Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - August 19

So great is the goodness of God in your regard, that when you ask through ignorance for that which is not beneficial, He does not grant your prayer in this matter, but gives you something better instead.

-St. Bernard
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for August 19, Mary Like

The Trinity Living in Mary - what a spectacle! I meditated on it yesterday and I will come back to it often. Do I realize that the same Holy Trinity dwells in me?

Father Bainvel, an inspiring theologian, who wrote well of the Blessed Virgin, says:

"In the mind of the Church the Heart of Mary is the ideal of the Christian Heart. I will explain...We also live in the divine, but we scarcely realize it in our minds and in our hearts, that is to say, we hardly ever discover its full reality. We were baptized and we knew nothing of it. Baptism imparted to our soul a divine life. God Himself came to dwell in us by His ineffable Presence; we were incorporated with Jesus; but how many there are for whom these wondrous truths do not seem to exist. How many inconsistencies do we not find even in those who believe and ponder these truths. What difficulty we have in living according to our belief, in putting our conduct in harmony with the supernatural!"

"Comparing Mary's manner of acting with ours, Our Lady always lived in the world moti­vated by the Invisible as if she had seen it; she did realize it in her heart. When she said that the Most High had done great things to her, she was keenly aware of these great realities. She was in incessant communication with these ineffable realities in the inti­macy of her soul; she steeped herself in them; she lived on them, or rather we should say, she lived them."

Father Bainvel composed the following prayer - I will make it my own and pray it from my heart:

"O Virgin, help me to know better these divine realities of the Chris­tian life; to recognize them more readily; to realize them in the in­timacy of my soul, as you understood the words and example of your Son, in order that like you, I may translate them into action."

[Ed. note: It would be worthwhile to read Fr. Bainvel's whole volume on the Heart of Mary.]
From Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

The Sacred Vessels - Part 1

Chapter 8

This is a continuation from Chapter 7, Church Linens, Part 2.

Bear in mind that this was composed in 1939, well before the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and some rubrics and requirements may have been modified...Other changes will be noted accordingly. Nevertheless, some may find the history fascinating.
VIII - The Sacred Vessels, Part 1

In the Acts of the Apostles, the sacrifice of the Mass is called "the breaking of bread," a name which strongly emphasizes its dual character of sacrifice and banquet. The sacred vessels used in the celebration of the Mass imply by their very names that the banquet feature is an integral part of the sacrifice. The word, chalice, comes from the Latin "calix," a cup; "patena," a flat dish, rendered into English becomes paten; and "cibus," meaning food, is the root of the word, ciborium.

THE CHALICE AND PATEN: The chalice is the cup used in the Mass to contain the precious blood of Christ, while the paten is the dish upon which is placed the Bread of Life--Christ's holy body. These two vessels are associated together both in the liturgy and in the rubrics. The paten is, so to speak, the 6ther half of the chalice. So necessary are they in their joint office that during the Middle Ages they were frequently referred to as a "pair of chalice."

Many mystical meanings are attached to these two sacred vessels, the most beautiful and appropriate being suggested by the formula of their consecration in which the Church prays that these two vessels, "by the grace of the Holy Ghost, may become a new sepulchre for the body and blood of the Lord."

THE HOLY GRAIL: Since the Mass is a liturgical re-presentation of the Last Supper, the chalice is a descendant of the cup which our Lord gave to His apostles with the words:
"Drink ye all of this. For this in My blood of the New Testament which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins" (Matthew XXVI, 27~28).

We have no reliable information in regard to the cup which was used at the Last Supper, but under the name of the "Holy Grail" it became the subject of many romantic legends which came into existence during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The most famous modern versions are Tennyson's "Holy Grail" in the "Idylls of the King" and Wagner's music-drama "Parsifal."

"The Quest of the Holy Grail" murals by Abbey in the Boston Public Library express in form and color the intellectual and spiritual qualities of these legends which have become a part of European folk literature. The Church has, however, ignored the Grail legends from an historical standpoint, considering them merely as poetic conceptions, because their sources are at variance with the truth.

EARLY CHRISTIAN CHALICES: The cup which Christ used at the Last Supper was very likely, the ordinary drinking goblet of the time. The little evidence available would seem to indicate that it was made of glass.

From descriptions of chalices used in the first centuries of the Church we know that they were made of wood, ivory, clay, and of such semi-precious stones as rock-crystal, agate, and jasper.

But, prompted by respect for the Blessed Sacrament, the tendency to use precious metals seems to have developed at an early period. Records show that during the third century gold and silver chalices ornamented with precious stones were used in some churches.

MINISTERIAL CHALICES: It was customary as late as the ninth century for the laity to receive Holy Communion under the species or appearances of both bread and wine. The chalices which were used for the Communion of the people were of considerable size and were usually fitted with two handles which afforded a greater protection against accidents. The chalice was carried by deacons and each person received the precious blood through a pipe or a reed of gold or silver. These chalices were called "ministerial chalices."

One of the rarest survivals of this early type of chalice is the "Chalice of Ardagh," so called from the place in Ireland where it was accidentally discovered in 1868.

It is considered to be one of the finest pieces of metal work ever executed in any period of the world's history. This chalice has two handles, is seven inches high and nine and a half inches in diameter. It is made of silver alloyed with copper, but gold and other metals have been used in its ornamentation. An inscription in ancient Celtic characters giving the names of the twelve apostles, would seem to fix the date of the chalice at about the ninth century. The cathedral in San Diego, California, has a ciborium which is a beautiful copy of the Ardagh chalice.

THE CHALICE AND THE PRIEST: The chalice is especially identified with the priesthood. The chalice which stands on a priest's casket during his obsequies is a reminder of the times when a metal or wax chalice was buried with him. In some instances the chalice itself was interred with the body.

No item of altar furnishings was put to a baser use during the period of the Reformation than the altar vessels. King Edward VI coolly decreed in 1551 that in as much as he had "neede presently of a Masse of Mooney" all the churches and shrines in England should be despoiled of the sacred vessels that they might be "emploied unto His Highness use."

Soviet Russia has made similar use of the golden altar vessels, but somehow Mass is still being celebrated by heroic priests who are willing, if need be, to sacrifice their lives that Mass might be offered in a Russia that has exiled God. Many of us are familiar with the story of the late Father Frederic Siedenburg, S. J., who was granted special permission by Pope Pius XI to celebrate Mass without vestments or chalice.
"While he was crossing the border he carried, concealed between the shirts in his valise, those pages of the missal which are used in the Mass of the Blessed Virgin and the Mass for the dead. No one paid any attention to the small bottle of wine, the thin wafers of bread, the small glass, and the folded sheets of linen that he carried in his suitcase. Each morning in his hotel Father Siedenburg placed on a table the linen, which enfolded the relic of a martyr, and the small glass, which he used as a chalice; and. . . offered the Mass which brought Christ down into Red Russia. Once again on the high seas, Father Siedenburg dropped the glass, which had been his little chalice, into the ocean. . . it would never be used for any lesser purpose." [1]

RUBRICAL REQUIREMENTS: The rubrics require that the chalice be made of gold or silver. In cases where the cost of such materials is prohibitive. the base and shaft of the chalice may be made of another metal, such as pewter or copper. The chalice, however, must have at least a cup of silver which has been plated with gold on the inside.

Before the chalice and paten can be used in celebrating Mass, they must be withdrawn from profane use by consecration. This rite is performed by a bishop with the oil of chrism.

These vessels lose their consecration when they have been profaned or broken, or when they have been exposed for sale. If the gold plating on the inner surface has worn off, the vessels do not lose their consecration, but there is a strict obligation to have them replated. The replating of sacred vessels should be entrusted only to those who have the bishop's approval.

The chalice and paten must always be handled reverently. They may be touched only by clerics and members of the laity in whose care they have been placed.

THE PATEN: The paten is a circular, slightly concave metal plate, five to seven inches in diameter. It is made of gold or silver, but if made of silver the upper surface must be plated with gold.

The element of bread is offered on the paten during the Offertory of the Mass. Later, after the recitation of the "Pater Noster," the celebrant blesses himself with it, kisses it reverently, and places upon it the consecrated Host.

Like the chalice, which receives the divine blood of our Lord, the paten is reserved for His sacred body. The formula used in the consecration of the paten refers to the vessel as blessed "for the administration of the Eucharist of Jesus Christ, that the body of our Lord may be broken upon it."

