CATHOLIC
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION

 

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  Luke 15:4

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

SAINT ALPHONSUS LIGUORI.

BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

FEAST DAY:  AUGUST 1ST

ST. ALPHONSUS was born of noble parents, near Naples, in 1696. His spiritual training was entrusted to the Fathers of the Oratory in that city, and from his boyhood Alphonsus was known as a most devout Brother of the Little Oratory. At the early age of sixteen he was made doctor in law, and he threw himself into this career with ardor and success. A mistake, by which he lost an important case, showed him the vanity of human fame, and determined him to labor only for the glory of God. He entered the priesthood, devoting himself to the most neglected souls; and to carry on this work he founded later the missionary Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. At the age of sixty-six he became Bishop of St. Agatha, and undertook the reform of his diocese with the zeal of a Saint. He made a vow never to lose time, and, though his life was spent in prayer and work, he composed a vast number of books, filled with such science, unction, and wisdom that he has been declared one of the Doctors of the Church. St. Alphonsus wrote his first book at the age of forty-nine, and in his eighty-third year had published about sixty volumes, when his director forbade him to write more. Very many of these books were written in the half-hours snatched from his labors as missionary, religious superior, and Bishop, or in the midst of continual bodily and mental sufferings. With his left hand he would hold a piece of marble against his aching head while his right hand wrote. Yet he counted no time wasted which was spent in charity. He did not refuse to hold a long correspondence with a simple soldier who asked his advice, or to play the harpsichord while he taught his novices to sing spiritual canticles. He lived in evil times, and met with many persecutions and disappointments. For his last seven years he was prevented by constant sickness from offering the Adorable Sacrifice; but he received Holy Communion daily, and his love for Jesus Christ and his trust in Mary's prayers sustained him to the end. He died in 1787, in his ninety-first year. He was beatified in 1816 and canonized in 1839.  In 1871, Alphonsus was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX (r. 1846-1878).

REFLECTION.—Let us do with all our heart the duty of each day, leaving the result to God, as well as the care of the future.

INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  Ask Saint Alphonsus to help us increase our devotion to the Blessed Mother through whom all graces flow to us.

SEE ST. ALPHONSUS' BOOK, THE GLORIES OF MARY

 

 

 

 

FROM WIKIPEDIA:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Alphonsus_Liguori

 

Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from St. Alphonsus Liguori)
Saint
Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori
C.Ss.R.
Bishop of Sant’Agata de’ Goti

 
Metropolis Benevento
Diocese Sant'Agata de' Goti
See Sant'Agata de' Goti
Appointed 14 June 1762
Installed 20 June 1762
Term ended 26 June 1775
Predecessor Flaminius Danza
Successor Onofrio de Rossi
Orders
Ordination 21 December 1726
Consecration 20 June 1762
by Ferdinando Maria de Rossi
Personal details
Born 27 September 1696
Marianella, Campania, Kingdom of Naples
Died 1 August 1787 (aged 90)
Pagani, Campania, Kingdom of Naples
Denomination Roman Catholic
Sainthood
Feast day
Venerated in Catholic Church
Title as Saint Bishop, Moral Theologian, Confessor and Doctor of the Church
Beatified 15 September 1816
Rome, Papal States
by Pope Pius VII
Canonized 26 May 1839
Rome, Papal States
by Pope Gregory XVI
Patronage Pagani, Cancello, Naples (co-patron); arthritis, confessors, moralists
Shrines
  • Basilica Sanctuary of St. Alphonsus di Liguori
  • 1, Piazza Sant'Alfonso di Liguori,
  • Pagani, Salerno, Italy

Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori, C.Ss.R. (27 September 1696 – 1 August 1787), was an Italian Catholic bishop, spiritual writer, scholastic philosopher and theologian.

Born into Neapolitan nobility, Ligouri had a successful law career before becoming a priest. He founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists) to work among the poor. In 1762 he was appointed Bishop of Sant'Agata dei Goti. He was a prolific writer, publishing nine editions of his Moral Theology in his lifetime, in addition to other devotional and ascetic works and letters. Among his best known works are The Glories of Mary and The Way of the Cross, the latter still used in parishes during Lenten devotions.

He was canonized in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI. Pope Pius IX proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church in 1871. One of the most widely read Catholic authors, Alphonsus Ligouri is the patron saint of confessors.

Biography

Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori was born in Marianella, near Naples, then part of the Kingdom of Naples. He was the first-born of seven belonging to the Neapolitan nobility. Two days after he was born he was baptized at the Church of Our Lady the Virgin as Alphonsus Mary Antony John Cosmas Damian Michael Gaspard de' Liguori.[2] Alphonsus Liguori went to law school at age sixteen, becoming a very well known lawyer. He was thinking of leaving the profession, and wrote to someone: "My friend, our profession is too full of difficulties and dangers; we lead an unhappy life and run risk of dying an unhappy death. For myself, I will quit this career, which does not suit me; for I wish to secure the salvation of my soul."[3] At the age of twenty-seven, after having lost an important case—the first he had lost in eight years of practicing law—he made a firm resolution to leave the profession of law.[4]

In 1723, after a long process of discernment, and with his legal career abandoned, he decided to offer himself as a novice to the Oratory of St. Philip Neri with the intention of becoming a priest. His father strenuously opposed this plan, but after two months (and with his Oratorian confessor's permission), he and his father compromised: he would study for the priesthood, but not as an Oratorian and while living at home.[2] He was ordained on 21 December 1726, at the age of 30. He lived his first years as a priest with the homeless and marginalized youth of Naples. He founded the Evening Chapels which were managed by the young people themselves. These chapels were centers of prayer and piety, preaching, community, social activities, and education. At the time of his death, there were 72 of these chapels with over 10,000 active participants. His sermons were very effective at converting those who were alienated from their faith.

The saint suffered from scruples much of his adult life, and felt guilt about the most minor issues relating to sin.[5] Moreover, the saint viewed scruples as a blessing at times, he wrote: "Scruples are useful in the beginning of conversion....they cleanse the soul, and at the same time make it careful".[6]

In 1729, Alphonsus left his family home and took up residence in the Chinese Institute in Naples. It was there that he began his missionary experience in the interior regions of the Kingdom of Naples where he found people who were much poorer and more abandoned than any of the street children in Naples.

