This post is late in the day but today is the Feast of St. Albert who gave the Carmelite Order the Ancient Rule in the 1200's. Here is a bit of history:
Saint Albert was born towards the middle of the 12th century in Castel Gualtieri in Emilia, Italy. He entered the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross at Mortara, Pavia, and became Prior there in 1180. In 1184, he was named bishop of Bobbio, and the following year he was transferred to Vercelli which he governed for twenty years. During this period, he undertook diplomatic missions of national and international importance with rare prudence and firmness: in 1194, he effected a peace between Pavia and Milan and, five years later, also between Parma and Piacenza. In 1191, he celebrated a diocesan synod which proved of great value for its disciplinary provisions which continued to serve as a model until modern times. He was also involved in a large amount of legislative work for various religious orders: he wrote the statutes for the canons of Biella and was among the advisers who drew up the Rule of the Humiliates.
In 1205, Albert was appointed Patriarch of Jerusalem and a little later nominated Papal Legate for the ecclesiastical province of Jerusalem. He arrived in Palestine early in 1206 and lived in Acre because, at that time, Jerusalem was occupied by the Saracens. In Palestine, Albert was involved in various peace initiatives, not only among Christians but also between the Christians and non-Christians and he carried out his duties with great energy. During his stay in Acre he gathered together the hermits on Mount Carmel and gave them a Rule. On 14th September 1214, during a procession for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, he was stabbed to death by the Master of the Hospital of the Holy Spirit, whom Albert had reprimanded and deposed for his evil life.
St. Albert - pray for us.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel - Pray for us!
Today is Sunday - Feast of Our Sorrowful Mother. Thank you for following us during our Novena before the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. If you did not - it is never a good time like the present to just do a Novena. They are like mini-retreats if done well. God is so good to us!
This indeed is a sad time for the Church. The satanic plan of the infiltrators and the blueprint of destruction "Alta Vendita" is all coming to fruition. Is this the sad reason for the smiles and complacency that we see in the Vatican. Sick to say but it can mean no other. Pope Francis has not responded to our pleas for explanation of his heresies EVER and he is not responding in a proper way to this scandal that is rocking the Church. One priest rightly called this a greater crisis than Martin Luther's break from the Church in starting Protestantism. This has been the cry of the faithful who knew their faith way back in the 1960's and wanted no part in the Second Vatican Council or the "New" Mass; but at that time, they were told to be ignored by the Hierarchy as being schismatics (for wanting Tradition). The fruits of Modernism and the Freemasonic infiltration to destroy the Church are coming to a head. Only God knows what will come next. In the meantime - what do we do? We certainly do not just sit back and watch. We need to make reparation like it has never been done before. We need to seek and do Holy Hours, Latin Masses and many many Rosaries! And we need to keep company with the sorrowful Hearts of Jesus and Mary. We need to turn to them and consecrate this mess and all of our families and lives to these two Hearts which beat as one for the love of God and the salvation of souls. We live with confidence that in the end - "The Immaculate Heart of Mary will Triumph!" She told us so - we can be sure of it! God is God and He has already won but we need to help Him win souls!! Live in anticipation of the glorious hour of victory OVER Satan!
In the 4th Chapter of "The City of God – The Incarnation" by Mother Mary Agreda, Our Lady has stated in the instructions these following words:
“When I turned from the consideration of this most liberal condescension of the Most High, to the perception and understanding of the foolish hard-heartedness of the sinners, my soul was pierced with an arrow of mortal anguish – which remained for life. Many times the Most High in order to heal the affliction and consternation of my heart in this sorrow, sought to console me by saying, “Accept Thou, my Spouse, the gifts which the blind and ignorant world in its unworthiness despises and is incapable of receiving and understanding.”
She then told Mother Mary of Agreda: "Be now my companion in the sorrow which I suffered and which is so little noticed by the living. In order to imitate me, you must deny yourself, forget yourself entirely and crown your heart with the thorns of sorrow at the behavior of mortals."
"Weep in seeing them laugh at their eternal damnation, for such weeping is the most legitimate occupation of the true sorrow of my Most Holy Son."
