Tuesday, December 15, 2020

When St. Francis Levitated and other Wonders.

In The Little Flowers of St. Francis we read:

And from thenceforward, because he continued always in prayer, St. Francis began, more often than heretofore, to taste the sweetness of Divine contemplation; whereby he was ofttimes so rapt in God that he was seen by his companions raised up in the air from the ground and rapt from out of himself.

And further on:

From a certain hour Brother Leo commenced to scrutinize and to consider the actions of St. Francis, with great purity and goodwill; and, by reason of his purity, he merited to behold how many a time and oft St. Francis was rapt in God and uplifted from the ground, sometimes for the space of 4 and a half feet, sometimes of six feet and sometimes even to the height of the beech-tree; and sometimes he beheld him raised so high in the air, and surrounded by such radiance, that scarcely could he see him.

And what did this simple friar do when St. Francis was so little raised above the ground that he could reach him? He went softly and embraced his feet and kissed them with tears, saying: "My God, have mercy upon me a sinner; and, for the merits of this holy man, grant me to find Thy grace." And, one time among the rest, while Brother Leo stood thus beneath the feet of St. Francis, when he was so far uplifted from the ground, that he could not touch him, he beheld a scroll inscribed with letters of gold descend from heaven and rest above the head of St. Francis, upon the which scroll these words were written: "QUI È LA GRAZIA DI DIO—Here is the grace of God"; and, after that he had read it, he saw it return again to heaven. (Adapted from The Little Flowers of St. Francis, Second Consideration on the Stigmata.)

By Terry Nelson:  upyourstreet.blogspot.com
By Terry Nelson at upyourstreet.blogspot.com


How Francis, like another Moses, brought water out of a rock.

Once when the blessed Francis wanted to go to a certain hermitage that he might devote himself more freely to contemplation, he obtained a donkey from a certain peasant to ride on, because he was feeling a little weak from lack of sleep, since he had spent the whole night in prayer. Since it was summer, the peasant, following the man of God up the mountain, became fatigued from the difficulty and the length of the trip; and before they had reached the place, he collapsed exhausted by a burning thirst. He called after the saint and begged him to have pity on him; he said he would die unless he would be refreshed by some drink. The holy man of God, who always had compassion on those who were suffering, got down without delay from the donkey and kneeling upon the ground, he stretched his hands toward heaven; and he did not let up in his prayers until he felt he had been heard. “Hurry,” he said to the peasant, “and you will find living water over there, which Christ has just now mercifully brought from that rock for you to drink.”

O how astounding is the condescension of God which readily inclines him to help his servants! The peasant drank the water, that came from the rock by the power of him who had prayed, and he drew drink from the hardest rock. There had never been a flow of water there before, and, as diligent search has proved, none could be found there afterwards. Why should we wonder that a man who is full of the Holy Spirit should show forth in himself the wonderful deeds of all the just? For, to a man who is joined with Christ by the gift of a special grace it is not something great if he does things similar to the things that have been done by other saints. (Adapted from 2 Celano Chapter 17, no. 46)

How St. Francis, like Our Lord, changed water into wine.

In St. Bonaventure’s biography we read:

At another time, when the servant of God was afflicted by a very grievous sickness, at the hermitage of Saint Urban, and, feeling his strength failing, had asked for a draft of wine, answer was made him that there was no wine there that could be brought unto him; whereupon he bade that water should be brought, and, when brought, he blessed it, making the sign of the Cross over it. At once that which had been pure water became excellent wine, and that which the poverty of the lonely place could not provide was obtained by the purity of the holy man. Tasting thereof, he forthwith so easily recovered his strength as that the new flavor and the renewed health, by the sense of taste and by the miracle renewing him that tasted, attested, with twofold witness, his perfect laying aside of the old man and putting on of the new. (St. Bonaventure Major Life, Chap. V no. 10.)

Celano’s biography adds: For thus did the glorious father Francis, walking in the way of obedience and embracing perfectly the yoke of obedience to God, acquire great dignity in the sight of God in that creatures obeyed him. For even water was turned into wine for him, when on one occasion he was grievously ill at the hermitage of St. Urban. At the taste of it he became well so easily that it was thought to be a miracle by all, as it really was. And truly he is a saint whom creatures obey in this way, and at whose nod the elements change themselves to other uses. (1 Celano Chapter 21, no. 61.)

How Francis freed the people of Greccio from wolves and hail.

Francis liked to stay at the brothers’ place at Greccio, both because he saw that it was rich by reason of its poverty and because he could give himself more freely to heavenly things in a more secluded cell hewn from a projecting rock. It happened, however, that the inhabitants were being annoyed by many evils, for a pack of ravening wolves was devouring not only animals but even men, and every year hail storms were devastating the fields and vineyards. One day, while he was preaching to them, Francis said: "To the honor and glory of Almighty God, hear the truth I announce to you. If every one of you confesses his sins and brings forth fruits befitting repentance, I give you my word that every pestilence will depart and the Lord, looking kindly upon you, will grant you an increase of temporal goods. But hear this also: again I announce to you that if you are ungrateful for his gifts and return to your vomit, the plague will be renewed, your punishment will be doubled, and even greater wrath will be let loose against you."

It happened, therefore, by the merits and prayers of the holy father, that from that hour the destruction ceased, the dangers passed, and neither the wolves nor the hailstorms caused any further damage. Moreover, what is greater still, if any hail came over the fields of their neighbors, it either stopped short when it got near the borders of their lands or turned aside to some other region. Now that they had peace, they were multiplied exceedingly and filled beyond measure with temporal goods. But prosperity did what it usually does: their faces were covered with grossness and the fat of temporal things; or rather, they were blinded with dung. In the end, relapsing into even worse things, they forgot God who saved them. But not with impunity, for the censure of divine justice punishes those who lapse into sin less severely than those who relapse. The anger of God was aroused against them and the evils that had departed returned, and over and above, there was added the sword of man and a heaven-sent sickness consumed very many of them; eventually the whole town was burned up in avenging flames. Of a truth, it is just that they who turn their backs upon the benefit they have received come to destruction. (2 Celano Chapter 7, no. 35.)