On 9 November 1732, Alphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, when Sister Maria Celeste Crostarosa told him that it had been revealed to her that he was the one God had chosen to found the congregation. Its goal was to teach and preach in the slums of cities and other poor places. They also fought Jansenism, a doctrine that barred many Catholics from receiving the Eucharist because of its excessive moral rigor. He gave himself entirely to this new mission. A companion congregation of nuns was founded simultaneously by Sister Maria Celeste.

Alphonsus kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament in a 19th-century stained glass window of Carlow Cathedral.

Alphonsus was consecrated Bishop of Sant'Agata dei Goti in 1762. He tried to refuse the appointment, proposing his age and infirmities as arguments against his consecration. During this time he wrote sermons, books, and articles to encourage devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1775, he was allowed to retire from his office and went to live in the Redemptorist community in Pagani, Italy, where he died on August 1, 1787. He was beatified on September 15, 1816, by Pope Pius VII and canonized on May 26, 1839, by Pope Gregory XVI. He was named patron of confessors and moralists by Pope Pius XII on April 26, 1950, who subsequently wrote of him in the encyclical Haurietis Aquas.

Works

Overview

Alphonsus was proficient in the arts, his parents having had him being trained by various masters of the arts, and was a musician, painter, poet, and author at the same time. He put all his artistic and literary creativity at the service of the Christian mission and he asked the same of those who joined his congregation. His biography says that, in his later days, he liked to go to the local theater, which at the time had a very bad reputation. After being ordained, each time he attended the recitals Alphonsus simply took his optic glasses off and sat in the last row, listening to the music and not paying attention to anything else.[citation needed]

Alphonsus wrote 111 works on spirituality and theology. The 21,500 editions and the translations into 72 languages that his works have undergone attest to the fact that he is one of the most widely read Catholic authors. Among his best known works are The Great Means of Prayer, The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ and The Visits to the Most Holy Sacrament.[citation needed]

Prayer and its power, love, his relationship with Christ and his first-hand experience of the pastoral needs of the faithful made Alphonsus one of the great masters of the interior life.[citation needed]

His best known musical work is his Christmas hymn Quanno Nascetti Ninno, later translated into Italian by Pope Pius IX as Tu scendi dalle stelle ("From Starry Skies Thou Comest").

Mariology

In the field of Mariology, Alphonsus Liguori wrote The Glories of Mary, Marian Devotion, Prayers to the Divine Mother, Spiritual Songs,The True Spouse of Jesus Christ, Visitations to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Virgin Mary, and other writings. His Mariology, though mainly pastoral in nature, rediscovered, integrated and defended the Mariology of Saint Augustine and Saint Ambrose and other fathers and represented an intellectual defence of Mariology in the 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment, against the cold rationalism of which his often flaming Marian enthusiasm contrasted.[7]

Moral theology

Alphonsus' greatest contribution to the Church was in the area of moral theological reflection with his Moral Theology. This work was born of Alphonsus' pastoral experience, his ability to respond to the practical questions posed by the faithful and from his contact with their everyday problems. He opposed sterile legalism and strict rigorism. According to Alphonsus, those were paths closed to the Gospel because "such rigor has never been taught nor practiced by the Church". His system of moral theology is noted for its prudence, avoiding both laxism and excessive rigor. He is credited with the position of Aequiprobablism, which avoided Jansenist rigorism as well as laxism and simple probablism.

The Redemptorists founded the Alphonsian Academy for the advanced study of Catholic moral theology in the spirit of St. Alphonsus. The Academy offers licentiates and doctorates in moral theology. Many of the professors are Redemptorists.

"Inspired by St. Alphonsus M. de Liguori, who strove to renew moral theology in his time, and in harmony with the Magisterium of the Church, as expressed especially in the Second Vatican Council, the Alphonsian Academy seeks the fullest human and christian knowledge about humankind. Rooted always in the salvific Mystery of Christ the Redeemer, the Academy promotes the worth and meaning of human life by discerning the norm of human behaviour in the individual, in the family, in civil society and in religious faith. Over 4.600 students who have passed through the Academy give vital witness to the pastoral and doctrinal worth of the Institute." (http://www.alfonsiana.edu/English/en_index_istituto.htm)

References

  1. Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 99
  2. Castle, Harold (2007). "St. Alphonsus Liguori". The Catholic Encyclopedia. New Advent. Archived from the original on 5 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-09.
  3. Tannoja, Antonio. "The life of St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori" (1855) p. 30
  4. [1]
  5. Selected writings by Saint Alfonso Maria de' Liguori, 1999 ISBN 0-8091-3771-2 page 209
  6. The true spouse of Jesus Christ: The complete works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori 1929 by Redemptorist fathers Press, ASIN B00085J4WM page 545
  7. P Hitz, Alfons v. Liguori, Paterborn 1967, p. 130.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain/a>: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.

Books

 

 

ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA.

July 31st

 ST. IGNATIUS was born at Loyola in Spain, in the year 1491. He served his king as a courtier and a soldier till his thirtieth year. At that age, being laid low by a wound, he received the call of divine grace to leave the world. He embraced poverty and humiliation, that he might become more like to Christ, and won others to join him in the service of God. Prompted by their love for Jesus Christ, Ignatius and his companions made a vow to go to the Holy Land, but war broke out, and prevented the exe- cution of their project. Then they turned to the Vicar of Jesus Christ, and placed themselves under his obedience. This was the beginning of the Society of Jesus. Our Lord promised St. Ignatius that the precious heritage of His Passion should never fail his Society, a heritage of contradictions and persecutions. St. Ignatius was cast into prison at Salamanca, on a suspicion of heresy. To a friend who expressed sympathy with him on ac-count of his imprisonment, he replied, " It is a sign that you have hut little love of Christ in your heart, or you would not deem it so hard a fate to be in chains for His sake. I declare to you that all Salamanca does not contain as many fetters, manacles, and chains ns I long to wear for the love of Jesus Christ." St. Ignatius went to his crown on the 31st July, 1556.

