Tenebrae 2014

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Join the Community and Old St. Mary’s for the ancient of Office of Tenebrae  on Good Friday at Old St. Mary’s Church at 7:30 p.m.  Various polyphonic pieces by Victoria, Gesualdo, Ingegneri, and Anerio will be sung to add to the solemnity and somberness of the evening. Read here for more information.

Matins, with its nine psalms and nine lessons, followed by Lauds, with its five psalms and Gospel Canticle, are a good way to keep watch at the Tomb of Christ. The whole office takes some time, but is a good way to spend Good Friday, especially if someone was unable to attend the Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion.

Coming from a Latin word for darkness or shadows, Tenebrae is a reminder of the decent into darkness that the world experiences through sin and the Crucifixion and Death of Christ. Through Tenebrae, culminating in the loud banging at the end of the Office, the psalms and lessons highlight the emotions that one feels as a result of the Passion. The Church progressively gets darker through the Psalms and lessons, showing the decent of humanity into sin. In the end, we are left in total darkness because of our choice to sin, leading to the death of Christ. Completely in Latin, this part of the Divine Office may seem burdensome. But if one enters into the spirit of Tenebrae with all of the senses, observing the environment, listening to the chants, reading the texts, and chanting when possible, the soul will begin to realize to some degree the depth that Christ went to in order to save us from our sins. You are welcome to join us for the entirety of Tenebrae or just for part. Please join us in prayer on this most solemn evening of the Church year.  

Palm Sunday 2014

Check out our photos from Palm Sunday.  More photos in our Photo Album.  Check back throughout Holy Week for more pictures from our Holy Week  Masses and Liturgies…  Don’t forget to check our Holy Week Schedule!

Holy Week Schedule

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Palm Sunday
7:45 a.m. Low Traditional Mass
9:00 a.m. Solemn Latin Ordinary Form Mass
11:00 a.m. German Mass
12:30 p.m. English Mass
7:00 p.m. English Mass

Holy Thursday, April 17
Solemn Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7 p.m.
Adoration until midnight

 

Good Friday, April 18
Stations of the Cross at noon, Rosary at 1 p.m.
Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion at 1:30 p.m.
Procession at 3 p.m.
Solemn Office of Tenebrae, polyphonic choir 7:30pm

Holy Saturday, April 19
Blessing of Easter Baskets at noon
Solemn Mass of the Easter Vigil at 9 p.m.

Easter Sunday, April 20
7:45 a.m. Low Traditional Mass
9:15 a.m. Solemn Latin Ordinary Form Mass
11:00 a.m. German Mass
12:30 p.m. English Mass

Annual Banquet 2014

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The Community in Formation’s only annual fundraiser is quickly approaching. Join the Community on May 3, 2014 at The Phoenix for this event. Last year, the event raised over $25,000 for the Community’s Annual Budget. This year, we will be appealing again for the Annual Budget, but also for our many renovation projects underway. We look forward to being able to see you and give you an update on where we stand on our projects, and when the renovations will begin. Please visit our Banquet Page for more information or to make a reservation!

 

Spring Newsletter

Please check out our newest newsletter for the Spring of 2014…

 

Feast of the Annunciation – 2014

The Feast of the Annunciation is the Patronal Feast of Old St. Mary’s, the parish in Cincinnati where the Community is based.  The construction of the Church building commenced on the Feast Day in 1841.  For over 173 years, Old St. Mary’s has stood at the center of Over-the-Rhine as a symbol of the Church’s mission in this area.  The Altar and the Tabernacle remain the heart of this neighborhood, as we strive to administer the Sacraments and preach the Gospel.  Please enjoy a few photos from First Solemn Vespers held on March 24th and also the Solemn Mass on March 25th.  The Mass joined together the various parishioners that make up Old St. Mary’s, with the Mass being in Latin, English, and German.  The Ordinary Parts of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, etc) was Missa Secunda composed by Hans Leo Hassler.  More photos can be found in our Facebook Album.

