2019: Easter Greetings to Everyone…

V. Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.
Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia.

R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,
For he whom you did merit to bear, alleluia,

V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
Has risen as he said, alleluia.

R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia. 

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray.
O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life.
Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.   

Comment: 

Our Blogger, Margaret USA, asked me to post this commentary of Bishop Schneider about the fire at Notre Dame – I’d just placed a headline in our forthcoming May newsletter about the fire at Notre Dame being a metaphor for the destruction (humanly speaking) of the Church when it arrived in my inbox, so it was well timed.  Those of our newsletter readers who are not online will draw some comfort from it, no doubt.  What about you?  

Mueller Report: Trump Vindicated?

 

From The Daily Caller

CNN pundits are admitting that Mueller’s final report vindicates President Donald Trump, undercutting the frenzied coverage the network has given the Russia investigation since its inception.

Special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report on Russian collusion to Attorney General Bill Barr on Friday, finally wrapping up a 22-month investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.  Click here to read entire report including clips from CNN news broadcasts. 

Comment: 

It really is laugh-a-minute stuff.  It’s hilarious watching the huge efforts of his enemies to try to bring about the downfall of President Trump. The news reporters here in the UK can barely conceal their disappointment that Mueller has, it seems obvious, vindicated the President of the core claim that he colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election.  His enemies are unlikely to give up, however.  They are still very much on his case.  Will they – thinkest thou – succeed?  Or is he, as indicated here enjoying some level of divine protection, not least as a result of his respect for Our Lady of Fatima?   

Without good books and spiritual reading, it will be morally impossible to save our souls. (St. Alphonsus Liguori)

 

For purchasing details, click on image…

But what sort of “good books” and “spiritual reading” will help us to save our souls?

 

I’ve heard young Catholics raving about Lord of the Rings as a great story and a marvellous means of understanding their Faith better. Here’s author J.R.R. Tolkien: “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.” [1] By design The Lord of the Rings is not a Christian allegory but rather an invented myth [2] about Christian and Catholic truths. As one commentator noted, giving a young person Lord of the Rings as a means of communicating essential truths of the Faith is to use the same method a mother uses to feed spinach to her baby – sneaking it in via the rivetting story!

If you can think of other non-fiction works to recommend – not just for the young but for us all, as wholesome as possible – let’s hear it…  

Without good books and spiritual reading, it will be morally impossible to save our souls. (St. Alphonsus Liguori)


There is an abundance of solid spiritual reading available;  given the state of the Church right now, however, it is wise to avoid contemporary writings and stick with the tried and tested classics written by great saints,  such as  The Sermons of St Alphonsus…  

for purchasing details, click on image…

For purchasing details click on image…

 

The Secret of the Rosary by St Louis De Montfort is another classic, which I’m currently re-reading – it never fails to inspire and edify – highly recommended, although I have to admit that not everyone finds it an easy read in the beginning – but  it’s worth persevering. I’ve heard it described as “transformative” – with good reason.  You can read it online by clicking on the  link above, at the name of the book.

 

 

For details of how to purchase a copy, click on image…

Another book which has transformed the spiritual lives of Catholics since its publication is St Thérèse of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul which, again, you can read online here

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Life of Christ by Fulton Sheen is another beautiful read; to quote the blurb on the back page of the complete and unabridged copy which describes the contents faithfully:  “With his customary insight and reverence, the author interprets the scripture and describes Christ not only in historical perspective but in exciting and contemporary terms;  he sees in Christ’s life modern parallels and timeless lessons. Sheen probes the hearts of many prominent New Testament figures – Joseph and Mary, Peter and the disciples, Herod, Pilate, et al – shedding new light on age-old events.  The whole adds up to a masterful study: a faithful blending of philosophy, history, and biblical exegesis.” 

For details of how to purchase a copy, click on image…  

 

 

Share your favourite spiritual reading with us in the comments below – not least reading that will inspire us to persevere during Lent… Now, there’s a challenge, folks!

 

17/3 St Patrick’s Day: Pray for Ireland

 

Comment: 

As always with devotional threads, feel free to post your favourite hymns, prayers, stories and jokes of the “good clean fun” variety.  Above all, however, please pray for Ireland today; the Faith has gone, and the state of both Irish politics and the Irish hierarchy appear to be in terminal decline.  So much so, that I feel the need to add the hymn to Our Lady of Knock, as we all, I hope, seek her intercession in prayer for that once great Catholic country, now among the (if not THE) most secular of all the nations in Europe.

