Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 26th - Twenty Sixth Visit to Jesus and Mary

This is My Body
Bread of Heaven, support my strength to do good.

THE CANTICLE OF LOVE


"City of Sion, be of great joy! Give voice to your songs of praise. Great is the One who is in your midst: He is the Holy One of Israel." (Is. 22). How great our joy should be; how great our hopes; and how great our love; when we know that here in our own city, in our own church, close to our own home, the Holy One, God Himself, dwells in the Blessed Sacrament―yes, God Himself, whose presence gives joy exceeding great to the Saints in Heaven: God who is Love Itself! 

St. Bernard tells us "He imparts love. But this is not all: He is Love
―Love Itself. "God is Love." 

But here in this Sacrament, my dear Jesus, I can hear you making your sad complaint: "I came as your guest and you refused to welcome me." To do good to us you came to earth to be our Guest, and we had no welcome for you. Ah! yes, my Master, you are right; and one of those ungrateful ones who left you forsaken was myself; I did not even come to visit you. O punish me in any other way you will, but please do not punish me by depriving me of your presence; this is the punishment I deserve, but I will correct the rudeness of my manners, and my want of courtesy towards you. From today forward I want to visit you often and I want to spend as much time as I can in your company. 


O my gentle Saviour, make me faithful to you now, and inspire others by my example to keep you company in the Most Holy Sacrament. 


The voice of Your Eternal Father speaks to me, "This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased." (Matt. 17). In you the Great Almighty Father finds His boundless joy. And I, a poor thing of no worth dwelling in this valley of tears am to find my delight in you also! O Fire all-consuming, put an end to that love of created things that still lingers in me; because it is these, and these only, that can make me unfaithful to you and deprive me of your possession. You can do it. You wish to do it. You can make me clean. You have done much for me; do this one thing more: put out of my heart every particle of love that is not for you. Here and now I surrender myself completely to you; I dedicate all the rest of my life to the love of the Most Holy Sacrament. You, my Jesus in the Sacrament, will now be my comfort
―my love all my life long; and in the moment of my death. Then you will come to be my Viaticum; then you will bring me to the Kingdom of the Blessed.   


Amen. Amen.            

This is my hope; and so let it be.

Aspiration
―My Jesus, when shall I see your beautiful Face?


SPIRITUAL COMMUNION  

Jesus, I believe you are in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you; I want you to come to me. Come into my heart; I embrace you; O never depart from me.  
 

A VISIT TO MARY 

THE BRIDGE OF GOD 



Mary, my Mother most holy, St. Germanus calls you "The power that supports our weakness." In you we will find the remedy for all our sickness; in you our weakness will find strength. 

St. Bonaventure calls you "The gate of Liberty"―In you we have the door through which we go forth from the slavery of sin. He also calls you "The safe resting place of men"―so in you too we find peace and security. St. Lawrence Justinian calls you "The comforter of our pilgrimage"―you bring relief to us in our sufferings. St Bonaventure calls you "The Throne of the Grace of God:" so to sum up all, in you we find God's grace and God Himself. St. Proclus tells us you are "The bridge by which God comes down to man"―our sins have separated us from God but happily for us, Mary is the bridge by which He passes when He comes to dwell in our souls by His grace.

Aspiration
―Mary, you are my strength, my liberty, my peace; and my salvation.


12. The Third Person


Crossing the North Atlantic aboard the Queen Elizabeth, 1948.


Index to Older Meditations

He communicated the Holy Ghost by breathing on the Apostles, and sent Him on the day of Pentecost in the form of a mighty wind (spiritus) as well as of fiery tongues.  
The Apostle assures you that you are the temple of the Holy Ghost.  How great are the privileges and honours heaped upon those who have submitted to the obedience of faith, who strive to live the life of God, and make use of the Holy Sacraments!

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April 25 - Twenty Fifth Visit to Jesus and Mary

Prepare Your Hearts
Here is The Lord and All His Paradise.