 REFLECTION.—Ask St. Ignatius to obtain for you the grace to desire ardently the greater glory of God, even though it may cost you much suffering and humiliation.

INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  SAINT IGNATIUS, PLEASE PRAY FOR ME [STATE YOUR PRAYER.]

 

SEE THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES OF SAINT IGNATIUS

 

 

ST. PETER CHRYSOLOGUS, C.,
ARCHBISHOP OF RAVENNA

DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

JULY 30TH

[From his works, Rubeus in his elegant History of Ravenna, lib. ii. ; Ughelli, Italia Sacra, t. ii.; and Descriptio Patenae ejus, &c., a Joan. Pastritio, in quarto, Ronde, 1706. Agnellus, a schismatic of Ravenna, in the ninth age, in his Pontifical of Ravenna, or lives of the Bishops, published by Muratori, Ital. Rerum Scriptores, t. ii. p. 53, with notes, by which many mistakes of Rubeus and Agnellus are corrected. See also Muratori, Spicilegium Ravennat. Hist. t. i. part 2, p. 529, and Ceillier, t. p. 11]
 

 DIED: A. D. 450.
 

ST. PETER was a native of Imola, anciently called Forum Cornelii, a town in the ecclesiastical state, near Ravenna. He was taught the sacred sciences, and ordained deacon by Cornelius, bishop of that city, of whom he always speaks with veneration, and the utmost gratitude.¹ He calls him his father, and tells us, that in his whole conduct all virtues shone forth, and that by the bright lustre of his great actions he was known to the whole world. Under his prudent direction our saint was formed to perfect virtue from his youth by the exercises of an interior life, and understood that to command his passions and govern himself was true greatness, and the only means of learning to put on the spirit of Christ. For by the oracle of truth we are assured that to bear well an injury is something far more heroic than to vanquish nations, and when the noon-day light shall break in upon us, and dispel the darkness with which we are at present encompassed, we shall most clearly see that the least act of perfect meekness, humility, resignation, or patience, is of greater value than the gaining of millions of worlds. This is the most glorious triumph by which God is honoured in us, and a soul enjoys interior peace, and his holy grace ; all her affections being regulated by, and subjected. to his will in all things. This domestic victory is some-thing too great to be obtained without earnestness, and the difficulties which stand in the way are not to be vanquished or  

(1) St. Peter Chrysol. Serra. 107 and 165.

removed but by constant watchfulness an application. The more easily to accomplish this great and arduous work of subduing and regulating his passions, are forming the spirit of Christ in his soul, hw embraced a monastic state, and had serve God in it with great fervour and simplicity for some time, when he was placed in the archiepiscopal see of Ravenna. The Archbishop John dying about the year 430, the clergy of that church, with the people, chose a successor, and entreated the Bishop Imola to go at the head of their deputies to Rome to obtain the confirmation of Pope Sixtus III. Cornelius took with him  deacon Peter, and the pope (who, according to the historian of Ravenna, had be commanded so to do by a vision the for going night) refused to ratify the election already made, and proposed Peter as the person designed by heaven for that post: in which, after some opposition, the deputies acquiesced.

    Our saint, after receiving the episcol consecration, was conducted to Ravenna, a there received with extraordinary joy, the Emperor Valentinian III. and his mother Galla Placidia, then residing in that city. The holy bishop extenuated his body by fasting, and offered his tears to God for the sins of his people, whom he never ceased to teach no less by example than by words. When he entered on his charge, he found the remains of pagan superstition in his diocess, and several abuses had crept among the faithful in several parts : but the total extirpation of the former, a the reformation of the latter, were the fruit of the holy pastor's zealous labour. The town of Classis, situate on the con was then the port of Ravenna, from which it was three miles distant : St. Peter built there a fountain near the great churn also St. Andrew's monastery. He employed an extensive charity and unwearied vigilance in favour of his flock which he fed assiduously with the bread of life, the word of God. We have hundred and seventy-six of his discourses still extant, collected by Felix, Archbishop of Ravenna, in 708. They are all very short ; for he was afraid of fatiguing the attention of his hearers.¹ He joins great elegance with extreme brevity. His style has nothing swelling or forced, though it is made up of short sentences or phrases, which have a natural connexion together : the words are very fit, simple, and natural, and the descriptions easy and clear. Among the remains of heathenish superstition, which he laboured to extirpate, he reckons the riotous manner of celebrating the New-year's day ; of which he says, "He who will divert himself with the devil, can never reign with Christ." It appears that he often preached in presence of the emperor and of the catholic Empress Placidia, mother of three children, Valentinian III., Placidia, and Eudocia.³ He says that the episcopal see of Ravenna had been lately raised to the metropolitical dignity by the pope, and by the favour of a Christian prince.4 For though Ravenna had been long the metropolis of the Flaminian province or vicariat, the bishop continued suffragan to the Archbishop of Milan, till about the time that St. Peter Chrysologus was exalted to this dignity. Eutyches, the heresiarch, having been condemned by St. Flavian, addressed a circular letter to the most distinguished prelates in the church in his own justification. Our saint, in the answer which he sent him, told him that he had read his letter with sorrow : for, if the peace of the church causes joy in heaven, divisions ought to beget sadness and grief ; that the mystery of the incarnation, though inexplicable, is delivered to us by the divine law, and to be believed in the simplicity of faith. He,therefore,exhorted him to acquiesce, not to dispute, having before his eye the rocks upon which Origen, Nestorius, and others had split, by taking that method. In 448, our saint received St. Germanus of Auxerre with great honour at Ravenna, and, after his death, esteemed it no small happiness to inherit his cowl and hair shirt. He did not long survive : for, in 452, when Attila approached Ravenna, John, St. Peter's successor, held his see, and went out to meet him. The saint being forewarned of his approaching death, returned to Imola, his own country, and there gave to the church of St. Cassian, a golden crown set with jewels, a gold cup, and a silver paten, pre-served to this day with great reverence, and famed for miracles. Peter died at Imola, probably on the 2nd of December, 450, and was buried there in St. Cassian's church. The greatest part of his relics are preserved there; but one arm is kept in a rich case at Ravenna.
 

