Sunday, 28 April 2013

4 Maxims to persevere in for perfection - Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection, O.D.C.

4 Maxims for Perfection - Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection, O.D.C., Taken from "Practice of the Presence of God"

ALL THINGS are possible to him who believes; still more to him who hopes; still more to him who loves; and most of all, to him who practices these virtues and perseveres in them. All of those who are baptized, believing as they should, have taken the first step on the way of perfection, and will be perfect as long as they persevere in the practice of the following maxims.

Always regard God in His glory in what we are doing, saying and undertaking: let the end that we propose be to become the most perfect adorers of God in this life, as we hope to be through all eternity. We must make a firm resolution to surmount, with God's grace, all the difficulties met with in the spiritual life.

When we undertake the spiritual life, we ought fundamentally to consider who we are; and we will find ourselves deserving all contempt, unworthy of the name of Christian, subject to all sorts of miseries and to an infinity of accidents which upset us and render us unstable in our health, in our moods, in our interior and exterior disposition -- in short, people whom God wills to humble by a countless number of pains and labours, within us as well as without.

Unquestionably we must believe that it is good for us and agreeable to God to sacrifice ourselves for Him; that it is usual for His divine Providence to abandon us to all sorts of states, to suffer all kinds of pains, miseries and temptations for the love of God and as long as He pleases -- since, without this submission of heart and mind to the will of God, devotion and perfection cannot exist.

A soul is all the more dependent upon the grace of God, the more it aspires to high perfection, and the help of God is so much the more needed at each moment, because without it the soul can do nothing. The world, the flesh and the devil together wage such fierce and continual war upon her that without this actual help and this humble, necessary dependence they would drag her down in spite of herself; that seems hard to nature, but grace is pleased with the condition and reposes in it.

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Saturday, 27 April 2013

8 PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS for the interior life for active Catholics - Dom J.B. Chautard, O.C.R.

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To help those on retreat to strengthen those dispositions which are absolutely necessary for the interior life that will make Catholic Action get results:


1. Let the following conviction become deeply impressed upon your mind, namely that a soul cannot lead an interior life without the schedule we have referred to, and without the firm resolution to keep it all the time, especially where the rigorously fixed hour of rising is concerned.

2.Base your interior life on its absolutely necessary element: morning mental prayer. St. Theresa said that, "The person who is fully determined to make a half hour's mental prayer every morning, cost what it may, has already travelled half its journey." Without mental prayer, the day will almost unavoidably be a tepid one.

3. Mass, Holy Communion, and the recitation of the Breviary are liturgical functions which offer inexhaustible resources for the interior life and are to be exploited with an ever increasing faith and fervour.

4. The particular and general examinations of conscience, should, like mental prayer and the liturgical life, help us to develop custody of the heart in which "watching" and "praying" ("Vigilate et orate") -are combined. The soul that pays attention to what is going on inside itself, and is sensitive to the presence of the Most Holy Trinity within it, acquires an almost instinctive habit of turning to Jesus in every situation, but especially when there appears to be some danger of becoming dissipated or weak.

5. This leads to a need for incessant prayer by means of spiritual Communions and ejaculatory prayers which are so easy, to one who wants to practice them, even in the thick of the most absorbing occupations, and which offer themselves in such a pleasing variation, appropriate to the particular needs of every present moment, to the present situation, dangers, difficulties, weariness, deceptions, and so on.

6. Devout study of Sacred Scripture, especially of the New Testament, ought to find a place each day, or at least several times a week in the life of a priest. Spiritual reading every afternoon is a daily duty which no generous soul will ever neglect. The mind needs to be brought face to face with supernatural truths, with the dogmas that generate piety, and with their moral consequences, so easily forgotten.

7. Thanks to this custody of the heart, which will serve as its remote preparation, weekly confession will infallibly be imbued with sincere contrition, with true sorrow, and with an ever more loyal and more resolutely form purpose of amendment.

8. The yearly retreat is very useful, but it is not enough. A monthly retreat (taking up an entire day, or at least half a day), devoted to serious effort to recover the equilibrium of the soul is almost indispensable to the active worker.

