Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Most Holy Rosary - The Our Father

                        Introduction to the Series on the Rosary:
Recently I read a book called, Secret of the Rosary, by St. Louis de Montfort. Often we read that the saints were always very devoted to the rosary and urged us to pray it. We hear good priests telling us over and over, "Pray the rosary!" We are drawn to the rosary, but why is it so important? What is its significance? I asked this to myself and I am reading this book at the moment - it has truly changed my life. The rosary was given by Our Blessed Mother as a weapon for these times! Its power is infinite, since it is made up of the two most powerful prayers - The Our Father which was given to us by the Word incarnate, and the Hail Mary, instituted by an angel! Between these most perfect and powerful prayers, and meditating upon its mysteries, it infuses in our souls the graces contained in each mystery. For example, when we meditate upon the Visitation of Our Lady and try to apply the example contained within them, we receive charity, faith, and all the other graces contained within this specific mystery. But let me explain the specific elements of the rosary, using quotes from the most incredible book, Secret of the Rosary. I will do this in a series of parts in order to cover all the details. Stay tuned!

                                                              The Our Father

(All these quotes are taken from the book mentioned above) "THE OUR FATHER or the Lord's Prayer has great value----above all because of its Author Who is neither a man nor an Angel, but the King of Angels and men, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

"Saint Cyprian says that it was fitting that our Savior by Whom we were reborn into the life of grace should also be our heavenly Master and should teach us how to pray."

"The beautiful order, the tender forcefulness and the clarity of this Divine Prayer pay tribute to our Divine Master's wisdom. It is a short prayer but can teach us so very much and it is well within the grasp of uneducated people, while scholars find it a continual source of meditation on the mysteries of our Faith."

"The Our Father contains all the duties we owe to God, the acts of all the virtues and the petitions for all our spiritual and corporal needs. Tertullian says that the Our Father is a summary of the New Testament. Thomas à Kempis says that it surpasses all the desires of all the Saints; that it is a condensation of all the beautiful sayings of all the Psalms and Canticles; that in it we ask God for everything that we need; that by it we praise Him in the very best way; that by it we lift up our souls from earth to Heaven and unite them with God."

"Saint John Chrysostom says that we cannot be our Master's disciples unless we pray as He did and in the way that He showed us. Moreover God the Father listens more willingly to the Prayer that we have learned from His Son rather than those of our own making which have all our human limitations."

"Our Father----this means that He is the Father of mankind because He has created us and continues to sustain us, and because He has redeemed us. He is also the merciful Father of sinners, the Father Who is the friend of the just and the glorious Father of the blessed in Heaven."

"When we say Who art, by these words we pay tribute to the infinity and immensity and fullness of God's essence. God is rightly called "He Who is'' [1]; that is to say, He exists of necessity, essentially, and eternally, because He is the Being of beings and the cause of all beings. He possesses within Himself, in a supereminent degree, the perfections of all beings and He is in all of them by His essence, by His presence and by His power, but without being bounded by their limitations. We honor His sublimity and His glory and His majesty by the words Who art in Heaven, that is to say, "Who is seated as on a throne, holding sway over all men by Thy justice."

"When we say hallowed be Thy name we worship God's holiness; and we make obeisance to His Kingship and bow to the justice of His laws by the words Thy Kingdom come, praying that men will obey Him on earth as the Angels do in Heaven."

"We show our trust in His Providence by asking for our daily bread, and we appeal to His mercy when we ask for the forgiveness of our sins."

"We look to His great power when we beg Him not to lead us into temptation, and we show our faith in His goodness by our hope that He will deliver us from evil."

"The Son of God has always glorified His Father by His works and He came into the world to teach men to give glory to Him. He showed men how to praise Him by this prayer which He taught us with His Own lips. It is our duty, therefore, to say it often----we should say it reverently and attentively and in the spirit in which Our Lord taught it."

"In saying "Our Father Who art in Heaven," we make acts of faith, adoration and humility. When we ask that His name be hallowed and glorified we show a burning zeal for His glory, and when we ask for the spread of His Kingdom we make an act of hope; by the wish that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, we show a spirit of perfect obedience.