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Friday, December 4, 2020

Citizen’s Prayer to St. Michael.

Please hold the forces of public order against the crimes of evil men. 

"Please protect us, St. Michael the Archangel, against violence, murder and robbery. In your goodness preserve us today from all the malice of sinful and wicked men. In your sleepless vigilance watch over the safety and welfare of our homes, and keep guard over our possessions. Ever hold in your special care, most triumphant St. Michael, the forces of public order against the crimes of evil men, and defend all honest citizens in time of peril. We ask this of you through Christ, our Lord. Amen."  (Author unknown.)

The story of the following prayer to our Blessed Mother, Queen of the Angels, is from the TIA website. 

A Bernardine Sister was shown in spirit the vast desolation caused by the devil throughout the world. At the same time, she heard the Blessed Virgin telling her it was true, Hell had been let loose upon the earth, and that the time had come to pray to her as Queen of Angels and to ask of her the assistance of the Heavenly Legions to fight against these deadly foes of God and of men. “But, my good Mother,” she replied, “you who are so kind, could you not send them without our asking?” “No,” Our Lady answered, “because prayer is one of the conditions required by God Himself for obtaining favors.” Then the Blessed Virgin communicated the following prayer, bidding her to have it printed and distribute it gratis. 

“August Queen of Heaven, sovereign Mistress of the Angels, who didst receive from the beginning the mission and the power to crush the serpent’s head, we beseech thee to send thy holy angels, that under thy command and by thy power, they may pursue the evil spirits, encounter them on every side, resist their bold attacks, and drive them hence into the abyss of woe. Most holy Mother, send thy angels to defend us and to drive the cruel enemy from us. All ye holy angels and archangel, help and defend us. Amen. 

O good and tender Mother! Thou shalt ever be our Love and our Hope. Holy Angels and Archangels, keep and defend us. Amen” 


St. Michael prayer from the EWTN website: 

"St. Michael the Archangel,  defend us in battle.  Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.  May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,  and do thou,  O Prince of the heavenly hosts,  by the power of God,  thrust into hell Satan,  and all the evil spirits,  who prowl about the world  seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. 

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." 


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Saturday, November 14, 2020

Jesus, Mary, I Love You! Save Souls!

Be calm! And pray “Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!” This should be part of a continuous, unceasing act of love. The Lord taught this prayer to Venerable Consolata Betrone, who was a spiritual daughter of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Jesus also said to Consolata: “If the soul can keep calm, then she will remain master of herself; but if she is perturbed, then it is easy for her to fall. . . Never let yourself become perturbed, never never! For when you become perturbed, the devil is content; then his victory will be assured.” 
The beautiful prayer “Jesus, Mary I Love You! Save souls!” was revealed through locutions to Sister Consolata, who received her heavenly reward in 1946. In 2019 the Church declared her Venerable Maria Consolata Betrone. She considered herself a spiritual daughter of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, of the Child Jesus, the “Little Flower.” In 1929 she entered a convent of the Poor Clares at Torino, Italy, where she began to hear the voice of Jesus. The Lord told Consolata that in her He has found someone even more little than St. Thérèse, who in her diary had referred to an “even smaller one” than herself. St. Thérèse had written: “I feel that if you found a soul weaker and littler than Mine, you would be pleased to grant it still greater favors, provided it abandoned itself with total confidence to your infinite mercy.” 
The Lord told Consolata, “Well, I have found that still weaker soul who has abandoned herself with complete faith to My infinite mercy: it is you, Consolata, and through you I will perform marvels which will far exceed your fondest desires!” She progressed along the Little Way of Love, pointed out by St. Thérèse, the way of spiritual childhood. Often, in the intellectual visions by which she was favored, Jesus would press her to His heart, and she would see herself as a very young child. 
She felt called to increase her love for Jesus, and would try to think and act with this end in mind. However, sometimes she would lose herself in trifles. But the Lord told her: “You trouble yourself about many things; but only one thing is necessary, to love Me.” In 1931 Jesus asked her to make a vow to offer him a continuous act of love. In her diary, she wrote, “I promise Thee to live for love from today on and until my last breath, offering Thee one unceasing act of love, accomplishing everything with love, and searching for nothing but love!” And also, “Yes, an unceasing act of love! That alone and nothing else; for love is everything, and in the practice of this love all other virtues are practiced.” 
But the enemy of souls was not asleep. One day a voice pretending to be divine foretold that she would have to endure pains, sorrows and sufferings, and accused her of having done nothing for souls. She was overcome by a violent emotion, but she rejected that voice, abandoned herself to the divine will, and regained her inner peace. “I soon discovered the enemy's trick by which he had hoped to draw me away from my simple way of love.” 