(1) St. Pet. Chrys. Serm. 36, 86,120,122. (2 i Serm. in Calendas.
(3) Serm. 130.
(4) Serm. 175

 

FROM WIKIPEDIA.ORG:

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Peter_Chrysologus

 

Peter Chrysologus (Greek: Ἅγιος Πέτρος ὁ Χρυσολόγος, Petros Chrysologos meaning Peter the "golden-worded") (c. 380 – c. 450)[2] was Bishop of Ravenna from about 433 until his death.[3]

During his life he was well known for his fine homilies.

He is revered as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church; he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIII in 1729.

Life

Peter was born in Imola, where Cornelius, bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Imola, baptized him, educated him, and ordained him a deacon. He was made an archdeacon through the influence of Emperor Valentinian III. Pope Sixtus III appointed Peter as Bishop of Ravenna (or perhaps archbishop) circa 433, apparently rejecting the candidate whom the people of the city of Ravenna elected. The traditional account, as recorded in the Roman Breviary, is that Sixtus had a vision of Pope Saint Peter the Apostle and Saint Apollinaris of Ravenna, the first bishop of that see, who showed Sixtus a young man, the next Bishop of Ravenna. When a group from Ravenna arrived, including Cornelius and his archdeacon Peter from Imola, Sixtus recognized Peter as the young man in his vision and consecrated him as a bishop.[4]

People knew Saint Peter Chrysologus, the Doctor of Homilies, for his short but inspired talks; he supposedly feared boring his audience. His piety and zeal won universal admiration. After hearing oratory of his first homily as bishop, Roman Empress Galla Placidia supposedly gave him the surname Chrysologus, meaning "golden-worded." Empress Galla Placidia patronized many projects of Bishop Saint Peter.

In his extant homilies, bishop Peter explained Biblical texts briefly and concisely. He also condemned Arianism and Monophysitism as heresies and explained beautifully the Apostles' Creed, the mystery of the Incarnation, and other topics in simple and clear language. He dedicated a series of homilies to Saint John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Peter advocated daily reception of Eucharist. He urged his listeners to confide in the forgiveness offered through Christ.[5][6][7] He shared the confidence of Saint Pope Leo I the Great (440-461), another doctor of the Church.

A synod held in Constantinople in 448 condemned Eutyches for Monophysitism; Eutyches then appealed to Saint Peter Chrysologus but failed in his endeavour to win the support of the Bishop. The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon (451) preserves the text of letter of Saint Peter Chrysologus in response to Eutyches; Peter admonishes Eutyches to accept the ruling of the synod and to give obedience to the Bishop of Rome as the successor of Saint Peter.

Archbishop Felix of Ravenna in the early eighth century collected and preserved 176 of his homilies. Various authors edited and translated these works into numerous languages.

Death and veneration

St Peter died circa or after 450 during a visit to Imola, the town of his birth. Older reference books say he died on 2 December, but a more recent interpretation of the ninth-century "Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis" indicated that he died on 31 July.[1]

When in 1729 he was declared a Doctor of the Church, his feast day, not already included in the Tridentine Calendar, was inserted in the General Roman Calendar for celebration on 4 December. In 1969 his feast was moved to 30 July, as close as possible to the day of his death, 31 July, the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

A contemporary portrait of Saint Peter Chrysologus, found in the mosaics of the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Ravenna, depicts him among the members of the eastern and western imperial family, showing his extraordinary influence.[

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

 

ST. MARTHA, VIRGIN.

FEAST DAY:  JULY 29TH

 [The following is from the book: Pictorial Lives of the Saints, with Reflections for Every Day in the Year, compiled from "Butler's Lives" and other approved sources.]

SAINT JOHN tells us that "Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus," and yet but few glimpses are vouchsafed us of them. First, the sisters are set before us with a word. Martha received Jesus into her house, and was busy in outward, loving, lavish service, while Mary sat in silence at the feet she had bathed with her tears. Then, their brother is ill, and they send to Jesus,  "Lord, he whom Thou lovest is sick." And in His own time the Lord came, and they go out to meet Him ; and then follows that scene of unutterable tenderness and of sublimity unsurpassed : the silent waiting of Mary ; Martha strong in faith, but realizing so vividly, with her practical turn of mind, the fact of death, and hesitating : "Canst Thou show Thy wonders in the grave ?" And then once again, on the eve of His Passion, we see Jesus at Bethany. Martha, true to her character, is serving; Mary, as at first, pours the precious ointment, in adoration and love, on His divine head. And then we find the tomb of St. Martha, at Tarascon, in Provence. When the storm of persecution came, the family of Bethany, with a few companions, were put into a boat, without oars or sail, and borne to the coast of France. St. Mary's tomb is at St. Baume ; St. Lazarus is venerated as the founder of the Church of Marseilles ; and the memory of the virtues and labors of St. Martha is still fragrant at Avignon and Tarascon.

  REFLECTION.--When Martha received Jesus into her house, she was naturally busy in preparations for such a Guest. Mary sat at His feet, intent alone on listening to His gracious words. Her sister thought that the time required other service than this, and asked our Lord to bid Mary help in serving. Once again  Jesus spoke in defence of Mary. " Martha, Martha," He said, " thou art lovingly anxious about many things; be not over-eager; do thy chosen work with recollectedness. Judge not Mary. Hers is the good part, the one only thing really necessary. Thine will be taken away, that something better be given thee." The life of action ceases when the body is laid down; but the life of contemplation endures and is perfected in heaven.

INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  Ask Saint Martha to intercede for us that we may be always attentive to what the Lord is trying to teach us and to avoid being so busy in our lives that we do not have time during the week to pray and to go to Mass when we should.

_______________

MORE FROM BUTLER'S LIVES OF THE SAINTS:

 JULY XXIX

 ST. MARTHA, V.

