Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Pater Noster

St. Alphonsus on the Lord's Prayer.

The Church militant regards herself as entirely composed of sinners; she thinks herself unworthy to call God her Father, and to address to him the seven petitions, which in the name of the faithful she is going to address to him during Holy Mass by reciting the Pater noster, (“Our Father”):

Oremus. Prœceptis salutaribus moniti, et divina institutione formati, audemus dicere - (“Instructed by Thy saving precepts and schooled in divine teaching, we make bold to say - ” ).

Hence she protests that she only dares to address to God this prayer because God himself has commanded her to do so. She then teaches us that we may venture to present to God the seven petitions which contain the whole economy of our salvation, because it is pleasing to him and he himself gives us the command. We are so miserable, and our mind is so limited, that we do not even know what graces we should ask of God in behalf of our own salvation. Regarding our poverty and our insufficiency, Jesus Christ himself deigned to compose our prayer or to indicate the subjects on which we should address Almighty God. He instructs us to say:

Pater noster, qui es in cœlis (“Our Father, who art in heaven, etc.). The Apostle St. John says: Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called, and should be the sons of God. [1 John 3:1.] It is assuredly only by the effect of extreme love that we worms of the earth have been enabled to become the children of God, not by nature, but by adoption; and such is the immense grace that the Son of God has obtained for us by becoming man; for St. Paul says: You have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry, Abba (Father). [Rom. 8:15.] Can a subject wish for greater happiness than to be adopted by his king? Or a creature to be adopted by its Creator? This is what God has done for us; and he wishes that we should address to him with filial confidence the following prayer:

1. Sanctificetur nomem tuum (“Hallowed be Thy name”). God cannot possess a greater sanctity than that which he possesses from all eternity, because he is infinite; hence what we ask in this prayer is merely that God may make known in every place his holy name, and that he may make himself loved by all men: by unbelievers, who know him not; by heretics, who do not know him in the right manner; and by sinners, who know him but do not love him.

2. Adveniat regnum tuum (“Thy kingdom come”). Two kinds of dominion God exercises over our souls—the dominion of grace and the dominion of glory. By these words we ask for both, namely, that the grace of God may reign among us in this life, that it may direct and govern us, so that one day we may be judged worthy of glory, and may have the happiness to possess God and be possessed by him for all eternity.

3. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cœlo, et in terra (“Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”). The whole perfection of a soul consists in the perfect accomplishment of the will of God, as is done by the blessed in heaven. Hence Jesus Christ wishes us to ask the grace to accomplish the will of God upon earth, as the angels and saints accomplish it in heaven.

4. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie (“Give us this day our daily bread”). Such is the text as we find it in St. Luke, [Luke 11:3]. By this prayer we ask God for the temporal goods of which we stand in need to sustain our present life. The words “Our daily bread” teach us that we should ask for this kind of goods with moderation, after the example of Solomon, who asked only what was necessary: Give me only the necessaries of life. [Prov. 30:8.] It is to be remarked that in the Gospel of St. Matthew, instead of the daily bread, we read, Give us this day our supersubstantial bread [Matt. 6:11]. By this supersubstantial bread we must understand, according to the explanation given by the Roman catechism, Jesus Christ himself in the Sacrament of the Altar, that is, in Holy Communion. We ask this heavenly bread every day, Give us this day, because every good Christian should communicate every day, if not really at least spiritually, as we are exhorted by the Council of Trent.

5. Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris (“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us”). To eat worthily of this heavenly bread, we must be free from mortal sin, or at least be washed of it by the blood of the Lamb in the sacrament of penance. We say, free from mortal sin; but it must be observed that if anyone should communicate with an actual affection for some venial sin, he could not be said to communicate without offering some indignity to our Lord—at least if he communicates often.

6. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem (“And lead us not into temptation”). How are these words to be understood? Does God sometimes tempt us—does he lead us into temptation? No; for St. James says: God is not a tempter of evils, and He tempteth no man. [Ja. 1:13.] This text we must understand as we do that of Isaias: Blind the heart of this people . . . lest they see. [Isa. 6:10]. God never blinds any sinner, but he often refuses to grant to some, in punishment for their ingratitude, the light that he would have given them had they remained faithful and grateful. Hence when it is said that God makes any one blind, it is meant that he withholds the light of his grace. This, therefore is the sense of the prayer, and lead us not into temptation; we ask God not to permit us to have the misfortune of being in those occasions of sin in which we might fall. Hence we should always watch and pray as the Lord exhorts us to do, in order not to fall into, temptation: Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. [Matt. 26:41]. To enter into temptation means the same as to find one’s self in the danger of falling into sin; we should therefore often say to God, Lord, lead us not into temptation.

7. Sed libera nos a malo (“But deliver us from evil”). There are three kinds of evils from which we should ask the Lord to deliver us—the temporal evils of the body, the spiritual evils of the soul, and the eternal evils of the next life. As for the temporal evils of this life, we ought always to be disposed to receive with resignation those that God sends us for the good of our souls, such as poverty, sickness, and desolation; and when we ask God to deliver us from temporal evils we should always do so on condition that they are not necessary nor useful for our salvation. But the true evils from which we should absolutely pray to be delivered are spiritual evils, sins, which are the cause of eternal evils. Moreover, let us be convinced of this infallible truth, that in the present state of corrupt nature we cannot be saved unless we pass through the many tribulations with which this life is filled: Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God. [Acts 14:21].

The priest finishes the Lord’s prayer with the word Amen, which he pronounces in a low voice, because he represents the person of Jesus Christ, who is the foundation of all the divine promises. This word is a summary of all the petitions that have been made—petitions the repetition of which pleases the Lord, for the more we pray to God the more he will hear our prayers. The great people of this world are not pleased when they are importuned by petitions; but this importunity is pleasing to God, says St. Jerome. Cornelius à Lapide even assures us that God wishes that we should persevere in this importunity in our prayers.

From The Holy Eucharist, pp. 48-52, by St. Alphonsus de Liguori.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Enter into the Joy of Your Lord


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Sunday, July 19, 2020

Why I love Viganò's concept of a parallel church.

In his controversial essay of June 9, 2020, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò wrote:

“. . . it is undeniable that from Vatican II onwards a parallel church was built, superimposed over and diametrically opposed to the true Church of Christ. This parallel church progressively obscured the divine institution founded by Our Lord in order to replace it with a spurious entity, corresponding to the desired universal religion that was first theorized by Masonry.”

Curiously in his essay [here] he only actually mentions the words “parallel church” twice in his entire statement, yet these two words have set off a firestorm of debate.

The first reason I love this concept is because of its simple logic. If there is a parallel church, then it must be parallel to something, and that something is the real church, or as Viganò states, “the true Church of Jesus Christ.” Therefore the indefectibility of the Roman Catholic Church is not denied. It continues to exist regardless of anything said or done by Vatican II. By peeling off the characteristics of the parallelism such as false ecumenism, ambiguous documents, neglect of the sacred, and an exaggerated humanism, then the true Church founded by Jesus shines forth minus the crust, rust and mold.

The second reason I like the concept is because it is such a convenient way to pigeonhole those who openly and publicly defy the teaching of the Catholic Church, such as Joeseph R. Biden, Nancy P. Pelosi, and Andrew M. Cuomo.

If there is a parallel church are there parallel Catholics? Certainly, and among the most visible are the boastful pro-abortion politicians who call themselves Catholic, but who can actually be described as prominent members of the parallel church. What an appropriate way to categorize these glorified pro-choicers, who have not been officially excommunicated in order to keep open the door to “dialog.” No matter how they label themselves, the are not of the true Church of Christ – their brand of Catholicism only exists in the parallel church.

Now for a third reason why I love his concept: In a follow-up interview [here] which expanded on his essay, the way forward for Viganò seems to be to act as if Vatican II and the parallel church do not exist, even if the Council never changed anything of the Faith. “If the Council truly did not change anything of our Faith, then let us pick up the Catechism of Saint Pius X, return to the Missal of Saint Pius V, remain before the Tabernacle, not desert the Confessional, and practice penance and mortification with a spirit of reparation. This is whence the eternal youthfulness of the Spirit springs. And above all: let us do so in such a way that our works give solid and coherent witness to what we preach.”