And from the Sacred Heart of Jesus we have the words from Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary:
“And He showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin into which Satan hurls such crowds of them, that made Him form the design of manifesting His Heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render Him and procure for Him all the honor and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which this Heart is the source. He should be honored under the figure of this Heart of flesh, and its image should be exposed…He promised me that wherever this image should be exposed with a view to showing It special honor, He would pour forth His blessings and graces. This devotion was the last effort of His love that He would grant to men in these latter ages, in order to withdraw them from the empire of Satan which He desired to destroy, and thus to introduce them into the sweet liberty of the rule of His love, which He wished to restore in the hearts of all those who should embrace this devotion.”
“O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we adore You profoundly. We offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles throughout the world, in reparation for the offenses, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And through the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we beg the conversion of poor sinners.”
PRAYER: O my Jesus, how little have I applied myself to study and learn that which is so important for me to know! How slightly have I been touched by that excessive charity, carried even to the folly of the Cross! Alas, how weak has been my love in comparison with Yours, or rather is it not an insult to say that I love You, offering You sentiments so unworthy of Your extreme tenderness? I, Your creature, covered with Your blessings and redeemed by You at so high a price, since it is by the very Blood of the Son of God, Immaculate Lamb which has expiated the sins of the world! If my Redeemer has given His life in order that I may live, my life belongs no longer to me, but to Him Who has died for me. I belong no longer to myself, O Jesus, my loving Redeemer, I am Yours! I am Your conquest and I wish, cost what it may, to live only for You. Holy Mother Mary please tear me from myself; take from me all my supports and all those affections, from all those attachments to creatures and to myself, which envelop me as with a sad vesture; in order that I may be attached through love to the Cross, remaining united to Jesus and thus attain an eternal union with Jesus and Mary in Heaven.
MEDITATION: O! who can tell with what inexpressible joy Jesus hears His sentence of death, veritable sentence of life for the children of Adam? Who could express the eagerness with which He seizes the cross presented to Him and presses it to His Heart? This new Isaac lovingly taking on His shoulders the wood for His sacrifice, prepares to ascend the mountain on which He will immolate Himself for the salvation of the world. It is true that the exhausted strength of His Body no longer responds to that of His Love; He will fall several times under the weight of this burden, He will be forced to accept the aid of the Cyrenean; but this weakness and the relief which He receives will enter into the economy of our redemption. We will find new strength to rise from our falls, and ineffable consolation in all our trials and afflictions; for these sufferings, if I accept them with faith and love, are the very sufferings of Jesus which I share – they assure me then, a share in the graces which He has merited for us, and ample recompense for eternity.
At last, Jesus has arrived at the summit of the mount of sacrifice. His feet and His hands extended with effort are cruelly pierced and nailed to that Cross which He has dragged so far with so much suffering and fatigue. Ah! It is not without a great design of mercy that He has chosen this frightful torment, and that He remains thus immovable, fastened by horrible wounds to this mysterious wood during long hours, without consolation, without relief, having only vinegar and gall to quench the thirst which devours Him, nothing whereon to rest His adorable head, and unable to make any movement without augmenting His insupportable sufferings. In this state, He merits for us the grace to nail with Him to His Cross, our passions, our vices, and all the sallies of our rebellious flesh. He renders, finally, His last sigh with a loud cry, which attests at the same time His Divinity and the extreme anguish of His sacred Humanity. Ah! Let me now contemplate for my salvation Him whom I have thus pierced.
Divine Redeemer! Not content with offering us the price of our ransom, You became Yourself this inestimable price. Our souls were wounded and sick and You, charitable Physician, offered the remedy which must cure them, and this remedy is Yourself! This is the great and one thought which occupies Your holy soul during the whole course of Your sorrowful Passion. If from the height of the Cross, a few words fall from Your dying lips, it is again to pardon, to console, and to instruct – praying for Your executioners; opening heaven to the good thief; leaving Your Holy Mother to the beloved Disciple, and to all men in his person; complaining of Your abandonment in order to make known to us the desolation to which our sins have reduced Your soul. As you cry out “I thirst”, You reveal to us Your great desire for the salvation of souls. Finally, “in remitting Your soul into the hands of Your Father”, after having solemnly declared that “all is consummated”, You give a new and sublime example of Your submission to the orders of Your Father. You declare that You have accomplished all that He had ordained for my salvation, and that You died in obedience.
O Jesus Crucified! You are a book open to all people, to all future generations, where each can contemplate and learn all the essential truths; the greatness of God, His infinite justice, His ineffable mercy, the value of our soul, the enormity of sin, the chastisement it merits, and finally the inexpressible Love of our Redeemer. In contemplating this book, this divine image, each should and ought to say: “He has loved me and delivered Himself for me.”
