…Christ came, not only because of our need as a fallen race to be redeemed, but as the firstborn of all creation to teach us how to live. One cannot teach life except by getting a wounded heart, a wounded spirit, not without being bruised…
We must study to learn how to identify … the bruises of the heart and the spirit with the Passion of Christ., who did not love us without getting bruised in the process. We have those soul-shaking lines from Holy Scripture, almost too exquisitely acute to bear: “With his stripes we are healed.” (Is 53: 5). His wounds have not healed us of our need of being wounded but of the wound of our self-centeredness. His woulds have called us to come our of self, to be made strong in suffering. This is to identify with the Passion of Christ.
…[and] the responsibility that the Passion of Christ enjoins upon us. We dare not underestimate the strength we have once we have been redeemed in love by Jesus. When we make promises to God, we can disavow the power put into us to observe them faithfully. When we are given by God any circumstance, any work to do, any suffering to sustain, we are also given the power and the strength to do or to suffer it. So when remembering and focusing in our identification with the Passion of the Christ, we need also to make active his own mandate through the inspired word of his apostle, that “in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” (Col 1:24). What is lacking in Christ’s Passion in me? It is my own bruises of body, of heart, of spirit, bruises of disappointment, bruises of frustration, bruises of misunderstanding, bruises of ingratitude, bruises perhaps of rejection. Aware of this, remembering, focused, identified, we can truly pray, “Passion of Christ, make me strong!” We dare not pray it unless we are prepared to accept the responsibility of having the strength of the Passion of Jesus given to us.
… [we] identify our own bruises as making up what is wanting in his Passion. We begin to join our own hesitant refrain to his great theme: “What is not necessary that I suffer this?” Was it not ordained that I should suffer for all the world? Was it not ordained that I suffer for the benefactors who befriend us and for those who think our life a waste? “Passion of Christ, make me strong!” Yes, it is a dangerous prayer. For if I ask to be made strong in this weay, I will be made strong and have to abdicate any further right to say “I can’t.” In this prayer I deliver up to Christ my former right to say “I cannot do it.”
Mother Mary Francis, PCC
The 13th of October, 1917
We left home quite early, expecting that we would be delayed along the way. Masses of people thronged the roads The rain fell in torrents. My mother, her heart torn with uncertainty as to what was going to happen, and fearing it would the last day of my life, wanted to accompany me.
“What do you want of me?”
I want to tell you that chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.
“I have many things to ask you: to cure some sick persons, the conversion of sinners, and other things…”
Some yes, but not others. They must amend their lives and ask for forgiveness for their sins.
Looking very sad, Our Lady said:
Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.
Then, opening her hands, she made them reflect on the sun, and as she ascended, the reflection of her own light continued to be projected on the sun itself.
After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld St Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands. When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolours. Our Lord appeared and blessed the world in the same manner as St Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel.
Sister Mary Lucia of the Immaculate Heart*
*Lucia was one of the original three seers who witnessed the events and miracles at Fatima in 1917. She later entered religious life. This section from her memoirs accounts the events of the “Miracle of the Sun”.
The Message of Fatima is that of the Gospel which emphasizes the following points:
- permanent conversion
- prayer, namely the Rosary
- the sense of collective responsibility, and the practice of reparation.
Learn more here.
As Catholics… we believe that original sin isn’t something committed, it’s something contracted. We recognize that we have received from Adam and Eve a human nature devoid of the divine nature God originally entrusted to them. As such, we don’t so much see original sin as a “thing,” as we do a lack of a “thing” — that “thing” being sanctifying grace. And sanctifying grace isn’t just religious rhetoric for something special. It is the Holy Trinity dwelling within the soul.
What that means for us is that we receive a human nature from the moment of our conception. But because we receive a human nature without a divine nature, we’re spiritually dead from the start. That’s our inheritance from our first parents: spiritual death. We’re physically alive but spiritually dead because God’s life does not dwell in us.
Baptism changes that.
Sometimes we talk about Baptism as “wiping away the stain of original sin.” But that’s a flawed metaphor. It inadvertently suggests that something is there before Baptism that isn’t there afterward — almost as if we could perform a spiritual x-ray of our soul, before and after Baptism, showing first a dirty soul, which is later made shiny and new. But again, it’s not the presence of something before Baptism that’s the problem. It’s the absence, the absence of divine life.
That divine life is what baptism restores. It gives us back the divine life that Adam and Eve lost.
Years ago I saw a poster that said: “One person with a belief is equal in force to ninety0nine people who merely have an interest.” When we believe in our faith, rather than merely have an interest in it, we become a witness and a source of strength to others. You might be the only person in your office who refuses to curse and who won’t participate in things that aren’t right. You may be criticized. You may be shunned. But gradually some will begin to respect you and even in some cases imitate you because you are willing to be a sign. At any rate, your sacrifices will count for much in the spiritual warfare in which we are engaged.