Here we have a rejection of the Novus Ordo vernacular mass, and even a rejection of the new Catechism birthed by the Council. He is essentially advocating a return to personal piety, spiritual mortification and penance, and that spiritual recollection nourished by the Traditional Mass. These were intentionally de-emphasized by the Conciliar church because they were too Catholic and thereby an obstacle to ecumenism – the dialog with false religions and Protestantism.

Viganò holds out the possibility that the Vatican II Council might be consigned to the dustbin of false councils: “. . . we can ask ourselves whether it may be right to expunge the last assembly from the catalog of canonical Councils. The sentence will be issued by history and by the sensus fidei of the Christian people even before it is given by an official document. The tree is judged by its fruits, and it is not enough to speak of a conciliar springtime to hide the harsh winter that grips the Church . . .”

If that occurs, then it is not Viganò who is in schism, as some of his critics suggest. It is the parallel church. In the meantime, I am doing my best to remain in the bosom of the true Church. That is why I am currently following in a safe path – engrossed in the writings and spirituality of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church and founder of the Redemptorist Order. He authored over 100 books, including The Glories of Mary. I highly recommend his works for those who are looking for, or are trying to regain and retain, the spirit of traditional Catholicism, or are simply looking to save their souls and become saints.

As Viganò states, concern about Vatican II should be secondary. “I would like us first and foremost to seek to proclaim salvific Truth to all men, because their and our eternal salvation depends on it; and that we only secondarily concern ourselves with the canonical and juridical implications raised by Vatican II.”

View my non-parallel Catholic books and websites Here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Intra in gaudium Domini tui.

Intra in gaudium Domini tui. “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” [Matt. 25: 21].

“In a word, it will be the paradise of the blessed, to rejoice in the joy of God. And thus, he who in this life rejoices in the blessedness that God enjoys, and will enjoy through eternity, can say that even in this life he enters into the joy of God, and begins to enjoy Paradise.”

“What will be the joy of the blessed,” by St. Alphonsus:

When the soul enters the kingdom of the blessed, and the barrier which hinders its sight is taken away, it will see openly and without a veil the infinite beauty of God; and this will be the joy of the blessed. Every object that the soul then will see in God himself will overwhelm it with delight; it will see the rectitude of his judgments, the harmony of his regulations for every soul, all ordained to his divine glory, and its own good. The soul will especially perceive, in respect to itself, the boundless love which God has entertained towards it in becoming man, and sacrificing his life upon the cross through love of it.

Then will it know what an excess of goodness is comprehended in the mystery of the cross, in the sight of a God become a servant, and dying condemned upon an infamous tree; and in the mystery of the Eucharist, in the sight of a God beneath the species of bread, and made the food of his creatures. In particular the soul will perceive all the graces and favors shown to it, which, until then, had been hidden. It will see all the mercies he has bestowed on it, in waiting for it, and pardoning its ingratitude. It will see the many calls, and lights, and aids that have been granted to it in abundance. It will see that these tribulations, these infirmities, these losses of property or of kindred, which it counted punishments, were not really punishments, but loving arrangements of God for drawing it to the perfect love for him.

In a word, all these things will make the soul know the infinite goodness of its God, and the boundless love which he deserves; whence, so soon as it has reached heaven, it will have no other desire but to behold him in his blessedness and content; and, at the same time, comprehending that the happiness of God is supreme, infinite, and eternal, it will experience a joy that is only not infinite because a creature is not capable of anything that is infinite. It will enjoy, nevertheless, a pleasure that is extreme and full, which fills it with delight, and with that kind of delight that belongs to God himself; and thus will be fulfilled in it the words, “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” [Matt. 25:21].

The blessed are not so much blessed through the delight which they experience in themselves as in the joy with which God rejoices; for the blessed love God so infinitely more than themselves that the blessedness of God delights them infinitely more than their own blessedness, through the love which they bear to him; which love makes them forget themselves, and all their delight is to please their Beloved. And this is that holy and loving inebriation which causes the blessed to lose the memory of themselves, to give themselves wholly to praise and love the dear object of all their love, which is God. “They shall be inebriated with the fullness of Thy house” [Ps. 35:9]. Happy from their first entrance into heaven, they continue, as it were, lost, and, so to say, swallowed up in love, in that boundless ocean of the goodness of God.

