Category Archives: Prayers

Prayer/Meditation (and subsequent chapters)

The following excerpts are from a book entitled The Spiritual Combat. By Lorenzo Scupoli. A book that subsequently, St. Francis de Sales carried with him for 18 years!


PRAYER
WE HAVE SHOWN that distrustfulness of self, confidence in God, and proper application of the faculties of the soul are the indispensable weapons of conquest in the spiritual combat. Yet a far more important weapon is prayer, since by it are obtained, not only the above-specified virtues, but everything requisite for our salvation. Prayer is the channel of all Divine grace; by it God is compelled, as it were, to grant us the strength of Heaven, and destroy by our weak hands the fiercest of our foes. But in order to receive full benefit from our prayer, the following method should be observed:
1. We must desire sincerely to serve God with ardent fervor in the manner most agreeable to Him; and this desire will be enkindled within our breasts if we consider three things attentively. The first is that Almighty God deserves our homage and service by reason of the excellence of His sovereign being, His goodness, beauty, wisdom, power, and His ineffable, infinite perfection. The second is that God in Heaven became man on earth to consecrate a life of thirty-three years to the cause of our salvation. He condescended to dress our wounds with His own hands, and heal them, not with oil and wine, but with His own precious blood and immaculate body, torn and disfigured by cruel whips, thorns, and nails. The third point is our realization of the obligation to observe His law, and discharge every duty, since this is the only way we can expect to triumph over the devil, to become masters of ourselves, and children of God.

2. We must have a vibrant, living faith and a firm confidence that God will not refuse the assistance necessary to serve Him faithfully and work out our salvation. A soul rekindled with this holy confidence is like a sacred vessel, into which Divine Mercy pours the treasures of His grace; and the larger the vessel, the greater the abundance of Heavenly blessings it receives through prayer. For how can God, Whose power is limitless, and Whose goodness is alien to all deception, ever refuse His gifts to those whose petitions He has encouraged, and whose perseverance and faith He has promised to reward with the blessings of the Holy Spirit?

3. But our motive for prayer must be the will of God rather than the will of self. We must apply ourselves to this divinely appointed duty because He has commanded it, and we must wish no more than that which is in utter conformity to God’s plan. Thus, our intention will not be to make the Divine will subservient to our own, but rather, to transform the human will so that it is in complete harmony with the Divine. The reason for this humble accedence to the Divine will is the perversity of our own, tainted as it is with a blind self-love. Guided by ourselves alone, we would err and stumble, but the will of God, essentially just and holy, cannot be mistaken. Thus the will of God should be the will of men, since not to follow the former is to go astray. Let us, then, be most solicitous that all our petitions be agreeable to God, and if doubts arise concerning the concurrence of the human with the Divine, let a humble submission to Divine Providence accompany our requests. If, however, the things we ask are, by their very nature, pleasing to Him, such as grace, virtue, etc., then let us beg them with a view to pleasing and serving His Divine Majesty, rather than for any other consideration, however creditable.

4. If we wish our prayers to be efficacious, our actions must suit the petitions, and we must exert much energy in making ourselves worthy of the favors we ask. For prayer and interior mortification are inseparable, and he that seeks a particular virtue, without making a serious effort to practice it, only tempts God.

5. Before we ask anything of God, we ought to thank Him most humbly for the innumerable benefits He has graciously bestowed upon us. Let us say to Him: “O Lord, Who after creating me, didst mercifully pay the price of my redemption, delivering me from the fury of myriad enemies, come now to my assistance; and forgetting my past ingratitude, bestow upon me this favor I now ask.” If, however, at the very time we seek to attain a particular virtue, we find ourselves tempted to the contrary vice, let us thank God for granting us the opportunity of practicing the virtue in question, and look upon the occasion as a favor.

6. As the entire force and efficacy of prayer is attributed solely to the goodness of God, at the conclusion of our petitions we should constantly remember the merits of our Savior’s life and passion, and His promise to graciously hear our requests, with one or the other of these sentences:

A) “I beseech Thee, O Lord, through Thy infinite mercy, to grant my petition.”

B) “Through the merits of Thy Son, bestow this favor on me.”

C) “Be mindful, O God, of Thy promises, and hear my prayers.” Again, we may have recourse to the intercession of the blessed Mother and the other Saints; for they prevail much with God, Who is pleased to honor them, in proportion to the honor they accorded Him on earth.

