CATHOLIC
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION

   

 

"Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven."  
--Saint Pope Pius X

 ST. JAMES THE GREAT, APOSTLE

JULY XXV.

 

[The following is from BUTLER'S LIVES OF THE SAINTS]

ST. JAMES, the brother of St. John Evangelist, son of Zebedee and Salome, and nearly related to Christ, was called the Great, to distinguish him from the other apostle of the same name, who was Bishop of Jerusalem, and is surnamed the Less, perhaps because he was lower in stature, or, more probably, because he was the younger. St. James the Great seems to have been born about twelve years before  Christ, and was many years older than his brother, St. John. Salome is other-wise called Mary, and was sister to the Blessed Virgin, which some take in the strict sense of the word ; others understand by it only cousin-german, according to the Hebrew phrase, and think that the Blessed Virgin was an only daughter.

    (1) Exod. xxxii..10.

    St. James was by birth a Galilean, and by profession a fisherman with his father and brother, living probably at Bethsaida, where St. Peter also dwelt at that time. Jesus, walking by the lake of Genesareth, saw St. Peter and St. Andrew fishing, and he called them to come after him, promising to make them fishers of men. Going on a little farther on the shore, he saw two other brothers, James and John, in a ship, with Zebedee, their father, mending their nets, and he also called them who forthwith left their nets, and their father, and followed him.¹ Probably by conversing with St. Peter, their towns-man; and by other means, they had before this call an entire conviction that Jesus was the Christ; and no sooner did they hear his invitation, and saw the marks of his divine will directing them to what was eminently conducive to his honour, but the same moment they quitted all things to comply with this summons. They held no consultation, made no demur, started no difficulties, thought of no consequences or dangers; and their sacrifice was most perfect and entire. Like Abraham, they preferred obedience to the divine command before all the endearments of their nearest relations, and forsook all they had, and all their hopes and prospects in the world, to become the disciples of Jesus. Zebedee, their father, seems to have approved of their resolution, and their mother, Salome, devoted herself heartily to the service of our Lord, as the gospels frequently men-lion. All fervent souls ought to be in the like dispositions of perfect sacrifice with these apostles, without the least inordinate  attachment to any thing on earth, being most ready to renounce every thing, if God's greater glory should require it.

    (1) Matt. iv. 22.

With what boundless liberality does the Divine Spirit shower down his choicest treasures upon souls which thus perfectly open themselves to him I This the apostles, of whom we speak, happily experienced in themselves. But they, for some time, so followed Christ, and listened to his divine instructions, as still to return, from time to time, to their fishing trade for a maintenance. It was in the same first year of Christ's preaching that Peter and Andrew, at the command of their divine Master, took a prodigious shoal of fishes by a miraculous draught. James and John were their partners, though in another boat, and were called in to assist in hauling up the nets. Astonished at this manifestation of Christ's power, they entirely quitted their business, the more perfectly to attach themselves to him.¹ 

    In the year 31, St. James was present with his brothers, St. John and St. Peter, at the cure of St. Peter's mother-in-law, and at the raising of the daughter of Jairus from the dead. This same year Jesus formed the college of his apostles, into which he adopted St. James and his brother St. John. He gave these two the surname of Boanerges, or Sons of Thunder, probably to denote their active zeal. When a town of the Samaritans refused to entertain Christ, they suggested that he should call down fire from heaven to consume it; but our Blessed Redeemer gave them to understand that meekness and patience were the arms by which they were to conquer.² Christ distinguished St. Peter, St. James, and St. John by many special favours above the rest of the apostles. They alone were admitted to be spectators first of his transfiguration, and afterwards of his agony and bloody sweat in the garden. The instructions and example of the Son of God had not fully enlightened the understandings of these  apostles, nor purified their hearts, before the Holy Ghost had shed his beams upon them; and their virtue was still imperfect, as appeared in the following instance :—Mary Salome, the mother of James and John, relying upon their merit, and her relation to Christ, and imagining that he was going to erect a temporal monarchy, according to the notion of the carnal Jews concerning the Messias, presented to him a request that her two sons might sit, the one on his right hand, and the other on his left, in his kingdom.

    (1) Luke v. 11. (2) Luke ix. 25.

