Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri - Uniformity With God's Will

1.. Excellence of this Virtue.

Perfection is founded entirely on the love of God: "Charity is the bond of perfection;" and perfect love of God means the complete union of our will with God's: "The principal effect of love is so to unite the wills of those who love each other as to make them will the same things." It follows then, that the more one unites his will with the divine will, the greater will be his love of God. Mortification, meditation, receiving Holy Communion, acts of fraternal charity are all certainly pleasing to God - but only when they are in accordance with his will. When they do not accord with God's will, he not only finds no pleasure in them, but he even rejects them utterly and punishes them.

To illustrate: - A man has two servants. One works unremittingly all day long - but according to his own devices; the other, conceivably, works less, but he does do what he is told. This latter of course is going to find favor in the eyes of his master; the other will not. Now, in applying this example, we may ask: Why should we perform actions for God's glory if they are not going to be acceptable to him? God does not want sacrifices, the prophet Samuel told King Saul, but he does want obedience to his will: "Doth the Lord desire holocausts and victims, and not rather that the voice of the Lord should be obeyed? For obedience is better than sacrifices; and to hearken, rather than to offer the fat of rams. Because it is like the sin of witchcraft to rebel; and like the crime of idolatry to refuse to obey." The man who follows his own will independently of God's, is guilty of a kind of idolatry. Instead of adoring God's will, he, in a certain sense, adores his own.

The greatest glory we can give to God is to do his will in everything. Our Redeemer came on earth to glorify his heavenly Father and to teach us by his example how to do the same. Saint Paul represents him saying to his eternal Father: "Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not: But a body thou hast fitted to me . . . Then said I: Behold I come to do thy will, O God." Thou hast refused the victims offered thee by man; thou dost will that I sacrifice my body to thee. Behold me ready to do thy will. 


Diary of St. Faustina...Abandoment to the Will of God

+ 1264  Act of total abandonment to the will of God, which is for me, love and mercy itself. 

Act of Oblation 

Jesus-Host, whom I have this very moment received into my heart, through this union with You I offer myself to the heavenly Father as a sacrificial host, abandoning myself totally and completely to the most merciful and holy will of my God. From today onward, Your will, Lord, is my food. Take my whole being; dispose of me as You please. Whatever Your fatherly hand gives me, I will accept with submission, peace and joy. I fear nothing, no matter in what direction You lead me; helped by Your grace I will carry out everything You demand of me. I no longer fear any of Your inspirations nor do I probe anxiously to see where they will lead me. Lead me, O God, along whatever roads You please; I have placed all my trust in Your will which is, for me, love and mercy itself.

Bid me to stay in this convent, I will stay; bid me to undertake the work, I will undertake it; leave me in uncertainty about the work until I die, be blessed; give me death when, humanly speaking, my life seems particularly necessary, be blessed. Should You take me in my youth, be blessed; should You let me live to a ripe old age, be blessed. Should You give me health and strength, be blessed; should You confine me to a bed of pain for my whole life, be blessed. Should you give only failures and disappointments in life, be blessed. Should You allow my purest intentions to be condemned, be blessed. Should You enlighten my mind, be blessed. Should You leave me in darkness and all kinds of torments, be blessed.

From this moment on, I live in the deepest peace, because the Lord himself is carrying me in the hollow of His hand. He, Lord of unfathomable mercy, knows that I desire Him alone in all things, always and everywhere.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Glory of God

Diary of St. Faustina ....on Adoring God

+ 1604 - When, during adoration, I repeated the prayer, "Holy God" several times, a vivid presence of God suddenly swept over me, and I was caught up in spirit before the majesty of God. I saw how the Angels and the Saints of the Lord give glory to God. The glory of God is so great that I dare not try to describe it, because I would not be able to do so, and souls might think that what I have written is all there is. Saint Paul, I understand now why you did not want to describe heaven, but only said that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him [cf. 1 Cor. 2:9; 2 Cor. 12:1-7]. Yes, that is indeed so. And all that has come forth from God returns to Him in the same way and gives Him perfect glory. Now I have seen the way in which I adore God; oh, how miserable it is! And what a tiny drop it is in comparison to that perfect heavenly glory. O my God, how good You are to accept my praise as well, and to turn Your Face to me with kindness and let us know that our prayer is pleasing to You.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pope Benedict on the Role of the Priest

2009 Castlegandolfo  (Section of the Address to the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil)

Highlighting the functions of the various members of the Church, the Pope explained how "the particular identity of priests and laity must be seen in the light of the essential difference between priestly ministry and the 'common priesthood'. Hence it is important to avoid the secularisation of clergy and the 'clericalisation' of the laity". 

"In this perspective", he went on, "the lay faithful must undertake to give expression in real life - also through political commitment - to the Christian view of anthropology and the social doctrine of the Church. 

While priests must distance themselves from politics in order to favour the unity and communion of all the faithful, thus becoming a point of reference for everyone". 

