God permitted that then there should be many such, that He might show the power of the Son of God and the feebleness of the devils in His presence, and that He might drive them forth from those whom they tormented.

At the Approach of Temptation

My God! let me rather die than offend thee. My Divine Saviour! assist me by thy powerful grace : mercifully preserve me from yielding to this temptation, and give me a great horror for sin. Lord ! save me, or I shall perish.

When you have Committed Sin

Alas! my God, another fault! Art thou not ready to withdraw thy graces from me? But, my infinitely good God ! I repent; and I offer thee in expiation of this fault, all that my Divine Saviour has done to expiate it; I offer thee the sorrow of His Sacred Heart.

O Jesus! come to my help and grant me grace not
to yield to this temptation. My Jesus, mercy.

(100 days indulgence each time)

Admonitions of the Saints

God gives the Devil power against us in two modes: either for punishment when we sin, or for glory when we are tested.–St. Cyprian of Carthage

Draw near to God, and Satan will flee from you–(St. Ephraem the Syrian)

The soul possesses freedom; and though the Devil can make suggestions, he doesn’t have the power to compel you against your will.–(St. Cyril of Jerusalem)

The Devil’s snare doesn’t catch you unless you are already nibbling on the Devil’s bait.–(St. Ambrose)

The strategy of our adversary can be compared to the tactics of a commander intent upon seizing and plundering a position he desires. The leader of an army will encamp, explore the fortifications and defenses of the fortress, and attack at the weakest point. In the same way, the adversary of our human nature examines from every side all our virtues, theological, cardinal, and moral. Wherever he discovers the defenses of eternal salvation to be the weakest and most lacking, there he attacks and tries to take us by storm.–(St. Ignatius of Loyola)

 

(To be continued in Part IV: The temptations of St. John Vianney and his conflict with the devil.)

Source:Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals


14 Day Lenten Series: Part 2 – “Lead us not into Temptation”

29 March 2017

Lead us not into Temptation 01

“Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as is human: and God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able, but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it.” I COR. x. 13.

“Lead us not into Temptation”

by Bishop Ehrler, 1891

In this Epistle St. Paul is telling the faithful of Corinth how needful it is for all to be on their guard against temptation. He says that he finds it necessary to chastise his own body, thus bringing it into subjection, lest he himself should yield to the tempter and become a castaway. As a proof of the peril in which we all stand, he cites the history of the Jews who went out from Egypt, great multitudes of whom, on account of their sins, perished in the desert and never saw the promised land. Hence the great danger of temptation and the need of vigilance. The Apostle warns the Corinthians, therefore, to eschew every temptation they can, and as for those which spring unavoidably from the conditions of our present existence, he tells them to trust in God’s help, knowing that God will never permit them to be tempted above their strength, but will always give grace sufficient to conquer all their enemies. St. Paul’s advice to the Corinthians was for all Christians and for all time.

 

I. Meaning of temptation. I. To tempt means: (a) to test, to try one, in order to ascertain his dispositions, his character, etc.; (b) to subject one to trials and difficulties in order to give him the opportunity of practicing virtue, of showing good example, and thus of giving glory to God; (c) to provoke one to moral evil with the intention of leading him to commit sin. God does not tempt in the first way, since He is in need of no proofs of our dispositions and character. Neither does He tempt us in the third way, since He cannot be the author or cause of sin (James i. 14). In the second manner God can and does tempt man, as He did in the cases of Abraham, Job, and Tobias. 2. Temptation which is an incitement to sin arises from three sources: (a) the concupiscence of the flesh; (b) the world; (c) the devil. 3. Concupiscence of the flesh means the moral corruption of our nature which results from original sin and ever inclines us to evil. This is our greatest and most dangerous tempter, both because it is internal and because it remains with us throughout life. 4. The world here means the corrupt maxims and bad example of the wicked, and the numerous incitements to follow them which surround us in life. 5. By the devil we mean the assaults of evil spirits, who are the enemies of mankind, and who strive constantly to ensnare us. 6. Temptation is not the same as sin. It is not a sin to be tempted, unless we are the responsible cause of the temptation; but it is a sin to yield to temptation, either by doing evil, or consciously desiring it, or dwelling on the thought of it with pleasure.

II. Meaning of the words, “lead us not into temptation.” 1. In this Petition of the Lord’s Prayer we do not ask that God will deliver us from all temptations, since this would be impossible in the present state of our corrupt nature, and would deprive us of a rich harvest of merits. 2. We do ask in this Petition that God will either remove dangerous temptations from us, or grant us the grace to overcome them; in other words we pray that God will never permit us to be overcome by temptation of any kind.

 

Conclusion: 1. The dispositions that should accompany this prayer are distrust of self and confidence in God. 2. The means of conquering temptation are chiefly two: (a) vigilance, which consists in custody of the senses, avoidance of idleness and dangerous occasions, and prompt resistance to temptation; (b) prayer, which includes imploring God for help in time of temptation, frequently raising our minds and hearts to Him, hearing and, meditating on His word, and frequenting the Sacraments.

Source: Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals


14 Day Lenten Series: Part I – Temptations: Why We Have Them

28 March 2017

Temptations Bishop Ehrler 01
“Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written: The Lord thy God thou shalt adore, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil left him.” (Matth. 4: 10, 11)

Temptations
by Bishop Ehrler, 1891

For love of us, our Saviour became man, partly, to redeem us from the yoke of sin, and partly, to show us, by His example, the right path to heaven. Temptations interpose the greatest obstacles to our salvation. Therefore, our Redeemer suffered himself to be tempted, that we might learn from him how to overcome the tempter. He is the skilful General who has taught his soldiers by word and example the grand science of spiritual combat. My beloved brethren, allow me, today, to make known to you the laws which govern this science. There are chiefly three points wherein Satan seeks to ensnare us.

I. The lusts of the flesh;
II. The frowardness of the understanding; and
III. The pride of life.

How should a man meet these temptations? Let him only compare divine joys with the base gratifications afforded by these three sources of temptation, and he will find it impossible to yield to the latter.

I. Consider:

1. That the world promises carnal pleasures to its votaries; but
2. That joy in God is far sweeter and more lasting.

1. How empty and transitory are those pleasures which are always followed by pain! Manifold are the vexations and miseries which forbidden enjoyments cause the children of this world! Men often risk their honor and good name,–yea, even put their lives in danger for some vile amusement of an idle hour. What torment can be compared with that of a man who loves and sees that he is not loved in return; who spends his money and lavishes his gifts in vain; who cannot gratify his guilty passions; or, who lives in continual dread lest his evil deeds should come to light?

Jealousy, fear, love itself, torment him, and he needs no other scourge than the sharp stings of his own passionate heart. Can this be called pleasure?

2. On the contrary, divine love gives to man a true and lasting happiness. God can find no greater satisfaction than in himself, and where can we seek for greater happiness than in God? This happiness is as eternal as its Object. Death itself cannot terminate it, but, on the contrary, only gives to it a fresh beginning. Even in this life, the love of God sweetens all trials and labors; for the true lover fears no labor; all difficulties and obstacles are cheerfully overcome for the sake of the beloved. In short, a soul that has tasted of the heavenly manna of interior satisfaction in God, will certainly have a disgust for the flesh-pots of Egypt. ” O taste, and see that the Lord is sweet.” (Ps. 33:9)

Remember II.
That if the world proposes to you doubts and objections to faith,

1. God is the eternal truth;
2. He cannot error or make a mistake.

1. Man frequently prefers to pry into divine mysteries rather than believe in them. Some must know the why and the wherefore of everything. “Why do the wicked prosper?” they question. “And wherefore are the good oppressed?” They would fain weigh the dogmas of faith in the scales of their own finite reason. They would decide points of doctrine according to their own fancy, rather than by the revelation of God and the decrees of His holy Church. There are ignorant people who will argue upon Predestination, and the possibility of Transubstantiation. What pleasure can they find in such discussions? They belong to “the unlearned and unstable ” of whom the apostle complains that they wrest the Word of God to their own destruction. As a just punishment, they fall from one doubt into another. They bewilder themselves and others–they become perverts.

2. How complete would be the satisfaction of these unhappy men, if, turning from all disputed questions, they would fix their eyes upon the truth and infallibility of God! The divine mysteries are unfathomable. “Thy judgments, O Lord, are a great deep,” (Ps. 35:7) which human reason may admire, but can never fathom! Many natural causes of material things must ever remain hidden from our comprehension,–how much less, then, are we able to understand the sublime and secret mysteries of God! Shall we be foolish enough to declare that because we cannot comprehend a thing, therefore, it is impossible! That because we do not know why this or that happens, therefore it is not well that it should happen!

III. Remember again:

1. That if the world promises you great honors and exalted dignities,
2. That the kingdom of God is greater and nobler than all these.

1. Worthless, indeed, are all the dignities of this world! In a short time, they “shall come to nothing, and vanish like smoke.” (Ps. 36: 20.) No sooner has a man attained the pinnacle of fame, than he is carried off by death. “Thou seest a man in an elevated position; thou esteemest him as noble and exalted,” says St. Ambrose, “soon thou learnest that another has succeeded him, and thou askest: Where is the former incumbent who was so noble and distinguished? Thou art simply told: He has disappeared.” It is not necessary now, my beloved, to enlarge upon the inconstancy of fortune, the envy of inferiors, the misrepresentations of enemies, and the fear of losing the grace of God. To all of these even the highest positions are liable.