Lenten Tuesday’s with the Community – Judgement

Tuesday’s in Lent, the Community and Old St. Mary’s come together for Stations of the Cross at 6:30, followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and a talk on one of the Four Last Things.  Last week’s sermon was on the second of the Four Last Things – judgement.  It is presented below:

The Four Last Things – Judgement

As we heard last week, the first of the four last things is death.  Death is reality that will come for us all, and hopefully not at a moment when we don’t expect it.  To die well, is to have lived well.  Meaning that we have lived a life of grace, and a life surrounded by the Church.  Our live is a life in which we struggle in our temptations and difficulties.  That everyday of our lives we are presented with temptations from the devil, the worst of which is the temptation to sin because we can simply go to confession afterwards.  If we fall into that temptation, there is no guarantee that we will have that grace and opportunity; we may be called upon to make an account of our lives that evening. Death certainly isn’t the last word and something we must prepare for, because what comes afterwards is eternity.  To die unprepared and unexpected would be terrible, because what follows is the second of the ‘Four Last Things,’ judgment.

The people of the early world originally believed that the way in which a man had eternal life was through his descendants.  The promise made to Abraham, that he would be the father to a great nation, was a great promise for him.  Abraham would have understood this as a promise for eternal life. This is one of the reasons why it was believed that somehow barrenness was the result of sin and displeasure with God, fertility on the other hand was a sign that the couple was pleasing to God.  It was only in descendants, which remembered and honored one’s memory, that one was able to have eternal life.  A lack of descendants was condemnation.

We know now, however, that physical maladies are not the result of sin, at least not in the sense that God seeks to punish us for sin through sickness or physical ailments.  But we do know that we have an immortal soul; a soul that requires our great care. Unlike our bodies, unlike our material possessions, unlike our prestige and reputations, our soul alone is what will be what will last into eternity and we only have one soul.

Many today teach that at the moment of death nothing happens, similar to the belief of the ancient world.  Others believe that at the end of our lives we fall asleep into some holding pattern.  The Church, however, teaches that there is not just the General Judgment at the end of time.  A judgment in which the whole world will be judged as a whole, and our bodies will be united back to our souls to enjoy the same reward or suffer the same punishment as our souls.

But before we get to the General Judgment, there is a Particular Judgment. The dogmatic teaching states that: “immediately after death, the particular judgment takes place.  An event in which, by a Divine Sentence of Judgment, the eternal fate of the deceased person is decided.”  In that moment, we will be transported before the judgment seat of God.  Everything that we did, everything that we said, everything that we failed to do, everything will be under scrutiny.

Confusion will overwhelm us in that moment when everything will be revealed.  All of those secrets that we hold in the deepest recesses of our hearts will be exposed.  Think of how difficult it is for us to reveal these sins in the secrecy of the confessional.  In the book of Genesis, the sons of Jacob discovered that the Egyptian Lord they were speaking with was their bother Joseph.  When Joseph said ‘I am your brother whom you sold,’ great silence and fear came over his brothers.  What fear will come over us when Christ comes before us as the judge?  When all of our faults are revealed, and not a single secret of our hearts are left hidden?  As the great Funeral Sequence the Dies Irae says: “When therefore the Judge will sit, whatever hides will appear: nothing will remain unpunished.”

It will be in that moment that the soul will suffer more at seeing the indignation of Christ than at the fear of punishment in hell.   He will judge us with the same charity and justice that we judged others.  What will ultimately be our judge will be two books.  The first being the Gospels that we should have used to instruct us in what we should have done.  The second will be our own consciences to condemn us for what we have done or failed to do.  The Lord has given us these two things to guide us, and yet we so often go against their counsel.  To the point that they alone will be all that is necessary to either gain our salvation or seal our damnation.

