Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween...Remember the Sacred Heart

Let us not forget that with the traditions of Halloween stand some very unsettling aspects as well. We need to protect ourselves from the evil spirits that do roam upon the Earth, causing great havoc in todays society. We remember to pray to The Archangel Michael and ask for invocations from the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in these times of unsettling evils in the world

Saint Michael, The Archangel, defend us in battle; Be our protection against the malice and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the Divine power , thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Follow this prayer with the traditional invocation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: Have mercy on us.

In Nomine Patris, et Fili, et Spiritus Sancti Amen.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

No account of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of our Lord can be complete without reference to the revelations granted to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation nun of the 1670s passionately devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and the Rosary. Yes, Saint John Eudes was an early contemporary of hers, and wrote wonderfully about both the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. But it was the revelations to St. Margaret Mary that catapulted devotion to the Sacred Heart from one among many wonderful, valid devotions to THE Catholic devotion par excellence.

The Monks of Adoration, prominently featured in the links column to the right, have put together this excellent biography of St. Margaret Mary, and history of the revelations about the Sacred Heart our Lord made to her.

Here is another short biography of St. Margaret Mary.

The Sacred Heart of Christ is an inexhaustible fountain and Its sole desire is to pour Itself out into the hearts of the humble so as to free them and prepare them to lead lives according to His good pleasure.

From this Divine Heart three streams flow endlessly. The first is the stream of mercy for sinners; It pours into their hearts sentiments of contrition and repentance. The second is the stream of charity Which helps all in need and especially aids those seeking perfection in order to find the means of surmounting their difficulties. From the third stream flow love and light for the benefit of his friends who have attained perfection; these He wishes to unit to Himself so that they may share His knowledge and commandments and, in their individual ways, devote themselves wholly to advancing His glory.

This Divine Heart is an abyss filled with all blessings, and into it the poor should submerge all their needs. It is an abyss of joy in which all of us can immerse our sorrows. It is an abyss of lowliness to counteract our foolishness, an abyss of mercy for the wretched, an abyss of love to meet our every need.

Are you making no progress in prayer? Then you need only offer God the prayers which the Savior has poured out for us in the sacrament of the altar. Offer God His fervent love in reparation for your sluggishness. In the course of every activity pray as follows: "My God, I do this or I endure that in the Heart of Thy Son and according to His holy counsels. I offer it to Thee in reparation for anything blameworthy or imperfect in my actions." Continue to do this in every circumstance of life.

But above all preserve peace of heart. This is more valuable than any treasure. In order to preserve it there is nothing more useful than renouncing your own will and substituting for it the will of the divine heart. In this way his will can carry out for us whatever contributes to his glory, and we will be happy to be his subjects and to trust entirely in him.

From a letter by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

St Francis and The Provincial Seal

On This The Feast of St Francis of Assisi shows his devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary's Immaculate Heart

The Franciscan coat of arms consists of a Latin cross surmounted by the right arm of Jesus Christ crossed over the left arm of Saint Francis Assisi.
Christ’s hand bears one of the five wounds of his passion. Francis' hand bears one of the wounds of his stigmata. The whole scene issues from clouds.
The central section of the seal bears three nails within a crown of thorns, signifying the passion of Christ and denoting penance and conversion.
The lower portion of the field is emblazoned with the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The crescent moon, to the right of the heart, symbolizes Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
Beneath the seal is the motto, "in corde Jesu," which is translated, "in the heart of Jesus."
Completing the seal is a crown composed of fleur-de-lis representing Saint Louis of France and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, patron and patroness of the Third Order of St. Francis.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Saint John Eudes' The Admirable Heart of Mary, Installment 5

We resume our serialization of this classic on the Immaculate Heart now that I have access again to the book.