7. We must persist in prayer, since God certainly cannot overlook our humble perseverance. For if the pleadings of the widow in the Gospel prevailed with the wicked judge, how can our pleadings be ignored by God, Who is infinitely good? Thus, although our favors may not be immediately granted, and may even appear to be ignored by God, we must not lose our confidence in His infinite goodness, nor desist from prayer. For God possesses both immense power and will to grant us those things conducive to our ultimate welfare. Therefore, if we are not wanting in ourselves, we shall inevitably obtain what we ask for, something better, or perhaps both. As for the rest, the more we churlishly think ourselves slighted by God, the more we should hold ourselves in contempt. But in considering our misery, we should contemplate the Divine mercy, and far from lessening our confidence in Him, we must increase it; for the steadier we remain in situations attended by fear and diffidence, the greater will be our merit. Finally, let us never cease to thank God, blessing equally His wisdom, His goodness, His charity, whether He grants or refuses our petition. Whatever happens, let us be undisturbed, contented and resigned to divine Providence in all things. 

MENTAL PRAYER

MENTAL PRAYER is the elevation of our minds to God, asking of Him either expressly or tacitly those things of which we stand in need. We ask for them expressly when we say in our hearts: “O my God, grant me this request for the honor of Thy holy name”; or “Lord, I am firmly convinced that this petition is Thy will, and for Thy greater honor, I ask this petition. Accomplish, therefore, Thy Divine will in me.” When harassed by the attacks of the enemy, let us say: “Come swiftly, O Lord, to my assistance lest I fall a prey to my enemy”; or “O God, my refuge and my strength, help me speedily, lest I perish.” When temptation continues, we must continue the same prayer, courageously resisting the foe; and when the fury of the combat has passed, let us address ourselves to the Almighty, imploring Him to consider our weakness in the face of the enemy’s strength: “Behold, my God, Thy creature, the work of Thy hands, a man redeemed by Thy precious blood. And behold Satan trying to carry him from Thee to utterly destroy him. It is to Thee I fly for aid, and it is in Thee that I place my entire confidence, for I know that Thou alone art infinitely good and powerful. Have pity on a miserable creature who stumbles blindly, though willfully, into the path of his enemies, as do all who forsake the assistance of Thy grace. Help me therefore, my only hope, O sole strength of my soul!” We tacitly ask favors of God when we present to Him our necessities, without making any particular request. Placing ourselves in His Divine presence, we acknowledge our incapacity to avoid evil or do good without His aid. We are nevertheless inflamed with a desire of serving Him. Thus we must fix our eyes upon Him, waiting for His assistance with unbounded confidence and utter humility. 

The confession of our weakness and the desire to serve Him, this act of faith so performed, is a silent prayer which will infallibly obtain our request from Heaven. The more sincere the confession, the more ardent the desire, and the more lively the faith, the greater will be the efficacy of the prayer before the throne of God. There is another method of prayer similar to this, but more concise, consisting as it does in but a single act of the soul. The soul presents her requests to the Almighty, adverting to a favor already asked and still sought, although not formally expressed. Let us endeavor to cultivate this kind of prayer, and employ it on all occasions; for experience will convince us that nothing is more easy, yet nothing more excellent and efficacious.

MEDITATION

WHEN A CONSIDERABLE length of time is to be spent in prayer, it is advisable to make a meditation on some feature of our Savior’s life or passion; the reflections naturally arising from such meditation should then be applied to the particular virtue we are striving to attain. If, for instance, you need patience, contemplate the mystery of your Savior scourged at the pillar.

Consider first the blows and revilements hurled at Him by the soldiers as they brutally drag their innocent victim to the appointed place as ordered.

Secondly, consider Him stripped of His garments, exposed to the piercing cold. 

Thirdly, picture those innocent hands, bound tightly to the pillar.

Fourthly, consider His body, torn with whips until His blood moistened the earth. And finally, envision the frequency of the blows, creating new wounds, reopening others on that sacred body. Dwelling on these or similar details, calculated to inspire in you a love of patience, you should try to feel within your very soul the inexpressible anguish so patiently borne by your Divine Master.

