MARY, OUR MOTHER

Friday, June 30, 2006




CHAPTER XLII:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .


OF SEVERAL WONDERFUL MIRACLES WHICH THE LORD PERFORMED THROUGH THE MEANS OF BROTHER PETER OF MONTICELLO, AND BROTHER CONRAD OF OFFIDA. HOW BROTHER BENTIVOGLIO CARRIED A LEPER FIFTEEN MILES IN A VERY SHORT TIME, HOW ST MICHAEL SPOKE TO ANOTHER BROTHER, AND HOW THE VIRGIN MARY APPEARED TO BROTHER CONRAD AND PLACED HER DIVINE SON IN HIS ARMS


As the sky is adorned with stars, so the providence of the March of Ancona was in former times adorned with holy and exemplary friars, who, like the bright luminaries in heaven, ornamented the Order of St Francis, and enlightened the world by their doctrine and example. Foremost amongst these was Brother Lucido Antico, in whom indeed shone forth the fire of divine charity and the light of holiness; for, taught by the Spirit of God, his preaching produced innumerable fruits. Another brother, Bentivoglio of Severino, was seen by Brother Masseo raised above the earth as he was praying in the forest, at the sight of which miracle Brother Masseo became a Friar Minor, and grew so holy that he worked many miracles, both during his lifetime and after his death: he is buried at Murro. The said Brother Bentivoglio being once all alone at Trave Bonanti, nursing and serving a leper, received an order from his superior to go to another convent fifteen miles off. Not wishing to abandon the poor leper, he placed him carefully on his back, and charitably took him with him. Between the dawn of day and the rising of the sun he accomplished the fifteen miles, and arrived with his burden at the convent to which he had been sent, which was called Monte Sancino. Had he been an eagle he could not have flown as quickly, and such a miracle caused great wonder and surprise in all that country. Another Brother, Peter of Monticello, who was the guardian of the old Convent of Ancona, was raised several feet above the earth, to the foot of the crucifix before which he was in prayer. This same Brother Peter having once observed the Lent of St Michael with great devotion, as he was praying on the last day of the feast in the church, was heard to speak with St Michael by a young man who had hidden himself behind the high altar, in hopes of seeing something wonderful; and the words which he heard were these. The saint said to Brother Peter: “Thou hast suffered faithfully for my sake, and during many days hast mortified thy body; wherefore I am come to comfort thee, and whatever grace thou askest of God, I will obtain for thee.” Brother Peter answered: “Most holy prince of the celestial host of saints, faithful servant of divine love, and pious protector of souls, this is the grace I ask of thee, namely, that thou obtain from God the pardon of my sins.” And St Michael answered: “Ask some other grace, as this I will most easily obtain.” And as Brother Peter asked for nothing else, the Archangel added: “Through the faith and devotion which thou hast to me, I will obtain for thee not this grace only, but many others likewise.” And when the conversation, which had lasted some time, was ended, the Archangel Michael departed, leaving Brother Peter greatly comforted. At the same time lived Brother Conrad of Offida in the Convent of Forana in the custody of Ancona, where resided Brother Peter. Having gone one day into the forest to meditate on God, Brother Peter followed him to see what would befall him; and Brother Conrad began to implore the Virgin Mary, with great fervour and devotion, to obtain from her Blessed Son that he might experience somewhat of the sweetness which St Simeon experienced the day of the Purification, when in his arms he held Jesus the Blessed Saviour. Having finished his prayer, the Virgin Mary obtained his request; and, behold! the Queen of Heaven appeared in great splendour, with her Blessed Son in her arms, and approaching Brother Conrad placed the Holy Child in his arms. He received him most reverently, and embracing him clasped him to his breast, his heart overflowing and burning with divine love and inexpressible consolation. Brother Peter, who witnessed this scene at a distance, felt likewise in his soul great sweetness and joy. When the Virgin Mary had departed from Brother Conrad, Brother Peter hastened back to the convent that he might not be seen; but when Brother Conrad arrived, full of joy and happiness, Brother Peter said to him: “O brother, thou hast received great consolation to-day!” And Brother Conrad answered: “What sayest thou, Brother Peter? How dost thou know? Hast thou seen me?” “I know,” answered Brother Peter, “that the Virgin Mary, with her Blessed Son, has visited thee.” And Brother Conrad, who, through great humility, wished to keep secret the grace with which God had favoured him, entreated Brother Peter to tell no one what he had witnessed; and from henceforth so great was the love which existed between these two brethren, that they seemed to have but one soul and one heart in all things. The said Brother Conrad, being once in the Convent of Siruolo, delivered a woman who was possessed by a devil, by praying for her a whole night; and her mother coming to know it, he left the place in the morning, that he might not be discovered and honoured by the people.

[Public Domain.]


Thursday, June 29, 2006




CHAPTER XLI:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .


HOW THE VENERABLE BROTHER SIMON DELIVERED A BROTHER FROM A GREAT TEMPTATION, ON ACCOUNT OF WHICH HE WAS ON THE POINT OF LEAVING THE ORDER


About the beginning of the Order, and during the lifetime of St Francis, a young man from Assisi took the habit, whose name was Simon; and the Lord adorned him with such graces and such elevation of mind, that all his life long he was a mirror of sanctity, as I have heard from those who lived with him for a long time. He very seldom left his cell, and whenever he was in company with the brothers he spoke always of God. He had never learned grammar, yet he talked of divine things and of the love of Christ in so elevated a way and with such profound wisdom, that his words seemed to be supernatural. One evening he went into the wood with Brother James of Massa to speak of God, and they spent the whole night conversing sweetly on divine love. When morning dawned they seemed to have been together but a few minutes, as the said Brother James told me himself. Brother Simon was so completely absorbed by the joy of these divine communications with God, and his spirit was so overflowing with love, that he was often obliged to lie down, as the tranquil sweetness which came over him with the Holy Spirit required not only the repose of the soul, but likewise that of the body; and during these divine visitations he was often rapt in God, and quite insensible to all bodily things. On one occasion, as he was thus rapt in God, and insensible to the world, his heart was so burning with divine love that his bodily senses were dead to all things external. A brother wishing to convince himself if this really was the case, as it appeared to be, took a piece of burning coal out of the fire, and put it on his foot; and Brother Simon, neither felt it, nor did it leave any mark, though it was left there some time, until it went out of itself. The said Brother Simon, when he sat down to his meals, before nourishing his body took and gave to those around him the nourishment of the soul, by speaking of God. A young man of San Severino, who had been excessively vain and worldly, and who was of noble blood and of delicate habits, was converted by means of the holy conversation of Brother Simon, and entered the Order. When he received him into the convent he took from him his secular dress, and the young man remained with Brother Simon, to be instructed in the Rule. The devil, who is ever on the watch to do evil, tempted him so strongly in the flesh, that he felt it impossible to resist; and going to Brother Simon, he said to him: “Give me back my clothes which I wore in the world, as I cannot resist this temptation of the flesh.” Brother Simon, feeling for him great compassion, said to him: “Sit down here awhile with me, my son”; and he spoke to him of God so earnestly, that the temptation left him. Shortly after, however, it returned, and he went again and asked for his clothes, and Brother Simon delivered him from it by speaking to him of God, and he did the same thing several times. At last, one night the temptation assailed him again with such force, that he felt it was quite impossible to resist; and he went to Brother Simon, and implored him to give him back his scholar’s dress, as he could no longer remain in the convent. Then Brother Simon, as usual, made him sit down by his side, and talked to him of God; the young man listened, and bowing his head sorrowfully, laid it on Brother Simon’s breast. The latter, filled with compassion, raised his eyes to heaven, and prayed that the Lord would have pity on him. As he prayed he was rapt in ecstasy, and his prayer was granted. When he came back to himself, he found the young man quite freed from the temptation, and as calm as if he had never been assaulted; the evil spirit which had raged in his heart was, as it were, converted into the Spirit of God, for he had approached the burning coal of divine love - that is to say, Brother Simon - and his heart henceforth was inflamed with the love of God and of his neighbours. Finding himself on one occasion with a malefactor who had been condemned to have both eyes torn out, this young man felt such compassion for him that he went bodily to the governor, and in full council implored him with tears and prayers to allow him to give one of his eyes, so that the malefactor might not lose both. The governor and all those who composed his council were so touched by the charity of the monk, that they pardoned the culprit. Brother Simon being one day in prayer in the forest, and being greatly annoyed by a flock of crows who disturbed him in his meditations by their cries, he ordered them in the name of Christ, to go away, and never to return again; and the birds flew away at his command, and were never again seen or heard in all the country round about. And all the custody of Fermo, where the convent was situated, bore testimony to this miracle.