By this example, we are put in mind how often the fondness of parents renders them the spiritual murderers of their own children, and makes them blindly excuse, flatter, and encourage their secret vices and passions. At the same time we are taught how formidable an enemy ambition is, which could find admittance in the breasts of two apostles (though yet novices) before the descent of the Holy Ghost. They doubtless disguised their vice under the cloak of a reasonable desire, and a virtuous emulation of preferment, with a design of serving their Master by it. Only the children of light discover the deceit and snare of this enemy; only profound humility discerns and condemns the specious pretences of subtle pride and covetousness. The two sons of Zebedee seem to have spoken by the mouth of their mother; wherefore Christ directed his answer to them, telling them they knew not what they asked; for in his kingdom preferments are attainable, not by the most forward and ambitious, but by the most humble, the most laborious, and the most patient. He therefore asked them if they were able to drink of his cup of suffering. The two apostles, understanding the condition under which Christ offered them his kingdom, and glowing with ardour and courage to suffer, answered peremptorily, they were able to do it. Our Lord told them, they should indeed have their portions of suffering; but for the honours of his kingdom, he could make no other  if disposal of them than according to his decrees in conjunction with his Father in proportion to every one's charity and patience in suffering.

    The virtue of the most fervent novices in the service of God is very imperfect, so long as entire self-denial, and a great assiduity and spirit of prayer have not yet prepared their souls for, and called down upon them a plentiful effusion of the Holy Ghost, who fills their understanding with a clear and new heavenly light, and by the ardour of his charity consumes the rust of the affections, and fills them with his fervour. In this state even the moral virtues acquire an heroic and infused degree of perfection. Humility now gives the soul a much more clear and feeling knowledge of her own infirmities, baseness, and imperfections, with much stronger sentiments of a just contempt of herself; and the like is to be said of divine and fraternal charity and all other virtues; so that she seems to herself translated into a region of new light, in which by continual heroic acts of these virtues, and especially of prayer and contemplation, she makes daily and wonderful advances. This perfection the apostles received in a more miraculous manner by the descent of the Holy Ghost upon them, when he not only engraved the law of love deeply in their hearts, but also bestowed on them the external graces and gifts of prophecy and miracles, and qualified them for the execution of the great commission they had received from Christ.

    How St. James was employed in preaching and promoting the gospel after Christ's ascension, we have no account from the writers of the first ages of Christianity. It appears that he left Judaea, some time after the persecution that was raised at the martyrdom of St. Stephen in the year 30, and was returned again ten years after, when he suffered martyrdom. The addition to St. Jerom's catalogue of illustrious men tells us, that he preached the gospel to the twelve tribes of the Jews, in their dispersion up and down the world. Though the apostles, during the first twelve years, preached generally in the neighbourhood of Judaea, yet St. James might in that interval make a voyage to Spain, and preach some time in that country, as Baronius observes. F. Cuper adds that his martyrdom happened above a year after the dispersion of the apostles, in which space he had the fairest opportunity of visiting Spain. That he preached there, is constantly affirmed by the tradition of that church, mentioned by St. Isidore, the Breviary of Toledo, the Arabic books of Anastasius, Patriarch of Antioch, concerning the Passions of the martyrs and others. Cuper the Bollandist,¹ traces this tradition very high, and confirms it from St. Jerom,² St. Isidore, the ancient Spanish office, &c., and from many corroborating circumstances. St. Epiphanius says, that St. James always lived a bachelor, in much temperance and mortification, never eating flesh nor fish ; that he wore only one coat, and a linen cloak, and that he was holy and exemplary in all manner of conversation. He was the first among the apostles who had the honour to follow his divine Master by martyrdom, which he suffered at Jerusalem, whither he was returned, in the eleventh year after our Lord's ascension.

    Agrippa, the grandson of Herod, by Aristobulus, was author of this persecution. Being brought up at Rome in the reign of Tiberius, he, basely flattering Caligula in his passions, gained the confidence of that monster, who was no sooner placed on the imperial throne than he gave Agrippa the title of king, with the tetrarchies of Philip and Lysanias, which were then vacant. Claudius, in the year 41, enlarged his  dominions, giving him also Jerusalem and all the rest of Judaea, Samaria, and what-ever other provinces had: been possessed by his grandfather Herod.

    (1) Julij, t. vi. p. 69. See on the same the learned F. Flores, in his Espana Sagrada, t. iii. c. 3, de la Predication de San Jago in Espana, p. 39, and his answers to F. Mamachi, the Roman Dominican, prefixed to his sixth tome; the mission of St. James in Spain is defended at large by the learned Jesuit F. Farlat, Illyrici Sacri Prolegom, part 3, t. i. p. 252. See also Card. d'Aguirre, i. Conc. lisp. p. 140, upon the words of St. Jerom in .1sa.iae c. 34, p. 279, t. iii

    (2) Dies. de Divisione Apost. ante t. iv. Julij, et in vita St. Jacobi, t. vi. p. 71.