6 PRINCIPLES of interior life for active Catholics - Dom J.B. Chautard, O.C.R.

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To help those on retreat to strengthen those dispositions which are absolutely necessary for the interior life that will make Catholic Action get results:


FIRST PRINCIPLE: Do not plunge headlong into Catholic Action from mere natural zest for activity, but consult God and make sure you are doing what you do under the inspiration of grace, and with the morally certain guarantee that it is His will.

SECOND PRINCIPLE: It is rash and dangerous to remain too long engaged in work so heavy that it might make the soul incapable of performing the essential to the interior life. In such a case all, but especially priests and religious, should apply, even to the holiest of works, the text: "Pluck it out and cast it from thee." (Matt 5:29)

THIRD PRINCIPLE: Draw up a schedule allotting to each activity a fixed time and get it approved by a wise and experienced priest, of interior life. And then do violence to yourself, if necessary, to keep it, and control the flood of your activities.

FOURTH PRINCIPLE: For your own profit and for the profit of others, it is essential that you develop your interior life, before all else. The busier you are, the more you need the interior life. And therefore, the more you ought to desire it, and the more you ought to take steps to prevent this desire from becoming one of those futile longings which the devil so often uses to drug souls and hold them fast in their illusions.

FIFTH PRINCIPLE: If it happens by accident, and really as the result of God's will, that the soul is under great stress of work, and finds it morally impossible to give more time to prayer, what then? There is a thermometer that never lies, and always tells us whether we are truly fervent, in spite of it all. Simply ask yourself if you really thirst for the interior life, and if, with all good will, you seize every possible opportunity to perform at least its essential practices? If so, you may remain at peace, and you can count on very special graces. God holds them in reserve for you; and they will give you the strength you need to continue your advance in the spiritual life.

SIXTH PRINCIPLE: As long as the active worker has not reached the point where he is habitually recollected and habitually dependent on grace -- a dependence and recollection which accompany him everywhere he goes -- he is still not in a satisfactory state of the interior life. But in working for this necessary recollection, strain must absolutely be avoided. A simple, habitual glance of the heart rather than of the mind, is all that is necessary. This glance will be sure, accurate, penetrating and will tell us clearly whether we are still under the influence of Jesus in the midst of our work.

10 CONVICTIONS of the interior life for Active Catholics - Dom J.B. Chautard, O.C.R.

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To help those on retreat to strengthen those dispositions which are absolutely necessary for the interior life that will make Catholic Action get results:


1. Zeal will only get results in so far as it is united to the action of Christ Himself.

2. Christ does all the work; we are only his instruments.

3. Our Lord does not give His blessing to any enterprise in which men place trust in human means alone.

4. He does not give His blessing to enterprises that are kept going solely by natural activity.

5. Jesus does not give His blessing to an enterprise in which self-love is working in the place of divine love (Fr. Desurmont, C.SS.R)

6. Woe to the man who refuses to do the work to which he is called by God!

7. Woe to the man who worms his way into an enterprise without finding out what God wills for him!

8. Woe to the man who, in his work, wants to run things without really depending on God!

9. Woe to the man who lives an active life without taking steps to preserve or to regain the interior life!

10. Woe to the man who does not know how to make the interior life and the active life harmonize, so that neither suffers from the other.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

14 Rules of Ignatius of Loyola - The Discernment of Spirits - Spiritual Exercises

1. In the persons who go from mortal sin to mortal sin, the enemy is commonly used to propose to them apparent pleasures, making them imagine sensual delights and pleasures in order to hold them more and make them grow in their vices and sins. In these persons the good spirit uses the opposite method, pricking them and biting their consciences through the process of reason.

2. In the persons who are going on intensely cleansing their sins and rising from good to better in the service of God our Lord, it is the method contrary to that in the first Rule, for then it is the way of the evil spirit to bite, sadden and put obstacles, disquieting with false reasons, that one may not go on; and it is proper to the good to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing, and putting away all obstacles, that one may go on in well doing.

3. Of Spiritual Consolation. I call it consolation when some interior movement in the soul is caused, through which the soul comes to be inflamed with love of its Creator and Lord; and when it can in consequence love no created thing on the face of the earth in itself, but in the Creator of them all.

Likewise, when it sheds tears that move to love of its Lord, whether out of sorrow for one’s sins, or for the Passion of Christ our Lord, or because of other things directly connected with His service and praise.