A Communion paten resembles a Mass paten, but it is usually provided with a handle by which it is held beneath the chin of the communicant.

MINISTERIAL PATENS: During the first centuries of the Church, flat open vessels were used to collect the offerings of bread made by the faithful for the sacrifice of the Mass. They were used again to distribute the consecrated fragments which were brought to the people by the subdeacons. Each person received a portion with his own hands. Silver dishes which were sometimes used for this purpose were called "ministerial patens."

In the earliest times, the patens, like the chalices, were made of glass, wood, copper, and silver. When the custom of giving Holy Communion to the laity from the deep "ministerial patens" declined, priests began to use a small paten at the altar to obviate the danger of scattering the particles after the breaking of the species.

How did the early Christians refer to the Mass? What are the sources and meaning of the names for the sacred vessels.

What purpose do the chalice and paten serve? How was their joint office suggested in the Middle Ages? What does the consecration prayer suggest?

How is the chalice related to the cup used by our Lord at the Last Supper? What is the "Holy Grail"? Why has the Church ignored these legends?

What was the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper? Of what materials were the early chalices made? What change took place about the third century?

How did the laity formerly receive Holy Communion? What kind of a chalice was used? What is the "Chalice of Ardagh."

Of what is the chalice that is placed on a priest's casket a reminder? What use did King Edward VI make of the sacred vessels? How did Father Siedenburg celebrate Mass in Russia?

Of what materials must the chalice and paten be made? By what rite are these vessels withdrawn from profane use? How do they lose their consecration? Who may touch them?

What is the paten and of what materials is it made? How and where is it used in the Mass? How does the consecration prayer refer to it? What is a Communion paten?

How were patens used in the early ages of the Church? How were the "ministerial patens" related to the "ministerial chalices"? How and when did the present small paten come into use?

[1] Lord, I Saw the Soviet, Page 3.
Adapted from Altar and Sanctuary, An Exposition of the Externals of the Mass
by Angela A. Glendenin (© 1939)
Published by the Catholic Action Committee
The Catholic Action Series of Discussion Club Textbooks

Gospel for Saturday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, religious (USA)
Old Calendar: St. Agapitus, martyr

From: Matthew 19:13-15

Jesus Blesses the Children

[13] Then the children were brought to Him (Jesus) that He might lay His hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; [14] but Jesus said, "Let the children come to Me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven." [15] And He laid His hands on them and went away.


13-14. Once again (see Matthew 18:1-6) Jesus shows His special love for children, by drawing them close and blessing them. The Church, also, shows special concern for children by urging the need for Baptism: "That this law extends not only to adults but also to infants and children, and that the Church has received this from Apostolic tradition, is confirmed by the unanimous teaching and authority of the Fathers.

"Besides, it is not to be supposed that Christ the Lord would have withheld the Sacrament of grace of Baptism from children, of whom He said: `Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven', whom also He embraced, upon whom He imposed hands, to whom He gave His blessing" ("St. Pius V Catechism", II, 2, 32).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - August 18

Read good and useful books, and abstain from reading those that only gratify curiosity.

-St Vincent de Paul
From Mary, Help of Christians
Part VI, Thoughts and Counsels of the Saints for Every Day of the Year
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for August 18, The Divine Indwelling

In order to portray vividly and realistically the doctrine ex­pressed by St. John (xiv, 23) that the Three Persons of the Trinity dwell in souls in grace and particularly in Mary, Mother of Divine Grace, sculptors of the thirteenth or fourteenth century, motivated by an inspiration more theological than artistic, produced some curious Madonnas.

Mary, explained the Holy Fathers, in accordance with the Scrip­tures, is the "Very noble receptacle of the Holy Trinity." The sculptors wished to show that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit truly dwelt in Mary. Consequently, they made statues either of wood or ivory, so sectioned that they could be opened in the form of a triptych. When closed they looked like any other statue of Mary, which sometimes pictured her seated with the Infant Jesus on her knees, or standing, with Him in her arms.

When open, they formed three sculptured or painted panels, joined together by hinges; the two side panels worked like the doors of a cupboard; when they were opened there could be seen inside of the statue, the Three Divine Persons according to the classic model of the period, which represented the Father as a ven­erable old man holding the ends of the intersecting beam of the Cross to which the Son was nailed; between the Face of the Father and the Head of the Son was the dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit. Although of doubtful artistic value they were certainly graphic representations.

I will retain the picture in order to fix the idea. This presence of God in Mary is a reality. And the presence of the Holy Trinity in me as long as I am in the state of grace, is also a reality. I need not imagine it on the model of a visible material presence. God is a pure spirit; His spiritual presence is just as real as the presence of a body. God is present in me, somewhat in the same manner as my soul, which is a spirit, is present in me.

"O Mother, give me the grace to penetrate profoundly into myself to find the great God who never leaves me. Teach me recollection, the habit of returning easily within myself; enlighten my supernatural in­telligence; intensify my faith."
From Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

EWTN to Broadcast "Extraordinary" Form of Holy Mass

From Domus Dei here via Fr Z's Site, WDTPRS

EWTN to Televise Live Tridentine Mass Celebrated by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter...
This is truly wonderful and so encouraging!

DENTON, Nebraska – AUGUST 17, 2007 – For the first time in its 26 year history, Mother Angelica’s Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) will be broadcasting a live Solemn High Mass at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama on September 14, 2007 at 8:00AM EST. EWTN has asked for the assistance of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, an international Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right, to help celebrate this “extraordinary” form.
Read more here

Hate Crimes - Consequences?

From the American Family Association:
This short video from England shows a little sample of what can happen if the Senate passes S.1105, the "hate crimes" bill

Watch this unbelievable video and then forward it to others, especially your pastor. It is the story of what happened to a Christian couple when they said that homosexuality is a sin.

AFA has more on this here.

Save the Knights!

I see I'm not alone...

[Here is] a story about the excellent resolutions at the recent Knights of Columbus conference in Nashville, Tenn.

However, we note that these resolutions are endangered by the actions of 16 Knight-politicians who voted against a popular ballot measure that would have allowed voters in Massachusetts to restrict marriage in the state’s constitution to the union of one man and one woman.

Take a minute to ask Supreme Knight Carl Anderson to defend the Knights. Click here to take action now.

Reaping the 'Fruits' of a China-Dependent Economy

Chinese goods are supposedly cheap. However, with the latest recall of 18 million toys, we are beginning to see the real costs of dealing with the Chinese Communist government, its callous disregard for human rights and its dismal manufacturing atmosphere.
Personally, I do all I can to avoid buying anything made in Communist China - it's repulsive to me as an American and as a Christian.

Expulsion is not an option... far as the Knights of Columbus are concerned.

One can only imagine if God had engaged in this thinking, where we might be today? Arm-in-arm with Lucifer, perhaps, skipping merrily into chaos?

With respect to so-called "Catholic" politicians who are members of the Knights, and who support the murder of unborn babies,
Patrick Korten, the Knights' Vice President for Communications, told California Catholic Daily "We expect that council membership committees, when considering applications from potential new members, would take a person's views on abortion and life issues into account... the statement of policy is not used to expel men who are already members."

Apparently it's OK for traitors and accomplices of murder to remain in their midst, while loyal knights may attempt to persuade them to see the light.

While the Knights are to be commended on their wonderful works of charity and evangelization efforts, this 'policy' defies all logic, at least to me. This refusal to deal with such men leads to division and disunity.

Recognition of there being only one Lord, who is head of the mystical
body, underlines the unity that should obtain among all the many
members of this single body. All its members are solidly built on
Christ when they confess "only one" faith--the faith that he taught and
which the Apostles and the Church have expressed in clear statements of
doctrine and dogma. "There can be only one faith; and so, if a person
refuses to listen to the Church, he should be considered, so the Lord
commands, as a heathen and a publican (cf. Mt 18:17)" (Pius XII,
"Mystici Corporis", 10).

From the Navarre Commentary for Ephesians 4:4-6
From Genesis and throughout history we have more than enough examples of allowing poisonous beings to remain within a community and, examples of rightly expelling others.

But what about notorious pro-same sex marriage and pro-abortion politicians who remain on the Knight's membership rolls?