PRAYER: Dearest Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, it is to you that we raise our hearts and minds to beg you to make us truly Eucharistic souls. Help us to acquire a sufficient knowledge of the dogma of the Mass. Help us to have a faith, a confidence, a veneration and a love proportionate to the sanctity of this Adorable Sacrifice. Help us to assist at the Mass with respectful attention and tender piety. Help us to offer this Sacrifice with the Priest, according to the four ends for which it has been instituted – Adoration, Thanksgiving, Expiation and Propitiation. Help us O Mother of the Blessed Sacrament to have your love and zeal for the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.
MEDITATION: Let us recall what the Church teaches us about this adorable Mystery. It is the great Sacrifice of the New Law, of which the sacrifices of the ancient alliance were but gross and imperfect figures. They, with all the blood of their victims, could not efface the least stain of sin, while one single drop of the Precious Blood of the Lamb without spot, immolated upon Calvary, suffices to wash away, and superabundantly, all the sins of the world. Now, the Sacrifice of the Altar is a continuation and a renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross, of which the fruits and the merits are and will be applied until the end of the world, to all souls who form a part of the Church; in such a manner, however, that these souls participate in these fruits, and these merits, in proportion to their dispositions, their preparation and their union with the Lamb immolated.
Seeing near the Cross our Queen and our Mother participating so intimately, so generously in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, immolating herself completely with Him for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, should we as Carmelites not strive as far as possible to enter into her admirable disposition? The true solitary of Carmel, worthy child of Mary, will then bring to the Sacrifice a spirit of zeal for the interests of God and his neighbor, a spirit of immolation of his entire self, and of union, absolute and without reserve, with the great Victim Who is being offered.
To this general disposition, he will add the intentions which refer to the four ends of the Sacrifice, intentions concerning which he should be perfectly instructed. In effect, the Eucharistic Sacrifice is offered first, to glorify God and in recognition of His sovereign dominion over all creatures; secondly, in thanksgiving for all the benefits which His divine munificence ceases not to pour upon us in the temporal and spiritual order; thirdly, to offer to His justice a Victim sufficient and even more than sufficient for our sins; fourthly, to obtain from His bounty in virtue of the merits of His Son, all the graces necessary for our salvation, and in general for all the helps we need. A soul enlightened by faith, which discovers to him the value of the Blood of the Divine Lamb and the superabundant merits of His Sacrifice, clothed with them, presents himself with unbounded confidence before the Throne of God, knowing that he can offer worthy homage to His Infinite Greatness, thanksgiving proportionate to His benefits, and that he will be heard, whether he beg for new favors or for the pardon of sin. For the voice of His Blood, more powerful than the voice of our sins and miseries, will rise and ascend even to the Heart of God, to call down His benefits and His pardon.
As the Communion is the completion of the Holy Sacrifice, since it applies to the soul all the merits of the Life and Death of Jesus Christ, all the fruits of His Divine Passion; when we have not the happiness of communicating sacramentally, we should not fail to make a Spiritual Communion. At the moment that the Priest consumes the Sacred Host, we can form the most ardent desires of communicating with him, and opening the door of our heart, to beg Jesus to enter and dwell there, not only for a few moments, but during the whole day and the night which is to follow, to be the interior guide of all our steps and the motive of all our thoughts, words, actions and affections.
Holy Mother Mary, please pray for us to love Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with the same fervor and zeal that you had while on earth. Give us a love for the Eucharist and help us to be true sons and daughters of Mary by loving Jesus truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
PRAYER: I adore You, O my God, Who are sovereignly good and holy, or rather goodness and sanctity itself, in a word, Sanctity by essence. “The heavens are not pure in Your sight, and You have found corruption even among the Angels”. How, then, can I dare to present myself before Your divine Majesty – I who am all covered with sins! But I throw myself at Your feet, Lord, that You may enlighten me by Your grace and make me understand the greatness of the evil from which You will that I beg to be delivered. You do detest it, Lord, because it is Your supreme enemy; make me abhor it also as You do, because it is also my greatest enemy. Dissipate the clouds which my sins have caused in my heart and my mind, in order that I may see clearly and feel deeply how “great an evil it is to have abandoned the Lord, my God.”
