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1. “Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth” (Col. iii. 2), says the Apostle. The life hidden in Christ consists in flight from all idle associations with creatures.

2. If thou must associate with creatures, thou canst still lead a life hidden in Christ by preserving at least interior solitude.


O Mary, sorrow and sadness oppress my heart
which still heeds only externals, inclines to earthly things, and disdains the holy seclusion which thou didst practice, hidden in God and united to Him.

Lead my soul into holy seclusion, tear it free from creatures, fill it with heavenly desires, and inflame it with that burning love which is satisfied with nothing save with the highest Good. Amen.

Let us pray that through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, we may die to the world, and live in Christ.


Resolve to think often of heaven, and make use of every opportunity of impressing yourself with a high idea of its happiness. When you see beautiful objects, think with a holy servant of God, how much more beautiful is God! When you taste anything that pleases you, think, how much delight is found in the enjoyment of heaven. When you hear fine music, think of the choirs of angels.

O Mary, who can refuse to love thee!

Go To Joseph!

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Go To Joseph!

by Saint Teresa of Avila
(From her Autobiography, Chapter VI)

Finding myself so crippled and so young too, and earthly doctors having failed to cure me, I looked to heavenly physicians for help…

I took for my advocate and comforter the glorious Saint Joseph, and commended myself fervently to him; and I clearly saw that it was he who both cured me of my sickness and delivered me from great dangers that threatened my good name and the loss of my soul. His aid has brought me more good than I ever desired to receive from him. I do not remember at any time having asked him for anything which he did not grant. I am quite amazed at the great favours Our Lord has given me, and the many dangers, both of soul and body, from which He has delivered me through the intercession of this blessed saint. Our Lord seems to have given to other saints the power to help us in only one kind of necessity, but I know from experience that this glorious Saint Joseph helps us in all kinds of needs. It appears then that God wishes us to understand that as He was obedient to Joseph when He was on earth (for Saint Joseph was called His father and he could command Him) so now in Heaven God grants whatever Joseph asks.

Others, on my advice, have turned to Saint Joseph and they have had the same experience; and now there are many people who honour him and keep discovering the truth of what I have told them.

I strove to celebrate his feast day [March 19] with all possible solemnity, but I must admit that there was more vanity than true devotion mixed in with the celebration, for I always wanted everything to be done impressively and properly, even though my intentions were good. But it was always a fault of mine that whenever Our Lord gave me the graces to do something good, I added many faults and imperfections with it; whereas when it was a question of doing anything vain, worthless, or bad, I spent much time and effort with it. May Our Lord pardon me!

I wish I could persuade everyone to be devoted to this glorious saint, because long experience has shown me what wonderful blessings he obtains for us from God. Of all those I have known with a true devotion to Saint Joseph, I have never known any who did not advance in virtue, for he assists in a very special way those souls who place themselves under his protection.

For many years now I have always asked favours from him and they were always granted. But if sometimes my petitions had something wrong about them, dear Saint Joseph granted something much better for my own good. Were I a person who had authority to write, I should gladly relate in detail all the favours this dear patron obtained both for me and others; but under obedience I must tell some things briefly, and at length those incidents suggested by my superiors. I only request, for the love of God, that those of you who doubt what I say will prove it for yourselves. And you will see, through experience, how great a blessing it is to commend yourselves to this glorious patriarch, and to be devoted to him. Those persons, especially, who are given to prayer should ever be devoted to him, for I do not know how anyone can think of the Queen of Angels, at the time when she suffered so much on account of the Child Jesus, and not give thanks to Saint Joseph for taking care of them the way he did.

Whoever wants a model to imitate on how to pray, let him take this glorious saint as a guide and he will not lose his way!

God grant that I have not committed any error in speaking as I have….for although I profess to be devoted to him, yet I feel I have always failed in imitating his virtues. But he acted like himself, and showed us his virtues when he enabled me to rise and walk, and to be no more a cripple, And I, by making so bad use of this favour, show what sort of person I am.

The Precious Blood

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Meditations for Each Day of Lent
by St. Thomas Aquinas

Friday After the Fourth Sunday

The Precious Blood

Through the blood of Christ the New Testament was confirmed. This chalice is the new testament in my blood (i Cor. xi. 25). Testament has a double meaning.

(1) It may mean any kind of agreement or pact.

Now God has twice made an agreement with mankind. In one pact God promised man temporal prosperity and deliverance from temporal losses, and this pact is called the Old Testament. In another pact God promised man spiritual blessings and deliverance from spiritual losses, and this is called the New Testament, I will make a new; covenant, saith the Lord, with the house of Israel and with the house of ]uda: not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt: but this shall be the covenant: I will give my law in their bosoms and I will write it in their hearts and I will be their God and they shall be my people (]er. xxxi. 31-33).

Among the ancients it was customary to pour out the blood of some victim in confirmation of a pact. This Moses did when, taking the blood, he sprinkled it upon the people and he said, This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you (Exod. xxiv. 8). As the Old Testament or pact was thus confirmed in the figurative blood of oxen, so the New Testament or pact was confirmed in the blood of Christ, shed during His Passion.

(2) Testament has another more restricted meaning when it signifies the arrangement of an inheritance among the different heirs, i.e., a will. Testaments, in this sense, are only confirmed by the death of the testator. As St. Paul says, For a testament is of force, after men are dead: otherwise it is as yet of no strength, whilst the testator liveth (Heb. ix. 17). God, in the beginning, made an arrangement of the eternal inheritance we were to receive, but under the figure of temporal goods. This is the Old Testament. But afterwards He made the New Testament, explicitly promising the eternal inheritance, which indeed was confirmed by the blood of the death of Christ. And there fore, Our Lord, speaking of this, says, This chalice is the new testament in my blood (i Cor. xi. 25), as though to say, “By that which is contained in this chalice, the new testament, confirmed in the blood of Christ, is commemorated.” (In 1 Cor. xii.)