She was sister to Mary and Lazarus, and lived with them at Bethania, a small town two miles distant from Jerusalem, a little beyond Mount Olivet. Our Blessed Redeemer had made his residence usually in Galilee, till in the third year of his public ministry he preached chiefly in Judaea, during which interval he frequented the house of these three holy disciples. Martha seems to have been the eldest, and to have had the chief care and direction of the household. It appears from the history of the resurrection of Lazarus that their family was of principal note in the country. In the first visit, as it seems, with which Jesus honoured them,² St. Luke tells us³ that St. Martha showed great solicitude to entertain and serve him. She forgot the privilege of her rank and riches, and would not leave so great an honour to servants only, but was herself very busy in preparing every thing for so great a guest and his holy company. Mary sat all the while at our Saviour's feet, feeding her soul with his heavenly doctrine. In this she found such inexpressible sweetness, and so great spiritual advantage,  that she forgot and contemned the whole world, and would suffer nothing to draw her from her entertainment with her God, or make her lose any one of those precious moments.

    (2) Luke x. 38. (3) Ibid.

At his sacred discourses her heart was inflamed, her pure soul seemed to melt in holy love, and in a total forgetfulness of all other things she said to herself, with the spouse in the Canticles, "My beloved to me, and I to him, who feedeth among the lilies ;"¹ that is, with chaste souls, or among the flowers of virtues. St.. Austin observes that this house represents to us the whole family of God on earth. In it no one is idle, but his servants have their different employments, some in the contemplative life, as recluses; others in the active; as, first, those who labour for the salvation of souls in the exterior functions of the pastoral charge; secondly, those who, upon pure motives of charity, serve the poor or the sick; and, lastly, all who look upon their lawful profession in the world as the place for which God has destined them, and the employment which he has given them; and who faithfully pursue its occupations with a view purely to accomplish the divine will, and acquit themselves of every duty in the order in which God has placed them in this world. He is the greater saint, whatever his state of life may be, whose love of God and his neighbour is more pure, more ardent, and more perfect; for charity is the soul and form of Christian perfection.

     But it has been disputed whether the contemplative or the active life be in itself the more perfect. St. Thomas answers this question,² proving from the example of Christ and his apostles, that the mixed life, which is made up of both, is the most excellent. This is the apostolic life, with the care of souls, if in it the external functions of instructing, assisting, and comforting others, which is the most noble  object of charity, be supported by a constant perfect spirit of prayer and contemplation.

    (1) Cant. ii. (2) 3, p. 9, 40 a. 1, ad 2 et 3. Item 2, 23m. q. 182, art. 1 et 2, in corp.

In order to this, a long and fervent religious retirement ought to be the preparation which alone can form the perfect spirit of this state; and the same must be constantly nourished and improved by a vehement love and frequent practice of holy retirement, and a continued recollection, as Christ during his ministry often retired to the mountains to pray; for that pastor who suffers the spirit of prayer to languish in his soul, carries about a dead soul in a living body, to use the expression of St. Bonaventure.¹ The like interior spirit must animate; and some degree of assiduity in the like exercises, as circumstances will allow, must support those who are engaged in worldly employs, and those who devote themselves to serve Christ's most tender and afflicted members, the poor and the sick, as Martha served Christ himself.

    With so great love and fervour did Martha wait on our Redeemer, that, as we cannot doubt, she thought that if the whole world were occupied in attending so great a guest, all would be too little. She wished that all men would employ their hands, feet, and hearts, all their faculties and senses, with their whole strength, in serving with her their gracious Creator, made for us our brother. Therefore, sweetly complaining to him, she desired him to bid her sister Mary to rise up and help her. Our meek and loving Lord was well pleased with the solicitude and earnestness, full of affection and devotion, where with Martha waited on him; yet he commended more the quiet repose with which Mary attended only to that which is of the greatest importance, the spiritual improvement of her soul. "Martha, Martha," said he, "thou art careful and troubled about many things ; but one thing is necessary." If precipitation or too great eagerness had any share in her service, this would have been an imperfection ; which,  nevertheless, does not appear.

    (1) L. de Perfect. Religion.

Christ only puts Martha in mind that though corporal duties ought not to be neglected, and if sanctified by a perfect intention of charity are most excellent virtues, yet spiritual functions, when they come in competition, are to be preferred. The former, indeed, become spiritual, when animated by a perfect spirit and recollection; but this is often much impaired by the distraction of the mind, and in the course of action. In our external employments, which we direct with a pure intention to fulfil the divine will, we imitate the angels when they are employed by God in being our guardians, or in other external functions with which God hath charged them; but as these blessed spirits in such employs never lose sight of God, so ought we in all our actions to continue, at least virtually, to adore and praise his holy name; but herein the eye of the soul is often carried off, or its attention much weakened. Whereas, in heavenly contemplation, the heart is wholly taken up in God, and more perfectly united to him by adoration and love. This is the novitiate of heaven, where it is the uninterrupted occupation of the blessed. In this sense Christ so highly commends the choice of Mary, affirming that her happy employment would never be taken from her. He added, "One thing is necessary;" which words some explain as if he had said, "a little is enough, one dish suffices;" but the word "necessary" determines the sense rather to be, as St. Austin, St. Bernard, Maldonatus, Grotius, and others expound it, eternal salvation is our only affair.

    Another instance which shows how dear this devout family was to our, divine Saviour, is the raising of Lazarus to life. When he fell sick, the pious sisters sent to inform Christ, who was then absent in Galilee. They said no more in their message than this, "He whom thou lovest is sick." They knew very well that this was enough; and that his tender bowels would be moved to compassion by the bare representation of their calamity. It was not to remove our corporal miseries that Christ came from heaven, and died and suffered so much; this was not the object which drew down this Almighty Physician among us. If, in his mortal life on earth, he healed the sick and raised the dead, by these miracles he would manifest, as by sensible tokens, the spiritual cures which he desired to work in our souls. We groan under the weight of innumerable and the most dreadful spiritual miseries. Our tender Redeemer knows their horrible depth and endless extent; but he would have us to conceive a just sense of them, to acknowledge them, and earnestly to implore his aid: for this he sheds the rays of his light upon our blind souls, and rouses us by his repeated graces. The first step towards a deliverance is, that we confess, with a feeling sense, our extreme baseness and ingratitude, and our weakness and total incapacity of doing any thing of ourselves towards our recovery; but we have a physician infinitely tender and powerful. To him then we must continually lay open our distress, and with deep compunction display our miseries before his holy eyes, earnestly striving by this dumb eloquence to move him to pity; exposing to him that we whom he loveth still as the work of his hands, as the price of his blood, lie engulfed in unspeakable miseries. Thus we must entreat him, with tears and loud cries of our hearts, to look down on his image in our souls now disfigured and sullied with sin; on his kingdom left desolate by the tyranny of the devil and our passions; on the vineyard which himself had planted, adorned, and fenced, but which is laid waste by merciless robbers and enemies; and that he would stretch out his almighty hand to repair these breaches, and save us. So long as life lasts we can never be sure that we shall find mercy, or rest secure of the issue of our great trial upon which our eternity depends; so long, therefore, we ought never to cease with most earnest cries, to implore the clemency of our Judge, laying open our spiritual miseries to him in these words of the two sisters,— Behold he, whom thou lovest, is sinking under the weight of his evils," and beg him to remember his ancient love and mercies towards us. We ought also in corporal distempers to address ourselves to God with the like words, begging with Martha our own or our brother's corporal health, if this may be expedient to our souls, and conducive to the divine honour.