"We don't give up on them, nor, as some Protestant groups once did, do we "shun" them. They are our brother Knights. Out of brotherly love, we wish to help them save their souls," Korten explained in an e-mail message to California Catholic Daily.
It seems Korten's understanding of history is deficient since the Catholic Church expelled heretics and apostates long before there were protestants. One doesn't help his brother by refusing to administer the harsh medicine needed to bring him back to life as he stands on death's doorstep.

Why, I wonder, do they have any criteria at all for membership?

Two Rural Parishes Plan Latin Masses This Fall

St. Joseph Parish in Apple Creek and sister parish St. Maurus in Biehle plan to celebrate a regular weekly Tridentine Latin Mass beginning this fall.

An 11:15 a.m. Sunday Latin Mass will be celebrated on a rotating basis alternating months at the two Perry County parishes. The first Latin Mass is set to take place Nov. 4 at St. Maurus.

Father Anthony A. Dattilo [pictured, left], pastor of both parishes, will celebrate the Mass. It is being added at the request of parishioners, he told the Review in an interview this week.
What wonderful news for the faithful of the southern part of the Archdiocese of St Louis.

As Fr Powell correctly reminds us, we should be using the same terminology as the Holy Father - in this case, the "Extraordinary" form of the Roman Rite. Perhaps someone should forward a note to the St Louis Review?

Financial Fraud Hotline for Archdiocese of St Louis

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke has announced that the archdiocese is establishing a telephone hotline to report incidents of financial misconduct within archdiocesan agencies and parishes.

The hotline will allow callers to "report confidentially any conduct that may be unethical, illegal or otherwise inconsistent with the policies of the Archdiocese of St. Louis," Archbishop Burke wrote in a letter this month to priests, offices and agencies of the archdiocese.
More at the St Louis Review here.

Gospel for Friday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 19:3-12

Marriage and Virginity

[3] And Pharisees came up to Him (Jesus) and tested Him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" [4] He answered, "Have you not read that He who made them from the beginning made them male and female, [5] and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one'? [6] So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder." [7] They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" [8] He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. [9] And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

[10] The disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry." [11] But He said to them, "Not all men can receive this precept, but only those to whom it is given. [12] For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."


4-5. "Marriage and married love are by nature ordered to the procreation and education of children. Indeed children are the supreme gift of marriage and greatly contribute to the good of the parents themselves. God Himself said: `It is not good that man should be alone' (Genesis 2:18), and `from the beginning (He) made them male and female' (Matthew 19:4); wishing to associate them in a special way with his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: `Be fruitful and multiply' (Genesis 1:28). Without intending to underestimate the other ends of marriage, it must be said that true married life and the whole structure of family life which results from it is directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich His family from day to day" (Vatican II, "Gaudium Et Spes", 50).

9. Our Lord's teaching on the unity and indissolubility of marriage is the main theme of this passage, apropos of which St. John Chrysostom comments that marriage is a lifelong union of man and woman (cf. "Hom. on St. Matthew", 62). On the meaning of "except for unchastity", see the note on Matthew 5:31-32).

11. "Not all men can receive this precept": our Lord is fully aware that the demands involved in His teaching on marriage and His recommendation of celibacy practised out of love of God run counter to human selfishness. That is why He says that acceptance of this teaching is a gift from God.

12. Our Lord speaks figuratively here, referring to those who, out of love for Him, renounce marriage and offer their lives completely to Him. Virginity embraced for the love of God is one of the Church's most precious charisms (cf. 1 Corinthians 7); the lives of those who practise virginity evoke the state of the blessed in Heaven, who are like the angels (cf. Matthew 22:30). This is why the Church's Magisterium teaches that the state of virginity for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven is higher than the married state (cf. Council of Trent, "De Sacram. Matr.", can. 10; cf. also Pius XII, "Sacra Virginitas"). On virginity and celibacy the Second Vatican Council teaches: "The Church's holiness is also fostered in a special way by the manifold counsels which the Lord proposes to His disciples in the Gospel for them to observe. Towering among these counsels is that precious gift of divine grace given to some by the Father (cf. Matthew 19:11; 1 Corinthians 7:7) to devote themselves to God alone more easily in virginity or celibacy [...]. This perfect continence for love of the Kingdom of Heaven has always been held in high esteem by the Church as a sign and stimulus of love, and as a singular source of spiritual fertility in the world" ("Lumen Gentium", 42; cf. "Perfectae Caritatis", 12). And, on celibacy specifically, see Vatican II's "Presbyterorum Ordinis", 16 and "Optatam Totius", 10.

However, both virginity and marriage are necessary for the growth of the Church, and both imply a specific calling from God: "Celibacy is precisely a gift of the Spirit. A similar though different gift is contained in the vocation to true and faithful married love, directed towards procreation according to the flesh, in the very lofty context of the sacrament of Matrimony. It is obvious that this gift is fundamental for the building up of the great community of the Church, the people of God. But if this community wishes to respond fully to its vocation in Jesus Christ, there will also have to be realized in it, in the correct proportion, that other gift, the gift of celibacy `for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven'" (John Paul II, "Letter To All Priests", 1979).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - August 17

Let us leave to God and to truth the care of our justification, without trying to excuse ourselves, and peace will truly spring up within us.

-Ven. John Tauler
From Mary, Help of Christians
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for August 17, The Spirit of Poverty

St. Paul gives this rule to all the faithful:
And they that use this world, (be) as if they used it not. (Cor. vii, 31.)
How much the more should I, as a religious, use all that the com­munity puts at my disposal, not as something belonging to me alone; something which I am free to modify, destroy, or neglect, but as a precious trust which I must be ready to return to the ac­tual and rightful owners, the day they will eventually ask it of me.

The thirty-first rule given by St. Bernard to his monks states,
"Consider all the equipment of the monastery as sacred vessels."
That is indeed true; every object given me to use is a trust whicb I must guard for our Lord, the sole Owner. It is my duty to insure its best protection and its most advantageous use.

And not only must I respect the things put at my disposal, but I must regard them as sacred vessels, because they are for me divine implements, necessary or useful for the accomplishment of the duties of my state [in life]. The most humble realities serve to lead me to God, if I use them well - a first aid kit, a pen, a kitchen utensil, a broom, - all these temporal objects cooperate toward a spiritual work. It is up to me to possess a faith sufficient to al­low them to effect their divine task.

"O my God, grant that all the objects I use, instead of drawing me away from You, bring me nearer to You; that through visible things I may reach You, my Great Invisible One. May earthly things help me to break loose from earth."
From Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

St. Alphonsus Liguori Rock Church Burns - 5 Alarms

(KTVI - -- St. Louis Firefighters are on the scene of a fire in a church in North St. Louis.

Video here

Thomas Aquinas College Produces a Harvest of Priests

This is the story we read from California Catholic Daily today!

Five alumni of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula were ordained to the priesthood this year, bringing the total number of alumni priests to 47. The college also boasts 20 graduates who are religious brothers and sisters, and an additional 35 in seminaries preparing for the priesthood.

These numbers are especially striking for a small, private college with only 2100 alumni and a maximum enrollment of 350 students.
What wonderful news this is! Our Father in Heaven truly blesses those who are faithful and obedient.

CCD has an interview with Fr. Sebastian Walshe, a TAC graduate now belonging to the Norbertine St. Michael's Abbey in Silverado, California. It can be read here.

Dutch Bishop's 'Allah' Comments Draw Reaction

Recently Bishop Martinus "Tiny" Muskens of Breda suggested that we should all begin referring to God as "Allah"....

And, as expected, his statements have generated quite a reaction. MSNBC reports:
A survey in the Netherlands' biggest-selling newspaper De Telegraaf on Wednesday found 92 percent of the more than 4,000 people polled disagreed with the bishop's view, which also drew ridicule.

Ridiculous suggestions deserve ridiculous responses, and more. This comment might even be prophetic considering the state of Christianity in many parts of Europe:
"Sure. Lets call God Allah. Lets then call a church a mosque and pray five times a day. Ramadan sounds like fun," Welmoet Koppenhol wrote in a letter to the newspaper.

Regretably, many may be calling their churches 'mosques' before long.


Move along now, there's nothing to see hear...