Finally, I call consolation every increase of hope, faith and charity, and all interior joy which calls and attracts to heavenly things and to the salvation of one’s soul, quieting it and giving it peace in its Creator and Lord.

4. Of Spiritual Desolation. I call desolation all the contrary of the third rule, such as darkness of soul, disturbance in it, movement to things low and earthly, the unquiet of different agitations and temptations, moving to want of confidence, without hope, without love, when one finds oneself all lazy, tepid, sad, and as if separated from his Creator and Lord. Because, as consolation is contrary to desolation, in the same way the thoughts which come from consolation are contrary to the thoughts which come from desolation.

5. In time of desolation never to make a change; but to be firm and constant in the resolutions and determination in which one was the day preceding such desolation, or in the determination in which he was in the preceding consolation. Because, as in consolation it is rather the good spirit who guides and counsels us, so in desolation it is the bad, with whose counsels we cannot take a course to decide rightly.

6. Although in desolation we ought not to change our first resolutions, it is very helpful intensely to change ourselves against the same desolation, as by insisting more on prayer, meditation, on much examination, and by giving ourselves more scope in some suitable way of doing penance.

7. Let him who is in desolation consider how the Lord has left him in trial in his natural powers, in order to resist the different agitations and temptations of the enemy; since he can with the Divine help, which always remains to him, though he does not clearly perceive it: because the Lord has taken from him his great fervor, great love and intense grace, leaving him, however, grace enough for eternal salvation.

8. Let him who is in desolation labor to be in patience, which is contrary to the vexations which come to him: and let him think that he will soon be consoled, employing against the desolation the devices, as is said in the sixth Rule.[38]

9. There are three principal reasons why we find ourselves desolate.

The first is, because of our being tepid, lazy or negligent in our spiritual exercises; and so through our faults, spiritual consolation withdraws from us.

The second, to try us and see how much we are and how much we let ourselves out in His service and praise without such great pay of consolation and great graces.

The third, to give us true acquaintance and knowledge, that we may interiorly feel that it is not ours to get or keep great devotion, intense love, tears, or any other spiritual consolation, but that all is the gift and grace of God our Lord, and that we may not build a nest in a thing not ours, raising our intellect into some pride or vainglory, attributing to us devotion or the other things of the spiritual consolation.

10. Let him who is in consolation think how he will be in the desolation which will come after, taking new strength for then.

11. Let him who is consoled see to humbling himself and lowering himself as much as he can, thinking how little he is able for in the time of desolation without such grace or consolation.

On the contrary, let him who is in desolation think that he can do much with the grace sufficient to resist all his enemies, taking strength in his Creator and Lord.

12. The enemy acts like a woman, in being weak against vigor and strong of will. Because, as it is the way of the woman when she is quarrelling with some man to lose heart, taking flight when the man shows her much courage: and on the contrary, if the man, losing heart, begins to fly, the wrath, revenge, and ferocity of the woman is very great, and so without bounds; in the same manner, it is the way of the enemy to weaken and lose heart, his temptations taking flight, when the person who is exercising himself in spiritual things opposes a bold front against the temptations of the enemy, doing diametrically the opposite. And on the contrary, if the person who is exercising himself commences to have fear and lose heart in suffering the temptations, there is no beast so wild on the face of the earth as the enemy of human nature in following out his damnable intention with so great malice.

13. Likewise, he acts as a licentious lover in wanting to be secret and not revealed. For, as the licentious man who, speaking for an evil purpose, solicits a daughter of a good father or a wife of a good husband, wants his words and persuasions to be secret, and the contrary displeases him much, when the daughter reveals to her father or the wife to her husband his licentious words and depraved intention, because he easily gathers that he will not be able to succeed with the undertaking begun: in the same way, when the enemy of human nature brings his wiles and persuasions to the just soul, he wants and desires that they be received and kept in secret; but when one reveals them to his good Confessor or to another spiritual person that knows his deceits and evil ends, it is very grievous to him, because he gathers, from his manifest deceits being discovered, that he will not be able to succeed with his wickedness begun.

