Saturday, August 14, 2010
Saint Maximilian Kolbe's Act Of Total Consecration To the Immaculate Heart Of Our Blessed Lady
Immaculata, Queen of heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, N..., a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.
If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: "She will crush your head," and, "You alone have destroyed all heresies in the world." Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
V. Allow me to praise you, O sacred Virgin.
R. Give me strength against your enemies.
Commentary on the Consecration Prayer
by St. Maximilian Kolbe
This act of consecration includes three parts: an invocation; a request that she may deign to accept us as her property; and a please that she may deign to make use of us to conquer other souls for her.
In the invocation we first say,
We turn to her under this name, because she herself deigned to give herself this name at Lourdes: "the Immaculate Conception." God is immaculate, but God is not conceived. Angels are immaculate, but there is no conception with them. The first parents were immaculate before sinning, but neither were they conceived. Jesus was immaculate and conceived, but he was not a conception, for as God he already existed before and to him also applied the words of the name of God as revealed to Moses: "I am who am, who always is and does not begin to be." Other people are conceptions, but stained. She alone is not only conceived, but also a conception and immaculate. This name conceals many more mysteries, which will be discovered in time. Thus she indicates that the Immaculate Conception belongs to her essence.
This name must be dear to her, because it signifies the first grace she received in the first moment of her existence. The first gift is the dearest one. This name is ratified by her life, because she was always unspotted. Hence she was also full of grace and God was always with her, even to the degree that she became the Mother of the Son of God.
Queen of heaven and earth
In a family, the loving parents fulfill the will of the children as much as they are able, insofar as it is not harmful for them. So much more does God, the Creator and prototype of earthly parents, desire to fulfill the will of his creatures, insofar as it is not harmful for them, that is, insofar as it is conformable with his will. The Immaculata did not bend away from the will of God in anything. In all things she loved the will of God, loved God. Hence she is justly called the Omnipotent Beggar. She has influence upon God himself, on the entire world; she is the Queen of heaven and earth. In heaven everyone acknowledges the rule of her love. That group of the first angels that did not want to acknowledge her reign lost its place in heaven.
She is queen also of earth because she is the Mother of God himself, but she both desires and has a right to be freely acknowledged by every heart, be loved as the Queen of every heart, so that through her that heart might become immaculate, similar to her heart and more worthy of union with God, with the love of God, with the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Refuge of sinners
God is merciful, infinitely merciful, nevertheless just and infinitely just. He cannot bear the least sin and must demand full satisfaction for it. The stewardess of the infinite value of the Precious Blood of Jesus that washes away sin, the Immaculata, is the personification of God's mercy. Therefore she is rightly called the refuge of sinners, of all sinners regardless of the number and greatness of their sins - even though the sinner would think there is no more mercy left for him. Indeed, every cleansing of the soul is for her a new confirmation of her title of Immaculate Conception. The more deeply the soul is plunged into sin, the more does the power of her immaculateness show itself, by the fact that she gives snowy whiteness to such a soul.
Our most loving Mother
The Immaculata is the mother of our entire supernatural life because she is the Mediatrix of the grace of God, hence our mother in the sphere of grace, in the supernatural sphere. She is a most loving mother, because you do not have any mother so affectionate, so loving, so godlike, so Immaculate, so wholly divine.
God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you
In a family, the father is glad at times that the mother stays his punishing hand over the child by her intercession, because justice is satisfied and mercy is shown. Not without cause is justice suspended. Similarly God, in order not to punish us, gives us a spiritual mother, whose intercession he never opposes. Hence the saints claim that Jesus reserved for himself the order of justice, giving to the Immaculata the whole order of his mercy.
In the second part of the act we say,
I, a repentant sinner
We here admit that we are not as she, immaculate, but sinful. What is more none of us can say that he has reached this day without sin, but feels himself guilty of much infidelity. We also say unworthy, because truly between an immaculate being and one soiled by sin there is in some sense an infinite difference. In all truth we acknowledge ourselves unworthy to turn to her, to pray to her, to fall at her feet, in order not to become similar to the proud Lucifer. Hence we also say,
Cast myself at your feet, humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property
By these words we beg, we beseech the Immaculata to accept us. We offer ourselves to her entirely, in every respect, as her children, and as slaves of love, as servants, as instruments, and under every single aspect, under every title that anyone at any time might be able to express. We become hers as her possession and property, to use us and use us up even to complete destruction, according to her free disposition.