 

A very happy St Patrick’s day to one and all! 

21/2: Vatican Summit on Clergy Sex Abuse – Mere Window Dressing?

Today, the Vatican summit begins, called supposedly to address the avalanche of scandals caused by priests and bishops abusing minors (or covering up abuse of minors.)

Trouble is, it’s not only minors who are being abused, but young men, including seminarians, and the conference organisers include Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago who is, shall we say, not to overstate the case, not the kind of person you’d leave in a room alone with a five pound/dollar note.   Archbishop Vigano – in his devastating testimony about the cover-up in the McCarrick case – writes of Cupich:  “…one cannot fail to note his ostentatious arrogance, and the insolence with which he denies the evidence that is now obvious to all: that 80% of the abuses found were committed against young adults by homosexuals who were in a relationship of authority over their victims. ” 

Let’s pray for a breakthrough at this summit over the next few days.  It really will take a miracle to penetrate the dark souls of those who are responsible, whether directly or indirectly, for this unthinkable physical and sexual abuse by priests and bishops.  Certainly, Archbishop Vigano believes that the Vatican is not genuinely seeking to end clerical child abuse and is, instead, determined to continue to cover up the real issue, which is the problem of  homosexual priests

Our Lady of Good Success pray for us!  Our Lady of Fatima pray for us!   

16/1 – Anniversary of Death of Mother Mariana, Victim Soul for our times

Editor writes:

Today, January, 16th, is the anniversary of the death of Mother Mariana, to whom Our Lady appeared over 300 years ago, and entrusted revelations about the crisis to come in the world and in the Church in the 20th century, asking her to be a victim soul for our times. 

The extract below, is taken from the website of Our Lady of Good Success, (Prophecies for Our Times)…

Prophetic revelations made to Venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres

This article is based on excerpts taken from the 18th Century manuscript entitled The Admirable Life of Mother Mariana of Jesus Torres, written by Prior Manuel de Souza Pereira, Franciscan Provincial in Quito, Ecuador and director of the Convent Mother Mariana founded. This manuscript was written a century after her death. Mother Mariana is linked mysteriously to our times by the visions Our Lady showed her of the 20th Century over 350 years ago. This apparition has been approved by the Church and Mother Mariana has been declared Venerable in the first step towards her canonization.

On January 16, 1635, surrounded by her community and her Franciscan confessors, Mother Mariana made a solemn profession of Faith, and then asked, as a last favor, to die on the ground, in imitation of her Seraphic Father, St. Francis. After receiving Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, she foretold the exact hour of her death: 3 p.m. Just before she died, she read her last will and testament, a moving testimony that gave her daughters inestimable advice about the religious life along with many prophecies concerning the order. At its end, she turned to the priests: “My fathers and sisters, the time has come for me to depart; recommend my soul to God with the appropriate prayers. I thank you for everything. Always, I beseech you, have this convent and your sisters in your care. I die, as I was born, joyously and peacefully in the arms of my mother, the Seraphic Order.” Two tears rolled down her cheek, she sighed, and with an angelic smile, that blessed soul left her body.

After death, her body remained flexible, her complexion rosy, and the charming smile on her face gave her every appearance of being alive. During the wake, the sight of a blind girl was restored when a flower from the crown that encircled Mother Mariana’s head was touched to her eyes.

In 1906, during the remodeling of the Convent, her three-century old tomb was opened. They discovered the body of Mother Mariana de Jesus whole and incorrupt, complete with her habit and the articles of penance that had been placed in the tomb with her. An exquisite aroma of lilies emanated from her whole body. Thus God preserves some of his saints who practice heroic virtue and maintain holy chastity in their earthly lives.

