“Spiritual Mothers, Spiritual Fathers–Living Chalices,” — Ven. Archbishop Luis Martinez

My last post reflected on Under the Gaze of the Father by Ven. Archbishop Luis Martinez, the retreat which he gave to Ven. Conchita [Conception Cabrera de Armida] in Mexico in 1935.  As I reread and reflected on the 23rd day, “The Third Love—Souls,” the Holy Spirit revealed a most beautiful insight and grace through our Ven. Archbishop’s teachings—that the souls who give themselves completely to mystical incarnation as living hosts, other Christs, are not only spiritual mothers and fathers to other souls, but must also be living chalices.  But what does he mean?

In our covenant consecration in Love Crucified, we pray:  “Transform my heart into Your living chalice so that I become Your companion of love.”

How can my heart be transformed into a living chalice?  I may feel unworthy of this grace.  After all, the chalice at Mass holds the Precious Blood, the entirety of God’s outpouring mercy and tenderness.  It is precisely because of my unworthiness, the depth of my personal misery and inadequacy, the depth of my poverty, that I can be filled.  Our Ven. Archbishop explains:  “…[we] lack… knowledge of the infinite mercy and goodness of God, who pours out His love, caresses and gifts on whom He pleases, no matter how miserable he or she may be. On looking at itself and impressed by its wretchedness, the soul considers its misery incompatible with God’s graces and gifts.” [p. 132]

True humility, however, knows self and knows God:  “The soul that does not think of itself and knows that God can raise up children to Abraham from the stones, admits God’s gift without shyness or boasting… most naturally and simply out of profound humility, which is the clearest light and full truth.” [p. 133]

What do we do to receive and live this grace?   We live in humility, in the truth of our personal poverty and misery, in the truth of the Father’s ocean of mercy and tenderness which He longs to pour into the chalice of the willing heart, the abandoned heart, the heart which lives in Fiat in the sacrament of the moment.  Jesus Himself is the ultimate model of the spiritual father/mother, His pierced divine Heart the perfect chalice pouring tenderness, love, and mercy on all of us.

[Perhaps you remember the medieval symbol for Christ of the Pelican, “self-wounding on the Rood”–a line from the famous hymn by St. Thomas Aquinas, ‘Adorote devote”–the pelican was believed to pierce her own breast to feed her young–an apt symbol for the spiritual mother.  “The symbolism of the mother pelican feeding her little baby pelicans is rooted in an ancient legend which preceded Christianity. The legend was that in time of famine, the mother pelican wounded herself, striking her breast with the beak to feed her young with her blood to prevent starvation. Another version of the legend was that the mother fed her dying young with her blood to revive them from death, but in turn lost her own life.Fr. William P. Saunders in a column from the Arlington Catholic Herald (2003).]

Our Ven. Archbishop continues:  “…the soul that has received the mystical incarnation lets motherly [or fatherly] love invade it and totally fill it. It allows its innermost being to be permeated with the gentle and divine fire which the Father pours into it with His marvelous fruitfulness so that, like a flower filled with exquisite scent, it may open its chalice to perfume souls with the heavenly fragrance of its tenderness.”

To be filled with the “gentle and divine fire which the Father pours into it with His marvelous fruitfulness is to be a spiritual mother or father pouring out from that living chalice of the heart, the “heavenly fragrance of its tenderness” on souls.

Ven. Martinez is clear, “This motherly [or fatherly]  love is the superabundance of the divine love which, after filling one’s heart, [the living chalice], overflows into souls….Through our motherly heart, the Father loves His Jesus, who dwells in souls given to us as spiritual children.” [p. 134]

Furthermore,  The Father, makes use of the heart of this soul that loves with the Holy Spirit, so that He continues to love Jesus, whom He fashioned in this heart and in other hearts in which Jesus dwells.” [ p. 134]

 This grace enables the faithful soul, through union with the Blessed Trinity, to enter into Trinitarian love, to love with the Holy Spirit—the grace having nothing to do with our worthiness:  “… The spiritual fatherhood or motherhood of creatures does not originate from the depth of their misery, but comes from the Father.”

The grace to be a living chalice, spiritual mother or father rather depends on our total misery, an abyss of abandonment and poverty before Him, but an abyss always eager and willing to receive from the Father: “…the current of the divine love that flows in the bosom of the adorable Trinity passes, in a certain sense, through our heart and into the souls we love with motherly love.”

Who are these souls whom we are privileged to love with motherly or fatherly love, and what are our obligations to them? 

Ven. Martinez explains:  The soul that received the gift of spiritual motherhood from God has close relations with souls which it influences supernaturally. [Those in our territory of souls, our spouse, children, co-workers, those entrusted to us in our vocation, etc.]   As a result, motherly love, with its own traits and holy efficacy, wells up from these relations, [requiring from us] motherly care, self-denial and tenderness.” As in the natural world of fathers and mothers who deny themselves and  sacrifice themselves for their children, so in the spirit.  The motherly or fatherly heart is one of tenderness, self-sacrifice, giving, concern—a heart that listens and responds, that practices tough love when the occasion requires it.

 Our Ven. Archbishop explains:  “…the Lord gives these holy affections, which are simply the mysterious radiations of His love, to souls that give up everything for Him and attain to the fullness of His love through the heart’s perfect self-emptying.”