Benedict XVI indicated that "the lack of priests does not justify a more active and abundant participation of the laity. The truth is that the greater the faithful's awareness of their own responsibilities within the Church, the clearer becomes the specific identity and inimitable role of the priest as pastor of the entire community, witness to the authenticity of the faith, and dispenser of the mysteries of salvation in the name of Christ the Head". 

"The function of the clergy is essential and irreplaceable in announcing the Word and celebrating the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. ... For this reason it is vital to ask the Lord to send workers for His harvest; and it is necessary that priests express joy in their faithfulness to their identity". 

The Pope made it clear that "the shortage of priests must not come to be considered as a normal or typical state of affairs for the future". In this context he encouraged the prelates "to combine efforts to encourage new priestly vocations and find the pastors your dioceses need, helping one another so that all of you have better-trained and more numerous priests to support the life of faith and the apostolic mission". 

Diary of St. Faustina....on the Relationship with Jesus and His Priests

+ 1240 - The Lord Jesus greatly protects His representatives on earth. How closely He is united with them; and He orders me to give priority to their opinion over His. I have come to know the great intimacy which exists between Jesus and the priest. 

Jesus defends whatever the priest says, and often complies with his wishes, and sometimes makes His own relationship with a soul depend on the priest's advice. O Jesus, through a special grace, I have come to know very clearly to what extent You have shared Your power and mystery with them, more so than with the Angels. I rejoice in this, for it is all for my good.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

St. Bernard of Clairveaux on the Song of Songs (the Bride and the Bridegroom (the Soul and Jesus) )

Sermon 74

II. 5. Now bear with my foolishness a little. I want to tell you of my own experience, as I promised. Not that it is of any importance .... I admit that the Word has also come to me-I speak as a fool-and has come many times—But although he has come to me, I have never been conscious of the moment of his coming. I perceived his presence, I remembered afterwards that he had been with me; some times I had a presentiment that he would come, but I was never conscious of his coming or his going. And where he comes from when he visits my soul, and where he goes, and by what means he enters and goes out, I admit that I do not know even now; as John says: 'You do not know where he comes from or where he goes.' There is nothing strange in this, for of him was it said, 'Your foot steps will not be known.' The coming of the Word was not perceptible to my eyes, for he has not color; nor to the ears, for there was no sound; nor yet to my nostrils, for he mingles with the mind, not the air; he has not acted upon the air, but created it. His coming was not tasted by the mouth, for there was not eating or drinking, nor could he be known by the sense of touch, for he is not tangible. How then did he enter? Perhaps he did not enter because he does not come from outside? He is not one of the things which exist outside us.

Yet he does not come from within me, for he is good, and I know there is no good in me. I have ascended to the highest in me, and look! the word is towering above that. In my curiosity I have descended to explore my lowest depths, yet I found him even deeper. If I look outside myself, I saw him stretching beyond the furthest I could see; and if I looked within, he was yet further within. Then I knew the truth of what I had read, 'In him we live and move and have our being'. And blessed is the man in whom he has his being, who lives for him and is moved by him.

Diary of St. Faustina...

Diary 268 -   October 11, 1933.-Thursday.-I tried to make a Holy Hour, but began it with great difficulty. A certain yearning started to tear at my heart. My mind was dimmed so that I could not understand the simplest forms of prayer. And so passed by an hour of prayer, or rather of struggle. I resolved to pray for a second hour, but my inner sufferings increased-great dryness and discouragement. I resolved to pray for a third hour. In the third hour, which I resolved to spend kneeling without any support, my body started to clamor for rest. But I in no way relented. I stretched out my arms and, though I spoke no words, I persisted by sheer will. After a while, I took the ring off my finger and asked Jesus to look at the ring, that sign of our eternal union, and I offered Jesus the feelings I had had on the day of perpetual vows. After a while, I feel my heart inundated with a wave of love.

A sudden recollection of spirit, the senses quiet down, and God's presence pervades my soul. I know only this: that it is Jesus and I. I saw Him just as He had appeared to me in that instant after my perpetual vows, when I was likewise making a Holy Hour. Jesus was suddenly standing before me, stripped of His clothes, His body completely covered with wounds, His eyes flooded with tears and blood, His face disfigured and covered with spittle. The Lord then said to me, The bride must resemble her Betrothed. I understood these words to their very depth. There is no room for doubt here. My likeness to Jesus must be through suffering and humility. See what love of human souls has done to Me. My daughter, in your heart I find everything that so great a number of souls refuses Me. Your heart is My repose. I often wait with great graces until towards the end of prayer. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

St. Teresa of Avila ...some words from The Interior Castle.

9. A soul which gives itself to prayer, either much or little, should on no account be kept within narrow bounds. Since God has given it such great dignity, permit it to wander at will through the
rooms of the castle, from the lowest to the highest. Let it not force itself to remain for very long in the same mansion, even that of self-knowledge. Mark well, however, that self-knowledge is
indispensable, even for those whom God takes to dwell in the same mansion with Himself. Nothing else, however elevated, perfects the soul which must never seek to forget its own nothingness. Let humility be always at work, like the bee at the honeycomb, or all will be lost. But, remember, the bee leaves its hive to fly in search of flowers and the soul should sometimes cease thinking of itself to rise in meditation on the grandeur and majesty of its God. It will learn its own baseness better thus than by self-contemplation, and will be freer from the reptiles which enter the first room where self-knowledge is acquired. Although it is a great grace from God to practise self-examination, yet ‘too much is as bad as too little,’ as they say; believe me, by God’s help, we shall advance more by contemplating the  Divinity than by keeping our eyes fixed on ourselves, poor creatures of earth that we are.