[Public Domain.]


Wednesday, June 28, 2006



CHAPTER XL:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .

OF THE MIRACLE WHICH GOD PERFORMED WHEN ST ANTHONY BEING AT RIMINI, PREACHED TO HE FISHES OF THE SEA

Christ, the blessed one, was pleased to show forth the great sanctity of his most faithful servant St Anthony, and how men ought devoutly to listen to his preaching, be means of creatures without reason. On one occasion, amongst others, he made use of fish to reprove the folly of faithless heretics: even as we read in the Old Testament that in ancient times he reproved the ignorance of Balaam by the mouth of an ass. St Anthony being at one time at Rimini, where there were a great number of heretics, and wishing to lead them by the light of faith into the way of truth, preached to them for several days, and reasoned with them on the faith of Christ and on the Holy Scriptures. They not only resisted his words, but were hardened and obstinate, refusing to listen to him. At last St Anthony, inspired by God, went down to the sea-shore, where the river runs into the sea, and having placed himself on a bank between the river and the sea, he began to speak to the fishes as if the Lord had sent him to preach to them, and said: “Listen to the word of God, O ye fishes of the sea and of the river, seeing that the faithless heretics refuse to do so.” No sooner had he spoken these words than suddenly so great a multitude of fishes, both small and great, approached the bank on which he stood, that never before had so many been seen in the sea or the river. All kept their heads out of the water, and seemed to be looking attentively on St Anthony’s face; all were ranged in perfect order and most peacefully, the smaller ones in front near the bank, after them came those a little bigger, and last of all, were the water was deeper, the largest. When they had placed themselves in this order, St Anthony began to preach to them most solemnly, saying: “My brothers the fishes, you are bound, as much as is in your power, to return thanks to your Creator, who has given you so noble an element for your dwelling; for you have at your choice both sweet water and salt; you have many places of refuge from the tempest; you have likewise a pure and transparent element for your nourishment. God, your bountiful and kind Creator, when he made you, ordered you to increase and multiply, and gave you his blessing. In the universal deluge, all other creatures perished; you alone did God preserve from all harm. He has given you fins to enable you to go where you will. To you was it granted, according to the commandment of God, to keep the prophet Jonas, and after three days to throw him safe and sound on dry land. You it was who gave the tribute-money to our Saviour Jesus Christ, when, through his poverty, he had not wherewith to pay. By a singular mystery you were the nourishment of the eternal King, Jesus Christ, before and after his resurrection. Because of all these things you are bound to praise and bless the Lord, who has given you blessings so many and so much greater than to other creatures.” At these words the fish began to open their mouths, and bow their heads, endeavouring as much as was in their power to express their reverence and show forth their praise. St Anthony, seeing the reverence of the fish towards their Creator, rejoiced greatly in spirit, and said with a loud voice: “Blessed be the eternal God; for the fishes of the sea honour him more than men without faith, and animals without reason listen to his word with greater attention than sinful heretics.” And whilst St Anthony was preaching, the number of fishes increased, and none of them left the place that he had chosen. And the people of the city hearing of the miracle, made haste to go and witness it. With them also came the heretics of whom we have spoken above, who, seeing so wonderful and manifest a miracle, were touched in their hearts; and threw themselves at the feet of St Anthony to hear his words. The saint then began to expound to them the Catholic faith. He preached so eloquently, that all those heretics were converted, and returned to the true faith of Christ; the faithful also were filled with joy, and greatly comforted, being strengthened in the faith. After this St Anthony sent away the fishes, with the blessing of God; and they all departed, rejoicing as they went, and the people returned to the city. But St Anthony remained at Rimini for several days, preaching and reaping much spiritual fruit in the souls of his hearers.
[Public Domain.]

Tuesday, June 27, 2006




CHAPTER XXXIX:
'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .

OF THE WONDERFUL DISCOURSE WHICH ST ANTHONY OF PADUA, A FRIAR MINOR, MADE IN THE CONSISTORY

That wonderful vessel of the Holy Spirit, St Anthony of Padua, one of the chosen disciples and companions of St Francis, whom the latter called his Vicar, was preaching one day before the Pope and the Cardinals in Consistory; there being present men of divers nations - Greeks, Latins, French, Germans, Slavs, English, and others; and he was so inflamed by the Holy Spirit, and explained the word of God so devoutly, so sweetly, so clearly, and in a manner so efficacious and so learned, that all those who were in the Consistory, though they spoke different languages, understood what he said as perfectly as if he had spoken the language of each. And they were all full of wonder, for it seemed to them as if the miracle of the Apostles at the time of Pentecost had been renewed, when the Holy Spirit taught them to speak all languages; and they said among themselves: “Does not he that preacheth come from Spain? How is it, then, that in his words we each hear our own tongue spoken?” And the Pope, as much surprised as the others, considering the deep meaning of his words, exclaimed: “In truth this man is the Ark of the Testament, and the treasure of the Holy Scriptures.”

[Public Domain.]

Monday, June 26, 2006



Missionaries of Charity: Mother Teresa did not say that Communion in the hand is a sacrilege. She would never have contradicted the Church.

Vienna (www.kath.net)kath.net documents a writing from the Missionaries of Charity from last week:

"Mother Teresa did not say that Communion in the hand is a sacrilege. She would never have contradicted the Church.
She did encourage her sisters to receive Holy Communion on the tongue.
Please pray that the message of Mother Teresa through the work we are doing, may shine forth in the world of today, that "God still loves the world through you and through me today;" that the poorest of the poor, the unwanted, the lonely, the rejected and each one of us may know and experience how much God loves us personally.

God bless you and keep you in His Love.
Please kindly keep us in your prayers.
Sr. M. Elisabeth MC Missionaries of Charity


Thank you, Sister M. Elizabeth! I always felt in my heart that the report of Mother Teresa saying that it was wrong to receive Holy Communion in the hand was not her style, and anyway, dear friends, when the Church gives it's OK for something, I think we should swallow our pride and be docile and obedient to God's wishes . . . Which reminds me of a story from St. Faustina's diary "Divine Mercy In My Soul". One day as Sr. (St.) Faustina was kneeling for Communion, as the priest gave her the Host, It fell into her hands. She was upset until the Lord spoke to her in her heart and said, "I wanted to be in your hand as well as your heart." That was a good lesson for me!
Peace!