On the feast day of St. Joseph in 1935, Consolata was made privy to a great revelation concerning the sanctity of the foster father of Our Lord, which astounded and deeply moved her. But she humbly turned to Jesus, and asked Him why He tells her these things, she who can do nothing. Why does he not reveal them to great personages who might be able to do so much? Jesus simply replied, “To the little ones I tell everything. Do you understand Consolata? . . . I tell everything to little souls; they deprive Me of nothing; they direct all praise, honor, and glory to Me alone”. He also told her, “To little souls I concede everything! You deny Me nothing, so I deny you nothing!” 
As to her diary, He told her “And besides, you are so little that you are content to write it all down, and it is My wish that you should put everything in writing, and so I can tell you everything.” A little later He added, “If I ask you to write it down, it is because My words will bear much fruit. My reasoning may at times seem childish to you, but that is because I adapt My words to you who are so little; but remember that any word of Mine is spirit, is light!” 
Regarding chastisements, He told Consolata, “Do not think the sorrowful conditions on earth do not move Me; but I love souls; I wish them to be saved; and in order to achieve My end, I am constrained to be severe; but believe Me, I do it out of mercy! During times of abundance souls forget Me and are lost; in times of distress they turn to Me and save themselves. That is indeed the way it happens!” Another time He said, “The world is going to its ruin, but I wish to save it. . . Satan also swore he would ruin the world, and I vowed I would save it; and I will save it through the triumph of My mercy and My love. Yes, I will save the world through My merciful love! Write this down!” He added: “Do not make Me out a God of rigor, whereas I am naught but a God of love! . . . You see, My Heart needs to be comforted; it wishes to dispense mercy, not justice.” This is precisely the mission of Consolata, to point out to the world the limitless mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to all souls. 
The saying, “honor God with your confidence” was repeated many times by Jesus and also by the heavenly Father, in their instructions to her. If confidence is lost, the soul will become perturbed in trials; instead of doing battle, the soul will retreat instead of advancing. “If the soul can keep calm, then she will remain master of herself; but if she is perturbed, then it is easy for her to fall. . . Never let yourself become perturbed, never never! For when you become perturbed, the devil is content; then his victory will be assured.” The Lord did not want Consolata to place any limits on her confidence in Him. He told her never to fear anything, but to trust solely and completely in Him. She wrote: “I repeat that a bridge has been thrown across from this maiden to the Heart of God: limitless confidence!” 
But it was her love that He desired most of all. “Consolata, love Me on behalf of each and every one of My creatures, of each and every heart that exists. I thirst so much for love!” He told her that when she loves Him continuously, He enjoys heaven in her heart. He implored Consolata, “Ask from Me love, the triumph of My love over you and over every soul who is now on earth or who will ever exist until the end of time. By means of unceasing prayer, prepare for the triumph of My Heart and of My love throughout the earth!” The coming of His love would be like a new Pentecost, to cleanse humanity from its sinfulness. “Consolata, love Me on behalf of all, and through your prayer and your immolation, prepare the world for the coming of My love!” 

On the prayer of love, Consolata writes, “At the beginning it was: Jesus, I love Thee! Later He desired me to add: Jesus, Mary, I love you! And finally He wanted it completed thus: Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!” The Lord told her: “You must live in self-effacement and enveloped in one single and continual 'Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!' Nothing else! No one and nothing else must exist for you, only the act of love!” He asked her to observe a rigorous silence, and not to speak a single sentence unless it was necessary to make a reply. Jesus would take care of everything in her daily life, she had only to concentrate on making the continuous act of love. 
This unceasing act of love was the cross that Jesus gave to Consolata. “I give you as your cross never to lose one single 'Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!' But I also give you the grace to carry this cross faithfully until your dying day.” “You must know that it is a very fruitful one – the cross of love is more fruitful than any other cross for Me and for souls.” All that was left was for Consolata to offer herself as a victim of love, and she did so at the request of the Lord. On the eve of First Friday in December, 1935, He prepared her for her consecration as a victim soul. “You must love Me always and accept all consequences, but never interrupt the act of love! I know that this will gradually consume and immolate My Consolata . . . That is what it means to be a victim of love!” 
The next morning, Jesus carried out this consecration. “This day do I consecrate you as a victim of love. I do not wound you with a dart, but I inflame you in silence. Now you can no longer interrupt your act of love even if you wished to. What time is left you to live from today to your last hour, is united with this unceasing act of love. Believe Me, with that you give Me everything!” 
Sister Consolata attained her heavenly reward on July 18, 1946, at the age of only 43, afflicted with tuberculosis. 
The facts in this post are from Jesus Appeals to the World, by Fr. Lorenzo Sales, I.M.C.
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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Invoking the Holy Wounds of Christ for the triumph of the Church.

Invoking the Holy Wounds of Christ for the triumph of the Church, as revealed to the mystic of the Holy Wounds, Mary Martha Chambon.

The triumph of the Church will come from offering the Holy Wounds of Jesus, and through His Immaculate Mother, but it will not be a visible triumph. "They do not know what is demanded in asking its triumph... My Church will never triumph visibly."

The following account is taken from the pamphlet that initially made public the graces granted to Sister Mary Martha Chambon (Imprimatur, 1923):

Our Lord often renewed to Sister Mary Martha the promise of the triumph of the Holy Church through the power of His Wounds and of the Immaculate Virgin: "My daughter, perform your charge well, which is to offer My divine Wounds to My Eternal Father, because from them must come the triumph of the Church, which will come to pass through My Immaculate Mother." But from the beginning our Lord anticipated every illusion and ambiguity. There could be no question of the material, visible triumph which was the dream of some. Never will the waves flow with perfect docility about the barque of Peter; one may sometimes tremble at the fury of their agitation... To struggle, always to struggle, is a law of the life of the Church: "They do not know what is demanded in asking its triumph... My Church will never triumph visibly." However, through all the struggles and anguish there is accomplished in the Church, and by the Church, the work of our Lord Jesus Christ: the salvation of the world.

The work of our Lord Jesus Christ is accomplished all the better, as prayer - which has its place in the divine plan, more urgently implores the help of heaven. And surely heaven is specially moved when invoked in the name of the redeeming Wounds. Jesus frequently insists: "The invocations of the holy Wounds will obtain an incessant victory for the Church." "You must incessantly draw from these Sources for the triumph of My Church."

