MARY, OUR MOTHER

Friday, March 31, 2006




The Thirtieth Chapter

The Quest of Divine Help and Confidence in Regaining Grace

The Voice of Christ:
MY CHILD, I am the Lord Who gives strength in the day of trouble. Come to Me when all is not well with you. Your tardiness in turning to prayer is the greatest obstacle to heavenly consolation, for before you pray earnestly to Me you first seek many comforts and take pleasure in outward things. Thus, all things are of little profit to you until you realize that I am the one Who saves those who trust in Me, and that outside of Me there is no worth-while help, or any useful counsel or lasting remedy.

But now, after the tempest, take courage, grow strong once more in the light of My mercies; for I am near, says the Lord, to restore all things not only to the full but with abundance and above measure. Is anything difficult for Me? Or shall I be as one who promises and does not act?

Where is your faith? Stand firm and persevere. Be a man of endurance and courage, and consolation will come to you in due time. Wait for Me; wait—and I will come to heal you.

It is only a temptation that troubles you, a vain fear that terrifies you.

Of what use is anxiety about the future? Does it bring you anything but trouble upon trouble? "

"Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof." [Matt 6:34]

It is foolish and useless to be either grieved or happy about future things which perhaps may never happen. But it is human to be deluded by such imaginations, and the sign of a weak soul to be led on by suggestions of the enemy. For he does not care whether he overcomes you by love of the present or fear of the future.

"Let not your heart be troubled, therefore, nor let it be afraid." [John 14:27]

Believe in Me and trust in My mercy. When you think you are far from Me, then often I am very near you. When you judge that almost all is lost, then very often you are in the way of gaining great merit.

All is not lost when things go contrary to your wishes. You ought not judge according to present feelings, nor give in to any trouble whenever it comes, or take it as though all hope of escape were lost. And do not consider yourself forsaken if I send some temporary hardship, or withdraw the consolation you desire. For this is the way to the kingdom of heaven, and without doubt it is better for you and the rest of My servants to be tried in adversities than to have all things as you wish.

I know your secret thoughts, and I know that it is profitable for your salvation to be left sometimes in despondency lest perhaps you be puffed up by success and fancy yourself to be what you are not.

What I have given, I can take away and restore when it pleases Me. What I give remains Mine, and thus when I take it away I take nothing that is yours, for every good gift and every perfect gift is Mine. [James 1:17]

If I send you trouble and adversity, do not fret or let your heart be downcast. I can raise you quickly up again and turn all your sorrow into joy. I am no less just and worthy of great praise when I deal with you in this way.

If you think aright and view things in their true light, you should never be so dejected and saddened by adversity, but rather rejoice and give thanks, considering it a matter of special joy that I afflict you with sorrow and do not spare you. [Job 6:10]

“As the Father hath loved Me, so also I love you,” [John 15:9] I said to My disciples, and I certainly did not send them out to temporal joys but rather to great struggles, not to honors but to contempt, not to idleness, but to labors, not to rest but to "bring forth much fruit in patience." [Luke 8:15] Do you, My child, remember these words.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Thursday, March 30, 2006




The Twenty-Ninth Chapter

How We Must Call Upon and Bless the Lord When Trouble Presses

The Disciple:
BLESSED be Your name forever, O Lord, Who have willed that this temptation and trouble come upon me. I cannot escape it, yet I must fly to You that You may help me and turn it to my good. Now I am troubled, Lord, and my heart is not at rest, for I am greatly afflicted by this present suffering.

Beloved Father, what shall I say? I am straitened in harsh ways. Save me from this hour to which, however, I am come that You may be glorified when I am deeply humbled and freed by You. May it please You, then, to deliver me, Lord, for what can I, poor wretch that I am, do or where can I go without You? Give me patience, Lord, even now. Help me, my God, and I will not be afraid however much I may be distressed.

But here, in the midst of these troubles, what shall I say? Your will be done, Lord. I have richly deserved to be troubled and distressed. But I must bear it. Would that I could do so patiently, until the storm passes and calm returns! Yet Your almighty hand can take this temptation from me, or lighten its attack so that I do not altogether sink beneath it, as You, my God, my Mercy, have very often done for me before. And the more difficult my plight, the easier for You is this change of the right hand of the Most High.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Adrianna Elizabeth


At last some "Good News" regarding the "Unborn Child."

Pro-life Governments Around World Declaring March 25 “Day for the Unborn Child”
by Hilary White

March 28, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An international movement is afoot to establish March 25 as the Day for the Unborn Child. Beginning in 1993 in El Salvador as “Day for the Right to be Born,” the movement has grown to include other Latin American countries and is being imported to countries around the world.

The celebration in 1999 in Buenos Aires was noted by Pope John Paul II and joined by representatives of the Muslim, Orthodox and Jewish communities in Brazil. Pope John Paul said he hoped the day would be adopted internationally as “a positive option in favour of life and the spread of a culture for life to guarantee respect for human dignity in every situation.”

Now, Argentina, Paraguay, Guatemala, Peru, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Mexico, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Australia and even Cuba, make some annual observance of the right of the child to be born. Events have included peaceful protests out side abortion facilities, Rosary processions and Catholic Masses.

The president of Nicaragua summarized the intention, declaring in January 2000 that, “the right to life is the first of human rights and deserves total attention on the part of the state, its institutions and the whole of society.”

This year, in the Philippines, President Arroyo, declared an annual Day for the Unborn Child after a Mass on 25 March, the Catholic feast of the Annunciation commemorating Mary's acceptance to the Angel Gabriel of the virgin conception Christ within her.

Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney Julian Porteous led a procession through the city’s streets starting with a Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral. The president of Malta, His Excellency Dr. Edward Fenech Adami, unveiled a pro-life monument to the unborn child on March 25.
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:Malta President to Unveil National Pro-Life Monument
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/mar/06032301.html

PRO-LIFE PRAYER FOR THIS INTENTION

O God, Father and Creator of human life, help us never to become discouraged in defending the full breathe of that most precious gift, from the miracle of fertilization to the spiritual serenity of a natural death. Inspire us to remember that without You we are powerless, and that what we do for the least, especially the helpless unborn dearest to You, we are actually doing for Your Son, who lives and works in and through us. Protect us against the wiles and wickedness of the devil, a murderer and a liar from the beginning, and may the Holy Spirit enlighten us along our daily way! Amen.



The Twenty-Eighth Chapter

Strength Against Slander

The Voice of Christ:
MY CHILD, do not take it to heart if some people think badly of you and say unpleasant things about you. You ought to think worse things of yourself and to believe that no one is weaker than yourself. Moreover, if you walk in the spirit you will pay little heed to fleeting words. It is no small prudence to remain silent in evil times, to turn inwardly to Me, and not to be disturbed by human opinions.

Do not let your peace depend on the words of men. Their thinking well or badly of you does not make you different from what you are. Where are true peace and glory? Are they not in Me? He who neither cares to please men nor fears to displease them will enjoy great peace, for all unrest and distraction of the senses arise out of disorderly love and vain fear.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Tuesday, March 28, 2006




The Twenty-Seventh Chapter
Self-Love is the Greatest Hindrance to the Highest Good


The Voice of Christ:
MY CHILD, you should give all for all, and in no way belong to yourself. You must know that self-love is more harmful to you than anything else in the world. In proportion to the love and affection you have for a thing, it will cling to you more or less. If your love is pure, simple, and well ordered, you will not be a slave to anything. Do not covet what you may not have. Do not possess anything that can hinder you or rob you of freedom.

It is strange that you do not commit yourself to Me with your whole heart, together with all that you can desire or possess. Why are you consumed with foolish sorrow? Why are you wearied with unnecessary care? Be resigned to My will and you will suffer no loss.

If you seek this or that, if you wish to be in this place or that place, to have more ease and pleasure, you will never rest or be free from care, for some defect is found in everything and everywhere someone will vex you. To obtain and multiply earthly goods, then, will not help you, but to despise them and root them out of your heart will aid.

This, understand, is true not only of money and wealth, but also of ambition for honor and desire for empty praise, all of which will pass away with this world.

The place matters little if the spirit of fervor is not there; nor will peace be lasting if it is sought from the outside; if your heart has no true foundation, that is, if you are not founded in Me, you may change, but you will not better yourself. For when occasion arises and is accepted, you will find that from which you fled and worse.