Make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you
To her we give our whole being, all the faculties of our soul, and therefore, intellect, memory and will, and all the faculties of the body - therefore, all the senses and each in particular, our strength, health or sickness. We offer her our entire life with all its experiences, pleasant, unpleasant or indifferent. We give her our death, whenever and wherever and in whatever way it befalls us. We give her our whole eternity. We expect that we will be able to belong perfectly to her, only then beyond comparison. In this way we express a desire and an entreaty, so that she allows us to become hers under every aspect more and more perfectly.
In the third part we pray,
Use all that I am and have without reserve wholly to accomplish what was said of you: "She will crush your head," and, "You alone have destroyed all the heresies in the whole world"
On the statues and pictures of the Immaculata we always see the serpent at her feet, surrounding the globe of the earth, as she crushes the head of the serpent.
Satan, soiled by sin, endeavors to soil all souls on earth. He hates her who was always unspotted. He waits for her heel in the persons of her children; she crushes his head in the fight in the person of everyone who has recourse to her. We ask her to use us if she wishes, as an instrument to crush the head of the proud serpent in unfortunate souls. Holy Scripture adds, quoting the verse mentioned above, And you shall lie in wait for her heel. The evil spirit really lies in wait in a special way for those who dedicate themselves to the Immaculata; he desires to insult her at least in them. His endeavor against sincerely dedicated souls always ends with his more shameful defeat, hence his fury is more violent, impotently furious.
The words, You alone have destroyed all heresies in the world, are taken from the prayers which the Church orders her priests to say about her. The Church says "heresies" and not the heretics, whom she loves, and because of this love desires to free them from the error of heresy. The Church says "all," without any exception; "alone," since "she" alone suffices. God is hers with all the treasures of grace for the conversion and sanctification of souls. No corner of the earth is excluded in the whole world. In this act of consecration we beg her to use us to destroy the whole serpent coiled about the earth, the serpent representing the various heresies.
Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls
All over the world we see unhappy, erring souls, who do not even know their purpose in life. They love all kinds of earthly goods instead of the one good, namely, God. Many, too, are indifferent to the highest love. We desire the "implanting and developing...in a most eminent degree" of the glory of the Immaculata in those souls. We beg her that we may be instruments in her immaculate and most loving hands, in order that she would not allow us to contradict her, that she constrain us, should we not want to listen to her.
And thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus
The most Sacred Heart of Jesus is the love of God toward men. His kingdom is the reign of love in the hearts of men, which Jesus manifested in the crib, throughout his life, on the cross and in the Eucharist, when he gave his mother as mother to us, and which (love) he desires to enkindle in human hearts. The implanting and developing of the honor of the Immaculata and the conquest of souls for her is the conquest of souls for Jesus' mother, who will carry the kingdom of Jesus into souls. For as far as possible,
Wherever you enter, there you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Immaculata is the "Omnipotent Beseecher." Every conversion and sanctification is the work of grace, and she is the Mediatrix of All Graces. During the apparition of the Miraculous Medal, St. Catherine Laboure saw rays streaming from the rings on the fingers of the Immaculata. They represent graces that the Immaculata liberally bestows upon everyone who desires them. Alphonse Ratisbonne speaks similarly about the rays of grace in his vision.
Allow me to praise you, O sacred Virgin
Give me strength against your enemies
When Duns Scotus, a Franciscan, went to Paris for a dispute in which he was to defend the privilege of the Immaculate Conception at the University of the Sorbonne, he passed by a statue of the Blessed Mother and prayed to her with the above mentioned words. As tradition has it, the Blessed Mother bowed her head as a sign of confirmation.
In the first part of this petition Duns Scotus turns humbly to the Mother of God and asks that she permit him to praise her. Acknowledging his great unworthiness for such a sublime work as praising the Blessed Mother, he likewise acknowledges that grace depends upon her, and it is enough that she permit him, and his efforts will be crowned with success.
The second part is strong, unconditional, brave. As an instrument in her hand, he asks for strength to overcome the serpent.
Who is her enemy? Whatever is stained, whatever does not lead to God, whatever is not love, whatever comes from the hellish serpent, he himself is her enemy; hence it includes all our defects, or all our faults. We ask her to give us strength against him. For this one purpose all devotions exist, all prayers, the sacraments: that we receive power to overcome all obstacles in our striving for God in a more and more ardent love, in assimilating ourselves to God, in uniting with God himself. Just as we have come from God through a creature, so also we return to God. All nature tells us this. Wherever we glance, we see after action reaction, equal and opposite, and as it were, an echo of God's operation and his operation also in all creatures.