"In asking for our daily bread we practise poverty of spirit and detachment from worldly goods. When we beg Him to forgive us our sins we make an act of sorrow for them. By forgiving those who have trespassed against us we give proof of the virtue of mercy in its highest degree."

"Through asking God's help in all our temptations, we make acts of humility, prudence and fortitude. As we wait for Him to deliver us from evil we exercise the virtue of patience."

"Finally, while asking for all these things----not for ourselves alone but also for our neighbor and for all members of the Church----we are carrying out our duty as true children of God, we are imitating Him in His love which embraces all men and we are keeping the Commandment of love of neighbor."

"If we mean in our hearts what we say with our lips and if our intentions are not at variance with those expressed in the Lord's Prayer, then, by reciting this prayer, we hate all sin and we observe all of God's laws. For whenever we think that God is in Heaven----infinitely removed from us by the greatness of His majesty----as we place ourselves in His presence we should be filled with overwhelming reverence. Then the fear of the Lord will chase away all pride and we will bow down before God in our utter nothingness."

"When we say the name Father and remember that we owe our existence to God by the means of our parents and even our knowledge to our teachers who hold the place and are the living images of God, then we cannot help paying them honor and respect, or, to be more exact, honoring God in them. Nothing then, too, would be farther from our thoughts than to be disrespectful to them or hurt them."

"We are never farther from blaspheming than when we pray that the Holy Name of God may be glorified. If we really look upon the Kingdom of God as our heritage we cannot possibly be attached to the things of this world."

"If we sincerely ask God that our neighbor may have the very same blessings that we ourselves stand in need of, it goes without saying that we will give up all hatred, quarreling and jealousy. And of course if we ask God each day for our daily bread we shall learn to hate gluttony and lasciviousness which thrive in rich surroundings."

"While sincerely asking God to forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us we no longer give way to anger and thoughts of getting even----we return good for evil and really love our enemies."

"To ask God to save us from falling into sin when we are tempted is to give proof that we are fighting laziness and that we are genuinely seeking means to root out vicious habits and to work out our salvation."

"To pray God to deliver us from evil is to fear His justice and this will give us true happiness. For since the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, it is through the virtue of the fear of God that men avoid sin."

(read the whole book here: http://www.catholictradition.org/Classics/secret-rosary.htm)

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Four Last Things

 Knowledge and understanding of the four last things, death, judgment, hell, and heaven, are essential in a Catholic's life. The four last things are going to be the end of our spiritual journey, the closing point of our life! We must keep our eyes fixed on the importance of these four last things in order to grow in holiness and have a detachment of the world. To explain these four last things, I've chosen some of the best and most powerful sermon's I've ever heard on these topics! They will definitely change your life and encourage you to continue on your spiritual journey! God bless!

Death: http://www.audiosancto.org/sermon/20070312-Mission-On-Death.html

Judgment: http://www.audiosancto.org/sermon/20070313-Mission-On-Judgement.html

Hell: http://www.audiosancto.org/sermon/20070314-Mission-On-Hell.html

Heaven: http://www.audiosancto.org/sermon/20070315-Mission-On-Heaven.html

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Devotions to Our Lord - The Holy Face

To start our series on devotions to Our Lord, let us start with an exceptionally beautiful one, His Holy Face. His ineffable Face reflects the beauty and kindness of God. We can reflect on His gentle eyes, which lovingly gazed at us from the Cross. We can think of His tender smile when He thought of us comforting Him during His Passion. We can contemplate this beatific Face which was brutally wounded for us, and through healing His wounds with His love, so will He heal our wounds from sin. During the 1940's Jesus gave this devotion to Sr. Mary of St. Peter and in one of her revelations told her this, "REMEMBER, Oh, my soul, the holy instruction which your Divine Spouse imparted to you today concerning His adorable Face. Remember that this Divine Head represents the Eternal Father Who is unbegotten, that the mouth of this Holy Face represents the Divine Word, begotten of the Father, and that the two eyes of this adorable Face are the symbol of the reciprocal love of the Father and the Son, for these two eyes possess only one light, and one identical knowledge between them both, and they produce the one same love, which represents the Holy Ghost." "Contemplate in His locks of hair the infinite number of the adorable perfections of the Blessed Trinity. Behold in this majestic Head that precious portion of the Humanity of the Savior which is the very Image of the Oneness of God." 