THE SCHOOL OF OBEDIENCE


St. Paul praises the obedience of Jesus to His Father, "He became obedient even to death." (Phil. 2). In this Sacrament Jesus goes further: not only to His Father is He obedient, but He becomes obedient to man; obedient not only to death, but obedient to the end of the world. 

In obedience to the voice of man the King of Heaven comes from Heaven to the altar. He remains upon the altar to continue to practise obedience to men. Isaias puts the words on His lips: "Ego autem non contradico, "Whatever is asked of me, I never refuse to obey." (Is. 10). He remains motionless: He may be exposed in the Monstrance, or He may be shut up in the tiny Pyx; He may be carried to our homes, and through the streets; He may be given in Communion to those who are holy, or to the sinner. 

St. Luke tells us Jesus obeyed Mary and Joseph while He was on earth; in the Blessed Sacrament He is obedient to every priest―"I never refuse to obey." 

Now, Most Loving Heart of Jesus, let me speak to you―It is from you that all the Sacraments have come, but especially this Sacrament of Love. I want to give you as much honor and glory as you have given to your Eternal Father in every church in which you dwell―I know that, while you are on this altar, you love me with the same burning love with which you loved me when your life went out in bitter grief on the Cross. O Heart of Jesus, give light to those who do not know you that they may learn to know how beautiful you are. Through your merits set free from Purgatory, or at least give some relief to the souls that suffer there; for they love you and will love you in eternity. 

For myself―united in this hour with all souls that love you on earth and in Heaven―I adore you, I love you, I thank you. O Heart that is without stain, purify my heart from all unruly clinging to creatures, and fill it with your holy love; O Most Sweet Heart, take possession of all my heart so that from today forward it may be all your own; so that forever I may say "Who shall separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3). O heart Most Holy, on my heart engrave the bitter sorrows that you bore for so many years, and with such great love, for me. So that, at the sight of them, I may from this day forward have a deep longing to bear all the pains of this life for love of you―or at the very least I may suffer them in patience. O Heart of Jesus most humble, give me a share in our own humility; O heart most gentle, give me a share in your own meekness. Take from my heart everything that does not please you; turn it all to yourself: so that I will not want or wish for anything at all but what you yourself want. To sum up everything―Let me live only to obey you, only to love you, only to give you joy. I know well that I owe everything to you: that my debts to you are very great. Little indeed it will be if I can wear myself out and use up my life for you.

Aspiration―O Heart of Jesus, you are the God of my heart and you alone.

SPIRITUAL COMMUNION  

Jesus, I believe you are in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you; I want you to come to me. Come into my heart; I embrace you; O never depart from me.  


A VISIT TO MARY  

THE HEAVENLY ARK



SHE IS MY REFUGE 

O, my Mother, receive me into your arms.


The Ark in which Noe escaped the universal Deluge is a figure of Mary. St. Bernardine calls her "The Ark in which we escape shipwreck." She is the heavenly ark in which we find shelter while on earth and so escape the shipwreck of everlasting loss. But Esecius says that Mary gives shelter which is superior to that of the Ark of Noe because it is more universal, has greater strength, and is more kindly. With Noe only a few men and beasts found shelter: Mary receives all who seek protection under her mantle and she saves them all. How unhappy our lot would be if we had not Mary! And yet, with all this many still are lost. Why is this? O Mother, it is because they do not go to you: nobody could be lost ever if he asked your help.


Aspiration―Most Holy Mary, may we all have recourse to you, and always!


Monday, April 24, 2017

11. Qualities of The Divine Sonship.


NY Yankees, Joe DiMaggio & Lefty Gomez shopping, 1939.


Index to Older Meditations

What wonderful privileges belong to you as a member of Christ's body through His Church!  

Everything that is worth having costs something even when it comes to us from God.  Is it not worth while to pay any price in the way of mortifying your passions, suffering persecutions and working hard for such privileges?  