From the Sante Fe New Mexican:
Suspicions of cover-up persist over bishop’s injuries
Diocese sticks to story of staircase tumble, but some presume assault and want answers

Bishop Donald Pelotte was taken to the hospital last month with heavy bruising across his chest, arms, knuckles, legs and feet. Physicians called police, but the bishop told them he had fallen. Questions remain about why the 62-year-old Pelotte was found in his locked bedroom at the top of the stairs, why he had be persuaded to go to the hospital and whether the diocese is trying to cover up the incident.

One or more doctors called police because they saw injuries consistent with an assault...something which reputable doctors customarily do when they witness injuries of a certain nature. But it seems the police are refusing to investigate - relying instead on statements that strain, at the very least, credulity.

After this 'fall' down the stairs 'causing' injuries requiring admission to the ICU and extended treatment, the bishop was able to climb back up the stairs, go to his room and lock his door, refusing to answer his phone or door and had to be persuaded to receive medical care.

The local Gallup Independent newspaper has published two editorials calling for a police investigation. “From everything that has come out, we have no doubt that this is what happened: Pelotte was viciously assaulted and now he’s trying to cover up either because he wants to protect the person who did it or wants to keep secret the relationship he has with the perpetrator,” the newspaper wrote Aug. 11.

The bishop was transferred to Houston, because of severe head injuries, for treatment which could be long term.

Gospel for Thursday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of St. Stephen of Hungary

Old Calendar: St. Joachim, Father of the Blessed Virgin Mary, confessor; St. Roch

From: Matthew 18:21-19:1

Forgiveness of Injuries. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

[21] Then Peter came up and said to Him (Jesus), "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" [22] Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

[23] "Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. [24] When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; [25] and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. [26] So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' [27] And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. [28] But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, `Pay what you owe.' [29] So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' [30] He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay his debt. [31] When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. [32] Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; [33] and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' [34] And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. [35] So also My Heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

[1] Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, He went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.


21-35. Peter's question and particularly Jesus' reply prescribe the spirit of understanding and mercy which should govern Christians' behavior.

In Hebrew the figure of seventy times seven means the same as "always" (cf. Genesis 4:24): "Therefore, our Lord did not limit forgiveness to a fixed number, but declared that it must be continuous and forever" (Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. Matthew", 6). Here also we can see the contrast between the man's ungenerous, calculating approach to forgiveness, and God's infinite mercy. The parable also clearly shows that we are totally in God's debt. A talent was the equivalent of six thousand denarii, and a denarius a working man's daily wage. Ten thousand talents, an enormous sum, gives us an idea of the immense value attaching to the pardon we receive from God. Overall, the parable teaches that we must always forgive our brothers, and must do so wholeheartedly.

"Force yourself, if necessary, always to forgive those who offend you, from the very first moment. For the greatest injury or offense that you can suffer from them is nothing compared to what God has pardoned you" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 452).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thoughts and Counsels - August 16

We must be careful not to omit our prayers, confession, communion, and other exercises of piety, even when we find no consolation in them.

-St. Vincent Ferrer
From Mary, Help of Christians
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Meditation for August 16, The Graces of Contemplation

In general "contemplation is a gift of the perfect, whether they are already so, or they have been called to become so."

This is the opinion of Alvarez de Paz, understanding by contemplation "the grace of the higher states of prayer."

He adds further that
"all the perfect are not called to perfect contemplation. God has various ways of making the perfect and the saints. There are some whom He forms in an admirable man­ner by afflictions, sicknesses, temptations and persecutions; others He moulds to sanctity through the works of the active life, or the ministry of souls, exercised with very pure intentions; still others He conducts to a high degree of sanctity by means of common prayer and mortification in all things.

"It often happens that those favored with the gifts of contempla­tion find themselves inferior in perfect charity to others who have not received such graces. There are some perfect souls to whom God has refused this gift, because they do not have a temperament sufficiently calm for contemplation, and He wishes to arrange all things with His usual suavity [in a gracious manner]. He refuses it to others, that they may give themselves over entirely to the conversion of souls from which they would be withdrawn by extraordinary prayer and ecstasy; keeps it from others, to humiliate them lest they esteem themselves too much and become proud of these showier gifts; finally He withholds it from others to accomplish His secret designs which He does not allow us to know."

"O my God, I do not know what degree of contemplation You desire for me; that is Your concern and does not worry me. My only desire is to give You, as did Your Mother Mary, the full measure of love that You expect of me. With Father Alvarez I will content myself with saying this prayer to You:

"O Lord, You have created me that I may know You perfectly, that I may love You ardently, and that I may possess You eternally. Would that I could begin even in this life, as far as possible, that union of spirit and of heart which will be perfected forever in eternal life."
From Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

Thoughts and Counsels - August 15

O Mary, vessel of purest gold, ornamented with pearls and sapphires, filled with grace and virtue, thou art the dearest of all creatures to the eyes of eternal Wisdom.

-Bl. Henry Suso
From Mary, Help of Christians
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Gospel for Aug 15, Solemnity: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From: Luke 1:39-56

The Visitation

[39] In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, [40] and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. [41] And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit [42] and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! [43] And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? [44] For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. [45] And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

The Magnificat

[46] And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, [47] and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, [48] for He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; [49] for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. [50] And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. [51] He has shown strength with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, [52] He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; [53] He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away. [54] He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, [55] as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."

[56] And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.


39-56. We contemplate this episode of our Lady's visit to her cousin St. Elizabeth in the Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: "Joyfully keep Joseph and Mary company...and you will hear the traditions of the House of David.... We walk in haste towards the mountains, to a town of the tribe of Judah (Luke 1:39).

"We arrive. It is the house where John the Baptist is to be born. Elizabeth gratefully hails the Mother of her Redeemer: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honored with a visit from the mother of my Lord? (Luke 1:42-43).

"The unborn Baptist quivers...(Luke 1:41). Mary's humility pours forth in the "Magnificat".... And you and I, who are proud--who were proud--promise to be humble" ([St] J. Escriva, "Holy Rosary").

39. On learning from the angel that her cousin St. Elizabeth is soon to give birth and is in need of support, our Lady in her charity hastens to her aid. She has no regard for the difficulties this involves. Although we do not know where exactly Elizabeth was living (it is now thought to be Ain Karim), it certainly meant a journey into the hill country which at that time would have taken four days.

From Mary's visit to Elizabeth Christians should learn to be caring people. "If we have this filial contact with Mary, we won't be able to think just about ourselves and our problems. Selfish personal problems will find no place in our mind" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By," 145).

42. St. Bede comments that Elizabeth blesses Mary using the same words as the archangel "to show that she should be honored by angels and by men and why she should indeed be revered above all other women" ("In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

When we say the "Hail Mary" we repeat these divine greetings, "rejoicing with Mary at her dignity as Mother of God and praising the Lord, thanking Him for having given us Jesus Christ through Mary" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 333).

43. Elizabeth is moved by the Holy Spirit to call Mary "the mother of my Lord", thereby showing that Mary is the Mother of God.

44. Although he was conceived in sin--original sin--like other men, St. John the Baptist was born sinless because he was sanctified in his mother's womb by the presence of Jesus Christ (then in Mary's womb) and of the Blessed Virgin. On receiving this grace of God St. John rejoices by leaping with joy in his mother's womb--thereby fulfilling the archangel's prophecy (cf. Luke 1:15).

St. John Chrysostom comments on this scene of the Gospel: "See how new and how wonderful this mystery is. He has not yet left the womb but he speaks by leaping; he is not yet allowed to cry out but he makes himself heard by his actions [...]; he has not yet seen the light but he points out the Sun; he has not yet been born and he is keen to act as Precursor. The Lord is present, so he cannot contain himself or wait for nature to run its course: he wants to break out of the prison of his mother's womb and he makes sure he witnesses to the fact that the Savior is about to come" ("Sermo Apud Metaphr., Mense Julio").

45. Joining the chorus of all future generations, Elizabeth, moved by the Holy Spirit, declares the Lord's Mother to be blessed and praises her faith. No one ever had faith to compare with Mary's; she is the model of the attitude a creature should have towards its Creator--complete submission, total attachment. Through her faith, Mary is the instrument chosen by God to bring about the Redemption; as Mediatrix of all graces, she is associated with the redemptive work of her Son: "This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to His death; first when Mary, arising in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in the promise of salvation and the Precursor leaps with joy in the womb of his mother [...]. The Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood (cf. John 19:25), in keeping with the Divine Plan, enduring with her only-begotten Son the intensity of His suffering, associating herself with His sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which was born of her" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 57f).