A Prayer for Cleansing the Heart and Obtaining Heavenly Wisdom
Strengthen me by the grace of Your Holy Spirit, O God. Give me the power to be strengthened inwardly and to empty my heart of all vain care and anxiety, so that I may not be drawn away by many desires, whether for precious things or mean ones. Let me look upon everything as passing, and upon myself as soon to pass away with them, because there is nothing lasting under the sun, where all is vanity and affliction of spirit. How wise is he who thinks thus!

Give me, Lord, heavenly wisdom to learn above all else to seek and find You, to enjoy and love You more than anything, and to consider other things as they are, as Your wisdom has ordered them. Grant me prudence to avoid the flatterer and to bear patiently with him who disagrees with me. For it is great wisdom not to be moved by the sound of words, nor to give ear to the wicked, flattering siren. Then, I shall walk safely in the way I have begun.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Monday, March 27, 2006




The Twenty-Sixth Chapter

The Excellence of a Free Mind,
Gained Through Prayer Rather Than By Study

The Disciple:
IT IS the mark of a perfect man, Lord, never to let his mind relax in attention to heavenly things, and to pass through many cares as though he had none; not as an indolent man does, but having by the certain prerogative of a free mind no disorderly affection for any created being.

Keep me, I beg You, most merciful God, from the cares of this life, lest I be too much entangled in them. Keep me from many necessities of the body, lest I be ensnared by pleasure. Keep me from all darkness of mind, lest I be broken by troubles and overcome. I do not ask deliverance from those things which worldly vanity desires so eagerly, but from those miseries which, by the common curse of humankind, oppress the soul of Your servant in punishment and keep him from entering into the liberty of spirit as often as he would.

My God, Sweetness beyond words, make bitter all the carnal comfort that draws me from love of the eternal and lures me to its evil self by the sight of some delightful good in the present. Let it not overcome me, my God. Let not flesh and blood conquer me. Let not the world and its brief glory deceive me, nor the devil trip me by his craftiness. Give me courage to resist, patience to endure, and constancy to persevere. Give me the soothing unction of Your spirit rather than all the consolations of the world, and in place of carnal love, infuse into me the love of Your name.

Behold, eating, drinking, clothing, and other necessities that sustain the body are burdensome to the fervent soul. Grant me the grace to use such comforts temperately and not to become entangled in too great a desire for them. It is not lawful to cast them aside completely, for nature must be sustained, but Your holy law forbids us to demand superfluous things and things that are simply for pleasure, else the flesh would rebel against the spirit. In these matters, I beg, let Your hand guide and direct me, so that I may not overstep the law in any way.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Sunday, March 26, 2006




The Twenty-Fifth Chapter
The Basis of Firm Peace of Heart and True Progress


The Voice of Christ:
MY CHILD, I have said: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you.” [John 14:27]

All men desire peace but all do not care for the things that go to make true peace. My peace is with the humble and meek of heart: your peace will be in much patience. If you hear Me and follow My voice, you will be able to enjoy much peace.

The Disciple:
What, then, shall I do, Lord?

The Voice of Christ:
Watch yourself in all things, in what you do and what you say. Direct your every intention toward pleasing Me alone, and desire nothing outside of Me. Do not be rash in judging the deeds and words of others, and do not entangle yourself in affairs that are not your own. Thus, it will come about that you will be disturbed little and seldom.

Yet, never to experience any disturbance or to suffer any hurt in heart or body does not belong to this present life, but rather to the state of eternal rest. Do not think, therefore, that you have found true peace if you feel no depression, or that all is well because you suffer no opposition. Do not think that all is perfect if everything happens just as you wish. And do not imagine yourself great or consider yourself especially beloved if you are filled with great devotion and sweetness. For the true lover of virtue is not known by these things, nor do the progress and perfection of a man consist in them.

The Disciple:
In what do they consist, Lord?

The Voice of Christ:
They consist in offering yourself with all your heart to the divine will, not seeking what is yours either in small matters or great ones, either in temporal or eternal things, so that you will preserve equanimity and give thanks in both prosperity and adversity, seeing all things in their proper light.

If you become so brave and long-suffering in hope that you can prepare your heart to suffer still more even when all inward consolation is withdrawn, and if you do not justify yourself as though you ought not be made to suffer such great things, but acknowledge Me to be just in all My works and praise My holy name—then you will walk in the true and right path of peace, then you may have sure hope of seeing My face again in joy. If you attain to complete contempt of self, then know that you will enjoy an abundance of peace, as much as is possible in this earthly life.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]



FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT

On this Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday, Lent is half over and the traditional Gospel for today's Mass (John 6:1-15) gives us a foretaste of Easter joy!

A great crowd followed Jesus to the other side of the sea of Galilee. (I wonder how they managed to get there so fast, without trampling on each other.) Our Lord tried to be alone, to have some private talks with His disciples, but the people wanted signs, healing of the sick.

It was an enormous crowd, about five thousand men, not counting the woman and children.

The disciples started to get nervous. The people were hungry. What can they do for them? Philip exclaimed: "Two hundred denarii worth of bread could not feed them all!"

Then Andrew brings up a young boy who has five barley loaves and two fishes. (I eat more than that at Red Lobster.)

Jesus said: "Make the people recline."

Now comes the best part of the story: Jesus then took the loaves and the fishes, broke and blessed them and gave thanks to His Father in heaven, He then distributed them to the people. Everyone received a portion with twelve baskets of bread and fish left over.

(What, no doggie bags!)

The people were amazed at this sign which Jesus had worked, they said: "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world." They wanted to crown Jesus king, right then and there, but Our Lord fled from their presence and went up on a mountain by Himself.

So here we have a foreshadowing of the Eucharist, which is multiplied on every altar in the world. And this is the joy of Easter, born from Christ's Sacred Passion, when at the Last Supper He instituted the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the holy priesthood of the New Covenant, enabling us to receive the 'Bread of Life' this day and every day of our life!

PRAYER

O Merciful God, we never fail to be nourished by Your Sacrament.
May we offer It with true devotion and receive It always with faith.
Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.



God saves me, Jesus enlightens me, the Holy Spirit is my life, thus I fear nothing.

Deacon John

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Here is Our Lady, Queen of Peace, latest Medjugorje Message:



Message of March 25, 2006
“Courage, little children! I decided to lead you on the way of holiness. Renounce sin and set out on the way of salvation, the way which my Son has chosen. Through each of your tribulations and sufferings God will find the way of joy for you. Therefore, little children, pray. We are close to you with our love. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Children Of Medjugorje, Inc.
email: cobrien@childrenofmedjugorje.com
web: http://www.childrenofmedjugorje.com



The Twenty-Fourth Chapter

Avoiding Curious Inquiry About the Lives of Others

The Voice of Christ:
MY CHILD, do not be curious. Do not trouble yourself with idle cares. What matters this or that to you? Follow Me.

What is it to you if a man is such and such, if another does or says this or that? You will not have to answer for others, but you will have to give an account of yourself. Why, then, do you meddle in their affairs?

Behold, I know all men. I see everything that is done under the sun, and I know how matters stand with each—what is in his mind and what in his heart and the end to which his intention is directed. Commit all things to Me, therefore, and keep yourself in good peace. Let him who is disturbed be as restless as he will. Whatever he has said or done will fall upon himself, for he cannot deceive Me.

Do not be anxious for the shadow of a great name, for the close friendship of many, or for the particular affection of men. These things cause distraction and cast great darkness about the heart. I would willingly speak My word and reveal My secrets to you, if you would watch diligently for My coming and open your heart to Me.

Be prudent, then. Watch in prayer, and in all things humble yourself.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]



MARCH 25
THE ANNUNCIATION & INCARNATION OF JESUS CHRIST


Every year this feast [The Annunciation] recalls anew Mary's reply to God's angelic messenger: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word."

A virgin conceives a Son, [The Incarnation] God becomes man, sin becomes a "happy fault."

God is in love with mankind and love is seldom bound to the ordinary. Every work of the Creator is called to perfection, and perfection consists in obedience.

The heavens and the earth obediently announce the glory of God, but to human beings alone God granted a free will to serve Him.