On the return road of reaction the being endowed with free will meets with difficulties and oppositions, and God permits these trials in order to strengthen that being so much the more in its striving toward him. In order that the being may have sufficient strength for it, it must pray, it must ask for that strength from him, who is the source of all strength and who looks upon the efforts of his creatures with love and desires that it come sincerely to him, for he does not stint his aid. Even if that creature, that dear child of his, stumbles on the way, falls, soils itself, wounds itself, that merciful Father cannot look upon its misfortune. He sends down his only begotten Son, who by his life and teaching points out to him a bright and sure road. By his Sacred Blood of infinite value he washes away the dirt and heals the wounds.
So that the soul from fear of the violated justice of God would not lose hope, God sends a personification of his love, the Spouse of the Spirit of motherly love, the Immaculata, all beautiful, without stain, though a daughter of men, sister of human beings. He commits the stewardship of his entire mercy towards souls. He constitutes her the Mediatrix of grace that was earned by her Son. He makes her the mother of grace, the mother of souls born of grace, reborn, and continually reborn in an always more perfect godlikeness.
Labels: Our Blessed Lady
The founder of the Militia Immaculata, and one of those saints whose canonization after 1962 (along with Saint Pio and Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer) requires at least an addendum to the 1962 liturgical calendar, so that the Mass of the Ages does not become a frozen-in-amber relic.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe, please pray for us!
Labels: Our Saintly Brethern
Friday, August 13, 2010
Prayer by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:
Oh, my Jesus! how hast Thou been able to bear with me? I have so often turned my back upon Thee, and Thou hast not ceased to seek after me. I have so often offended Thee, and Thou hast pardoned me. Ah! impart to me a portion of that sorrow which Thou didst feel in the Garden of Gethsemane for my sins, and which made Thee there sweat blood. I am sorry, O my Redeemer! for having so badly repaid Thy love. O accursed pleasures! I detest and curse you. You have made me lose the grace of my Lord. My Beloved Jesus! I now love Thee above all things, and I renounce all unlawful gratifications, and purpose to die a thousand times, rather than ever more offend Thee. Ah! through that affection with which Thou dost love me on the cross, and offered for me Thy divine life, give me light and strength to resist temptations, and to have recourse to Thy aid whenever I shall be tempted. O Mary, my hope! thou art all-powerful with God; obtain for me holy perseverance, obtain for me the grace never more to be separated from his holy love.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
She is frequently depicted carrying a monstrance.
O wondrous blessed clarity of Clare!
In life she shone to a few;
after death she shines on the whole world!
On earth she was a clear light;
Now in heaven she is a brilliant sun.
O how great the vehemence of the
brilliance of this clarity!
On earth this light was indeed kept
within cloistered walls,
yet shed abroad its shining rays;
It was confined within a convent cell,
yet spread itself through the wide world.
Pope Innocent IV
Saint Clare, please pray for us!
Labels: Our Saintly Brethern
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Peter Bellamy and Royston Wood, The Servingman and the Husbandman
The Clancy Brothers And Tommy Makem, The Galway Races
>John Turner, Nathaniel Gow's Lament On the Death Of His Brother
Foster & Allen, Dawn Run
Loreena McKennitt, The Highwayman
The Dubliners, Seven Drunken Nights
Silly Wizard, Ramblin' Rover
Labels: Pleasing Tunes
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
The Golden Legend
The Catholic Encyclopedia
Saint Lawrence, please pray for us!
Labels: Our Saintly Brethern
Sunday, August 08, 2010
O heavenly Father, Shepherd of Thy people, we give Thee thanks for Thy servant Jean, who was faithful in the care and nurture of Thy flock; and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life, we may by Thy grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever.
The Catholic Encyclopedia on the Cure of Ars.
Excerpts from his sermons.
TAN's selections on the Cure.
Father Rutler has a book out about him.
Twenty-one years ago, Pope John Paul II wrote on St. Jean Vianney to all priests in his Maundy Thursday letter.
His feast in the ordinary mode of the Latin Rite was August 4th.
Saint Jean Marie Vianney, please pray for us!
Labels: Our Saintly Brethern
With the Greeks, this Sunday—their eleventh of Saint Matthew -- is called the Parable of the King, who calls his servants to account. In the western Church, it has gone under the name of Sunday of the deaf and dumb, ever since the Gospel of the pharisee and the publican has been assigned to the tenth. To-day's Mass, as we now have it, still gives evidence as to what was its ancient arrangement. Our commentary on to-day's liturgy will show us this very plainly.
