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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Happy Feast of St. Jane de Chantal

Today we honor our Foundress, St Jane de Chantal.  While her life is not as well known as our Holy Father Francis de Sales, she was a woman of great love.  Living as wife, mother, widow, and religious, she is able to understand the crosses and joys of many states of life.

One of the most remarkable aspects of her holy life was her spiritual darkness which lasted for 42 years and was unknown to all except her spiritual directors (St. Francis de Sales and St. Vincent de Paul).  A few of her sisters also received hints of this darkness in her correspondence, but most found her to be a model of joy and peace.

Let us follow her today as we pray her Act of Abandonment:

0 sovereign goodness of the sovereign Providence of my God! 

I abandon myself forever to Thy arms. 
Whether gentle or severe, 
lead me henceforth whither Thou wilt; 
I will not regard the way through which Thou wilt have me pass, 
but keep my eyes fixed upon Thee,
my God, who guidest me. 
My soul finds no rest without the arms 
and the bosom of this heavenly Providence, 
my true Mother, my strength and my rampart. 

Therefore I resolve with Thy Divine assistance, 
0 my Saviour, 
to follow Thy desires and Thy ordinances, 
without regarding or examining why Thou dost this rather than that; 
but I will blindly follow Thee 
according to Thy Divine will, 
without seeking my own inclinations. 

Hence I am determined to leave all to Thee, 
taking no part therein save by keeping myself in peace in Thy arms, 
desiring nothing except as Thou incitest me to desire, 
to will, to wish. 
I offer Thee this desire, 0 my God, 
beseeching Thee to bless it; 
I undertake all it includes, 
relying on Thy goodness, 
liberality, and mercy, 
with entire confidence in Thee, 
distrust of myself, 
and knowledge of my infinite misery and infirmity. 


Friday, March 16, 2018

Top 5 Ways to Sanctify the Snow

Need Help sanctifying that overabundance of snow?  We have a few suggestions:

#5 Pray for the elderly, especially religious

#4 Beg the Lord for more Priests 

#3 Pray for Sinners May they go to Confession and have souls white as snow!

#2 Call forth the 9 Choirs of Angels for some Spiritual Assistance

And the # 1 way to sanctify the snow...

Immerse all cold and hardened hearts into the Heart of Christ that they may be transformed into His! 

God be Praised!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My God, My God, Why Have you Abandoned me?

In college, we often gathered in the Alacoque house to share spiritual reflections.  One of our Lenten favorites was to listen to the reading of the Passion.  When we came to the phrase, “Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani”, there was always a deeper silence, reverence and emphasis.  Something about it caught us, entranced us in this mystery.  Here was Jesus, Son of God, God Himself crying out to the Father, to God, that He was abandoned.  Many times we spoke of the deeper mystery behind this utterance of the Lord, but the question still remained, why?

When I scanned the titles of Lenten reading material, The Cry of Jesus on the Cross by Gerard Rosse caught my attention.  An entire book on this cry from our Lord.  While much of the book was admittedly over my head and very highly philosophical and theological, the last chapter caught my attention.  In this chapter, the author speaks of the richness of this phrase from the point of view of relationship.  The relationship of the Father with the Son and the Holy Spirit.  How is this relationship enlightened by this phrase?

 “Only on the cross is the being of God revealed to us at its deepest roots, i.e., this absolute freedom … to the point of death.” (quoting H. Shurmann p132)

This simple idea is well known to us and yet it is very hard to grasp and understand.  What does that mean?  On the Cross, His love revealed, this total gift of self, and the Father received this gift on our behalf.   The Father receives the total gift of the Son so why does Jesus have to feel abandoned?  Isn’t the act of dying enough? 

As I read further the deeper mystery began to become slightly clearer:  Not only is the Son “abandoned” but the Father shares in this abandonment.  By uttering this phrase and by the lack of response of the Father, those who look on may also presume that the Father has truly abandoned the Son.  What good father, seeing his child in danger, and, able to rescue him, allows the child to fall and to be injured?  Therefore, there is a reality that “the Father also abandons Himself through His silence (i.e., He exposes Himself to misunderstanding)”. (p131) So the Son feels abandoned and is left without help and the Father allows this help to be absent exposing Himself also to ridicule and abandonment through misunderstanding. 

But why?  What is the purpose for this double abandonment and this permitted misunderstanding.  For Jesus, we know He is called to die for our sins.  To offer Himself as a total gift to the Father in atonement for all the times we have failed to offer ourselves as total gift and the times we have failed to offer at all, even turning our backs and choosing to take instead of to give.  In order for this gift to be total and complete, it must be wholly free. 

When Jesus offers His body to be beaten and whipped, His reputation to be slandered and defiled, His friendships to be lost and broken, He still has that one solid relationship with which to hold on:  the relationship with the Father.  This too must be given so that there is a total emptying.  A total self-gift.  If this relationship were permitted to remain as one that is felt and experienced, then there would be something left to hang onto.  This bond with the Father is the strongest bond that Jesus has.  It is part of who He is… the Son.  If this were permitted to remain, then the suffering of Jesus and His offering, while done in total love would not be a complete gift, for there would be something for Jesus to hold onto, something pouring into Him and preventing that total out-pouring which He so desired to give.