History is witness to God's frequent entry into the course of mankind's destiny. The climax: God sends His Son to turn the course of human history God-ward!

At the Annunciation, the obedience of Mary brought Christ down on earth to save fallen humanity. We, too, are called upon to co-operate with the Creator. The glory of God awaits our human word of obedient consent.

Both Christ and Mary said to the Father: "Not my will, but Yours be done!" Let us join our obedient lips to theirs, for the glory of God!
[Adapted from the 'Daily Missal of the Mystical Body']



God saves me, Jesus enlightens me, the Holy Spirit is my life, thus I fear nothing.

Deacon John

Friday, March 24, 2006




The Twenty-Third Chapter

Four Things Which Bring Great Peace

The Voice of Christ:
MY CHILD, I will teach you now the way of peace and true liberty.

Seek, child, to do the will of others rather than your own.

Always choose to have less rather than more.

Look always for the last place and seek to be beneath all others.

Always wish and pray that the will of God be fully carried out in you.

Behold, such will enter into the realm of peace and rest.

The Disciple:
O Lord, this brief discourse of Yours contains much perfection. It is short in words but full of meaning and abounding in fruit. Certainly if I could only keep it faithfully, I should not be so easily disturbed. For as often as I find myself troubled and dejected, I find that I have departed from this teaching. But You Who can do all things, and Who always love what is for my soul’s welfare, give me increase of grace that I may keep Your words and accomplish my salvation.

A Prayer Against Bad Thoughts

O Lord my God, be not far from me. O my God, hasten to help me, for varied thoughts and great fears have risen up within me, afflicting my soul. How shall I escape them unharmed? How shall I dispel them?

“I will go before you,” says the Lord, “and will humble the great ones of earth. I will open the doors of the prison, and will reveal to you hidden secrets.”

Do as You say, Lord, and let all evil thoughts fly from Your face. This is my hope and my only comfort—to fly to You in all tribulation, to confide in You, and to call on You from the depths of my heart and to await patiently for Your consolation.

A Prayer for Enlightening the Mind

Enlighten me, good Jesus, with the brightness of internal light, and take away all darkness from the habitation of my heart. Restrain my wandering thoughts and suppress the temptations which attack me so violently.

Fight strongly for me, and vanquish these evil beasts—the alluring desires of the flesh—so that peace may come through Your power and the fullness of Your praise resound in the holy courts, which is a pure conscience. Command the winds and the tempests; say to the sea: “Be still,” and to the north wind, “Do not blow,” and there will be a great calm.

Send forth Your light and Your truth to shine on the earth, for I am as earth, empty and formless until You illumine me. Pour out Your grace from above. Shower my heart with heavenly dew. Open the springs of devotion to water the earth, that it may produce the best of good fruits. Lift up my heart pressed down by the weight of sins, and direct all my desires to heavenly things, that having tasted the sweetness of supernal happiness, I may find no pleasure in thinking of earthly things.

Snatch me up and deliver me from all the passing comfort of creatures, for no created thing can fully quiet and satisfy my desires. Join me to Yourself in an inseparable bond of love; because You alone can satisfy him who loves You, and without You all things are worthless.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Thursday, March 23, 2006



The Twenty-Second Chapter

Remember the Innumerable Gifts of God

The Disciple:
OPEN my heart, O Lord, to Your law and teach me to walk in the way of Your commandments. [2 Mach 1:4]

Let me understand Your will. Let me remember Your blessings—all of them and each single one of them—with great reverence and care so that henceforth I may return worthy thanks for them. I know that I am unable to give due thanks for even the least of Your gifts. I am unworthy of the benefits You have given me, and when I consider Your generosity my spirit faints away before its greatness. All that we have of soul and body, whatever we possess interiorly or exteriorly, by nature or by grace, are Your gifts and they proclaim Your goodness and mercy from which we have received all good things.

If one receives more and another less, yet all are Yours and without You nothing can be received. He who receives greater things cannot glory in his own merit or consider himself above others or behave insolently toward those who receive less. He who attributes less to himself and is the more humble and devout in returning thanks is indeed the greater and the better, while he who considers himself lower than all men and judges himself to be the least worthy, is the more fit to receive the greater blessing.

He, on the other hand, who has received fewer gifts should not be sad or impatient or envious of the richer man. Instead he should turn his mind to You and offer You the greatest praise because You give so bountifully, so freely and willingly, without regard to persons. All things come from You; therefore, You are to be praised in all things. You know what is good for each of us; and why one should receive less and another more is not for us to judge, but for You Who have marked every man’s merits.

Therefore, O Lord God, I consider it a great blessing not to have many things which human judgment holds praiseworthy and glorious, for one who realizes his own poverty and vileness should not be sad or downcast at it, but rather consoled and happy because You, O God, have chosen the poor, the humble, and the despised in this world to be Your friends and servants. [1 Cor 1:27]

The truth of this is witnessed by Your Apostles, whom You made princes over all the world. Yet they lived in this world without complaining, so humble and simple, so free from malice and deceit, that they were happy even to suffer reproach for Your name [Acts 5:41] and to embrace with great affection that which the world abhors.

A man who loves You and recognizes Your benefits, therefore, should be gladdened by nothing so much as by Your will, by the good pleasure of Your eternal decree. With this he should be so contented and consoled that he would wish to be the least as others wish to be the greatest; that he would be as peaceful and satisfied in the last place as in the first, and as willing to be despised, unknown and forgotten, as to be honored by others and to have more fame than they.

He should prefer Your will and the love of Your honor to all else, and it should comfort him more than all the benefits which have been, or will be, given him.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Tuesday, March 21, 2006




The Twenty-first Chapter

Above All Goods and All Gifts We Must Rest in God

The Disciple:
ABOVE all things and in all things, O my soul, rest always in God, for He is the everlasting rest of the saints.

Grant, most sweet and loving Jesus, that I may seek my repose in You above every creature; above all health and beauty; above every honor and glory; every power and dignity; above all knowledge and cleverness, all riches and arts, all joy and gladness; above all fame and praise, all sweetness and consolation; above every hope and promise, every merit and desire; above all the gifts and favors that You can give or pour down upon me; above all the joy and exultation that the mind can receive and feel; and finally, above the angels and archangels and all the heavenly host; above all things visible and invisible; and may I seek my repose in You above everything that is not You, my God.

For You, O Lord my God, are above all things the best. You alone are most high, You alone most powerful. You alone are most sufficient and most satisfying, You alone most sweet and consoling. You alone are most beautiful and loving, You alone most noble and glorious above all things. In You is every perfection that has been or ever will be.

Therefore, whatever You give me besides Yourself, whatever You reveal to me concerning Yourself, and whatever You promise, is too small and insufficient when I do not see and fully enjoy You alone. For my heart cannot rest or be fully content until, rising above all gifts and every created thing, it rests in You. [St. Augustine, Confessions 1.1]

Who, O most beloved Spouse, Jesus Christ, most pure Lover, Lord of all creation, who shall give me the wings of true liberty that I may fly to rest in You? When shall freedom be fully given me to see how sweet You are, O Lord, my God? When shall I recollect myself entirely in You, so that because of Your love I may feel, not myself, but You alone above all sense and measure, in a manner known to none?

But now I often lament and grieve over my unhappiness, for many evils befall me in this vale of miseries, often disturbing me, making me sad and overshadowing me, often hindering and distracting me, alluring and entangling me so that I neither have free access to You nor enjoy the sweet embraces which are ever ready for blessed souls. Let my sighs and the manifold desolation here on earth move You.

O Jesus, Splendor of eternal glory, Consolation of the pilgrim soul, with You my lips utter no sound and to You my silence speaks. How long will my Lord delay His coming? Let Him come to His poor servant and make him happy. Let Him put forth His hand and take this miserable creature from his anguish.

Come, O come, for without You there will be no happy day or hour, because You are my happiness and without You my table is empty. I am wretched, as it were imprisoned and weighted down with fetters, until You fill me with the light of Your presence, restore me to liberty, and show me a friendly countenance.