He gave also to his younger brother Herod the little kingdom of-Chalcis in Syria, near Mount Libanus. Agrippa reigned with great state and magnificence. Being very fond of pleasing the Jewish nation, when he came from Caesarea to Jerusalem to keep the Passover in the year 43, he began to persecute the Christians; and the first who fell a victim to his popular zeal was St. James the Great, whom he caused to be apprehended and beheaded there a little before Easter, in the year 43, about four-teen years after the death of Christ. Clement of Alexandria, and from him Eusebius,¹ relate that his accuser, observing the great courage and constancy of mind wherewith the apostle underwent his trial, was so affected with it, that he repented of what he had done, declared himself publicly a Christian, and was condemned to be beheaded with St. James. As they were both led together to execution, he begged pardon of the apostle by the way for having apprehended him. St. James, after pausing a little, turned to him, and embraced him, saying, "Peace be with you." He then kissed him, and they were both beheaded together. The body of the apostle was interred at Jerusalem; but not long after carried by his disciples into Spain, and deposited at Iria Flavia, now called. El Padron, upon the borders of Gallicia. The sacred relics were discovered there in the beginning of the ninth century in the reign of Alphonsus the Chaste, King of Leon. By the order of that prince they were translated to Compostella, four miles distant, to which place Pope Leo III., transferred the episcopal see from Iria Flavia. This place was first called Ad. St. Jacobum Apostolum, or Giacoma Postolo, which words have been contracted into the present name, Compostella. It is famous for the extraordinary concourse of pilgrims that resort thither to visit the body of St. James, which is kept with great respect in the stately cathedral.

    (1) Eta. Hid. lib. ii. c. 9.

F. Caper the Bollandist proves the truth of the tradition of the Spanish church concerning the body of St. James having been translated to Coin postella, and gives authentic histories of many miracles wrought through his intercession, and of several apparitions by which he visibly protected the armies of the Christians against the Moors in that kingdom. The military order of St. James, surnamed the Noble, was instituted by Ferdinand II. in 1175.

    The church, by the martyrdom of St. James, lost in her infancy one of her main pillars; but God was pleased that his name should be glorified by so illustrious a testimony, and that it should appear he was the immediate supporter and defender of his church. For when it was deprived of its chief members and pastors, it remained no less firm than before; and even grew and gathered strength from the most violent persecutions. The apostle with confidence committed his tender flock to God, and commended to them his own work, whilst he rejoiced to go to his Redeemer, and to give his life for him. We all meet with trials; but can we fear or hesitate to drink a cup presented to us by the hand of God, and which our Lord and Captain, by free choice, and out of pure love, was pleased himself to drink first for our sake ? He asks us whether we can drink of his cup, he encourages us by setting before our eyes the glory of heaven, and he invites us by his own divine example. Let us humbly implore his grace, without which we can do nothing, and take with joy this cup of salvation, which he presents us with his divine hand.

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INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  SAINT JAMES, PLEASE PRAY FOR THIS REQUEST [STATE YOUR PRAYER REQUEST.]

 

 

 MASS READINGS FOR TODAY

Saint James, apostle - Feast

Second Letter to the Corinthians 4:7-15.
Brothers and sisters: We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed, therefore I spoke," we too believe and therefore speak,
knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.



Psalms 126(125):1-2ab.2cd-3.4-5.6.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.

Then they said among the nations,
"the LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.

Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
they shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.




Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 20:20-28.
The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, "What do you wish?" She answered him, "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom."
Jesus said in reply, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?" They said to him, "We can."
He replied, "My cup you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left (, this) is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."




Commentary of the day : Saint Basil
" Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?"

 

 
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION FOR TODAY

ST. FRANCIS OF SALES.

BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

FEAST DAY:  JANUARY 24TH

FRANCIS was born of noble and pious parents, near Annecy, A.D. 1567, and studied with brilliant success at Paris and Padua. On his return from Italy he gave up the grand Career which his father had marked out for him in the service of the State, and became a priest. He studied at Annecy, Paris, France and Padua, Italy.  He received a doctorate in law at the age of twenty-four. He was ordained a priest in 1593. When the Duke of Savoy had resolved to restore the Church in the Chablais, Francis offered himself for the work, and set out on foot with his Bible and breviary and one companion, his cousin Louis of Sales. It was a work of toil, privation, and danger. Every door and every heart were closed against him. He was rejected with insult and threatened with death. But nothing could daunt or resist him, and ere long the Church burst forth into a second spring. It is stated that he converted 72,000 Calvinists. He was then compelled by the Pope to become Coadjutor Bishop of Geneva, and succeeded the see A.D. 1602. At times the exceeding gentleness with which he received heretics and sinners almost scandalized his ends, and one of them said to him, " Francis of Sales will go to Paradise, of course; but I am not so sure of the Bishop of Geneva: I am almost afraid his gentleness will play him a shrewd turn."  "Ah," said the saint, " I would rather account to God for too great gentleness than for too great severity. Is not God all love? God the Father is the Father of mercy; God the Son is a Lamb; God the Holy Ghost is a Dove, that is, gentleness itself. And are you wiser than God ?" In union with St: Jane Frances of Chantal he founded at Annecy the Order of the Visitation, which soon spread over Europe. Though poor, he refused provisions and dignities, and even the great see of Paris.  He died at Avignon, A.D. 1622.
_______________

Introduction to the Devout Life

PART III.

CONTAINING COUNSELS CONCERNING THE PRACTICE OF VIRTUE.

CHAPTER XXVI.
Of Conversation; and, first, how to Speak of God.


PHYSICIANS judge to a great extent as to the health or disease of a man by the state 
of his tongue, and our words are a true test of the state of our soul. "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned," 1 the Saviour says. We are apt to apply the hand quickly to the place where we feel pain, and so too the tongue is quick to point out what we love. If you love God heartily, my child, you will often speak of Him among your relations, household and familiar friends, and that because "the mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment." 2 Even as the bee touches nought save honey with his tongue, so should your lips be ever
sweetened with your God, knowing nothing more pleasant than to praise and bless His Holy Name,--as we are told that when S. Francis uttered the Name of the Lord, he seemed to feel the sweetness lingering on his lips, and could not let it go. But always remember, when you speak of God, that He is God; and speak reverently and with devotion,--not affectedly or as if you were preaching, but with a spirit of meekness, love, and humility; dropping honey from your lips (like the Bride in the Canticles 3 ) in devout and pious words, as you speak to one or another around, in your secret heart the while asking God to let this soft heavenly dew sink into their minds as they hearken. And remember very specially always to fulfil this angelic task meekly and lovingly, not as though you were reproving others, but rather winning them. It is wonderful how attractive a gentle, pleasant manner is, and how much it wins hearts. Take care, then, never to speak of God, or those things which concern Him, in a merely formal, conventional manner; but with earnestness and devotion, avoiding the affected way in which some professedly religious people are perpetually interlarding their conversation with pious words and sayings, after a most unseasonable and unthinking manner. Too often they imagine that they really are themselves as pious as their words, which probably is not the case.

1 S. Matt. xii. 37. 2 Ps. xxxvii. 30. 3 Cant. iv. 11.


CHAPTER XXVII.
Of Unseemly Words, and the Respect due to Others.


SAINT JAMES says, "If any man offend not in word, the same is, a perfect man." 1 Beware most watchfully against ever uttering any unseemly expression; even though you may have no evil intention, those who hear it may receive it with a different meaning. An impure word falling upon a weak mind spreads its infection like a drop of oil on a garment, and sometimes it will take such a hold of the heart, as to fill it with an infinitude of lascivious thoughts and temptations. The body is poisoned through the mouth, even so is the heart through the ear; and the tongue which does the deed is a murderer, even when the venom it has infused is counteracted by some antidote preoccupying the listener's heart. It was not the speaker's fault that he did not slay that soul. Nor let any one answer that he meant no harm. Our Lord, Who knoweth the hearts
of men, has said, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." 2 And even if we do mean no harm, the Evil One means a great deal, and he will use those idle words as a sharp weapon against some neighbour's heart. It is said that those who eat the plant called Angelica always have a sweet, pleasant breath; and those who cherish the angelic virtues of purity and modesty, will always speak simply, courteously, and modestly. As to unclean and light-minded talk, S. Paul says such things should not even be named 3 among us, for, as he elsewhere tells us, "Evil communications corrupt good manners." 4 Those impure words which are spoken in disguise, and with an affectation of reserve, are the most harmful of all; for just as the sharper the point of a dart, so much deeper it will pierce the flesh, so the sharper an unholy word, the more it penetrates the heart. And as for those who think to show themselves knowing when they say such things, they do not even understand the first object of mutual intercourse among men, who ought rather to be like a hive of bees gathering to make honey by good and useful conversation, than like a wasps' nest, feeding on corruption. If any impertinent person addresses you in unseemly language, show that you are displeased by turning away, or by whatever other method your discretion may indicate. One of the most evil dispositions possible is that which satirises and turns everything to ridicule. God abhors this vice, and has sometimes punished it in a marked manner. Nothing is so opposed to charity, much more to a devout spirit, as contempt and depreciation of one's neighbour, and where satire and ridicule exist contempt must be. Therefore contempt is a grievous sin, and our spiritual doctors have well said that ridicule is the greatest sin we can commit in word against our neighbour, inasmuch as when we offend him in any other way, there may still be some respect for him in our heart, but we are sure to despise those whom we ridicule. There is a light-hearted talk, full of modest life and gaiety, which the Greeks called Eutrapelia, and which we should call good conversation, by which we may find an innocent and kindly amusement out of the trifling occurrences which human imperfections afford. Only beware of letting this seemly mirth go too far, till it becomes ridicule. Ridicule excites mirth at the expense of one's neighbour; seemly mirth and playful fun never lose sight of a trustful, kindly courtesy, which can wound no one. When the religious around him would fain have discussed serious matters with S. Louis at meal-times, he used to say, "This is not the time for grave discussion, but for general conversation and cheerful recreation,"--out of consideration for his courtiers. But, my daughter, let our recreation always be so spent, that we may win all eternity through devotion.