Yes, He desires to give this.  God, in this act reveals the total self-gift which is the “deepest root” of His being.
“The extremes of abandonment to which this perfect servant of God is reduced reveal as its raison d’etre another abandonment, that of the Father who delivers Himself to us in the One whom He delivers to us” (p133)

Yes, here is the heart.  Jesus is given to us by the Father in the Incarnation, but we fail to understand just what this gift is.  Who this gift is.  Throughout His ministry, Jesus continues to try to help us, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” (Jn 14:9) But we lack understanding and so in this final act, He show us.  Jesus seems to be saying:
 I give myself so fully, that I give even that intimate relationship with My Father as part of this outpouring, part of this gift of love, part of this total self-gift.  And this gift is for you!  It is My Father’s will not just that I come to be among you for a short time, not just that I heal the sick and cast our demons, but that the Father is poured out on you.  That my relationship, my total immersion in the Father can also be yours!  Yes, I freely choose this abandonment and the lack of feeling so that this gift can be given.  I abandon myself, my wants, needs, desires, feelings, love so that you, my children, my brothers and sisters, may have it.

The love of Jesus and the love of the Father have need of this abandonment so that the outpouring of the Father into us and the outpouring of the Son for us is complete and has no strings attached.  For no one can say, “Ah, but it was easy for Jesus to carry the cross and die because He was still in that state of love with the Father which makes all things easy.” No, Jesus offered Himself with such radical totality, that He offered also that intimate relationship with the Father for us.

In reflecting on this, the point began to hit home.  Those days when all seems to be gone.  You have no feeling, no desire, no love.  Can you still do what you are asked to do?  Can you still act in total gift to your family, your community, your God?  Or, do you hope for a word of encouragement, an act of kindness, a feeling of consolation?  This is where our love has the opportunity for free giving.  When nothing makes sense, there are no joys felt or experienced, yet we continue to go on and to give of ourselves.  In those moments we reflect the total giving which is the very relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Lenten Surprises

Are you still struggling to figure out just how to really make Lent better?  How can we most profit from this season of graces?  Sometimes what we plan and what the Lord asks are two different things.  

This lent has been full of surprises and, while I still feel I am sort of drifting, I want to share with you a beautiful story of how the Lord uses us even in our drifting moments. 

As many of you know, I am responsible for the upkeep of the website for the Guard of Honor.  This Association stems from the very heart of our charism to spread devotion and make reparation to the Sacred Heart.  Each member chooses an hour to dedicate to the Lord every day.  While they do not change their external activities, they are actively placing themselves at the foot of the Cross and consoling Jesus through whatever they must do at that time.  

There have been a great number of holy men and women, Saints and Blesseds who have been members of the Guard of Honor and found great strength in this practice.  It was my hope to write articles and place short bios of them onto our website…. But the Lord had other plans.  

After a few months of this goal sitting on the back shelf of my heart, I finally admitted that I couldn’t do it.  I needed help.  Within 36 hours of sending out a call for help to our members, every holy member of the past had a current member ready to research and write their story!  

The most telling gift came when one of our members sent an article she had been reading just hours before I sent out my cry for help….

“On February 27, 1884, an anarchist broke into the convent garden of La Servianne at Marseilles, rushed upon the superior, Mother Marie of Jesus, and her attendant and fired five pistol shots at them, wounding them both mortally.  The Superior fell covered with blood.  ‘I forgive him.  All for the cause’ were her last and only words.”

The date… February 27!  This was the day I sent out my cry for help!  This holy religious was the first Zealatrix (promoter) of the Guard of Honor!  She still promotes and encourages from her heavenly home.  May we all have the grace this lent to follow those little inspirations and even to ask for help so that His will can be made known and followed!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Happy Feast of St. John Paul II!

To celebrate, I want to share with you a reflection for Our Holy Sainted Father on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, taken from the Angelus reflections on the Litany to the Sacred Heart.

 Angelus, Sunday 9 July 1989:

"'Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God, have mercy on us.' The expression 'Heart of Jesus' immediately calls to mind the humanity of Christ, and emphasizes the richness of his feelings, his compassion towards the sick; his preference for the poor; his mercy towards sinners; his tenderness towards children; his strength in denouncing hypocrisy, pride, violence; his meekness in front of his opponents; his zeal for the glory of the Father and his jubilation in the mysterious and providential workings of grace.

With reference to the facts of the Passion, the expression “Heart of Jesus” then draws out the sadness of Christ at the betrayal by Judas, the discouragement of his loneliness, his agony before death, his filial and obedient abandonment into the hands of the Father. And it speaks above all of the love which flows unceasingly from within him: infinite love towards the Father and love without limits towards man.

Now, this Heart so humanly rich, “is united – the Litany reminds us – to the Person of the Word of God”. Jesus is the Word of God incarnate; in him there is only one person – the eternal person of the word - subsisting in two natures, the divine and the human. Jesus is one, in the indivisible reality of his being and is, at the same time, perfect in his divinity, perfect in our humanity; he is equal to the Father, in all that concerns his divine nature, equal to us, with regard to human nature; true Son of God and true Son of man. The Heart of Jesus then, from the moment of the Incarnation, has been and always will be united to the Person of the Word of God.

Through the union of the Heart of Jesus to the Person of the Word of God we can say: in Jesus, God loves humanly, suffers humanly, rejoices humanly. And vice versa: in Jesus, human love, human suffering, human glory acquire divine intensity and power.

Gathered, dear brothers and sisters, for the prayer of the Angelus, let us contemplate with Mary the Heart of Jesus. The Virgin lived in faith, day after day, next to her Son Jesus: she knew that the flesh of her Son had flourished in her virginal womb; but she knew that because he was “the Son of the Most High" (Lk 1, 32), he infinitely transcended her: the Heart of her Son was, in fact, “united to the Person of the Word”. Hence she loved him as her Son and, at the same time, adored him as her Lord and God. May she grant us also to love and adore Christ, God and man, above all things, “with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind”. In this way, following her example, we will be the object of the divine and human predilections of the heart of her Son." 

 (cited from