2. Let a man compare this so-called happiness with the genuine satisfaction of the Christian who enjoys the grace and love of God. A brief comparison between the finite and the Infinite will plainly show the emptiness of all worldly dignities. The kingdom of God is greater, its grades are nobler, its dignities are eternal. And to what a height of honor are not those raised to whom our Saviour said: “You also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matth. 19:28.) “Thus shall he be honored, whom the king hath a mind to honor.” (Esth. 6: 9.)

You now know, beloved brethren, the laws of the spiritual combat. There is nothing more to do but to encourage you in the warfare. Keep yourselves in constant practice, and if the tempter assails you, say to him: “Begone, Satan! Why do you flatter me? That which engages my love is far sweeter than anything that you can offer me! ” O my dear Christians, you have enlisted under the banner of Christ; then, I beseech you, with St. Paul: “In all things, taking the shield of faith, and taking unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, (which is the word of God),” (Ephes. 6: 16,) ” put ye on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the snares of the devil.” (Ibid. 11 verse.)

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The Purpose of Temptations

“Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil.” (Matt. 4: 1.)

The mysterious temptation of our Lord in the desert, while it can only be explained and understood in connection with his dignity as the Messias, is nevertheless a great source of consolation for Christian souls. As the devil approached our first parents, Adam and Eve, in order to seduce them from obedience to God, so he approaches every member of the human family, for the same nefarious end. “Be sober and watch,” says the Prince of the Apostles, “because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalleth your brethren who are in the world ” (1 Pet. 5: 8, 9,); and St. Paul adds: “Put ye on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the snares of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers: against the rulers of the world of this darkness: against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” (Ephes. 6: 11, 12.)

From within and without, through our friends and through our enemies, through the world, the flesh and the devil, the toils of temptation are continually cast around our souls. No place is so holy or secluded that Satan cannot find entrance; no man is so secure in virtue and perfection that he cannot seize and afflict him. Day and night, openly and concealed, he aims his poisonous arrows at us. Every one according to his condition and particular circumstances of life, has particular temptations. These temptations are as manifold as life is many-sided, out of everything on earth, the devil knows to make a snare for the ruin of souls. Before the door of our hearts, sin ever lurks, seeking an entrance into the secret sanctuary of the soul.

Why does our good God permit all these varied temptations? Does He will our destruction? Is it really His intention to plunge us into sin? Impossible; for God being Eternal Holiness cannot will evil, and being Mercy itself, he desires all men to be saved. “Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted of God: for God is not the tempter of evils: and he tempteth no man. But every man is tempted, being drawn away by his own concupiscence, and allured.” (James 1:13, 14.) To fathom God’s holy intentions, as well as to consider how we are to conduct ourselves when temptations assail us, is the purpose of this morning’s instruction. I propose, then, to answer the following questions:

I. Why does the Lord permit us to be attacked by so many temptations? and
II. Being attacked, how can we resist these numerous temptations?

I. Temptations are the touchstone of our fidelity to God. Our life upon earth is merely a probation for our eternal life in heaven. Temptations are the plummet wherewith God sounds every side of our hearts in order to measure the depths of our love for him. Can we, then, wonder that the Lord permits us to be tempted in various and almost innumerable ways? We must be tested for eternal life and for the heaven that awaits us. Through the efforts of our own free will, must we be made worthy of the bliss of the Hereafter. God could, indeed, create us without our aid, but He cannot save us without our co-operation. Heaven and its felicity are not merely the free gift of divine love and mercy; they are the reward of merit after the battle of life. Even those perfect spirits, the Angels of heaven, to whom the Lord granted the contemplation of the Beatific Vision from the moment of their creation, had to be proved and tried before they could be confirmed in glory,–so that that which had been given them as a free gift might become to them the merited reward of their free will. The obedience of Adam and Eve was tested in the Garden of Eden at the foot of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Lord leads every human being to this same tree of the knowledge of good and evil, not only once, but time and again, until the great novitiate for eternal life is finished.

1. God has given us various powers and faculties, of body and soul, that all being tried and tested by temptation may be employed for his service. Our eyes must be tried in order to ascertain whether, being led astray by the deceitful phantoms of sin, they are directed to evil, rather than to the true and unchangeable goods of heaven. Our ears must be tested in order to know whether they are open to evil and eagerly listen to it, or, on the contrary, open to God and his holy word, and closed to sinful words and discourses. Our tongue, our hands and feet, and all the members and senses of our body must be tested, in order to find out whether they serve the world, rather than God. For the same purpose, God searches the various powers and faculties of the soul, in order to test their fidelity to Him, and their real love for Him. He tries our understanding, to see if in the holy obedience of faith it bows to the teachings of revelation or rather relies upon its own narrow conceits. He searches our heart and our memory, the imagination and the will, and all the depths of our souls in order to discover whether we love him or adore another before Him. He tries the king upon his throne, and the lowest beggar among his subjects; he tries the father and the mother, the son and daughter, the master and the servant, the rich and the peer–everyone according to his calling and position in life, in order to test and to reward each man according to the depth of his love and the strength of his fidelity.

2. Temptations have a still wider range and purpose. The worth and greatness of our virtue lie in them. Without temptation, there is no virtue. A person may be innocent, but innocence is no virtue. Man becomes virtuous only by resisting temptations. There is as great a difference between innocence and virtue, as there is between life and strength,–a baby has life but no strength. There is no victory without battle. That only deserves the name of virtue which has been tried in the warfare against evil, and against the passions of the heart.

3. Every virtue is opposed by its contrary vice. Unbelief sends its doubts and objections into the soul of man in order to destroy or, at least, diminish the strength and zeal of faith. The spirit of impurity presents its sinful images before the chaste soul, and endeavors to cast the fires of sinful lust into its pure depths. Benevolence is opposed by avarice, humility and meekness are assailed by pride and hatred. As every being in nature has its enemy, every animal its adversary, every tree its worm, every flower and plant its dangerous and poisonous insect, so every virtue has a vice for its enemy, and the power of virtue must be tested by the conflict with its enemy. Only in heaven there is no conflict, no temptation.

4. When a nation enjoys a long-continued peace, and its army remains inactive for many years, the bravery of its soldiers and the skill of its generals cannot be known or appreciated. But when the enemy approaches, and the troops are threatened on every side: when on the field of battle, bombs, bullets, and shots are flying right and left, when they fight man to man, the courage and bravery of the soldiers are tried, and the talent of their leaders manifested. If there were no temptation, there would be no true and perfect virtue. How beautifully this truth is exemplified in Abraham. That heroic servant of God was devoted in strong and living faith to the Lord who chose him to be the progenitor of a new race. But never in his life did his strong confidence in God’s word and the sublime grandeur of his faith shine forth more brightly than when he stood upon Mount Moriah, knife in hand, ready, at the divine command, to offer up his only son in sacrifice. Then the Lord said to him: “By my own self have I sworn, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake: I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is by the sea-shore.” (Gen. 22: 16,17.) Joseph of Egypt practiced the virtue of chastity in his father’s house, but his purity shines forth more resplendently before our eyes, when we see him fleeing from the wicked temptress, and cast into prison on account of his virtue. Should we have ever heard of the chastity of Susanna, if temptation had not revealed it to us?

5. The more violent and protracted the temptation, the greater a person’s virtue. Therefore, the Lord said to Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” (Luke 22: 31.) He permitted the Apostles to fall into divers temptations and troubles that their virtue might shine forth more brilliantly to all succeeding generations. Thus, God leads us, my brethren, into conflict with temptation, that our virtue may come forth victorious. He tests the strength of our faith through skepticism and interior doubts, and through the examples of infidelity that surround us in the world. He tries the purity of our hearts by the impure and sinful desires which arise within us. He seeks to reveal in their full splendor our love for God and our neighbor through temptations to tepidity and idleness of heart, and through unkind thoughts against our brethren. Every temptation affords the Christian a fresh opportunity for the perfect practice of some beautiful virtue.

If the life of man according to the will of God, is a never-ending trial, an enduring temptation, his reward will be so much the greater, the more his fidelity and love are tried by the fiery ordeal. Innumerable are the consoling promises which God has made to those who resist temptations. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1: 12.) “My brethren, count it all joy, when you shall fall into divers temptations: knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience. And patience hath a perfect work, that you maybe perfect and entire, deficient in nothing.” (James 1: 2-4.) “My dearest, think not strange the burning heat that is to try you, as if some new thing happened to you: but rejoice, being partakers of the sufferings of Christ, that when His glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” (1 Pet. 4: 12, 13.) ” Now, no chastisement for the present seemeth to bring with it joy but sorrow; but afterwards, it will yield to them that are exercised by it, the most peaceable fruit of justice.” (Hebr. 12:11.) The kingdom of heaven must be won by hard fighting, for it suffers violence. The heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God, will not descend from heaven to earth, in order to catch us up painlessly into its bright recesses, but with labor and toil and sweat we must ascend to it, and force an entrance into its pearly walls. “To him that overcometh,” says Christ, “I will give the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth but he that receiveth it.” (Apoc. 2: 17.)

II. I have said that only those who successfully stand the test of the great trial of life shall receive the crown of glory, hence, I ask myself that other question, How shall we come forth victorious over temptation?