MEDITATION: God is Love itself. He is the inexhaustible source of goodness and of love, and desires only to pour out His riches upon His creatures. Before the creation, and from all eternity, this communication took place in the Adorable Trinity, by the ineffable relations which the three Divine Persons have among themselves; and when God resolved to create man in time, He made him to His Image and Likeness, in order that he might enter into a participation of His Eternal Beatitude. God can do nothing but for His own glory, but this glory He places in the happiness of His creatures. The end and perfection of man consist in being united to God by grace in this life and by glory in the next. The Creator has regulated all the laws which govern this vast universe to this end, so glorious and so advantageous to His privileged creatures. He has given them the Commandments, not as the arbitrary condition of the infinite glory which He has prepared for them, but a just and reasonable means for arriving at it. Since the Commandments are the expression of His infinite Sanctity, He has prescribed them to man, in order that preserving or re-establishing in himself, by their observance, the image of God, he may merit to be eternally united to Him. Nothing then is more beautiful, more admirable or more just than the harmony existing among all the laws which govern the creatures of this vast universe, and the end which God proposed to Himself, when He drew them out of nothingness – man’s eternal happiness. My Lord, and my God, I cry out with Your Prophet: “How admirable is Your name in the whole earth… What is man that You have crowned him with glory and honor; and have set him over the works of Your hands?”
Who would now dare disturb an order so perfect, established for the glory of the Creator and the felicity of His creatures, a marvelous result of the eternal counsels, of the divine perfections, and in particular of infinite power, wisdom and love? This disturbance, this disorder is sin, the evil which wounds His adorable perfections in their exterior manifestations, in a manner so horrible, so unqualified, that if God, by His eternal and immutable Nature, was not beyond attack, sin would cause His death. Sin, then, has no being; it is rather a non-being, since it is a violation of the Holy Laws of God, and attacks this God, Who alone has Being – a violation so much the more culpable because it is committed by those in favor of whom these laws have been made – by man, who thus uses to outrage his Creator the very means given to glorify Him. These truths, which are so evident to reason enlightened by faith, are confirmed by the most formal teaching of Religion, teachings at which we should fear and tremble. In effect, we consider that God is Love; that He is Truth and Justice itself, that His mercies are above all His works, and by consequence, that the pains which he inflicts upon the culpable cannot be greater than their faults; that, on the contrary, knowing the frailty and imperfection of His creatures, whom He loves as His image, He shows, even in the chastisements to which He makes them submit, that His justice is tempered by His love. We are forced to admit that if God has inflicted upon sinners the greatest pains to which their nature is susceptible, it is because sin in His eyes is an infinite malice, a disorder, an evil without measure. This teaches us that the torments of hell are an assemblage of all evils, in an infinite degree, and that there may be a multitude of the reprobate guilty of but one mortal sin. Remember that God thrust into Hell his disobedient Angels and without any regard for their dignity, their beauty and their number. He condemned them to eternal and infinite torments, without giving them time to repent or the means to do penance.
Let us remember that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, willed by the Father, died the torments of death on a Cross. We must then conclude that sin is an evil of infinite malice, since it was effaced at so infinite a price.
Dear God, if You have not spared even the Angels, if You do plunge into hell each day a multitude of sinners who imitate these angels in their revolt against You, if You have not spared Your Only Son death upon a Cross for our sins, what will become of me?
Lord, grant me the grace that I may understand that sin is the one evil, and that there is no other, because it attacks You, O my God! Deliver me then from the sins which I have already committed, and preserve me from those into which I am in danger of falling. Holy Mother Mary, take me by the hand and lead me to Your Son and please lead me far far away from all that displeases Him.
PRAYER: O my God, how can I myself be able to sleep on in a mortal tepidity, reassuring myself on the lightness of my faults? If St. Teresa saw the place which would have been hers in hell, if she had the misfortune to fall into the sins to which her infidelities might have led, had she not renounced them, should I not tremble now at the sight of my faults, my resistance to a multitude of Your graces? I wish to delay no longer in giving myself entirely to You. I wish to beg Our Blessed Mother to give me the strength and the grace to do so no matter what it may cost me. I will ask her for the grace to endure all sacrifice, to no longer resist Your inspirations, and by this holy fear, which is the commencement of wisdom, I hope to arrive at the perfection of love. Dear God, dissipate the clouds which my sins have caused in my heart and my mind, in order that I may see clearly and feel deeply how “great an evil it is to have abandoned the Lord, my God.”