Then consider the excruciating agony of His spirit, and the patience and mildness with which that agony was endured by Him Who was ready to suffer even more for God’s glory and your welfare. Behold, then, your Master, covered with blood, desiring nothing more earnestly than your patient acceptance of affliction; and be assured that He implores for you the assistance of the Heavenly Father that you may bear with resignation, not only the cross of the moment, but the crosses to come. Strengthen, therefore, by frequent acts your resolution to suffer, with joy; and, raising your mind to Heaven, give thanks to the Father of mercies, Who didst send His only Son into this world to suffer indescribable torments, and to intercede for you in your necessities. Conclude your meditation by beseeching Him to grant you the virtue of patience, through the merits and intercession of this beloved Son in Whom He is well pleased.

ANOTHER METHOD OF MEDITATION

THERE IS ANOTHER method of prayer and meditation besides the one to which we have adverted. In this latter method, having considered the poignant sufferings of your Savior and His patient endurance of them, you proceed to two other considerations of equal importance. The one is the consideration of Christ’s infinite merits, and the other, of that satisfaction and glory which the eternal Father received from His obedience—an obedience unto death, even the death of the Cross. You must represent these two considerations to the Divine Majesty, as two powerful means of obtaining the grace you seek. This method is applicable, not only to all the mysteries of Our Lord’s passion, but to every exterior or interior act He performed in the course of His passion.
A METHOD OF PRAYER BASED ON THE INTERCESSION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN

BESIDES THE METHODS of meditation already mentioned, there is another which is addressed particularly to the Blessed Virgin. We first consider the eternal Father, then Jesus Christ Our Lord, and finally, the Blessed Mother. With regard to the eternal Father, there are two considerations. The first is the singular affection He cherished from all eternity for this most chaste Virgin whom He chose to be the mother of His Divine Son. The second is the eminent sanctity He was pleased to bestow upon her and the many virtues she practiced in her lifetime. 

Meditating on the affection of the eternal Father for our Lady, you must begin by raising your mind above all created beings; look forward to the vast expanses of eternity, enter into the heart of God, and see with what delight He viewed the person destined one day to become the mother of His Son; beseech Him by that delight to give you sufficient strength against your enemies, especially those who most grievously afflict you. Contemplate, then, the virtues and heroic actions of this incomparable Virgin; make an offering of each or all of them to God, as they are of such efficacy as to obtain for you divine assistance in your particular necessities. 

After this address yourself to Jesus, begging Him to be mindful of that loving mother who for nine months carried Him in her womb, and from the moment of His birth paid Him the most profound adoration. For this was her acknowledgment that this Child was at once God and man, her Creator and her Son. With compassion she saw Him poorly accommodated in a humble stable, nourished Him with her pure milk, kissed and embraced Him a thousand times with maternal fondness, and through His life and at His death, suffered for Him beyond expression. Present this picture to the Savior, that He may be compelled, as it were, by such powerful motives, to hear your prayers. Appeal to the Blessed Virgin herself, reminding her of her commission from all eternity, to be the Mother of Mercy and the refuge of sinners, and that after her divine Son, you place your greatest confidence in her intercession. Present to her the fact, asserted by the learned and confirmed by miracles, that no one ever called upon her with a lively faith, and was left unaided. Finally, remind her of the sufferings of her Son for your salvation, that she may obtain of Him the grace necessary to make proper use of His sufferings for the greater glory of that loving Savior.

God Bless BJS!!

Uniformity of God’s Will and the Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ

St. Alphonsus de Ligouri

O Jesus, my love, I am determined to love Thee as much as I can, and I wish to become a Saint; and I wish to become a Saint for this reason, in order to give Thee pleasure, and to love Thee exceedingly in this life and the next!

I can do nothing of myself, but Thou canst do all things; and I know that Thou wishest me to become a Saint. I see already that by Thy grace my soul sighs only for Thee, and seeks nothing else but Thee. I wish to live no more for myself; Thou desirest me to be wholly Thine, and I desire to be wholly Thine.

Come, and unite me to Thyself, and Thyself to me. Thou art infinite goodness; Thou art He Who hast loved me so much; Thou art, indeed, too loving and too lovely; how, then, can I love anything but Thee? I prefer Thy love before all the things of this world; Thou art the sole object, the sole end of all my affections.

I leave all to be occupied solely in loving Thee, my Redeemer, my Comforter, my hope, my love, and my all. I will not despair of becoming a Saint on account of the sins of my past life; for I know, my Jesus, that Thou didst die in order to pardon the truly penitent. I love Thee now with my whole heart, with my whole soul; I love Thee more than myself, and I bewail, above every other evil, ever having had the misfortune to despise Thee, my sovereign good.