Let others seek instead of You whatever they will, but nothing pleases me or will please me but You, my God, my Hope, my everlasting Salvation. I will not be silent, I will not cease praying until Your grace returns to me and You speak inwardly to me, saying: “Behold, I am here. Lo, I have come to you because you have called Me. Your tears and the desire of your soul, your humility and contrition of heart have inclined Me and brought Me to you.”

Lord, I have called You, and have desired You, and have been ready to spurn all things for Your sake. For You first spurred me on to seek You. May You be blessed, therefore, O Lord, for having shown this goodness to Your servant according to the multitude of Your mercies.

What more is there for Your servant to say to You unless, with his iniquity and vileness always in mind, he humbles himself before You? Nothing among all the wonders of heaven and earth is like to You. Your works are exceedingly good, Your judgments true, and Your providence rules the whole universe. May You be praised and glorified, therefore, O Wisdom of the Father. Let my lips and my soul and all created things unite to praise and bless You.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]



The Twentieth Chapter

Confessing Our Weakness in the Miseries of Life

The Disciple:
I WILL bring witness against myself to my injustice, and to You, O Lord, I will confess my weakness.

Often it is a small thing that makes me downcast and sad. I propose to act bravely, but when even a small temptation comes I find myself in great straits. Sometimes it is the merest trifle which gives rise to grievous temptations. When I think myself somewhat safe and when I am not expecting it, I frequently find myself almost overcome by a slight wind.

Look, therefore, Lord, at my lowliness and frailty which You know so well. Have mercy on me and snatch me out of the mire that I may not be caught in it and may not remain forever utterly despondent.

That I am so prone to fall and so weak in resisting my passions oppresses me frequently and confounds me in Your sight. While I do not fully consent to them, still their assault is very troublesome and grievous to me, and it wearies me exceedingly thus to live in daily strife. Yet from the fact that abominable fancies rush in upon me much more easily than they leave, my weakness becomes clear to me.

Oh that You, most mighty God of Israel, zealous Lover of faithful souls, would consider the labor and sorrow of Your servant, and assist him in all his undertakings! Strengthen me with heavenly courage lest the outer man, the miserable flesh, against which I shall be obliged to fight so long as I draw a breath in this wretched life and which is not yet subjected to the spirit, prevail and dominate me.

Alas! What sort of life is this, from which troubles and miseries are never absent, where all things are full of snares and enemies? For when one trouble or temptation leaves, another comes. Indeed, even while the first conflict is still raging, many others begin unexpectedly.

How is it possible to love a life that has such great bitterness, that is subject to so many calamities and miseries? Indeed, how can it even be called life when it begets so many deaths and plagues? And yet, it is loved, and many seek their delight in it.

Many persons often blame the world for being false and vain, yet do not readily give it up because the desires of the flesh have such great power. Some things draw them to love the world, others make them despise it. The lust of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life lead to love, while the pains and miseries, which are the just consequences of those things, beget hatred and weariness of the world.

Vicious pleasure overcomes the soul that is given to the world. She thinks that there are delights beneath these thorns, because she has never seen or tasted the sweetness of God or the internal delight of virtue. They, on the other hand, who entirely despise the world and seek to live for God under the rule of holy discipline, are not ignorant of the divine sweetness promised to those who truly renounce the world. They see clearly how gravely the world errs, and in how many ways it deceives.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Monday, March 20, 2006



The Nineteenth Chapter

True Patience in Suffering

The Voice of Christ:
WHAT are you saying, My child? Think of My suffering and that of the saints, and cease complaining. You have not yet resisted to the shedding of blood.

What you suffer is very little compared with the great things they suffered who were so strongly tempted, so severely troubled, so tried and tormented in many ways. [Heb. 11:33, 37]

Well may you remember, therefore, the very painful woes of others, that you may bear your own little ones the more easily. And if they do not seem so small to you, examine if perhaps your impatience is not the cause of their apparent greatness; and whether they are great or small, try to bear them all patiently.

The better you dispose yourself to suffer, the more wisely you act and the greater is the reward promised you. Thus you will suffer more easily if your mind and habits are diligently trained to it.

Do not say: “I cannot bear this from such a man, nor should I suffer things of this kind, for he has done me a great wrong. He has accused me of many things of which I never thought. However, from someone else I will gladly suffer as much as I think I should.”

Such a thought is foolish, for it does not consider the virtue of patience or the One Who will reward it, but rather weighs the person and the offense committed. The man who will suffer only as much as seems good to him, who will accept suffering only from those from whom he is pleased to accept it, is not truly patient. For the truly patient man does not consider from whom the suffering comes, whether from a superior, an equal, or an inferior, whether from a good and holy person or from a perverse and unworthy one; but no matter how great an adversity befalls him, no matter how often it comes or from whom it comes, he accepts it gratefully from the hand of God, and counts it a great gain. For with God nothing that is suffered for His sake, no matter how small, can pass without reward.

Be prepared for the fight, then, if you wish to gain the victory. Without struggle you cannot obtain the crown of patience, and if you refuse to suffer you are refusing the crown. But if you desire to be crowned, fight bravely and bear up patiently. [2 Tim 2:5] Without labor there is no rest, and without fighting, no victory.

The Disciple:
O Lord, let that which seems naturally impossible to me become possible through Your grace. [Luke 18:27]

You know that I can suffer very little, and that I am quickly discouraged when any small adversity arises. Let the torment of tribulation suffered for Your name be pleasant and desirable to me, since to suffer and be troubled for Your sake is very beneficial for my soul.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Sunday, March 19, 2006




The Eighteenth Chapter

Temporal Sufferings Should Be Borne Patiently,
After the Example of Christ

The Voice of Christ:
MY CHILD, I came down from heaven for your salvation and took upon Myself your miseries, not out of necessity but out of love, that you might learn to be patient and bear the sufferings of this life without repining. From the moment of My birth to My death on the cross, suffering did not leave Me. I suffered great want of temporal goods. Often I heard many complaints against Me. Disgrace and reviling I bore with patience. For My blessings I received ingratitude, for My miracles blasphemies, and for My teaching scorn.

The Disciple:
O Lord, because You were patient in life, especially in fulfilling the design of the Father, it is fitting that I, a most miserable sinner, should live patiently according to Your will, and, as long as You shall wish, bear the burden of this corruptible body for the welfare of my soul. For though this present life seems burdensome, yet by Your grace it becomes meritorious, and it is made brighter and more endurable for the weak by Your example and the pathways of the saints. But it has also more consolation than formerly under the old law when the gates of heaven were closed, when the way thereto seemed darker than now, and when so few cared to seek the eternal kingdom. The just, the elect, could not enter heaven before Your sufferings and sacred death had paid the debt.

Oh, what great thanks I owe You, Who have shown me and all the faithful the good and right way to Your everlasting kingdom! Your life is our way and in Your holy patience we come nearer to You Who are our crown. Had You not gone before and taught us, who would have cared to follow? Alas, how many would have remained far behind, had they not before their eyes Your holy example! Behold, even we who have heard of Your many miracles and teachings are still lukewarm; what would happen if we did not have such light by which to follow You?

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]
MARCH 19-SOLEMNITY OF SAINT JOSEPH -FOSTER-FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST-MOST CHASTE SPOUSE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY-PATRON OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH-PRAY FOR US!
Joseph, a member of the royal family of David, was leading the obscure life of a village carpenter when God chose him to be the spouse of the Blessed Virgin and the foster father of the Incarnate Word. Scripture tells us that Joseph was just, pure, gentle, prudent, and a lover of holy silence. Above all, this humble guardian of the Child Jesus was unfailingly obedient to the Divine Will. Joseph's great task as the foster father of Christ must have been finished before the marriage feast at Cana and the beginning of the Savior's public ministry. Untold millions have since then invoked St. Joseph as the patron of a happy death.


In honor of St. Joseph,
I share with all of you these words from Father Thomas J. Euteneuer!

