CATHOLIC
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION


  

  

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

Wednesday of Holy Week

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 26:14-25.
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
He said, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The teacher says, "My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples."'"
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said, "Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, "Surely it is not I, Lord?"
He said in reply, "He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born."
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" He answered, "You have said so."
 

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MASS READINGS FOR TODAY 

Wednesday of Holy Week

 

Book of Isaiah 50:4-9a.
The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, That I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled, have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.
The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right; if anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong? Lo, they will all wear out like cloth, the moth will eat them up.


Psalms 69(68):8-10.21-22.31.33-34.
For your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my mother's sons,
because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.


Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak,
I looked for sympathy, but there was none;
for consolers, not one could I find.
Rather they put gall in my food,
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.


I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”



Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 26:14-25.
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests
and said, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
He said, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The teacher says, "My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples."'"
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said, "Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, "Surely it is not I, Lord?"
He said in reply, "He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born."
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" He answered, "You have said so."
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Commentary of the day : Blessed John Henry Newman
"Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me."


 


 

SOURCE:  http://www.evangeliumtagfuertag.org/main.php?language=DE

 

STATIONS OF THE CROSS

WRITINGS FROM THE VISIONS OF BLESSED ANNE CATHERINE EMMERICH,
FROM THE BOOK: 
THE LOWLY LIFE AND BITTER PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
AND HIS BLESSED MOTHER

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.

 

 

PREPARATORY PRAYER

O Jesus, my adorable Savior, behold me here prostrate imploring Your mercy for myself, and for the souls of all the faithful departed.  Vouchsafe to apply to me the infinite merits of Your passion on which I am now about to mediate.  Grant that, while I trace this path of signs and tears, my heart may be so touched with contrition and repentance that I may be ready to embrace with joy all the sufferings and humiliations of this life and pilgrimage.

 

  

JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS

PRAYER

V. We adore Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, and bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

 

Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Words of Jesus on the Cross.—His Death

    THE light continued to return by degrees, and the livid exhausted countenance of our Lord again became visible.  His body was become much more white from the quantity of blood he had lost; and I heard him exclaim, 'I am pressed as the grape, which is trodden in the winepress.  My blood shall be poured out until water cometh,  but wine shall here be made no more.'  I cannot be sure whether he really pronounced these words, so  as to be heard by others, or whether they were only an answer given to my interior prayer.  I afterwards had a vision relating to these words, and in it I saw Japhet making wine in this place.

    Jesus was almost  fainting; his tongue was parched, and he said: ‘I thirst.’ The disciples who ware standing round the Cross looked at him with the deepest expression of sorrow, and he added, ‘Could you not have given me a little water?’ By these words he gave them to understand that no one  would have prevented them  from doing so during the darkness. John was filled with remorse, and replied: ‘We did not think of doing so, O Lord.’ Jesus pronounced a few more words, the import of which was: ‘My friends and my neighbours were also to forget me, and not give me to drink, that so what was written concerning me might be fulfilled.’ This omission had afflicted him very much. The disciples then offered money to the soldiers to obtain permission to give him a little water: they refused to give it, but dipped a sponge in vinegar and gall, and were about to offer it to Jesus, when the centurion Abenadar, whose heart was touched with compassion, took it from them, squeezed out the gall, poured some fresh vinegar upon it, and fastening it to a reed, put the reed at the end of a lance, and presented it for Jesus to drink. I heard our Lord say several other things, but I only remember these words: ‘When my voice shall be silent, the mouths of the dead shall be opened.’ Some of the bystanders cried out: ‘He blasphemeth again.’ But Abenadar compelled them to be silent.