____________________

1 S. James iii. 2. ;   2 S. Matt. xii. 34.;   3 Eph. v. 3.;   4 1 Cor. xv. 33.

 

 

 

THE BOOK:  INTRODUCTION TO THE DEVOUT LIFE BY SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES/p>


 

Pennsylvania Church leaders give high praise to U.S. Supreme Court’s contraceptive ruling

SOURCE:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1500898/Church-officials-give-high-praise-to-high-court


June 30. 2014 11:38PM



“In its decision in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Products cases, the Court properly concluded that religious conscience of closely held businesses is to be protected from government coercion,” the statement read. “Further, the Court determined that the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate is improper as it forces a closely held company to pay for coverage of products and services that violate the owners’ firmly held religious beliefs. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under authority provided in the Affordable Care Act, mandated coverage of sterilization, contraception and abortion-causing drugs in most employer health insurance plans.”


Diocese of Scranton spokesman Bill Genello said the PCC statement represents the position of the Catholic bishops across the commonwealth.


The PCC statement continued, “Religious ministries of service – such as charities, schools, health care facilities and institutions of higher education – are given, at best, second-class status under the law in the form of a still-murky ‘accommodation.’ Many religious entities, including Catholic dioceses, are challenging this mandate in federal courts across the country.


“The Catholic Bishops of Pennsylvania express the hope that, in light of this ruling, the Obama Administration will do the right thing and withdraw the mandate as it has been applied to religious ministries.”


Church officials said that step would end the religious ministries’ litigation.


Meanwhile, at least one local insurer is waiting for guidance from the government on what the ruling means to the insurance industry.


“Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is awaiting further guidance from the federal government on how today’s Supreme Court decision may affect our employer group customers,” said company spokesman Anthony Matrisciano.

___________________ 

 

Little Sisters’ win supreme court caseA group of Little Sisters of the Poor

By Ann Marie Foley - 28 January, 2014

SOURCE:  http://www.catholicireland.net/sisters-win-supreme-court-case/

Nuns had objected to birth control mandate on religious grounds.

An injunction from the US Supreme Court has given the Little Sisters of the Poor temporary protection from a law that demands they make provision for contraceptives. The Catholic nuns had objected to the Obama Care’s birth-control mandate on religious grounds.

Mark Rienzi

Mark Rienzi

Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Sisters and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty which is helping represent them in court, said he was ‘delighted’ about the Supreme Court injunction granted on Friday 24th January.

“The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people,” he said. “It doesn’t need to force nuns to participate.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) welcomed the move by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The bishops of the United States welcome the Court’s protection of ministries like the Little Sisters whose vital work is at the heart of what it means to be Catholic,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of USCCB .

The injunction from the Court states that if the parties before it write to the Secretary of Health and Human Services that they are non-profit organizations, that they are religious in nature, and that they object to providing the coverage required by the *HHS mandate, those employers will be protected until a decision is made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which is currently reviewing the case.

The Wall Street Journal on Monday 27th January portrayed the case as a war on religiously devout women, and stated that whole affair speaks volumes about the Administration’s ideological intolerance.

A group of Little Sisters of the Poor

The case came about when Little Sisters of the Poor who have provided physical and spiritual care for the poor elderly and dying in communities throughout the U.S. for 175 years, filed a lawsuit challenging the federal contraception mandate. This requires employers to offer health insurance plans covering contraception, sterilization and some drugs that may cause early abortions. Because of religious freedom concerns, the Obama administration revised the initial mandate, allowing religious employers such as the Little Sisters to sign a form that would trigger a separate health benefit provider to offer the coverage.