14. Likewise, he behaves as a chief bent on conquering and robbing what he desires: for, as a captain and chief of the army, pitching his camp, and looking at the forces or defences of a stronghold, attacks it on the weakest side, in like manner the enemy of human nature, roaming about, looks in turn at all our virtues, theological, cardinal and moral; and where he finds us weakest and most in need for our eternal salvation, there he attacks us and aims at taking us.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Decisive Quotes from Pope Francis - March 13 - March 20

Decisive Quotes from Pope Francis - March 13, 2013 to March 20, 2013
March 20, 2013

Yes, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all feel closely united to the prayer of our Saviour at the Last Supper, to his appeal: ut unum sint. Let us ask the Father of mercies to enable us to live fully the faith graciously bestowed upon us on the day of our Baptism and to bear witness to it freely, joyfully and courageously. This will be the best service we can offer to the cause of Christian unity, a service of hope for a world still torn by divisions, conflicts and rivalries. The more we are faithful to his will, in our thoughts, words and actions, the more we will progress, really and substantially, towards unity.

There is much that we can do to benefit the poor, the needy and those who suffer, and to favour justice, promote reconciliation and build peace. But before all else we need to keep alive in our world the thirst for the absolute, and to counter the dominance of a one-dimensional vision of the human person, a vision which reduces human beings to what they produce and to what they consume: this is one of the most insidious temptations of our time.
March 19, 2013 (Inauguration)

Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!

It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!

Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened.

Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world! But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!

Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness.

 Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf.Mt 25:31-46). Only those who serve with love are able to protect!

Hoping against hope! Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others.

Let us protect with love all that God has given us!
March 17, 2013 (5th Sunday Lent)

I think we too are the people who, on the one hand want to listen to Jesus, but on the other hand, at times, like to find a stick to beat others with, to condemn others. And Jesus has this message for us: mercy.

I think – and I say it with humility – that this is the Lord’s most powerful message: mercy. It was he himself who said: "I did not come for the righteous". The righteous justify themselves.

It is not easy to entrust oneself to God’s mercy, because it is an abyss beyond our comprehension. But we must!

The Lord never tires of forgiving: never! It is we who tire of asking his forgiveness. Let us ask for the grace not to tire of asking forgiveness, because he never tires of forgiving. Let us ask for this grace.
March 16, 2013

[In everything that has occurred, the principal agent has been, in the final analysis, the Holy Spirit.] It is important, dear friends, to take into due account this way of looking at things, this hermeneutic, in order to bring into proper focus what really happened in these days.

It should be apparent that all of us are called not to communicate ourselves, but this existential triad made up of truth, beauty and goodness.

How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor!

 I pray that your work will always be serene and fruitful, and that you will come to know ever better the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the rich reality of the Church’s life.
March 15, 2013

We will always accompany him (Benedict XVI) with fervent prayers, with constant remembrance, with undying and affectionate gratitude.

Inspired also by the celebration of the Year of Faith, all of us together, pastors and members of the faithful, will strive to respond faithfully to the Church’s perennial mission: to bring Jesus Christ to mankind and to lead mankind to an encounter with Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, truly present in the Church and also in every person.

Let us never yield to pessimism, to that bitterness that the devil offers us every day; let us not yield to pessimism or discouragement: let us be quite certain that the Holy Spirit bestows upon the Church, with his powerful breath, the courage to persevere and also to seek new methods of evangelization, so as to bring to Gospel to the uttermost ends of the earth (cf. Acts 1:8).

Dear brother Cardinals, take courage! Half of us are advanced in age. Old age is – as I like to say – the seat of life’s wisdom.

Let us pass on this wisdom to the young: like good wine that improves with age, let us give life’s wisdom to the young.
March 14, 2013

When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly: we may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.

My wish is that all of us, after these days of grace, will have the courage, yes, the courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord’s Cross; to build the Church on the Lord’s blood which was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward.

March 13, 2013 (Election)

And now, we take up this journey:  Bishop and People.  This journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches.  A journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us.  Let us always pray for one another.  Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great spirit of fraternity.  It is my hope for you that this journey of the Church, which we start today, and in which my Cardinal Vicar, here present, will assist me, will be fruitful for the evangelization of this most beautiful city. 
And now I would like to give the blessing, but first - first I ask a favour of you: before the Bishop blesses his people, I ask you to pray to the Lord that he will bless me: the prayer of the people asking the blessing for their Bishop.  Let us make, in silence, this prayer:  your prayer over me.