MEDITATION: How can one damn herself in Carmel? Alas! It is but too easily answered. How have you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer? It was pride – self-love which precipitated your from it! Thus the first cause of our ruin is ordinarily secret pride, which, becoming the principle as well as the motive of all our actions, causes us to refer all things to ourselves, to seek with avidity the esteem and affections of creatures, to seek or desire honorable charges, and suffer with pain to be forgotten or reprimanded, considering that we are injured when others are preferred to us. The demons ever ready to profit by our vicious dispositions drags us very soon to thoughts, murmurs and actions which become the source of the gravest faults and the most culpable disorders. Others are lost because of a pride more subtle and dangerous yet, as it is more hidden. Seduced by the illusions of their self-love, they are caught by the ruses of the demon, disguised as an Angel of light to deceive them. They believe, that they are called to extraordinary ways; whether because they esteem these ways too much, or prefer them to the sure but humble way of faith; or whether it is because they despise the warning of their Superiors, they abandon the practice of humble and ordinary virtues, such as obedience and contempt of self, to follow their pretended revelations and imaginary visions, which serve only to nourish their pride and lead them far from the beaten path of faith and obedience.
St. Teresa gives us a terrible proof of the fatal consequence which infidelities can have for even the most generous souls, if they continue in them. This Holy Mother teaches us, in the thirty-second chapter of her life, that God had shown her the place in hell which the demon had prepared for her, and which her sins would merit if she persevered in her infidelities and her resistance to grace. This lasted for a very short time, but if I should live many years I do not believe it possible to lose the remembrance of it. The entrance seemed to be like a long, close alley, or rather like a low, dark and narrow oven; and the ground appeared to be like mire, exceedingly filthy, stinking insupportably, and full of a multitude of loathsome vermin. At the end of it there was a certain hollow place, as if it had been a kind of little press in the wall, into which I found myself thrust and close pent up. All that I have said might pass for delightful, in comparison with what I felt in that press; the torment was so dreadful that no words can express the least part of it.
“I felt a fire in my soul which I cannot express or describe, as it was in reality. All those other most grievous torments which I have endured by the shrinking up of my sinews, and by other ways, which, in the judgment of physicians, were the greatest which could be suffered in a corporeal way in this world, and some also, as I have said, which were caused by the devil, were all a mere nothing, in comparison with what I suffered there, joined with the dismal thought that all this suffering was to be without end or intermission. And even this is still nothing, if compared with the continual agony the soul suffers; that pressing, that stifling, that anguish so exceedingly sensible, together with such desperate torturing, discontent and disgust that I cannot express it. To say that it is a butchering or rending of the soul, is to say little; for this would seem to express a violence, used by some other agent to destroy her. But here she is her own executioner, and even tears herself to pieces. I saw not who it was that tormented me; but I seemed to find myself both burnt and cut to pieces all at once, and in so dreadful a place there was no room for the least hope of once meeting with any comfort or ease; neither was there any such thing as sitting or lying down. Thus was I thrust into this place like a hole in the wall; and these walls, which are also most horrible to the sight, press in upon their prisoner, so that everything chokes and stifles there. There is nothing but thick darkness, without the least glimpse of light; and yet I know not how it is, though there is no light, yet one sees all that can afflict the sight.”
PRAYER: O my God, the time of my justice has not yet arrived for me. You have spared me until this day, to breathe the sweet air of Your mercy. You have granted me the grace of this time. Suffer me, then, to say with Your Prophet: “Enter not into judgment with Your servant, O Lord, for in Your sight will no man living be justified.” I implore Your goodness and I hope for a favorable sentence. Help me to discern my faults and to work on virtue. Give me the grace to always turn to Our Good Mother and Queen for guidance while there is still time on this earth. When the time comes to stand before You, I pray that She may be at my side and plead for Your mercy at the time of my judgment.
MEDITATION: The rigor of the judgment which will be exercised upon the soul at the moment of its separation from the body, exceeds all that we can imagine, since the Judge is God. Who possesses an infinite exactitude in the appreciation of faults, an infinite precision in the examination of consciences, an infinite justice in the application of punishment. This examination, this appreciation, this sentence, requires not a considerable time, for the soul invested all at once with the brightness of the light of God will see herself entirely as she is, not only her sins, but her least imperfections, her abuse of the graces of God; and the consequences of all these faults will appear to her in an instant. Nothing can escape her; neither the sins of her youth of which she has lost the remembrance, nor the faults committed in the indulgence of her passions. She will be judged upon the least thought she had formed in her mind; each word that had escaped her lips; all her affections, her desires, her hatreds, her repugnances; upon all her steps, actions and the undertakings which had filled her entire life. Nothing will be omitted, since, according to the testimony of Jesus Christ Himself, we will render an account for every idle word.