In the years when Easter falls nearest to March 21 the Books of Kings are continued as lessons of Matins up to, but never beyond, this Sunday. The sickness of the good king Ezechias, and the miraculous cure he obtained by his prayers and tears, are then the subject of the first lessons of the night-Office.
The learned and pious Abbot Rupert, writing on this Sunday's Mass previous to the change made in the order of the Gospel Lessons, thus explains the Church's reason for selecting the following Introit: 'The publican in the Gospel accuses himself, saying: "I am not worthy to lift up mine eyes to heaven." St. Paul, in the Epistle, does in like manner, and says: "I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God." As, then, this humility, which is set before us that we may practise it, is the guardian of the union between the servants of God, because it keeps them from being puffed up one against the other, it is most appropriate that we should first sing the Introit, which tells us that God maketh men, in His house, abide together as though they were all but one soul.'
The Collect which follows is most touching, when we see it in the light of the Gospel formerly fixed for this Sunday. Though that connexion has now been broken, yet the appropriateness is still very striking; for the Epistle, as Abbot Rupert was just telling us, continues to urge us to humility by proposing to us the example of St. Paul; the humility of the repentant publican has been anticipated. Our mother the Church is all emotion at beholding this publican, this object of contempt to the Jew, striking his breast, and scarce able to put his sorrow into words: she, with motherly tenderness, comes and takes up his faltering prayer, and gives it her own eloquence. Nothing could exceed the delicate way in which she asks of the Omnipotent that, in His infinite mercy, He would restore peace to troubled consciences, by pardoning them their sins, and granting them what they, poor sinners, are too afraid to presume to ask for.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui abundantia pietatis tuaelig; et merita supplicum excedis et vota: effunde super nos misericordiam tuam; ut dimittas quaelig; conscientia metuit, et adjicias quod oratio non præsumit. Per Dominum.
In illo tempore: Exiens Jesus de finibus Tyri, venit per Sidonem ad mare Galilææ inter medios fines Decapoleos. Et adducunt ei surdum et mutum, et deprecabantur eum, ut imponat illi manum. Et apprehendens eum de turba seorsum, misit digitos suos in auriculas ejus: et exspuens, tetigit linguam ejus: et suspiciens in cœlum, ingemuit, et ait illi: Ephpheta, quod est, adaperire. Et statim apertæ sunt aures ejus, et solutum est vinculum linguæ ejus, et loquebatur recte. Et præcepit illis, ne cui dicerent. Quanto autem eis præcipiebat, tanto magis plus prædicabant: et eo amplius admirabantur, dicentes: Bene omnia fecit: et surdos fecit audire, et mutos loqui.
Jesus is no longer in Judea; the names of the places mentioned in the beginning of to-day's Gospel tell us that the Gentile world has become the scene of the divine operations for man's salvation. What manner of man, then, is this who is led to the Saviour, and the sight of whose miseries makes the Incarnate Word heave a sigh? And what is the meaning of the extraordinary circumstances which produce the cure? A single word of Jesus could have done it all, and His power would have shone forth all the more brightly. But the miracle which is here related contains a great mystery; and the Man-God, who aims mainly at giving us a lesson by this His mercy, makes the exercise of His power subordinate to the teaching which He desires to convey to us.
The holy fathers tell us that this man represents the entire human race, exclusive of the Jewish people. Abandoned for four thousand years in the sides, that is, in the countries of the north, where the prince of this world was ruling as absolute master, it has been experiencing the terrible effects of the seeming forgetfulness on the part of its Creator and Father, which was the consequence of original sin. Satan, whose perfidious craftiness caused man to be driven out of Paradise, has made him his own prey, and nothing could exceed the artifice he has employed for keeping him in his grasp. Wisely oppressing his slave, he adopted the plan of making him deaf and dumb, for this would hold him faster than chains of adamant could ever do. Dumb, he could not ask God to deliver him; deaf, he could not hear the divine voice; and thus the two ways forobtaining his liberty were shut against him. The adversary of God and man, satan, may boast of his tyranny. The grandest of all God's creations looks like a failure; the human race, in all its branches, and in all nations, seems ruined; for even that people which God had chosen for His own, and which was to be faithful to Him when every other had gone astray, has made no other use of its privileges than to deny its Lord and its King, more cruelly than all the rest of mankind.