Wherefore every blessed soul will lose all its desires, and will have no other desire but to love God, and to beloved by him; and knowing that it is sure of ever loving him, and of being ever loved by him, this very thing will be its blessedness, which will fill it with joy, and will make it throughout eternity so satisfied with delight that it will desire nothing more. In a word, it will be the paradise of the blessed, to rejoice in the joy of God. And thus, he who in this life rejoices in the blessedness that God enjoys, and will enjoy through eternity, can say that even in this life he enters into the joy of God, and begins to enjoy Paradise. 

Yet, O my sweet Saviour, and the love of my soul! in this vale of tears I still see myself surrounded by enemies, who would separate me from Thee. O my beloved Lord! suffer me not to perish; make me ever love Thee in this life and in the next life, and then do with me what Thou wilt. O Queen of Paradise! if thou prayest for me, assuredly I shall be with thee eternally, to be in thy company, and to praise thee in Paradise.

“What will be the joy of the blessed,” The Way of Salvation and of Perfection, Part 2, Chapter 28, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, Doctor of the Church, Founder of the Redemptorists. 

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Momentous! Viganò Prayer for a Trump Victory!

The “Remnant” Catholic newspaper is sponsoring a Rosary Crusade under the auspices of the Remnant League of the Sacred Heart. With the French Revolution against Catholicism in mind, including the murder of their own Catholic King Louis XVI, the Remnant website states: “Like our French forefathers, we face a Christophobic mob who would destroy everything we hold sacred. In the face of this aggression, we take up the weapon of the Rosary and turn to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

Catholics are asked to join the League each and every Friday from now until November 3 in praying the Rosary for the special intention of the re-election of Donald Trump "in the face of yet another burgeoning New World Order."  The reception of Holy Communion on the first Friday of every month along with a Holy Hour for this same intention is also encouraged. More information is on their website Here.

The Remnant editor Michael Matt reached out to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò to lead in this initiative by composing a special prayer to be said by the League of the Sacred Heart worldwide.  

Prayer for a Resurgence of Christianity in America
and the Re-election of Donald Trump

Almighty and Eternal God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords: graciously turn your gaze to us who invoke You with confidence.
Bless us, citizens of the United States of America; grant peace and prosperity to our Nation; illuminate those who govern us so that they may commit themselves to the common good, in respect for Your holy Law.
Protect those who, defending the inviolable principles of the Natural Law and Your Commandments, must face the repeated assaults of the Enemy of the human race.
Keep in the hearts of Your children courage for the truth, love for virtue and perseverance in the midst of trials.
Make our families grow in the example that Our Lord has given us, together with His Most Holy Mother and Saint Joseph in the home of Nazareth; give to our fathers and mothers the gift of Strength, to educate wisely the children with which you have blessed them.
Give courage to those who, in spiritual combat, fight the good fight as soldiers of Christ against the furious forces of the children of darkness.
Keep each one of us, O Lord, in your Most Sacred Heart, and above all He whom Your Providence has placed at the head of our Nation.
Bless the President of the United States of America, so that aware of his responsibility and his duties, he may be a knight of justice, a defender of the oppressed, a firm bulwark against Your enemies, and a proud supporter of the children of light.
Place the United States of America and the whole world under the mantle of the Queen of Victories, our Unconquered Leader in battle, the Immaculate Conception. It is thanks to her, and through your Mercy, that the hymn of praise rises to you, O Lord, from the children whom you have redeemed in the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Written by Archbishop Viganò for this Rosary Crusade.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Four Principal Gates of Hell – St. Alphonsus

“Amongst the other vices, there are four which send most souls to hell, and on this earth bring upon men the scourges of God; and these four are, HATRED, BLASPHEMY, THEFT, and IMPURITY.”

Excerpts from Nine Discourses for times of Calamity, Fourth Discourse – The Four Principal Gates of Hell. by St. Alphonsus Liguori.

Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat [Mt. 7:13]. Hell has then different gates, but these gates stand on our earth. Her gates are sunk into the ground [Lam. 2: 9]. These are the vices by which men offend God, and draw down upon themselves chastisements and eternal death. Amongst the other vices, there are four which send most souls to hell, and on this earth bring upon men the scourges of God; and these four are, HATRED, BLASPHEMY, THEFT, and IMPURITY. Behold, the four gates by which the greater number of souls enter hell; and it is of these four that I mean to speak in order that you may amend and cure yourselves of these four vices, otherwise God will cure you of them, but by your own destruction.

HATRED. The first gate of hell is hatred. As paradise is the kingdom of love, so hell is the kingdom of hatred. Father, says such a person, I am grateful to and love my friends, but I cannot endure him who does me an injury. Hear what I say to you says Jesus Christ; hear my law, which is a law of love: Love your enemies. I wish, that you, my disciples, should love even your enemies. Do good to them that hate you; you must do good to them that wish you ill, and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you; if you can do nothing else, you must pray for them who persecute you, and then you shall be the children of God your father: that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven. [Mt. 5: 44-45.]

St. Augustine then is right in saying that it is by love alone a child of God is known from a child of the devil. Thus have the saints always done; they have loved their enemies. Such may indeed be called the children of God. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven [Lk. 6;37]. “By forgiving others,” says St. John Chrysostom, “you earn pardon for yourself.” But he, on the contrary, who will have vengeance, how can he hope for pardon for his sins? Such a person, in saying the “Our Father,” condemns himself when he says: “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.” But how, says St. Augustine, how can he who will not forgive his enemy, according to the command of God, have the face to ask pardon from God for his offenses. But, be assured, that you shall be judged without mercy if you show not mercy to your neighbor. For judgment without mercy to him that hath not done mercy [Ja. 2:13].

If then, my brethren, you wish to have revenge, bid adieu to paradise; Revenge is Mine, and I will repay them in due time [Deut. 22:35]. And let us further know, my brethren, that revenge and the desire of revenge are alike enormous, are the same sin. Should we at any time receive an offense, what are we to do? When our passion begins to rise, we must have recourse to God, and to the most holy Mary, who will help us, and obtain strength for us to forgive. We should then endeavor to say: Lord, for the love of Thee I forgive the injury that has been done me, and do Thou in Thy mercy forgive me all the injuries I have done Thee.

BLASPHEMY. Let us pass on to the second gate of hell, which is blasphemy. Some, when things go wrong with them, do not attack man, but endeavor to wreak their vengeance upon God himself by blasphemy. Know, my brethren, what manner of sin blasphemy is. A certain author says: “Every sin, compared with blasphemy, is light;” and first of all, St. John Chrysostom says, there is nothing worse than blasphemy. Other sins, says St. Bernard, are committed through frailty, but this only through malice. With reason, then, does St. Bernardine of Siena call blasphemy a diabolical sin, because the blasphemer, like a demon, attacks God himself. He is worse than those who crucified Jesus Christ, because they did not know him to be God; but he who blasphemes knows him to be God, and insults him face to face. What punishment, says St. Augustine, will suffice to chastise so horrid a crime? We should not wonder, says Pope Julius III., that the scourges of God do not cease while such a crime exists among us.

The Lord threatens to destroy the kingdom in which this accursed vice reigns. They have blasphemed the Holy One of Israel; . . your land is desolate, . . . it shall be desolate [Is. 1:4]. Oh, if there were always found some one to do what St. John Chrysostom advises: “Strike his mouth, and sanctify thereby thy hand.” But it would be better if that were done which St. Louis, King of France, put in force: he commanded by edict that every blasphemer should be branded on the mouth with an iron. A certain nobleman having blasphemed, many persons besought the king not to inflict that punishment upon him; but St. Louis insisted upon its infliction in every instance; and some taxing him with excessive cruelty on that account, he replied that he would suffer his own mouth to be burned sooner than allow such an outrage to be put upon God in his kingdom. Tell me, blasphemer, of what country are you? Allow me to tell you, you belong to hell. What is the language of the damned?—blasphemy. And they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and wounds [Apoc. 16:11]. What do you gain, my brethren, by these your blasphemies? you gain no honor by them. Blasphemers are abhorred even by their blasphemous companions.