Now I am no longer my own. I am Thine; O God of my heart, dispose of me as Thou pleasest. In order to please Thee, I accept of all the tribulations Thou mayest choose to send me—–sickness, sorrow, troubles, ignominies, poverty, persecution, desolation—–I accept all to please Thee: in like manner I accept of the death Thou hast decreed for me, with all the anguish and crosses which may accompany it: it is enough if Thou grantest me the grace to love Thee exceedingly.

Lend me Thy assistance; give me strength henceforth to compensate, by my love, for all the bitterness that I have caused Thee in past time, O only love of my soul!
O Queen of Heaven, O Mother of God, O great advocate of sinners, I trust in thee!

Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

O my Jesus, You have said: “Truly I say to you, ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of… (state intention) Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be; Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee.

O my Jesus, You have said: “Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in My name, He will give it to you.” Behold, in Your name, I ask the Father for the grace of…Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be; Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee.

O my Jesus, You have said: “Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but My words will not pass away.” Encouraged by Your infallible words I now ask for the grace of…Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be; Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for Whom It is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of You, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Your tender Mother and ours. Say the Hail, Holy Queen and add: St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.

This Novena prayer was recited every day by Saint Padre Pio for all those who asked his prayers. The faithful are invited to recite it daily, so as to be spiritually united with the prayer of Saint Padre Pio.

In a letter, Sister Lucy of Fatima wrote the following:
“About the other questions, if it will be convenient to insist in order to obtain the Consecration of Russia…

Intimately I have spoken to Our Lord about the subject and not too long ago I asked Him why He would not convert Russia without the Holy Father making the consecration. (He replied) ‘Because i want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary so that it may extend its cult later on and put the devotion to the Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.'”

Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

St. Athanasius Church, Vienna, Virginia (USA) May 12, 2017

Most Holy Mother of God, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Seat of Mercy, Seat of Goodness, Seat of Pardon, sure door by which souls are to enter Heaven, see on their knees before you four sons of Archbishop Lefebvre, four bishops striving to do what they can to help you to obtain from the Pope and bishops of your Divine Son’s one true Church that Consecration of Russia to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart which can alone obtain peace for mankind, now in the shadow of a frightful third World War.
In Fatima, Portugal, one hundred years ago, you first warned mankind of the Second World War to come, of famine and persecutions, if people would not cease offending God. To prevent these disasters, you promised to return to ask for the Consecration of Russia to your Immaculate Heart, and for the Communion of Reparation of First Saturdays. If your requests were heeded, Russia would be converted, and there would be peace. If not, disasters would follow and Russia would spread its errors throughout the world. Twelve years later you returned as you had promised, and you made the double request.
However, trusting in human means to solve the Church’s grave problems, the Catholic churchmen did not immediately do what you had requested. Two years later your Divine Son Himself warned mankind through Sister Lucy of Fatima, that since His ministers were delaying to carry out His command, they would suffer grave consequences: Russia would spread its errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church, and the Pope would suffer greatly. Still the Pope perferres his human means of dealing with Russia.
In 1936 Our Lord explained to Sister Lucy that Russia’s conversion depended upon its consecration to your Immaculate Heart because He wanted the whole Church to recognize that, that conversion was a triumph of your Heart, so that devotion to your Heart would rank alongside devotion to His own Sacred Heart.

