The Purity of Soul Necessary for Holy Communion 

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The Purity of Soul Necessary for Holy Communion

What is there to say about the great purity of soul with which the Saints approached to receive the Bread of Angels? We know that they had a great delicacy of conscience which was truly angelic. Aware of their own misery, they tried to present themselves to Jesus “holy and immaculate,” (Eph. 1:4) repeating with the Publican, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13), and having recourse with great care to the cleansing of Confession.

When St. Jerome was brought Holy Viaticum at the end of his life, the Saint prostrated himself on the ground in adoration and he was heard to repeat with profound humility the words of St. Elizabeth and those of St. Peter, “How is this, that my Lord should come to me?” “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). And how many times was the angelic and seraphic St. Gemma tempted to not receive Holy Communion, holding herself to be nothing else than a vile “dunghill?” Padre Pio of Pietrelcina used to repeat with trepidation to his brethren, “God sees blights even in the Angels. What must He see in me!” For this reason he was very diligent in making his sacramental Confessions.

“Oh, if we could only understand Who is that God Whom we receive in Holy Communion, then what purity of heart we would bring to Him!” exclaimed St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi. For this reason St. Hugh, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis de Sales, St. Ignatius, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Francis Borgia, St. Louis Bertrand, St. Joseph Cupertino, St. Leonard of Port Maurice and many other Saints went to Confession every day before celebrating Holy Mass.

St. Camillus de Lellis never celebrated Holy Mass without first going to Confession, because he wanted at least “to dust off” his soul. Once, at sundown in a public square in Livorno, before taking leave of a priest of the same religious order, foreseeing that he would not have a priest to confess to on the following morning before his Mass, paused, took off his hat, made the Sign of the Cross and went to Confession right there in the square to his confrere. Continue reading

The Purpose of Created Things

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The Purpose of Created Things

CHRIST:

MY CHILD, if you directed your desires according to My Will, you would learn many a holy lesson from the events of daily life. Nothing is so small and unimportant that it does not, in some way, reflect my wisdom and goodness. When you have become as good and unselfish as you should be, you will find it easy to understand the deeper meaning of the events in your daily life. An unselfish heart sees much more than what appears on the surface.

2. I created Heaven and earth for the service of man. I have even appointed angels to help man. In fact, I Myself am continually serving and helping man. If he lives as I desire, he shall one day share with Me the perfect happiness of Heaven.

3. What are you doing in return for My numberless favors? You should serve Me every single day of your life. Yet, you fail to give Me unselfish service even for one single day. I deserve all possible obedience, all possible honor and eternal praise. To Me you owe each breath and second of life. Without My continued support, nothing could please nor help you. All assistance and relief is the work of My hand.

THINK:
If I ever wrote down a list of God’s gifts to me, I would have to compose a book. Everything and everybody, whatever I may mention, is a gift of God for a definite purpose. All things, not just some things, are in my life for God’s good reasons. In one way or another, they are meant to help me earn the unending happiness and glory of Heaven. I must reject any person or thing that leads me away from this goal by sin. All things are to be used wisely, that is, to help me live a good and useful life. By an intelligent use and control of life’s daily needs and activities, I prove my sincere desire for God’s eternal love and friendship in Heaven.

PRAY:
My God, the good things that attract me on earth are only tiny reflections of Your perfect attraction and goodness. Let them never turn my thoughts aside from You, the Perfect Good. I hope to turn away from anybody or anything which draws me away from You. The good things of earth will pass away all too soon, but You will remain forever. I choose You now by a sincere daily battle against sin. Grant me the glorious favor of pleasing You on earth and loving You in Heaven. Amen.

ST. VENANTIUS

ST. VENANTIUS, Martyr.