June 26, 2006

It is PRAISE Time !!!

Today's Praise is inspired by Jeremiah 1:5

O Father, Creator of the Universe,
Thank You and Praise You
for Loving us.

Your awesome Power
Your awesome Love
encapsulates us.


"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you."Jeremiah 1:5


Quietly and secretly in the womb you were formed.
There is no other person quite like you.
Imagine God loving you before you came to be
Dreaming of you, planning for your coming;
Would that you could realize and see
That ultimately Faith is the key.

O Father, Creator of the Universe,
Thank You and Praise You
for Loving us.

Your awesome Power
Your awesome Love
encapsulates us.

Abba
Oh..
Abba.

As human life begins in the womb,
Where each one of us was encapsulated,
Where each one of us grew until the moment of our births,
We, each one of us, is encapsulated in
The LOVE of GOD.
We feed upon His WORD.
We grow, we mature, we are born again,
By the Waters of Baptism,
We survive, strive and thrive
Toward Eternity with Our Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit
In an ever ascending spiraling
toward Heaven.

O Father, Creator of the Universe,
Thank You and Praise You
for Loving us.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you."Jeremiah 1:5

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow
me all the days of my life: and I will
dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:6
[From DAILY PRAISE PARTY]



CHAPTER XXXVIII:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .


HOW IT WAS REVEALED TO ST FRANCIS THAT BROTHER ELIAS WAS DAMNED AND WAS TO DIE OUT OF THE ORDER; AND HOW AT THE DESIRE OF THE SAID BROTHER, HE PRAYED TO CHRIST FOR HIM, AND HOW HIS PRAYER WAS GRANTED


As St Francis and Brother Elias were living together in a convent, it was revealed by God to St Francis that Brother Elias was damned, seeing he was about to apostatise, and that he would die out of the Order. In consequence of this revelation, the saint took such a dislike to him that he neither spoke to him nor conversed with him; and when Brother Elias went towards him, he turned away and took another direction, in order not to meet him. Now Brother Elias perceiving, and seeing that St Francis disliked him, was anxious to know the reason. He therefore accosted him one day in order to speak with him, the saint endeavouring, as usual, to avoid him; but Brother Elias retained him courteously, and begged him to say why he avoided his company, and refused to speak to him. St Francis answered: “This is the reason: it has been revealed to me by God that thou wilt apostatise, and die out of the Order; also that, because of thy sins, thou art damned.” On hearing this Brother Elias said: “My reverend father, I implore thee, by the love of Christ Jesus, not to despise me for this reason, nor send me from thee; but like a good shepherd, following the example of thy Master, to seek and save the lamb which will perish without thy help. Pray to God for me, that, if possible, he may revoke the sentence of my damnation; for it is written, that the Lord will forgive the sinner if he repent of his sin; and I have such faith in thy prayers that were I even in hell and thou wert to pray for me, I should find refreshment, I implore thee, then, that thou recommend me, a sinner, to God, who came into the world to save sinners, that he may have mercy on me.” This request Brother Elias made with so much fervour and so many tears, that St Francis had compassion on him, and promised to pray for him, which he did; and as he prayed most devoutly, the Lord revealed to him that his prayer was granted; that the sentence of damnation pronounced on Brother Elias had been revoked; that his soul would be finally saved; but that he would leave the Order and die out of it; and so it happened. For Frederick, King of Sicily, having rebelled against the Church, was excommunicated by the Pope, with all those who gave him aid or counsel. Brother Elias being looked upon as one of the most learned men in the world, King Frederick sent for him, wishing to see him. He obeyed the summons, and thus rebelled against the Church; for which reason he was excommunicated by the Pope, and deprived of the habit of St Francis. Soon after the excommunication he fell dangerously ill; and a lay brother who belonged to the Order, a man of holy life, having heard of his illness, went to visit him, and amongst other things said to him: “My dear Brother, I grieve to see thee thus excommunicated and out of the Order, and that probably thou wilt die in this state. If there is any way by which I can deliver thee from this danger, most willingly would I undergo any trouble and fatigue to help thee.” Brother Elias answered: “My Brother, I see no other way but that thou go to the Pope and entreat him, for the love of God and of St Francis his servant, upon whose teaching I gave up the world, to absolve me from this excommunication, and restore to me my religious habit.” And the lay brother said he would most willingly undertake the journey for his salvation; and taking leave of him, he went to the Pope, and humbly kneeling before him implored him to take pity on Brother Elias, for the love of Christ and of St Francis his servant. And it pleased God that the holy Father granted his request, telling him to return to him, and if he found him alive to tell him in his name that he was absolved from the excommunication, and that the habit of his Order was restored to him. He hastened back to Brother Elias with this joyful news, and, finding him on the point of death, gave him the message of the Pope, telling him that he was absolved from the excommunication, and that his habit was restored to him. On this Brother Elias departed from this world, his soul being saved by the merits and prayers of St Francis, in which he had placed such great faith.

[Public Domain.]


Sunday, June 25, 2006


MEDJUGORJE MESSAGE
25th ANNIVERSARY


Message of June 25, 2006 "Dear children! With great joy in my heart I thank you for all the prayers that, in these days, you offered for my intentions. Know, little children, that you will not regret it, neither you nor your children. God will reward you with great graces and you will earn eternal life. I am near you and thank all those who, through these years, have accepted my messages, have poured them into their life and decided for holiness and peace. Thank you for having responded to my call." 06/2006


CHAPTER XXXVII:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .


HOW JESUS CHRIST, THE BLESSED ONE, AT THE PRAYER OF ST FRANCIS, CONVERTED A RICH NOBLEMAN WHO HAD MADE GREAT OFFERS TO ST FRANCIS, AND INSPIRED HIM WITH A WISH TO BECOME A RELIGIOUS