The new Latin text gives a literal rendering of the original Greek when it says "quae credidit" (RSV "she who has believed") as opposed to the Vulgate "quae credidisti" ("you who have believed") which gave more of the sense than a literal rendering.

46-55. Mary's "Magnificat" canticle is a poem of singular beauty. It evokes certain passages of the Old Testament with which she would have been very familiar (especially 1 Samuel 2:1-10).

Three stanzas may be distinguished in the canticle: in the first (verses 46-50) Mary glorifies God for making her the Mother of the Savior, which is why future generations will call her blessed; she shows that the Incarnation is a mysterious __expression of God's power and holiness and mercy. In the second (verses 51-53) she teaches us that the Lord has always had a preference for the humble, resisting the proud and boastful. In the third (verses 54-55) she proclaims that God, in keeping with His promise, has always taken care of His chosen people--and now does them the greatest honor of all by becoming a Jew (cf. Romans 1:3).

"Our prayer can accompany and imitate this prayer of Mary. Like her, we feel the desire to sing, to acclaim the wonders of God, so that all mankind and all creation may share our joy" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 144).

46-47. "The first fruits of the Holy Spirit are peace and joy. And the Blessed Virgin had received within herself all the grace of the Holy Spirit" (St. Basil, "In Psalmos Homilae", on Psalm 32). Mary's soul overflows in the words of the "Magnificat". God's favors cause every humble soul to feel joy and gratitude. In the case of the Blessed Virgin, God has bestowed more on her than on any other creature. "Virgin Mother of God, He whom the heavens cannot contain, on becoming man, enclosed Himself within your womb" ("Roman Missal", Antiphon of the Common of the Mass for Feasts of Our Lady). The humble Virgin of Nazareth is going to be the Mother of God; the Creator's omnipotence has never before manifested itself in as complete a way as this.

48-49. Mary's __expression of humility causes St. Bede to exclaim: "It was fitting, then, that just as death entered the world through the pride of our first parents, the entry of Life should be manifested by the humility of Mary" ("In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").

"How great the value of humility!--"Quia respexit humilitatem.... It is not of her faith, nor of her charity, nor of her immaculate purity that our Mother speaks in the house of Zachary. Her joyful hymn sings: `Since He has looked on my humility, all generations will call me blessed'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 598).

God rewards our Lady's humility by mankind's recognition of her greatness: "All generations will call me blessed." This prophecy is fulfilled every time someone says the Hail Mary, and indeed she is praised on earth continually, without interruption. "From the earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, under whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer in all their perils and needs. Accordingly, following the Council of Ephesus, there was a remarkable growth in the cult of the people of God towards Mary, in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words: `all generations will call me blessed, for He who is mighty has done great things for me'" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 66).

50. "And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation": "At the very moment of the Incarnation, these words open up a new perspective of salvation history. After the Resurrection of Christ, this perspective is new on both the historical and the eschatological level. From that time onwards there is a succession of new generations of individuals in the immense human family, in ever-increasing dimensions; there is also a succession of new generations of the people of God, marked with the sign of the Cross and of the Resurrection and `sealed' with the sign of the paschal mystery of Christ, the absolute revelation of the mercy that Mary proclaimed on the threshold of her kinswoman's house: "His mercy is [...] from generation to generation' [...].

"Mary, then, is the one who has the "deepest knowledge of the mystery of God's mercy". She knows its price, she knows how great it is. In this sense, we call her the "Mother of Mercy": Our Lady of Mercy, or Mother of Divine Mercy; in each one of these titles there is a deep theological meaning, for they express the special preparation of her soul, of her whole personality, so that she was able to perceive, through the complex events, first of Israel, then of every individual and of the whole of humanity, that mercy of which `from generation to generation' people become sharers according to the eternal design of the Most Holy Trinity" (John Paul II, "Dives In Misericordia", 9).

51. "The proud": those who want to be regarded as superior to others, whom they look down on. This also refers to those who, in their arrogance, seek to organize society without reference to, or in opposition to, God's law. Even if they seem to do so successfully, the words of our Lady's canticle will ultimately come true, for God will scatter them as He did those who tried to build the Tower of Babel, thinking that they could reach as high as Heaven (cf. Genesis 11:4).

"When pride takes hold of a soul, it is no surprise to find it bringing along with it a whole string of other vices--greed, self-indulgence, envy, injustice. The proud man is always vainly striving to dethrone God, who is merciful to all His creatures, so as to make room for himself and his ever cruel ways.

"We should beg God not to let us fall into this temptation. Pride is the worst sin of all, and the most ridiculous.... Pride is unpleasant, even from a human point of view. The person who rates himself better than everyone and everything is constantly studying himself and looking down on other people, who in turn react by ridiculing his foolish vanity" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 100).

53. This form of divine providence has been experienced countless times over the course of history. For example, God nourished the people of Israel with manna during their forty years in the wilderness (Exodus 16:4-35); similarly His angel brought food to Elijah (1 Kings 19:5-8), and to Daniel in the lions' den (Daniel 14:31-40); and the widow of Sarepta was given a supply of oil which miraculously never ran out (1 Kings 17:8ff). So, too, the Blessed Virgin's yearning for holiness was fulfilled by the incarnation of the Word.

God nourished the chosen people with His Law and the preaching of His prophets, but the rest of mankind was left hungry for His word, a hunger now satisfied by the Incarnation. This gift of God will be accepted by the humble; the self-sufficient, having no desire for the good things of God, will not partake of them (cf. St. Basil, "In Psalmos Homilae", on Psalm 33).

54. God led the people of Israel as He would a child whom He loved tenderly: "the Lord your God bore you, as a man bears his son, in all the way that you went" (Deuteronomy 1:31). He did so many times, using Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, etc., and now He gives them a definitive leader by sending the Messiah--moved by His great mercy which takes pity on the wretchedness of Israel and of all mankind.

55. God promised the patriarchs of old that He would have mercy on mankind. This promise He made to Adam (Genesis 3:15), Abraham (Genesis 22:18), David (2 Samuel 7:12), etc. From all eternity God had planned and decreed that the Word should become incarnate for the salvation of all mankind. As Christ Himself put it, "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Previous Posts on the Assumption

Mental Prayer for August 15-Mary's Assumption

August 15 - The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Assumption-The Light of Our Life

Aug 15-Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Another for the "Smoke of Satan" Files...

Pray to Allah, Dutch bishop suggests

Amsterdam, Aug. 14, 2007 ( - A Dutch Catholic bishop has suggested that Christians should refer to God as "Allah" to promote better relations with Muslims.

Bishop Martinus "Tiny" Muskens of Breda told the "Network" television show that "God doesn't really care how we address Him."
We need far, far fewer followers of Judas in the Church today. Unfortunately, some must suffer at the hands of bishops who appear to have lost the faith. We should pray that those under this man's care might preserve their faith, or rediscover it if it has been lost, despite the attempts to destroy it, both from within and from outside the Church.

Another Scam?

As PK pointed out in a previous comment, many seem to have been the recipients of an email from Jack Manhire - but, unfortunately, it's not an email promising a refund to purchasers of the Essential Catholic Classics (or the long promised books). It's yet a another promotional ad (money making scheme?) from AWeber Communications using the names and email addresses of those who subscribed to the Classics and possibly to the now defunct

Here is the email:

Hi [sucker],

I came across a curriculum guide that let's you teach your kids at
home for K-11. And of course, it doesn't cost you anything to get

Now it IS associated with public schooling, which in general is bad
for many people. But I see it as a way to take the "best of both
worlds" if you will. You can use the structured curriculum
(especially high-level math and science) that we need when
homeschooling, but we can modify the "bad stuff" by teaching our
kids ourselves and making sure they understand how all of these
subjects fit into God's plan for us.

If you are interested, here's a link I created:

You can get the curriculum guide and it doesn't cost you anything,
so go ahead and see what they are offering if you're looking for a
more structured curriculum so you can teach your kids at home
without giving them over to the public schools.

Here's the link one more time:

Take care and God bless,

Jack, 542 N Ashbury Ave, Bolingbrook, IL 60440, USA

To unsubscribe or change subscriber options visit:

Note that the links do not direct one to '' but to "". And if one chooses to try to access '' one is redirected to this, considering recent history is reminiscent of the classic "shell game"...