ST. VENANTIUS was born at Camerino in Italy, and at the age of fifteen was seized as a Christian and carried before a judge. As it was found impossible to shake his constancy either by threats or promises, he was condemned to be scourged, but was miraculously saved by an angel. He was then burnt with torches and hung over a low fire that he might be suffocated by the smoke. The judge’s secretary, admiring the steadfastness of the Saint, and seeing an angel robed in white, who trampled out the fire and again set free the youthful martyr, proclaimed his faith in Christ, was baptized with his whole family, and shortly after won the martyr’s crown himself. Venantius was then carried before the governor, who, unable to make him renounce his faith, cast him into prison with an apostate, who vainly strove to tempt him. The governor then ordered his teeth and jaws to be broken, and had him thrown into a furnace, from which the angel once more delivered him. The Saint was again led before the judge, who at sight of him fell headlong from his seat and expired, crying, “The God of Venantius is the true God; let us destroy our idols.” This circumstance being told to the governor, he ordered Venantius to be thrown to the lions; but these brutes, forgetting their natural ferocity, crouched at the feet of the Saint. Then, by order of the tyrant, the young martyr was dragged through a heap of brambles and thorns, but again God manifested the glory of His servant; the soldiers suffering from thirst, the Saint knelt on a rock and signed it with a cross, when immediately a jet of clear, cool water spurted up from the spot. This miracle converted many of those who beheld it, whereupon the governor had Venantius and his converts beheaded together in the year 250. The bodies of these martyrs are kept in the church at Camerino which bears the Saint’s name.

Reflection.—Love of suffering marks the most perfect degree in the love of God. Our Lord Himself was consumed with the desire to suffer, because He burnt with the love of God. We must begin with patience and detachment. At last we shall learn to love the sufferings which conform us to the Passion of our Redeemer.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894], May 18.

Our Lady of Consolation

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Our Lady of Consolation

For centuries, going back into antiquity pious Catholics have had a devotion to Our Lady as consoler. Sometimes she was given the express title of Consolation. But the practice had never been formalized. Then, immigrants from northern Italy who were seeking better conditions for work and family life brought with them their devotion to Our Lady as the mother of consolation. The devotion to her under this title spread. In 1901 the rector of the Shrine in Turin established a religious institute to spread Marian piety through this title. He was the nephew of Saint Joseph Cafasso, the priest of the gallows and who was also from Turin. Saint Joseph Cafasso wrote a prayer in preparation for death that includes his intention of seeking consolation in Our Lady. The devotion is now worldwide, including Kenya and Ethiopia. In the United States and the United Kingdom there are many parishes/shrines dedicated to her under the title of Our Lady of Consolation. What ever prayer is used there is usually an invocation for the Church, for holiness in its members, for the light of faith, and peace therein.

This is a combination of two such prayers:

O Mary Immaculate, our Mother and Consolation, I take refuge in thy most loving heart with all the confidence of which I am capable; thou shalt be the dearest object of my love and veneration. To thee, who art the dispenser of the treasures of Heaven, I shall always have recourse in my sorrows to have peace, in my doubts to have light, in my dangers to be defended, in all my needs to obtain thy assistance. Be therefore my refuge, my strength, my consolation, O Mary the Consoler! At the hour of my death, graciously receive the last sighs of my heart and obtain for me a place in thy heavenly home, where all hearts shall praise with one accord the adorable Heart of Jesus for ever more as well as thy most lovable heart, O Mary. Our tender Mother, Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Grant also peace and holiness to the Church, through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

St. Paschal Baylon

St. Paschal Baylon, Confessor

St. Paschal Baylon, a lay-brother of the celebrated Franciscan Order, was born in Spain, in the kingdom of Valencia, on Pentecost Sunday, 1340. He had hardly reached boyhood, when he was already employed in watching the herd, as his parents were too poor to allow him to learn a trade. In this occupation, so looked down upon by the world, Paschal remained until he took the habit, but so innocent and pious was his life, that he never stained his soul with a mortal sin. He was such an enemy to cursing, lying, unchaste conversation, and licentious songs, that he would not endure these sins in others, but most earnestly endeavored to reform those addicted to them. He took the utmost care that the cattle entrusted to him should not damage the fields and meadows of others, and when he perceived that, withou his fault, such had been the case, he made good the damage out of his own wages, or by his labor. He never took the least thing out of the gardens or vineyards, as was so frequently done by others of his station. One day the chief herdsman requested Paschal to bring him some grapes from a neighboring garden that he might appease his thirst. The pious youth refused to do so on account of its being a sin, an offence done to God. When the chief herdsman pressed him with threats, he said fearlessly: “The grapes do not belong to us, and I will sooner let myself be torn to pieces than take the least of what belongs to another, as it is a sin,” so great was the Saint’s horror of sin. Continue reading