The Little Sisters have objected that they cannot in good conscience sign the form because it authorizes an outside party to provide the very products and procedures they believe to be gravely immoral.

The injunction will protect the Little Sisters from the mandate – or the fines they could incur from failing to comply with it – until a final judgment on the case is given by a court.

The injunction also protects more than 400 other Catholic organizations working with the sisters’ religious health benefit providers, Christian Brothers Services, which is also a plaintiff in the case.

Injunctions have been awarded in 18 of 19 similar cases, the Becket Fund said.

“Virtually every other party who asked for protection from the mandate has been given it,” Rienzi said. “It made no sense for the Little Sisters to be singled out for fines and punishment before they could even finish their suit.”

The Supreme Court’s order said that the order should not be construed as “an expression of the court’s views on the merits.” The case will be heard and receive a final ruling in the federal court system.

*HHS – Department of Health and Human Services

 

 The Chaplet of St. Michael

One day, Saint Michael the Archangel appeared to Antonia d'Astonac, a most devout Servant of God and told her that he wished to be honoured by nine salutations corresponding to the nine Choirs of Angels, which should consist of one Our Father and three Hail Marys in honour of each of the Angelic Choirs.

Promises of St. Michael

"Whoever would practice this devotion in his honour would have, when approaching the Holy Table, an escort of nine angels chosen from each of the nine Choirs. In addition, for the daily recital of these nine salutations, he promised his continual assistance and that all the holy angels during life, and after death deliverance from Purgatory for themselves and all their relations."

 

 

 

The Chaplet of St. Michael

O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, etc.

[Say one Our Father and three Hail Marys after each of the following nine salutations in honor of the nine Choirs of Angels]

  [STATE YOUR PRAYER REQUEST]

 

1. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity.
Amen.

2. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection.
Amen.

3. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility.
Amen.

4. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominations may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions.
Amen.

5. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. Amen.

6. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the devil.
Amen.

7. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. Amen.

8. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven.
Amen.

9. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven.
Amen.

Say one Our Father in honor of each of the following leading Angels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and our Guardian Angel.

 

Concluding prayers:

O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.

Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Your Church, make us worthy, we ask You, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into Your Presence.This we ask through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord.    Amen.

 

 

Graces Derived from Going to Mass
(Note:  Assisting at Mass simply means attending Mass.  By attending a Mass Catholics are actually assisting in Mass.)

THE FOLLOWING IS FROM THE PIETA PRAYER BOOKLET, Published in U.S.A. by  MLOR Corporation, 1186 Burlington Drive, Hickory Corners, MI  49060-9330:

1. The Mass is Calvary continued.

2. Every Mass is worth as much as the sacrifice of our Lord's life, sufferings and death.

3. Holy Mass is the most powerful atonement for your sins.

4. At the hour of death the Masses you have heard will be your greatest consolation.

5. Every Mass will go with you to judgment and plead for pardon.

6. At Mass you can diminish more or less temporal punishment due to your sins, according to your fervor.

7. Assisting devoutly at Holy Mass you render to the sacred humanity of Our Lord the greatest homage.

8. He supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.

9. He forgives the venial sins which you have not confessed.  The power of Satan over you is diminished.

10. You afford the souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.

11. One Mass heard during life will be of more benefit to you than many heard for you after your death.

12. You are preserved from dangers and misfortunes which otherwise might have befallen you.  You shorten your Purgatory.

13. Every Mass wins for you a higher degree of glory in Heaven.

14. You receive the priest's blessing which Our Lord ratifies in Heaven.

15. You kneel amidst a multitude of holy angels, who are present at the adorable Sacrifice with reverential awe.

16. You are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.

In eternity, we shall fully realize that it was certainly worthwhile to have assisted at Holy Mass daily.  PRAY FOR PRIESTS THAT THEY MAY OFFER THE MASS WITH HOLY LOVE AND REVERENCE.

**********

"WHY Should I Go To Mass Every Day?"

"The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer!"

For each Mass we hear with devotion, Our Lord sends a saint to comfort us at death.  (revelation of Christ to St. Gertrude the great).

Padre Pio, the stigmatic priest, said, the world could exist more easily without the sun than without the Mass.

The Cure'd' Ars, St. Jean Vianney said, if we knew the value of the Mass we would die of joy.