    In all these petitions we ought to implore the joint supplications of the saints, as at the entreaties of the sisters Christ raised Lazarus. Having received their message, he wanted no other prompter than that of his own compassion and affection; an emblem of the paternal mercy with which he draws to himself, and receives penitent sinners. Had the prodigal son offered any plea of merits or deserts, he had never deserved to find favour; but he knew the goodness and tenderness of his father, who had with restless nights waited with impatience to see him return. The tender parent wanted no motives drawn from other objects or things without himself. The paternal affection within his own; breast pleaded in favour of his disobedient child. By this his very bowels yearned to embrace him again, and raise him from spiritual death to life. This same tenderness and compassion in Christ was the grounds of the sisters' confidence. Jesus, however, deferred setting out two or three days, that his glory might be the more manifested by the greater evidence of the miracle, and by the trial of the virtue and confidence of the two holy sisters. When he arrived at Bethania, Martha went first out to meet and welcome him; and then called her sister Mary. The presence of Jesus brings every blessing and comfort; and, by it, the sisters had the joy to see their brother again restored to life when he had been four days in the grave.

    Christ was again at Bethania, at the house of Simon the Leper, six days before his passion. Lazarus was one of the guests, Martha waited at table; and Mary poured a box of costly ointments out our Lord's feet, which she wiped with the hair of her head.¹ Judas Iscariot complained of this waste, saying, that the ointment might have been sold, and the price given to the poor. Not that he had any regard for the poor, but, bearing the common purse, he converted things sometimes to his own use, being a thief. How imperceptible a vice is covetousness, and how subtle in excuses to deceive itself ! Charity interprets the actions of others in the best part; but passion hurries men into rash judgments. Judas condemned the most heroic virtue and devotion of a saint; but Jesus undertook her defence. He was pleased not with the ointment, but with the love and devotion of his fervent servant, which he suffered her to satisfy by that action, which he received as performed for the embalming of his body, his death being then at hand. He, moreover, declared that this good work which Judas condemned, should be commended to the edification of his servants over the whole world wherever his gospel should be preached.

    St. Martha seems to have been one of those holy women who attended Christ during his passion, and stood under his cross, After his ascension, she came to Marseilles, and ended her life in Provence, where her body was found at Tarascon, soon after the discovery of that of St. Mary Magdalen. It lies in a magnificent subterraneous chapel of the stately collegiate church at Tarascon, which is dedicated to God in her honour. King Lewis XI. gave a rich bust of gold, in which the head of the saint is kept.

We have all, like St. Martha, one only necessary affair; that for which alone God created and redeemed us ; for which he has wrought so many wonderful mysteries in our favour, and upon which the dreadful alternative of sovereign and everlasting happiness or misery depends.

    (l) Matt. xxvi.; John xii.

This is, that we refer even all our worldly employments and all that we do, to glorify God, to fulfil his will, and to save our souls. In this, all our thoughts, desires, and enterprises ought to centre : this is the circle in which we must shut ourselves up, and never think of moving out of. Every one ought sincerely to say with an ancient writer, I have but one only affair; and I care for nothing else only lest any other thing should take off any part of my attention from this my only business." What account will they be able to give to themselves or to their Judge at the last day, who make vanity, pastimes, and idle employments, the sole business of their life? or they who toil and slave much in bustling through the world, seeming to neglect nothing but their only affair.

 

INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  SAINT MARTHA, PLEASE PRAY FOR ME TODAY [STATE YOUR PRAYER.]

 

 

SAINTS NAZARIUS AND CELSUS, MARTYRS.

JULY 28th.

 

SAINT NAZARIUS'S father was a heathen, and held a considerable post in the Roman army. His mother, Perpetua, was a zealous Christian, and was instructed by St. Peter, or his disciples, in the most perfect maxims of our holy faith. Nazarius  embraced it with so much ardor that he copied in his life all the great virtues he saw in his teachers; and out of zeal for the salvation of others, he left Rome, his native city, and preached the faith in many places with a fervor and disinterestedness becoming a  disciple of the Apostles. Arriving at Milan, he was there beheaded for the faith, together with Celsus, a youth whom he carried with him to assist him in his travels. These martyrs suffered soon after Nero had raised the first persecution. Their bodies were buried separately in a garden without the city, where they were discovered and taken up by St. Ambrose, in 395.  In the tomb of St. Nazarius, a vial of the Saint's blood was found as fresh and red as if it had been spilt that day. The faithful stained handkerchiefs with some drops, and also formed a certain paste with it, a portion of which St. Ambrose sent to St. Gaudentius, Bishop of Brescia. St. Ambrose conveyed the bodies of the two martyrs into the new church of the apostles, which he had just built. A woman was delivered of an evil spirit in their presence. St. Ambrose sent some of these relics to St. Paulinus of Nola, who received them, with great respect, as a most valuable present, as he testifies.

REFLECTION.—The martyrs died as the outcasts of the world, but are crowned by God with immortal honor. The glory of the world is false and transitory, and an empty bubble or shadow, but that of virtue is true, solid, and permanent, even in the eyes of men.