    The hour of our Lord was at last come; his death-struggle had commenced; a cold sweat overspread every limb. John stood at the foot of the Cross, and wiped the feet of Jesus with his scapular. Magdalen was crouched to the ground in a perfect frenzy of grief behind the Cross. The Blessed Virgin stood between Jesus and the good thief, supported by Salome and Mary of Cleophas, with her eyes riveted on the countenance of her dying Son. Jesus then said: 'It is consummated;’ and, raising his head, cried out in a loud voice, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ These words, which he uttered in a clear and thrilling tone, resounded through heaven and earth; and a moment after, he bowed down his head and gave up the ghost. I saw his soul, under the appearance of a bright meteor, penetrate the earth at the foot of the Cross. John and the holy women fell prostrate on the ground. The centurion Abenadar had kept his eyes steadfastly fixed on the disfigured countenance of our Lord, and was perfectly overwhelmed by all that had taken place. When our Lord pronounced his last words, before expiring, in a loud tone, the earth trembled, and the rock of Calvary burst asunder, forming a deep chasm between the Cross of our Lord and that of Gesmas. The voice of God—that solemn and terrible voice—had re-echoed through the whole universe; it had broken the solemn silence which then pervaded all nature. All was accomplished. The soul of our Lord had left his body: his last cry had filled every breast with terror. The convulsed earth had paid homage to its Creator: the sword of grief had pierced the hearts of those who loved him. This moment was the moment of grace for Abenadar; his horse trembled under him; his heart was touched; it was rent like the hard rock; he threw his lance to a distance, struck his breast, and cried out: ‘Blessed be the Most High God, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; indeed this Man was the Son of God!’ His words convinced many among the soldiers, who followed his example, and were likewise converted.

    Abenadar became from this moment a new man; he adored the true God, and would no longer serve his enemies. He gave both his horse and his lance to a subaltern of the name of Longinus, who, having addressed a few words to the soldiers, mounted his horse, and took the command upon himself. Abenadar then left Calvary, and went through the Valley of Gihon to the caves in the Valley of Hinnom, where the disciples were hidden, announced the death of our Lord to them, and then went to the town, in order to see Pilate. No sooner had Abenadar rendered public testimony of his belief in the divinity of Jesus, than a large number of soldiers followed his example, as did also some of the bystanders, and even a few Pharisees. Many struck their breasts, wept, and returned home, while others rent their garments, and cast dust on their heads, and all were filled with horror and fear. John arose; and some of the holy women who were at a short distance came up to the Blessed Virgin, and led her away from the foot of the Cross.

    When Jesus, the Lord of life and death, gave up his soul into the hands of his Father, and allowed death to take possession of his body, this sacred body trembled and turned lividly white; the countless wounds which were covered with congealed blood appeared like dark marks; his cheeks became more sunken, his nose more pointed, and his eyes, which were obscured with blood, remained but half open. He raised his weary head, which was still crowned with thorns, for a moment, and then dropped it again in agony of pain; while his parched and torn lips, only partially closed, showed his bloody and swollen tongue. At the moment of death his hands, which were at one time contracted round the nails, opened and returned to their natural size, as did also his arms; his body became stiff, and the whole weight was thrown upon the feet, his knees bent, and his feet twisted a little on one side.

    What words can, alas, express the deep grief of the Blessed Virgin? Her eyes closed, a death-like tint overspread her countenance; unable to stand, she fell to the ground, but was soon lifted up, and supported by John, Magdalen, and the others. She looked once more upon her beloved Son—that Son whom she had conceived by the Holy Ghost, the flesh of her flesh, the bone of her bone, the heart of her heart—hanging on a cross between two thieves; crucified, dishonoured, condemned by those whom he came on earth to save; and well might she at this moment be termed ‘the queen of martyrs.’ 

    The sun still looked dim and suffused with mist; and during the time of the earthquake the air was close and oppressive, but by degrees it became more clear and fresh.

    It was about three o’clock when Jesus expired. The Pharisees were at first much alarmed at the earthquake; but when the first shock was over they recovered themselves, began to throw stones into the chasm, and tried to measure its depth with ropes. Finding, however, that they could not fathom its bottom, they became thoughtful, listened anxiously to the groans of the penitents, who were lamenting and striking their breasts, and then left Calvary. Many among the spectators were really converted, and the greatest part returned to Jerusalem perfectly overcome with fear. Roman soldiers were placed at the gates, and in other principal parts of the city, to prevent the possibility of an insurrection. Cassius remained on Calvary with about fifty soldiers. The friends of Jesus stood round the Cross, contemplated our Lord, and wept; many among the holy women had returned to their homes, and all were silent and overcome with grief.

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PRAYER

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

V. Lord Jesus, dying on the cross to save mankind,

R. Have mercy on us.

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 STATION THIRTEEN

 

STATION ONE JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH
STATION TWO JESUS ACCEPTS HIS CROSS
STATION THREE JESUS FALLS FOR THE FIRST TIME
STATION FOUR  JESUS MEETS HIS SORROWFUL MOTHER
STATION FIVE  SIMON OF CYRENE HELPS JESUS CARRY THE CROSS
STATION SIX  VERONICA WIPES THE BLOODY FACE OF JESUS
 
STATION SEVEN  JESUS FALLS FOR THE SECOND TIME
STATION EIGHT   JESUS SPEAKS TO THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM
STATION NINE  JESUS FALLS FOR THE THIRD TIME
STATION TEN  JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS
STATION ELEVEN  JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS
 
STATION TWELVE  JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS
 
STATION THIRTEEN  JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS
STATION FOURTEEN  JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB

 

 

 

 

 LENT

 Lent is the period of 40 days including weekdays and Saturdays from Ash Wednesday, March 5th through Easter, April 20th.

