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Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

by Father Frederick William Faber

If we hated sin as we ought to hate it, purely, keenly, manfully, we should do more penance, we should inflict more self-punishment, we should sorrow for our sins more abidingly.

Then, again, the crowning disloyalty to God is heresy. It is the sin of sins, the most loathsome of things which God looks down upon in this malignant world. Yet how little do we understand of its excessive hatefulness! It is the polluting of God’s truth, which is the worst of all impurities.

Yet how light we make of it! We look at it, and are calm. We touch it and do not shudder. We mix with it, and have no fear. We see it touch holy things, and we have no sense of sacrilege. We breathe its odor, and show no signs of detestation or disgust.

Some of us affect its friendship; and some even extenuate its guilt. We do not love God enough to be angry for His glory. We do not love men enough to be charitably truthful for their souls.

Having lost the touch, the taste, the sight, and all the senses of heavenly-mindedness, we can dwell amidst this odious plague, in imperturbable tranquillity, reconciled to its foulness, not without some boastful professions of liberal admiration, perhaps even with a solicitous show of tolerant sympathies.

Why are we so far below the old saints, and even the modern apostles of these latter times, in the abundance of our conversations? Because we have not the antique sternness? We want the old Church-spirit, the old ecclesiastical genius. Our charity is untruthful, because it is not severe; and it is unpersuasive, because it is untruthful.
We lack devotion to truth as truth, as God’s truth. Our zeal for souls is puny, because we have no zeal for God’s honor. We act as if God were complimented by conversions, instead of trembling souls rescued by a stretch of mercy.

We tell men half the truth, the half that best suits our own pusillanimity and their conceit; and then we wonder that so few are converted, and that of those few so many apostatize.
We are so weak as to be surprised that our half- truth has not succeeded so well as God’s whole truth.

Where there is no hatred of heresy, there is no holiness.

A man, who might be an apostle, becomes a fester in the Church for the want of this righteous abomination. We need St. Michael to put new hearts into us in these days of universal heresy.

But devotion to the Precious Blood, with its hymning of the Church and its blazoning of the Sacraments will give us Michael’s heart and the craft to use Michael’s sword. Who ever drew his sword with nobler haste, or used his victory more tenderly, than that brave archangel, whose war-cry was All for God?

The Precious Blood is His Blood, who is especially Uncreated Truth. It is His Blood who came with His truth to redeem souls.

Hence love of souls is another grace, which comes from the spirit of devotion to the Precious Blood. I wish “the love of souls” were words that were not so shortly said. They mean so much that we should linger over them, in order to imbibe their sweetness, perhaps also their medicinal bitterness as well.

A volume would hardly say all that wants saying upon this matter. In all ages of the Church a zeal for souls is a most necessary grace; and this is hardly an age in which it is less necessary than usual.

Alas! It is a rare gift, incredibly rare, rare even amongst us priests, and a gift unfortunately dishonored more than most gifts by base counterfeits and discreditable impostures.

Of all things that can be named, the love of souls is perhaps the most distinctively Catholic. It seems to be a supernatural sense, belonging only to the Church.

There are several classes of saints, classes divided from each other by wide discrepancies of grace, and a dissimilitude, almost an incompatibility, of gifts. Yet the love of souls is an instinct common to all saints of whatever class.

It is a grace, which implies the accompaniment of the greatest number of graces and the exercise of the greatest number of virtues. It is the grace which irreligious people most dislike; for it is a grace which is peculiarly obnoxious to the worldly.

It is a gift also, which requires an unusually fine spiritual discernment; for it is always and everywhere the harmony of enthusiasm and discretion. Natural activity, vulgar emulation, the bustle of benevolence, the love of praise, the habit of meddling. The over-estimate of our own abilities, the hot-headedness of unripe fervor, the obstinacy of peculiar views, the endless foolishnesses of indocile originality — all these things prepare so many delusions for the soul, and so multiply them by combining in varieties, that the gift of counsel and the virtue of prudence, as well as the cool audacity of an apostle, are needed for the exercise of this love of souls.

It is also a very laborious grace, wearing the spirit, fatiguing the mind, disappointing the heart.

This is the reason why in so many persons it is a short-lived grace. It is a part of almost everybody’s fervor, while it is part of the perseverance of very few. It is a grace which never grows old, never has the feelings of age, or the repose of age, or the slowness of age.

Hence many men cast it aside as a thing which belongs to youth, as if it were a process to be gone through, and then there was an end of it. The soul of an apostle is always youthful. It was mature in its young prudence; and it is impetuous in its grey-haired zeal.

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– Taken from The Precious Blood, Chapter VI “The Devotion To The Precious Blood”, by Frederick William Faber, originally published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers to the Holy See with a Dedication by Fr. Faber dated 1860 on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

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Loving  Heavenly Father, creator  of all things, Your Word says “1You created all things through Jesus Christ and 2You made all things good and perfect.” 3You give life to all things. I thank You, that I have conceived by Your grace and mercy. The baby in my womb is Your creation,  thank You for Your precious gift.