At our judgment, there will be three witnesses called to testify against us before the Lord; the first witness being the devil.  He will declare all that we did in accordance with his temptations.  He will affirm to the Lord that he did not endure blows and scourges to win our esteem, that he suffered nothing for our obedience.  Yet, we left Christ, the one who did endure the scourging at the pillar.  The one who did suffer and die for us.  The devil will accuse us of having forsaken Christ, who loved us beyond love in order to win our friendship.  And yet, we went with the one who is a murder and liar.  The one who tortures the souls of the condemned for all eternity.  He will declare us to be his, because in that moment we are his for all eternity if we haven’t lived well and died well.

The second witness will be our own Guardian Angel; the angel that was given to us to guide us, to protect us, and keep us in God’s grace.  He will report to the Lord how we always ignored every warning we were given.  How, rather than responding to the gifts and graces that God gave us, that we ignored our angels counsel.  This gift from God, to help ward off the power of the enemy, will accuse us for rejecting this gift.

The final witness will be the wounds of Christ. The nails that nailed the author of life to the tree will complain of our sins.  We forced those nails to be the instrument of death.  The wounds themselves will speak of against us. Because we rejected the life giving graces that flowed forth from those wounds.  Finally The Cross of Christ will preach against us.  That dogwood tree, that tree that at one time stood so straight and proud as tradition tells us.  A tree that is now withered and hunched over because of its shame for being the instrument of torture that crucified our Lord.  These will accuse us before the Lord.  Accuse us of all that we did, and all we ought to have done; the temptations that we gave into, the opportunities that we missed.  All because we sought a passing pleasure, rather than the happiness that only eternal life can give.

In the judgment, we will remain proud.  Acting like Lady Eve, we won’t humbly admit our faults.  We will remain indignant, making excuses.  We will blame other forces for our failures.  Grasping at straws, we will claim ignorance.  Claiming that we did not know something was a sin.  And yet, have been born in a heathen nation?  Have we never gone to Church?  Do we not have ready access to Sacred Scripture?  To the Catechism?  To the priests of the Church?  We cannot claim ignorance.  For all the difficulties we face in the 21st Century, we have more opportunities to become saints than any saint before us. We have our consciences and the gospels to guide us, and they will condemn us in the end.  Ignorance will be no defense.  The truth is at our fingertips, we choose to remain ignorant.

We will claim that our passions were too strong.  That we couldn’t help ourselves.  And yet, are we really just animals?  Did the Lord make us no different than the brute beast?  We were the crown of God’s creation.  Having been given reason, intellect, freedom, and the ability to love.  And yet, we still claim we are nothing more than an animal?  We can’t control ourselves because we don’t want to.  We know the remedy for sin and the passions.  We know that we must practice virtue and perform penances if we hope to lead a holy life.  We do whatever it takes to have the perfect body, the perfect mind, the perfect reputation.  We strive at great lengths for these things. Yet when it comes to virtue, we put that off until tomorrow.  Refusing the hard work that it takes to be a saint.

God has given us the Sacraments, and yet how often we simply approach that with indifference.  These seven gifts have the ability to transform us if we allow them, and yet we approach them with such ease.  Do we truly believe that what we receive is the Eucharist?  The body of the Lord.  If we did, we would ensure that our souls were clean and come to the rail with such preparation that we would almost not want to receive the Eucharist out of unworthiness.  Think of how we pray before the Exposed Eucharist, as if He isn’t even present.  As if it us doing Him the favor of sitting with him.  How easily we approach the Sacrament of Penance, knowing that the next time we present ourselves, we will confess the same thing.  We will claim that we are not strong.  The Lord, however, will remind us of everything he has given to us, and how little we took advantage of those gifts.  How we were not at all transformed by these gifts.  In that moment, we will hang our heads in shame.

Our final defense will be a claim that we had no examples.  Yet we have the Blessed Virgin Mary.  We have Saint Joseph and the Apostles.  We have the St. Philip Neri and the Oratorian Saints and Blesseds.  We have St. Therese of the Child Jesus.  We have the confessors, the virgins, and martyrs.  We have the priests and nuns of the Church.  We choose not to follow them, but follow those who suit our fancy.  We follow our own wills.  The Lord has given us every opportunity for grace and holiness, and pass up every one.  God is merciful and desires our salvation.  But he is also just and allows our freedom to make decisions.  Decisions that can lead to our salvation or damnation.  And this defense will be our very condemnation, because we have no excuses. 