Spirit & Life
“The words I spoke to you are spirit and life.” (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 1, Number 07 Friday, March 17, 2006
......................
http://www.hli.org/
Nothing will be Denied Him

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,President Human Life International

When the Lord Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father accompanied by the mightiest angels in all their glory, a simple, humble man emerged from the multitude of redeemed souls to greet his Lord with deepest joy. As he approached the throne of grace all the angels and souls reverently formed a passage for the man to come into the Lord’s presence.
“My son,” said the man, “how is your mother?”
“My dear father!” replied the Lord of heaven and earth, “How long I have waited in the valley of tears to see you again! My labors are now over, the kingdom of darkness is vanquished, and we are reunited. You who fed, bathed and clothed my body on earth in your authority as father must now come up higher and take your place as master of my mystical body, the Church. When Mother arrives in due time, we will reign as a family once again! I promise that nothing will be withheld from you who held nothing back from me in your earthly life. Welcome into the joy of our Father’s kingdom!”
And Joseph bowed and kissed his Son with the same fatherly tenderness as on the day he first laid eyes on his newborn Child in Bethlehem.

I don’t believe that there is any way to calculate Our Lord’s love for his earthly father—the word “infinite” does not quite capture its breadth. Nor can we begin to estimate the reverence that the Queen of Angels has for her earthly spouse. Both Jesus and Mary spent the prime years of their earthly lives at his side—being served by him—and will open our eyes to the virtue of this man if we seek to know him better.

It is Joseph’s discerning strength that we need after all, isn’t it? We beg for an adequate mentor to overcome life’s innumerable challenges and temptations. We need a spiritual Rock of Gibraltar to shore up our flagging spirits. We are striving to make it to the very end of this journey through the valley of tears and we need a strong companion, one who is familiar with the role of protective guide on a long journey.

Who of us could deny any request of a father who sacrificed his livelihood, his career ambitions and the best years of his life to form us and make us who we are today? Jesus witnessed the mature obedience of Joseph to the will of His heavenly Father and therefore knows that Joseph’s intercession for us will always be in perfect conformity with God’s plan of salvation. He knows that Joseph will teach us, guide us and strengthen our vocations just as he did for the Divine Son of God. This is another way of saying that anything Joseph asks from Jesus on our behalf will not be denied.

When it comes to our devotion to St. Joseph, we only lack one thing: we don’t ask enough!


Traditional Litany of St. Joseph »
Litany of St. Joseph the Magnificent »
HLI Consecration to St. Joseph »
For the Spirit & Life archives click here »

Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International
THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT

On this Third Sunday of Lent, in the traditional Gospel of the day, we hear of a scandalous incident in the life of Our Lord (Luke 11:14-28). Imagine, here is Jesus doing Good Works and He's accused of working for the devil! "By Beelzebub, the prince of devils, he casts out devils," they said.

How that remark must have pierced the Heart of Jesus, He is completely misunderstood! And these remarks came from men who thought they were righteous. How blind, dark and distorted some minds can be! Here was the Holy One of God, the Son of God, prophesied through the ages, in Person before them, and they are totally blind!

Jesus asserts Himself and His loyalty to the Father: "If I cast out devils by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." Those poor fools could not recognize the Prince of Light, Jesus, the image of the Father. "The Father and I are One!"

Woe to these blasphemers, cause they will be judged by their ancestors, the prophets, who had cast out devils themselves.

Then Jesus calls us to a like loyalty to Himself, from everyone: "He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters." He actually demands that we declare our allegiance to Him! Loyalty is in our very blood because God the Father put it there; it is meant to hold us firm when evil desires tempt us.

We are "children of the light," (Ephesians 5:9) let us not give our loyalty to earthly pleasures. Let us be loyal as love! Let us live our baptismal promises! 'Do you Reject Satan, father of lies, prince of darkness and all his works and all his empty promises! Reject sin, so as to live in the freedom as God's children! Reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by it!' (Rite of Baptism) Let pray the "Lord's Prayer" as our loyalty oath and be united with Jesus.

At the end of this periscope, it says: 'A certain woman from the crowd lifted up her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the breasts that nursed Thee." But He said, "Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it." '

Jesus lifts us up to the dignity of His own Mother, that's how much He loves us! Like Mother Mary, He joins our hearts to His and Hers for all eternity!

PRAYER

O Almighty God, fulfill the petitions of the humble;
And defend us with Your Right Hand of Power.
Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

God saves me, Jesus enlightens me, the Holy Spirit is my life, thus I fear nothing.

Deacon John

Saturday, March 18, 2006




The Seventeenth Chapter

All Our Care is to Be Placed in God

The Voice of Christ:
MY CHILD, allow me to do what I will with you. I know what is best for you. You think as a man; you feel in many things as human affection persuades.

The Disciple:
Lord, what You say is true. Your care for me is greater than all the care I can take of myself. For he who does not cast all his care upon You stands very unsafely. If only my will remain right and firm toward You, Lord, do with me whatever pleases You. For whatever You shall do with me can only be good.

If You wish me to be in darkness, I shall bless You. And if You wish me to be in light, again I shall bless You. If You stoop down to comfort me, I shall bless You, and if You wish me to be afflicted, I shall bless You forever.

The Voice of Christ:
My child, this is the disposition which you should have if you wish to walk with Me. You should be as ready to suffer as to enjoy. You should as willingly be destitute and poor as rich and satisfied.

The Disciple:
O Lord, I shall suffer willingly for Your sake whatever You wish to send me. I am ready to accept from Your hand both good and evil alike, the sweet and the bitter together, sorrow with joy; and for all that happens to me I am grateful. Keep me from all sin and I will fear neither death nor hell. Do not cast me out forever nor blot me out of the Book of Life, and whatever tribulation befalls will not harm me.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Friday, March 17, 2006




The Sixteenth Chapter

True Comfort Is to Be Sought in God Alone

The Disciple:
WHATEVER I can desire or imagine for my own comfort I look for not here but hereafter. For if I alone should have all the world’s comforts and could enjoy all its delights, it is certain that they could not long endure. Therefore, my soul, you cannot enjoy full consolation or perfect delight except in God, the Consoler of the poor and the Helper of the humble.

Wait a little, my soul, wait for the divine promise and you will have an abundance of all good things in heaven. If you desire these present things too much, you will lose those which are everlasting and heavenly. Use temporal things but desire eternal things. You cannot be satisfied with any temporal goods because you were not created to enjoy them.

Even if you possessed all created things you could not be happy and blessed; for in God, Who created all these things, your whole blessedness and happiness consists—not indeed such happiness as is seen and praised by lovers of the world, but such as that for which the good and faithful servants of Christ wait, and of which the spiritual and pure of heart, whose conversation is in heaven, sometime have a foretaste.

Vain and brief is all human consolation. But that which is received inwardly from the Truth is blessed and true. The devout man carries his Consoler, Jesus, everywhere with him, and he says to Him: “Be with me, Lord Jesus, in every place and at all times. Let this be my consolation, to be willing to forego all human comforting. And if Your consolation be wanting to me, let Your will and just trial of me be my greatest comfort. For You will not always be angry, nor will You threaten forever.”

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Hail Mary, full of Grace
The Fifteenth Chapter

How One Should Feel and Speak on Every Desirable Thing

The Voice of Christ:
MY CHILD, this is the way you must speak on every occasion: “Lord, if it be pleasing to You, so be it. If it be to Your honor, Lord, be it done in Your name. Lord, if You see that it is expedient and profitable for me, then grant that I may use it to Your honor. But if You know that it will be harmful to me, and of no good benefit to the welfare of my soul, then take this desire away from me.”

Not every desire is from the Holy Spirit, even though it may seem right and good. It is difficult to be certain whether it is a good spirit or a bad one that prompts one to this or that, and even to know whether you are being moved by your own spirit. Many who seemed at first to be led by a good spirit have been deceived in the end.

Whatever the mind sees as good, ask and desire in fear of God and humility of heart. Above all, commit the whole matter to Me with true resignation, and say: “Lord, You know what is better for me; let this be done or that be done as You please. Grant what You will, as much as You will, when You will. Do with me as You know best, as will most please You, and will be for Your greater honor. Place me where You will and deal with me freely in all things. I am in Your hand; turn me about whichever way You will. Behold, I am Your servant, ready to obey in all things. Not for myself do I desire to live, but for You—would that I could do this worthily and perfectly!”