Diary of St. Faustina...on Interior Suffering and the asking the help of Mary

25 -  During the night, the Mother of God visited me, holding the Infant Jesus in Her arms. My soul was filled with joy, and I said, "Mary, my Mother, do You know how terribly I suffer?" And the Mother of God answered me, I know how much you suffer, but do not be afraid. I share with you your suffering, and I shall always do so. She smiled warmly and disappeared. At once, strength and a great courage sprang up anew in my soul; but that lasted only one day. It seemed as though hell had conspired against me. A terrible hatred began to break out in my soul, a hatred for all that is holy and divine. It seemed to me that these spiritual torments would be my lot for the rest of my life. I turned to the Blessed Sacrament and said to Jesus, "Jesus, my Spouse, do You not see that my soul is dying because of its longing for You? How can You hide Yourself from a heart that loves You so sincerely? Forgive me, Jesus; may Your holy will be done in me. I will suffer silently like a dove, without complaining. I will not allow my heart even one single cry of sorrowful complaint." 

Monday, August 8, 2011


"When you come to serve the Lord,
prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
undisturbed in times of adversity.
Cling to Him, forsake Him not;
thus, will your future be great.
Accept what befalls you;
in crushing misfortune be patient.
For, in fire gold is tested and worthy men
in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and He will help you.
Make straight your ways and hope in Him.
You who fear the Lord, wait for His mercy.
Turn not away, lest you fall.

                                       - Sirach 2:1-7

Diary of St. Faustina...Jesus with her in difficult Trials

Diary 151 

+Once, when I was in the kitchen with Sister N.,[47] she got a little upset with me and, as a punishment, ordered me to sit on the table while she herself continued to work hard, cleaning and scrubbing. And while I was sitting there, the sisters came along and were astounded to find me sitting on the table, and each one had her say. One said that I was a loafer and another, "What an eccentric!" I was a postulant at the time. 

Others said, "What kind of a sister will she make?" Still, I could not get down because sister had ordered me to sit there by virtue of obedience[48] until she told me to get down. Truly, God alone knows how many acts of self-denial it took. I thought I'd die of shame. God often allowed such things for the sake of my inner formation, but He compensated me for this humiliation by a great consolation. During Benediction I saw Him in great beauty. Jesus looked at me kindly and said, My daughter, do not be afraid of sufferings; I am with you.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Prayer by St. Teresa of Avila........

Although I have often abandoned you, O Lord, you have never abandoned me. Your hand of love is always outstretched towards me, even when I stubbornly look the other way. And your gentle voice constantly calls me, even when I obstinately refuse to listen. When the sins in my soul are increasing, I lose the taste for virtuous things. Yet, even at such moments, Lord, I know I am failing you and failing myself. You alone can restore my taste for virtue. There are so many false friends willing to encourge sin. But your friendship alone can give the strength of mind to resist and defeat sin.

What a good friend you are, Lord! You are so patient, willing to wait as long as necessary for me to turn to you. You rejoice at the times when I love you, but you do not hold against me the times when I ignore you. Your patience is beyond my understanding. Even when I pray, my mind fills with worldly concerns and vain daydreams. Yet you are happy if I give only a single second of honest prayer, turning that second into a seed of love.

Oh Lord, I enjoy your friendship so much, why is it not possible for me to think of you constantly?

Diary of St. Faustina...on Doing Gods will

Diary 603 -  January 29, 1936. In the evening, when I was in my cell, I suddenly saw a great light and a dark gray cross high up within the light. Suddenly, I found myself caught up close to the cross. I gazed at it intently, but could not understand anything, and so I prayed, asking what it could mean. At that moment I saw the Lord Jesus, and the cross disappeared. The Lord Jesus was sitting in a great light, and His legs, up to the knees, were drowned in the light so that I could not see them. Jesus bent toward me, looked at me kindly and spoke to me about the will of the Heavenly Father. He told me that the most perfect and holy soul is the one that does the will of the Father, but there are not many such, and that He looks with special love upon the soul who lives His will. And Jesus told me that I was doing the will of God perfectly...and for this reason I am uniting Myself with you and communing with you in a special and intimate way.

God embraces with His incomprehensible love the soul who lives by His will. I understood how much God loves us, how simple He is, though incomprehensible, and how easy it is to commune with Him, despite His great majesty. With no one do I feel as free and as much at ease as with Him. Even a mother and her truly loving child do not understand each other so well as God and I do. When I was in that state of communion with God, I saw two particular persons, and their sad interior condition was revealed to me. They were in a sorrowful state, but I trust that they, too, will glorify the mercy of God.