A great doctor of the Church, St. Anselm, declares that a single Mass offered for oneself during life may be worth more than a thousand celebrated for the same intention after death.  St. Leonard of Port Maurice supports this statement by saying that one Mass before death may be more profitable than  many after it.

"The Holy Mass would be of greater profit if people had it offered in their lifetime, rather than having it celebrated for the relief of their souls after death."  (Pope Benedict XV).

Once, St. Teresa was overwhelmed with God's Goodness and asked Our Lord, "How can I thank you?"  Our Lord replied, "ATTEND ONE MASS".

**************

 

CHAPLET OF DIVINE MERCY

TO BE SAID ON ROSARY BEADS

 

Our Lord said to Saint Faustina:

Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given you ... Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death ... When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between my Father and the dying person, not as the Just Judge but as the Merciful Savior ... Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from my infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy ... Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will.

 

 

 

How to Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet
Begin with the Sign of the Cross: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Say One (1) Our Father
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Say One (1) Hail Mary
Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.  Amen.

Say The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
 I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.  Amen.

Say, "Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world."

Say the Following 10 Times:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

(Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).

Conclude with (three times):
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

 

 

SIGN NATIONAL PROLIFE ALLIANCE PETITION FOR LIFE AT CONCEPTION ACT

 

8-Week-Old Baby
 Before & After Abortion

 

Before:  living child in the womb.

 

After:  torn & stretched body

     
     Now don't try to deny the horror of abortion, or the authenticity of these photos!  These photos are documented, medical facts.

     The photo of the living baby in the womb clearly shows the umbilical cord, placenta and 10 perfectly formed toes.  Any medical textbook or encyclopedia will confirm the standard, biological facts for you if you have any doubts about the reality of an 8-week-old human.

     The torn and stretched body of the 8-week-old baby was found in a suction machine mesh bag, in a garbage dumpster, behind an abortuary in Washington, D.C., in August, 1986.

     Medical technology and advances now let us treat and help the baby in the womb and let us actually see it in all its beauty.  But medical technology also makes the killing of children a very lucrative, money-making production for the abortionist.

 

SIGN NATIONAL PROLIFE ALLIANCE PETITION FOR LIFE AT CONCEPTION ACT

PRAY FOR THE END OF ABORTION

 

"The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers."  1 Peter 3:12

LITANY OF
OUR LADY OF VICTORY

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.  Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.

God, the Son, Redeemer of the World,
Have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.

Our Lady of Victory,
Pray for us.

Triumphant Daughter of the Fat for us.

Triumphant in Thy Humble Dwelling at Nazareth,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in Finding Thy Divine Child in the Temple,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Earthly Life of Our Lord,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in His Passion and Death,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Resurrection,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Ascension,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Descent of the Holy Ghost,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in Thy Sorrows,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in Thy Joys,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in Thy Entrance into the Heavenly Jerusalem,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Angels Who Remained Faithful,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Felicity of the Blessed,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Graces of the Just,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Announcement of the Prophets,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Desires of the Patriarchs,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Zeal of the Apostles,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Light of the Evangelists,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Wisdom of the Doctors,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Crowns of the Confessors,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Purity of the Numerous Bands of Virgins,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in the Triumph of the Martyrs,
Pray for us.

Triumphant in Thy All-Powerful Intercession,
Pray for us.

Triumphant under Thy Many Titles,
Pray for us.

Triumphant at the Hour of Our Death,
Pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sins of the world, 
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sins of the world, 
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sins of the world, 
Have mercy on us,  Lord.

V. Pray for us, O Blessed Lady of Victory! 
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let Us Pray

O Victorious Lady!
Thou who has ever such powerful influence
with Thy Divine Son,
in conquering the hardest of hearts,
intercede for those for whom we pray,
that their hearts being softened
by the rays of Divine Grace,
they may return to the unity of the true Faith,
through Christ, our Lord.

Amen

 

PRAYERS FOR THE DAY

MORNING PRAYER
AFTERNOON PRAYER
EVENING PRAYER

 

 

 SAINT JOHN XXIII

 

 POPE JOHN XXIII SUMMARY ON WIKIPEDIA

 

    PRAYER OF INTERCESSION TO 
SAINT JOHN XXIII.

Saint John XXIII, you spent your life deeply immersed in the truths of the Catholic Faith.  You led us by your great example of sacrifice and love as you successively led millions to love Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Church. 

We now ask for your intercession for those who are troubled and in need:

  Saint John XXIII, please pray for the Holy Catholic Church and for the following prayer request: [state your prayer request.]