Mother Mariana possessed the gift of discernment of spirits, which Our Dear Lord so often gives to founders of religious orders. Since she could read the hearts of her daughters, she would comfort them, telling them how to progress in the spiritual life and explain how it was necessary to die to oneself in order to practice real virtue. She repeatedly warned them to guard the common life of the Convent and obey the Rule. When prayer and community life are wanting, she said, everything falls short, for the religious without prayer is like a soldier without arms in combat. She told them to be patient in their sicknesses, since illnesses are the best and most meritorious penances, which free souls from illusions, vanity and pride. She especially warned her daughters to guard against that “cursed human respect, which makes one ask: ‘What will others say about this?'” Instead, she counseled that they should guide their lives in the cloisters according to the norms of the Gospel
and ground themselves firmly on the strong foundation of humility.

Let us consider some of the revelations that Mother Mariana was blessed to receive from Our Lord and Our Lady. Click here to read more (scroll to ‘Prophecies’ for revelations about the crisis in Church and the world in our times.)

Comment: 

We’ve discussed the revelations of Our Lady of Good Success many times; indeed, we featured these prophecies on the front page of our November 2018 newsletter.  From time to time, we pause to remember them and to reflect on the way the truth of these prophecies is being revealed all the time in our modern world and in the Church.  We do so again, today, at the request of one of our bloggers, John, who emailed yesterday to say “Tomorrow is the anniversary of the death of Mother Mariana I wondered if you could promote this on your blog.  My sister and I went on a pilgrimage to Quito a few years ago and since then have had a deep devotion to Our Lady of Good Success.”

The increase in sexual deviancy, the direct attack on our very humanity represented by “transgenderism” and the defence of even the worst of these by Catholic priests and bishops should mean that these (and the Fatima warnings) should never be far from our minds.

The astonishing canonisations of the popes who could have called a halt to the dissent and scandals caused by priests and bishops, right up to and including the recent canonisation of the pope responsible for the horrific break with Tradition manifest in the introduction of a new Mass – Pope Paul VI – is – again – evidence of the truth of the Quito apparitions.  It is surely noteworthy that Rome was struck with flash floods and hail just one week after the Paul VI canonisation. Click here to see the photosand if you agree with the BBC that this was caused by a long spell of hot weather, I have a wee green man from outer space to whom I’d like to introduce you…

It seems incredible that the hierarchy continues to ignore these prophecies… Can you think of any other explanation other than my own best guess –  that they are suffering from spiritual blindness of the kind that accompanies living in a state of personal grave sin? 

27 November: The Story of St Catherine Laboure & The Miraculous Medal… 

Mother and Child
The sound of the evening Angelus bells floated across the fields and vineyards of Burgundy. It was the second day of the month of May in the year of Our Lord 1806. In the little village of Fain-les-Moutiers a child of destiny was coming into the world, a tiny instrument of God, who would one day be the confidante of the Queen of Heaven to usher in the age of Mary. Her name was Catherine Labouré, the ninth child of a family of eleven.

The following day, the Feast of the Finding of the True Cross, the small child was baptized. All her life she was to have a deep devotion to the Cross of Our Lord. It would not be long before she was to feel the weight of sacrifice with the death of her mother at the age of nine.

Early one morning shortly after her mother’s death, a family servant came silently upon the little one standing on her tiptoes, stretching upwards, impelled by love, until she reached the statue of the Blessed Virgin. As she held the statue in her arms and leaned her head against the Madonna, the servant heard the child say: “Now, dear Blessed Mother, now you will be my Mother!”

Catherine received her First Holy Communion at the age of eleven on January 25th, 1818. From that day on, she rose at four o’clock each morning and walked several miles to assist at Mass and to pray for grace and strength before the start of her day’s work. Her only desire now was to give herself without reserve to her dear Lord. Never was the thought of Him far from her mind.

By this time Catherine’s elder sister, Marie Louise, had left to join the Daughters of Charity, and the little girl who had always been obedient now had to direct and supervise the homestead. She looked after everything: she made the bread, cooked and did the housework, carried daily meals to the workmen in the fields and cared well for the animals.

A Daughter of Charity
Once, when she was in the village church, she saw a vision of an old priest saying Mass. After Mass the priest turned and beckoned to her with his finger, but she drew backwards, keeping her eyes on him. The vision moved to a sickroom where she saw the same priest, who said: “My child, it is a good deed to look after the sick; you run away from me now, but one day you will be glad to come to me. God has designs for you. Do not forget it!” At that time, of course, she did not understand the significance of the vision.