We gave into temptation and our passions because we sought a passing pleasure.  This passing pleasures that only gives a slight reprieve.  What will eating all that food and practicing gluttony really get us aside form a moment of joy?  What will the excesses of the flesh really gain for us but a very quick pleasure?  These earn us just a temporary joy, but lead us to eternal sadness.

We have been given two eyes, two ears, two hands, and two feet.  If we lose one of them we will still have one.  But the Lord has given to us only one soul, and if we lose that, we lose eternal happiness.  We must take care to save our souls and seek the happiness that is eternal.  What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?

We must strive to make your soul the temple and the abode of the Divinity.  Never losing sight of the solemn and awful day when we will appear before the tribunal of Christ to render an account of all our works.  How much tremor there will be, when the Judge will come, investigating everything strictly!

We must say with St. Ambrose.  ‘Woe is me if I weep not for my sins!  Woe is me, O Lord, if I rise not in the night to confess and proclaim the glory of Thy name!  Woe is me if I do not dissipate the errors of my brethren and cause the light of truth to burn before their eyes, for the axe is now laid to the root of the tree.’

Eternal life is given only to those who have labored courageously and profitably.  Eternal death is given to those whose works are barren and useless.

We must pray each day another line from the Dies Irae: ‘Just Judge of revenge, give the gift of remission before the day of reckoning.’

Because if we wait until that day of reckoning we won’t hear that we have been a good and prudent steward.  Rather, as our head hangs in shame, the Lord will pronounce his judgment: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire that was prepared by the devil and his angels.

Let us pray with St. Alphonsus

My God! If I do not appease Thee now, there will then be no more time for turning away Thy anger. But how shall I, who have so often despised Thy friendship for miserable beastly pleasures, be able to appease Thy wrath? I have repaid with ingratitude Thy immense love. How can a creature ever make sufficient satisfaction for having offended the Creator? Ah, my Lord! I thank Thee, for giving me in Thy mercy a means of appeasing Thy anger and satisfying Thy justice. I offer Thee the blood and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, and behold! I see a superabundant atonement and satisfaction made to Thee. To appease Thy anger, my repentance is also necessary. Yes, my God! I repent with my whole heart of all the injuries I have done Thee. Judge me now, O my Redeemer! I detest above all things all the offences I have offered to Thee. I love Thee with my whole heart and above all things, and I purpose to love Thee always, and to die rather than ever offend Thee again. Thou hast promised to pardon all who repent. Ah! judge me now, and absolve me from my sins. I accept the punishment that I deserve, but reinstate me in Thy grace, and preserve me in it till death. Such is my hope. O Mary, my Mother! I thank thee for all the mercies that thou hast obtained for me. Ah! Continue to protect me to the end.

Works Consulted:
Roman Catechism
St. Alphonsus Liguori – Preparation for Death
St. John Vianney – Sermons
Ven. Louis of Granada – The Sinner’s Guide

Lenten Tuesday’s with the Community – Death

Tuesday’s in Lent, the Community and Old St. Mary’s come together for Stations of the Cross at 6:30, followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and a talk on one of the Four Last Things.  This week’s sermon was on the first of the Four Last Things – death.  It is presented below:

The Four Last Things – Death

Few of us have any recollection of the moment when we entered the world at our birth.  Based on what we see with the birth of a child today, we could only imagine that it is somewhat of a terrifying experience.  The sensation of being touched and pulled, the activation of the senses, those first breathes that we take.  It is impossible to know for sure, but it has to be a jarring and weird experience.  But just as we entered this world, it seems many of the same emotions follow us out of this world.  The fear of the unknown, the losing of our bodily capabilities, and rather than the activation of our senses and major body organs, we experience the reverse; their shut down.  We can conclude that just as birth is a terrifying experience, so is death.  But it is an experience we must always keep in mind and prepare ourselves for.  Lest death catches us by surprise, just as birth did.