This account will extend to all the gifts of nature and of grace; it is Jesus Christ Who again assures us of this in His Gospel: “Render an account,” says the Master to His unfaithful servant, “Render an account of what I have confided to your care.”
Yes, render Me an account of your body and all its senses, of your soul and all its faculties, your hands, your feet, your eyes, your mouth, your ears – how have you used them? Your understanding, your memory, your will, to what have you applied them? How have you used riches, beauty, credit, nobility? What use have you made of My creatures: the light of day, the darkness of night, fruits, plants, animals – in a word, of all the beauty and riches with which I have clothed the universe for You? Render Me an account.
And of grace – there will be an account. The soul will understand then their infinite value and the important obligations which flow from them upon her. She will then see the sacramental and actual graces that were given her. She will render an account of all the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, and of the manner in which she has corresponded to them; of the trials, afflictions, spiritual aridities, as well as of the consolations and interior lights, because all have been measured out to her with equal wisdom for her salvation. This soul must answer to the Judge, not only for her own sins, but also for the sins and faults which she has caused others to commit; for the relaxation and dissipation, of tepidity and sloth which she has given them. For those guiding others, a good example, warnings and corrections will be examined.
He will judge even our good actions, examining for what motive and under what circumstances they have been performed, and reducing their number to those which have been truly meritorious, not according to the opinion of man, but according to that of Truth itself. How many of our good works will be found infested with secret vices and soiled with the poison of self-love. May they not be found worthless in the eyes of God on Judgment.
May the Blessed Mother show us the way to perfection. May She guide us on to seeing what is good, right and holy. May we not seek to please man but to please God. May we weep and repent now over our sins, so that at our judgment and being near Our Blessed Mother we may hear, “Come Ye Blessed of My Father” – “Come good and faithful servant enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
PRAYER: O my God, You are my Sovereign Good, my Last End to Whom my entire life with all its interior and exterior acts should be directed. I come into Your holy presence to represent to myself the supreme moment which will terminate it. I come to transport myself in spirit to the moment of my death, which will decide the important affair of my destiny. I understand, O my Lord, that nothing is more important for me than to transport myself now to my deathbed, in order that I may see the necessity of forcing myself to become such as I shall wish to be found at that decisive moment. O my God, may my soul die the death of the just. Holy Mother Mary, please pray for me now and at the hour of my death.
MEDITATION: Death is the separation of the soul from the body, the rupture of all the ties that bind us to the earth, that attach us nearly or distantly to persons, to the affairs, and to the interests of the world. It is an eternal farewell to all the creatures of this earth; an adieu to the light of day and to the darkness of night; to the riches of nature, and to all the objects which surround our senses, and which compose this vast universe. Soon my soul must go forth alone into an unknown region, where shines a light very different in brilliancy from that which now enlightens us. There all ideas are changed, all illusions dissipated; there the riches of earth have no value; nobility, science, reputation, honors count as nothing there: in a word, the money of this world is not current in the other, because there only the knowledge and love of the Creator is esteemed; there only those actions are counted which are done for Him. Behold why the death of the sinner is so terrible, he has done nothing for God, nothing for himself! “Fool”, said Jesus Christ in the Gospel to the rich man, who had commenced to enjoy in advance the great riches which he has amassed: “Fool, this night your soul shall be required of you, and to whom then will your riches belong?” “Thus,” continues our Savior, “will it be with those who have not sought their treasure in God.”
At death the years of grace are completed, man’s career is forever closed to combat, to trial, and consequently to merit. “No more time!” This is to say, there remains but an unchanging eternity for punishing sin and recompensing virtue. Ah! This terrible sentence will be passed upon me at the hour of my death, and it shall be immediately executed. At the hour of death there will be no more time for me. This life is a day of labor, which should be consecrated to meriting the salary promised to those who employ it well. “Work while it is day,” says Jesus Christ, “because the night cometh (death) wherein no man can labor.” Death is the time of harvest when we will gather what we have sown during life. The sources of grace are forever closed at the moment of death. It is not the long years but the holy life that matters.