Cover me, the baby in my womb and my family members with the holy and precious blood of Jesus. I forgive all who have hurt me and rejected me in any manner.

Protect me, my baby and my family members from all evil and dangers. 4 You are our refuge and our fortress. 5 For You, Lord, will give Your angels charge over us. My God, in You I put my trust. During this time of waiting, help me to guard this new life carefully and do nothing to hurt it in any way.

Lord, Your word also says, 6 “Truly You have formed my innermost being. You have woven me in my mother’s womb. “According to Your Word, let my baby grow normally with all its requirements fulfilled. Take away all complications from my baby and me. Grant me and my baby good health. 7 Lord, let my baby be perfect as You are perfect.

Lord Jesus, You be present with me during all this time this baby grows and comes into this world. Lord Your Word says “8 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I sanctified you. Please grant me a safe and normal delivery. Take away all blocks and barriers that are hindering this blessing in my life. Lord I also pray that You lead all pregnant women who are reading this prayer to safe and normal delivery. All this I ask in the name of Jesus, who is Lord of Life, now and forever. Amen.

9 Shall I bring to the time of birth and not cause delivery?” says the LORD. “Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb? says Your God.

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Scripture References: 1-  Romans 11:36,  2 –  James 1:17,  3 –  1Timothy 6:13, 4-  Psalm 91:2, 5  Psalm 91:11, 6  Psalm 139:13,  7-   Matthew 5:48,  8-  Jeremiah 1:5, 9-  Isaiah 66:9 
 
 

Prayer for a Woman in Labour at Childbirth

O Lord God Almighty, Creator of all things and Giver of knowledge to mankind; Who fashioned the body of man from the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, granting him Your blessings, that he might increase and multiply by means of the birth of children: We fervently entreat You Who loves mankind to bless this Your servant, N., who is with child, granting her help and comfort at this trying time. Ease her labour and bring her to a safe delivery. Yes, O Lord, open the treasury of Your mercies and Your compassion to her, and let her give birth to a fruitful vine to be a cause of joy to her all the days of her life. For You are blessed, together with Your Only-begotten Son, and Your Most-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

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iPray the iBreviary

I have written about the Public prayer of the Catholic Church here before where I explained what the Liturgy of the Hour or Breviary is,  how it started and who is supposed to pray it. Now I thought I should write a quick post on a couple of Catholic Apps designed for Blackberries and Ipods/Iphones, which are well worth reviewing. 

I first came across the Liturgy of the Hours for Iphones through an Application called ibreviary, which was designed by a Catholic Priest, Don Paolo Pardini, and is really great.

Don Paolo Padrini’s invention , the 1.2 version of the prayer app, has the blessing of the Vatican, is now available in Spanish, French, English and Latin (for those, like the Pope, who want a return to pre-Second Vatican Council days) and a version that follows the  Ambrosian Rite, for the five million Catholics or so in the Milan area. But it has no audio, at least the Latin Version doesn’t, which is the one I am using at this time.

There are a couple of other Applications for the Liturgy of the Hours that do include audio, from church bells to the Psalms sang in a  ‘Monastery or Gregorian Chant style’, as well as the readings of the day. I am totally impressed with the idea, although I recognize that some of the Apps available still need some work. I have downloaded the Divine Office by SurgeWorks, which includes a nice feature that lets you know about other peoploe praying at the same time as you around the world, which somewhat helps emphasize a sense of  ‘communion’ with the greater Church.

The Applications can be downloaded from iTunes:  The iBreviary is free, whilst the  Divine Office by SurgeWorks can be purchased for $US 14.99 or for free for the Compline only. The Lauds or morning prayer costs $US 2.99.

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Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You.

You have brought me into existence, you support me throughout my life and you invite me to share in your life forever. How good you are to me! Protect me from moral and spiritual harm. Give me your spirit to inspire, guide and transform me. Use me for your Glory and for the use of others and never let me be separated from you, my God and my all! Amen

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‘Be Humble Enough to Seek Help’

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Today’s Devotion

We were created to praise, to reverence and to serve God. And everything else on the face of the earth was created for our sake, to help us to achieve the goal for which we were created. Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

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Wouldn’t it be great if we had rules of thumb for every thing? A how-to manual that we could just run to and find all the answers for life? …Not possible, I am afraid… Anyhow, we can always try to establish little guidelines to help us sail more smoothly as we progress on our journeys in this world. I found this somewhere and thought I should share it here.

  1. Practice humility today in all your actions. 
  2. Be generous today; help someone in need. 
  3. Look for ways to be helpful throughout the day. 
  4. Do a job that needs being done without being asked. 
  5. Be courageous; walk away from any impure situations today. 
  6. Don’t be at all idle today; always do something for others or for your own spiritual growth. 
  7. Go out of your way today to help or talk to someone who is usually difficult.
  8. Volunteer for an extra job today.
  9. Say an extra Rosary today for the conversion of a sinner. 
  10. Visit someone who is sick or lonesome today. Offer to say the Rosary with them.