Still the churchmen hesitated, so that in 1939 the terrible Second World War broke out, and all over the world Communism extended its power. Immediately after the war your pilgrim statues of Fatima had great success, but still the churchmen would not do exactly as you had requested, and so in 1957 before Sister Lucy was silenced by the churchmen, she expressed your own sadness that neither good people nor bad people had paid attention to the message of Fatima. You said that the good people gave it no importance, while the bad cared nothing about it. But you warned us once more that a terrible punishment was imminent.
Just three years later that punishment began with the churchmen’s refusal to make public the third part of your Secret message of Fatima, which you had asked them to publish at the latest in 1960. By an almost unpardonable lie they pretended that you had told them, that from 1960 onwards they might publish it, and this effort of theirs to stifle your message of Fatima has continued ever since, culminating in the year 2000. But you have never given up your attempts to save us, while the churchmen were even mire severely punished by the blindness which overwhelmed them at the Second Vatican Council. In the third part of the Secret it is most likely that you had warned against exactly the errors which prevailed at that Council. And now the entire Church is in darkness, and the world is in the brink of the third and most terrible World War.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, most Holy Mother of God, we cry to you in our distress. Help of Christians, Refugee of Sinners, Comforter of the Afflicted we trust in you. Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, Mother of the Church, we implore your most loving, maternal and Immaculate Heart to have mercy upon us poor sinners, your children; hear and answer our plea. We beg of you to obtain from your Divine Son, the graces necessary for the Holy Father and the bishops to fulfill without further delay the long standing-command of Heaven, by consecrating with the bishops of the entire world, Holy Russia to your Immaculate Heart, as was requested and in the manner requested by you, on behalf of the Most Holy Trinity so long ago, and which has yet to be accomplished. 
Immaculate Heart of Mary, you know-how much suffering mankind would have avoided over the last ninety years if only one of the Popes during that time had heeded your request for the Consecration of Russia. Mother of God, you had heeded your request for the Consecration of Russia. Mother of God, you and your Divine Son alone know what a frightful chastisement is now hanging over the heads of mankind if the Popes, for whatever inadequate human reasons, still refuse your request. If it depends upon them, they are liable to prevaricate, although you told us one hundred years ago how much that would make them suffer. Mother of God, your Divine Son can refuse you nothing that you ask of Him. He wishes the Consecration to depend on you, because He wishes your Immaculate Heart to be honored a the source of the Consecration’s triumph. Holy Mother of God, most humbly upon our knees we beg of you to obtainthose graces needed by the Pope to perform the Consecration. 
Meanwhile before you here today, we command, we entrust, and we do whatever lies within our power, to consecrate Russia to your Immaculate Heart, not because we can remotely take the place of the Pope and the bishops of the whole world, but because we wish to honor your requests as far as we can. If only Holy Russia became Catholic once more, the Eastern Church might resurrect the Western Church, presently devasted by materialism and atheism. Mother of God, we commend our own selves also to your protect ton and to your all-powerful intercession with Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings, but who is at the same time a Son who infinitely loves His Mother, and will do anything she asks. Beloved and Blessed Mother, we have not a shadow of doubt that in the end your Immaculate Heart will triumph.

Suffering 

How to Make the Greatest Evil in Our Lives Our Greatest Happiness

by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.

Suffering is the great problem of human life. We all have to suffer. Sometimes small sorrows, sometimes greater ones fall to our share. We shall now tell our readers how to avoid much of this suffering, how to lessen all suffering and how to derive great benefits from every suffering we may have to bear. The reason why suffering appears so hard is that, first of all, we are not taught what suffering is. Secondly, we are not taught how to bear it. Thirdly, we are not taught the priceless value of suffering. This is due to the incomprehensible neglect on the part of our teachers. It is surprising how easily some people bear great sufferings; whereas, others get excited even at the smallest trouble. The simple reason is that some have been taught all about suffering; others have not.

SUFFERING IS NOT THE EVIL WE THINK IT IS

First of all, then, suffering is not simply an evil, for no one suffered more than the Son of God Himself, more than His Blessed Mother or more than the Saints. Every suffering comes from God. It may appear to come to us by chance or accident or from someone else, but in reality, every suffering comes to us from God. Nothing happens to us without His wish or permission. Not even a hair falls from our heads without His consent.

Why does God allow us to suffer? Simply because He is asking us to take a little share in His Passion. What appears to come by chance or from someone else always comes because God allows it. Every act in Our Lord’s Life was a lesson for us. The greatest act in His life was His Passion. This, then, is the greatest lesson for us. It teaches us that we too must suffer. God suffered all the dreadful pains of His Passion for each one of us. How can we refuse to suffer a little for love of Him?

SUFFERING IS THE GOLD IN OUR LIVES

Secondly, if we accept the suffering He sends us and offer them in union with His sufferings, we receive the greatest rewards. Five minutes’ suffering borne for love of Jesus is of greater value to us than years and years of pleasure and joy. The Saints tell us that if we patiently bear our sufferings, we merit the crown of martyrdom. Moreover, suffering borne patiently brings out all that is good in us. Those who have suffered are usually the most charming people. If we bear these facts clearly in mind, it certainly becomes much easier to suffer.