I would recommend that one not play along with a man who has proven himself to be unreliable or of questionable character in so far as his dealings with those who purchased the Essential Catholic Classics.

Pity, really. As I understand it, there are a few hundred who are out the $30+ dollars which may never be seen again. A very poor example has been set for his family and friends, but most especially, his children. May he and his partner, Joe Hanley, come to their senses and do what is right and just for their victims and in the eyes of God.

I would suggest unsubscribing from Jack's list with aweber...One could always report him by sending an email to and let them know about these 'special projects' of his.

Jen has other updates/info here.

New Meditation Series Starting

While the previous series of meditations was aimed primarily toward priests, it nevertheless provided sufficient reflections for the lay person whose understands that all baptized Catholics who are not members of the ministerial priesthood, are still called to the "priesthood of faithful" and, as such, they should benefit from the reflections offered to our priests.

This new series of reflections, Meditations for Religious, likewise presents an opportunity to grow in one's faith and understanding, not only for priests and religious, but also for the those lay people who are also members of a "religious community" - one's local parish and diocese.

With God's grace and blessing, a person can, indeed, grow in virtue and faith by setting aside a short period of time for prayer, meditation and reflection. It is for this reason that I will be offering this new series of reflections. This will me an aid for me as well as for my brothers and sisters in Christ as we continue our pilgrimage to our heavenly home to be with our Lord. And Providentially it seems, the first meditation will be for the Feast of Our Blessed Mother's Assumption into heaven.

Until that meditation is posted this evening, please feel free to read the Introduction of the book "Meditations for Religious" by Father Raoul Plus, S.J.


"Be not conformed to this world, but be reformed in the newness of your mind that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God." Romans 12:2.

That is the life task of every religious. The principal tool in its accomplishment is the daily hour of meditation wherein the soul is made ready for the reception of Divine Grace and disposed for complete cooperation with it. The method of meditation is mastered in the novitiate. As the years pass, the novelty of the regular life wears off. The points of meditation repeated annually fail to stimulate. External activity and accumulating years fatigue the body and make prayer more difficult. Dormant faults and weaknesses of character slyly reassert themselves as the soul tends to drop off into spiritual lethargy. Zeal is replaced by discourage­ment, generosity by self-indulgence based on a thousand natural excuses. The apostolate is ineffective because spirit and convic­tion are lacking. The Divine Spouse is allowed to climb the steep ascent of Calvary alone and to bear the full weight of His heavy cross. These dangers threaten every religious.

Yet convents the world over* are filled with generous, self-­sacrificing religious who for twenty-five, fifty, and even sixty years have not only kept the zeal and enthusiasm of the novitiate, but have increased their fervor from day to day. Timely spiritual food has expanded their souls in spite of external influences. They keep their eyes fixed on their Divine Spouse. They walk close to Him and lend Him the support of their love and labor.

Meditations for Religious by the Rev. Raoul Plus, S.J., is a veritable storehouse of solid nourishment for the religious soul; it presupposes, however, a deep knowledge of the Gospel. The medi­tations are founded on the Mass of the day and the liturgical seasons. Applications are suggested which are refreshingly origi­nal and often startling; there is no attempt to soothe into self-­satisfaction, to condone half-hearted service because of physical or temperamental weaknesses. The thoughts are cast before the reader like a challenge - brief almost to the point of incoherence, but arousing the soul and firing it to heroic generosity.

The book is not for beginners. It does not present completed meditations. A young soul, however, will find stimulation and motivation in the ideas suggested. The religious whose spirituality is already on a higher plane will find plenty of material to incite, promote, and stabilize that divine union which becomes the object of the soul's strivings as it advances in the way of perfection.

Where the author has appended a prayer to the consideration, that prayer is primarily suggestive. Father Plus considers as an intrusion any attempt to formulate the intimate conversation of the soul with God. That is too individual, too personal, too sacred.

The meditations are arranged in the order of the months begin­ning with December first. [We shall begin August 15] This permits the considerations for fixed feasts to occur on their proper date but necessitates setting a definite date for the cycle of movable feasts. The first Sunday of Lent has been placed on the first of March, and the Easter season is brought to a close with the feast of Pentecost on May thirty-first. There is a special group of meditations for the Sundays after Pentecost. Chronological and subject indexes facilitate the adap­tation of the meditations to the liturgical seasons.

The author has aimed at a maximal development of the spirit of the liturgy. Thus, in Advent the coming of the Redeemer is the central thought while the time of Lent is spent in the contem­plation of the Passion.

Father Plus needs no introduction to English-speaking religious. He needs no recommendation. It is sufficient merely to present this work of his written specifically for religious.
From Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J.
Copyright 1939

Colorado Catholic Healthcare Directive

From the Colorado Catholic Conference:

Letter from the Bishops (PDF)

The Catholic Context (PDF)

What is a Healthcare Directive? (PDF)

Catholic Heathcare Directive Forms (PDF)

Thoughts and Counsels - August 14

Curb the desire of display, and do nothing from human respect.

-St Vincent de Paul
From Mary, Help of Christians
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Gospel for Aug 14, Memorial: St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest & Martyr

Old Calendar: Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; St. Eusebius, confessor

From: Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

The "Little Ones" and the Kingdom. The Lost Sheep

[1] At that time, the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?" [2] And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them, [3] and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. [4] Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

[5] "Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me.

[10] "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in Heaven their angels always behold the face of My Father who is in Heaven.

[12] "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go in search of the one that went astray? [13] And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. [14] So it is not the will of My Father who is in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish."

1-35. The teachings of Jesus recorded in chapter 18 of St. Matthew are often called the "discourse on the Church" or "ecclesiastical discourse" because they are a series of instructions on the way in which His Church is to be administered.

The first passage (Matthew 18:1-5), addressed to leaders, that is, the future hierarchy of the Church, warns them against natural tendencies to pride and ambition: even though they have positions of government, they must act with humility. In verses 6-10 Jesus emphasizes the fatherly care which pastors of the Church should have for the "little ones"--a term which covers everyone in need of special care for whatever reason (because they are recent converts, or are not well grounded in Church teaching, or are not yet adults, etc.)... God takes special care of the weak and will punish those who harm them.

Our Lord shows similar concern for those who are experiencing spiritual difficulties. Every effort, even an heroic effort, must be made to seek out the "lost sheep" (verses 12-14). If the Church in general and each Christian in particular should be concerned to spread the Gospel, all the more reason for them to try and see that those who already embraced the faith do not go astray...

Thus, the whole of Chapter 18, the "discourse of the Church", is a survey of the future history of the Church during its earthly stage, and a series of practical rules for conduct for Christians--a kind of complement to the Sermon on the Mount, (Chapters 5-7), which is a "magna carta" for the new Kingdom established by Christ.

1-6. Clearly the disciples still suffer from human ambition: they want to occupy key positions when Jesus comes to establish the Kingdom on earth (cf. Acts 1:6). To correct their pride, our Lord shows them a child and tells them that if they want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, they must decide to be like children: children are incapable of hating anyone and are totally innocent of vice, particularly of pride, the worst vice of all. They are simple and full of trust.

Humility is one of the main pillars of the Christian life. "If you ask me", St. Augustine says, "what is the essential thing in the religion and discipline of Jesus Christ, I shall reply: first humility, second humility and third humility" ("Letter 118").

3-4. Applying these words to our Lord's virtues, Fray Luis de Granada makes the point that humility is superior to virginity: "If you cannot imitate the virginity of the humble, then imitate the humility of the virgin. Virginity is praiseworthy, but humility is more necessary. The former is recommended to us, the latter is an obligation for us; to the former we are invited, to the latter we are obliged [...]. And so we see that the former is celebrated as voluntary sacrifice, the latter required as an obligatory sacrifice. Lastly, you can be saved without virginity, but not without humility" ("Summa De La Vida Cristiana", Book 3, Part 2, Chapter 10).

5. Receiving a child in Jesus' name is the same as receiving Jesus Himself. Because children reflect the innocence, purity, simplicity and tenderness of our Lord, "In children and in the sick a soul in love sees Him" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 419).

10. Jesus warns that giving scandal to little children is a very serious matter, for they have angels who guard them, who will plead a case before God against those who led them to commit sin.