We began the Lenten Season with a very stark and strong reminder.  “Remember man that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”  It is an unfortunate fact about our humanity that rather than always preparing for death, rather than working for that one moment in life that is unavoidable, we focus on pampering ourselves and winning up treasure for us on this earth.  The world has so much to offer and we are at a point as human beings and a society that we can never have enough of it.  Since the time when Adam and Eve took from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we have been seeking to make our lives easy.  We focus so much on the material things rather than on eternal things.  But I am reminded of something my mother told me, only two things are certain in this life, taxes and death. St. Augustine said something similar, that it is only death that is certain in life.  And it is upon this, death, the first of the four last things, that we will reflect upon this evening.  Because we were once dust, and we will once again be dust.  Our bodies will be gone, and all that will remain is our immortal souls.  If we aren’t preparing for death our whole lives, then we will certainly never be prepared for it; to die well is to have lived well.

Our society has worked very hard at removing all aspects of suffering from before our eyes.  We seek to kill off the unwanted through abortion.  We hide our elders in nursing homes.  We kill off the elderly and the sick through euthanasia.  We put and keep the poor in their ghettos.  The sick are hidden away in hospitals forgotten.  There is a lofty goal of redistributing wealth, because somehow, if everyone earned the same amount of money we would end human hunger and poverty. The goal of modern society has been the complete removal of suffering from before our eyes.  We seek to prolong life for as long as it can be.  Walt Disney going to far as to freeze his body because he somehow believed that he could be raised again someday when science allowed it.  No matter how hard we try, life cannot be extended forever.  Our only hope of everlasting life is through death

This is the example of Christ on the Cross, the ultimate form of suffering.  Suffering that has never known suffering like His.  And so we say suffering is redemptive, that it has the ability to make us stronger in God, the ability to atone for the sins of our whole life.  That somehow, if we allow it, our sufferings are added to, and perfected in, the suffering of the Son of God.  Christ has shown us that it is only through suffering and death, suffering and death with Him, that we have the ability to actually live again.

In place of this suffering, we have sought to build up for ourselves earthly treasures – our possessions, our properties, our reputations, our status.  We seek money and power an this only feeds into the monster.  In that moment that Adam and Eve rejected God’s gifts, we set up for ourselves an alternate path.  Before us we have the path to Eternal Life; with all of its joys and happiness for eternity with God.  Or we have before the path of temporal happiness; with all of its passing joys, constant frustrations of not being happy enough, or having enough.  We are hungry to feed the beast of our passions with things that will pass away and we delude ourselves into thinking we are happy, but all we do is look for our next high.

The reality is, we have our choice.  We can search out our next fix for being happy or we can be satisfied when happiness finds us, but in the process embrace the cross of suffering.  The one path leads us to eternal damnation while the other gains us graces and merits that will long be with us beyond the confines of time and space; the suffering that we experience, the penances that we do, the difficulties that we face.  If we embrace them as Christ embraced his cross, constantly denying ourselves, then our place in heaven will be great.  Merit can only be gained in this life, and it will determine our place in eternity.  Material goods and wealth will gain for us earthly happiness, but will be left behind.  None of it can follow us.  Merit and suffering comes with us into eternal life.  As we heard in the movie the Gladiator, what we do in life echo’s in eternity.

To see this truth, at least from an earthly perspective, all we have to do is walk around cemeteries.  All those beneath us are certainly passed.  Some may have larger head stones than others.  Some may even be in mausoleums.  The last chance some had for earthly glory.  But they are all certainly passed.  We most likely don’t even recognize the names of those with the fancier headstones.  But while these souls may not have been equal in life, they all found an equal end.  As Psalm 9 reminds us, ‘their memory perished with a noise.’