 

INTERCESSORY PRAYER:  SAINTS NAZARIUS AND CELSUS, PLEASE PRAY FOR ME [STATE YOUR PRAYER].

 

 
Unfailing Novena To The Virgin Mary Untier of Knots
How this devotion started?  

To show us the mission granted to the Virgin Mary by Her Son, an artist Johann Melchior Georg Schmittdner painted Mary Undoer of Knots with great grace. Since 1700, his painting has been venerated in the Church of St. Peter in Perlack, Augsburg, Germany. It was originally inspired by a meditation of Saint Irenaeus (Bishop of Lyon and martyred in 202) based on the parallel made by Saint Paul between Adam and Christ. Saint Irenaeus, in turn, made a comparison between Eve and Mary, saying:“Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it”.

But what are these knots?
There are the problems and struggles we face for which we do not see any solution … knots of discord in your family, lack of understanding between parents and children, disrespect, violence, the knots of deep hurts between husband and wife, the absence of peace and joy at home. There are also the knots of anguish and despair of separated couples, the dissolution of the family, the knots of a drug addict son or daughter, sick or separated from home or God, knots of alcoholism, the practice of abortion, depression, unemployment, fear, solitude…Ah, the knots of our life! How they suffocate the soul, beat us down and betray the heart’s joy and separate us from God.

Day after day, more and more Christians kneel to pray to Her as soon as they meet the Mother of the Fair Love.  Many families have become reconciled! Many diseases have been healed! Many spouses have returned to the Church! Many jobs have been given! Many conversions have taken place! Many Catholics have been on their knees praying and giving thanks for graces received from our sweet Mother. For that reason, Mary Who undoes the knots, Who was chosen by God to crush the evil with Her feet, comes to us to reveal Herself. She comes to provide jobs, good health, to reconcile families, because She wants to undo the knots of our sins which dominate our lives, so that – as sons of the King – we can receive the promises reserved for us from eternity. She comes with promises of victory, peace, blessings and reconciliation.

Then, free from our knots – filled with happiness, we can be a testimony of the Divine Power in this world, like pieces of God’s heart or small bottles of perfume exhaling mercy and love to our neighbor. Like ambassador of Jesus Christ and the Virgin of the fair love, we can rescue those who cry without any consolation, those who are lonely, tied with knots, who have no God, no Father nor Mother.

Mother of the Rising Sun, Immaculate, our Advocate, Helper in moments of affliction, Mother of God and made by Him our Mother, this is how Mary, Undoer of Knots is presented. Above all, She comes as the Queen of Mercy, the one who knows all about us, who has compassion for us and hurries to rescue us, praying for each one of us to Her beloved Jesus.

(source: http://www.maryundoerofknots.com/history.htm)


      


PRAYER TO MARY, UNDOER OF KNOTS

Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exists in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exist in my life.
You know very well how desperate I am, my pain and how I am bound by these knots.
Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life.
No one, not even the evil one himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone.
Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot...I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all, You are my hope.
O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution and with Christ the freedom from my chains.
Hear my plea.
Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge!


Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me

__________________

 

 

 CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL DIRECTION IS ALSO AVAILABLE AT:  http://catholic-spiritual-direction.com

MASS READINGS
FOR TODAY
      

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B

Book of Exodus 16:2-4.12-15.
The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The Israelites said to them, "Would that we had died at the LORD'S hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread! But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!"
Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not.
"I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God."
In the evening quail came up and covered the camp. In the morning a dew lay all about the camp,
and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.
On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, "What is this?" for they did not know what it was. But Moses told them, "This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.



Psalms 78(77):3.4bc.23-24.25.54.
What we have heard and know,
And what our fathers have declared to us,
we will declare to the generation to come
The glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength.

He commanded the skies above
and the doors of heaven he opened;
He rained manna upon them for food
and gave them heavenly bread.  

Man ate the bread of angels,
food he sent them in abundance.
And he brought them to his holy land,
To the mountains his right hand had won.




Letter to the Ephesians 4:17.20-24.
So I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds;
That is not how you learned Christ,
assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus,
that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires,
and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and put on the new self, created in God's way in righteousness and holiness of truth.



Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 6:24-35.
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"
Jesus answered them and said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal."
So they said to him, "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?"
Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent."
So they said to him, "What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
So Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
So they said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst."
_____________

 

Commentary of the day
Saint John-Paul II, Pope from 1978 to 2005
Encyclical  « Ecclesia de Eucharistia », 1 (trans. © Libreria Editrice Vaticana)

"I am the bread of life"

The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church. In a variety of ways she joyfully experiences the constant fulfilment of the promise: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20), but in the Holy Eucharist, through the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord, she rejoices in this presence with unique intensity. Ever since Pentecost, when the Church, the People of the New Covenant, began her pilgrim journey towards her heavenly homeland, the Divine Sacrament has continued to mark the passing of her days, filling them with confident hope.

The Second Vatican Council rightly proclaimed that the Eucharistic sacrifice is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (LG 11). “For the most holy Eucharist contains the Church's entire spiritual wealth: Christ himself, our passover and living bread (1Cor 5,7; Jn 6,51). Through his own flesh, now made living and life-giving by the Holy Spirit, he offers life to men” (Vatican II PO 5). Consequently the gaze of the Church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his boundless love.


 http://www.evangeliumtagfuertag.org/

 

SPIRITUAL DIRECTION
FOR TODAY

MY IMITATION OF CHRIST

Thomas à Kempis

_______________

 

BOOK ONE.


THOUGHTS HELPFUL IN THE LIFE OF THE SOUL

The Ninth Chapter

Obedience and Subjection

IT IS a very great thing to obey, to live under a superior and not to be one's own master, for it is much safer to be subject than it is to command. Many live in obedience more from necessity than from love. Such become discontented and dejected on the slightest pretext; they will never gain peace of mind unless they subject themselves wholeheartedly for the love of God. Go where you may, you will find no rest except in humble obedience to the rule of authority. Dreams of happiness expected from change and different places have deceived many. Everyone, it is true, wishes to do as he pleases and is attracted to those who agree with him. But if God be among us, we must at times give up our opinions for the blessings of peace. Furthermore, who is so wise that he can have full knowledge of everything? Do not trust too much in your own opinions, but be willing to listen to those of others. If, though your own be good, you accept another's opinion for love of God, you will gain much more merit; for I have often heard that it is safer to listen to advice and take it than to give it. It may happen, too, that while one's own opinion may be good, refusal to agree with others when reason and occasion demand it, is a sign of pride and obstinacy.