GOD ALWAYS GIVES STRENGTH TO BEAR OUR SUFFERINGS

Thirdly, when God gives us any suffering, He always gives us strength to bear it, if we only ask Him. Many, instead of asking for His help, get excited and revolt. It is this excitement and impatience that really make suffering hard to bear. Consider that we are now speaking of all suffering, even the most trifling ones. All of us have little troubles, pains, disappointments, every day of our lives. All these, if borne for love of God, obtain for us, as we have said, the greatest rewards.

HOW TO BEAR SUFFERING

Even the greater sufferings that may fall to our share from time to time become easy to bear if we accept them with serenity and patience. What really makes suffering difficult to bear is our own impatience, our revolt, our refusal to accept it. This irritation increases our sufferings a hundred fold and, besides, robs us of all the merit we could have gained thereby. We see some people pass through a tempest of suffering with the greatest calm and serenity; whereas, others get irritated at the slightest annoyance or disappointment. We can all learn this calm and patience. It is the secret of happiness. An eminent physician, in a conference which he gave to distinguished scientists and fellow doctors, told them that he owed all his great success in life to the simple fact that he had corrected his habit of impatience and annoyance, which had been destroying all his energy and activity. Everyone, we repeat, without exception, can learn this calm and serenity.

PENANCE

We must all do penance for our sins. If we do not, we shall have long years of suffering in the awful fires of Purgatory. This fire is just the same as the fire of Hell. Now, if we offer our sufferings the very little ones as well as the greater ones-in union with the sufferings of Jesus Christ, we are doing the easiest and best penance we can perform. We may thus deliver ourselves entirely from Purgatory, while at the same time gaining the greatest graces and blessings.

Let us remember clearly that:

1) Sufferings come from God for our benefit.

2) When we are in the state of grace, we derive immense merit from every suffering borne patiently, even the little sufferings of our daily lives.

3) God will give us abundant strength to bear our sufferings if we only ask Him.

4) If we bear our sufferings patiently, they lose their sting and bitterness.

5) Above all, every suffering is a share in the Passion of Our Lord.

6) By our sufferings, we can free ourselves in great part, or entirely, from the pains of Purgatory.

7) By bearing our sufferings patiently, we win the glorious crown of martyrdom.

Of course, we may do all in our power to avoid or lessen our sufferings, but we cannot avoid all suffering. Therefore, it is clearly necessary for us to learn how to bear them. In a word, we must understand clearly that if we remain calm, serene and patient, suffering loses all its sting, but the moment we get excited, the smallest suffering increases a hundred fold. It is just as if we had a sore arm or leg and rubbed it violently; it would become irritated and painful; whereas, if we touch it gently, we soothe the irritation. We suffer from ill-health, from pains, headaches, rheumatism, arthritis, from accidents, from enemies. We may have financial difficulties. Some suffer for weeks in their homes, some in hospitals or nursing homes. In a word, we are in a vale of tears. Almighty God could have saved us from all suffering, but He did not do so because He knows in His infinite goodness that suffering is good for us.

PRAYER

We have a great, great remedy in our hands, that is, prayer. We should pray earnestly and constantly asking God to help us to suffer, to console us. or if it pleases Him. to deliver us from suffering. This is all, all important. A very eminent doctor, in an able article he recently published in the secular press, says that “Prayer is the greatest power in the world.” He says, “I and my colleagues frequently see that many of our patients, whom we have failed to cure or whose pains we have failed to alleviate, have cured themselves by prayer. I speak now not of the prayers of holy people, but the prayers of ordinary Christians.” We should above all pray to Our Lady of Sorrows in all our troubles. We should ask her, by the oceans of sorrow she felt during the Passion of Our Lord, to help us. God gave her all the immense graces necessary to make her the perfect Mother of God, but He also gave her all the graces, the tenderness, the love necessary to be our most perfect and loving Mother. No mother on earth ever loved a child as Our Blessed Lady loves us. Therefore, in all our troubles and sorrows, let us go to Our Blessed Lady with unbounded confidence.

THE MEMORARE

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother. To thee do I come, before thee I kneel, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer them. Amen.

The Apostles Creed

​The Apostles, before they parted, gathered together in Jerusalem in the first Council of the Church. There they decided to put down in a brief statement their principal doctrines, so that their teachings might be uniform wherever they preached. This statement of the articles of faith we call today “The Apostles’ Creed.” It was formulated in order to put into fruition the command of Our Lord:  “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations … teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days” (Matt. 28:19-20).