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

April 24 - Twenty Fourth Visit to Jesus and Mary

That which I do not see, I believe.



THE MYSTERY OF FAITH


"Truly you are a hidden God." (Is. 15). 

The truth of these words is shown forth in the adorable mystery of the Most Holy Sacrament more than in any other work of Divine Love. For here our God is hidden indeed. The Eternal Word hid His Divinity when He took flesh and became Man on this earth. But He hid His Humanity also when He dwelt with us in this Sacrament. St. Bernard tells us that He comes under the form of bread to show how tenderly He loves us: "The Divinity lies hidden. The Humanity lies hidden: we can see nothing but the expression of His deepest love." 

My loving Redeemer, in the presence of your exceeding great love for men I am overwhelmed, and I do not know what to say to you. It has come to this, that you have hidden your Majesty, and you have veiled your Glory; your Divine Life itself seems to have been brought to nothing; and while you dwell on the altar you have no other object in view than to love men and to try to make known to them your exceeding great love for them. 

Great Son of God, what kind of recognition do they offer you in return? O Jesus, O Great Lover, let me say it―your love for men is altogether excessive. For you seem to put their welfare even before your own glory; and you knew all the time the contempt to which your loving efforts would expose you. It is clear―and well you knew it beforehand―that the majority of men do not adore you. They do not recognise you in this Sacrament for what you are. 

O I know too well that these very same men, whom you love, many times have even trampled on the Consecrated Host; they have cast it to the ground, thrown it into the water, and into the fire. But what is more extraordinary still is this―the manner of acting of the majority of those who believe in you: where we would expect them to make reparation by their loving reverence for such great insults; when they come into the Church they offend you still more by their want of reverence, or they leave you forsaken on the altar―sometimes even without the sanctuary lamp or the ornaments that should be there. 

My most sweet Saviour, how I wish that I could wash with my tears and even with my blood those unhappy places where the burning love of your heart in this Sacrament has been so dishonoured. If this is not given to me, at the very least I now make up my mind to visit you frequently, O my God, so that I may adore you as I adore you today. In this way I shall pay you back at least something to make reparation for the contempt which you receive from men in this Most Divine Mystery.       

Eternal Father, please accept from me this poor reverence offered to you today by me―the least of men. It is offered in reparation for the injuries done to your Son in this Sacrament. Please accept it in union with the infinite honour that Jesus pays you, nailed to the Cross―the honour that He still continues to pay you every day in this Sacrament. O Jesus, O Holy Sacrament! If only all men would burn with love for you in this the most holy of all the Sacraments!
     
Aspiration―O loving Jesus, make me know you, make me love you. 

 

SPIRITUAL COMMUNION  

Jesus, I believe you are in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you; I want you to come to me. Come into my heart; I embrace you; O never depart from me.   


A VISIT TO MARY 

THE SEA OF GRACE




I will sail in peace under the guard of Mary. 
  
 
My most gentle Lady, in the midst of the fears I sometimes experience about my eternal salvation, I feel a great sense of confidence when I appeal to you and when I think of you. On the one hand, my Mother, you have a wealth of graces at your disposal―"A sea of graces" is what St. John Damascene calls you. St. Ephram tells me you are 'The spring from which grace and consolation flow'." 

On the other hand, St. Bonaventure tells me that your eagerness to help me is so great that I cause you pain when I do not ask you for what I need. My Mother and my Queen, you are rich, you are wise, you are gentle; I understand that you know my soul's wants better than I know them myself; you love me better than I love myself. This is the grace I ask today―the grace you know my soul needs most. I will be happy if you ask this grace from God for me.

Aspiration
―My God, give me the graces which Mary asks of you for me.


Prayer After Visit






10. The Second Person, as Son


Crossing the Lawn.  St. Benedict's Abbey, Aitchison, Kansas, 1955.

Index to Older Meditations

You must make your sonship perfect by cultivating the likeness to God. You will learn this in Jesus Christ.  Reproduce in yourself His sentiments, His actions, His endurance of suffering; so that He may not be ashamed to acknowledge you as His second self.

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5. The True Reason for Entering The Church

Photo:  Among The Stones
Jesuit novices reading their breviaries during contemplative prayer amidst the tombstones of Jesuit priests at Los Gatos Novitiate. 
Location:  San Jose, California, 1953
Photographer:  Margaret Bourke-White

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The fundamental reason then why one should enter the Catholic Church is that it is the Church established by Jesus Christ, in which he intended that all men work out the salvation of the soul entrusted to them. Of course there are many reasons why one might be attracted to the Church, reasons that sometimes impel men to enter the Church. One might be attracted by the splendor and beauty of Catholic worship, by the dignity and learning of her priests, by the staunch way in which the Church upholds the sacredness of the married state or because at times one's friends are Catholics or one's husband or wife. But while all of these are things that might attract us toward the Church, one's motive in entering the Church should be more substantial than the mere beauty of Catholic worship or the fact that my friend or my wife or husband is a Catholic.  

Nor should a true conversion ever mean "hitting the sawdust trail" as it is sometimes vulgarly termed. For conversion to God means much more than the sole declaration that you accept Christ after listening to a sermon or two. An emotional sermon that stirs up an emotional response is hardly sufficient ground for the full acceptance of all that Christianity implies. It is true that emotions have their place in religion, but no one should rely on them alone either in his acceptance of religion or in his religious life afterwards. One should enter the Catholic Church after reasonable inquiry into her doctrines, convinced that this is the Church Christ Himself founded, and hence there is a solemn obligation in conscience binding one to enter.
 
The salvation of one's immortal soul is the most important business man has to transact in this life.
God demands of us that we take it seriously. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God," Christ says to us. On the other hand just as no one should enter the Church unless from solid motives, so no one should remain in a Church unless he is sure that it is the Church established by Christ, and in which Christ meant him to work out the salvation of his soul. To embrace the Catholic faith then a certain amount of reasonable reflection is always necessary, a knowledge of her doctrines and an honest inquiry into her claims of being the One Church divinely instituted by the Savior of mankind.


Today's Homily by Bishop Robert Barron

Saturday, April 22, 2017

April 23 - Twenty Third Visit to Jesus and Mary

Never forget this solemn moment when the Holy of Holies deigned to give Himself to you.



Great are the fatigues, many are the dangers that multitudes of Christians have faced to visit the places in the Holy Land―those places where Our Most Loving Saviour was born, where He suffered, and where He died. 

For us there is no need to make a long voyage―no need to face great dangers: this same Lord of Glory is our neighbor. He dwells in the church which is only a few steps away from our own house. St. Paulinus tells us that pilgrims who brought away a little dust from the Crib, or from the Holy Sepulchre in which Jesus was buried, thought that this was a very wonderful thing. With what burning love then should we visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament when we can do this without any fatigue and without any danger. There this same Jesus awaits us in person. 

A nun to whom God gave a special love of the Blessed Sacrament wrote a letter and among other thoughts expressed in it are the following: "I have come to see that all the good things that are mine have come to me from the Most Holy Sacrament; to Jesus in this Sacrament I have given and consecrated myself completely. I see numberless graces that were never given because this Divine Sacrament was not approached; I see that Our Savior in this Sacrament has an intense desire to distribute His graces. O Holy Mystery! O Sacred Victim! Where else does God give us such a deep knowledge of His power if it is not in this Host? Surely this Host contains in itself everything that God has ever done for us. There is no need for us to envy the Blessed who are in Heaven: on earth we have the very same Lord; but here the marvels of His love are greater. Do what you can to persuade others to devote themselves completely to the Most Holy Sacrament. I am overwhelmed at the thought of what this Sacrament means and that is why I speak in this way: of the Most Holy Sacrament I can never cease to speak―its claims on our love are so great. For the sake of Jesus in this Sacrament I know not what I can do." It is thus the letter ends. 