In this context He speaks of children having guardian angels. However, everyone, adult or child, has a guardian angel. "By God's providence angels have been entrusted with the office of guarding the human race and of accompanying every human being so as to preserve him from any serious dangers [...]. Our Heavenly Father has placed over each of us an angel under whose protection and vigilance we are" ("St. Pius V Catechism", IV, 9, 4).

This means that we should have a trusting relationship with our guardian angel. "Have confidence in your guardian Angel. Treat him as a lifelong friend--that is what he is--and he will render you a thousand services in the ordinary affairs of each day" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 562).

12-14. This parable clearly shows our Lord's loving concern for sinners. It expresses in human terms the joy God feels when a wayward child comes back to Him.

Seeing so many souls living away from God, Pope John Paul II comments: "Unfortunately we witness the moral pollution which is devastating humanity, disregarding especially those very little ones about whom Jesus speaks."

"What must we do? We must imitate the Good Shepherd and give ourselves without rest for the salvation of souls. Without forgetting material charity and social justice, we must be convinced that the most sublime charity is spiritual charity, that is, the commitment for the salvation of souls. And souls are saved with prayer and sacrifice. This is the mission of the Church!" ("Homily to the Poor Clares of Albano," 14 August 1979).

As the RSV points out, "other ancient authorities add verse 11, "For the Son of Man came to save the lost"--apparently taken from Luke 19:10.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Priest at Prayer for August 14, Confession for the Priest

The Fourth Part - Some Means of Perseverence

Confession for the Priest

Second Meditation - Evils Arising from the Priest's Neglect of Confession

I. If there is ever a priest who goes for weeks and months and possibly years without confessing his sins, without purifying his soul from stain in the Blood of the Lamb shed unto the remission of sin, how can this priest hope to escape the indictment of being a man devoid of piety or moral rectitude, of being downright wicked, dishonest, and dissolute?

Having fled from the Sacrament of Penance, how many weeks, how many months would he go through without profaning with detestable sacrilege not only as many Sacraments as he administers but the very Body and Blood of the Eternal Word in the Sacrifice of the Mass? How long could he hope by his own unaided efforts to remain free of grave sin?

When a priest reaches the stage of venturing with supreme audacity to eat and drink unworthily of Christ's Body and Blood by celebrating Mass sacrilegiously, when a priest tramples on the very Person of Christ, what else is there for him to respect? Christ's com­mands? Are they of greater value than Christ in Person?

One may gather a priori that such a priest will con­temn and walk over with equal audacity as many commandments (and they will be more than one) as come in the way of his unleashed passions; abandoned by God, he will treat God's laws with at least as little respect as he treated the Divine Person, the God of God.

What qualms of conscience will refrain him from brushing aside the laws of justice when it comes to administering or exacting goods that do not belong to him? How lightly he will tear to tatters those bonds wherewith the fear of God and his own solemn priestly promise sought to curb the wild lustings of the flesh!

Once the hope of eternal reward begins to evaporate, or nearly so, due to his habitual state of mortal sin, what depths of crime will he not plunge into?

II. And each time farther and farther away from confes­sion, he will perhaps begin to hate this last remedy like a bad dream; he will turn away indefinitely from all examination of his own interior; he will become estranged to himself, and by dint of refusing to listen to the appeals of his conscience, by sheer deliberate dis­traction in order to silence its importunate warnings, his conscience - the echo of God's Voice - will gradually lose pitch, will muffle and extinguish its jarring in­flexions, and making common cause with the inadvertence and the crass ignorance of an intelligence which allowed years to elapse without revising its distasteful obligations, his conscience will finally drop off to sleep, losing all sensitiveness and delicate awareness in order to sink lower and lower into the most abominable excesses without noticing them and with such a hard­ness of heart that the most terrible admonitions of Divine Justice will be powerless to soften; and then will be fulfilled in that priest the fearful words of Isaias, transcribed by the four Evangelists:

"Go then. . . and give a message to this people of mine: Listen as you will, but ever without understanding: watch all, and nothing perceive!

"Thy office is to dull the hearts of this people of mine, deaden their ears, dazzle their eyes, so that they cannot see with those eyes, hear with those ears, understand with that heart, and turn back to me, and win healing." (Is. vi, 9-10.)

This is the foreshadowing of the just judgements of God against those who have spent their life's energies fighting and resisting the Holy Spirit.

Would to God such fearful lines were written only in the pages of Sacred Scripture! Would to God they were not engraved indelibly in more than one priestly heart lost beyond recovery and sealed with the death of the sinner! This, in the last resort, is the fate of the priest who fled from Sacramental Confession; this is the history of the impenitence of weeks and months and years issuing with relentless logic into an impenitence final and everlasting.

III. A priest of the type described above, being insen­sitive to his own sad condition, will show a much greater indifference towards the spiritual evils of his neighbour, even of those souls whom he is bound by duty of justice to lead to salvation. He will obstinately refuse to sit down and hear confessions - he does not go to confes­sion himself; and well may the Church appeal to him and command him in every pitch and key to draw souls to the Sacraments, he just turns a deaf ear: all her admonitions and precepts are dismissed as a piece of play-acting, as narrow-minded fads and pietistic extrav­agances.

That, O God, that is the reason for those Catholic churches and chapels where the confessional is a mere ornament gathering dust and cob-webs and mouldering away, where the Tabernacle is well-nigh superfluous and the altar-rails remain unused by the parishioners, who take it as the natural thing to go from one year's end to the other without receiving the Bread of Life, except during the period of Easter duties.

And when that day arrives the indolent pastor will condescend, with no little reluctance and hurriedness, to sit down and hear his peoples' confessions with all the rush and fury of a hurricane, and without having gone to the trouble of preparing or instructing them in advance; and once the hurricane of confessions and the tornado of communions have blown over, again the Tabernacle doors are closed and the confessional is relegated to oblivion until the following year, to the great relief and rejoicing of both shepherd and flock. . . .

And God forbid that the only person in the parish who has not fulfilled the Paschal precept be the priest, the confessor himself!

O Jesus, let there not be a single case of this; let this dark picture exist only in the writer's imagination, the outlet of his irrational pessimism and of his ill-founded fears; no, never, never an appalling reality!

1. My first resolution is to confess my sins every week, as so many other people do who are not priests, and to confess as often as I need to in order to celebrate Mass worthily and administer the Sacraments in the state of grace. And this resolution is based on the fol­lowing convictions: a proper and frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is sufficient to preserve a priest within the terms of honourableness and virtue befitting his priestly state, or to recall him if he has fallen away; not a few of the abuses and weaknesses and scandals among the clergy are directly the outcome of their neglecting this efficacious Sacrament; in spite of my inherent frailties, I know that frequent and fervent confession will keep me in the state of grace; my own experience has borne out the experience of others, namely, that nearly every virtue of Christian souls is rooted in them through this Sacrament. Therefore, to keep my resolution of frequent confession I shall crash my way through all difficulties.

2. Out of gratitude for the ineffable benefits God has bestowed and will continue to bestow upon me, in His loving Mercy, through this Divine Sacrament of Penance, I am resolved to hold this ministerial duty of mine in the highest esteem, as being my noblest occu­pation and the task most profitable to my neighbour; and in spite of fatigue and annoyances that accompany the hearing of confessions I shall devote myself to it with all my heart and as often as I am permitted to do so; in order that God's other children may not be deprived of what I, unworthy sinner, can obtain for myself with such great ease and comfort to my soul.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood!

Thoughts and Counsels - August 13

To give up prayer because we are often dis­tracted at it is to allow the devil to gain his cause.

-St. Alphonsus
From Mary, Help of Christians
Compiled by Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, OFM (© 1909, Benziger Brothers)

Gospel for Monday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of Saints Pontian, pope and martyr and
Hippolytus, priest and martyr

Old Calendar: Saints Hippolytus and Cassian, martyrs

From: Matthew 17:22-27

Second Prophecy of the Passion; the Temple Tax

[22] As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, [23] and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day." And they were greatly distressed.

[24] When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to Peter and said, "Does not your Teacher pay the tax?" 25] He said, "Yes." And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from others?" [26] And when he said, "From others," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. [27] However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give to them for Me and for yourself."


24-27. "Half-shekel", or "didrachma": a coin equal in value to the annual contribution every Jew had to make for the upkeep of the temple--a day's wage of a laborer. The shekel or stater which our Lord refers to in verse 27 was a Greek coin worth two didrachmas.