 

The Tenth Chapter

Avoiding Idle Talk

SHUN the gossip of men as much as possible, for discussion of worldly affairs, even though sincere, is a great distraction inasmuch as we are quickly ensnared and captivated by vanity. Many a time I wish that I had held my peace and had not associated with men. Why, indeed, do we converse and gossip among ourselves when we so seldom part without a troubled conscience? We do so because we seek comfort from one another's conversation and wish to ease the mind wearied by diverse thoughts. Hence, we talk and think quite fondly of things we like very much or of things we dislike intensely. But, sad to say, we often talk vainly and to no purpose; for this external pleasure effectively bars inward and divine consolation. Therefore we must watch and pray---MATT. XXVI. 41.--- lest time pass idly. When the right and opportune moment comes for speaking, say something that will edify. Bad habits and indifference to spiritual progress do much to remove the guard from the tongue. Devout conversation on spiritual matters, on the contrary, is a great aid to spiritual progress, especially when persons of the same mind and spirit associate together in God.

 

The Eleventh Chapter

Acquiring Peace and Zeal for Perfection

WE SHOULD enjoy much peace if we did not concern ourselves with what others say and do, for these are no concern of ours. How can a man who meddles in affairs not his own, who seeks strange distractions, and who is little or seldom inwardly recollected, live long in peace? Blessed are the simple of heart for they shall enjoy peace in abundance. Why were some of the saints so perfect and so given to contemplation? Because they tried to mortify entirely in themselves all earthly desires, and thus they were able to attach themselves to God with all their heart and freely to concentrate their innermost thoughts. We are too occupied with our own whims and fancies, too taken up with passing things. Rarely do we completely conquer even one vice, and we are not inflamed with the desire to improve ourselves day by day; hence, we remain cold and indifferent. If we mortified our bodies perfectly and allowed no distractions to enter our minds, we could appreciate divine things and experience something of heavenly contemplation. The greatest obstacle, indeed, the only obstacle, is that we are not free from passions and lusts, that we do not try to follow the perfect way of the saints. Thus when we encounter some slight difficulty, we are too easily dejected and turn to human consolations. If we tried, however, to stand as brave men in battle, the help of the Lord from heaven would surely sustain us. For He Who gives us the opportunity of fighting for victory, is ready to help those who carry on and trust in His grace. If we let our progress in religious life depend on the observance of its externals alone, our devotion will quickly come to an end. Let us, then, lay the ax to the root that we may be freed from our passions and thus have peace of mind. If we were to uproot only one vice each year, we should soon become perfect. The contrary, however, is often the case -- we feel that we were better and purer in the first fervor of our conversion than we are after many years in the practice of our faith. Our fervor and progress ought to increase day by day; yet it is now considered noteworthy if a man can retain even a part of his first fervor. If we did a little violence to ourselves at the start, we should afterwards be able to do all things with ease and joy. It is hard to break old habits, but harder still to go against our will. If you do not overcome small, trifling things, how will you overcome the more difficult? Resist temptations in the beginning, and unlearn the evil habit lest perhaps, little by little, it lead to a more evil one. If you but consider what peace a good life will bring to yourself and what joy it will give to others, I think you will be more concerned about your spiritual progress.

_________________

 

http://jesus-passion.com/Imitation_of_Christ.htm

 

THE POWER AND THE BLESSINGS THAT COME FROM PRAYING THE ROSARY

 THE FIFTEEN PROMISES OF MARY TO CHRISTIANS WHO RECITE THE ROSARY

These promises were given by the Blessed Mother to Saint Dominic and Blessed Alan.

 1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the rosary, shall receive signal graces.

2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the rosary.

3. The rosary shall be a powerful armour against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.

4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.

5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the rosary, shall not perish.

6. Whoever shall recite the rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.

7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.

8. Those who are faithful to recite the rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plentitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.

9. I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the rosary.

10. The faithful children of the rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven.

11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the rosary.

12. All those who propagate the holy rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.

13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.

14. All who recite the rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only Son Jesus Christ.

15. Devotion of my rosary is a great sign of predestination.

________________

THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY(by Saint Louis De Montfort)

 

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.

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"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".

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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 for them".

TRUE DEVOTION TO THE VIRGIN MARY, SAINT LOUIS de MONTFORT

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!

 

OVERCOMING DIFFICULTIES AT WORK OR AT HOME:

     When difficulties come to us at work or at home it important to pray your way through these difficulties.  At work, it could be trouble with a supervisor or a co-worker, with the result that misery is brought into our lives.  Or at home a wife or a husband, or a child or a relative may be causing you trouble.  It is important to pray your way through these difficulties.  The different forms of prayers listed above, the Rosary, the Chaplet of Saint Michael, the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Holy Mass, can move God to assist us with the things the bother us the most during our lives.  Try these prayers, they work. 


 And sometimes, it takes the prayers of others to help change the current situations that are going on in our lives.   On the following web page, there are several prayer groups that will pray for yours needs; this a great tool against our daily problems and against the assaults of demons.  Sometimes it takes the prayers of many people to change things.
http://www.jesus-passion.com/catholic_groups_that_will_pray_for_you.htm

 

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.

 

 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.

 

PRAYERS FOR THE DAY

MORNING PRAYER
AFTERNOON PRAYER
EVENING PRAYER

 

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.

  Are you sick or do you know someone who is ill.  Say the  prayer above for them everyday.  Also, there is greater power of prayer when many people are praying for the sick.  Ask many fellow Catholics to join in prayer with you for the sick.  You can send prayer requests to Catholic Groups that will join you in prayer at:

  http://www.jesus-passion.com/catholic_groups_that_will_pray_for_you.htm

 

 

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