O Seraphim, you who burn with such sweet flames of love before that God who is both yours and mine―though it is not for your love but for mine that this King of Glory lingers here―O Angels of Love, let me burn too. Inflame me with your fiery darts so that, in His presence, the flames of your love and of mine may ascend together. 

O my Jesus, give me to understand what a tremendous thing is your love for men; so that in the presence of this great love, my longing to love you more and to give joy to you will always grow more ardent. O God of Boundless Love, I want to love you always; I want to please you only.

Aspiration
―My Jesus, I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you; I love you and I give myself to you.


SPIRITUAL COMMUNION  

Jesus, I believe you are in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you; I want you to come to me. Come into my heart; I embrace you; O never depart from me.  
 

A VISIT TO MARY 

THE MOTHER OF ORPHANS 


O, Mary, take our flowers and our hearts
offer them to Jesus your Divine Son.


O Virgin most loving, you are named by St. Bonaventure "The Mother of Orphans." St. Ephram proclaims you "The Receiver of Orphans," that is, the one who welcomes the orphan. Who are these unhappy orphans? They are non others than poor sinners who have lost God, their Father. Most holy Mother, I have lost my Father; you are my Mother. I come to you and you will welcome me. In my great misfortune I call on you for help and you will aid me. Will you leave me in my grief? No; for this is what Innocent III says to me about you, "Who has ever called on her and did not receive her kindly help?" And indeed who ever prayed to you without being both heard and helped? Was anybody ever lost after pleading with you? The only one that is lost is the one that does not go to you. My Queen, if you wish to save me, then help me to invoke you and to confide in you always.

Aspiration
―O most holy Mary, give me confidence in you.


Prayer After Each Visit



9. The Second Person, as The Word



Through The Window.  West Berlin, 1962
Photo by Paul Schutzer

Index to Older Meditations

How mysterious are the wonders of Infinite Being!  They are utterly beyond our powers of discovery.  Thank God for having granted you a glimpse of them as in a glass and in a dark manner, while waiting for the revelation of the perfect day.

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Chapter 4 of The Way Back Home. Why All Men Should Practice Religion

Photo:  German Konrad Adenauer praying on election day, 1953.
Location:  Heppenheim, Germany
Photographer:  Ralph Crane

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There are many people in this world who, though they practice religion to some extent, are not much concerned whether the religion they practice is the true religion or not. There are others who have strayed so far from the notion of religion or the practice of religion that they will ask: "Why should I embrace any particular faith or practice any religion? What's the good of it? Why is it necessary?" In answering these questions I shall be forced to make this chapter a little longer than those preceding.

"The proper study of man," says the great Grecian philosopher Aristotle, "is man." In other words after the study of God Himself, there is no study so usful, so important as the study of man. It is useful to try to understand the nature of trees, of rocks, of animals and of the forces of nature, but it is more useful and far more necessary for man to understand man himself.  And in the study of man there is no consideration more profitable than the study of man's eternal destiny. From the beginning of the world, nothing has occupied man's attention more than this. Where did I come from? Why am I here on this earth? Whither am I going? These three questions have troubled the minds of men since the very beginning of human history. Taken together they form the mighty problem of what is called the riddle of existence. That riddle must be solved if man's life upon this earth is to have a solid, worthwhile purpose, if man's religion is to be reasonable.


Let us suppose that instead of the millions of men that live upon earth, there were but one. Suppose that that one, upon being ushered into existence, should as it were, find himself in a small rowboat in the middle of a vast ocean with nothing but water all around him stretching to the horizon. The rowboat seems to be headed in some direction, but East, West, North or South, the rower knows not. If you were that man, sooner or later, probably sooner, you would ask yourself these questions:  from what port did I set out? Why am I traveling at all? To what port am I headed? If you could give yourself no answer, you would most likely quit rowing. If I do not know for what port, if any, I am headed, why row? If I don't know, why I am rowing, why row? The oars seem to have been given to me for a purpose the boat seems to be made to carry me somewhere: the water itself seems to have been intended to sustain the boat.  But if with all this I am going nowhere in particular, I am embarked upon a ridiculous journey.  