 He told us that the sins that wound Him the most are the sin of blasphemy, and gave us a very powerful prayer against it:

"MAY the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified, in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen."
After Our Lord gave this prayer to Sr. Mary of St. Peter, He said that this prayer delightfully wounds His heart with the "Golden Arrow," and gave these promises to those who honour His most Holy Face: 

1. "By My Holy Face you shall  work miracles."

2. "By My Face you will obtain the conversion of many sinners."

3. "Nothing that you ask in making this offering will be refused to you."

4. "If you knew how pleasing the sight of My Face is to My Father."

5. "As in a kingdom you can procure all you wish for, with a coin marked with the King's effigy, so in the Kingdom of Heaven you will obtain all you desire with the precious coin of My Holy Face."

6. "Our Lord has promised me that He will imprint His divine likeness on the souls of those who honour His most holy Countenance."

7. "All those who honour My Holy Face in a spirit of reparation will, by so doing, perform the office of the pious Veronica."

8. "According to the care you take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemies, so will I take care of yours, which has been disfigured by sin. I will reprint therein My image and render it as beautiful as it was on leaving the Baptismal font."

9. "Our Lord promised me that all those who defend His cause in this work of reparation, by words, by prayers, or in writing, He will defend them before His Father; at their death He will purify their souls by effacing all the blots of sin and will restore to them their primitive beauty."

 How kind Our Lord is to give us the opportunity to make reparation to His Holy Face! Since there is no time with God, He can take our good works now and apply them to comforting Jesus, just as if we were in the Garden of Olives ourselves! Reparation is such an essential part of our spiritual life. It gives us the ability to make up for sin, repair the evil done to Our Lord during the Passion, and comfort His most Sacred Heart. Let us then place ourselves back in time, prostrate ourselves before Our Lord's most Holy Face, and make acts of love and reparation!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Series on the Sacraments Part 7 - Extreme Unction

We've now reached the final sacrament in our series, Extreme Unction. I recently heard a very informative sermon on this, so this article will partly be based on it. Firstly, St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of its definition in the book, Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas, "The fifth Sacrament is Extreme Unction. Its matter is olive oil blessed by the bishop. This Sacrament should only be received by those who are in danger of death through sickness. They are to be anointed in the places of the five senses: that is, on the eyes, because it is the organ of the sense of sight; on the ears, because of hearing; on the nostrils, because of smell; on the lips, because of taste or speech; and on the hands because of touch, and on the feet because of walking.[30] The form of this Sacrament is this: "Through this anointing and through His most divine mercy, may the Lord forgive thee whatever thou hast committed through sight" (and so on for the other senses). The minister of this Sacrament is the priest. The effect of this Sacrament is a medicine for both mind and body.[31]

In our modern age, there are two misconceptions with this sacrament. First, that it's only for the last second of your life and you can only resort to it when your absolutely sure you're dying. This is not true, it can be received in danger of death. For example, if someone has been diagnosed with a deadly illness, or a soldier is going into battle, they can receive Extreme Unction. In waiting for the last second of the person's life we risk them dying and missing this wonderful sacrament! This sacrament provides the necessary graces for true repentance, gives them the strength to go from this life to the next, and can even heal their sickness. God has given us this wonderful sacrament, why risk not receiving it, or God forbid, prevent someone who would like it. How kind God is to give us all we need for our journey to the next life. He provides what we need always, just as He told us in Matthew Chapter 6 verse 33, "Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you."

The second misconception is that we can receive this sacrament whenever we feel sick, or if we think we're getting old. This idea gave this sacrament it's modern name, "sacrament of the sick." Now although this sacrament is for the sick, that is, the people dying, it isn't just for people who have a cold or who think they're coming on with age. Yes, it's meant for the person in danger of death, but it can't be used whenever we feel like it. 

 Nonetheless, we can see the utter kindness and tenderness God has for us. He provides everything for us from birth to death! Let us thank Him for giving us all we need, and pray that we may receive all the graces which are held within these seven sacraments! God bless!

Stay tuned for my next series of articles: Devotions to Our Lord