1. We must walk at all times in humility and in the fear of God. ” Let him that thinketh himself to stand, take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor. 10: 12.) The weakness, frailty, and corruption of our nature are greater than we are aware of, and though we have overcome a temptation once, twice, yea, a hundred times, we must not presume on our success, for the tempter will repeat and renew his attack. Three times did he tempt Jesus in the desert, and each time he proposed to him a different temptation. He is a crafty and cunning adversary. He spies out our inclinations and wishes, and adroitly makes use of our habits and needs. He holds riches before the eyes of the poor man, and pictures to him the happiness to be found in their possession, so that, before long, the hand is stretched out to take the property of its neighbor. If he does not go that far, he, at least, looks discontentedly and enviously at his neighbor’s goods, and murmurs at, or curses, his own lot. In the heart of the rich man, he awakens insatiable desires, he tries to lead him to pride and avarice, and to a sinful use of his wealth. In the heart of him who is inclined to sensuality, he excites impure thoughts, imaginations, and desires. For the irritable man he prepares the temptation to impatience, and stirs up anew the fire of hate in his heart. Others are tempted by the devil in a different manner, but he invariably seizes upon the weak side. Often he does not at once suggest any thing very wicked and sinful. He has obtained his object if the Christian relaxes some of his strictness, and gives in, ever so little, to his suggestions. He disguises himself as an angel of light, and represents evil under the appearance of good. Or, he places on the tongues of those who are sinfully inclined, excuses for evil. He calls out to them: “Once is no time.” “It is not even a sin.” “Others also do it.” “The temptation is too vehement!” “What does it matter if you have sinned!” “You can confess your sins, and you will be all right!” and by such reasoning, he seeks to deceive the heart of man. He even quotes Scripture, (as he did to our Saviour), when it suits his purpose to make the evil and forbidden thing appear good and laudable.

Should we not, then, walk in the continual fear of God? ” Watch ye and pray that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26: 41.) Should not our repeated relapses into past sins make us more cautious and fearful? Some of the greatest saints have fallen through the cunning of the wicked enemy of our souls. The cedars of Lebanon were cast down, and torn up by the roots in battle with the demon. All human virtue stands upon an unsteady foundation, and only the fear of God is able to preserve grace in our hearts; for the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

2. The pious Christian, although fearful in temptation, must not, however, lose courage. He will remember the words of the Lord: “In the world you shall have distress, but have confidence; I have overcome the world.” (John 16: 33.) Through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the throne of the Prince of darkness has been shaken and overthrown; and Satan can no longer injure us. A residue of power is left to him, it is true, but no more than is necessary to test our fidelity and virtue. He dare not overstep the boundaries which have been marked out for him. God will not permit us to be tempted above our strength. Even the strongest and most lasting temptation is appointed by Him for the salvation of our souls.

Rain and sunshine, storms and gentle breezes, winter and summer are necessary for the life of nature, and the prosperity of all created beings; and only by these alternations, a strong and healthy life is developed upon the face of the earth. In like manner, temptations are necessary in the spiritual life; and the Lord sends as many trials and temptations to each one, as is useful and salutary for his soul. But although we must live in the continual fear of God, yet we have no reason to despond or be disheartened. The divine wisdom and love have fixed the measure of temptations for us, in order that through peace and war, through rain and sunshine, through joys and sorrows, He may lead us to the heavenly felicity.

Remember, too, that our good God has given us all the necessary weapons whereby we may overcome our temptations. A general refuses to lead his soldiers to battle, if they are not well armed and equipped, and enabled to fight with success. Jesus Christ Who went forth in the armor of his holy humanity to fight and conquer the Evil One, has left us His weapons, so that we, in our turn, may not be overcome in the warfare. His all-powerful grace by which we can do all things, supports us in the strife; He Himself takes part in the battle; He is with us when the enemy attacks us, and He fights with and for us. If we should be tempted above our strength, we shall conquer in His might.

With the shepherd boy David, then, we must go forth in the name of the Lord, and the wicked enemy with all his temptations will fall powerless before us. What we cannot do of ourselves, we can do in Him Who strengthens us. Supported by Him, we can overcome every temptation; and every victory we gain over the devil, will add a new brightness to our crown of heavenly glory.

3. But although through the gracious assistance of God, we are strengthened and enabled to come forth victorious from every temptation. we are strictly bound, nevertheless, to avoid the dangerous occasions of sin. “Seek the Lord in simplicity of heart: for He is found by them …. tempt him not, and he showeth Himself to them that have faith in Him;. (Wisd. 1: 2.) “He that loveth danger shall perish in it.” (Eccl. 3: 27.) Our Saviour Himself admonishes us to pray to His heavenly Father: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matt. 6: 13.) We may, indeed, expect with firm confidence that the Almighty will be a helper and deliverer to us in every temptation, but shall we dare to implore His help, if we willfully place ourselves in the danger of sin? Will the Lord grant us His assistance in such a case? Would you cast yourself into the fire, in the hope that God might rescue you? If you do not avoid dangerous companionship, if you deliberately return to a place in which you have repeatedly fallen into sin, you must not be astonished, if the grace of God forsakes you and the temptation overcomes you. God helps only those who strive to co-operate with, and make themselves worthy of His grace. He who knowing the weakness of his heart, yet rushes anew into fresh dangers, is not worthy of the help of God.

4. Moreover, he who wishes to overcome temptations must carefully avoid the beginning, or the first step in sin. A Christian hardly ever falls at once into the depth of vice, or by one misstep sinks into the abyss of wickedness and iniquity; the descent into sin is generally gradual. The sinful thought arises gently and almost imperceptibly in the soul. Like a spark of fire, it seeks for fuel; and if it be not extinguished at once, it grows ere long into a lively imagination. The imagination begets the desire, and the desire becomes stronger and more vehement each moment; and then, from a vehement desire to an evil action is a very short step. When the first step is once taken, the second and the third follow in quick succession; and finally, the sinner descends, step by step, into the deepest abyss of vice.

5. The flight from dangerous occasions, and the guarding against the beginning of sin, are especially necessary in temptations against holy purity. In common warfare he who flees before the enemy is accounted a coward; but in temptations of the flesh, Christian heroism is shown not by meeting and fighting with, but by running away from the foe. He who is not ready to practise this heroism will be overcome by the tempter.

6. Finally, I would add one more remedy to the foregoing ones, which will strengthen us in our warfare with temptations. If you wish to come forth victorious, you must make use of the means of grace which God has placed within your reach, and which are at your disposal. These means are Prayer and the Holy Sacraments. Through prayer and the reception of the holy Sacraments, the Christian really becomes invincible. Prayer obtains for us the help of God, and supported by His almighty grace, we are, so to say, almighty, and can do what we please according to these words of St Paul: ” I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4: 13.)

The strength and support which are granted to us through prayer, will be increased and confirmed by the reception of the holy Sacraments of Penance and the Blessed Eucharist. The Sacrament of Penance breaks down the power of Satan in our hearts, and cleanses us from all sin. The Sacrament of the Altar makes us invincible. ” If God be for us, who is against us?” (Rom. 8: 31.) The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the strong and mighty God who first overcame the temptations of the old serpent, will fight in us and through us; for He will effect and perform in us that which we cannot accomplish by our own strength. If in every temptation, we cry to heaven in fervent prayer, and frequently receive the God of grace and of strength, the victory shall assuredly be ours.

As Jesus after being baptized by John in the river Jordan was led by the spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil, so from our coming into the world until our going out of it, we shall be tempted and sorely tried by the same evil spirit, who, not content with being miserable himself, desires to make all others miserable as well. But we have a Saviour God, Jesus Christ, to Him we must lift up our eyes and hearts in every temptation. With courage, then, let us struggle and fight, as He has done, that when our great trial, our novitiate for heaven, is finished, the Angels of God may come to meet us in order to conduct us, crowned, into the mansions of eternal bliss. Amen.

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Prayer for the Tempted and Afflicted

O God, Who justifiest the ungodly that repent, and wouldst not the death of a sinner; we humbly entreat Thy Majesty to protect Thy servants with Thy heavenly assistance, who trust in Thy mercy, and preserve them by Thy continual protection; that they may constantly serve Thee, and by no temptation be separated from Thee; through, Our Lord etc. Amen

Source: Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals


4th Sunday of #Lent: Missa ‘Laetare’ – #LaetareSunday – Link to EF Mass

26 March 2017

Laetare Sunday

26 March 2017 Anno Domini

Image Credit: OFS ofmcap NEWS

Image Credit: OFS ofmcap NEWS

Laetare Sunday Fourth Sunday of Lent
Dominica IV in Quadragesima
Missa ‘Laetare’
1st Class
Rose or Violet
[Creed; Preface of Lent; 2nd Vespers of 4th Sunday o

[Station at Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem]

Note: The Mass for today takes it’s name from the first word of the Introit: (Isa. 66:10-11), “Lætáre, Ierúsalem: et convéntum fácite, omnes qui dilígitis eam: gaudéte cum lætítia, qui in tristítia fuístis: ut exsultétis, et satiémini ab ubéribus consolatiónis vestræ. [“Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and come together, all you who love her: rejoice with joy, you who have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation.”]
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The Propers follow the link below for the Extraordinary Form Mass
offered LIVE online by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter.