"My good Master, it is a long time since you told me to do this ... and the triumph comes not!" she exclaimed in her usual simplicity. "My daughter," answered our benign Savior, "you should be well satisfied that there is not more chastisement, - you restrain My arm. I promise to give the triumph, but little by little." And the Holy Founder came [a vision of St. Francis de Sales] to complete the lesson of the Master: "Even though our Lord promises the triumph through Mary Immaculate, you must not relax in prayer and the offering of the holy Wounds."

At the period of a great persecution of the Church, Sister Mary Martha often asked Jesus to cover the Sovereign Pontiff with the protection of His holy Wounds. This prayer was very pleasing to our Lord. He caused our Sister to see that grace super-abounded over the Holy Father Pius IX, and that the prayers of the Community had greatly contributed to it: "A special grace was imparted to him from My Wounds." Towards the end of 1867, our Lord revealed to her that "His Holiness would have still more to suffer, he would have no more peace, but, thanks to prayer, he would be maintained in the Holy See in tribulation."

It is plain that our Lord wishes no illusion. However, this does not prevent Him from requiring constant prayers: "I wish the Community to be the support of the Holy See by prayer and above all by the invocation of My holy Wounds. You will thus oppose a barrier to its enemies.” Nor from expressing His satisfaction for the prayers offered: "I am contented with the prayers of the Community for the support of the Church. You will have an extra degree of glory for having been good soldiers of the Holy Father. You will always have occasion to be so, and you must pray much for the Holy Church." Nor from giving assurance of a protection against which nothing could prevail: "Whilst guarded by My Wounds there is nothing to be feared either for yourself or the Church. Should this benefit fail you would then understand what you possess.”

The booklet that made public the revelations to Mary Martha Chambon can be read Here. The primary invocations taught by Jesus are two: “Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to heal those of our souls,” (on the large beads). “My Jesus, pardon and mercy, by the merits of Thy holy Wounds,” (on the small beads). They can be prayed as the Rosary of the Holy Wounds (indulgenced), as explained in the pamphlet. The booklet was later greatly expanded into a book by the Visitation Sisters (Imprimatur 1928). This book was excellently translated from the French in 2019, Mysticof the Holy Wounds, the Life and Revelations of Sister Mary MarthaChambon.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Holy Father, St. Francis did not teach subjection to other religions.

As the author of St. Francis of Assisi and the Conversion of the Muslims, I would be remiss if I remained silent, if by such silence it should seem that I consent to what is alleged in the papal encyclical Fratelli Tutti. St. Francis of Assisi did not preach a passive Christianity that must show a humble subjection to those of other faiths. This idea of subjection is taken completely out of context from the Franciscan Rule of 1221, which is the source cited by the encyclical. However, the encyclical does properly underscore the fact that St. Francis did not want his friars to directly criticize or oppose the tenets of the Muslim religion.

Paragraph 3 of the encyclical states:

Unconcerned for the hardships and dangers involved, Francis went to meet the Sultan with the same attitude that he instilled in his disciples: if they found themselves “among the Saracens and other nonbelievers”, without renouncing their own identity they were not to “engage in arguments or disputes, but to be subject to every human creature for God’s sake”.[3] In the context of the times, this was an extraordinary recommendation. We are impressed that some eight hundred years ago Saint Francis urged that all forms of hostility or conflict be avoided and that a humble and fraternal “subjection” be shown to those who did not share his faith.

The footnote indicated by [3] refers to the Franciscan Rule of 1221. The quote given is that Franciscans were “to be subject to every human creature for God's sake.” However, the last part of the sentence is omitted, which states, “. . . and confess themselves to be Christians.” However this is a minor omission compared to what follows. The Rule actually proposes two ways that the friars can conduct themselves among unbelievers. The first is what is presented in the encyclical. The second and most important way is completely ignored, for obvious reasons. The second way is that they should announce the word of God to unbelievers, even at the risk of their own lives, “so that they may be baptized and become Christians.”

The encyclical instead focuses entirely on the first recommendation, and alleges that St. Francis urged that his friars should humbly subject themselves and their Christianity to those who did not share the Catholic Faith. This is a total mis-representation of the intentions of St. Francis. This subjection, or the first way of meeting unbelievers, primarily applied to any brothers who were neither inclined, nor called, nor ready to preach the faith at the risk of martyrdom.

It is in the second way that true Franciscanism shines, when courageous Christian men of the Friars Minor willingly risked death or torture in order to preach Jesus Christ and the Catholic Faith to unbelievers. Five hundred Franciscans have been martyred for the Faith in the Holy Land – are we to ignore their memory? However, rather than continuing with my own words, you can decide for yourself. Quoted below is the relevant section of the Rule of 1221; Chapter XVI On traveling among Saracens and other infidels, from pages 87-88 of my book:

The Lord says: "Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be prudent as snakes and simple as doves." (Matthew 10:16). Whence let whatever friar wants to go among the Saracens and other infidels, go in accord with the permission of his minister and servant. And let the minister give them permission and not forbid them, if he has seen that they are suitable to be sent; for he will be bound to render an account to the Lord (cf. Luke 16:2), if in this or in other things he will have proceed(ed) indiscreetly. Indeed the friars, who go, can conduct themselves spiritually among them in two manners. One manner is, that they cause no arguments or strife, but be subject "to every human creature for God's sake" (1 Peter 2:13) and confess themselves to be Christians. The other manner is, that, when they have seen that it pleases God, they announce the word of God, so that they may believe in God the Omnipotent, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, the Creator of all things, (and) in the Redeemer and Savior, the Son, and that they may be baptized and become Christians, because "he who has not been reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, cannot enter the Kingdom of God." (cf. John 3:5). These things and others, which have pleased the Lord, they can say to them and to others, because the Lord says in the Gospel: "Every man, who confesses Me before men, him I will confess also before My Father, who is in Heaven." (Matthew 10:32). And: "He who is ashamed of Me and My discourses, of him the Son of man will also be ashamed, when He will have come in His Father's majesty and (that) of the Angels." (cf. Luke 9:26).