Yet that is your position and the position of every man that ever lived upon this earth. Out of the womb of eternity when you existed not, you came and, with the speed of the fastest airplane that ever winged its way across the sky, you are traveling forward toward another eternity. What am I supposed to do while I am on this momentous journey? Is the journey after all worth taking seriously? Should I try to direct my way or should I just let myself drift? Storms will come in this journey through life as they would come to the rower upon the ocean. Storms will come in the shape of trials and disappointments, sickness, and, at times, the loss of fortune and friends and in the end, death. If there is no purpose in life other than to live, why should I try to bear up under such disappointments and trials? Why should I endeavor to rein in my passions or curb my selfish interests?  Or is there possibly a port toward which I am headed, for which it would be worth while steering a straight course and suffering the buffets of this life to reach?


There is such a port. Its existence gives awful significance to this life. The rower was given a pair of oars to row with;  you were given your reason to find out the direction in which you should steer your boat, the port toward which you should tend, in other words to know the grand purpose of life.  For unless you were put here by God, to live a short time on probation, to prove yourself amid the trials and temptations of this life as worthy of the life to come, then your lot is sand indeed. All through this life your heart will be yearning for happiness. You will go through life so wistfully enjoying a bit of it here, a bit of it there.  In the end your heart will still be yearning. It will never be completely satisfied. This is the testimony of every man that ever lived. Solomon, supposed to be the wisest and the richest of the kings of earth, surrounded with all the honors and the pleasures of life, in the end testified that it was all in vain. "Vanity of vanities," he exclaimed, "and all is vanity." Useless, worthless, dissatisfying, empty.


And at the moment of death, you will be unwilling to die. You will want more life. Your whole being will be crying out for eternal life. Yet you with your human heart, you wonderful intellect, your magnificent will, your marvelous imagination, you, the masterpiece of creation will be the greatest disappointment, the saddest wreck, the one great blunder in all the universe unless you honestly admit what your reason tells you: I was created by God, I am destined for God, and only the possession of God can one day fill my heart to overflowing with all happiness. Riches and honors and earthly enjoyments all pass away. Only God and eternal life remain forever. The great St. Augustine was a man who in his life tasted most of the pleasures that this life affords. In the end however like Solomon, he turns away from them with emptiness in his heart, exclaiming: "Thou has made me for Thyself, O Lord, and my heart will not rest unless it rest in Thee."


This then is the sole purpose of life, so to live as to prove ourselves worthy of God. It answers the question what is the good of religion, why it is necessary for me to embrace any religion and to enter any church. God creates the soul of each man who enters this world.  He infuses that soul into the body. Because of that soul man becomes a human personality with the dignity of having been created by the hand of God and in God's own image. Man then possesses this dignity but he also possesses a destiny equal to his dignity. That destiny is one day to possess God and to live happily with God throughout all eternity. But to merit eternal life with God, man must fulfill certain conditions. Man in this life then is on a short probation. For God intends that man shall obtain his salvation by living up to God's commandments with the divine assistance. This present life is but a sojourn upon earth. We have not here a lasting dwelling place, for heaven is man's true home. The great purpose of life then, and the great good and necessity of worshipping God in the true religion is to achieve the salvation of one's immortal soul. This is the fundamental reason for entering the Catholic Church, the only Church established by Jesus Christ. Why then should you be concerned about religion? Why?  Because God demands it of you and because the salvation of your immortal soul is at stake. The greatest evil that can ever befall you is the loss of your immortal soul. The late World War, or a war a hundred times more destructive, is of no consequence compared to the loss of your soul.  "What doth it profit a man," says Holy Writ, "if he gain the whole world, yet suffer the loss of his soul."