As is the European custom, Catherine’s father invited various suitors to seek her hand in marriage and always her reply was: “I shall never marry; I have promised my life to Jesus Christ.” She prayed, worked, and served the family well until she was twenty-two, when she asked her father’s permission to become a Daughter of Charity. He flatly refused, and to distract her, sent her to Paris to work in a coffee shop run by her brother Charles. During the entire year spent there, she maintained her resolve to become the bride of Christ.

Her aunt, Jeanne Gontard, came to Catherine’s aid and enrolled her in the finishing school she directed at Chatillon. Since Catherine was a country girl, she was miserable at this fashionable school. One day, while visiting the hospital of the Daughters of Charity, she noted a priest’s picture on the wall. She asked the nun who he might be, and was told: “Our Holy Founder, Saint Vincent de Paul.” This was the same priest Catherine had seen in the vision. Later, after much persuasion from her Aunt Jeanne, her father granted permission for Catherine to enter the convent.

In January of 1830 Catherine entered the hospice of the Daughters of Charity at Chatillon-sur-Seine. This was just after the Reign of Terror in France, where sacrileges were committed in the name of freedom. Licentious women danced on the main altar of Notre Dame. Even the body of St. Genevieve, the Patroness of France, was desecrated. Saint Vincent de Paul’s body had been hidden, but four days after Catherine’s entry into the Mother House, his remains were transferred back to his own church with joyous processions and ceremonies.

Shortly after her entrance, God was pleased to grant Catherine several extraordinary visions. On three consecutive days she beheld the heart of Saint Vincent each time under a different aspect. At other times she beheld Our Divine Lord during Mass, when He would appear as He was described in the liturgy of the day.   

First Apparition
In 1830 Catherine was blessed with the apparitions of Mary Immaculate to which we owe the Miraculous Medal. The first apparition came on the eve of the feast of St. Vincent, July 19. The mother superior had given each of the novices a piece of cloth from the holy founder’s surplice. Because of her extreme love, Catherine split her piece down the middle, swallowing half and placing the rest in her prayer book. She earnestly prayed to St. Vincent that she might, with her own eyes, see the Mother of God.

That night, a beautiful child awoke her from her sleep, saying: “Sister Labouré, come to the chapel; the Blessed Virgin is waiting for you.” When Catherine went to the chapel, she found it ablaze with lights as if prepared for Midnight Mass. Quietly, she knelt at the Communion rail, and suddenly heard the rustle of a silk dress. The Blessed Virgin, in a blaze of glory, sat in a chair like that of Saint Anne’s.


Catherine rose, then went over and knelt, resting her hands in the Virgin’s lap, and felt the Virgin’s arms around her, as she said: “God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will be contradicted, but do not fear; you will have the grace. Tell your spiritual director all that passes within you. Times are evil in France and in the world.”

A pained expression crossed the Virgin’s face. “Come to the foot of the altar. Graces will be shed on all, great and little, especially upon those who seek them. Another community of sisters will join the Rue du Bac community. The community will become large; you will have the protection of God and Saint Vincent; I will always have my eyes upon you.” (This prediction was fulfilled when, in 1849, Fr. Etienne received Saint Elizabeth Seton’s sisters of Emmitsburg, MD, into the Paris community. Mother Seton’s sisters became the foundation stone of the Sisters of Charity in the United States.)

Then, like a fading shadow, Our Lady was gone.

The Second Apparition
Four months passed until Our Lady returned to Rue du Bac. Here are Catherine’s own words describing the apparition:

“On the 27th of November, 1830 … while making my meditation in profound silence … I seemed to hear on the right hand side of the sanctuary something like the rustling of a silk dress. Glancing in that direction, I perceived the Blessed Virgin standing near St. Joseph’s picture. Her height was medium and Her countenance, indescribably beautiful. She was dressed in a robe the colour of the dawn, high-necked, with plain sleeves. Her head was covered with a white veil, which floated over Her shoulders down to her feet. Her feet rested upon a globe, or rather one half of a globe, for that was all that could be seen. Her hands which were on a level with Her waist, held in an easy manner another globe, a figure of the world. Her eyes were raised to Heaven, and Her countenance beamed with light as She offered the globe to Our Lord.  