If we have any hope of eternal life, we must be preparing in life for a good and holy death.  Nothing we do can avoid death, and so we must prepare for it.  The saints all were preparing for this moment, because it is a terrifying moment, and even they were afraid of it.  St. Robert Bellarmine even wrote a book called the art of dying well as a preparation, because the art of dying well is first of all living well.  To do this, we have been left the examples of Christ and the saints.  How fortunate we are to actually live in the 21st Century.  We have been left so many great ancestors in our faith who have lived well.  The Saints were able to successfully detach themselves from the world, even while living in it.  Having detached themselves, they became firmly rooted in and attached to God.  And this is because they always kept death in their sights.

St. Philip Neri, founder of the Oratory, instructs us that we will leave life as empty handed as we entered into it.  He says that the best way to prepare for death is to live life as if everyday were our last.  Cardinal Baronius, the second superior of the Oratory, had inscribed on his Cardinals ring,  “Memento mori – remember that you will die.”  Keeping close in mind the instructions of the founder of our congregation.  And Bl. Juvenal, another Oratorian, always kept on his desk a skull with the inscription ‘What thou are, I was.  What I am, you will be.”  Death will come for us all, and we know not the day, nor the hour when it will come.  If we constantly put off until tomorrow what we should be doing today, we will never be prepared to die well, eternity is what is at stake.  While God certainly desires our friendship and our salvation, it is ultimately up to us. On how we live our life and how we prepare for death.  Death waits for us everywhere, we must wait for it everywhere.

When the devil comes to you and presents you with temptations it is important to resist.  Resist the temptation as Christ resisted in the Gospel.  We must never fall into the temptation that will follow, that we can simply go to confession tomorrow.  When the devil presents these temptations to you, tell him that that you do not know if you will be alive tomorrow to make a good confession and turn away from him and sin.

The devil desires our unholy death; he wants us to be attached to this world and to him.  He doesn’t want us to live a life of penance and suffering, because he knows that this is the path to true and eternal happiness.  God wants us to be happy, but He knows that because of original sin we are weak.  We are weak and seek to fill the desires of our flesh and passions.  So He has given us great tools to assist us; He has given us the Sacraments, Sacred Scripture, the guidance of our Holy Church.  But we must know that this is not an easy task.  The priests of the Church have been given no special blessings or holy water to sprinkle to make people grow out of vice and into virtue.  The Lord has given each of us the tools we need to become saints, we must be willing to pick up our crosses and follow after Him with them.

While there is great hope, because we know and believe in the Resurrection of the Dead, we must first contemplate death.  To rise from the dead is to have first died with Christ. We must keep these three points in mind:

  1. That at the moment of death, contemplate the great remorse we will have as a result of our sins.  Rather than thinking of the pleasures that we had in our sins, think instead of the remorse we will have when we know we are close to having to make an account of them.
  2. That at the moment of death, we will have wished we had served God more faithfully.  Thomas Wolsey, the Cardinal Chancellor of England during the reign of Henry VIII, declared on his deathbed that had he served God as faithfully as he had served his king, he would not be on the brink of eternal damnation.  Compare this to Cardinal Wolsey’s successor, St. Thomas More, who declared at his execution that he was the kings good servant, but was God’s first.  Whose servant will we have been at the moment of our death, and who will we have been faithful to in our last moments?
  3. That at the moment of death, we will have wished we had embraced the penances and sacrifices that came our way as an attainment of sin.  How, if only now they could be given to us again, we would embrace them whole heartily.  Even in the difficulties that come our way, we make excuses.  We try to turn them into moments of self-praise.  We return to the instincts given to us by Adam and Eve, and rather than take responsibility for our actions, we pass the blame; we are all Lady Eve’s.  But God wants us to be like Christ, embracing our crosses, and not seeking the praise of men, but only the praise of God.

If these things aren’t enough meditation for us, as we go through our Lenten Pilgrimage, I recall a very harsh penance someone received from one of the seminary fathers when I studied at the Pontifical College Josephinum.  A Saintly Jesuit by the name of Fr. Lynn gave a seminarian that confessed just one sin the penance of contemplating for one hour the fate of a soul who suffered eternal damnation because of just one mortal sin.

