Friday, November 30, 2007

Pope's New Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has issued his second encyclical entitled "Spe Salvi" which I'm not sure what it means, maybe "In hope we are saved" One can read the whole thing here.

I'm looking forward to reading it even if a little apprehensive about understanding it. Although my experience with Pope Benedict is that he is much, much easier to understand than Pope John Paul II.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What Holiday am I?

You Are Easter

You are an optimistic, hopeful, and genuinely sweet person.
Sensitive and affectionate, you are easily touched.
You love nature, animals, and anything cute or cuddly.
For you, every day is a new chance - no matter what happened yesterday.

What makes you celebrate: Almost anything. You love most holidays and celebrations.

At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The peacemaker. You can prevent any squabbles that might break out.

On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Remember to include everyone

1st Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation

And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary.
And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren.
Because no word shall be impossible with God.
And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38 Douay Rheims)

I've always loved this picture of the Annunciation. It's almost as if someone had gone back in time and snapped a photo of the Event. The film only picks up the Archangel Gabriel as a source of Light, but undoubtedly, Our Lady sees him as he really is. (I did some background and discovered it was painted by Henry Ossawa Tanner, in 1898.)

So, I've always wondered what Our Lady was doing right before St. Gabriel appeared to her. Was she doing some household chore? Baking or preparing to bake? Cleaning? Perhaps she was thinking about Joseph and how kind and gentle he was. No matter. But no doubt she was startled to find an Angel right there in the room with her! Then he addresses her as "Full of Grace", and now she is confused as well. He puts her at ease and tells her the reason for his visit. Now she is even more confused. "How can this be?" He assures her that her vow of Virginity will not be compromised. Mary, whose will is most intimately united to the Will of God, humbly responds that she is a "handmaid of the Lord" and to "let it be done". Her trust in God is complete and absolute.
The virtue or fruit of this Mystery is Humility.

The Joyful Mysteries: My wandering meditations

Christmas is only 5 weeks away, and I thought, for the edification of my readers (both of you) I would, each Sunday leading up to Christmas, explain a bit my meditations on the 5 Joyful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary. These are merely what I try to meditate upon when praying the Rosary. I don't always succeed as my mind tends to wander greatly; or I fall asleep. Some come easily, some come rather reluctantly. So, next up: The Annunciation.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory

Holy Souls in Purgatory, is there anything you regret when you think of your life on earth?
I deeply regret the little amount of charity I have shown towards the Poor Souls during my life on earth... I could have been of such great service to them, bring them so much light and peace. I could have helped them by my prayers, mortification's, alms, good works, holy Communions. I could have had Masses said for the Poor Souls or attended them, especially those celebrated in honor of the Sacred Heart. I would have obtained numerous graces which would have made it easier for me to avoid sin. Moreover, I would have deserved a much shorter and less painful Purgatory and now I would receive a much greater share in the prayers which are said for us.
Oh, could I but return to the world to help the Poor Souls! I certainly would interest myself in their plight! What devout prayers would I say for them! How solicitous I would be to awaken in the faithful the most tender sympathy and pity for them!
from "Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory"
published by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

Friday, November 23, 2007

Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory

Holy Souls in Purgatory, is there anything you regret when you think of your life on earth?
I deeply regret my neglect of acts of mortification. How easy they would have been on earth, but how difficult they are now in Purgatory. Here the smallest suffering is more poignant than the most cruel torments on earth. In the world it meant only patience and resignation in the hardships and adversities of my life; it meant only giving from my surplus to the poor, and devoting myself to works of mercy. Nothing could have been easier, and my Purgatory would have been shortened considerably.
If God would but grant me the grace to exchange the years during which I must still remain in this place of sorrow for as many years of life on earth! No commands would be too severe for me; no pains could frighten me; the most difficult works of penance would seem easy and give me comfort.
You who now suffer under the trials and hardships of life! You who now earn your daily bread by the sweat of your brow, rejoice! The smallest suffering endured in the spirit of atonement and offered to the Sacred Heart, will save you from a long and painful Purgatory.
from "Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory"
published by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory

Holy Souls in Purgatory, is there anything you regret when you think of your life on earth?
I deeply regret the scandal which I have given! If only I would have prevented the disastrous consequences of the scandal which I caused. If only I could warn the many souls that followed my example and listened to me! Through my fault the evil goes on. And now I have to give an account of all the sins for which I am to blame! Oh, were I but able to let my words resound unto the ends of the earth and to wander through the world as a preacher of penance! With what untiring zeal would I labor among people to turn them from evil and return them to virtue.
O you my friends on earth, who come to visit me in this darkness in order to let a ray of light shine upon me: you will find in the Sacred Heart the surest way of bringing back to God as many people as I have led into sin by bad example! Tell them that He invites them: "Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest ... learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls" (Matt. 11, 28-29)
from "Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory"
published by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory

Holy Souls in Purgatory, is there anything you regret when you think of your life on earth?
I deeply regret the evil which I have done. Evil seemed so easy, pleasant; and I silenced the voice of conscience. Today my faults weigh me down; their bitterness and memory torment me. Mortal sins, forgiven, but not atoned, venial sins, imperfections. Too late to detest you now. Punishment must take its course.
Oh, if I could return to life again! No promise, be it ever so tempting, no riches, no flattery, could induce me to sin.
My friends, you who are still free to choose between God and the world, gaze on the crown of thorns, the cross, all the sufferings which your sins have brought. Think of the sorrow which these sins and faults will cause you in Purgatory, and you will be able to avoid them.
If you long for the grace to resist Satan when he tempts you , consider what St. Margaret Mary says: "I cannot believe that persons consecrated to this divine Heart will ever be lost; neither do I believe that they will fall into the hands of Satan by committing a mortal sin, after having given themselves entirely to Him. For they will make every effort to honor, love and glorify this divine Heart, and to follow His designs."

from "Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory:
published by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory

Holy Souls in Purgatory, is there anything you regret when you think of your life on earth?
I deeply regret my neglect of so many splendid graces! They have been offered to me in such abundance, at every moment of my life and with such loving admonitions... Spiritual regeneration, vocation and sacraments; word of God, holy inspirations and good examples; graces to protect me in danger, to help me in temptations; the grace of forgiveness for my sins. Some of them I have refused; others I have accepted with coldness; unfortunately, I have misused so many of them. I preferred earthly possessions to the eternal. How I have deceived myself!
Oh, could I but for one moment quench my thirst at the fountains of mercy, flowing from the Heart of Christ. You, you behold the inexhaustible stream of graces flow by, why do you not draw from it a few drops for yourself?
Consider what St. Margaret Mary says: "It is certain that everyone on earth could obtain salutary graces without number, if they but had a grateful love for Jesus Christ, such as is seen in those who love and venerate His Sacred Heart."
from "Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory"
published by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory

Holy Souls in Purgatory, is there anything you regret when you think of your life on earth?
I deeply regret my extravagance in the use of earthly possessions... My fortune, my health, my talent, my position in the world, the influence I had, my relatives, in a word, everything could have been of spiritual benefit to me if only I had known how to use it for the greater honor of the Sacred Heart. How many graces could I have drawn upon myself! This I neglected to do and at the hour of my death, all my possessions have come to naught.
Oh, were I but rich today in these my form possessions! Would that I could use them to hasten, even for one moment, the hour of my deliverance; to increase, even by one degree, the glory which God has in store for me; to awaken, if only in one soul now living in the world, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
My friends, whose earthly goods are still at your disposal, use them for the support of your neighbour by generously giving alms to the poor. Use them for the greater honor of God and help promote response to God's love.
from "Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory"
published by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory

Holy Souls in Purgatory, is there anything you regret when you think of your life on earth?
I deeply regret wasted time!... Purchased with the Blood of Christ, you were given to me for the purpose of loving God and others. But I abused you by committing sin; I craved vanity, pleasures and trifles. How it grieves me to have lost you through my own fault! Fleeting time!... Time which passes so quickly on earth, but which drags so slowly in this purification! How long shall my exile last? Hours now seem like years, days like centuries. I must now redeem the wasted time. Irretrievable time!... On earth I relied on my last years to do penance; but my life was ended when I expected it least! The time given to acquire treasures and graces without number, are now lost forever.
You, living on earth, do not waste the gift of time; do not imitate our carelessness.
Through devotion to the Sacred Heart, who has revealed to the world His love in its fullness intercede for us that we may obtain the merits of His grace so freely and abundantly offered.
from "Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory"
published by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Chaplet for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Prayed on a regular Rosary.

Make the "Sign Of The Cross" on the Cross. Then say the Apostle's Creed.