Where do we find the chief truths taught by Jesus Christ through the Catholic Church?
— We find the chief truths taught by Jesus Christ through the Catholic Church in the Apostles’ Creed.
 
A creed is a summary or statement of what one believes. “Creed” comes from the Latin credo, which means I believe; that is, I accept or hold true something on the word of another.
“I believe,” with relation to the Apostles’ Creed, means that I firmly assent to everything contained in it. I believe it exactly as if I had seen those truths with my own eyes. I believe it on the authority or word of God, Who cannot deceive or be deceived.
 
The Apostles Creed is so called because it has come down to us from apostolic times, and contains a summary of the principal truths taught by the Apostles.
The Apostles’ Creed is repeated at Baptism, as a declaration of faith. In ancient times it was required before Baptism, as a sign of fitness for reception into the Church.
 
The Apostles’ Creed has come down to us intact, except for a few clauses added by the Church later, in order to counteract various heresies. These additions, however, are not new doctrines, but a clarification of what the Creed already contained.
Thus the words “Creator of heaven and earth” were added to counteract the Manichaean heresy that the world was created by the principle of evil; and the word “Catholic” was added, to distinguish the True Church from churches springing up around it. As our Lord said, “And you also bear witness, because from the beginning you are with me” (John 15:27).
 
There are several other creeds used by the Church, in substance identical with the Apostles’ Creed.
The Nicene Creed, which is said in the Mass, was mainly drawn up at the Council of Nicea, in the year 325. The Athanasian Creedis said by priests in the Divine Office for Sunday.
 

Into how many articles may the Apostles’ Creed be divided?
— The Apostles Creed may be divided into twelve articles.
 
All the articles are absolutely necessary to faith: if even one article is omitted or changed, faith would be destroyed. It is symbolical to divide the Apostles’ Creed into twelve articles, because the Apostles numbered twelve; thus we are reminded that the Creed comes to us and was taught by the Apostles of Our Lord.
 

The following are the articles:

 
1. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
 
2. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord;
 
3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary;
 
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
 
5. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead;
 
6. He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty;
 
7. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
 
8. I believe in the Holy Ghost;
 
9. The Holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints;
 
10. The forgiveness of sins;
 
11. The resurrection of the body;
 
12. And life everlasting. Amen
 
The twelve articles of the Apostles’ Creed contain the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, one God in three distinct Divine Persons, — Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, — with the particular operations attributed to each Person. The Creed contains three distinct parts. The first part treats of God the Father and creation. The second part treats of God the Son and our redemption. And the third part treats of God the Holy Ghost and our sanctification.
 

What act of religion do we make when we say the Apostles’ Creed?
— When we say the Apostles’ Creed we make an act of faith.
 
Christian faith is a supernatural gift of God which enables us to believe firmly whatever God has revealed, on the testimony of His word. By it we believe in the truth of many things which we cannot grasp with our understanding
For example, we believe in God, although we cannot see Him. We believe in the Trinity, although it is beyond our understanding. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (He. 11:6).
 
Faith does not require us to believe in anything contrary to reason. When we believe what we cannot perceive or understand, we act according to reason, which tells us that God cannot err, lie, or deceive us. We therefore put our trust in God’s word.
In many natural things we often believe what we do not see, as sound waves and atoms, on the testimony of scientists who have studied them. Thus we act within reason; but how much more reasonable it is to believe on the word of God!
 
A great reward in heaven awaits those who suffer persecution or die for the faith or some Christian virtue. The number of martyrs who have died for the Catholic faith is estimated at more than sixteen millions.
All the Apostles suffered persecution, and all except St. John suffered death by martyrdom, for their faith. St. John the Baptist was beheaded because he censured Herod for violating the law of marriage. St. John Nepomucene was put to death because he refused to violate the seal of confession. “Therefore, everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge him before my Father in heaven” (Matt. 10:32)
 
Neglect of the study of the truths of our religion is frequently the cause of lukewarmness, a bad life, and final apostasy and impenitence. We should be zealous in studying the Christian doctrine, in the catechism and religion lessons, in sermons, missions, and retreats.
If we have any doubts, we should consult our priests; God will not forgive ignorance if we voluntarily neglect the means He has granted to dissipate it.

Taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distrubutor.

God Bless BJS!!