The moment that death has taken our body, our souls will be immediately transported before the throne of God.  We will be judged and we will make an account of our entire life.  We will be judged on our missed opportunities.  We will be judged on our failures.  We will be judged for all the good that we have done and the merit we have gained.  If we live life well now, and we are preparing for this moment every day of our lives, then we have nothing to fear in death.  Our death will be a holy death.  And so, let us pray with St. Alphonsus:

Prayer of St. Alphonsus

Lord! if it were at this moment announced to me that my death was at hand, such would be the painful sentiments that would torture my soul. I thank Thee for giving me this light, and for giving me time to enter into myself. O my God! I will no longer fly from Thee. Thou hast sought after me long enough. I have just reason to fear that Thou wilt abandon me, if I now refuse to give myself to Thee, and continue to resist Thy calls. Thou hast given me a heart to love Thee, and I have made so bad use of it. I have loved creatures and have not loved Thee, my Creator and Redeemer! who hast given Thy life for the love of me. Instead of loving Thee, how often have I offended, how often have I despised Thee, and turned my back upon Thee ? I knew that by such a sin I insulted Thee, and still I have committed it. My Jesus! I am sorry for all my sins; they displease me above all things. I wish to change my life. I renounce all the pleasures of the world in order to love and please Thee, O God of my soul! Thou hast given me strong proofs of Thy love. I too would wish before death to give Thee some proof of my love. From this moment I accept all the infirmities, crosses, insults, and offenses that I receive from men; give me strength to submit to them with peace. I wish to bear them all for the love of Thee. I love Thee, O infinite goodness! I love Thee above every good. Increase my love, give me holy perseverance. Mary, my hope! pray to Jesus for me.  Amen.

Works Consulted:
Roman Catechism
St. Alphonsus Liguori – Preparation for Death
Ven. Louis of Granada – The Sinner’s Guide
St. Thomas More – The Four Last Things

Lenten Stations of the Cross and Talks

Lent Flyer

Lesson from St. Francis de Sales

When God the Creator made all things, he commanded the plants to bring forth fruit each according to its own kind; he has likewise commanded Christians, who are the living plants of his Church, to bring forth the fruits of devotion, each one in accord with his character, his station and his calling.

I say that devotion must be practiced in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman. But even this distinction is not sufficient; for the practice of devotion must be adapted to the strength, to the occupation and to the duties of each one in particular.

Tell me, please, my Philothea, whether it is proper for a bishop to want to lead a solitary life like a Carthusian; or for married people to be no more concerned than a Capuchin about increasing their income; or for a working man to spend his whole day in church like a religious; or on the other hand for a religious to be constantly exposed like a bishop to all the events and circumstances that bear on the needs of our neighbor. Is not this sort of devotion ridiculous, unorganized and intolerable? Yet this absurd error occurs very frequently, but in no way does true devotion, my Philothea, destroy anything at all. On the contrary, it perfects and fulfills all things. In fact if it ever works against, or is inimical to, anyone’s legitimate station and calling, then it is very definitely false devotion.

The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them. True devotion does still better. Not only does it not injure any sort of calling or occupation, it even embellishes and enhances it.

Moreover, just as every sort of gem, cast in honey, becomes brighter and more sparkling, each according to its color, so each person becomes more acceptable and fitting in his own vocation when he sets his vocation in the context of devotion. Through devotion your family cares become more peaceful, mutual love between husband and wife becomes more sincere, the service we owe to the prince becomes more faithful, and our work, no matter what it is, becomes more pleasant and agreeable.

It is therefore an error and even a heresy to wish to exclude the exercise of devotion from military divisions, from the artisans’ shops, from the courts of princes, from family households. I acknowledge, my dear Philothea, that the type of devotion which is purely contemplative, monastic and religious can certainly not be exercised in these sorts of stations and occupations, but besides this threefold type of devotion, there are many others fit for perfecting those who live in a secular state.

Therefore, in whatever situations we happen to be, we can and we must aspire to the life of perfection. – Introduction to the Devout Life