Sunday, June 28, 2009

great danger in worldly allurements

St Cyprian,—or whoever is the Author of that Treatise of the single life of tho Clergy,—says that, " the farther a man is from adversity, the less he feels it; and he that comes not where there is much pleasure, is less stirred to pleasure; and he that sees not riches, is less tempted with avarice. To me it seems too violent a thing for a man always to have his eye upon what is delightful, and pleasing, and still to strive and overcome himself in abstaining from it; and it cannot last long - for it is a saying received even among Philosophers, that no violent thing is lasting. We see and experience it daily by the combat we suffer in overcoming our appetite and delight in meat; if a variety of dainty dishes are set before us, they set such an edge upon our stomach, that we have some difficulty to keep within the limits of temperance and moderation. But if a man see not these things, it is then very easy to abstain; because the thought of the same things does not so much whet the appetite as the sight of them; and the same may be said of all other things ; for the nature of our desire and passion is the same, and the force of sense is alike in all. What St. Augustine in his confessions, relates of Alipius, expresses very clearly the great danger in worldly allurements; and St. Basil tells us, not only to bridle our inward passions and desires, but to avoid the meeting with such external things as are apt to inflame them, and so darken our judgment and understanding, as to raise trouble and tumult within us. For it is ill, but pardonable, to be overcome in a fight which another raises against our will; but to bring trouble voluntary upon ourselves, and to thrust ourselves upon mischief when we need not, scarce deserves either pardon or pity. From all this we may easily discover the danger of a secular, and see plainly the happiness of a Religious life; for as St. Macarius said, this general renunciation of all things, not only invites, but compels us to seek heavenly things; and, no doubt, that is the chief reason why Christ advises us to forsake our kindred, and to sell all, and give it to the poor; for knowing that the Devil uses these as instruments to draw us to earthly things, Our Redeemer bids us leave them all, that we may perforce seek heavenly things, and keep our hearts fixed upon God.

Origin and progress of religious orders, and Happiness of a religious state

By Fr. Hieronymus Platus

goods of this life are irksome to all spiritual men

For as St. Gregory avers, the goods of this life are irksome to all spiritual men, because they know they are a clog to their inward desires ; "our soul," he says, "can never be without some delight; for either it pleaseth itself in base and unworthy things, or in things high and worthy; and the more earnest it is in the prosecution of high delights, the more it loatheth the inferior; and the hotter it is upon the desire of the inferior, the more damnable is the cold tepidity, with which it goeth about the higher. These two loves cannot dwell in one heart: the corn of supernal charity cannot grow, where the thorns of base delight choke it."

pg. 112 of Origin and progress of religious orders, and Happiness of a religious state by Fr. Platus, S.J.

very little sleep and at short intervals, her prayer was scarcely interrupted.

“Thus she occupied twenty-four hours of her day. I say twenty-four hours, because taking as she did very little sleep and at short intervals, her prayer was scarcely interrupted. On awakening she immediately took it up where she had left off. She rose from bed without weariness or mental heaviness, and whoever might be present as she got up would have seen her sign herself devoutly with the crucifix that she always kept in her hand while sleeping, kiss it and then smile with heavenly grace. Making allusion to her nocturnal interviews with her Lord, she was once, when in ecstasy, heard to exclaim: "See, oh Jesus, even at night, those hours, those hours! I sleep, but Jesus, my heart does not sleep. It watches with Thee at all hours."
Thus, by talking to God throughout the day, we see that Gemma kept herself continually united with God.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Not looking at the mirror

Spiritual Bouquet: Everyone who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother or wife, or children, or lands, for My Name's sake and for the Gospel's sake, shall receive now in the present time a hundredfold -- along with persecutions, and in the age to come life everlasting. St. Matthew 19:29/St. Mark 10:29-30

Saint Juliana Falconieri


Saint Juliana Falconieri was born in 1270, in answer to prayer. Her father was the builder of the splendid church of the Annunziata in Florence, while her uncle, Saint Alexis Falconieri, became one of the seven Founders of the Servite Order. Under his surveillance Juliana grew up “more like an angel than a human being,” as he said. Her great modesty was remarkable; never during her entire lifetime did she look at her reflection in a mirror. The mere mention of sin made her shudder and tremble, and once, on hearing of a scandal, she fainted.

[Similar example of St. Gemma Galgani: As she advanced in years, her love of the angelic virtue of purity and her desire to preserve it without spot grew with her. This was a special object of her mortifications, penances and the custody of her senses. It seemed to her that any liberty, however innocent and insignificant it may be, might discolor this beautiful flower, and so as to avoid this she took every precaution. She never went near a mirror, not even to do her hair or wipe away the stains of blood that flowed from her forehead when crowned with mystic thorns, or to wipe the blood from her eyes during her dolorous contemplation. And when during impulses of Divine love, her heart took fire and burned the corresponding exterior part of her skin, and when by a dart of fire from the side of Jesus Crucified she felt a large wound open in her side; and when her heart itself by its mysterious throbbings greatly distorted and curved three of her ribs, although ignoring at first what such phenomena meant, she refrained from looking at or touching herself, and never did so on the frequent renewal of these various wonders. ]

Her devotion to the sorrows of Our Lady drew her to the Servants of Mary or Servite Order, and at the age of fourteen, after refusing an offer of marriage, she received the habit from Saint Philip Benizi, General of the Order. Her sanctity attracted many novices, for whose direction she was bidden to draw up a rule, and thus she became foundress of the Mantellate.

She was the servant of her Sisters rather than their mistress, while outside her convent she led a life of apostolic charity, converting sinners, reconciling enemies, and healing the sick. She was sometimes rapt for whole days in ecstasy, and her prayers saved the Servite Order when it was in danger of being suppressed.

Saint Juliana in her old age suffered various painful illnesses. She was wasting away through a disease of the stomach which prevented her taking food, and bore her silent agony with constant cheerfulness, grieving only for the privation of Holy Communion. At last, when in her seventieth year she was at the point of death, she begged to be allowed once more to see and adore the Blessed Sacrament. It was brought to her cell and reverently laid on a corporal, which was placed over her heart. At this moment she expired, and the Sacred Host disappeared. After her death the form of the Host was found stamped upon her heart, at the exact spot over which the Blessed Sacrament had been placed. Saint Juliana died in her convent in Florence in 1340. Miracles have been frequently effected through her intercession.

Reflection. “Meditate often,” says Saint Paul of the Cross, “on the sorrows of the Blessed Mother, sorrows inseparable from those of Her beloved Son. If you seek the Cross, there you will find the Mother; and where the Mother is, there also is the Son.”

Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

Sacred and Immaculate Hearts

Sacred and Immaculate Hearts

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Pillar of Scourging of Our Lord JESUS

Pillar of Scourging of Our Lord JESUS

Shroud of Turin

Shroud of Turin