St Francis, the servant of Christ, arriving late one evening with one of his brothers at the house of a rich and powerful nobleman, the two were received by him as if they had been angels of God, with so much courtesy and respect that the saint felt himself drawn to love him greatly; for he considered how on entering his house he had embraced him with much affection; how he had washed his feet, and humbly wiped and kissed them; how he had lighted a great fire, and prepared a supper composed of the choicest meats, serving him himself with a joyful countenance. When the supper was ended, the nobleman thus addressed St Francis: “Behold, my father, I offer thee myself and all I possess. If ever thou art in want of a tunic, or a mantle, or any other thing, purchase them, and I will pay thee. And see, I am ready to provide for all thy wants, as, though the grace of God, it is in my power to do so; for I abound in all temporal riches, and out of love to God, who gave them to me, most willingly do I bestow my goods on his poor.” St Francis, seeing so much courtesy and generosity, felt great affection towards him; and having taken leave of him, he said to his companion: “Truly this nobleman would be a great gain to our Order, seeing he is so grateful to God, and so king and courteous to his neighbour and to the poor. For know, dear brother, that courtesy is one of the attributes of God, who sendeth his rain on the just and on the unjust; for courtesy is the sister of charity, it extinguisheth hatred and kindleth love. I have discovered in this good man such divine virtues, that I would most willingly have him as a companion. On some future day we will pay him another visit, for possibly the Lord may touch his heart, and induce him to follow us in his service; in the meantime we will pray God to put this desire into his heart, and give him grace to execute it.” Now a few days after St Francis had made this prayer, the Lord touched the heart of the nobleman; and the saint said to his companion; “Let us go, my brother, to the dwelling of that courteous nobleman, as I hope in God that, amongst his temporal gifts, he will offer himself and join our Order”; and they set out accordingly. As they arrived near the house, St Francis said to his companion: “Wait for me a little, that I may first ask the Lord to prosper our journey, and pray that it may please our Saviour Jesus Christ, through his holy Passion, to take from the world this virtuous nobleman, and confide him to us, his poor weak servants.” Having said this, he knelt down in a spot where he could be seen by the nobleman, who was walking to and fro in his rooms; and it pleased God that he should perceive St Francis as he prayed in the presence of Christ, who appeared in great glory and stood before him; he saw, too, that for a long space of time the saint was raised above the earth. On seeing this he felt in his heart so great a desire to leave the world, that he hastened our of his palace, and with great fervour of spirit ran to St Francis, and kneeling at his feet implored him earnestly and devoutly to receive him into his Order, and allow him to do penance with him. Then the saint, seeing that his prayer was granted, and that the nobleman asked of him the accomplishment of his wish, arose and embraced him joyfully, devoutly returning thanks to God, who had made such a present to his Order. And the nobleman said to St Francis: “What wilt thou have me to do, my father? I am ready to obey thee, and give all I possess to the poor, in order to follow Christ with thee, without any hindrance from things temporal.” And following the advice of the saint, he distributed all he possessed to the poor, and entered the Order, living a life of holiness and penance, and speaking always of divine things.

[Public Domain.]



Saturday, June 24, 2006























FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Why devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
“The world needs love, . . . True, authentic love. And in the Immaculate Heart of Mary we see what true love should be.
“Once again let us go to the source: The Message of Fatima, the whole revelation of the Heart of Mary, all Her words and Her attitude, a new formulation of the Evangelic Message.
“No one among pure creatures loved as She did.
“She is the . . . Pattern of love to God and to neighbor.
“Through Her, through Her Immaculate Heart of Mary, we sweep up more directly with Jesus to the Father. With Her we learn how to love. What more admirable school of love than Hers!
“The devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is then, first of all, a lesson and school of love, of charity towards God and towards our neighbor, which should manifest itself in the fulfillment of all our daily duties of life.”

--V. Rev. Joseph Galamba de Oliveira
Canon, Diocese of Leiria-Fatima
[Excerpted from p. 154, A Heart for All, AMI Press]


Historically, devotion to the Heart of Mary can be traced to the twelfth century with such writers as St. Anselm ( d. 1109 ) and St. Bernard of Clairvaux ( d. 1153 ) who are considered as some of the most influential writers in Marian devotion. St. Bernardine of Siena ( 1380- 1444) has been called the Doctor of the Heart of Mary due to his writings on Mary's heart. He wrote, "from her heart, as from a furnace of Divine Love, the Blessed Virgin spoke the words of the most ardent love." St. John Eudes ( 1601 -1680 ) helped by his writings to begin a renewal in this devotion. Both Pope Leo XIII and Pope St. Pius X called him, "the father, Doctor, and Apostle of the liturgical cult of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary." Even two decades before the first liturgical celebrations in honor of the Heart of Jesus, St. John Eudes and his followers observed February 8th as the feast of the Heart of Mary as early as 1643. Pope Pius VII ( d. 1823 ) extended its celebration to any diocese or congregation requesting it.


Devotion to Mary's Heart has a greater flowering following the manifestation of the Miraculous Medal to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830 and the Appearances of' Our Lady in Fatima. From May 13 to October 13, 1917, our Blessed Mother Mary appeared to three children, Jacinta and Francisco Marto and their cousin Lucia DosSantos in Fatima, Portugal. On July 13th, she told them: "to save poor sinners, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart." The entire Fatima message is one of prayer, penance and making sacrifices and reparation to God for the many offenses against Him.


Mary asked the children to pray the Rosary daily for the conversion of sinners and asked for devotion to her Immaculate Heart. She asked for prayer, penance and that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. She also spoke of observing the first Saturdays of each month by going to confession and receiving Holy Communion to make reparation to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Pope Paul IV & Lucia at Fatima
Pope Paul IV, who sent a Golden Rose to Fatima and then published “Signam Magnam”, "Letter on the Blessed Virgin Mary", upon his visit there in 1967 stated:
“May the Immaculate Heart of Mary shine before the eyes of all Christians as the model of perfect love toward God and toward our fellow beings; may it lead them toward the Holy Sacraments by virtue of which souls are cleansed from the stains of sin and are preserved from it. May it also stimulate them to make reparation for the innumerable offenses against the Divine Majesty. Lastly, may it shine like a banner of unity and a spur to perfect the bonds of brotherhood among all Christians in the bosom of the one Church of Jesus Christ, which "taught by the Holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved mother." [52]
Since the 25th anniversary is recalled this year of the solemn consecration of the Church and of mankind to Mary, the Mother of God, and to her Immaculate Heart, by our predecessor of venerated memory, Pius XII, on Oct. 31, 1942 on the occasion of the broadcast message to the Portuguese nation [53] -- a consecration which we ourself have renewed on Nov. 21, 1964 [54] -- we exhort all the sons of the Church to renew personally their consecration to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of the Church and to bring alive this most noble act of veneration through a life ever more consonant with the divine will [55] and in a spirit of filial service and of devout imitation of their heavenly Queen."
Signum Magnum
Letter on the Blessed Virgin Mary
His Holiness Pope Paul VI
Promulgated on May 13, 1967


Today as we remember the Immaculate Heart of Mary, following the great Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Two Hearts that are always joined as One, let us re-consecrate ourselves to these Two Hearts and join our hearts to Theirs . . .

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








SOLEMNITY OF THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

In the Gospel of St. Luke (1:57-80), we read the story of the birth of this great Saint, whom the Lord said of him: "amongst those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist." (Luke 7:28). At the Visitation, when Our Blessed Lady, greeted her cousin Elizabeth, Our Lord, in Her womb, sanctified the unborn John in Elizabeth's womb, [recognizing the presence of Jesus and Mary, he lept for joy!] for John was called by the Father to be the forerunner of Christ! As the Cathechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) tells us: "John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last" (CCC 523); "John the Baptist, who goes 'before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah" (CCC 696); "St. John the Baptist is the Lord's immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare His way, 'Prophet of the Most High,' . . . he inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother's womb." (CCC 523); "He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the 'voice' of the Consoler [Holy Spirit] who is coming" (CCC 719); "Finally, with John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the restoration to man of 'the divine likeness, prefiguring what He would achieve with and in Christ" (CCC 720).