Part I, Chapter 5
The Spiritual Heart of Mary

The Holy Ghost is wont to describe many things with few words. Wishing to praise the principal faculties of the body and soul of His Spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to exalt the merits of her Heart, He uses very few words, which nevertheless contain many meanings. What does He say? How does He praise Mary, the sovereign of hearts? He utters only three words: Quod intrinsecus latet (Song 4:1,3 what is hid within). But these three words encompass all the great and admirable utterances that can be said or thought of her royal Heart; they reveal to us that it is a treasure hidden from the most enlightened eyes of heaven and earth, a treasure so filled with celestial riches that God alone can have a perfect knowledge of its wonders.

Notice that the Holy Ghost pronounces these words not only once, but twice in the same chapter. He does this in order to impress them more strongly on our minds and to oblige us to consider them with greater attention, as well as to manifest to us both the corporeal heart of the Queen of Heaven...and her spiritual heart, of which I shall speak now.

What is the spiritual heart? In order to understand it, we must remember that, although the soul is essentially one, it can nevertheless be considered as having a threefold life.

The first and lowest life is that of the vegetative soul, which is similar in nature to that of plants, for the soul in this state has no other function than to nourish and sustain the body. The second is the sensitive life, which we have in common with animals. The third is the intellectual life, like that of angels, comprising the intellectual memory, the intellect proper and the will, together with the highest part of the mind, which theologians call the point, the summit or the eminence of the spirit. This last power is led not by the light of complex reasoning, but by a clear intuition of the intellect and a simple movement of the will whereby the soul submits to the truth and the will of God.

It is this third life called spirit, the mental, superior part of the soul, which renders us like the angels and carries with it in its natural state the image of God and in the state of grace, a participation of the divine nature.

This intellectual part is the heart and the noblest portion of the soul, for, first, it is the principle of the natural life of the rational soul, which consists in the knowledge it can obtain of supreme truth with the aid of the natural light of its intelligence, and in its natural love for sovereign goodness. Animated by the spirit of faith and grace, it becomes the principle of the supernatural life of the soul, which knows God by celestial light and loves Him with supernatural love. "This is eternal life: That they may know thee, the only true God" (Jn 17:3).

Secondly, this intellectual part is the heart of the soul, because in it is centered the will, the faculty and capacity of loving, but in a manner much more spiritual and noble and exalted and with a love incomparably more excellent, more lively, more active, more solid and durable than the love which proceeds from the sensitive and corporeal heart.

The will, enlightened by the light of the intellect and the torch of faith, is the principle of this love. When it is led only by the light of human reason and acts only in virtue of its natural capacities, the will produces only a human and natural love incapable of uniting the soul to God. But when it follows the torch of faith, and is moved by the impulses of the spirit of grace, it becomes the source of a supernatural and divine love, which makes the soul worthy of God.

Thirdly, sacred theology teaches us that, even though grace, faith, hope and charity spread their heavenly influence and divine movements to the other faculties of the inferior part of the soul, they nevertheless reside and have their true natural dwelling in the superior part. Hence it follows that this same part is the real heart of the Christian soul, because divine charity can have no other abode than the heart which possesses it, according to the words of St. Paul: "The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts" (Rom. 5:5).

Fourthly, St. Paul proclaims to all Christians: "Because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts," (Gal. 4:6) and assured them that he bends his knees to the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ to obtain the privilege that His Divine Son may dwell in their hearts (Eph. 3:14-17). Now, what is this heart, if not the superior part of our soul, since the God of grace and love cannot dwell in a Christian soul elsewhere than in the part where grace and charity reside?

All this clearly demonstrates that the true and proper heart of the rational soul is the intellectual part, called spirit, the mental, superior part.

This being so, the spiritual heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the intellectual element of her soul, comprising her memory, intelligence, will and the supreme point of her spirit. This is the heart which expresses itself in the first words of her admirable Canticle, the Magnificat: "My soul doth magnify the Lord: and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior" (Lk. 1:46-47). It is the spirit, the soul's first and noblest part, which must, in a very special manner, glorify God and rejoice in Him.

Of this marvelous heart I have great things to say. But to use the language of St. Paul, even all human and angelic tongues together pronouncing everything that could be said would still fall far short of its perfections. "Of whom we have much to say, and hard to be intelligibly uttered" (Heb. 5:11).

If the virginal heart beating in the consecrated breast of the Virgin of virgins, the most excellent organ of her holy body, is so admirable, as we have already seen, what must be the marvels of her spiritual heart, the noblest portion of her soul? Is it not true that, as the condition of the soul surpasses that of the body, so also does the spiritual heart excel the corporeal? We have already considered the rare prerogatives of her heart of flesh, and we shall now endeavor to express the incomparable gifts and inestimable treasures with which her spiritual heart is filled.

I shall place before you only a short summary to encourage you to bless the source of so many marvels, to praise her who made herself worthy of so many graces, and to honor her most holy heart, which so faithfully preserved her graces and privileges and used them so perfectly.

First of all, Divine Bounty miraculously preserved the heart of the Mother of Our Saviour from the stain of sin, which never touched it because God filled it with grace from the moment of its creation, and clothed it with purity so radiant that, next to God's, it is impossible to conceive of greater purity. His Divine Majesty possessed her heart so completely from its first instant that it never ceased for a moment to belong entirely to Him and to love Him more ardently than all the holiest hearts of heaven and earth united. Such is the opinion of many great theologians. In the second place, the Father of Light has filled this beautiful Sun with the most brilliant lights of nature and of grace. If we consider the natural illumination shining within Mary, we see that God gave to the chosen Spouse of the Holy Spirit a natural intellect more clear, lively, profound, vaster and more perfect in every way than any other intellect, an intellect worthy of the Mother of God, worthy of the woman destined to guide and rule Divine Wisdom, worthy of the Mistress of the Church and Queen Regent of the universe, worthy of her who was to converse familiarly on earth with the angels of heaven, and what is more, with the King of Angels, for thirty-four years, an intellect worthy of the lofty functions and sublime contemplation to which she was consecrated.

As regards supernatural light, the luminous heart of Mary, Seat of Wisdom, was so filled with its radiance that the learned Albert the Great, nurtured in the school of the Mother of God, plainly teaches, together with many other holy Doctors, that there was nothing Our Lady did not know (Tract. Super Missus est, cap. 149). They assert that she possessed infused knowledge of every science, and in a much more eminent degree than the most learned minds that ever existed.

The vast knowledge of the Blessed Virgin Mary was dedicated to a most holy use, employed only to urge her to love God with greater ardor, to procure the salvation of souls with greater fervor, to hate sin more vigorously, to humble herself more profoundly, to despise still further everything that the world esteems and to prize and embrace with greater affection the things it detests, namely poverty, abjections and suffering.

Moreover, Our Lady never experienced undue pleasure in the lights that God imparted to her, never became attached to these favors, never preferred herself to other beings on account of them, but always returned them to God as pure as they sprang from their source.

Such was the knowledge of the Admirable Heart of Mary. What shall we now say of the twofold love that inflamed her heart, her love for God and incomparable charity for men?

It was by the force of love and humility that Mary attracted the well-beloved Son of God, the Heart of the Eternal Father, to be the Heart of her heart.

The love of Mary's most blessed heart makes it an inexhaustible source of gifts, favors and blessings for all those who truly love their Mother most amiable, and honor with affection her most lovable heart, according to the words the Holy Ghost puts on her lips: "I love them that love me" (Prov. 8:17).

Finally, it is this heart which has loved and glorified God above all the hearts of angels and men, and therefore, can never be revered adequately.

What honor is due to such great and admirable wonders! What veneration should be shown to the heart of Mary, the noblest part of the holy soul of the Mother of God! What praises must be rendered to all the faculties of the spiritual heart of the Virgin Mother, namely her memory, her intellect, her will, and the most intimate part of her spirit, which were never exercised except for God and by motivation of the Holy Ghost.

What respect her holy memory commands, which only remembered the unutterable favors she had received from the divine munificence, and the graces God constantly showers on every creature, in order to thank Him incessantly!

What veneration is due to her intellect, always engaged in considering and meditating on God's mysteries and His divine perfections in order to honor and imitate them! What veneration is also due to her will, perpetually absorbed by the love of God!

What honor the supreme part of her spirit commands, which was day and night absorbed in contemplating and glorifying His divine majesty most excellently!

Is there any praise not merited by the marvellous heart of the Mother of the Saviour, a heart which never encompassed anything that could in the least displease Him, a heart so filled with light and grace, a heart possessing the perfection of all virtues, all the gifts, all the fruits of the Holy ghost, with all the evangelical beatitudes?

Will you not admit, dear reader, that, if heaven and earth were to exalt the admirable heart of Mary eternally with all possible strength and if the entire universe were to thank God for having filled her heart with such a wealth of marvels, this honor and thanksgiving could never fittingly be made.

To The Sacred Heart

St Therese of Lisieux's Poem

To The Sacred Heart

Beside the tomb wept Magdalen at dawn,
She sought to find the dead and buried Christ;
Nothing could fill the void now He was gone,
No one to soothe her burning grief sufficed.
Not even you, Archangels heaven-assigned!
To her could bring content that dreary day.
Your buried King, alone, she longed to find,
And bear His lifeless body far away.

Beside His tomb she there the last remained,
And there again was she before the sun;
There, too, to come to her the Saviour deigned,
He would not be, by her, in love outdone.

Gently He showed her then His blessed Face,
And one word sprang from His deep Heart's recess:
Mary! His voice she knew, she knew its grace;
It came with perfect peace her heart to bless.

One day, my God! I, too, like Magdalen,
Desired to find Thee, to draw near to Thee;
So, over earth's immense, wide-stretching plain,
I sought its Master and its King to see.

Then cried I, though I saw the flowers bloom
In beauty 'neath green trees and azure skies:
O brilliant Naturel thou art one vast tomb,
Unless God's Face shall greet my longing eyes."

A heart I need, to soothe me and to bless,
A strong support that can not pass away,
To love me wholly, e'en my feebleness,
And never leave me through the night or day.

There is not one created thing below,
Can love me truly, and can never die.
God become man - none else' my needs can know;
He, He alone, can understand my cry.

Thou comprehendest all I need, dear Lord!
To win my heart, from heaven Thou didst come;
For me Thy blood didst shed, O King adored!
And on our altars makest Thy home.

So, if I may not here behold Thy Face,
Or catch the heaenly music of Thy Voice,
I still can live, each moment, by Thy grace,
And in Thy Sacred Heart I can rejoice.

O Heart of Jesus, wealth of tenderness!
My joy Thou art, in Thee I safely hide.
Thou, Who my earliest youth didst charm and bless,
Till my last evening, oh! with me abide,

All that I had, to Thee I wholly gave,
To Thee each deep desire of mine is known.
Whoso his life shall lose, that life shall save;
Let mine be ever lost in Thine alone!

I know it well, no righteousness of mine
Hath any value in Thy searching eyes;
Its every breath my heart must draw from Thine,
To make of worth my life's long sacrifice.

Thou hast not found Thine angels without taint;
Thy Law amid the thunderbolts was given;
And yet, my Jesus! I nor fear nor faint.
For me, on Calvary, Thy Heart was riven.

To see Thee in Thy glory face to face,
I know it well, - the soul must pass through fires.
Choose I on earth/i> my purgatorial place,
The flaming love of Thy great Heart's desires!

So shall my exiled soul, to death's command,
Make answer with one cry of perfect love;
Then flying straight to heaven its Fatherland,
Shall reach with no delay that home above.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Padre Pio And the Two Hearts

I recently found a site celebrating St. Pio, and in it, are two articles, one discussing St. Pio's relationship to the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Lady, and the other discussing his relationship with the Sacred Heart of Our Lord.