And let all the friars, wherever they are, remember, that they have given themselves and surrendered their bodies to the Lord Jesus Christ. And on behalf of His love (amor) they ought to confront their enemies both visible and invisible; because the Lord says: "He who will have lost his life for My sake, shall save it (cf. Luke 9:24) for eternal life." (Matthew 25:46). "Blessed are those who suffer persecution on account of justice, since theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matthew 5:10). "If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you also." (John 15:20). And: If they persecute you "in one city, flee to another." (cf. Matthew 10:23). "Blessed are you" (Matthew 5:11), "when men have hated you" (Luke 6:22) "and cursed you" and do persecute you (cf. Matthew 5:11) "and have separated you and reproached you and cast your name out as evil," (Luke 6:22) "and when they have said every evil against you, lying, on account of Me." (Matthew 5:11). "Rejoice on that day and exult" (Luke 6:23), "since your wage is great in heaven" (cf. Luke 12:4), and I "say to you My friends, do not be afraid of them" (cf. Luke 12:4), "and do not fear those who kill the body" (Matthew 10:28) "and after that have nothing more to do." (Luke 12:4). "See, that you are not disturbed." (Matthew 24:6). · For "in your patience you shall possess your souls" (Luke 21:19), · and the one who "will have persevered until the end, he shall be saved." (Matthew 10:22; 24:13).

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Friday, September 25, 2020

St. Pionius, martyr, burned alive in 250 AD.

As he was led to the executioner, St. Pionius was taunted and urged to worship the pagan gods by the idolators. They tempted him by mentioning the many compromised Catholics had given in to the Roman threats of torture, or were unable to withstand the torture itself. The saint replied: “Each one is master of his own will.” Among these fallen Christians was the Roman Catholic Bishop Eudæmon, Bishop of Smyrna, who had apostatized from the Faith and offered sacrifice to the false gods, to obey the edict of the Emperor. What is the analogy to today's Church almost 2000 years later, when we are not ordered to sacrifice to pagan gods? I think it would be the apostasy of bishops and clerics who falsely proclaim that Catholics may vote in good conscience for those who promote the heartless destruction and sacrifice of human babies during all nine months and even after birth, as long as that is not the reason they are voting for them!

St. Pionius was a priest of the church of Smyrna; he was exceedingly learned, and inflamed with the love of Jesus Christ, and a zeal for the conversion of souls, which was successfully exercised in the conversion of many infidels and abandoned sinners. In his time, that is, about the year 250, the persecution of Decius was raging, and the saint by continual prayer prepared himself for martyrdom, in case such should be his lot. One day, as he was engaged in prayer with Asclepiades and Sabina, two pious Christians, it was revealed to them that, on the day following, they would be arrested for the faith; they therefore made an offering of their lives to Jesus Christ, and placed halters about their necks in order to signify to the soldiers that they were ready to undergo martyrdom.

On the following morning, Palemon, the guardian of the temple, came with a troop of soldiers, and said to them: “Are ye aware of the orders of the emperor, that ye are all to sacrifice to the gods of the empire?” Pionius answered: “That which we know is the order of God—which is, not to sacrifice to any but himself, the sovereign Lord of all.” Upon this reply they were all arrested and led into a great square, where St. Pionius, turning to the enemies of the faith, said that they were vainly rejoicing on account of the apostasy of some few bad Christians, and protested that no species of torture would ever compel him to adore those whom they impiously called gods. 

St. Pionius
St. Pionius

Palemon said to him: “And why wilt thou, Pionius, regardless of life, deprive thyself of the beauteous light of the day which thou enjoyest?” The saint replied: “This light is beauteous, but there is another light more glorious, and a life more estimable, to which Christians aspire.” The people called upon him to sacrifice, but he answered: “Our resolve is to persevere in the faith.” The people desired that the saint should speak in the theatre, in order that they might all hear him conveniently, but some told Palemon that if he gave him liberty to speak, a tumult might follow; he therefore said to Pionius: “If thou wilt not sacrifice, come with us at least to the temple.” The saint said: “Our entrance into your temple cannot benefit your gods.” “Then,” said Palemon, “thou wilt not be persuaded?” Pionius replied: “Would to God I could persuade ye all to become Christians. Some of the idolaters exclaimed: “Thou canst never induce us to that; we would rather be burned alive.” The saint re-joined: “But it will be worse for you to burn eternally after death.”

Palemon, who was anxious to save the life of Pionius, ceased not to importune him; but the saint resolutely answered: “Thou hast orders to persuade or to punish me; thou canst not persuade, therefore punish.” Hereupon Palemon, being enraged, asked: “But why wilt thou not sacrifice?” Pionius: “Because I am a Christian.” Palemon: “What is the God whom thou adorest?” Pionius: “I adore the Almighty God, who, having made all things, created us also, as I have learned from Jesus Christ.” Palemon: “Sacrifice to the emperor at least.” Pionius: “I shall never sacrifice to a man.” The judge then judicially inquired his name, and to what church he belonged. The saint replied: “I am a Christian, and belong to the Catholic Church.” His companions gave the same answer, and they were all sent to prison.