  

 

 

SAINT JOHN PAUL II

 

SEE:  EWTN  Biography on Pope John Paul II

PRAYER FOR THE INTERCESSION
OF SAINT JOHN PAUL II

O Blessed Trinity, we thank you
for having graced the Church with
Saint John Paul II and for allowing
the tenderness of your fatherly care,
the glory of the Cross of Christ
and the splendor of the Spirit of love
to shine through him.

Trusting fully in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of
Jesus the Good Shepherd.
He has shown us that holiness
is the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way of
achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession,

[MENTION PRAYER REQUEST]

and according to your will,
the graces we implore,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

MARIAN PRAYERS

 Saint Louis De Montfort stresses that people should give there hearts and wills to Jesus through Mary and that by doing this a soul will be able to soar toward God.  See Saint Louis's book True Devotion To Mary. Saint Louis warns of the devil's great ability to deceive souls, including souls of saints:

"Because the devils, who are skillful thieves, wish to surprise us unawares, and to strip us.  They watch day and night for the favorable moment.  For that end they go round about us incessantly to devour us and to snatch from us in one moment, all the graces and merits we have gained for many years.   Their malice, their experience, their stratagems and their number ought to make us fear this misfortune immensely, especially when we see how many persons fuller of grace than we are, richer in virtues, better founded in experience and far higher exalted in sanctity, have been surprised, robbed and unhappily pillaged.  Ah!  How many cedars of Lebanon, how many stars of the firmament, have we not seen fall miserably, and in the twinkling of an eye lose all their height and their brightness!  Whence comes that sad and curious change?  It was not for want of grace, which is wanting to no man; but it was for want of humility.  They thought themselves capable of guarding their own treasures.  They trusted in themselves, relied upon themselves.  They thought their house secure enough, and their coffers strong enough, to keep the precious treasure of grace.  It is because of that scarcely perceptible reliance upon themselves, though all the while it seemed to them that they were relying only on the grace of God, that the most just Lord permitted them to be robbed by leaving them to themselves.  Alas!  If they had but known the admirable devotion which I will unfold presently, they would have confided their treasure to a Virgin powerful and faithful, who would have kept it for them as if it had been her own possession; nay, who would have even taken it as an obligation of justice on herself to preserve it fo="TrueDevotion.htm"> True Devotion To Mary.

 

PRAYER TO
THE VIRGIN MARY

Holy Mary, my Queen and sovereign Lady, I give you myself, trusting in your fidelity and your protection. I surrender myself entirely to your motherly tenderness, my body, my soul, all that I am, all that I possess,  for the whole of this day, my life,  and especially at the hour of my death. I entrust to you once more all my hopes, all my consolations, all my anxieties, all my troubles, my life, my dying breath, so that by your prayers and merits, I may have, in all I do, one only goal, your good pleasure and the holy will of your Son.  Amen!

 

PURPOSE OF THIS WEB SITE

Welcome to this Catholic Spiritual Direction Web Site.   It is the intention of this site to lead people to a closer relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit through the promotion of prayer and Christian teaching which will enable Christians to adhere to the straight and narrow path Jesus speaks of in the Gospels. Included in these web pages are the Douay-Rheims Bible and the works of Saint John of the Cross, Thomas à Kempis and Saint Louis de Montfort, and the works of other saints of the Catholic faith, all of whose teachings on spiritual direction have been followed by priests, ministers, clergymen, Popes and Saints. These teachings adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church. This site is dedicated to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (Biography) (1774-1824) Mystic, Stigmatist, Prophet, and Great Visionary, a saintly Augustinian nun from Flamske, Germany. Her highly descriptive visions of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, The Sorrowful Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, are presented here. In time more works from the Saints of the Catholic Church will be added to these pages.

 
EVENING PRAYER:

Jesus gave us the very essence of spiritual direction in the Bible: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." Matthew 22:37-38

Each evening we should reflect on the good things and on the bad things we did during the day and ask God to help us to improve in the future. It is good if we say an Act of Contrition each evening to help us acknowledge our imperfections and to ask God to give us the graces to improve.rove..

ACT OF CONTRITION

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin. 

_______________

 

"At the evening of life, you will be examined in love. Learn to love as God desires to be loved and abandon your own ways of acting." -Saint John of the Cross
 

Prayer of Saint Catherine of Siena for Physical and Spiritual Healing

PRECIOUS BLOOD, ocean of divine mercy:
Flow upon us!
Precious Blood, most pure offering:
Procure us every grace!
Precious Blood, hope and refuge of sinners:
Atone for us!
Precious Blood, delight of holy souls:
Draw us! Amen.

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