“As I was busy contemplating Her, the Blessed Virgin fixed Her eyes upon me, and a voice said in the depths of my heart: ‘ This globe which you see represents the whole world, especially France, and each person in particular.’

“There now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame rather oval in shape on which were written in letters of gold these words: ‘ O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.’ Then a voice said to me: ‘ Have a medal struck upon this model. All those who wear it, when it is blessed, will receive great graces especially if they wear it round the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be in a special manner under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.’

“At the same instant, the oval frame seemed to turn around. Then I saw on the back of it the letter ‘M’, surmounted by a cross, with a crossbar beneath it, and under the monogram of the name of Mary, the Holy Hearts of Jesus and of His Mother; the first surrounded by a crown of thorns and the second trans-pierced by a sword. I was anxious to know what words must be placed on the reverse side of the medal and after many prayers, one day in meditation I seemed to hear a voice which said to me: ‘ The ‘M’ with the Cross and the two Hearts tell enough.’ “

“All who wear this medal will receive great graces . . .”

The Miraculous Medal
The Mother of God instructed Catherine that she was to go to her spiritual director, Father Aladel, about the apparitions. At first he did not believe Catherine, but, after two years, approached the Bishop of Paris with the story of the events that had taken place at Rue du Bac. Our Blessed Mother had chosen well Her time for the apparitions as the Bishop at that period was an ardent devotee of the Immaculate Conception. He said that the Medal was in complete conformity with the Church’s doctrine on the role of Our Lady and had no objections to having the medals struck at once. The Bishop even asked to be sent some of the first.

Immediately upon receiving them, he put one in his pocket and went to visit Monseigneur de Pradt, former chaplain to Napoleon and unlawful Archbishop of Mechlin who had accepted his office from the hands of the Emperor and now lay dying, defiant and unreconciled to the Church. The sick man refused to abjure his errors and the Bishop of Paris withdrew in defeat. He had not left the house when the dying man suddenly called him back, made his peace with the Church and gently passed away in the arms of the Archbishop, who was filled with a holy joy.

The original order of 20,000 medals proved to be but a small start. The new medals began to pour from the presses in streams inundating France and the rest of the world beyond. By the time of St. Catherine’s death in 1876, over a billion medals had been distributed in many lands. This sacramental from Heaven was at first called simply the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, but began to be known as the Miraculous Medal due to the unprecedented number of miracles, conversions, cures, and acts of protection attributed to Our Lady’s intercession for those who wore it.

In 1841, the most remarkable miracle occured – the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne, a wealthy Jewish banker and lawyer and also a blasphemer and hater of Catholicism. M. de Bussieres, gave him a medal, daring him to wear it and say a Memorare. After considerable persuasion he agreed to do so. Not long after, Alphonse accompanied M. de Bussieres to the Church of Sant’Andrea delle Frate to make funeral arrangements for a dear friend. There Alphonse saw a vision of Mary as on the Miraculous Medal. He was converted instantly and immediately begged for Baptism.

Alphonse Ratisbonne later went on to become a priest, taking the name of Father Alphonse Marie. Working for thirty years in the Holy Land, he established several institutions. Out of reverence and gratitude to Our Savior, he built the expiatory sanctuary of the Ecce Homo on the spot where Pilate displayed Jesus to the Jews. So great was the love he had for his people, that he dedicated the remainder of his life, as did his brother, Father Theodore, to work for the conversion of their immortal souls. Among the converts of these two priest brothers were a total of twenty eight members of their own family.

Conclusion
On the last day of 1876, St. Catherine passed to her eternal reward. For the forty-six years from the year of the apparitions until her death, only she and her confessor knew who it was to whom the famous Miraculous Medal was revealed, despite many pressures she received to reveal the secret. The years passed by, Catherine performed daily her mundane and very ordinary tasks of sewing and door keeping, unknown to the world around her, which was buzzing with the miraculous effects of the medal. Because of this humility, she is often called the Saint of Silence. When her body was exhumed for beatification 57 years after her death in 1933, it was found as fresh as the day it was buried. Her incorrupt body can still be seen today at the Mother House of the Daughters of Charity in The Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, 140 Rue du Bac in Paris.   Source

Comment: 

Share your stories about the miraculous medal, answers to prayers and favourite devotions, novenas etc.  

And a very happy Feast of the Miraculous Medal to one and all…