Christ said, “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Is the power of Satan stronger than the power of Christ? Not at all, so don’t be afraid. Be faithful in prayer for others and offer sacrifices for them.
Often, when I think of the redemptive nature of suffering, I recall the story of Jesus feeding the crowd of five thousand with the five loveaves and two fish that a boy in the crowd offered. Such a meager food supply seems unlikely to do much good. Yet Jesus in a real sense made Himself dependent on this boy who gave so generously; Jesus multiplied the food and fed that immense group. That is what He also does with our prayers and sufferings. They seem very little in the face of the needs of the world, yet joined to His own sufferings, they take on that redemptive quality. Jesus uses them to redeem the world. This is redemptive suffering.
Jesus needs our suffering to use in redeeming souls. We need our suffering so that we can share with Him in the co-redemptive mission. The world need it that none may be lost eternally from God’s love.
Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR
Walk Humbly With Your God
God, in giving us life, gives each of us a mission to accomplish and a role to fulfill in his eternal plan. The most important thing, then, is to recognize this particular mission, to discern the divine will in our life, and then to work to make of our entire life and death a means of salvation for ourselves and our brothers and sisters.
We are the good God’s humble workers, the laborers of the Father, and when night falls, we must be able to say confidently that the harvest is ready and that the living Sun may now cause the seeds we have sown to grow.
“Thus you will know them by their fruits.” (Mt 7: 16, 20)
God knows us in all our depths; he is aware of our least desire, the least impulse of our hearts, and the least movement of our will. But others see only what we show on the outside. That is why our actions and words and even our bearing must be the harmonious and truth expression of our interior depths. Others will judge our depths, or what is more important, God will judge them on the basis of the fruits he produces in us and the works he inspires us to do.
Grant me, O Lord,
an ever-watchful heart that no alien thought can lure away from you;
a noble heart that no base love can sully;
an upright heart that no perverse intention
can lead astray;
an invincible heart that no distress can overcome;
an unfettered heart that no impetuous desires can enchain.
Grant me, O Lord my God,
a mind to know you,
a heart to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
conduct pleasing to you,
faithful perseverance in waiting for you,
and a hope of finally embracing you.
-St Thomas Aquinas-
Baby Monkey pic.twitter.com/DpmKoUiU3B
— God's Tiny Creatures (@GodsTinyAnimals) August 28, 2014
Tickling a Turtle. Look at that smile. pic.twitter.com/rToLdkyesE
— God's Tiny Creatures (@GodsTinyAnimals) August 28, 2014
Baby hedgehog, nothing could be cuter pic.twitter.com/27NsJA9P3u
— God's Tiny Creatures (@GodsTinyAnimals) August 27, 2014
Baby Polar Bear pic.twitter.com/krAm9YfaHh
— God's Tiny Creatures (@GodsTinyAnimals) August 27, 2014
And of course, I found a Boston Terrier duo…
Father and son going for a walk pic.twitter.com/fPr6LcOjDQ
— God's Tiny Creatures (@GodsTinyAnimals) August 26, 2014
Lord, this is the other person,
with whom I do not see eye to eye.
He belongs to you.
You have created him;
you have allowed him, it not wanted him,
to be just as he is.
If you can bear with him, my God,
then I too will bear with him and put up with him,
just as you bear with and put up with me.
- Karl Rahner-
Obedience is the one and the only way of wisdom and prudence for us to offer glory to God. If there were another, Christ would certainly have shown it to us by word and example. Scripture, however, summed up his enter life at Nazareth in the words: He was subject to them; Scripture set obedience as the theme for the rest of his life, repeatedly declaring that he came into the world to do his Father’s will.
Let us love our loving Father with all our hearts. Let our obedience increase that love, above all when it requires us to surrender our own will. Jesus Christ crucified is our sublime guide toward growth in God’s love.
We will learn this lesson more quickly through the Immaculate Virgin, whom God has made the dispenser of his mercy. It is beyond all doubt that Mary’s will represents to us the will of God himself. By dedicating ourselves to her we become in her hands instruments of God’s mercy even as she was such an instrument in God’s hands. We should let ourselves be guided and led by Mary and rest quiet and secure in her hands. She will watch out for us, provide for us, answer our needs of body and spirit; she will dissolve all our difficulties and worries.
-St Maximilian Kolbe-
From his letters, Aug 14, Office of Readings
The prayer that person prays to the best of his ability has great power.
It makes a bitter heart sweet,
a sad heart glad,
a poor heart rich,
a foolish heart wise,
a timid heart bold,
a weak heart strong;
it makes a blind heart see and a cold heart burn.
It draws the great God into the little heart;
it carries the hungry soul upward to God,
the living source,
and brings two lovers together:
God and the soul.
-St Gertrude the Great-