A Prayer that the Will of God Be Done

Grant me Your grace, O most merciful Jesus, that it may be with me, and work with me, and remain with me to the very end. Grant that I may always desire and will that which is most acceptable and pleasing to You. Let Your will be mine. Let my will always follow Yours and agree perfectly with it. Let my will be one with Yours in willing and in not willing, and let me be unable to will or not will anything but what You will or do not will. Grant that I may die to all things in this world, and for Your sake love to be despised and unknown in this life. Give me above all desires the desire to rest in You, and in You let my heart have peace.

You are true peace of heart. You alone are its rest. Without You all things are difficult and troubled. In this peace, the selfsame that is in You, the Most High, the everlasting Good, I will sleep and take my rest. Amen.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

And the stars from heaven fell upon the earth. [Apoc. 6:13]



The Fourteenth Chapter

Consider the Hidden Judgments of God
Lest You Become Proud of Your Own Good Deeds

The Disciple:
YOU thunder forth Your judgments over me, Lord. You shake all my bones with fear and trembling, and my soul is very much afraid. [Job 4:14]

I stand in awe as I consider that the heavens are not pure in Your sight. [Job 15:15]

If You found wickedness in the angels and did not spare them, what will become of me? Stars have fallen from heaven, and I—I who am but dust—how can I be presumptuous? [Apoc 6:13]

They whose deeds seemed worthy of praise have fallen into the depths, and I have seen those who ate the bread of angels delighting themselves with the husks of swine. [Luke 15:16]

There is no holiness, then, if You withdraw Your hand, Lord. There is no wisdom if You cease to guide, no courage if You cease to defend. No chastity is secure if You do not guard it.

Our vigilance avails nothing if Your holy watchfulness does not protect us. Left to ourselves we sink and perish, but visited by You we are lifted up and live. We are truly unstable, but You make us strong. We grow lukewarm, but You inflame us.

Oh, how humbly and lowly should I consider 113 myself! How very little should I esteem anything that seems good in me! How profoundly should I submit to Your unfathomable judgments, Lord, where I find myself to be but nothing!

O immeasurable weight! O impassable sea, where I find myself to be nothing but bare nothingness! Where, then, is glory’s hiding place? Where can there be any trust in my own virtue? All vainglory is swallowed up in the depths of Your judgments upon me.

What is all flesh in Your sight? Shall the clay glory against Him that formed it? How can he whose heart is truly subject to God be lifted up by vainglory? The whole world will not make him proud whom truth has subjected to itself. Nor shall he who has placed all his hope in God be moved by the tongues of flatterers. For behold, even they who speak are nothing; they will pass away with the sound of their words, but the truth of the Lord remains forever.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Christ Humbled

The Thirteenth Chapter

The Obedience of One Humbly Subject to the Example of Jesus Christ

The Voice of Christ:
MY CHILD, he who attempts to escape obeying withdraws himself from grace. Likewise he who seeks private benefits for himself loses those which are common to all. He who does not submit himself freely and willingly to his superior, shows that his flesh is not yet perfectly obedient but that it often rebels and murmurs against him.

Learn quickly, then, to submit yourself to your superior if you wish to conquer your own flesh.

For the exterior enemy is more quickly overcome if the inner man is not laid waste. There is no more troublesome, no worse enemy of the soul than you yourself, if you are not in harmony with the spirit. It is absolutely necessary that you conceive a true contempt for yourself if you wish to be victorious over flesh and blood.

Because you still love yourself too inordinately, you are afraid to resign yourself wholly to the will of others. Is it such a great matter if you, who are but dust and nothingness, subject yourself to man for the sake of God, when I, the All-Powerful, the Most High, Who created all things out of nothing, humbly subjected Myself to man for your sake? I became the most humble and the lowest of all men that you might overcome your pride with My humility.

Learn to obey, you who are but dust! Learn to humble yourself, you who are but earth and clay, and bow down under the foot of every man! Learn to break your own will, to submit to all subjection! Be zealous against yourself! Allow no pride to dwell in you, but prove yourself so humble and lowly that all may walk over you and trample upon you as dust in the streets!

What have you, vain man, to complain of? What answer can you make, vile sinner, to those who accuse you, you who have so often offended God and so many times deserved hell?

But My eye has spared you because your soul was precious in My sight, so that you might know My love and always be thankful for My benefits, so that you might give yourself continually to true subjection and humility, and might patiently endure contempt.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Monday, March 13, 2006




The Twelfth Chapter

Acquiring Patience in the Fight Against Concupiscence

The Disciple:
PATIENCE, O Lord God, is very necessary for me, I see, because there are many adversities in this life. No matter what plans I make for my own peace, my life cannot be free from struggle and sorrow.

The Voice of Christ:
My child, you are right, yet My wish is not that you seek that peace which is free from temptations or meets with no opposition, but rather that you consider yourself as having found peace when you have been tormented with many tribulations and tried with many adversities.

If you say that you cannot suffer much, how will you endure the fire of purgatory? Of two evils, the lesser is always to be chosen. Therefore, in order that you may escape the everlasting punishments to come, try to bear present evils patiently for the sake of God.

Do you think that men of the world have no suffering, or perhaps but little? Ask even those who enjoy the most delights and you will learn otherwise. “But,” you will say, “they enjoy many pleasures and follow their own wishes; therefore they do not feel their troubles very much.”

Granted that they do have whatever they wish, how long do you think it will last? Behold, they who prosper in the world shall perish as smoke, [Psalm 36:20] and there shall be no memory of their past joys.

Even in this life they do not find rest in these pleasures without bitterness, weariness, and fear. For they often receive the penalty of sorrow from the very thing whence they believe their happiness comes. And it is just. Since they seek and follow after pleasures without reason, they should not enjoy them without shame and bitterness.

How brief, how false, how unreasonable and shameful all these pleasures are! Yet in their drunken blindness men do not understand this, but like brute beasts incur death of soul for the miserly enjoyment of a corruptible life.

Therefore, My child, do not pursue your lusts, but turn away from your own will. “Seek thy pleasure in the Lord and He will give thee thy heart’s desires.” [Psalm 36:4]

If you wish to be truly delighted and more abundantly comforted by Me, behold, in contempt of all worldly things and in the cutting off of all base pleasures shall your blessing be, and great consolation shall be given you. Further, the more you withdraw yourself from any solace of creatures, the sweeter and stronger comfort will you find in Me.

At first you will not gain these blessings without sadness and toil and conflict. Habit already formed will resist you, but it shall be overcome by a better habit. The flesh will murmur against you, but it will be bridled by fervor of spirit. The old serpent will sting and trouble you, but prayer will put him to flight and by steadfast, useful toil the way will be closed to him.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Sunday, March 12, 2006




SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT

Today's traditional Gospel for this Second Sunday of Lent is again from Matthew 17:1-9 (The Transfiguration). I think the Church is teaching us to be prepare for Christ's humiliation in Gethsemani and on Calvary, where we could despair if we didn't believe in Christ's Divinity.

Let's look at that other transfiguration, where Jesus takes Peter, James and John, again those special three disciples, to the Garden and about 'a stones throw away', Jesus falls to the ground, praying: "My Father, if it is possible, let this chalice pass from me." (Matt 26:37) Now the Lord struggles to conform His human will with His and the Father's divine Will as He sees all the sins of the world; the sufferings He will endure because of those sins; the future sufferings of His Church, the sufferings of the Blessed Mother as co-redemptrix; and His own sufferings in the Blessed Sacrament, the blasphemies, the sacrileges and the indifference. "And He sweated blood and the blood dripped to the ground." (Luke 22:44)

At this transfiguration, where Our Lord countenance is changed, not in light and glory, but in desolation and sadness, there is no Moses or Elijah, but instead the Father sends an Angel to strengthen Him. And with that, Jesus accepts the cup of suffering: "Father, not my will, but Thine be done."

How many times in my life did I have to say those words: "Not my will, but Your's, O Lord": when we lost our home due to unemployment; when we had two stillborn children; when we found out our medical condition, (diabetes, kidney disease) when we had to move to another State for employment, causing a rupture in our family . . . But through it all, our Faith and love of the Lord increased, thanks be to God!

Knowing what Christ taught and lived, we see the contrast between what we are and what we are meant to be. What we are, if patiently accepted, is a help toward that Christian humility and mortification which is the foundation of personal holiness. "God has called us unto holiness" (1 Thess 4:7) -- that is, to be mature, balanced, happy Christians for the Glory of God!