 

OBJECTIVES FOR LENT

1) To confess and turn away from all sin in our lives through Penance/Confession and Prayer.

2) To increase our love for God by attending Mass and receiving the Body of Christ.

3) To increase our love for our neighbor by forgiving our neighbor their faults and by doing good works to help our neighbor and the community.   This Lent ask God to give you the Grace  to forgive those who have  offended you the most.

4) You may choose to abstain from something that you enjoy a great deal, like watching television or movies, or giving up your favorite food.   Or you could spend more time helping out someone in need or working at the church.

 

RECOMMENDED SPIRITUAL READING:

1) THE DOLOROUS PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, from the visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

 

 

 

GUIDELINES FOR FASTING DURING LENT

ABSTINENCE is a penitential practice consisting of refraining from the consumption of meat and is to be observed by all Catholics who are 14 years of age and older.  Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and the Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence in which meat is not to be eaten.  Pastors and parents are encouraged to see that children who are not bound by the obligation to fast and abstain are led to appreciate an authentic sense of penance.  

FASTING AND ABSTINENCE (From: americancatholic.org):

What is the Church's official position concerning penance and abstinence from meat during Lent?
 

In 1966 Pope Paul VI reorganized the Church's practice of public penance in his "Apostolic Constitution on Penance" (Poenitemini). The 1983 revision of the Code of Canon Law incorporated the changes made by Pope Paul. Not long after that, the U.S. bishops applied the canonical requirements to the practice of public penance in our country.

 

To sum up those requirements, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.

 

Fasting as explained by the U.S. bishops means partaking of only one full meal. Some food (not equaling another full meal) is permitted at breakfast and around midday or in the evening—depending on when a person chooses to eat the main or full meal.

 

Abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, milk products or condiments made of animal fat.

 

Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are not forbidden. So it is permissible to use margarine and lard. Even bacon drippings which contain little bits of meat may be poured over lettuce as seasoning.

 

Each year in publishing the Lenten penance requirements, the U.S. bishops quote the teaching of the Holy Father concerning the seriousness of observing these days of penance. The obligation to do penance is a serious one; the obligation to observe, as a whole or "substantially," the days of penance is also serious.

 

But no one should be scrupulous in this regard; failure to observe individual days of penance is not considered serious. Moral theologians remind us that some people are excused from fasting and/or abstinence because of sickness or other reasons.

 

In his "Apostolic Constitution on Penance," Pope Paul VI did more than simply reorganize Church law concerning fast and abstinence. He reminded us of the divine law that each of us in our own way do penance. We must all turn from sin and make reparation to God for our sins. We must forgive and show love for one another just as we ask for God's love and forgiveness.

 

The Code of Canon Law and our bishops remind us of other works and means of doing penance: prayer, acts of self-denial, almsgiving and works of personal charity. Attending Mass daily or several times a week, praying the rosary, making the way of the cross, attending the parish evening prayer service, teaching the illiterate to read, reading to the blind, helping at a soup kitchen, visiting the sick and shut-ins and giving an overworked mother a break by baby-sitting—all of these can be even more meaningful and demanding than simply abstaining from meat on Friday.

SPIRITUAL DIRECTION FOR TODAY

[The works of a well known Catholic Spiritual Director will be featured in this space each week.]

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.

REFLECTION.-" You will catch more flies," St. Francis used to say, " with a spoonful of honey than with a hundred barrels of vinega- Were there any thing better or fairer on earth than gentleness, Jesus Christ would have taught it us ; and yet he has given us only two lessons to learn of him—meekness and humility of heart."

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE
DEVOUT LIFE

SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES

PART III.

CONTAINING COUNSELS CONCERNING THE PRACTICE OF VIRTUE.

CHAPTER I.
How to select that which we should chiefly Practise. THE queen bee never takes wing without being surrounded by all her Subjects; even so Love never enters the heart but it is sure to bring all other virtues in its train; marshalling and employing them as a captain his soldiers; yet, nevertheless, Love does not set them all to work suddenly, or equally, at all times and everywhere. The righteous man is "like a tree planted by the water side, that will bring forth his fruit in due season;"1 inasmuch as Love, watering and refreshing the soul, causes it to bring forth good works, each in season as required. There is an old proverb to the effect that the sweetest music is unwelcome at a time of mourning; and certain persons have made a great mistake when, seeking to cultivate some special virtue, they attempt to obtrude it on all occasions, like the ancient philosophers we read of, who were always laughing or weeping. Worse still if they take upon themselves to censure those who do not make a continual study of this their pet virtue.


1 Ps. i. 3.

(125) S. Paul tells us to "rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep;"1 and Charity is patient, kind, liberal, prudent, indulgent. At the same time, there are virtues of universal account, which must not only be called into occasional action, but ought to spread their influence over everything. We do not very often come across opportunities for exercising strength, magnanimity, or magnificence; but gentleness, temperance, modesty, and humility, are graces which ought to colour everything we do. There may be virtues of a more exalted mould, but at all events these are the most continually called for in daily life. Sugar is better than salt, but we use salt more generally and oftener.   Consequently, it is well to have a good and ready stock in hand of those general virtues of which we stand in so perpetual a need. In practising any virtue, it is well to choose (126) that which is most according to our duty, rather than most according to our taste. It was Saint Paula's liking to practise bodily mortifications with a view to the keener enjoyment of spiritual sweetness, but obedience to her superiors  was a higher duty; and therefore Saint Jerome acknowledges that she was wrong in  practising excessive abstinence contrary to the advice of her Bishop.

1 Rom. xii. 15.

 And the  Apostles, whose mission it was to preach the Gospel, and feed souls with the  Bread of Life, judged well that it was not right for them to hinder this holy work in order to minister to the material wants of the poor, weighty as that work was also.1 Every calling stands in special need of some special virtue; those required of a prelate, a prince, or a soldier, are quite different; so are those beseeming a wife or a widow, and although all should possess every virtue, yet all are not called upon to exercise them equally, but each should cultivate chiefly those which are important to the manner of life to which he is called.

    Among such virtues as have no special adaptation to our own calling, choose the most excellent, not the most showy. A comet generally looks larger than the stars, and fills the eye more; but all the while comets are not nearly so (127) important as the stars, and only seem so large to us because they are nearer to us than stars, and are of a grosser kind. So there are certain virtues which touch us very sensibly and are very material, so to say, and therefore ordinary people give them the preference. Thus the common run of men ordinarily value temporal almsgiving more than spiritual; and think more of fasting, exterior discipline and bodily mortification than of meekness, cheerfulness, modesty, and other interior mortifications, which nevertheless are far better. Do you then, my daughter, choose the best virtues, not those which are most highly esteemed; the most excellent, not the most visible; the truest, not the most conspicuous. It is well for everybody to select some special virtue at which to aim, not as neglecting any others, but as an object and pursuit to the mind. Saint John, Bishop of Alexandria, saw a vision of a lovely maiden, brighter than the sun, in shining garments, and wearing an olive crown, who said to him, "I am the King's eldest daughter, and if thou wilt have me for thy friend, I will bring thee to see His Face." Then he knew that it was pity for the poor which God thus commended to him, and from that time he gave himself so heartily to practise it, that he is universally known as Saint John the Almoner.

1 Acts vi. 2.

(128) Eulogius Alexandrinus desired to devote himself wholly to God, but he had not courage either to adopt the solitary life, or to put himself under obedience, and therefore he took a miserable beggar, seething in dirt and leprosy, to live
with him; and to do this more thoroughly, he vowed to honour and serve him as a servant does his lord and master. After a while, both feeling greatly tempted to part company, they referred to the great Saint Anthony, who said, "Beware of
separating, my sons, for you are both near your end, and if the Angel find you not together, you will be in danger of losing your crowns." Saint Louis counted it a privilege to visit the hospitals, where he used to tend the sick with his own royal hands. Saint Francis loved poverty above all things, and called her his lady-love. Saint Dominic gave himself up to preaching, whence his Order takes its name. 1 Saint Gregory the Great specially delighted to receive pilgrims after the manner of faithful Abraham, and like him entertained the King of Glory under a pilgrim's garb. Tobit devoted himself to the charitable work of burying the dead. Saint Elizabeth, albeit a mighty princess, loved above all things to humble herself. When Saint Catherine of Genoa became a widow, she gave herself up to work in an hospital.


1 The Preaching Friars.

(129) Cassian relates how a certain devout maiden once besought Saint Athanasius to help her in cultivating the grace of patience; and he gave her a poor widow as companion, who was cross, irritable, and altogether intolerable, and whose
perpetual fretfulness gave the pious lady abundant opportunity of practising gentleness and patience. And so some of God's servants devote themselves to nursing the sick, helping the poor, teaching little children in the faith, reclaiming the fallen, building churches, and adorning the altar, making peace among men. Therein they resemble embroidresses who work all manner of silks, gold and silver on various grounds, so producing beautiful flowers. Just so the pious souls who undertake some special devout practice use it as the ground of their spiritual embroidery, and frame all manner of other graces upon it, ordering their actions and affections better by means of this their chief thread which runs through all.

"Upon Thy Right Hand did stand the Queen in a vesture of gold wrought about with divers colours."1   When we are beset by any particular vice, it is well as far as possible to make the opposite (130) virtue our special aim, and turn everything to that account; so doing, we shall overcome our enemy, and meanwhile make progress in all virtue. Thus, if I am beset with pride or anger, I must above all else strive to cultivate humility and gentleness, and I must turn all my religious exercises,--prayer, sacraments, prudence, constancy, moderation, to the same object. The wild boar sharpens its
tusks by grinding them against its other teeth, which by the same process are sharpened and pointed; and so when a good man endeavours to perfect himself in some virtue which he is conscious of specially needing, he ought to give it edge
and point by the aid of other virtues, which will themselves be confirmed and strengthened as he uses them with that object. It was so with Job, who, while specially exercising the virtue of patience amid the numberless temptations  which beset him, was confirmed in all manner of holiness and godly virtues.

1 Psalm 5. 13, 14. "En son beau vestement de drap d'or recame, Et d'ouvrages
divers a l'aiguile seme."

 And Saint Gregory Nazianzen says, that sometimes a person has attained the height of goodness by one single act of virtue, performed with the greatest perfection; instancing Rahab as an example, who, having practised the virtue of hospitality very excellently, reached a high point of glory. 1 Of course, any such (131) action must needs be performed with a very exceeding degree of fervour and charity.

1 S. Francis evidently alludes here to the mention made of Rahab by S. Paul. Heb. xi. 31.


CHAPTER II.
The same Subject continued.

SAINT AUGUSTINE says very admirably, that beginners in devotion are wont to commit certain faults which, while they are blameable according to the strict laws of perfection, are yet praiseworthy by reason of the promise they hold forth of a future excellent goodness, to which they actually tend. For instance, that common shrinking fear which gives rise to an excessive scrupulosity in the souls of some who are but just set free from a course of sin, is commendable at that early stage, and is the almost certain forerunner of future purity of conscience. But this same fear would be blameable in those who are farther advanced, because love should reign in their hearts, and love is sure to drive away all such servile fear by degrees. In his early days, Saint Bernw very severe and harsh towards those whom he directed, telling them, to begin with, that they must put aside the body, and come to him with their minds only. In confession, he treated all faults, (132)
however small, with extreme severity, and his poor apprentices in the study of perfection were so urged onwards, that by dint of pressing he kept them back, for they lost heart and breath when they found themselves thus driven up so steep and high an ascent. Therein, my daughter, you can see that, although it was his ardent zeal for the most perfect purity which led that great Saint so to act, and although such zeal is a great virtue, still it was a virtue which required checking. And so God Himself checked it in a vision, by which He filled S. Bernard with so gentle, tender, and loving a spirit, that he was altogether changed, blaming himself heavily for having been so strict and so severe, and becoming so kindly and indulgent, that he made himself all things to all men in order to win all. S. Jerome tells us that his beloved daughter, S. Paula, was not only extreme, but obstinate in practising bodily mortifications, and refusing to yield to the advice given her upon that head by her Bishop, S. Epiphanius; and furthermore, she gave way so excessively to her grief at the death of those she loved as to peril her own life. Whereupon S. Jerome says: "It will be said that I am accusing this saintly woman rather than praising her, but I affirm before Jesus, Whom she served, and Whom I seek to
(133) serve, that I am not saying what is untrue on one side or the other, but simply describing her as one Christian another; that is to say, I am writing her history, not her panegyric, and her faults are the virtues of others." He means to say that the defects and faults of S. Paula would have been looked upon as virtues in a less perfect soul; and indeed there are actions which we must count as imperfections in the perfect, which yet would be highly esteemed in the imperfect.

    When at the end of a sickness the invalid's legs swell, it is a good sign, indicating that natural strength is returning, and throwing off foul humours; but it would be a bad sign in one not avowedly sick, as showing that nature was too feeble to disperse or absorb those humours.  So, my child, we must think well of those whom we see practising virtues, although imperfectly, since the Saints have done the like; but as to ourselves we must give heed to practise them, not only diligently, but discreetly, and to this end we shall do well strictly to follow the Wise Man's counsel, 1 and not trust in our own wisdom, but lean on those whom God has given as our guides. And here I must say a few words concerning certain things which some reckon as virtues, although they are nothing of the sort--I (134) mean ecstasies, trances, rhapsodies, extraordinary transformations, and the like, which are dwelt on in some books, and which promise to raise the soul to a purely intellectual contemplation, an altogether supernatural mental altitude, and a life of pre-eminent excellence.

1 Ecclus. vi. 2, 32, 36.

    But I would have you see, my child, that these perfections are not virtues, they are rather rewards which God gives to
virtues, or perhaps, more correctly speaking, tokens of the joys of everlasting life, occasionally granted to men in order to kindle in them a desire for the fulness of joy which is only to be found in Paradise.

    But we must not aspire to such graces, which are in nowise necessary to us in order to love and serve God, our only lawful ambition. Indeed, for the most part, these graces are not to be acquired by labour or industry, and that because they are rather passions than actions, which we may receive, but cannot create. Moreover, our business only is to become good, devout people, pious men and women; and all our efforts must be to that end. If it should please God further to endow us with angelic perfection, we should then be prepared to become good angels; but meanwhile let us practise, in all simplicity, humility and devotion, those lowly virtues to the attainment of which our Lord has bidden us labour,--I mean patience, cheerfulness, self-mortification, (135) humility, obedience, poverty, chastity, kindness to our neighbour, forbearance towards his failings, diligence, and a holy fervour. Let us willingly resign the higher eminences to lofty souls. We are not worthy to take so high a rank in God's service; let us be content to be as scullions, porters, insignificant attendants in His household, leaving it to Him if He should hereafter see fit to call us to His own council chamber. Of a truth, my child, the King of Glory does not reward His servants according to the dignity of their office, but according to the humility and love with which they have exercised it. While Saul was seeking his father's asses, he found the kingdom of Israel: 1 Rebecca watering Abraham's camels, became his son's wife: 2 Ruth gleaning after Boaz' reapers,
and lying down at his feet, was raised up to become his bride. 3 Those who pretend to such great and extraordinary graces are very liable to delusions and mistakes, so that sometimes it turns out that people who aspire to be angels are
not ordinarily good men, and that their goodness lies more in high-flown words than in heart and deed. But we must beware of despising or presumptuously condemning anything. Only, while thanking God for the pre-eminence of others,
let us abide contentedly in our own lower but
(136) safer path,--a path of less distinction, but more suitable to our lowliness, resting satisfied that if we walk steadily and faithfully therein, God will lift us up to greater things.

1 1. Sam. ix. 2 Gen. xxiv. 3 Ruth ii., iii.

 _______________

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE DEVOUT LIFE, SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES:

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

 

 

 

PRAYERS FOR THE DAY

MORNING PRAYER
AFTERNOON PRAYER
EVENING PRAYER

 

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

 

It’s Official: John Paul II and John XXIII to Be Canonized (CATHOLIC REGISTER)

CANNONIZATION ON APRIL 27TH, SUNDAY OF DIVINE MERCY

Pope Francis approves decree on the second miracle attributed to John Paul’s intercession, and in an unusual move, he approves a ‘favorable vote’ for John XXIII’s sainthood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRAYER OF INTERCESSION TO BLESSED JOHN PAUL II AND BLESSED JOHN XXIII.

Blessed Pope John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII, you spent your lives 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:

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

   SEE:  EWTN  Biography on Pope John Paul II

POPE JOHN XXIII SUMMARY ON WIKIPEDIA

 

MARIAN PRAYERSS

 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 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.

  Catholic Spiritual Direction

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EWTN BIOGRAPHY of Joseph Ratzinger, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI

 

EWTN BIOGRAPHY
OF
POPE FRANCIS

 

 

 

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