Here is how the birth of John occurred according to Blessed Mary of Agreda:
'Her time approaching, saint Elisabeth felt the child in motion as if he wanted to place himself on his feet; but he was merely following the ordinary course of nature and the dictates of obedience. Some moderate pains overtook the mother and she informed the Princess Mary. But she did not call Her to be present at the birth, because reverence for the dignity of Mary and for the Fruit within her womb, prudently withheld her from asking, what might not seem befitting. Nor was the great Mistress in the same room, but She sent her the coverings and swaddling-clothes, which She had made for the fortunate child. Presently thereafter he was born, very perfect and complete in shape, and by the freedom from impure matter showed signs of the purity of his soul. He was wrapped in the coverings sent by Mary, which therefore had already been great and venerable relics. Shortly after, when saint Elisabeth had composed herself, most holy Mary, at the command of the Lord, issued from her oratory, in order to pay her visit to the mother and child and give them her blessing.'
[Excerpted from City of God, Chapter XXII, Book II, page 224.]


(Act 13:23-25) God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.

Before His coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

And as John was finishing his course, he said, 'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.'




CHAPTER XXXVI:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .


HOW ST FRANCIS EXPLAINED TO BROTHER LEO A BEAUTIFUL VISION THAT HE HAD SEEN


St Francis being once grievously ill, Brother Leo, as he was in prayer by his bedside, was rapt in ecstasy, and carried in spirit to a great, wide and rapid river; and watching those who crossed it, he saw some brothers enter the river heavily laden, who were carried away by the current and were drowned; some contrived to reach one third of the way; others arrived as far as the middle of the stream; yet none could resist the rapidity of the waters, but fell down and were drowned. Presently he saw other brothers arrive; these carried nothing on their backs, but all bore upon the marks of holy poverty. They entered the river, and passed over to the other side without any danger to themselves. Having seen this, Brother Leo came to himself; and St Francis knowing in spirit that he had had a vision, called him to him, and asked what he had seen. When Brother Leo had related to him the vision, St Francis said: “What thou hast seen is indeed true. The great river is the world; the brothers who were drowned are those who do not follow their evangelical profession, or practice the great virtue of poverty; but they who passed the river are those who neither seek nor possess in this world any earthly riches, who having food and raiment are therewith content, and follow Christ naked on the cross, bearing joyfully and willingly his sweet and easy yoke and loving holy obedience: these pass easily from this earthly life to life eternal.”

[Public Domain.]


Friday, June 23, 2006




CHAPTER XXXV:

'LITTLE FLOWERS CONTINUED . . .


HOW ST CLARE, BEING ILL, WAS MIRACULOUSLY CARRIED, ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT, TO THE CHURCH OF ST FRANCIS, WHERE SHE ASSISTED AT THE OFFICE


St Clare was at one time so dangerously ill that she could not go to church with the other nuns to say the Office on the night of the Nativity of Christ. All the other sisters went to Matins; but she remained in bed, very sorrowful because she could not go with her sisters to receive spiritual consolation. But Jesus Christ, her Spouse, unwilling to leave her comfortless, carried her miraculously to the church of St Francis, so that she was present at Matins, assisted at the Midnight Mass, and received the Holy Communion, after which she was carried back to her bed. When the nuns returned to their convent, the ceremonies being ended at St Damiano, they went to St Clare and said to her: “O Sister Clare, our Mother, what great consolations we have experienced at this feast of the Holy Nativity! Oh, if it had but pleased God that you should have been with us!” To this St Clare answered: “Praise and glory be to our Lord Jesus Christ, the blessed one, my beloved sisters and daughters; for I have not only assisted at all the solemnities of this most holy night, but I have experienced in my soul even greater consolations than those which have been your share; for by the intercession of my father, St Francis, and through the grace of our Saviour Jesus Christ I have been personally present in the church of my venerable father, St Francis, and with the ears of my body and those of my spirit have heard all the Office, and the sounds of the organ, and the singing, and have likewise received there the most Holy Communion. Rejoice, then, because of these graces which I have received, and return to thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ.”

[Public Domain.]


Thursday, June 22, 2006



CHAPTER XXXIV:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .

HOW ST LOUIS, KING OF FRANCE, WENT IN PERSON IN A PILGRIM’S GARB TO VISIT THE HOLY BROTHER GILES

St Louis, King of France, went on a pilgrimage to visit the sanctuaries in the world. And having heard of the fame of the sanctity of Brother Giles, who was one of the first companions of St Francis, he determined in his heart to go and visit him in person; for which object he set out for Perugia, where the said brother then lived. He arrived at the convent-gate as if he had been a poor unknown pilgrim, and asked with great importunity for Brother Giles, without telling the porter who it was who wished to see him; and the porter went to Brother Giles, and told him there was a pilgrim at the gate who asked for him. But the Lord having revealed to Brother Giles that the pilgrim was the King of France, he left his cell in haste, and ran to the gate without asking any questions. They both knelt down and embraced each other with great reverence and many outward signs of love and charity, as if a long friendship had existed between them, though they had never met before in their lives. Neither of them spoke a word; and after remaining clasped in each other’s arms for some time, they separated in silence, St Louis to continue his journey, and Brother Giles to return to his cell. As the king departed, a certain friar inquired of one of those who accompanied him who it was that had embraced Brother Giles, and he answered that it was Louis, King of France; and when the other brothers heard this, they were all sorrowful because Brother Giles had not spoken to him; and giving vent to their grief, they said: “O Brother Giles, why hast thou been so uncivil as not to say a word to so holy a king, who has come from France to see thee, and hear from thee some good words?” Brother Giles answered: “Beloved brothers, be not surprised at this, that neither could I say a word to him nor he to me; for no sooner had we embraced each other than the light of divine wisdom revealed his heart to me, and mine to him; and by a divine operation we saw into each other’s hearts, and knew far better what we had to say than if we had explained in words that which we felt in our hearts. For so imperfectly the tongue of man reveals the secret mysteries of God, that words would have been to us rather a hindrance than a consolation. Know, then, that the king went away from me well satisfied, and greatly comforted in mind.”
[Public Domain.]

Wednesday, June 21, 2006




CHAPTER XXXIII:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .


HOW ST CLARE, BY ORDER OF THE POPE, BLESSED THE BREAD WHICH WAS ON THE TABLE, AND HOW ON EACH LOAF APPEARED THE SIGN OF THE HOLY CROSS


St Clare, a most devout servant of the Cross of Christ, and one of the sweetest flowers of St Francis, was so holy, that not only the Bishops and Cardinals but the Pope himself wished to see and hear her, and went often to visit her in person. One day, amongst others, the holy Father went to her convent to hear her speak of things celestial; and having long reasoned together, St Clare ordered the table to be laid and bread to be placed upon it, in order that the holy Father might bless it. Their spiritual conclave being at an end, St Clare, kneeling down with great reverence, begged him to bless the bread which had been placed on the table. To whom the holy Father answered: “Most faithful sister, I will that thou bless this bread by the sign of the cross to which thou hast devoted thyself.” St Clare said: “Most holy Father, excuse me. I should indeed by worthy of reproof if I, a miserable woman, should presume to give such a blessing in the presence of the Vicar of Christ.” Then the Pope answered: “In order that such an act be not looked upon as presumptuous, but that it may bear on it the marks of obedience, I command thee, in the name of holy obedience, to make on this bread the sign of the cross, and to bless it in the name of God.” At this St Clare, like a true daughter of obedience, blessed the loaves most devoutly, making over them the sign of the holy cross; and, wonderful to relate, on all those loaves appeared a cross, most clearly marked; and some of them were eaten, but the rest were put aside, in order to testify of the miracle. And the holy Father, having seen the miracle, thanked God; and taking some of the bread, went away, leaving his blessing with Sister Clare. At that time Sister Ortolana, mother of St Clare, and Sister Agnes, her sister, were living together in the convent with St Clare, both most virtuous women, full of the Holy Spirit, likewise many other nuns; to whom St Francis sent a great number of sick persons, who were all healed by their prayers and by the sign of the most holy cross.

[Public Domain.]


Tuesday, June 20, 2006




CHAPTER XXXII:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .


HOW BROTHER MASSEO OBTAINED FROM CHRIST THE VIRTUE OF HUMILITY


The first companions of St Francis set themselves with all their might to follow holy poverty with regard to earthly things, and to acquire every other virtue, as the sure means of obtaining celestial and eternal riches. It happened, therefore, that one day, as they were assembled together to speak of things divine, one of them related the following example: “There was a man, a great friend of God, to whom had been given the grace of a life contemplative as well as active. He was at the same time so humble, that he looked upon himself as a very great sinner; and his humility was to him a means of sanctification, and confirmed him in the grace of God; for it caused him to increase in virtue, and saved him from falling into sin.” And Brother Masseo, hearing such wonderful things of humility, and knowing it to be one of the greatest treasures of life eternal, was so inflamed with a love and desire of this virtue of humility, that he lifted his eyes to heaven with much fervour, and made a vow and firm resolution never again to rejoice until he should feel the said virtue to be firmly established in his soul. From that moment he was constantly shut up in his cell, maserating his body with fasts and vigils and prayers, weeping before the Lord, and earnestly imploring him to grant him this virtue, without which he felt that he was only worthy of hell, and with which the friend of God of whom he had heard was so richly endowed. Brother Masseo having passed several days in this state of mind, as he was entering the forest and asking the Lord, who willingly listens to the prayers of the humble, with cries and tears to grant him this divine virtue, he heard a voice from heaven, which called him twice: “Brother Masseo! Brother Masseo!” And he, knowing in his spirit that it was the voice of Christ, answered: “My Lord.” Then Christ answered: “What wilt thou give in exchange for this virtue which thou askest for?” And Brother Masseo answered: “Lord, I will willingly give the eyes out of my head.” Christ answered: “I grant thee the virtue, and command at the same time that thou keep thine eyes.” And having said these words, the voice was silent; and Brother Masseo was so filled with the grace of humility, that from thenceforward he was constantly rejoicing. And often when he was in prayer he was heard to utter a joyful sound, like the song of a bird, resembling “U-u-u”, and his face bore a most holy and happy expression. With this he grew so humble that he esteemed himself less than all other men in the world. And Brother James of Fallerone having asked him why in his joy he used always the same sound, he replied gaily, that when in one way he found all good he saw no reason to change it.

[Public Domain.]


Monday, June 19, 2006




CHAPTER XXXI:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .


HOW ST FRANCIS WAS ACQUAINTED WITH THE SECRETS OF THE CONSCIENCES OF ALL HIS BRETHREN


As our Lord Jesus Christ says in his Gospel, I know my sheep and mine know me, so the holy St Francis, like a good shepherd, knew, through divine revelation, all the merits and virtues of his companions, and also their defects and faults, and was enabled to deal with them according to their needs - humbling the proud and exalting the humble, rebuking vice and praising virtue - as we read in the wonderful revelations which were made to him by God with regard to his first children. Amongst others, we are told that once St Francis was with his companions in a convent talking of God, when Brother Ruffino was absent, being in contemplation in the forest; and, as the saint was conversing with them, Brother Ruffino passed by at some distance, whereon St Francis asked them whom they believed to be the holiest soul in the world. They answered immediately, that they believed it to be St Francis. The saint reproved them, saying: “Beloved brothers, I am the most unworthy and the vilest of all men in the world; but see there Brother Ruffino, who is now coming out of the forest; the Lord has revealed to me that his soul is one of the three most holy on earth; and I tell you candidly, I should not hesitate to call him St Ruffino even during his lifetime, his soul being full of grace, and sanctified and canonised in heaven by our Lord Jesus Christ.” This opinion St Francis never expressed in the presence of Brother Ruffino. That he was equally acquainted with the defects of his brethren, we learn in the case of Brother Elias, whom he often reproved for his pride; and of Brother John della Cappella, to whom he foretold that he would hang himself; and of that brother who was seized by the devil as a punishment for his disobedience; and of many others whose defects and virtues were clearly revealed to him by Christ.

[Public Domain.]


Sunday, June 18, 2006




CHAPTER XXX:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .


OF THE BEAUTIFUL SERMON WHICH ST FRANCIS AND BROTHER RUFFINO PREACHED AT ASSISI


The said Brother Ruffino, through constant contemplation, was so absorbed in God that he became almost insensible to things external, and very seldom spoke; added to which he never had possessed the gift of speech, neither was he eloquent nor self-possessed. Notwithstanding this, St Francis ordered him one day to go to Assisi and preach to the people that which God should dictate to him. On this Brother Ruffino expostulated, saying: “Reverend Father, I pray thee excuse me, and send some other brother in my stead; for thou knowest that I have not the grace of preaching: I am simple and ignorant.” At this St Francis answered: “Inasmuch as thou hast not obeyed immediately, I command thee to take off thy clock and thy hood and go to Assisi, where thou shalt enter a church and preach to the people; and this shalt thou do out of holy obedience.” Having received this order, Brother Ruffino, taking off his mantle and his hood, proceeded to Assisi, and entering the church, after having bowed before the altar, he mounted into the pulpit and began to preach to the people, who, seeing him in so strange a dress, laughed at him, saying: “These men do such penance that they are quite out of their mind.” In the meantime St Francis, reflecting how promptly Brother Ruffino, who was one of the most noble men of Assisi, had obeyed the harsh command he had given, reproached himself saying: “How couldst thou, who art but the humble son of Peter Bernardoni, send one of the most distinguished men of Assisi to preach to the people as if he were a madman? May God forgive thee! But thou shalt do the same thing which thou hast ordered him to do.” And immediately taking off his clock and his hood with great fervour of spirit, he went to Assisi, taking with him Brother Leo, who carried his mantle and that of Brother Ruffino. The inhabitants of Assisi, seeing him thus accoutred, reviled him, believing that both he and Brother Ruffino were out of their minds through much penance. St Francis entered the church as Brother Ruffino was saying these words: “O beloved, flee from the world, and leave sin; render to all men that which is their due, if thou wilt avoid hell; keep the commandments of God and love the Lord and thy neighbour, if thou wilt possess the kingdom of heaven.” Then St Francis ascended the pulpit, and began to preach in so wonderful a way on holy penance, on the world, on voluntary poverty, on the hope of life eternal, on the nakedness of Christ and on the shame of the Passion of our Blessed Saviour, that all they who heard him, both men and women, began to weep bitterly, being moved to devotion and compunction; and in all Assisi the Passion of Christ was commemorated as it never had been before; so that the people were greatly edified by this action of St Francis and of Brother Ruffino. Then St Francis put on the clock of Brother Ruffino and his own, and returned to the convent of the Portiuncula, praising and glorifying God, who had given them grace to conquer and despise themselves, to the edification of the flock of Christ, and enabled them, by their example, to show how the world ought to be despised. And from that day the people greatly revered them, so that those who could touch but the hem of their garments esteemed themselves blessed.

[Public Domain.]


Saturday, June 17, 2006




CHAPTER XXIX:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .


HOW THE DEVIL OFTEN APPEARED TO BROTHER RUFFINO IN THE FORM OF A CRUCIFIX, TELLING HIM THAT ALL THE GOOD HE DID WAS OF NO AVAIL, SEEING HE WAS NOT OF THE NUMBER OF THE ELECT OF GOD; WHICH BEING REVEALED TO ST FRANCIS, HE MADE KNOWN TO BROTHER RUFFINO THE ERROR INTO WHICH HE HAD FALLEN


BROTHER RUFFINO, one of the most noble men of the city of Assisi, a companion of St Francis and a man of great sanctity, was one day violently tempted in mind on the subject of predestination, so that he grew quite melancholy and sorrowful; for the devil put it into his heart that he was damned, and not of the number of those predestined to life eternal, making him believe that all he did in the Order was of no avail. And this temptation increasing more and more, he had not the courage to reveal it to St Francis, though he never ceased to pray and to fast: for the enemy of his soul added sorrow to sorrow, not only fighting inwardly but likewise outwardly, taking various forms in order better to deceive him. One day he appeared to him under that of a crucifix, and said to him: “O Brother Ruffino, why dost thou inflict on thyself penance and prayer, as thou art not of the number of the predestinate to life eternal? Believe me - for I know whom I have chosen and predestined - and believe not the son of Peter Bernardoni if he tell thee the contrary; and do not take his advice in this matter, since neither he nor any man knows the truth but I, who am the Son of God. Know of a certainty that thou art of the number of the damned; and the son of Peter Bernardoni, thy father, and his father likewise, are damned, and whosoever followeth them is damned also.” On hearing these words, Brother Ruffino was so blinded by the spirit of darkness, that he lost all the faith and love he had felt for St Francis hitherto, and would not even communicate to him what was passing within him. But that which Brother Ruffino did not reveal to his saintly father was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. When, therefore, the saint learned to what dangers his son was exposed, he sent to him Brother Masseo; but Brother Ruffino refused to listen to him, saying: “What have I to do with Brother Francis?” And Brother Masseo, enlightened by the Spirit of God and knowing the deceits of the devil, answered: “O Brother Ruffino, thou knowest that St Francis may be compared to an angel of God, who has made known the truth to many souls in the world, and through whom we have received the grace of God; wherefore I will at all events that thou come with us to him, for I clearly see that thou art deceived by the devil.” On hearing these words, Brother Ruffino arose and went to St Francis; and the saint, perceiving him at a distance, cried out: “O Brother Ruffino, thou foolish one, whom hast thou believed?” Then coming up to him, he related to him one by one all the temptations, both internal and external, to which he had been exposed, showing him clearly that he who had appeared to him was the devil and not Christ, and that he was by no means to listen to his suggestions; but if he appeared to him again and said unto him “Thou art damned”, he was to say to him these words: “Open thy mouth!” and by this sign he would clearly know that he was the devil and not Christ; for no sooner should the words be uttered than he would immediately disappear. “Thou shouldst have known,” added the saint, “with whom thou wast dealing, when he hardened thy heart against all that was good, for such is his especial office; but Christ, the blessed one, never hardens the heart of the faithful; for on the contrary his office is to soften the heart of man, according to the words of the prophet: I will take away from thee the heart of stone, and will give thee a heart of flesh.” Then Brother Ruffino, seeing that St Francis was acquainted with all his temptations in the order they had come to him, was deeply touched by his exhortations, and beginning to weep bitterly, he humbly confessed his guilt in concealing from him his trouble. He was greatly consoled and comforted by the admonitions of his saintly father, which St Francis ended by saying: “My son, go to confession, and give not up the practice of thine accustomed prayers; know of a certainty that this temptation will be to thee a source of great consolation and humility, as thou shalt shortly see.” Then Brother Ruffino returned to his cell in the wood; and as he was praying and weeping bitterly the enemy approached, bearing in his exterior the semblance of Christ himself. He thus addressed him: “O Brother Ruffino, did I not tell thee not to listen to the son of Peter Bernardoni, nor to weary thyself with prayer and fasting, inasmuch as thou art damned? What is the use of inflicting on thyself privations in this world, seeing thou hast no hope of salvation after death?” And immediately Brother Ruffino said, “Open thy mouth!” upon which the devil left him in so great rage and fury, that all Monte Subasio, which was close by, was shaken to the very foundation, and large stones rolled down the sides, knocking against each other as they fell, and producing a great fire in all the valley; and the noise they made was so terrible that St Francis and all his companions went out to see what had taken place: and even to this day those large stones are to be seen lying in great confusion. Then Brother Ruffino saw plainly that it was the devil who had deceived him, and returning to St Francis he threw himself at his feet, acknowledging his fault. St Francis comforted him with kind words, and sent him back to his cell full of consolation. As he was praying there most devoutly, Christ, the blessed one, appeared to him, and filling his soul with the fire of divine love, he thus addressed him: “Thou didst well, my son, to believe in St Francis; for he who made thee so unhappy was the devil. But I am Christ, thy Master; and in order to prove to thee that I am he, I promise thee that thou shalt never again be troubled in this way.” Having said these words. he departed, leaving the brother so happy, and enjoying such peace and sweetness of spirit, with his mind so raised above the things of this world, that for a whole day and night he was rapt in God, and from that moment he had no doubts as to his salvation, and became quite a new man. Most willingly would he have remained day and night in prayer and in the contemplation of divine things, had he been permitted to do so. Wherefore St Francis said of him that he had been canonised during his lifetime by Christ, and that, save in his presence, he would not hesitate to call him St Ruffino, even though he were still on earth.

[Public Domain.]



Friday, June 16, 2006




CHANGES TO THE MASS APPROVED BY BISHOPS

Here's a look at some of the changes to the Mass that were approved by the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops Thursday. The bishops' version now goes to the Vatican for final approval:

*The exchanges between priest and parishioners that now go "The Lord be with you" / "And also with you" would become "The Lord be with you" / "And with your spirit."

*The Act of Penitence, in which parishioners now confess aloud that they have sinned "through my own fault" would include the lines "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault."

*In the Nicene Creed, the opening words "We believe" would become "I believe."

*Early in the Eucharistic Prayer, "Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might" would become "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts."

*Before Communion, the prayer "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you" would become "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof."

To me these changes are long overdue! They will help in the unity of the Church, especially our Eastern Orthodox brethren who have been praying this way all along . . .
I've been saying most of these prayers under my breath for quite awhile, so I look forward to praying them out loud!



CHAPTER XXVIII:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .


OF AN ECSTASY WHICH CAME TO BROTHER BERNARD, AND HOW HE REMAINED FROM MATINS UNTIL NONE IN A STATE OF RAPTURE.


Brother Bernard of Quintavalle was an example of the manifestation of the grace of God in the poor followers of the Gospel, who gave up the world to follow Christ. For since he had taken the habit of St Francis, he was often rapt in God through the contemplation of celestial things. It happened one day, as he was in a church hearing Mass, his mind was so raised to God that he was transfixed and enraptured, so as not to be aware of the moment of the elevation of the Body of Christ; for he neither knelt down nor removed his hood, as did the others, but remained motionless, with his eyes intently gazing upwards, and remained so even from Matins till the hour of None. On coming back to himself, he went about the convent crying out with a loud voice: “O brothers! O brothers! O brothers! there is not a man in all this land, however great and however noble he may be, who, if a palace full of gold were offered him, would not willingly carry on his back a sack of copper to acquire so rich a treasure.” Now this celestial treasure, promised to the lovers of Christ, had been revealed to Brother Bernard; and his mind was so fixed upon it, that for fifteen years his heart and countenance was raised away to heaven. In all that time he never satisfied his hunger, though he ate a little of whatever was set before him; wherefore he used to say that if a man does not taste what he eats his abstinence has no merit, for true abstinence is to moderate oneself in those things which are agreeable to the palate. His intelligence also became so enlightened that many great divines had recourse to him to solve difficult questions and explain obscure passages of Scripture, which he did with great facility. So completely was his mind detached and withdrawn from all things earthly, that he soared like the swallows above the earth, and remained sometimes twenty, sometimes thirty days at the top of a high mountain contemplating things divine. For which reason Brother Giles said that he had received a gift from God which had been given to no other human being - namely, that in his divine flight he was fed like the swallows. And, because of this wonderful grace of contemplation which he had received from God, St Francis willingly and frequently held converse with him day and night; and often they were found to be in a state of ecstasy all night long, in the wood where they used to meet together to talk on things divine.

[Public Domain.]


Thursday, June 15, 2006



CHAPTER XXVII:

'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .


HOW AT BOLOGNA ST FRANCIS CONVERTED TWO SCHOLARS WHO BECAME FRIARS, AND HOW HE DELIVERED ON OF THEM FROM GREAT TEMPTATION


St Francis coming one day to the city of Bologna, all the inhabitants went out to meet him, and the crowd was so great that it was with much difficulty he made his way to the market-place, which was filled with men, women, and scholars. And St Francis, on arriving there, stood upon an elevated spot, and began to preach that which the Holy Spirit put into his mind to say; and he preached so wonderfully that he appeared to be an angel, not a man; and his words were like sharp arrows, which pierced through the hearts of those who listened to them. And many men and women were brought to repentance through that sermon; of this number were two noble students of the March of Ancona - one named Pellegrino and the other Rinieri. These two being touched in their hearts by divine inspiration, through the said sermon, went to St Francis, saying that they wished to leave the world and become friars in his Order. And it having been revealed to St Francis that they had been sent by God to be examples of virtue in the Order, he received them joyfully, on account of the great fervour they showed, saying to them: “Thou, Pellegrino, shalt follow in the Order the ways of humility; and thou, Rinieri, shalt serve the brethren” - and so it fell out; for Brother Pellegrino would never be treated as a cleric but as a layman, though he was a learned man and deeply versed in the Sacred Canons; and through his humility he reached a high degree of perfection in virtue; so that Brother Bernard, the first son of St Francis, said of him that he was one of the most perfect friars in the world; and finally Brother Pellegrino passed from this world full of virtue, having wrought many miracles both before his death and after. And Brother Rinieri served the brothers most devoutly and most faithfully, living in great sanctity and great humility, and becoming very intimate with St Francis. And having been named Minister of the province of the March of Ancona, he governed it for a long time with much discretion and most peaceably; and St Francis revealed to him many secrets. Now after some time the Lord allowed a great temptation to take possession of his soul, which greatly grieved and troubled him; he observed severe penance, subjected himself to much rigorous discipline, and endeavoured day and night, with prayers and tears, to drive away the temptation, but not succeeding he believed that God had abandoned him. Being in a state of great despair he determined as a last remedy to go to St Francis, thinking thus within himself: “If the saint receives me kindly and is familiar with me, as he is wont, I may hope that God will have pity on me; but if not, this will be the sign that I am abandoned by the Lord.” And setting out, he went to St Francis, who at that time was lying grievously ill, in the palace of the Bishop of Assisi; and God revealed to him the whole temptation which had assailed Brother Rinieri, and his intention of coming to him. Then St Francis, calling immediately Brother Leo and Brother Masseo, said to them: “Go forth to meet my beloved Brother Rinieri, and having embraced him salute him from me, and tell him that of all the brothers scattered abroad in the world I love him most particularly.” And they set out, and meeting Brother Rinieri in the way, they embraced him, telling him what St Francis had ordered them to say. The message brought such sweetness and such consolation to him, that he was quite beside himself with joy; and thanking God with all his heart, he reached the place where St Francis was lying ill. Now though St Francis was grievously ill, yet when he heard that Brother Rinieri was approaching, he arose and went to meet him; and embracing him with much affection he said to him: “My very dear Brother Rinieri, of all the brothers in the world I love thee most especially”; and making the sign of the holy cross on his forehead, he kissed him, adding: “My beloved son, the Lord hath permitted this temptation that thou mayest gain a great increase of merit; but if thou dost not wish this gain, the temptation shall be removed”; and, O miracle! no sooner had St Francis pronounced these words than immediately the temptation left him, and it seemed to him as if in all his life he had never been tempted, and he was greatly comforted.

[Public Domain.]


Wednesday, June 14, 2006





It always amazes me when one or two people try to impose their anti-god philosophy on everyone else! If you don't want to believe in God, fine, that's your thing, but leave us believers alone! One day they will believe, but I pray that it will not be too late for them, cause even the devil believes in God!
Anyway, here's some good news for a change!

Atheist's Challenge to "In God We Trust" National Motto Dismissed by Federal Judge

LOS ANGELES, June 13, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A California federal trial judge has dismissed the lawsuit filed by Michael Newdow challenging the constitutionality of the American national motto, "In God We Trust." Newdow is the atheist who achieved national attention in his previous unsuccessful attempt to remove the Pledge of Allegiance from public schools because it includes the words "one nation under God."

The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, had filed a friend of the court brief seeking the dismissal of Newdow's national motto lawsuit. Edward L. White III, the Thomas More Law Center's trial counsel who submitted the friend of the court brief, commented: "Our national motto does not have the constitutionally impermissible effect of establishing a religion. Rather, it acknowledges our nation's rich religious heritage, which informed the founding of our nation."

The federal trial judge ruled that the national motto has nothing to do with the establishment of a religion. The judge noted that the use of the national motto is patriotic and has no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise.




Enthronement of Statue of Our Lady of America a timely testimony for Americans



By The Universe: Franciscan Friars of The Immaculate have enthroned the statue of Our Lady of America at Our Lady of The Angels Monastery in Alabama as part of the continued devotion she continues to inspire in the US.

Catholics in the States have had a special devotion to Our Lady of America ever since apparitions of the virgin appeared to Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Neuzil), a nun at the Precious Blood Sisters in Indiana on September 26th, 1956.

"To have the enthronement of Our Lady of America statue is a timely testimony and reminder to us all of the blessing Our Lady is for all of us who live in the United States of America," the Bishop of Sacramento Richard Garcia told the Universe.

"Our Lady guides and protects us in this critical time of our history when we need to value even more closely what she as a mother has taught us: to hold Christ in the Centre of our lives; to value the family and its unity; to do the will of the Father; to evangelize by pointing others to Christ."

A diary of the messages given to Sr Mary Ephrem was published with the approval of her spiritual director Mgr Paul Leibold, including the message on Octover 13 1956 which stated: 'Our Lady promised miracles greater than those of Lourdes and Fatima if her children heeded her warnings and fulfilled her requests. She indicated that this would be accomplished through her loyal sons, the Bishops of the United States.'