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Our wills are naturally selfish. We love to have our own way. It’s not easy to submit to the will of another, unless there’s some strong motive that impels us to submission. The carrying out of our wills in a selfish way only leads to more selfishness and to a stronger inclination to have our own way. It’s this selfish inclination in the will that makes it necessary for God to demand submission from us. His will is never selfish, but always benevolent. The cheerful doing of it always leads to an increase of benevolence in us. Therefore, when God demands us to submit our wills to him, he’s doing that which is best for us. The more consideration for others and true benevolence is developed within us, the more our natures are purified and exalted and the more we are able to fulfill the purpose of our creation.

 

Submitting to God is often the hardest of all tasks, yet it’s the most necessary if we’re to be exalted to fellowship with God and enjoy the highest development of our faculties and powers. Selfishness always tends to degrade. It’s ignoble—exercise tends to dwarf and blight the finest things in our characters. The adoption of a submissive attitude toward God and his will, paves the way for the natural development of those qualities within us which are most worth developing, and which ennoble us most when they’re developed. The more our souls run out God-ward, the more like him we become; and the more like him we become, the happier and more useful we are. Unselfish devotion to benevolent service toward God and toward our fellow-man enriches the heart and life as nothing else can do, and leads the way to happiness, peace, and contentment, which make one truly blessed.

 

Submission to God is the one necessary thing in order to enjoy the Christian life. The more fully we’re submitted to his will, the more cheerfully we can carry it out, and the sweeter and richer will be the joy of doing it. Reluctant submission to God is not real submission. Reluctant obedience is never real obedience. It’s only when the heart responds to God willingly and cheerfully that the power of such service to make one happy is realized. We must conquer our reluctant wills. “The essence of sacrifice of self is the sacrifice of the will. Unwilling offerings are a contradiction, and in fact, there are no such things. The quality of unwillingness destroys the character of the offering and robs it of all sacredness. Reluctant Christianity is not Christianity.”

 

True nobility of both the inner and the outer life comes from submission to, and cooperation with, God. The nature of our relations with God depends upon the extent of our submission to him. This is well illustrated in the relation of husband and wife. When two marry, and there’s no merging of the wills and purposes, but each retains his or her individuality, standing apart from the other in wish and desire, in choosing and willing, their union can never be a happy one. They must yield themselves to each other. There must be a merging of their wills into each other, a combining of their purposes, a consideration of each other, a sacrificing of the individual will. The husband and wife who really love each other can enjoy each other’s society and draw near to each other in spirit and affection. This makes their union a blessed reality, and a source of more true joy than any other natural relation. Those who thus enjoy each other are the ones who have sacrificed self and lost sight of selfish considerations; each desires to please the other and each finds his or her happiness in the happiness of the other.

 

In the Scriptures, Christ is represented as being the husband of the church, and the church is taught to submit to him as a wife should submit to her husband. The wife submits to her husband because she loves him—if she submits from any other reason she must be unhappy in her submission. The submission, that comes from love, and is the willing response of love, is the source of the deepest and truest happiness that can come from human sources. So the submission to God, which is acceptable to him, and which reacts in blessedness to the soul who submits, must be based upon love. The secret of such submission is thus stated by John, “We have known and believed the love that God hath to us.” (1 John 4:16) So he exclaims in the next breath, “God is love.” Only the truly submitted heart can fathom the love of God, or can love God with that self-enriching love, which inspires devotion and causes us to delight in God. The fervor of love softens the will and makes it flexible. When we love, it is easy to obey; it is easy to submit. All the irksomeness and compulsion is taken out of religion when the heart is full of love toward God. The more we love, the easier it is to serve, and the more joyful is that service.

 For more on submitting to Divine will, follow the link.

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An Indian priest has bagged awards at two international film festivals in the US for his short film, The Last Appeal, based on the story of Poland’s Sister Faustina Kowalska.

Father Bala Shoury Udumala took the “Official Finalist Award” at the Las Vegas International Film Festival 2009 this month, while the Mexico International Film Festival honoured him with “The Silver Palm Award” for the film in the student category, said the Catholic Bishops Conference of India in a report. About 2000 films from over 50 countries were represented at each of the film festivals, the report said. Father Udumala’s 35-minute film portrays the story of the peasant girl Helen Kowalska, who later becomes a nun in a convent in Poland. As Sr Faustina, she brought the message of the Divine Mercy to the Catholic faithful. Father Udumala, who graduated with a Masters degree from Loyola Mary Mount University in Los Angeles in Film and Television Production in 2008, wrote, directed and produced the film, which was aired on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), the largest Catholic channel, two weeks ago.

The film brings the struggles of Helen in delivering the message through the humble life of a nun in a convent in Poland at the beginning of the 20th century. It also depicts the revelations and visions she received from God. Besides English and Spanish, the film has been dubbed into several Indian languages.

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