Jesus uses things great and small to get His teaching across to His disciples. Peter, who is to be the rock on which He will found His Church (Matthew 16:18-19), He prepares by letting him see His dramatic Transfiguration (17:1-8); now He gives Peter another inkling of His divinity through an apparently unimportant miracle. We should take note of Jesus' teaching method: after His second announcement of His passion, His disciples are downhearted (Matthew 17:22-23); here He lifts Peter's spirits with this friendly little miracle.

26. This shows how conscientiously our Lord fulfilled His civic duties. Although the half-shekel tax had to do with religion, given the theocratic structure of Israel at the time, payment of this tax also constituted a civic obligation.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Priest at Prayer for August 13, Confession for the Priest

The Fourth Part - Some Means of Perseverence

Confession for the Priest

First Meditation - The Need of Frequent Confession

I. All praise to Thee, dear Lord, Author of the Sacra­ments, for having bestowed on me, Thy most unworthy servant, so many graces and favours through the Sacra­ment of Penance!

Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis. How sweet and tender Thy words of pardon ring in my ears: pardon for my hideous sins, a pardon so often and so abundantly flowing from Thy divine lips!

Thanks to this pardon I can face my own conscience without nightmarish fears, without a sense of unbearable loathing for the blackness and filth of the vile offences I have committed against Thee, and without having my heart torn to shreds by the thorns of remorse.

Thanks to this Sacrament, I have learned to know myself a little, having been constrained to probe so frequently into the tortuous, obscure, labyrinthine ways of my own mind; and thus I have succeeded in determining the substance, shape, and form of my duties in life. Sacramental con­fession has become for me the chief spur goading me along the path of virtue without deviating to the right or left; it has been, humanly speaking, a divine and human bridle, wrought of divine faith and lawful human respect, drawing me back with shame from life's miry swamps, reminding me that I should have to confess the evil which I was about to perpetrate.

Thou well knowest, O God, and I know too, that when in the vertigo of passions carrying me to the edge of the precipice, without this leash I would have thrown myself headlong into the abyss, never perhaps to rise again; this Thou knowest, and I know it, too.

And is it possible, dear Lord, for Christians, let alone Thy priests, to consider this Sacrament of Divine Pity something tyrannical and unworthy of our human
dignity? Could the Goodness of God invent anything more concise, less arduous, more ennobling to the heart of man, and within easier reach of all, whereby man must lift himself up, spontaneously regenerate himself, so to speak, without the application of exterior forces?

Heaven and earth bless the Lord, for He is the Father of all mercies!

II. These two concluding meditations are the most important in the whole book. For if they really convince me and make me determined to show practical devotion to the Sacrament of Penance they will profit me as much as all the other meditations combined.

I have to confess my sins very often. Why say, I have to? I certainly have the right, the supreme privilege, of confessing frequently, every week or more often still; approaching the arms and feet of my heavenly Father, like a poor prodigal. And my Father wishes me to do this, He requires it of me:

Canon 906: Each and everyone of the faithful of either sex has the obligation, from the time he attains the use of reason, to confess all his sins truthfully at least once a year, that is to say, all his mortal sins which have not yet been properly con­fessed and directly remitted by absolution.

What shame and sorrow for the Church, and what ignominy for the priest, if the latter should even fail to confess his sins once a year! Is it possible to visualise such a terrible case?

Canon 125: The Ordinary must take care that the clergy go frequently to Confession.

What does" frequently" mean? Would you call three-monthly or even monthly confession frequent? Any Christian in the world would say no. Confession is frequent when made once a week or at least once a every two weeks.

And remember your obligation sub gravi to administer the Sacraments in the state of grace, and the admonition given in the Missal under the heading Ritus servandus in celebratione Missae. In a prefatory paragraph it says:
"The priest about to say Mass having, if neces­sary, made his sacramental confession. . ."

And Canon Law defines this obligation more explicitly:
Canon 807: The priest who should find himself in mortal sin shall not dare to say Holy Mass with­out previous sacramental confession, no matter how contrite he may be over his sins.

You see? In order not to fall into grievous sin, or in order to rise again after having fallen, you must go to confession frequently, even twice a week or more, if needs be, so as not to sink into the deepest and most terrible profanations.

III. There are obstacles in the way of frequent con­fession, occasionally obstacles that would seem insur­mountable: either physical, such as the isolation of your parish, the rough roads and long distances to reach the neighbouring parish, your age and state of health; or moral obstacles, which are no less painful: the lack of a good confessor, a man of virtue and sound common­ sense, in whom you can have confidence.

There is no denying that such obstacles do exist, and Thou, Lord, who knowest and weighest these obstacles at their true value, art moved to pity for those poor priests who for Thy sake and in order to obey their Prelates deprive themselves of facilities which the laity themselves enjoy in abundant measure, the facilities to receive Thy forgiveness in the sacred Tribunal. Therefore in this, as in many other matters, we might apply the literal interpretation of the psalm as contained in the Vulgate:

Propter verba labiorum tuorum ego custodivi vias duras. . . .

But I must not exaggerate the difficulties and obstacles. If a medical doctor told me to go to him once a week or even more frequently, and promised me a definite cure on condition that I followed his orders, would bad roads or long journeys or any amount of expense and trouble stop me from going to him?

Then, for the sake of spiritual healing, Lord, I shall overcome just as great difficulties; because life has taught me that the only treatment which cures or arrests the course of moral disease is the Sacrament of Penance; and if, unfortunately, I do not dispose of a prudent, understand­ing and virtuous confessor, I shall kneel before any priest, however unworthy and incompetent I may feel him to be. A loving trust in Thee, dear Lord, will enable me to do this. But besides, the efficacy of this spiritual treatment does not depend on the good or bad qualities of the minister of the Sacrament; it is Thou, Lord, who bestowest forgiveness through him.

IV. Will-power is not enough to make me approach the confessor every week or as often as I need him. It is to be feared that my confessions are ineffective through lack of serious preparation. The day I go to confession I shall devote my morning meditation to preparing for it.

Here are the three main points I shall consider:
First: Examination of conscience. I shall delve cour­ageously into my conscience, not sparing its most rugged or boggy patches, asking God for strength and light to arrive at a clear-cut knowledge of the quality, kind, and number of my mortal sins, or, if I have no mortal sins, to discover three or four venial sins which expose me to the greatest dangers.

Second: Contrition. In order to excite myself to sincere sorrow for having offended God my Redeemer, for having repaid Him with so much ingratitude, and transgressed His precepts, I shall dwell upon the most persuasive and impressive motives of faith, and I shall detest my wrong-doing wholeheartedly.

Third: Purpose of amendment. I shall resolve, no matter what the cost, to correct all my seriously sinful lapses, and, if I have only venial sins, at least that which does me the most damage, and to promise their amend­ment specifically until my next confession.

If only I had taken my shortcomings one by one and combated each one with resoluteness and energy after each confession, how many of them would have been rooted out by now!

Above all and however much trouble it may entail, I shall resolve to cut out the voluntary proximate occa­sions of sin. If the occasion is not voluntary, if it is inevitable (and I shall not allow myself to be deceived easily on this point), I shall make it a remote occasion. This I shall resolve to do even if it should be as painful to me as cutting off my right hand or foot, or plucking out an eye. And I shall put my resolution into practice as soon as I have got up from confession, if I had not already done so before confession - which would be the best thing to do - or if a prudent confessor does not oblige me to take these measures before returning for absolution.

Dear Lord and God, I really do wish to save my soul, I do want to walk the road to heaven, even if I have to go all alone or eyeless or without hands and feet.

1. As often as I confess my sins I shall do so making an effort to reap all the fruits of the Sacrament, con­sidering my preparation for confession the most serious and profoundest act of my religious and moral life. I can make a good Communion without much reflexion, but I cannot confess properly without a complete renewal of my innermost mind:
Cor mundum crea in me Deus, et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis.

2. I shall go to confession invariably once a week­ or more if the need arises - with a fixed and well ­chosen confessor, or, if I have no choice, with anyone available. God, Who sees my good will, is pledged to make up for the shortcomings of His minister. All my other acts of piety and self-denial must give place to this great and fundamental act of frequent confession.

Convinced that in the fulfilment of these two resol­utions lies the surest sign of my predestination, I trust, O God and Father of the predestined, that Thou wilt not refuse me the strength of will required to carry them out faithfully.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood!