Why we must drink the cup of Jesus today

Have you ever had the thought of quitting on some inspired goal? Maybe you have been trying to practice a particular virtue or overcome a vice? Maybe you have been trying to meet some set spiritual goal or accomplish a project that you sense God has inspired in you. Maybe you have been trying to reach out to a loved one who never seems to reciprocate your love? The desire to quit becomes stronger when the effort just seems too much, the obstacles appear insurmountable, and the results inadequate.

The truth is that if we quit doing something truly good for whatever reason, then it is all about us and has nothing to do with the love that we should have for God. Quitting such activities shows that we never had God as the origin and center of such activities. In short, we were never acting to please God.

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(READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT:  Why we must drink the cup of Jesus today: A homily for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Prayer of St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

O my Jesus, look not on my ingratitude to Thee, after all Thy mercies, but turn Thy eyes to Thy own merits, and to the pains that Thou hast suffered for me, from the crib of Bethlehem to the cross of Calvary. I repent, with my whole soul, of all the offences that I have offered to Thee.

From this moment I consecrate to Thee my life, which I desire to spend in doing all that I can to obey and to love Thee. I love Thee, O my Redeemer, but I love Thee too little; for Thy mercy’s sake, increase in my soul Thy love.

Hear my prayer O Jesus, and make me, by Thy grace, continue to repeat this prayer. O love of my soul, O that my heart may burn continually with Thy love.

I have offended Thee grievously; but for the future I desire to love Thee intensely. I desire to love Thee alone, because Thou alone deservest to be loved above all things; and I desire to love Thee for no other reason than because Thou art worthy of all love.

O Mary, my mother and my hope, assist me.

Prayer of St. Ephraim

O Lord and Master of my life,
Grant not unto me a spirit of idleness,
of discouragement,
of lust for power,
and of vain speaking.
But bestow upon me, Thy servant,
the spirit of chastity,
of meekness,
of patience,
and of love.
Yea, O Lord and King,
grant that I may perceive
my own transgressions,
and judge not my brother,
for blessed art Thou
unto ages of ages.

Amen.

PRAYER FOR THE PROTECTION AND INTERCESSION OF THE HOLY MOTHER OF MERCY

O our Lady, Holy Mary!
To Your mercy, special protection and Your compassion,
today and everyday and in the hour of my death,
my soul and my body I entrust to You.
My every hope and happiness,
oppressions and concerns,
my life and the end of my life to You I confide,
so that through your merits all my deeds are done according
to Your will and that of Your Son. Amen.

On Impurity, by Saint John Marie Vianney

That we may understand how horrible and detestable is this sin, which the demons make us commit, but which they do not commit themselves, we must consider what a Christian is. A Christian, created in the image of God, redeemed by the Blood of a God! a Christian, the child of God, the brother of a God, the heir of a God! a Christian, whose body is the temple of the Holy Ghost; that is what sin dishonours. We are created to reign one day in Heaven, and if we have the misfortune to commit this sin, we become the den of the devils. Our Lord said that nothing impure should enter into His kingdom. Indeed, how could a soul that has rolled itself in this filth go to appear before so pure and so holy a God?

We are all like little mirrors, in which God contemplates Himself. How can you expect that God should recognize His likeness in an impure soul? There are some souls so dead, so rotten, that they lie in their defilement without perceiving it, and can no longer clear themselves from it; everything leads them to evil, everything reminds them of evil, even the most holy things; they always have these abominations before their eyes; like the unclean animal that is accustomed to live in filth, that is happy in it, that rolls itself and goes to sleep in it, that grunts in the mud; these persons are an object of horror in the eyes of God and of the holy angels. See, my children, Our Lord was crowned with thorns to expiate our sins of pride; but for this accursed sin, He was scourged and torn to pieces, since He said Himself that after his flagellation all His bones might be counted.

O my children, if there were not some pure souls here and there, to make amends to the good God, and disarm His justice, you would see how we should be punished! For now, this crime is so common in the world, that it is enough to make one tremble. One may say, my children, that Hell vomits forth its abominations upon the earth, as the chimneys of the steam engine vomit forth smoke. The devil does all he can to defile our soul, and yet our soul is everything. . . our body is only a heap of corruption: go to the cemetery to see what you love, when you love your body. As I have often told you, there is nothing so vile as the impure soul. There was once a saint, who had asked the good God to show him one; and he saw that poor soul like a dead beast that has been dragged through the streets in the hot sun for a week.

By only looking at a person, we know if he is pure. His eyes have an air of candour and modesty which leads you to the good God. Some people, on the contrary, look quite inflamed with passion. . . Satan places himself in their eyes to make others fall and to lead them to evil. Those who have lost their purity are like a piece of cloth stained with oil; you may wash it and dry it, and the stain always appears again: so it requires a miracle to cleanse the impure soul.

Praying Our Way Into God’s Plan for Us by FR. NNAMDI MONEME, OMV

The fruit of Jesus’ prayer to the Father was to keep His focus on the Father’s plan for Him to be raised from the grave after His death on Calvary. By embracing this divine plan for Him in and through His early morning moments of solitude, Jesus was not swayed by the passing enthusiasm of the crowd that was searching for Him. He was ready to leave the place where He was successful and the people who esteemed Him and to journey to the place of rejection and to people who would condemn Him to death and crucify Him, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” Through prayer, Jesus never lost contact with the beauty, power, love and wisdom of His Father’s plan.

What happens when we do not pray as we should? What happens when we give up prayer because we do not get favorable results? Then we begin to lose the sense of God’s plan for us in those difficult and painful moments just like the faithful Job did … ( READ MORE)

via Praying our way into God’s plan for us: A homily for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary time

Act of Reparation from Fr. Stedman

O good Jesus, in gratitude for Thy many Graces, and in sorrow for many abuses of these Graces, I wish at this moment, both for myself, ever ungrateful and for the world, ever criminal, to make an Act of Solemn reparation. Listen then, O merciful Savior of our souls, listen to these Acts of faith, to these expressions of sorrow:

For the irreverence we have committed in the House of God.
I wish to make reparation.
For the careless and distracted attendance at Sunday Mass.
I wish to make reparation.
For our lack of preparation before, and our poor thanksgiving after Holy Communion.
I wish to make reparation.
For our failure to cooperate with Thy daily Graces.
I wish to make reparation.
For our sins of pride and sensuality.
I wish to make reparation.
For our bad example and the sins we have caused in others.
I wish to make reparation.
For our tragic indifference to Thy Words of Holy Scripture and to the words of our Holy Father the Pope.
I wish to make reparation.
For the deplorable untruths of heresy, for all deserters and apostates.
I wish to make reparation.
For the pleasure-seeking and money-mad profaners of the Lord’s Day.
I wish to make reparation.
For the sacrilegious treatment of Thy Churches and Altars.
I wish to make reparation.
For the diabolical agents of Hell, ever seeking whom they may.
I wish to make reparation.
For the heartbreaking outrages committed by those who should be Thy greatest consolation.
I wish to make reparation.

 

Source: http://saintsprayers.net

About Christian’s Privilege to be Rich, St. Francis de Sales

‘There is a wide difference between having poison and being poisoned. All apothecaries have poisons ready for special uses, but they are not consequently poisoned because the poison is only in their shop, not in themselves; and so you may possess riches without being poisoned by them, so long as they are in your house or purse only, and not in your heart.

It is the Christian’s privilege to be rich in material things, and poor in attachment to them, thereby having the use of riches in this world and the merit of poverty in the next.

Of a truth, my daughter, no one will ever own themselves to be avaricious; – everyone denies this contemptible vice: – men excuse themselves on the plea of providing for their children, or plead the duty of prudent forethought: – they never have too much, there is always some good reason for accumulating more; and even the most avaricious of men not only do not own to being such, but sincerely believe that they are not; and that because avarice is as a strong fever which is all the less felt as it rages most fiercely.

Moses saw that sacred fire which burnt the bush without consuming it, but the profane fire of avarice acts precisely the other way, – it consumes the miser, but without burning, for, amid its most intense heat, he believes himself to be deliciously cool, and imagines his insatiable thirst to be merely natural and right.

If you long earnestly, anxiously, and persistently after what you do not possess, it is all very well to say that you do not wish to get it unfairly, but you are all the time guilty of avarice. He who longs eagerly and anxiously to drink, though it may be water only, thereby indicates that he is feverish.

St. Francis de Sales

Do not help the Devil to spread his kingdom – St. John of Kronstadt

You see very clearly that it is extremely difficult, and without God’s grace and your own fervent prayer and abstinence, impossible, for you to change for the better.  You feel within yourself the action of a multitude of passions: of pride, malice, envy, greediness, the love of money, despondency, slothfulness, fornication, impatience, and disobedience; and yet you remain in them, are often bound by them, whilst the long-suffering Lord bears with you, awaiting your return and amendment; and still bestows upon you all the gifts of His mercy.

Be then indulgent, patient, and loving to those who live with you, and who also suffer from many passions; conquer every evil by good, and, above all, pray to God for them, that He may correct them—that He may turn their hearts to Himself, the source of holiness.

Do not help the Devil to spread his kingdom. Hallow the name of your Heavenly Father by your actions; help Him to spread His Kingdom on earth. ‘For we are laborers together with God.’

Be zealous of the fulfillment of His will on earth, as it is in heaven. Forgive them that trespass against you with joy, as a good son rejoices when he has a chance of fulfilling the will of his beloved father.

(Orthodox Christian spirituality)

The Great Evil

‘”What is the worst thing in the world?” A little child put up its hand and said, Please, may I answer? Yes, said the teacher. Then, said the child, I think the worst thing in the world is a great pain. The child did not give the right answer. No doubt it is frightful to see any one burnt up with fever, or cramped with cholera, or to see death tearing away the soul from the body. It is a sad thing to say the last “good bye” to those whom we love. These things make tears run down from the eye and draw sighs out of the heart. But there is something which burns more than fever, and cramps more than cholera. There is a last parting more sorrowful than the last parting with father, mother, brother, or sister. What, then, is the great bad thing? The greatest of all evils — the evil of evils — what is it? The greatest of all evils is — Mortal sin. Mortal sin is so great an evil that no man living will be able to understand how great an evil it is.’

An extract from  ‘The Great Evil’ by Rev. John Furniss, C.S.S.R.

Source: http://saintsbooks.net/

http://saintsbooks.net/books/Fr.%20John%20Furniss%20-%20The%20Great%20Evil.pdf

Sister Faustina’s Vision of Hell

“I, Sister Faustina Kowalska, by the order of God, have visited the Abysses of Hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence…the devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God, What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell.” (Diary 741)

“Today, I was led by an angel to the Chasms of Hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw:
The First Torture that constitutes hell is:
The loss of God.
The Second is:
Perpetual remorse of conscience.
The Third is:
That one’s condition will never change.
The Fourth is:
The fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it. A terrible suffering since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger.
The Fifth Torture is:
Continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own.
The Sixth Torture is:
The constant company of Satan.
The Seventh Torture is:
Horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies.
These are the Tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings.

Indescribable Sufferings:
There are special Tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings related to the manner in which it has sinned.

I would have died:
There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me.

No One Can Say There is No Hell:
Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like…how terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God’s mercy upon them. O My Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend you by the least sin.” (Diary 741)

Source: http://www.divinemercysunday.com

On fasting and things to meditate upon- St. Theodore the Studite

‘Brethren and fathers, since every beginning is difficult, the first fruits of the fast corresponding to the change of diet and of works of zeal produce a certain difficulty and roughness; but with persistence and practice it is soothed and softened; this is why it is written, No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of justice to those who have been trained by it.

And so let us too, who have been allowed to traverse the first week of the fast, become more enthusiastic for the future through experience, knowing that enthusiasm strengthens both soul and body, making what is heavy light and what is difficult easy.

The opposite is true: idleness makes what is light heavy and what is easy difficult.

However let us not strive beyond our power in our works of zeal, but with our spiritual father keep a watch over our bodily health also. For what use is there in walking too hard from the start and falling down more quickly, rather than attentively keeping in view the extent of the dwelling.

But since the day with exertion is accustomed to produce despondency, let us sustain the soul with good pursuits and spiritual thoughts, not with those of a worldly sort, in which are emptiness, confusion, wretchedness and bitterness, but in ones in which are sweetness and joy.

I remembered God, it says, and I was glad.

Our mind then should be on God, on heavenly sights, on the beauties of Paradise, on the everlasting dwellings, on the regime there, where the souls of the just and of sinners are now, on how the appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ will be, in which, according to the sacred saying, the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up; then how each soul is going to take again its yoke-fellow the body, what a gathering that will be of every human from Adam to the final consummation, how great and fearful and more dazzling than the rays of the sun will be the face of Christ, what his voice that we shall hear, and last, what will be the final state of the just who are admitted into the kingdom of heaven and of the sinners who are sent away to eternal punishments.

These, brethren, are the things that we should be caring about and thinking about, with which we should be occupied, since we live out of the world, and since we have our home in heaven and our lives have nothing in common with those who live according to the world; with these it is possible to be moved to compunction, to weep and to be enlightened, both to lead a life of peace here and to have hope of attaining the eternal good things to come, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and might, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always and to the ages of ages. Amen.’

St. Theodore the Studite

Natural and supernatural knowledge – St. Theodoros ( Philokalia)

Natural knowledge is that which the soul can acquire through the use of its natural faculties and powers when investigating creation and the cause of creation — in so far, of course, as this is possible for a soul bound to matter…

Supranatural knowledge, on the other hand, is that which enters the intellect in a manner transcending its own means and power; that is to say, the intelligible objects that constitute such knowledge surpass the capacity of an intellect joined to a body, so that a knowledge of them pertains naturally only to an intellect which is free from the body. Such knowledge is infused by God alone when He finds an intellect purified of all material attachment and inspired by divine love.

About illumination of intellect by St. Nikodimos ( Philokalia)

When the intellect has been perfected, it unites wholly with God and is illumined by divine light, and the most hidden mysteries are revealed to it. Then it truly learns where wisdom and power lie…

While it is still fighting against the passions it cannot as yet enjoy these things… But once the battle is over and it is found worthy of spiritual gifts, then it becomes wholly luminous, powerfully energized by grace and rooted in the contemplation of spiritual realities.

A person in whom this happens is not attached to the things of this world but has passed from death to life.

Words of St. Theodore the Studite, before his death

‘So farewell now, my children. I set out on a journey with no return, a journey which all those of old have traveled and on which you will set out in a short while after carrying out the duties of life.

I do not know, my brothers, where I am going or what judgment awaits me or which place will receive me. For I have not completed a single good work before God. Rather I am responsible for every sin. But still, I rejoice and am glad that I am going from the world to heaven, from darkness to light, from slavery to freedom, from temporary lodging to true abode, from strange and alien lands – for I am a sojourner and a stranger as all my fathers were (cf. Ps. 38 [39]:12) – to my very own country.

Still more boldly I will declare that I return to my Master, to my Lord and my God whom my spirit has loved, whom I have acknowledged as Father, even if I have not served him as a son. I have possessed him before all else, even if I have not served him as a noble slave.

Raving, I have spoken these things, but I have said them for you so that you will take heart and pray for my salvation.

If I achieve it, see, I give you my word before the truth that I will not be silent, but shall boldly beseech my Lord and Master for you all that you shall flourish, be saved, and multiply. I expect to see, receive, and embrace each and every one of you as you depart from the world. For I have such faith that, since you have observed his commands, his goodness just as he did here will also preserve you in the coming age for the same purpose: to sing the praises of his all-holy power. My children, remember my humble words. Keep the advice I have given in Christ Jesus our Lord in whom is glory and power forever and ever, Amen.’

St. Theodore the Studite, before his death

Thoughts on Continency by St. Basil the Great

‘Continency is denial of the body, and confession to God. It withdraws from anything mortal, like a body which has the Spirit of God. It is without rivalry and envy, and causes us to be united to God.

He who loves a body envies another. He who has not admitted the disease of corruption into his heart, is for the future strong enough to endure any labour, and though he have died in the body, he lives in incorruption.

Verily, if I rightly apprehend the matter, God seems to me to be continency, because He desires nothing, but has all things in Himself. He reaches after nothing, nor has any sense in eyes or ears; wanting nothing, He is in all respects complete and full.

Concupiscence is a disease of the soul; but continency is its health. And continency must not be regarded only in one species, as, for instance, in matters of sensual love. It must be regarded in everything which the soul lusts after in an evil manner, not being content with what is needful for it. Envy is caused for the sake of gold, and innumerable wrongs for the sake of other lusts. Not to be drunken is continency. Not to overeat one’s self is continency. To subdue the body is continency, and to keep evil thoughts in subjection, whenever the soul is disturbed by any fancy false and bad, and the heart is distracted by vain cares.

Continency makes men free, being at once a medicine and a power, for it does not teach temperance; it gives it. Continency is a grace of God.’

St. Basil the Great

‘The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved by St. Leonard of Port Maurice’

An extract from ‘The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved by St. Leonard of Port Maurice’


One day Saint John Chrysostom, preaching in the cathedral in Constantinople and considering these proportions, could not help but shudder in horror and ask, “Out of this great number of people, how many do you think will be saved?” And, not waiting for an answer, he added, “Among so many thousands of people, we would not find a hundred who are saved, and I even doubt for the one hundred.” What a dreadful thing! The great Saint believed that out of so many people, barely one hundred would be saved; and even then, he was not sure of that number. What will happen to you who are listening to me? Great God, I cannot think of it without shuddering! Brothers, the problem of salvation is a very difficult thing; for according to the maxims of the theologians, when an end demands great efforts, few only attain it.

That is why Saint Thomas, the Angelic Doctor, after weighing all the reasons pro and con in his immense erudition, finally concludes that the greater number of Catholic adults are damned. He says, “Because eternal beatitude surpasses the natural state, especially since it has been deprived of original grace, it is the little number that are saved.”

So then, remove the blindfold from your eyes that is blinding you with self-love, that is keeping you from believing such an obvious truth by giving you very false ideas concerning the justice of God, “Just Father, the world has not known Thee,” said Our Lord Jesus Christ. He does not say “Almighty Father, most good and merciful Father.” He says “just Father,” so we may understand that out of all the attributes of God, none is less known than His justice, because men refuse to believe what they are afraid to undergo. Therefore, remove the blindfold that is covering your eyes and say tearfully: Alas! The greater number of Catholics, the greater number of those who live here, perhaps even those who are in this assembly, will be damned! What subject could be more deserving of your tears?

King Xerxes, standing on a hill looking at his army of one hundred thousand soldiers in battle array, and considering that out of all of them there would be not one man alive in a hundred years, was unable to hold back his tears. Have we not more reason to weep upon thinking that out of so many Catholics, the greater number will be damned? Should this thought not make our eyes pour forth rivers of tears, or at least produce in our heart the sentiment of compassion felt by an Augustinian Brother, Ven. Marcellus of St. Dominic? One day as he was meditating on the eternal pains, the Lord showed him how many souls were going to hell at that moment and had him see a very broad road on which twenty-two thousand reprobates were running toward the abyss, colliding into one another. The servant of God was stupefied at the sight and exclaimed, “Oh, what a number! What a number! And still more are coming. O Jesus! O Jesus! What madness!” Let me repeat with Jeremiah, “Who will give water to my head, and a fountain of tears to my eyes? And I will weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.”

Poor souls! How can you run so hastily toward hell? For mercy’s sake, stop and listen to me for a moment! Either you understand what it means to be saved and to be damned for all eternity, or you do not. If you understand and in spite of that, you do not decide to change your life today, make a good confession and trample upon the world, in a word, make your every effort to be counted among the littler number of those who are saved, I say that you do not have the faith. You are more excusable if you do not understand it, for then one must say that you are out of your mind. To be saved for all eternity, to be damned for all eternity, and to not make your every effort to avoid the one and make sure of the other, is something inconceivable.

Source: http://saintsbooks.net

THE GRACE OF GOD IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY – By St. Louis Marie de Montfort

An extract from ‘The Secret of Mary by St. Louis Marie de Montfort’ 
Chosen soul, living image of God and redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, God wants you to become holy like him in this life, and glorious like him in the next.

It is certain that growth in the holiness of God is your vocation. All your thoughts, words, actions, everything you suffer or undertake must lead you towards that end. Otherwise you are resisting God in not doing the work for which he created you and for which he is even now keeping you in being. What a marvellous transformation is possible! Dust into light, uncleanness into purity, sinfulness into holiness, creature into Creator, man into God! A marvellous work, I repeat, so difficult in itself, and even impossible for a mere creature to bring about, for only God can accomplish it by giving his grace abundantly and in an extraordinary manner. The very creation of the universe is not as great an achievement as this. 

Chosen soul, how will you bring this about? What steps will you take to reach the high level to which God is calling you? The means of holiness and salvation are known to everybody, since they are found in the gospel; the masters of the spiritual life have explained them; the saints have practised them and shown how essential they are for those who wish to be saved and attain perfection. These means are: sincere humility, unceasing prayer, complete self-denial, abandonment to divine Providence, and obedience to the will of God.

The grace and help of God are absolutely necessary for us to practise all these, but we are sure that grace will be given to all, though not in the same measure. I say “not in the same measure”, because God does not give his graces in equal measure to everyone, although in his infinite goodness he always gives sufficient grace to each. A person who corresponds to great graces performs great works, and one who corresponds to lesser graces performs lesser works. The value and high standard of our actions corresponds to the value and perfection of the grace given by God and responded to by the faithful soul. No one can contest these principles.

How monks of the olden days lived? ( St. John Cassian)

‘. . . in the early days of the faith few indeed — but they were very upright — were regarded as monks, and they had received that form of life from the evangelist Mark of blessed memory, who was the first to rule as bishop over the city of Alexandria.

They not only retained then those magnificent qualities that we read in the Acts of the Apostles were originally cultivated by the Church and by the throngs of believers but to these they even added things far more lofty. . . they went off to quite secluded places on the outskirts of the city and led a strict life of such rigorous abstinence that even those who did not share their religion were astonished at the arduous profession of their way of life.

For day and night they gave themselves over to the reading of Holy Scripture, to prayer, and to manual labor with such fervor that the very appetite for and memory of food only disturbed them every second or third day, when their bodies felt hunger, and they would take food and drink not so much out of desire as out of necessity.

Indeed, they would not do this before sunset, so as to link the daytime with the pursuit of spiritual meditation but the care of the body with the night. And other things they did that were far more lofty than these. . .’

St. John Cassian