What, then? Is the bride, whom the Son of God came to seek upon the earth -- is the society of saints, to be limited to those few who declared themselves His disciples during the years of His mortal life? Not so; the zeal of the newly formed Church, and the ineffable goodness of God, produced a far grander result. Driven from Jerusalem, as her divine Spouse had been, the Church met the poor captive of satan beyond the boundaries of Judea; she would fain bring him into the kingdom of God: and, through the apostles and their disciples, she brings him to Jesus, beseeching Him to lay His divine hand upon him. No human power could effect his cure. Deafened by the noise of his passions, it is only in a confused way that he can hear even the voice of his own conscience; and, as to the sounds of tradition, or the speakings of the prophets, they are to him but as an echo, very distant and faint. Worst of all, as his hearing, that most precious of our senses, is gone, so, likewise, is gone the power of making good his losses; for, as the apostle teaches, the one thing that could save him is faith, and faith cometh by hearing.
Our Jesus groans when they have brought this poor creature before Him. He is grieved at seeing the cruelties the enemy has inflicted on this His own privileged being, this beautiful work, of which He Himself served as model and type to the blessed Trinity, at the beginning of the world. Raising up to heaven those eyes of His sacred Humanity —those eyes whose language has such resistless power—He sees the eternal Father acquiescing in the intentions of His own merciful compassion. Then, resuming the exercise of that creative omnipotence which, in the beginning, had made all things to be very good, and all His works to be perfect, He, as God and as the Word, utters the mighty word of restoration: Ephpheta! Be thou opened! Nothingness, or rather (in this instance) ruin, which is worse than nothingness, obeys the well-known voice; the ears of the poor sufferer are opened, joyfully opened to the teachings, which his delighted mother the Church pours into them. She is all the gladder, because it is her prayers that have won this deliverance; and he, to whom faith comes now through hearing, finding that his tongue can speak, speaks, or rather sings, a canticle of praise to his God.
And yet, as we were observing, our merciful Lord, by this cure, aims not so much at showing the power of His divine word as at giving a glorious teaching to His followers; He wishes to reveal to them, under certain visible symbols, the invisible realities produced by His grace in the secret of the sacraments. It is for the sake of such teaching that the Gospel has mentioned such an apparently trifling detail as this—that when the deaf and dumb man was brought before Him, He took him apart—apart, so to say, from the multitude of the noisy passions and the vain thoughts which had made him deaf to heavenly truths. After all, would there be much good in curing him if the occasion of his malady were not removed, and he were to relapse perhaps that same day? So, then, having by this separation taken precautions for the future, Jesus inserts into the man's ears His own divine fingers which bring the Holy Ghost, and make to penetrate right to the ears of his heart the restorative power of this Spirit of love. And finally, more mysteriously, because the truth which was to be expressed is more profound, He touches with the saliva of His sacred mouth that tongue which had become incapable of giving glory and praise; and Wisdom (for it is she that is here mystically signified) -- Wisdom, 'that cometh forth from the mouth of the Most High,' and flows for us from the Saviour's fountains as a life-giving drink -- openeth the mouth of the dumb man, just as she maketh eloquent the tongues of speechless infants.
Therefore it is that the Church -- in order to show us that the event recorded in to-day's Gospel is figurative, and regards not merely one individual man, but all of us -- has prescribed that the circumstances which accompanied the cure of this deaf and dumb sufferer shall be expressed in the ceremonies of holy Baptism. The priest, before pouring the water of the sacred font on the person who is presented for Baptism, puts on the catechumen's tongue the salt of wisdom, and touches his ears, saying: Ephpheta! that is, Be opened!
There is an instruction of another kind included in our Gospel, and worthy of our notice, as closely bearing on what we have been saying regarding humility. Our Lord imposed silence on those who had been witnesses of the miraculous cure, although He knew that their praiseworthy enthusiasm could never allow them to obey Him. By this injunction, He wished to give a lesson to His followers, that if, at times, it is impossible to keep men from being in admiration at the works they achieve -- if, sometimes, the holy Spirit, in opposition to their wishes, forces them to undergo public applause for the greater glory of the God whose instruments they are -- yet must they always do all in their power to avoid being noticed; they must prefer to be despised, or, at least, not talked of; they must love to be hidden in the secret of the face of God; and, after the most brilliant, just as truly as they would after the most menial, duties, they must say from the heartiest conviction: 'We are unprofitable servants, we have but done what we ought to do.'
It is again the hymn of the humble, whether delivered, or healed, or glorified, by God, which is sung in the Offertory.
Labels: The Liturgical Year