Resolve to rid yourself of this vice in any event. Take care, if you do not abandon it now, that you will not carry it with you to death, as has happened to so many who have died with blasphemy in their mouths. But, Father, what can I do when the madness comes upon me? Good God! and are there no other means of working it off than by blasphemy? Say, cursed be my sins. Mother of God, assist me, give me patience; your passion, your anger, will pass off quickly, and you will find yourself in the grace of God after the trial. If you do not act thus, you will find yourself more afflicted and more lost than before.

THEFT. Let us now pass on to the consideration of the third great gate of hell by which so large a portion of the damned enter; I mean theft. Some adore money as their God, and look upon it as the object of all their desires. The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold [Ps.103:12]. The sentence of condemnation has already been pronounced against such: nor thieves . . . nor extortioners shall possess the kingdom of God [1 Cor. 6:10]. It is true that theft is not the most enormous of sins, but St. Antoninus says that it very much endangers salvation. The reason is because for the remission of other sins true repentance only is required; but repentance is not enough for the remission of theft: there must be restitution, and this is made with difficulty. The property of another becomes to him who takes it like his own blood; and the pain of suffering one’s blood to be drawn for another is very difficult to endure. We learn it every day from experience: innumerable thefts take place; how much restitution do you see? My brethren, see that you take not the property of your neighbor, and if during the past you have ever failed in this respect, make restitution as soon as possible. If you cannot at once make full restitution, do it by degrees.

Know that the property of another in your possession will not only be the means of bringing you to hell, but will make you miserable even in this life. Thou hast despoiled others, says the prophet, and others shall despoil thee. The property of another brings with it a curse which will fall upon the entire house of the thief. This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the earth, . . . and it shall come to the house of the thief [Zach. 5:3]. that is to say (as St. Gregory Nazianzen explains it), that the thief shall lose not only the stolen property, but his own. The goods of another are as fire and smoke to consume everything that comes in their way. Some persons take the property of their neighbor, and then are fain to quiet their consciences by alms-deeds. Christ, says St. John Chrysostom, will not be fed with the plunder of others. The sins of this kind, committed by the great, are acts of injustice, injuries that they inflict upon others, and taking from the poor of what is their due. These are descriptions of theft which require perfect restitution, and a restitution most difficult of all to make, and most likely to be the cause of one’s damnation.

IMPURITY We have now, lastly, to speak of the fourth gate of hell, which is impurity, and it is by this gate that the greater number of the damned enter. Some will say that it is a trifling sin. Is it a trifling sin? It is a mortal sin. St. Antoninus writes, that such is the nauseousness of this sin; that the devils themselves cannot endure it. The impure say, moreover, God has compassion on us who are subject to this vice, because he knows that we are flesh. But you must know that the most horrible chastisements with which God has ever visited the earth have been drawn down by this vice. St. Jerome says that this is the only sin of which we read that it caused God to repent him of having made man. It repented Him that had made man; . . . for all flesh had corrupted its way [Gen. 6: 6 – 12]. Wherefore it is, St. Jerome says that there is no sin which God punishes so rigorously, even upon earth, as this. He once sent fire from heaven upon five cities, and consumed all their inhabitants for this sin. Principally on account of this sin did God destroy mankind, with the exception of eight persons, by the deluge. You say, God has compassion upon men subject to this sin. But it is this sin that sends most men to hell. St. Remigius says, that the greater number of the damned are in hell through this vice.

It is to be remarked, moreover, that this sin brings with it innumerable others: enmities, thefts, and, more especially, sacrilegious confessions and Communions, by reason of the shame which will not allow these impurities to be disclosed in confession. And let us remark herein passing, that it is sacrilege above all things, that brings upon us sickness and death; for, says the Apostle, He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself not discerning the body of the Lord; and then he adds: therefore are many infirm and weak among you [1 Cor. 11:29-30]. And St. John Chrysostom, in explanation of that passage, says that St. Paul speaks of persons who were chastised with bodily infirmities, because they received the sacrament with a guilty conscience.