2. There are other things which make the blood of Christ precious. It is:

(i) A cleansing of our sins and uncleanness. Jesus Christ hath loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Apoc. i. 5).

(ii) Our redemption, Thou hast redeemed us in Thy blood (ibid. v. 9).

(iii) The peacemaker between us and God and Hhis angels, making peace through the blood of His cross, both as to the things that are on earth and the things that are in the heavens (Coloss. i. 20).

(iv) A draught of life to all who receive it. Drink ye all of this (Matt. xxvi. 27). That they might drink the purest blood of the grape (Deut. xxxii. 14).

(v) The opening of the gate of heaven. Having therefore brethren, a confidence in the entering into the holies by the blood of Christ (Heb. x. 19), that is to say, a continuous prayer for us to God. For His blood daily cries for us to the Father, as again we are told, You are come to the sprinkling of blood which speaketh better than that of Abel (ibid. xii. 22-24). The blood of Abel called for punishment. The blood of Christ calls for pardon.

(vi) Deliverance of the saints from hell. Thou also by the blood of thy testament hast sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit, wherein is no water (Zach. ix. 11).

San Lorenzo in Lucina

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Lenten Station Churches of Rome

Friday: San Lorenzo in Lucina

This ancient church stands in a small piazza just off the busy Via del Corso. The titulus of St. Lawrence in Lucina took its name, as with many other of the early tituli, from the name of the donor of the site or structure itself, who in this case was the Roman landlady Lucina. This area first became developed during the early Imperial period, with the famous Ara Pacis standing in a location just behind the apse of the church. On this spot itself stood a large apartment building, known as an insula, traditionally that of Lucina though the original place of worship may have been located in another location nearby. In the mid 430s, Pope Sixtus III built the first basilica here, like others of the time with a nave flanked by an aisle on each side and terminating in an apse. Being in the midst of an area often hit by floods of the Tiber, the church was in need of periodical restoration, with at least two recorded in the first millennium. During this era this church fulfilled an important liturgical role as the starting point of the procession for the Greater Litany, a penitential procession and liturgical service, on 25 April. This procession, beginning here, would head up the Via Flaminia, crossing the Tiber at the Milvian Bridge before returning down the other side of the river for the stational Mass at St. Peter’s.

The Norman attack of 1084 affected this area, with the original basilica receiving its share of damage as well. Although the extent of this is unknown, a refurbishing did follow, ending with the dedication by Pope Anacletus II on 25 May, 1130. A reconsecration in 1196 can be taken to signal the definitive end of this period of restoration. In this period the basilica, besides having its floor level raised, received a campanile in the style of the time, as well as interior furnishings in the cosmatesque style. A renovation completed in 1462 brought about some minor changes, although the seventeenth century would see the entire interior transformed. These actually began in the last years of the sixteenth century, when the floor was raised once again and a new high altar was constructed in the style of the time. In 1616, the left aisle was converted into chapels opening on to the nave, a process continued in the right aisle in the middle of the century. Finally, a new high altar was constructed and consecrated in 1676, largely giving the interior the appearance of today. Bl. Pope Pius IX oversaw a restoration of the interior in 1857 and 1858 that added two additional chapels and removed some of the Baroque decorations, so that it is a largely nineteenth century interior, with some works from the preceding centuries, that we encounter today. Additional work in the early twentieth century brought the façade back to an approximation of its medieval appearance.

Saint Nicholas of Flue

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Saint Nicholas of Flue


Saint Nicholas of Flue was born in Switzerland of pious parents. One day, when he saw an arrow launched on a neighboring mountain, he was filled with a desire for Heaven and with love for solitude. He married, to obey the formal will of his parents; he and his wife Dorothy became the parents of ten children. His merit and virtue caused him to be chosen by his fellow citizens to exercise very honorable public functions.

He was fifty years old when an interior voice said to him: Leave everything you love, and God will take care of you. He had to undergo a distressing combat, but decided finally to leave everything — wife, children, house, lands — to serve God. He left, barefooted, clothed in a long robe of coarse fabric, in his hand a rosary, without money or provisions, casting a final tender and prolonged gaze on his loved ones. His habitual prayer was this: My Lord and my God, remove from me all that can prevent me from going to You. My Lord and my God, give me all that can draw me to You.

One night God penetrated the hermit with a brilliant light, and from that time on he never again experienced hunger, thirst or cold. Having found a wild and solitary place, he dwelt there for a time in a hut of leaves, later in a cabin built with stones. The news of his presence, when it spread, brought him a great influx of visitors. Distinguished persons came to him for counsel in matters of great importance. It may seem incredible that the holy hermit lived for nineteen years only by the Holy Eucharist; the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, startled by this fact, had his cabin surveyed and verified this fact as being beyond question.

When Switzerland for a moment was divided and threatened with civil war in 1480, Saint Nicholas of Flue, venerated by all, was chosen as arbiter, to prevent the shedding of blood. He spoke so wisely that a union was reached, to the joy of all concerned, and the nation was saved. Bells were set ringing all over the country, and the concerted jubilation echoed across the lakes, mountains and valleys, from the most humble cottage to the largest cities.

At the age of 70, Saint Nicholas fell ill with a very painful sickness which tormented him for eight days and nights without overcoming his patience. He was beatified in 1669 by Pope Clement IX, canonized in 1947, by Pope Pius XII.

Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, by Abbé L. Jaud (Mame: Tours, 1950).