Link to the Fourth Sunday in Lent Mass at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church, Sarasota, Florida: Please click HERE

Replay on “Sunday Mass” link

“The LIVE Mass that streams to LIveMass.net is actively taking place in Sarasota, Florida. At all times the screen will remain blank until ten minutes before the scheduled Mass. Mass times are Sunday (Low Mass) at 8:30 a.m. EST. The High Mass is at 10:30 a.m. EST. All other times the screen will remain blank. The Daily Mass schedule is Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. EST and Tuesday and Friday evening an additional daily Mass at 6:30 p.m. EST. The Recollection of the Confraternity of Saint Peter takes place also on the 2nd Friday of the month at 6:30 P.M. EST.” from the website of livemass.net

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INTROIT ¤ Ps. 24:15,16,1,2Is. 66:10,11; Ps. 121:1

Laetare, Jerúsalem: et convéntum fácite, omnes qui dilígitis eam: gaudéte cum lætítia, qui in tristítia fuístis: ut exsultétis, et satiémini ab ubéribus consolatiónis vestræ. (Psalm)Lætátus sum in his, quæ dicta sunt mihi: in domum Dómini íbimus. Gloria Patri. Laetare, Jerúsalem…

Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and come together all you that love her; rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. (Psalm) I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord. Glory be to the Father. Rejoice…

The Gloria in Excelsis is not said.


COLLECT

Concéde, quæsumus, omnípotens Deus: ut qui ex mérito nostræ actiónis afflígimur, tuæ grátiæ consolatióne respirémus. Per Dominum nostrum.

Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds justly deserve to be punished, by the comfort of Thy grace may mercifully be relieved. Through our Lord.

EPISTLE ¤ Gal 4:22-31

Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Galatians.

Lectio Epistolae beati Pauli Apostoli ad Galatsios.

Fratres: Scriptum est: Quóniam Abraham duos fílios hábuit: unum de ancílla, et unum de líbera. Sed qui de ancílla, secúndum carnem natus est: qui autem de líbera, per repromissiónem: quæ sunt per allegoríam dicta. Hæc enim sunt duo testaménta. Unum quidem in monte Sina, in servitútem génerans: quæ est Agar: Sina enim mons est in Arábia, qui conjúnctus est ei, quæ nunc est Jerúsalem, et servit cum fíliis suis. Illa autem, quæ sursum est Jerúsalem, líbera est, quæ est mater nostra. Scriptum est enim: Lætáre, stérilis, quæ non paris: erúmpe, et clama, quæ non párturis: quia multi fílii desértæ, magis quam ejus, quæ habet virum. Nos autem, fratres, secúndum Isaac promissiónis fílii sumus. Sed quómodo tunc is, qui secúndum carnem natus fúerat, persequebátur eum, qui secúndum spíritum: ita et nunc. Sed quid dicit Scriptúra? Ejice ancíllam et fílium ejus: non enim hæres erit fílius ancíllæ cum fílio líberæ. Itaque, fratres, non sumus ancíllæ fílii, sed líberæ: qua libertáte Christus nos liberávit.

Brethren: it is written that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bond-woman, and the other by a free-woman. But he who was of the bond-woman was born according to the flesh; but he of the free-woman was by promise. Which things are said by an allegory. For these are the two testaments; the one from Mount Sina, engendering unto bondage, which is Agar: for Sina is a mountain in Arabia, which hath affinity to that Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children: but that Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born according to the flesh persecuted him that was after the spirit, so also it is now. But what saith the Scriptures? : Cast out the bond-woman and her son; for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free-woman. So then, brethren, we are not the children of the bond-woman, but of the free; by the freedom wherewith Christ hath made us free.

GRADUAL ¤ Ps. 121:1,7

Lætátus sum in his, quæ dicta sunt mihi: in domum Dómini íbimus. Fiat pax in virtúte tua: et abundántia in túrribus tuis.

I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord. Let peace be in Thy strength, and abundance in Thy towers.


TRACT ¤ Ps. 124:1-2

Qui confídunt in Dómino, sicut mons Sion: non commovébitur in ætérnum, qui hábitat in Jerúsalem. Montes in circúitu ejus: et Dóminus in circúitu pópuli sui, ex hoc nunc et usque in sæculum.

They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Sion: he shall not be moved forever that dwelleth in Jerusalem. Mountains are round about it: so the Lord is round about his people, from henceforth now and for ever.

GOSPEL ¤ Jn. 6:1-15.

† Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. John.
† Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Johannes.

In illo tempore: Erat Jesus ejiciens daemonium, et illud erat mutum. Et cum ejecisset daemonium, locutus est mutus et admiraitae sunt turbae. Quidiam autem ex eis diserunt : “In Beelzebub principe daemoniorum ejicit daemonia.” Et alli tentantes, signum de caelo quaerebant ab eo. Ipse autem ut vidit cogitations eorum, dixit eis :”Omne regnum in siepsum divisum desolabitur et domus supra domum cadet. Si autem et satanas in siepsum divisus est, quomodo stabit regnum ejus ? qui dicitis in Beelzebub me ejicere daemonia. Si autem ego in Beelezub ejicio daemonia, filii vestri in quo ejiciunt? Ideo ipsi judices vestri erunt. Porro si in digito Dei ejicio daemonia : profecto pervenit in vos regnum Dei. Cum fortis armatus custodit atrium suum, in pace sunt ea, quae possidet. Si autem fortior eo superveniens vicerit eum, universa arma ejus auferet, in qibus confidebat, et spolia ejus distribute. Qui non est mecum, contra me est : et qui non colligit meccumk dispersit. Cum immundus spiritus exierit de homine, ambulat per loca inaquosa, quaerens requiem : et non inveniens, dicit : Revertar in domum meam, unde exivi. Et cum venerit, invenit eam scopes mundatam, et ornatam. Tunc vadit, et assumit septem allios spiritus secum nequiores se, et ingressi habitant ibi. Et fiunt novissima hominis illius pejora prioribus.” Factum est autem, cum haec diceret: “ex tollens vocem quaedam mulier de turba, dixit illi : Beatus venter, qui te portavit, et ubera, quae suxisti.” At ille dixit : “Quinimo beati, qui audiunt verbum Dei, et custodiunt illud.”

In illo témpore: Abiit Jesus trans mare Galilææ, quod est Tiberíadis: et sequebátur eum multitúdo magna, quia vidébant signa, quæ faciébat super his, qui infirmabántur. Súbiit ergo in montem Jesus: et ibi sedébat cum discípulis suis. Erat autem próximum Pascha dies festus Judæórum. Cum sublevásset ergo óculos Jesus, et vidísset quia multitúdo máxima venit ad eum, dixit ad Philíppum: “Unde emémus panes, ut mandúcent hi?” Hoc autem dicébat tentans eum: ipse enim sciébat quid esset factúrus. Respóndit ei Philíppus: Ducentórum denariórum panes non suffíciunt eis, ut unusquísque módicum quid accípiat. Dicit ei unus ex discípulis ejus, Andréas frater Simónis Petri: Est puer unus hic, qui habet quinque panes hordeáceos, et duos pisces: sed hæc quid sunt inter tantos? Dixit ergo Jesus: “Fácite hómines discúmbere.” Erat autem fœnum multum in loco. Discubuérunt ergo viri, número quasi quinque míllia. Accépit ergo Jesus panes: et cum grátias egísset, distríbuit discumbéntibus: simíliter et ex píscibus quantum volébant. Ut autem impléti sunt, dixit discípulis suis: “Collígite quæ superavérunt fragménta, ne péreant.” Collegérunt ergo, et implevérunt duódecim cóphinos fragmentórum ex quinque pánibus hordeáceis, quæ superfuérunt his, qui manducáverant. Illi ergo hómines cum vidíssent quod Jesus fécerat signum, dicébant: Quia hic est vere Prophéta, qui ventúrus est in mundum. Jesus ergo cum cognovísset, quia ventúri essent ut ráperent eum, et fácerent eum regem, fugit íterum in montem ipse solus.


OFFERTORY ¤ Ps. 18:9,11,12

Justiae Domini rectae, laetificantes corda, et judicia ejus dulciora super mel et favum : nam et servus tuus custodit ea.

The justices of the Lord are right, rejoicing hearts, and His judgments are sweeter than honey and the honey-comb; for Thy servant keepeth them.

SECRET ¤ Ps. 134:3,6

Sacrifíciis præséntibus, Dómine, quæsumus, inténde placátus: ut et devotióni nostræ profíciant et salúti. Per Dominum nostrum

Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that the gift of this sacrifice which we offer, may ever purify and preserve our frailty from all evil. Through our Lord


PREFACE
Preface for Lent

Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. Qui corporali ieiunio vitia comprimis, mentem elevas, virtutem largiris et praemia: per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem maiestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates. Coeli, coelorumque Virtutes, ac beata Seraphim, socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti iubeas deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes:

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who by this bodily fast, dost curb our vices, dost lift up our minds and bestow on us strength and rewards; through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise:

COMMUNION ¤ Ps. 83:4,5

Passer invenit sibi domum, et turtur nidum, ubi reponat pullos suos : altaria tua, Domine virtutum, Rex meus, et Deus meus: beati qui habitant in domo tua, in saeculum saeculi laudabunt te.

The sparrow hath found herself a house, and the turtle a nest, where she may lay her young ones : Thy altars, O Lord of Hosts, my King, and My God : blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, they shall praise Thee for ever and ever.