Prayer: Behold me humbly prostate at Your feet, O Jesus, my Lord and my King! You have caused me to hear Your voice, and I have listened; You have invited me to follow You, to quit the world, to seek holiness, and Your grace has given me the strength to respond to the call. But the first step suffices not for Your love, or for my obligations. It is necessary now that I render myself worthy of the choice which You have made of me; it is necessary that I render my life and my sentiments conformable to Yours; that I love what You have loved, and despise what You have rejected. It is necessary in fine that I understand the infinite value of sanctification, and above all the inestimable advantages which I find in it, of being able to arrive more surely and more happily at the end for which You have created me. Your grace will finish the work which it has commenced: I expect this of Your infinite mercy through the prayers and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Meditation: Perfection increases in the soul in proportion with its union with God; and its progress will be so much the more sensible, as divine charity will have extended its dominion over a greater number of its thoughts, actions, and affections, animating all its virtues by transforming and in some sort divinizing them. Perfection then supposes the faithful practice of virtues in the midst of which shines charity, which is the queen and which gives them motion and life, at the same time that it gives value to their actions.
According to the Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure, perfection consists in fleeing vice, doing good and suffering the adversities of this life, and all this in a manner the most generous that is possible to us; that is to say, a perfect soul, not only abstains from grave faults, but even from those which have the appearance of evil, that she does good with fidelity, generosity, and facility, and that she embraces sufferings with joy, knowing that there is incomparably more love, and consequently more perfection in accepting tribulations, because it is the will of God Who sends them, than in practicing some other good works which we ourselves choose; according to the words of the apostle, St. James “Patience has a perfect work”. After these reflections, it is easy to see that perfection is not the work of a day, but a serious undertaking which requires great courage and a strong resolution. Because of the double consequence of original sin, our perverted will finds itself considerably weakened, and our corrupt nature tries without ceasing to draw us far from the difficult path which displeases it; while the demon, jealous of the glory of God and our own advantage, employs all kinds of snares and even violence to draw us from it; and little by little, if we give way to our laxity and natural inconstancy, we will soon find ourselves very far from the end which we had proposed to attain.
Let us then resemble a hardy navigator, who having discovered land fruitful in all kinds of riches, pursues his route with ardor until he reaches it, struggling with courage against the waves and contrary winds, and repulsing the powerful enemies who oppose his enterprise. Yes, whatever be the labor and the efforts which we must employ to acquire perfection, it is of so great a price and procures to those who attain it so much happiness, even in this life, that all the sacrifices which it requires bear no proportion to the advantages which it gives. By means of this divine perfection, the soul here below is put in possession of God Himself, to whom she is united by ties of the most ineffable friendship, and she enjoys the sweetness of a profound peace. If she must share with the other children of Adam, the sufferings and privations attached to their condition here, these evils lose for her the greater part of their bitterness, because love sweetens them and makes her come out victorious from these trials, enriched with the inestimable prize of patience. But a very consoling truth for the soul, is that it suffices that she be resolved to labor for it during her whole life, that at present she enter into it and never abandon it; notwithstanding all obstacles; notwithstanding even her infidelities. The first fruit which she will gather from her labor is the assurance of her perseverance, in as much as it is possible to be assured of this grace, which God without doubt is not obliged to give to any one, and which is a pure gift of His love. There is much to hinder fallen man in the practice of virtue, because his natural inclinations violently draw him down to base and terrestrial things. In the execution of his good desires, he remains always much behind the end at which he has proposed to arrive; if he wishes to keep strictly to the exact requirement of the law without being willing to do more, it often happens that he transgresses the law. In the same way that an arrow directed to an end will not reach it, because of its own weight which always tends downward, if the one who aims it does not look above the mark, thus the human will should be directed to acts of the most eminent virtues in order to succeed in those which are of necessity. This is why our Divine Master, Who alone possesses the science of the human heart, presses us in the Gospel to make every effort to enter by the narrow gate, and exhorts us without ceasing to follow the straight way which alone conducts to life, presenting us with nothing less than the sanctity of God Himself, as a model of the perfection which we should strive to attain, “Be ye perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” We must not neglect pious practices, make light of small faults, or very soon we will lose the inestimable treasure of grace and not even realize the immense loss which we have attained.