On the 5 beads between the Cross and the medal, say,

1 Our Father...
3 Hail Mary...
1 Glory Be...

For each decade, proceed as follows:

On the large bead prior to 10 small beads, say:

"O Holy Souls
draw the fire of God's love into my soul,
to reveal Jesus Crucified in me here on earth,
rather than hereafter in Purgatory."

On each of the small beads, say:

"Crucified Lord Jesus,
have mercy on the souls in Purgatory."

When you have completed all 5 decades, say 3 times the Glory Be...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sins Against Charity Are Severly Punished in Purgatory

True Charity is humble and indulgent towards others, respecting them as though they were their superiors. Her words are always friendly, and full of consideration for others, having nothing of bitterness nor coldness, nothing savoring of contempt, because she is born of a heart that is meek and humble like that of Jesus. She also takes every means, makes every sacrifice to effect a reconciliation, according to the words of our Divine Master, If thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee,leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother, and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift. (Matt. 5:23)
A Religious having wounded Charity in regard to St. Louis Bertrand, received a terrible chastisement after death. He was plunged into the fire of Purgatory, which he had to endure until he had made satisfaction to Divine Justice; nay, more, he could not be admitted into the abode of the elect until he had accomplished an act of exterior reparation, which should serve as an example to the living.
When St. Louis Bertrand, of the Order of St. Dominic, resided at the convent of Valencia, there was a young Religious in the community who attached too much importance to profane science. Doubtless letters and erudition have their value, but, as the Holy Ghost declares, they should yield to the fear of God and the science of the saints. Non super timenten Dominum--There is non above him that feareth the Lord (Ecclus. 25:13)
This science of the saints, which Eternal Wisdom came to teach us, consists in Humility and Charity. The young Religious of whom we speak, while but little advanced in Divine science, allowed himself to reproach Father Bertrand with his little knowledge, and said to him "One can see, Father, that you are not very learned!" "Brother," replied the saint with meek firmness, "Lucifer was very learned, and yet he was damned."
The brother who had committed this fault did not think of repairing it. Nevertheless, he was not a bad Religious, and some time after, falling dangerously sick, he received the last Sacrament in very good dispositions, and expired peacefully in the Lord. A considerable time elapsed, and meanwhile Louis was nominated Prior. One day, having remained in choir after Matins, the deceased appeared to him enveloped in flames, and prostrating humbly before him said "Father, pardon me the offensive words which I formerly addressed to you. God will not permit me to see His face until you shall have pardoned my fault and offered Holy Mass for me." The saint willingly forgave him, and the next morning celebrated Mass for the repose of his soul. The following night, being again in choir, he saw the deceased brother reappear, but radiant with glory and going up to Heaven (Acta Sanctor., Oct.10)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Update on University of Delaware

The University of Delaware has dropped its "diversity" program, not because they find anything wrong with it but because of "questions about its practices".

Read the whole article here.

For some reason, I'm reminded of cockroaches. When the light comes on, they scurry away.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

November: Dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory

November is the month dedicated to those souls who are currently suffering in Purgatory. I love this time of year because there are so many things we can do to help them. They need our help since they cannot help themselves. Not only is it a great act of charity but the souls you help will be powerful intercessors on your behalf when they enter Heaven. "Ingratitude is unknown in Heaven!"
From November 1st through November 8th we can gain a plenary (that is, full remission) indulgence each day (applicable only to the Holy Souls) if we visit a cemetery and pray for the souls. We can also gain one November 2nd by visiting a church.
There are many, many ways we can gain indulgences for those in the Church Suffering, and it really isn't all that difficult. A Rosary prayed in public (this would include the Family Rosary), one can gain a plenary indulgence (partial in other circumstances).
Making the Stations of the Cross will gain a plenary indulgence as will 30 minutes of Eucharistic Adoration or 30 minutes of pious reading of Holy Scriptures. Even gaining partial indulgences helps them more than we realize. But of course the most efficacious means is having Mass said for them; or at least hearing Mass for them. It's such a shame we don't hear much about Purgatory (except in traditional circles). Some Catholics have been lead to believe that it doesn't even exist anymore! Belief in Purgatory is now and has always been an article of faith which every Catholic must believe to remain Catholic.
I will be trying to post a little something every day for the month, mostly different prayers that are applicable to the Holy Souls. The following is one of my favorites, which Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great would release 1,000 souls from Purgatory each time it is said. 1,000 souls! We could easily say this simple prayer 10, 20, 50 or 100 times a day.
"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."