On the road thither, some of the idolaters observed that many Christians had sacrificed. The saint answered: “Each one is master of his own will: my name is Pionius.” By this he meant to encourage the others to imitate his example, and remain constant in the faith. When they came to the prison, many Christians offered them refreshments, but Pionius said: “I have not time to think of anything but the martyrdom which awaits me.” The guards, seeing so many Christians coming to visit the saint, brought him and his companions to a more remote and obscure place, for which they gave thanks to God, as their more solitary confinement enabled them to commune more freely with God. Notwithstanding the change, however, many Christians, who had abandoned the faith on account of the violence of the torments, came to Pionius, who wept over their fall, and exhorted them to do penance, and hope for pardon, through the mercy of Jesus Christ.

Palemon then arrived with a troop of soldiers, and orders from the proconsul to take the confessors to Ephesus. The saint desired to see the order, but the commanding officer put a halter round his neck, and dragged him so violently as almost to suffocate him. He was thus led to the square; and when the martyrs arrived at the temple, they cast themselves on the ground in order not to enter, but the soldiers dragged them in, and placed them erect before the impious altar. They there met Eudæmon, the unhappy Bishop of Smyrna, who had miserably sacrificed to the gods, and the idolaters vainly hoped that they might be moved by his example to prevaricate also. One of the idolaters wished to place on the head of St. Pionius a crown which had been worn by one of the apostates, but the saint broke it in pieces, and cast it from him. Not knowing what to do to pervert the confessors, they brought them back to prison, and while Pionius was entering, one of the soldiers smote him on the head. The saint bore it with patience, but God chastised his assailant by causing not only his hand but his side to become swollen and inflamed, so that he could not breathe. 

St. Pionius is burned alive.

After some days, the proconsul arrived at Smyrna, and having summoned Pionius, asked him to what sect he belonged. The saint replied: “I am a priest of the Catholic Church.” The proconsul re-joined: “Then art thou a doctor and a professor of folly.” Pionius: “No. but of piety.” Proconsul: “And of what piety?” Pionius: “Of that piety which has for its object the God who made heaven and earth.” The proconsul then commanded him to sacrifice, but the saint replied: “I have learned to adore one only living God.” The tyrant then ordered him to be tortured, during which having in vain importuned him to sacrifice, he finally condemned him to be burned.

In proceeding to the place of execution, St. Pionius walked quickly and with joyous countenance; having arrived at the place, he undressed without assistance, and offered himself to be nailed to the stake, after which the pagans exclaimed: “Repent, O Pionius; promise to obey, and thou shalt be saved.” But he replied: “I have not felt the pain of the nails; I desire to die, that the people may know that death shall be followed by resurrection.” The pile having been fired, the saint closed his eyes, so that the spectators thought he was already dead, but he was only praying; he opened his eyes, and having concluded the prayer with the usual “Amen,” placidly gave up the ghost, saying: “Lord Jesus, receive my soul.” The end of his companions is not upon record, but it is piously believed that they also received the crown of martyrdom.

From Victories of the Martyrs, by St. Alphonsus de Liguori.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Power Prayers

Power Prayers from the Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great.

Taken from the “Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great.” Written in part by St. Gertrude herself, largely compiled by the religious of her monastery, with other sources.

Ah!” exclaimed St. Gertrude, “teach me, O best of teachers, how to perform even one action perfectly in memory of Thy Passion.” Our Lord replied, “When you are praying, extend your arms to represent the manner in which I extended mine to God my Father in My Passion; and do this for the salvation of every member of the Church, in union with the love with which I stretched out My arms upon the cross.” “If I do this,” she replied, “I must hide myself hide myself in a corner, for it is far from being customary.” Our Lord replied, “If anyone prays thus with his hands extended, without fear of contradiction, he pays Me the same honor as one would do who solemnly enthroned a king.”    Life of St. Gertrude; Part 4, Chapter 13.

The Apostles and Evangelist St. John appeared to this virgin as she prayed one day during Advent. He was clothed in a gold-colored habit, covered with golden eagles; which signified that, though this Saint was elevated to the highest contemplation, even while in the body, he always sought to humble himself by the consideration of his own unworthiness. He had also two golden lilies on his two shoulders. On the right was written, in marvelous characters, the words of the Gospel Discipulus quem diligebat Jesus (The disciple whom Jesus loved); and on the left, Iste custos Virginis (This is the guardian of the Virgin); to mark the singular advantage which he enjoyed of being called, and of being, the disciple whom Jesus loved above the rest of His Apostles, and of having been found worthy by Christ Himself to receive from Him the charge of His Mother before He expired, on account of his surpassing purity.

Then St. Gertrude said to our Lord: “O most loving Lord, why is Thy beloved one manifested to a creature so unworthy as I am” Our Lord answered: “I have done this that he may be united to you by a special friendship; and as you have no apostle, I have appointed him to be ever your faithful advocate with Me in heaven.” “Teach me, then, my sweetest Lord,” she replied, “how I can show my gratitude to him.” Our Lord answered: “If any person says a Pater Noster daily in honor of this Apostle, reminding him of the sweet fidelity with which his heart was filled when I taught this prayer, he will not fail to obtain for whoever prays thus the grace of persevering faithfully in virtue, even to the end of his life.”    Life; Part 4 Chapter 4. 


By Miguel Cabrera, Mexico

There is infinitely more merit in meditating attentively on the Passion of Jesus than in any other exercise.”

As this Saint touched the crucifix devoutly, she learned that if any one only looks on the image of the cross of Jesus Christ with a holy intention, God regards him with such goodness and mercy, that he receives in his soul, as in a spotless mirror, an image which is so agreeable that the whole court of heaven delights therein; and this serves to increase his eternal glory in the life to come in proportion as he has practiced this act of devotion in this life.

On another occasion she learned that when any one turns towards a crucifix, he ought to persuade himself that our Lord speaks thus lovingly to his heart: “Behold how, for your love, I have been fastened to this cross, naked, despised, torn and wounded in My Body, and in all My members; and still My Heart has such tender charity for you, that were it necessary for your salvation, and were there no other means of saving you, I would even at this moment suffer for you alone all that I have suffered for the whole world.” By this reflection man ought to excite himself to gratitude, because it never happens that any one looks at a crucifix without a particular providence. There is no Christian, therefore, who is not guilty, if he is so ungrateful as to neglect the adorable price of his salvation, since we can never look at a crucifix thoughtfully without receiving great benefit thereby.

On another occasion, as she was occupied in considering the Passion of our Lord, it was made known to her that there is infinitely more merit in meditating attentively on the Passion of Jesus than in any other exercise. For as it is impossible to handle flour without attaching it to yourself, so also is it impossible to meditate devoutly on the Passion of the Lord without deriving great fruit thereby. And when any one reads anything concerning the Passion, they at least dispose their souls to receive the fruit of it, as it is more meritorious to meditate on it than on any subject. Let us, then, endeavor to reflect constantly on it, that it may be honey to your lips, music to our ears, and joy to our hearts.   Life; Part 3, Chapter 34.

From The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great available online Here.

The following efficacious prayer which is traditionally associated with St. Gertrude is not in the above book. She did produce other works, but most have been lost.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen.”

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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Do some of the looters and rioters seem possessed?

Do some of the looters and rioters seem possessed? The cure of the possessed child by Jesus offers some insights and observations on the actions of the evil spirit; from an ancient spiritual manual.

“He 'throws them to the ground' by making them fix their affection on earthly things. He makes them foam at the mouth and gnash their teeth, by inducing them to make use of foul and unbecoming language. He throws them into the fires of concupiscence . . .”

           The Possessed Child. (See below, St. Mark 9: 16-28).

A. Reflect on the great tyranny which the devil exercises on the bodies of those whom God permits him to possess. In the case of the possessed child, he threw him to the ground, made him foam at the mouth, cast him often into the fire, and often into the water. If he is so tormenting in this life, what will he be in the next? In this world his hands are tied, but in the next he has complete possession of the poor sinner. Of this terrifying reign in hell the prophet says, The streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the ground thereof into brimstone, and the land there of shall become burning pitch (Isa. 34:9).

B. The devil exercises a similar power in this world over sinners who are subject to him. He makes them inconstant like the moon in their resolutions of reforming. He renders them deaf to the inspirations of God and dumb in his praises. He 'throws them to the ground' by making them fix their affection on earthly things. He makes them foam at the mouth and gnash their teeth, by inducing them to make use of foul and unbecoming language. He throws them into the fires of concupiscence, and extinguishes every kindling spark of virtue by throwing them into the watery gulfs of worldly pleasures. Follow the advice of St. Paul and be one of those who recover themselves from the snare of the devil, to whose will they are held captive (2 Tim. 2:26).

C. The possessed child was presented first to the Apostles, but they could not cure him. We too should have recourse to every human means before expecting a miracle from God. The disciples were not permitted to cure this youth probably to increase and preserve their humility. Cherish this virtue, and say with the pious David, It is good for me that thou hast humbled me, that I may learn thy justifications (Ps. 118:71).

D. When Christ was requested to cure this youth He scolded the disciples for their unbelief. O unbelieving generation, how long shall I put up with you (Mark 9:18). Learn from this how hateful are unbelief and obstinacy in the sight of God. When the possessed child was brought before Him, the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell down on the ground, and rolled about foaming at the mouth (Mark 9:19). How bold and insolent is this infernal spirit even in the presence of Christ. Do not, therefore, wonder if he assails you during your most sacred devotions or when you approach the Sacrament of the altar.

E. The command of Christ deprived the devil of the power he had possessed over this young man from his infancy. Thou deaf and dumb spirit, I command thee, go out of him and enter him no more (Mark 9:24). O Lord, speak with the same efficacy to my soul. Observe how the devil crying out and violently convulsing him, went out of him (Mark 9:25). While he possessed this young man, he behaved more mildly toward him; but when he was forced to depart, he began to convulse him. The devil is always more spiteful when we abandon his service.

F. The boy's disease was difficult to cure, because it was inveterate and had grown with him from his infancy. If is difficult to abandon vices to which you have been long accustomed. A long sickness is troublesome to the physician (Eccl. 10:11). Christ said of this evil spirit, This kind can be cast out in no way except by prayer and fasting (Mark 9:28). Learn to appreciate the value of these spiritual weapons, and to use them successfully against the devil.

Gospel of Mark Chapter 9: 16-28.

And one of the multitude, answering, said: Master, I have brought my son to thee, having a dumb spirit. Who, wheresoever he taketh him, dasheth him, and he foameth, and gnasheth with the teeth, and pineth away; and I spoke to thy disciples to cast him out, and they could not. Who answering them, said: O incredulous generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him. And when he had seen him, immediately the spirit troubled him; and being thrown down upon the ground, he rolled about foaming. And he asked his father: How long time is it since this hath happened unto him? But he said: From his infancy:

And oftentimes hath he cast him into the fire and into waters to destroy him. But if thou canst do any thing, help us, having compassion on us. And Jesus saith to him: If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And immediately the father of the boy crying out, with tears said: I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief. And when Jesus saw the multitude running together, he threatened the unclean spirit, saying to him: Deaf and dumb spirit, I command thee, go out of him; and enter not any more into him. And crying out, and greatly tearing him, he went out of him, and he became as dead, so that many said: He is dead.

But Jesus taking him by the hand, lifted him up; and he arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples secretly asked him: Why could not we cast him out? And he said to them: This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

From Eternal Thoughts from Christ the Teacher, Volume 1, pp. 320-323, St. Paul Editions, 1961. An Old English version of this book, translated from the original Latin, was gifted to Richard Cardinal Cushing. He was so impressed by it that he rendered it into contemporary English and had it published at his own expense. The author or authors remain unknown.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

When we ask someone to pray for us...

When we ask someone to pray for us because we trust in their holiness or merits, the Lord revealed to St. Gertrude the Great that should that person neglect or forget to do so, the Lord Himself will provide the graces asked for.


From the Revelations of St.  Gertrude the Great.

Of the value and importance of recommending ourselves to the
prayers of others. 
     As the Saint prayed for a person who had requested her prayers 
with great humility, both personally and through others, she saw our
Lord approach this person, encompassing her with celestial light,
and pouring forth on her in the midst of this splendour all the graces 
which she had hoped to receive through the merits of the prayers of 
   Our Lord taught her by this, that when any one confides in the 
prayers of another, with a firm confidence that through their 
intercession they will receive grace from God, the Lord in His 
goodness pours forth His benedictions on them according to the
measure of their desires and their faith, even when he to whose
prayers they have recommended themselves neglects to pray for them.  

The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great, Part 3, Chapter 61, 
from the Internet.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Victories of the Martyrs: St. Agatha, named in the Canon of the Mass.

From Victories of the Martyrs, by St. Alphonsus Liguori.

St. Agatha, Virgin, February 5. This holy virgin and martyr is held in great veneration by the Greek as well as the Latin Church; and although her original Acts have not been preserved, many well-authenticated facts concerning her martyrdom are found in the Bollandists, Surius, and others. She was a native of Sicily, and descended of a noble and opulent family. These circumstances, added to her extraordinary beauty, inflamed Quintianus, a man of consular dignity, with such love of her, that he resolved to compel her to become his wife. 


The edicts of the emperor Decius against the Christians having been published, he ordered Agatha to be arrested as a Christian, and conducted to Catania, where he then resided. The holy virgin having heard the proclamation against the Christians, retired to a solitary place in order to avoid the snares of Quintianus, concerning which she had received some intimation. The emissaries of the governor, however, discovered her place of concealment, and after having been arrested, she prayed after the following manner: “O Jesus Christ, Lord of all things, Thou seest my heart, and knowest my desire, which is to possess only Thee, since I have consecrated myself entirely to Thee. Preserve me, dear Lord, from this tyrant, and enable me to overcome the devil, who layeth snares for my soul.”

When the saint appeared before Quintianus, in order the more easily to overcome her modesty, he gave her up to Aphrodisia, an abominable woman, who, together with her daughters, publicly professed immodesty. In her infamous house the saint suffered greater torture than the darkest and most fetid dungeon could afford. All the arts of Aphrodisia and her partners in crime were unceasingly applied, in order to induce the saint to comply with the wishes of Quintianus; but Agatha, who from her infancy had been consecrated to Jesus Christ, was enabled by his divine grace to overcome all their attempts. Quintianus, having been informed that the efforts of Aphrodisia for an entire month had been employed in vain, commanded that the saint should be again brought before him.

He upbraided her, that, being a free woman and noble, she had allowed herself to be seduced into the humble servitude of the Christians. The holy virgin courageously confessed that she was a Christian, and that she knew of no nobility more illustrious, nor liberty more real, than to be a servant of Jesus Christ. In order to give the governor to understand how infamous were the deities which he adored and desired her to worship, she asked whether he would wish that his wife should be a prostitute, like Venus, or that he himself should be considered an incestuous adulterer like Jupiter. Quintianus, irritated at her rebuke, commanded her to be buffeted and led to prison. The following day she was again summoned, and asked whether she had resolved to save her life. She replied: “God is my life and my salvation.” 

                                    St. Peter heals the wounds of St. Agatha


The governor then put her to the torture; but perceiving how little it affected her, he commanded her breasts to be lacerated, and afterwards cut off, which was executed with barbarous cruelty. Quintianus then remanded the saint to prison, commanding that her wounds should be left undressed, in order that she might expire under the torture. But at midnight St. Peter appeared to her in a vision, perfectly cured her wounds, and freed her from all pain: during the entire of that night there appeared in the interior of the prison so resplendent a light that the guards fled in terror, leaving the door of her dungeon open, so that she could have escaped, as the other prisoners advised her, but that she was unwilling, as she said, to lose by flight the crown which was being prepared for her in heaven.

Quintianus, nothing moved by her miraculous cure, but on the contrary more irritated, after four days devised new torments for the saint. He commanded that she should be rolled over broken tiles, mixed with burning coals; but she endured all with constancy; and while the tyrant was planning fresh torments, the saint, perceiving that her life was drawing to a close, made the following prayer: “O Lord, my Creator, who hast preserved me from my infancy, hast given me strength to overcome these torments, and hast taken from me the love of the world, receive now my soul. It is time that I should at last pass from this miserable life to the fruition of Thy glory.” Just as she had finished these words, she tranquilly expired, and went to be united to God, to praise him and love him forever. This happened in 251.


From the Canon of the Mass after the Consecration, the fifth remembrance.

P: To us sinners, also, Thy servants, who put our trust in the multitude of Thy mercies, vouchsafe to grant some part and fellowship with Thy holy apostles and martyrs; with John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, and with all Thy saints. Into their company do Thou, we beseech Thee, admit us, not weighing our merits, but freely pardoning our offenses: through Christ our Lord.


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