Perfection has degrees through which it is necessary to pass in order to arrive at perfect love. These degrees are the purgative way and the illuminative way; it is by them that the soul reaches the unitive life. It is necessary then, before all things and it is the first step in the seeking of perfection that the soul be purified from her past since by a sincere repentance; that after having discovered her secret vices, the disorderly inclinations of her heart, and her faults of character, she should labor generously to correct them, and to cause the death of nature by following the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
May we turn to Our Lady and ask her for the guidance and help along this purgative and illuminative way. We cannot do this without her. She will guide us to her Son and in the most perfect way. She will not fail us and she will be a good Mother who reprimands us and leads us once again when we have taken a fall. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel pray for us!
Prayer: I come trembling to adore Your Divine Majesty, O Immense, Eternal God, Infinite Source of all good, of all truth! You are my Creator, my Beginning and my Last End. I humbly come to ask You to help me comprehend, to make me relish and love this first and most important of all truths: that You have created me for Yourself, and that my supreme interest consists in uniting myself to You by grace in this life, and by glory in the next.
If with the aid of Your grace, I succeed in profoundly engraving in my heart, this fundamental truth. I will have acquired the principle, the basis of my salvation and of my sanctification. I ask You, O my Creator, to grant me the grace to be touched and convinced in a lively manner with this truth. I acknowledge with confusion and sorrow that my sins and numberless infidelities render me unworthy to obtain this favor, but I hope for it from the infinite love which You have for all Your creatures.
Meditation: God exists: evident truth, eternal truth, necessary truth, because from it all others flow. The heavens and the earth proclaim it, the most savage of people have recognized it, while they disfigured it. Pagan philosophers have declared it. It is true that they did not draw from it the necessary consequence; they have believed that God exists, but that sufficed not for their salvation. It is necessary to believe with the Church in God, that is to say, we must recognize Him as our Last End, and direct to Him all the faculties and all the powers of our soul, “Because God has made all things for Himself.”
Formerly, God said to Moses: “I am Who am”, that is to say, “I alone have being, I alone live from Eternity; all other creatures live but by Me, and for Me”. Thus all creatures who have been gifted by Him with intelligence and liberty, and to whom He has been pleased to make Himself known, are obliged to live for Him alone, and to refer to Him, not only in general but even in particular, all their actions, their thoughts, and their words, without voluntarily withdrawing any from Him. It will not suffice them to believe that there is a God. It is necessary to believe that there is only one God, who alone has Being, who alone lives of Himself, and that I should live but for Him, and regard all things else as nothingness. This is a necessity, it is a law which creatures cannot violate without outraging their Creator, and doing themselves an infinite wrong. In this consists their interests, their glory, and their sovereign happiness in this world and in the next. It is the end of Man, it is the term of his creation. “Fear God and keep His Commandments”, says the Holy Spirit, “because this is all man”. Yes, it is the whole man, it is his perfection and his beatitude, since the excellence of any creature consists in attaining the end for which it was made. Admirable thought, astonishing thought, but most true, for it is the foundation of all Religion. This good God, Who is love itself, this great God, Father of all being, source of all good, of all joy, and of all glory, sovereign Bounty, ineffable Beauty, infinite Spirit, possessing in His simplicity all imaginable perfections, infinite in number and in grandeur – wishes to be the End of man, that is to say, He has created man to make him a sharer in His eternal felicity. “I, Myself will be thy recompense”, said He to Abraham, “a recompense too great for the capacity of thy heart”, because God is infinite.
O my God, what is man that Thou has thus glorified him, and raised him to the equal of the angels? O beautiful truth, glorious truth, but terrible truth if I conform not my life to it! God has placed me upon earth, giving me His Commandments (a perfect expression of His infinite sanctity) in order to render me conformable to Himself, that by their faithful accomplishment I may unite myself to Him, in this world by grace and in the other by glory, thus securing for myself a happiness which will never end. But if unfortunately, I quit this world without having accomplished this condition, I shall be justly and eternally separated from God, my Last End, and precipitate myself into hell, there to receive forever the terrible chastisement of my ingratitude and my injustice. To be united to God, behold the end of the creature, behold my end! To work for it with fervor and without relaxing is then my essential affair, my only affair, my first and last affair.
Holy Mother Mary pray for me to seek God with my whole heart, mind and soul!
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 42 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!