My brethren, should you ever have been sunk in this vice, I do not bid you be disheartened, but arise at once from this foul and infernal pit; beg of God forthwith to give you light, and stretch out his hand to you. The first thing that you have to do is to break with the occasion of sin: without that, preaching and tears and resolutions and confessions, all are lost. Remove the occasions, and then constantly recommend yourself to God, and to Mary the mother of purity. No matter how grievously you may be tempted, do not be discouraged by the temptation; at once call to your aid Jesus and Mary, pronouncing their sacred names. These blessed names have the virtue of making the devil fly, and stifling that hellish flame within you. If the devil persists in tempting you, persevere in calling upon Jesus and Mary, and certainly you shall not fall. In order to rid yourself of your evil habits, undertake some special devotion to our Lady; begin to fast in her honor upon Saturdays; contrive to visit her image every day, and beg of her to obtain for you deliverance from that vice. Every morning immediately after rising, never omit saying three “Hail Marys” in honor of her purity and do the same when going to bed; and above all things, as I have said, when the temptation is most troublesome, call quickly upon Jesus and Mary. Beware, brother, if you do not be converted now, you may never be converted. (Act of contrition.)

Excerpts from Nine Discourses for times of Calamity, Fourth Discourse – The Four Principal Gates of Hell, by St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church, Founder of the Redemptorist Order.

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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Christ has Overcome the World.

The world is trying its best to draw us away from a life of prayer, recollection, and of loving God first. Every day it is striving harder, and even with violence, to get our attention. But the spirit of worldliness is against the peace of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must not fall for its allurements, nor fear its threats. In this short reflection, St. Alphonsus de Liguori explains from Scripture why the world hates us, and why we should detest “this evil world [Gal 1:4]:

“Whosoever loves Jesus Christ with true love, let him greatly rejoice when he sees himself treated by the world as Jesus Christ was treated, who was hated, scorned, and persecuted by the world, even to an agonizing death upon a shameful cross. The world is all against Jesus Christ; and therefore, hating Jesus Christ, it hates all his servants. Therefore the Lord encouraged his disciples to suffer in peace all the persecutions of the world, saying to them that, having given up the world, they could not but be hated by the world. Ye are not of the world, therefore the world hateth you [John 15:19].

“And as the lovers of God are hateful to the world, thus the world ought to be hateful to him who loves God. St. Paul said, God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me [Gal. 6:14]. The Apostle was an odious thing to the world, as a man condemned and dead upon a cross is odious; and thus, in return, the world was odious to St. Paul: The world is crucified unto me.

Jesus Christ chose to die upon the cross for our sins, for this end, that he might deliver us from this evil world [Gal 1:4]. Our Lord, having called us to the love of him, desires that we should become superior to the promises and threats of the world. He desires that we should no longer take account of its censures or its praises. We must pray God to make us utterly forget the world, and to make us rejoice when we see the world reject us. It is not enough, in order to belong wholly to God, that we should abandon the world; we must desire that the world should abandon us, and utterly condemn us. Some people leave the world, but they do not cease to wish to be praised by it, at least for having abandoned it; in such persons the desire of worldly estimation causes the world still to live in them.

“Thus, then, the world hates the servants of God, and therefore it hates their good examples and holy maxims; and therefore it is necessary that we should hate all the maxims of the world. The wisdom of the flesh is an enemy to God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be [Rom. 8:7]. The Apostle says it cannot be, for this reason, that the world has no other object but its own interest or pleasure; and thus it cannot agree with those who seek only to please God.
Beheaded Statue of St. Junipero Serra at Old Mission  

“Yea, O Jesus! who wast crucified, and died for me, Thee alone I desire to please. What is the world, what are riches, what are honors? I desire that Thou, my Redeemer, shouldst be all my treasure; to love Thee is my riches. If Thou wilt have me poor, I desire to be poor; if Thou wilt have me humbled and despised by all, I embrace all, and receive it from Thy hands; Thy will shall ever be my comforter. This is the grace that I seek of Thee, that in every event I may not depart a moment from Thy holy will.”

From The Way of Salvation and Perfection, by St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Doctor of the Church, pp. 239-241.

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