PRAYER

O God, strengthen Your people with the blessing they ask, so that they may always be obedient to Your Will and rejoice in Your Gifts. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

God saves me, Jesus enlightens me, the Holy Spirit is my life, thus I fear nothing.

Deacon John



The Eleventh Chapter

The Longings of our Hearts Must Be Examined And Moderated

The Voice of Christ:
MY CHILD, it is necessary for you to learn many things which you have not yet learned well.

The Disciple:
What are they, Lord?

The Voice of Christ:
That you conform your desires entirely according to My good pleasure, and be not a lover of self but an earnest doer of My will.

Desires very often inflame you and drive you madly on, but consider whether you act for My honor, or for your own advantage. If I am the cause, you will be well content with whatever I ordain. If, on the other hand, any self-seeking lurk in you, it troubles you and weighs you down.

Take care, then, that you do not rely too much on preconceived desire that has no reference to Me, lest you repent later on and be displeased with what at first pleased you and which you desired as being for the best. Not every desire which seems good should be followed immediately, nor, on the other hand, should every contrary affection be at once rejected.

It is sometimes well to use a little restraint even in good desires and inclinations, lest through too much eagerness you bring upon yourself distraction of mind; lest through your lack of discipline you create scandal for others; or lest you be suddenly upset and fall because of resistance from others.

Sometimes, however, you must use violence and resist your sensual appetite bravely. You must pay no attention to what the flesh does or does not desire, taking pains that it be subjected, even by force, to the spirit. And it should be chastised and forced to remain in subjection until it is prepared for anything and is taught to be satisfied with little, to take pleasure in simple things, and not to murmur against inconveniences.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Saturday, March 11, 2006




Dear Friends,I just visited the website of Governor Michael Rounds of So. Dakota and thanked him for signing the abortion ban.["Issue" = Reproductive rights/abortion]

He is probably getting a lot of heat from liberal Democrats.I thought you might want to thank him too.

Go here:http://www.capwiz.com/politicsol/mail/?id=8031&type=GV&state=SD

The unborn thank you!

St. Francis of Assisi

The Tenth Chapter

To Despise the World and Serve God is Sweet

The Disciple:
NOW again I will speak, Lord, and will not be silent. I will speak to the hearing of my God, my Lord, and my King Who is in heaven. How great, O Lord, is the multitude of Your mercies which You have stored up for those who love You. But what are You to those who love You? What are You to those who serve You with their whole heart?

Truly beyond the power of words is the sweetness of contemplation You give to those who love You. To me You have shown the sweetness of Your charity, especially in having made me when I did not exist, in having brought me back to serve You when I had gone far astray from You, in having commanded me to love You.

O Fountain of unceasing love, what shall I say of You? How can I forget You, Who have been pleased to remember me even after I had wasted away and perished? You have shown mercy to Your servant beyond all hope, and have exhibited grace and friendship beyond his deserving.

What return shall I make to You for this grace? For it is not given every man to forsake all things, to renounce the world, and undertake the religious life. Is it anything great that I should serve You Whom every creature is bound to serve? It should not seem much to me; instead it should appear great and wonderful that You condescend to receive into Your service one who is so poor and unworthy.

Behold, all things are Yours, even those which I have and by which I serve You. Behold, heaven and earth which You created for the service of man, stand ready, and each day they do whatever You command. But even this is little, for You have appointed angels also to minister to man [Heb. 1:14]—yea more than all this—You Yourself have condescended to serve man and have promised to give him Yourself.

What return shall I make for all these thousands of benefits? Would that I could serve You all the days of my life! Would that for but one day I could serve You worthily! Truly You are worthy of all service, all honor, and everlasting praise. Truly You are my Lord, and I am Your poor servant, bound to serve You with all my powers, praising You without ever becoming weary. I wish to do this—this is my desire. Do You supply whatever is wanting in me.

It is a great honor, a great glory to serve You and to despise all things for Your sake. They who give themselves gladly to Your most holy service will possess great grace. They who cast aside all carnal delights for Your love will find the most sweet consolation of the Holy Ghost. They who enter upon the narrow way for Your name and cast aside all worldly care will attain great freedom of mind.

O sweet and joyful service of God, which makes man truly free and holy! O sacred state of religious bondage which makes man equal to the angels, pleasing to God, terrible to the demons, and worthy of the commendation of all the faithful! O service to be embraced and always desired, in which the highest good is offered and joy is won which shall remain forever!

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Friday, March 10, 2006




The Ninth Chapter

All Things should be Referred to God as their Last End

The Voice of Christ:
MY CHILD, I must be your supreme and last end, if you truly desire to be blessed. With this intention your affections, which are too often perversely inclined to self and to creatures, will be purified. For if you seek yourself in anything, you immediately fail interiorly and become dry of heart.

Refer all things principally to Me, therefore, for it is I Who have given them all. Consider each thing as flowing from the highest good, and therefore to Me, as to their highest source, must all things be brought back.

From Me the small and the great, the poor and the rich draw the water of life as from a living fountain, [Isa 12:3] and they who serve Me willingly and freely shall receive grace upon grace. [John 10:16]

He who wishes to glory in things apart from Me, however, or to delight in some good as his own, shall not be grounded in true joy or gladdened in his heart, but shall be burdened and distressed in many ways. Hence you ought not to attribute any good to yourself or ascribe virtue to any man, but give all to God without Whom man has nothing.

I have given all things. I will that all be returned to Me again, and I exact most strictly a return of thanks. [Matt 25:28] This is the truth by which vainglory is put to flight.

Where heavenly grace and true charity enter in, there neither envy nor narrowness of heart nor self-love will have place. Divine love conquers all and enlarges the powers of the soul.

If you are truly wise, you will rejoice only in Me, because no one is good except God alone, Who is to be praised above all things and above all to be blessed. [Dan 3:56]

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Supper at Emmaus, the well-known painting by Caravaggio

The Eighth Chapter

Self-Abasement in the Sight of God

The Disciple:
I WILL speak to my Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. If I consider myself anything more than this, behold You stand against me, and my sins bear witness to the truth which I cannot contradict. If I abase myself, however, if I humble myself to nothingness, if I shrink from all self-esteem and account myself as the dust which I am, Your grace will favor me, Your light will enshroud my heart, and all self-esteem, no matter how little, will sink in the depths of my nothingness to perish forever.

It is there You show me to myself—what I am, what I have been, and what I am coming to; for I am nothing and I did not know it. Left to myself, I am nothing but total weakness. But if You look upon me for an instant, I am at once made strong and filled with new joy. Great wonder it is that I, who of my own weight always sink to the depths, am so suddenly lifted up, and so graciously embraced by You.

It is Your love that does this, graciously upholding me, supporting me in so many necessities, guarding me from so many grave dangers, and snatching me, as I may truly say, from evils without number. Indeed, by loving myself badly I lost myself; by seeking only You and by truly loving You I have found both myself and You, and by that love I have reduced myself more profoundly to nothing. For You, O sweetest Lord, deal with me above all my merits and above all that I dare to hope or ask.

May You be blessed, my God, for although I am unworthy of any benefits, yet Your nobility and infinite goodness never cease to do good even for those who are ungrateful and far from You.

Convert us to You, that we may be thankful, humble, and devout, for You are our salvation, our courage, and our strength.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Wednesday, March 08, 2006




The Seventh Chapter

Grace Must Be Hidden Under the Mantle of Humility

The Voice of Christ:
IT IS better and safer for you to conceal the grace of devotion, not to be elated by it, not to speak or think much of it, and instead to humble yourself and fear lest it is being given to one unworthy of it.

Do not cling too closely to this affection, for it may quickly be changed to its opposite. When you are in grace, think how miserable and needy you are without it. Your progress in spiritual life does not consist in having the grace of consolation, but in enduring its withdrawal with humility, resignation, and patience, so that you neither become listless in prayer nor neglect your other duties in the least; but on the contrary do what you can do as well as you know how, and do not neglect yourself completely because of your dryness or anxiety of mind.

There are many, indeed, who immediately become impatient and lazy when things do not go well with them. The way of man, however, does not always lie in his own power. It is God’s prerogative to give grace and to console when He wishes, as much as He wishes, and whom He wishes, as it shall please Him and no more.

Some careless persons, misusing the grace of devotion, have destroyed themselves because they wished to do more than they were able. They failed to take account of their own weakness, and followed the desire of their heart rather than the judgment of their reason. Then, because they presumed to greater things than pleased God they quickly lost His grace. They who had built their homes in heaven became helpless, vile outcasts, humbled and impoverished, that they might learn not to fly with their own wings but to trust in Mine.

They who are still new and inexperienced in the way of the Lord may easily be deceived and overthrown unless they guide themselves by the advice of discreet persons. But if they wish to follow their own notions rather than to trust in others who are more experienced, they will be in danger of a sorry end, at least if they are unwilling to be drawn from their vanity. Seldom do they who are wise in their own conceits bear humbly the guidance of others. [Romans 11:25]

Yet a little knowledge humbly and meekly pursued is better than great treasures of learning sought in vain complacency. It is better for you to have little than to have much which may become the source of pride.

He who gives himself up entirely to enjoyment acts very unwisely, for he forgets his former helplessness and that chastened fear of the Lord which dreads to lose a proffered grace. Nor is he very brave or wise who becomes too despondent in times of adversity and difficulty and thinks less confidently of Me than he should. He who wishes to be too secure in time of peace will often become too dejected and fearful in time of trial.

If you were wise enough to remain always humble and small in your own eyes, and to restrain and rule your spirit well, you would not fall so quickly into danger and offense.

When a spirit of fervor is enkindled within you, you may well meditate on how you will feel when the fervor leaves. Then, when this happens, remember that the light which I have withdrawn for a time as a warning to you and for My own glory may again return.

Such trials are often more beneficial than if you had things always as you wish. For a man’s merits are not measured by many visions or consolations, or by knowledge of the Scriptures, or by his being in a higher position than others, but by the truth of his humility, by his capacity for divine charity, by his constancy in seeking purely and entirely the honor of God, by his disregard and positive contempt of self, and more, by preferring to be despised and humiliated rather than honored by others.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Tuesday, March 07, 2006




The Sixth Chapter

The Proving of a True Lover

The Voice of Christ:
MY CHILD, you are not yet a brave and wise lover.

The Disciple:
Why, Lord?

The Voice of Christ:
Because, on account of a slight difficulty you give up what you have undertaken and are too eager to seek consolation.

The brave lover stands firm in temptations and pays no heed to the crafty persuasions of the enemy. As I please him in prosperity, so in adversity I am not displeasing to him. The wise lover regards not so much the gift of Him Who loves as the love of Him Who gives. He regards the affection of the Giver rather than the value of the gift, and sets his Beloved above all gifts. The noble lover does not rest in the gift but in Me Who am above every gift.

All is not lost, then, if you sometimes feel less devout than you wish toward Me or My saints.

That good and sweet feeling which you sometimes have is the effect of present grace and a certain foretaste of your heavenly home. You must not lean upon it too much, because it comes and goes.

But to fight against evil thoughts which attack you is a sign of virtue and great merit. Do not, therefore, let strange fantasies disturb you, no matter what they concern. Hold strongly to your resolution and keep a right intention toward God.

It is not an illusion that you are sometimes rapt in ecstasy and then quickly returned to the usual follies of your heart. For these are evils which you suffer rather than commit; and so long as they displease you and you struggle against them, it is a matter of merit and not a loss.

You must know that the old enemy tries by all means in his power to hinder your desire for good and to turn you from every devotional practice, especially from the veneration of the saints, from devout meditation on My passion, and from your firm purpose of advancing in virtue. He suggests many evil thoughts that he may cause you weariness and horror, and thus draw you away from prayer and holy reading. A humble confession displeases him and, if he could, he would make you omit Holy Communion.

Do not believe him or heed him, even though he often sets traps to deceive you. When he suggests evil, unclean things, accuse him. Say to him: “Away, unclean spirit! Shame, miserable creature! You are but filth to bring such things to my ears. Begone, most wretched seducer! You shall have no part in me, for Jesus will be my strength, and you shall be confounded. I would rather die and suffer all torments than consent to you. Be still! Be silent! Though you bring many troubles upon me I will have none of you. The Lord is my light, my salvation. [Psalm 27:1]Whom shall I fear? Though armies unite against me, my heart will not fear, for the Lord is my Helper, my Redeemer.”

Fight like a good soldier and if you sometimes fall through weakness, rise again with greater strength than before, trusting in My most abundant grace. But beware of vain complacency and pride. For many are led into error through these faults and sometimes fall into almost perpetual blindness. Let the fall of these, who proudly presume on self, be a warning to you and a constant incentive to humility.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]

Monday, March 06, 2006




The Fifth Chapter

The Wonderful Effect of Divine Love

The Disciple:
I BLESS You, O heavenly Father, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, for having condescended to remember me, a poor creature. Thanks to You, O Father of mercies, God of all consolation, [2 Cor 1:3] Who with Your comfort sometimes refresh me, who am not worthy of it. I bless You always and glorify You with Your only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, forever and ever.

Ah, Lord God, my holy Lover, when You come into my heart, all that is within me will rejoice.

You are my glory and the exultation of my heart. You are my hope and refuge in the day of my tribulation. But because my love is as yet weak and my virtue imperfect, I must be strengthened and comforted by You. Visit me often, therefore, and teach me Your holy discipline.

Free me from evil passions and cleanse my heart of all disorderly affection so that, healed and purified within, I may be fit to love, strong to suffer, and firm to persevere.

Love is an excellent thing, a very great blessing, indeed. It makes every difficulty easy, and bears all wrongs with equanimity. For it bears a burden without being weighted and renders sweet all that is bitter. The noble love of Jesus spurs to great deeds and excites longing for that which is more perfect.

Love tends upward; it will not be held down by anything low. Love wishes to be free and estranged from all worldly affections, lest its inward sight be obstructed, lest it be entangled in any temporal interest and overcome by adversity.

Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger or higher or wider; nothing is more pleasant, nothing fuller, and nothing better in heaven or on earth, for love is born of God and cannot rest except in God, Who is above all created things.

One who is in love flies, runs, and rejoices; he is free, not bound. He gives all for all and possesses all in all, because he rests in the one sovereign Good, Who is above all things, and from Whom every good flows and proceeds. He does not look to the gift but turns himself above all gifts to the Giver.

Love often knows no limits but overflows all bounds. Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of troubles, attempts more than it is able, and does not plead impossibility, because it believes that it may and can do all things. For this reason, it is able to do all, performing and effecting much where he who does not love fails and falls.

Love is watchful. Sleeping, it does not slumber. Wearied, it is not tired. Pressed, it is not straitened. Alarmed, it is not confused, but like a living flame, a burning torch, it forces its way upward and passes unharmed through every obstacle.

If a man loves, he will know the sound of this voice. For this warm affection of soul is a loud voice crying in the ears of God, and it says: “My God, my love, You are all mine and I am all Yours.

Give me an increase of love, that I may learn to taste with the inward lips of my heart how sweet it is to love, how sweet to be dissolved in love and bathe in it. Let me be rapt in love. Let me rise above self in great fervor and wonder.

Let me sing the hymn of love, and let me follow You, my Love, to the heights. Let my soul exhaust itself in praising You, rejoicing out of love. Let me love You more than myself, and let me not love myself except for Your sake. In You let me love all those who truly love You, as the law of love, which shines forth from You, commands.”

Love is swift, sincere, kind, pleasant, and delightful. Love is strong, patient and faithful, prudent, long-suffering, and manly. Love is never self-seeking, for in whatever a person seeks himself there he falls from love. Love is circumspect, humble, and upright. It is neither soft nor light, nor intent upon vain things. It is sober and chaste, firm and quiet, guarded in all the senses.

Love is subject and obedient to superiors. It is mean and contemptible in its own eyes, devoted and thankful to God; always trusting and hoping in Him even when He is distasteful to it, for there is no living in love without sorrow. He who is not ready to suffer all things and to stand resigned to the will of the Beloved is not worthy to be called a lover. A lover must embrace willingly all that is difficult and bitter for the sake of the Beloved, and he should not turn away from Him because of adversities.

[Imitation of Christ, Book Three. Public Domain.]