POSTCOMMUNION ¤ Ps. 121:3,4

Jerúsalem, quæ ædificátur ut cívitas, cujus participátio ejus in idípsum; illuc enim ascendérunt tribus, tribus Dómini, ad confiténdum nómini tuo, Dómine.

Jerusalem, which is built as a city, which is compact together: for thither did the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to praise Thy name, O Lord.

 

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Thank you to Deo Volente for his hard work at his blog, Traditional Latin Mass in Maryland.


All About #LaetareSunday – REJOICE!

26 March 2017

Laetare Sunday

rose vestmentThe fourth Sunday of Lent is rather unique; like the third Sunday of Advent (“Gaudete Sunday”), the fourth Sunday of Lent is a break in an otherwise penitential season. The vestments for this day will be rose, as they are on Gaudete Sunday in Advent, and flowers may adorn the Altar. This day is called “Laetare Sunday” (also “Rose Sunday” ), and takes its name from the opening words of the Mass, the Introit’s “Laetare, Jerusalem”:

Laetare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestrae. (Psalm) Laetatus sum in his, quae dicta sunt mihi: in domum Domini ibimus. Gloria Patri.

Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. (Psalm) I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. Glory be to the Father.

The Gospel reading will be John 6:1-15, on the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes — symbols of the Eucharist to come in 18 days (on Maundy Thursday of Holy Week). Note the language used in St. Matthew’s account — and in the consecration of the Mass:

Matthew 15:36
And taking the seven loaves and the fishes, and giving thanks, he brake, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the people.

And from the Mass:

Who, the day before He suffered, took bread into His Holy and venerable hands, and having lifted up His eyes to heaven, to Thee, God, His Almighty Father, giving thanks to Thee, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: Take and eat ye all of this.

And after the miracle of the loaves and fishes, this is what happens, according to John’s Gospel:

John 6:12-13
And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost. They gathered up therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten.

“Gather up the fragments lest they be lost,” He said to them. And the Twelve did, symbolizing their future ordinations, their being given to power to feed His sheep with His Body and Blood as foreshadowed in the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

 

Customs

Laetare Sunday is also known as “Mothering Sunday” because of the Epistle reading that speaks of how not the Jews, but those who come to Christ, regardless of their ancestry, are the inheritors of Abraham’s promise:

Galatians 4:22-31
For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, and the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman, was born according to the flesh: but he of the free woman, was by promise. Which things are said by an allegory. For these are the two testaments. The one from mount Sina, engendering unto bondage; which is Agar: For Sina is a mountain in Arabia, which hath affinity to that Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But that Jerusalem, which is above, is free: which is our mother. For it is written: Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not: break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he, that was born according to the flesh, persecuted him that was after the spirit; so also it is now. But what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. So then, brethren, we are not the children of the bondwoman, but of the free: by the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free.

RosesSymbolThe old practice of visiting the cathedral, or “mother church” of the diocese on this day is another reason for the name. In England, natural mothers are honored today, too, in a manner rather like the American “Mother’s Day.” Spring bulb flowers (daffodils, for ex.) are given to mothers, and simnel cake is made to celebrate the occasion (this cake has also become an Easter Cake of late, however). The word “simnel” comes from the Latin “simila,” a high grade flour:

Simnel Cake

1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
4 eggs
1 3/4 cups self-rising flour
1 1/3 cups golden raisins
1 cup dried currants
2/3 cup candied cherries, rinsed, dried and quartered
1/4 cup candied mixed fruit peel, chopped
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 pound almond paste
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8 inch springform pan. Line the bottom and sides of pan with greased parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the flour. Stir in the golden raisins, currants, candied cherries, mixed fruit, lemon zest and mixed spice. Pour 1/2 of batter into prepared pan.

Divide almond paste into 3 equal portions. Roll out 1/3 of the almond paste to an 8 inch circle. Place the circle of almond paste on the cake batter in pan. Cover with remaining cake batter. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours, or until evenly brown and firm to the touch. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover with foil after an hour of baking. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Set oven to broil. When the cake has cooled, brush the top with warmed apricot jam. Roll out 1/3 of the almond paste into an 8 inch circle and place on top of cake.

Divide the remaining 1/3 of almond paste into 11 pieces and roll into balls. These represent the 12 Apostles minus Judas. Brush the almond paste on top of cake with beaten egg. Arrange the 11 balls around the outside edge on the top of cake. Brush the balls lightly with egg. Place cake under the broiler for 8 to 10 minutes, or until almond paste is golden brown.

 

The rose vestments on Laetare Sunday is a custom originating in the fact that, as a symbol of joy and hope in the middle of this somber Season, popes used to carry a golden rose in their right hand when returning from the celebration of Mass on this day (way back in 1051, Pope Leo IX called this custom an “ancient institution.”)

Originally it was natural rose, then a single golden rose of natural size, but since the fifteenth century it has consisted of a cluster or branch of roses Rose given by Pope to Shrine at Knock, Ireland wrought of pure gold in brilliant workmanship by famous artists. The popes bless one every year, and often confer it upon churches, shrines, cities, or distinguished persons as a token of esteem and paternal affection. In case of such a bestowal, a new rose is made during the subsequent year. (The Golden Rose at right was given to the Shrine at Knock, Ireland)

The golden rose represents Christ in the shining splendor of His majesty, the “flower sprung from the root of Jesse,” and it is blessed with these words:

O God! by Whose word and power all things have been created, by Whose will all things are directed, we humbly beseech Thy Majesty, Who art the joy and gladness of all the faithful, that Thou wouldst deign in Thy fatherly love to bless and sanctify this rose, most delightful in odor and appearance, which we this day carry in sign of spiritual joy, in order that the people consecrated by Thee and delivered from the yoke of Babylonian slavery through the favor of Thine only-begotten Son, Who is the glory and exultation of the people of Israel and of that Jerusalem which is our Heavenly mother, may with sincere hearts show forth their joy. Wherefore, O Lord, on this day, when the Church exults in Thy name and manifests her joy by this sign, confer upon us through her true and perfect joy and accepting her devotion of today; do Thou remit sin, strengthen faith, increase piety, protect her in Thy mercy, drive away all things adverse to her and make her ways safe and prosperous, so that Thy Church, as the fruit of good works, may unite in giving forth the perfume of the ointment of that flower sprung from the root of Jesse and which is the mystical flower of the field and lily of the valleys, and remain happy without end in eternal glory together with all the saints.

Note: you can remember to differentiate between Advent’s Gaudete Sunday and Lent’s Laetare Sunday — the two “rose vestment” Sundays — by remembering that Laetare Sunday comes in Lent, both of which begin with the letter “L.”

Source: Fisheaters.com


The Fourth Sunday in Lent – Laetare Sunday – Sermon by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger S.J. (1805-1888)

26 March 2017

4th_Sun_of_Lent_Pic

And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks, He distributed to them.”–John 6.

In today’s Gospel all are admonished to strengthen, particularly, that disposition of the heart which exercises, in a special manner, a beneficial influence over our life in the service of God, namely, our trust in His providence. There are so many trials in this world for both body and soul! So many evils, so many maladies and dangers threatening the health and life of man! How great, how urgent, frequently, are the cares for our daily existence! And if this is true of the body, what shall we say of the dangers to which the soul is exposed on the way of salvation?

Hence, how important it is for us to strengthen our trust in the providence of the Almighty. We shall consider, today, one by one, the motives for doing this.

O Mary, thou who art next to God, our most consoling refuge and trust, strengthen in our hearts this confidence in God, that we may be aided by Him in every need! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

That confidence in the providence of God is a most important disposition of the mind, is evident from what I have said in the introduction about the many needs of both body and soul.

Accordingly, Christ reminds us often and emphatic ally of this confidence, and exhorts us to cultivate it. The same is done by the Apostles. St. Peter, especially, admonishes us earnestly to place ourselves, like children, in God’s fatherly arms, and cast all our care upon Him. How readily would we obey this admonition of Christ and His Apostles, were we to consider Who God is, what He has done for us and for the world, were we to reflect on the lofty destiny for which He has created us, and the protection He has promised, if we place our trust in Him!

To strengthen, then, your trust in the providence of God, ponder first: Who God is. We place our confidence in another in proportion as we feel convinced that he understands what we need, and that he has it in his power to do for us whatever our safety requires. Again, this confidence we grant cheerfully and unreservedly if we know that our protector has the will to assist us, that he loves us, and that his relations towards us are such that we have a right to expect from him this aid; particularly, if he has promised to help us, and has already given us proofs of his readiness to keep his word.

Who does not see at a glance, after what has been said, how just and well-founded is our trust in God, and His providence, and how firm our hope should be in the help of God under every hardship of life? God knows what we need; He is omniscient; everything, says St. Paul, lies unfolded before Him like an open book. He knows the needs of our body and soul much better than we do ourselves. Let us trust in Him.

He is almighty; He can help us. It is He who, as Creator, called heaven and earth into existence, and who governs and preserves them. Has He the will to help us? Who can doubt it? Is He not infinite goodness, and at the same time our Creator and Father.

What splendid, what numerous proofs of the providence of God as Creator and Ruler of the world, surround us! What harmony, order and consistency we perceive in the entire visible creation, if we let our eyes wander from this earth to the far off starry hosts! For thousands of years the sun has risen and gone down never a second too early or too late. Child of man! does not the first ray of the sun say to you: There is a Providence? here am I again! Confide, trust!

But as the ancient philosopher Plato has said, the care of Providence appears to us more astounding in the smallest plant and animal which God’s omnipotence has called into existence, than in the magnificent heavenly bodies and their wonderful movements. Does not Christ Himself point to this when He emphatically says: “Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them? Are not you of much more value than they?” “And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith!” (Matt. 6, 26, 30).

How earnest should be our endeavor to strengthen our trust in God, when we think of the being He gave us; a being that reflects His likeness and surpasses in perfection all visible creatures! And for what end has He created us? Answer: For Himself, that we may one day become “like unto Him,” for His and our own glorification.

But what must our feelings be, when we think of the price He paid for us, when through sin, we were threatened with destruction? Did He not clothe Himself with our nature, live for our sake a life of infinite merit, and consummate the work of Redemption in excruciating sufferings and a bitter death?

Therefore, child of man, likeness of God, redeemed soul, have confidence! God will save you; He will help you.

Our trust in God will be still more strengthened, if we reflect upon the manner in which He bestowed upon us His infinite merits. He could not have granted them with greater liberality, did He come into the world to save each one of us alone. For us especially, the children of His holy Church, He has opened wide all the fountains of divine grace, and left abundant means unto salvation.

Each one knows how often Providence has protected him personally in many dangers of body and soul. Who can think of all this, and not throw himself, with all the trust of Christian hope, into the fatherly arms of God? This is not only a just, but at the same time a noble and meritorious act.

I say noble, for this trust marks the difference between the children of God and the children of the world. The latter are filled with care only to secure by industry their own and their children’s temporal welfare; and when misfortunes assail them, they think not of God, but seek help from man, as if man could aid them without the will of the Almighty. And if men help us, from whom do they receive the power to do so but from God?

It is unfortunate that men, even Christians, think of this so seldom, but ever run for aid to human be ings, sometimes even doing, or allowing others to do, for their alleviation, things which offend God. Thus act, especially, those Catholics who, merely to gain assistance in time of need, scruple not to join secret societies, which, for important reasons, are condemned by the Church.

What an admonition, a warning to us, especially in these times, and this country, to beware of being drawn into the nets of secret societies, and of being thus excluded from the spiritual consolations of holy Communion, not only during life, but also at the hour of death!

Confidence in God is also a particularly holy and meritorious act, because it includes so many other acts of virtue, namely, the recognition of the sovereignity of God over all His creatures and the entire world, His omnipotence, power, goodness, truth, fidelity and love. It is, therefore, an act which especially honors and pleases God, and to which He has promised His special protection: “Because he hoped in Me, I will deliver him, I will protect him,” is the promise made by God in the Psalms. It is an act which fully expresses the confession and longing of the pious soul: All for the greater glory of God, even my trials and my sorrows.

We have seen in the lives of many of the saints how successfully this disposition of mind will aid us to do great deeds in the service of God. Although poor, unknown, persecuted, how many great deeds they undertook and completed for the glory of God and the salvation of souls! Why? Knowing well their own capacity, they were humble and acknowledged themselves worthless, incompetent servants, but their trust was in God; hence their grand plans and their perfection, and hence their strength and perseverance. Trust in God, was their support.

Finally, how consoling, how sweet an act to place ourselves like children in the arms of our Father, and look confidingly up to Him in the storms of life. It is a foretaste of the peace, the eternal rest that the blessed enjoy in the contemplation of God! Amen!

“And a great multitude followed Him.”–John 6.

The people followed Jesus into the wilderness, because they were desirous of hearing Him. Their bodies hungered, but their souls were so refreshed, so delighted with the word He spoke, that they forgot their corporal needs, and Christ, to recompense their zeal, wrought a miracle.

What an example for us, to hear attentively the Word of God. and draw from it fruit for the benefit of our souls! Unfortunately, the wondrous fruits of the spoken word of God are not to be found in the great majority of Christian people. And why? The words of today’s Gospel, if carefully considered, will answer this question.

Were the dispositions of the children of the Church like those of the five thousand people who followed Christ into the wilderness, the Word of God would bring forth abundant fruit for the salvation of all.

Mary, thou who didst gain from the words of thy divine Son such wondrous benefits, pray for us that we also may henceforth draw abundant fruit therefrom for our soul’s salvation! O speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

Five thousand men followed Christ into the wilderness to hear Him speak. How great must their desire have been to understand His doctrine! It caused them to disregard the necessaries of life; they did not even think of providing food. What a salutary lesson for those Christians, who frivolously neglect to hear the word of God from those of whom Christ has said: “Those; who hear you, hear me! The desire to hear the Word of God is fearfully wanting in many Christians. Are there only a few who the whole year long listen not to a single sermon? who think they are doing wonders if they assist at Mass every Sunday? Is it surprising that they lead an indifferent life, or even follow the ways of evil without concern? How can it be otherwise? During the entire year they hear not a word of advice or instruction regarding those duties, which, as children of the Church, they must fulfill, if they would lead a good and holy life.

They live from year to year unconcernedly in the occasions of sin. And why? Because no one reproves them or shows to them the dangers which threaten their souls. They live in sin, because no one pictures to them frequently and touchingly the wickedness, the misfortune, the guilt of sin. It does not enter their thoughts to walk in the path of righteousness, or to live a holy life, because no one reminds them of their obligations, and because they have before their eyes only the example of other in different Christians. How different would the case be, if they heard the Word of God every Sunday with a well disposed heart! But this assistance they fail to secure.

The radical fault lies in the slight esteem they have for the Word of God. Hence, even if they do hear a sermon, they devote their attention to the style and delivery of the speaker, and listen to him more as a man and lecturer, than as a priest and preacher. St. Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, gives thanks to God that they had received his word “not as the word of men, but (as it is indeed) the Word of God, Who worketh in you that have believed.” Will God work in those who listen to the divine Word as the word of men?

The priest speaks in the name of God. It is the Lord who addresses us, when by His commission the preacher expounds the teachings and precepts of the Church. St. Teresa one day saw our Lord Himself standing at the side of a priest in the pulpit softly whispering into his ear what he was preaching to the people. How attentively must not the saint have listened to every word which came from the lips of that priest! How carefully would you not listen to this sermon, were you to see beside me Christ suggesting to me all that I am saying! And yet, whenever a priest of the Church preaches the Gospel and expounds it according to the interpretation of the Fathers and of holy Mother Church, it is really Christ that speaks to us. Has he not declared emphatically: “He that hears you hears Me?”

Do not therefore say: “I am not interested in what the preacher says; I know it already, and perhaps just as well as he.” You forget that divine grace accompanies the word of the priest as minister of the Lord, which is not the case when he who addresses you is not a priest, or not possessed of divine mission.

Hence the frequent astonishing conversions of repentant sinners, who have assisted at a sermon which convinced or moved them, although the sermon, perhaps told them nothing new, nothing that they had not heard before.

Divine grace, which accompanied the words of the priest, accomplished the deed. Therefore I say, if we do not profit by sermons, it is because we lack that hunger and thirst for the Word of God, which a proper esteem for it is calculated to produce.

There are many, however, who though they feel the need and good of a sermon, yet always fail to hear one, and always find numberless excuses to justify their conduct. They say: I have not the time, my business prevents me. I live properly, and know what the duties of a Christian are. I answered these excuses when I spoke on the nature, worth, and divine influence of the Word of God. I will now merely say, in regard to time, that he who wills can do much, often can do whatsoever he wills. Moreover we should remember that we can expect no blessing even in this world, if, neglecting to speak to God in prayer, and to listen to His sacred Word, we desecrate the Lord s day by servile work, business transactions, or frivolous intercourse with others.

Our Lord says: “Seek ye, therefore, first the kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Those, however, who live frivolously and who care not to hear the Word of God, heed not this admonition.

The Church possesses no attraction for such people, and they only visit it to fulfill, outwardly, their duties as Christians. Even if they sometimes do hear a sermon they take it not to heart, and find in it no food for the soul. And yet the Word of God is the Manna which, as the Holy Ghost says, contains all sweetness, and which, if we properly meditate upon it, will allay the hunger of our soul.

A man who desires ardently his salvation ought naturally to hunger and thirst after a more complete knowledge of the science which will secure it for him. Listen to sermons! They will teach you this science. The word of God will enlighten you.

He who seeks in truth his salvation, desires strength to live in accordance with the recognized will of God. Listen to sermons! The Word of God will animate and strengthen you, by untold motives, to fulfill your duties and lead a holy life.

The heart of man hungers and thirsts after good advice, and guidance to escape the evils or to cure the diseases of his soul. Listen to sermons! The Word of God offers you these means; make use of them, and your soul will be benefited.

Man here upon earth, longs for consolation in sorrow and suffering; hear the Word of God! It will comfort, it will refresh you. A heart sighing after holiness, desires to receive the graces necessary to this end. Listen to the Word of God coming from on high! Meditate in union with the people of today’s Gospel, that is: with grateful love for Jesus, reflect on the Word of God, and the Lord will satisfy the hunger of your soul, bestow upon you light, comfort, and strength in His service! Amen!

“And this He said to try him; for He Himself knew what He would do.”–John 6.

“Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?” Christ asked Philip. He questioned him thus to try him. He–Jesus–knew that by a miracle He would feed those who, in order to hear His Word, had so zealously followed Him.

That which Christ did in today s Gospel is repeated by divine Providence unceasingly in the life of man. Men so often know not what they do, and so little accustom themselves to yield submissively to the decrees of Providence! Were it otherwise, how willingly would God do great and wonderful things in us!

I say: Only too often you know not what you are doing, no matter how clever you deem yourself; but God always knows what He does. Hence yield yourself to His guidance.

Mary, thou who didst stand silent beneath the cross, obtain for us that we may submit as perfectly as thou didst to the divine, though trying, decrees of Providence! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

“Father, they know not what they do!” Indeed, most men know not what they do. They neither understand nor reflect on the ways of God, nor allow themselves to be guided by His fatherly hand. They wish the Lord to follow whither they lead, and to do as they wish, because they imagine it will promote their happiness, while only too often it proves to be the cause of their misfortune and ruin.

This is the case, first, with all those who are foolish enough to seek the gratification of their wishes where it can not be found, but where, on the contrary, they meet the reverse. Man, who is created for happiness, seeks to satisfy the inclinations of his nature. He desires worldly goods, honors and pleasures, and these for the longest possible period. God, however, has not created him for these, but for Himself, for His glory; and this, for all eternity, but under the one condition that we serve Him.

The sinner seeks the gratification of his natural inclinations for riches, honors and pleasures; but where and how does he seek it? In creatures, and by the transgression of God’s laws. Oh, fatal delusion; for what are all earthly possessions? Dust! What is all earthly honor? Vapor! What is all worldly pleasure? Delusion! What is the longest age? Scarcely a moment, if compared with eternity.

Besides, how true and undeniable is the assurance of Holy Writ, that each one will be punished in that wherein he offended! The proud suffer humiliation; the avaricious, imaginary need; the passionate, wrongs; the envious, losses; the impure, great bodily torments; the intemperate, thirst; the indolent, hardships.

And, notwithstanding this, such men think that they act wisely, and consider the ways of the virtuous foolish, because these do not allow themselves every enjoyment, but turn their eyes from time to eternity, and bestow all their care upon the latter.

“Father, they know not what they do!” But Jesus knoweth what He does when He afflicts these worldly, sinful children of His Church with misfortune, when He throws obstacles in their evil path, and thus calls, admonishes and urges them to repentance.

When the Lord in this manner designs to seek men they ought to be most grateful; for then there is hope that they will return to the path of salvation. No more terrible judgment can befall the sinner than when God allows him to walk unpunished the road to destruction, and recompenses the good moral qualities, which he may still possess, with temporal goods, for then nothing awaits him in the other world save the endless punishment of sin.

But not only to sinners, but also to those who, though they fear God, and keep His commandments, still lead in the world the life of lukewarm and tepid Christians, are the words of God addressed: “They know not what they do,” nor what they desire. God, however, knows why He sends this or that calamity, if Christians do not, who, in their ignorance, endeavor to resist or avoid the dispensations of Providence.

The evil sometimes goes still further. Even among good Christians there are unfortunately many who, finding the ways of God incomprehensible, dare even to criticise them in their own mind, or in the presence of their intimate friends, and who, refusing to put themselves entirely in God’s hands, never draw, for the sanctification of their souls, the full benefit from the sacred dispensations of divine Providence.

Why are these miserable and deluded persons so obstinate, so unyielding? I answer: Because they judge the ways of God as they appear to them; they are not sufficiently penetrated with the light of holy faith, and do yield to their self-conceit.

It is not without reason that Jesus exhorts us “not to judge according to the appearance.” It may happen, and, in fact, not seldom does happen, that pious and zealous souls make plans, and are confused and embarrassed when, on the point of carrying them out, they find that these plans have been thwarted and rendered futile. God allows this; but men do not know it, and can not comprehend why He permits it. Why? Because they do not really know men as they are; but God knows them.

They do not know themselves, or how they stand in the sight of God. Not so, however, Jesus. He knows how weak they are, and that, if they began the work, they would leave it unfinished, and abandon it, which would be worse than not to have begun it at all.

They can not read the heart of men. Not so, however, Jesus. He knows what He does. He knows that those very persons who now seem favorably disposed towards them, would afterwards oppose their work, and destroy it. They do not know that a good deed done now may prevent the execution of a better work later.

Finally, they do not consider that God has no need of us to lead souls to their destination, and that frequently He only bestows upon us the merit of our good intentions. “Lord, Thou hast no need of my works,” says the Psalmist. Oh, how beneficial to every soul would it be if she made a similar confession! Then the arm of God would not be shortened; for, seeing us perfectly willing to let Him act for us, and to leave to Him the results of all our labors, whatever their importance, He would be most ready to multiply the loaves of bread that is, to increase His graces and blessings, because we would then be working only for His honor and glory, and not for our own self-love and vanity.

If we are thus disposed, if we act in this manner, then will those, who are Christians only in name, be induced to say, when they consider our life: We can not understand how people can live thus; how they can care so little for worldly goods, so little for amusement, honor, and the approbation of men; and, withal, be so lavish in providing for the needy, in seeking, at so much trouble and division, for the well-being of others. How can they despise the world, and seem to find heaven upon earth in union with Jesus, especially in the Most Holy Sacrament? They do not understand this; they do not know it. But those who live thus know why, and they can say, with David: “I believe, therefore do I speak thus.”

I believe, I trust in Jesus, therefore I live thus, and in joy and sorrow exclaim: Jesus, in life and in death, I am thine! Amen!

Source: http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/


Countdown to #Christmas – The #Annunciation Heralds the Beginning

25 March 2017

FraAngelico

Feast of the Annunciation

Sermon by Fr. Francis X. Weninger, S.J. (1805-1888)

And the angel Gabriel was sent by God into a city of Galilee called Nazareth,
and the name of the virgin was Mary.”–Luke 1.

Athwart the somber season of Lent, the deepening shadows of which grow darker still until the bright dawn of the resurrection morn dispels their gloom, there flashes the glory of a divine fact which gives to this festival of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary a rank equal to that of the greatest feast of the Church. This divine fact may well inspire our hearts with the most tender, the most exquisite, the most joyful, affections of thanksgiving, for to its existence we are indebted for the inestimable grace of Redemption.

It was upon this day, beloved in Christ, that the angel Gabriel–to whom God had given in charge the precious soul of her whom He had from all eternity chosen to be the Mother of the Word Incarnate–bore to the tender Virgin, whose purity had never been tarnished by the slighest breath of evil, the joyful tidings that she was, while preserving the pearl of virginity, to become the Mother of God.

It was upon this day, then, that the Son of God assumed our human nature for the redemption and salvation of fallen man; and yet there is, in general, but too little attention devoted to the consideration of the mystery we commemorate thereon; for, by the greater number of Christians, it is regarded and celebrated simply as a feast in honor of Mary. But, in fact, it is the very corner-stone upon which rest all the other feasts,–commemorating, as it does, an event which can not fail to fill the human heart with adoration, gratitude, and the most intense consolation.

Every thing depended upon the decree of God whether, in His infinite mercy, He would be pleased to stretch forth His arm and rescue the human race from the abyss of a wretchedness too profound almost to be conceived. But, since “the angel of the Lord declared unto Mary” the message of salvation, and the Son of God assumed on that very day her flesh, everything was changed; and from the Feast of the Annunciation came forth Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and the eternal triumph of the Church.

Let us consider today the message of the angel to Mary in its divine sublimity, as well as in the importance with which it is invested for the children of men. O Mary, who was already full of grace when the angel saluted thee, and elected thee not only to become the Mother of God, but also Mother of all the children of God, accept us today as thy children! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater honor and glory of God!

If, my beloved Christians, the words of the holy gospels–whenever we open the pages of the inspired volume, but especially when we hear them from the lips of the priest on the occasion of the celebration of the feasts of the Church–tend ever to inspire us with joy, and to elevate our hearts to God, this is especially true of the gospel which is set apart for this joyous day.

“At that time the angel Gabriel was sent to a town named Nazareth, to a Virgin called Mary.” Blessed words! for, as often as we hear them, the happy event which we commemorate today arises immediately before our eyes, clear and distinct, as if we had been present when the glory of the angel irradiated the humble little room at Nazareth. In spirit, we behold the Immaculate Virgin, united with her God in fervent prayer, oblivious of all but Him, when, lo! an angel of the Lord appeared before her. We can almost hear his voice, in the tones of which still linger the sweetness of that celestial music to which it were bliss to list.

We have every reason to learn and to ponder deeply upon the signification of this angelic message, which was a most holy, a most solemn, a most momentous, a most consoling, and joyful message, both for the Blessed Virgin and for her devoted children.

In every message the importance is increased or lessened according to the dignity of the sender. A message is brought to us by a relative, acquaintance, or inferior, and produces but little effect upon us; we may not even delay the messenger long enough to hear what he has to say.

But suppose a person of high rank has something to say to us,–a Prince, a King, an Emperor, the President, the Pope! With what consideration we treat the messenger! How very attentively we listen, that we may know precisely what he has to impart! Imagine, then, how important, and, at the same time, how holy, was the message of the angel! It came from the Most Holy Trinity–God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! It was the message of the Infinite Majesty, the most merciful sanctity of God to Mary, and, through her, to the entire human race!

It was a most solemn message. What invests a message with significance, is the form and manner in which it is transmitted. Here we behold an archangel–one of the seven princes of heaven–declaring the will of the Most High; and who can conceive what myriads of angels attended Gabriel when he presented himself before Mary, Queen of angels! Who can picture the profound respect with which he saluted her, in whom he already beheld the Mother of the Son of God made man! With what deep veneration he addressed her, the chosen one of all the daughters of Eve,–destined from all eternity to be exalted as mistress above the whole celestial choir!

It was a most momentous message, for the subject of a message is what constitutes its importance. It made known to the world, to the human race, that the possessions lost through Adam would be restored; it heralded a great victory gained over the enemy of souls; it announced that the foe, from whom death and destruction would surely come, was shorn of his terrible strength. Let us suppose that, being under sentence of death, we had been granted a reprieve, or rather that the sentence had been entirely revoked, and that we had come into the possession of a great fortune, by which our happiness is forever secured: would we not consider the message which brought us the news glad tidings of great joy?

Apply not one but all of these circumstances to the message conveyed to Mary by the angel, and we shall realize in some degree its stupendous character. Adam listened to the voice of the seducer, and his fall deprived his hapless posterity of their promised happiness,–that of being one day permitted to behold God face to face, in the possession and enjoyment of His beatitude and all the exquisite joys of heaven.

All this was lost. However, amid the gloom which, for four thousand years, hung over a world groveling in darkness and in sin, there glimmered one ray of light in the promise of a coming Redeemer; but the time set apart for the expected and desired event was yet unknown.

Then, when the fullness of time was accomplished, Gabriel appeared and announced unto Mary that she had been appointed or chosen to become the Mother of the Messiah,–of that child whose birth was heralded to the watching shepherds by strains of angelic music, as the celestial choir adored the Infant God. Humanly speaking, mankind had indeed reason to be alarmed; for, although the promise of a Redeemer had already been made in paradise to our first parents, yet the wickedness which prevailed over the whole earth was so terrible, that man might well tremble lest the Lord should declare it to be forfeited entirely. He might well apprehend that it was a conditional promise; the more so since four thousand years had already rolled down the stream of time, and the Redeemer did not appear, while man, through his own fault, sank deeper and deeper into the abyss of sin! The word of the angel to Mary relieved the faithful few from this harrowing anxiety.

“The Saviour cometh!” We are rescued from sin and hell! From this day the heart of the Redeemer will throb beneath the loving heart of the Virgin Mother, who will present His first petition for the salvation of mankind to the eternal Father.

Joyful message, which brought such happy tidings to us! To regain, through Christ, the precious gift of heavenly grace; to become again, through Him, children of God; to behold the gates of heaven open for us, and to have it in our power to enjoy the delights of that celestial paradise for an eternity which will never, never end,–Mary for our Mother, and the Lord for our portion forever!

It is true that our individual sins had opened still wider the infernal gates, and made deeper far the yawning pit of hell; but, through the merits of Christ, the hope of a blessed pardon was held out to all “men of good will.”

The terrestrial paradise was lost, it is true; but in its place the kingdom of God on earth–the Church– would henceforth become for man a garden of delights. The sorrow, the pain, the anguish of earthly trouble must still encompass us, no longer, however, as punishments for sin, but to serve as occasions of merit for the increase of our eternal joy and happiness. The concupiscence of the flesh, indeed, should still remain a constant cause of warfare; but, as a compensation, the measure of grace would be so multiplied as to enable the Christian to valiantly combat and bear away the victor’s crown, and exalt his glory in heaven.The penalty of death had been pronounced upon man; but, through that dread decree, he can attain to the possession of a glory and delight which would never have been his had not Adam sinned in paradise.

In a word, infinitely more was conferred upon man through Christ, the Son of Mary, the heavenly Adam, than he lost through Adam, our first parent. We not only became again children of God, and gained once more the right to call Him Father; but we were permitted to call His Incarnate Son our Brother. For, since the Son of God assumed our flesh and blood from Mary, He is, therefore, true Man, even as from all eternity, in His own divine Person, He was and is God. Oh, what an important, what a welcome and consoling message!

All that can bring to the human heart the sweetest joy and solace is comprised in this message of the angel to Mary, as we will see if we take to heart all that has been said,–not merely hearing and believing it with a dead or dying faith, but also considering, and applying it to ourselves. In this, unfortunately, we are often wanting. Too many Christians are prone to celebrate the mysteries commemorated by the festivals of the Church only in their general relation, and not by reflecting what influence those articles of faith and divine truths should individually effect for us.

Yes, beloved in Christ, be ye who ye may, the message of salvation directed by Gabriel to Mary bears an individual relation to every one of you, even as if there had been but the one soul on earth for whose salvation the Saviour came. You were sunk deep in the abyss of woe, not only through the disobedience of Adam, but through innumerable personal sins, which threatened you with destruction for time and eternity. But the Saviour was conceived in the chaste womb of the Virgin Mary, and the lovely dawn of a blessed hope brightened the darkened world. This hope has a more secure foundation for you, since, without any merit of your own, you have been called to be members of the true Church.

Try, therefore, before you leave this holy place, to excite in your hearts all those affections which animated the heart of Mary on receiving the message of the angel. First, adore and thank God for having created you to His own image and likeness, and for having spared you when you were yet in a state of sin; but, above all, for having sent His only-begotten Son to redeem and save you. Renew your resolution to live as true children of God, as if Christ had been received into your hearts also as the pledge of a better life.

Thus you will become strong; and, although you may not have the happiness enjoyed by the Immaculate Virgin and Mother–of walking by the side of the Incarnate Son of God–you may, while living as her faithful children, enter one day into the communication of her glory and beatitude as children of God, also rescued through the incarnation of His eternal Son.–Amen!

Source: Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals


The Silent Saint – A Tribute to Saint Joseph

19 March 2017

Editor’s Note: Originally published on March 19, 2010, the first day of publication of AlwaysCatholic.com. We are reprinting it for the  7th Anniversary of ACBlog. This is one of the most read pieces on the site and after you read it, you will know why.

Happy Saint Joseph’s Day from AlwaysCatholic

………………………………………………………………………..

The Silent Saint
by @AncientSoul

On March 19th, the anniversary of the debut of this blog, we remember St. Joseph. I think St. Joseph is one of the most forgotten of all Saints, yet … which of the other Saints were ever closer to our dear Lord? I have to stop and stand in awe of this faithful servant of God. Is he quoted in the Bible frequently? No. Does he have the fanfare and notoriety that many other Saints have? Not so much.

Let’s stop a moment and really consider his role in redemption. One can hardly focus on St. Joseph without first looking at our Blessed Mother. Here we find a young girl not barely ‘sweet sixteen’ who is told something quite unbelievable to the average person, namely that she would conceive the Son of God in a miraculous way and remain a virgin. We all know this, but I think often many take it for granted that the times in which she lived were precarious at best. An unmarried woman that found herself pregnant would soon feel the biting sting of stones tearing and bruising her flesh and breaking her bones. Still, she trusted and accepted according to the Perfect Will of God without hesitation!

Then we have to look towards Joseph. An older man .. a widower who was to marry this young girl, yet what to do when he learns that she is with child? He knew full well what would be her fate if he publicly declared this. His kind and protective nature decided to just divorce her quietly and not cause her undue pain and scandal. We all know that God sent the angel to him in a dream to explain the situation and Joseph, trusting God as Mary did, believed and took her for his wife.

I would imagine they were both a little nervous about it all … wondering how this could be .. what would happen next … how would it all turn out?? I can only imagine the prayerful lives of faith that they led allowing them to trust to that extent and rely on God for the very next step all along the way. We all know the stories from our childhood, but have we ever stopped to really think what it all must have been like? Fleeing into Egypt .. fleeing from Herod … losing Jesus as a young Boy and finding Him in the Temple amidst the elders, questioning and being questioned. St. Joseph taught the God-Man his carpentry trade. He and Mary played with Him, watched Him grow, comforted Him when He fell and taught Him how to pray!

So little is written of St. Joseph in Scripture .. neither Joseph or Mary together, have very many words recorded. But are there any more significant people in Scripture than the Mother and Foster-Father of the Christ Child? They don’t say much, but they sure lead by example! St. Joseph was a faithful servant while on earth, chosen by the Holy Trinity to be a wonderful Foster-Father to Jesus and a faithful and protective virginal husband to Mary.
As the head of the Holy Family, he is also the Patron of the Catholic Church. He is also the Patron Saint of families and workers as well. We need to call on him for his protection, guidance and support in all things.

One of St. Joseph’s most famous titles is Patron of a Happy Death. Why? How could death not be happy if one was to die in the arms of Jesus and Mary? We must never forget his suffering either. He truly is our Friend in Sufferings with all the fear, anxiety and panic he must have gone through in his diligent care of his beloved Family! Let us always turn to our foster father St. Joseph, asking him to present our petitions to our dear Lord and our Blessed Mother with the same tenderness and concern in which he protected them while on earth. Let our prayer be always to strive to embrace the perfect Will of God in all things with a joyful and trusting heart as St. Joseph shows us by his shining example.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph .. please pray for us!

Please click HERE for more Saint Joseph from Mary at BattleBeadsBlog!


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