 Ultimately, this marvelous grace enables us to love souls not just as we love ourselves, but as we love Jesus, Himself.  “…the whole Jesus, so to speak, encloses and encompasses the souls that are one with Him in a mystical, but deeply real way.” [p. 128] Earlier, he explains:  This motherly tenderness is not for Jesus alone, but must be extended to other souls, because they are Jesus and you are their mother.”

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See also A SIMPLE PATH TO UNION, chapter 7, “Spiritual Motherhood for Priests”

Also in Simple Path:  Chapter 3, “Passage through the Pierced Side of Jesus,” part C-7:  “Living Chalices”

“Transform My Heart into Your Living Chalice”

A video from LOVE CRUCIFIED on “Spiritual Motherhood for Priests.”  

“Spiritual Motherhood & Prayer in the Eternal Mode”

 

 

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“Suffering is a Betrothal and a Mass” — Ven. Archbishop Luis Martinez

Under the Gaze of the Father by Ven. Archbishop Luis Martinez is so rich and enlightening, especially for souls who long to live Christ as living hosts.  The retreat which he gave to Ven. Conchita [Conception Cabrera de Armida] in Mexico in 1935, detailed in this book, reveals in many layers, with penetrating insight, the nature of the “mystical incarnation,” a grace which Conchita received in 1906.

Jesus Himself revealed to Conchita that her beloved Archbishop Luis Martinez was his “son of light” (p. xv). I recently learned that Conchita will be beatified in Mexico City in May 2019.  I can only hope that Jesus’ “son of light”—our beloved Archbishop Martinez, soon follows her in beatification!

I have often reflected on our venerable archbishop’s many teachings on suffering as he guided Conchita.  Having read Under the Gaze of the Father several times, I continue to uncover new gems of insights—a way the Archbishop has of expressing a familiar thought, a rewording, or unusual combination of words or terms which illuminate this grace in new ways, shining lights on it in its many facets.  Bear with me as I am so often overcome, slain, devastated, ravished by the lights of this most dear “son of light.”

On the seventeenth day of the retreat, Archbishop Martinez speaks on “Suffering—the Mode.”  There are but two modes:  the human mode, “the highest degree to which one’s heart can attain is to suffer with dignity and fortitude, the way the pagan heroes did,” and the divine mode: “Jesus espoused [suffering] indissolubly on the summit of Golgotha.  He conveyed to suffering His beauty and sweetness and made it something sacred, transforming it into sacrifice… distinguished by divine joy and sacred anointing. So should it be, because suffering was transformed by Jesus into something heavenly that fills us with joy, and into something sacred that produces anointing.”  At the same time, Archbishop Martinez makes it clear that the divine mode of suffering is for “transformed souls,” the “suffering of the souls of the Cross” (p. 113). To embrace suffering is to embrace the Cross—or our suffering is no more fruitful or anointed than that of the stoic pagans.

He teaches us:  “…in the school of Jesus one suffers gently, with peace, gratitude and joy…the soul that received the mystical incarnation should suffer with ardent longing, holy impatience, and ineffable joy….”  [p. 113]

Earlier in the book, I was especially struck by his statement:  “Tell me how you suffer, and I will tell you who you are.”  [p. 104] Now this is fodder for reflection for days!  How can one not be convicted by this simple statement?  It teaches us how to separate the saints from the wimps. How clear the category into which we so often fall!

At the end of his talk, Archbishop Martinez exclaims,  “You should suffer like this: smiling with joy, peace and the anointing of an intimate and solemn liturgy.  Suffering is the betrothal and a Mass for transformed souls” (p. 114).

Suffering for the transformed soul is always intimate because it is to suffer with Jesus—not just offering up or suffering for Him.  In an earlier post I declared:  “The Cross is the bridal chamber where Union takes place in the intimacy of suffering.”  This statement echoes faithfully the teaching of Jesus’ beloved “son of light.” To suffer with is to enter a most sacred betrothal, to enter the bridal chamber of the Cross—to enter the intimacy of Union.  At the same time, it is for the transformed soul to celebrate the “mystic Mass of the bride,” the “intimate liturgy” of which he speaks.

 In his book, The Sanctifier, Archbishop Martinez teaches us:  “…it [the soul] rests in perfect happiness [on the cross] and offers in its intimate sanctuary the mystic Mass of its loving sacrifice to ‘fill up what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ’” (p. 124).

Do not be distressed if you feel nothing.  Love is in the will.  Do not be distressed if you consider your sufferings as little nothings, having scarce import or weight.  You suffer no more and no less than God wills.  Your suffering is “just right” and whatever it is, to suffer it with Jesus is to live the Mass.  Isn’t the Mass the sacrifice of the Cross?  Isn’t your little, hidden, ordinary life the sacrifice of the Cross?  Enter into your intimate liturgy with your entire will and with purity of intention, and all will be well.

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“The Cross & the Mystic Mass of the Bride” :   https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-cross-the-mystic-mass-of-the-bride/

“The Kiss of Jesus”:  https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/the-kiss-of-jesus-mother-st-teresa-of-calcutta/

 

SPIRITUAL BATTLE ROSARY

Our Love Crucified website contains a most beautiful scriptural rosary for spiritual combat.  You can find the page here, but I include it in this post.  Pray it when you feel besieged, when you need the encouragement and the need to put on the armor of God.

SPIRITUAL BATTLE ROSARY

“Our BATTLE is not against human forces but against the rulers and authorities and their dark powers that govern this world. We are struggling against the spirits and supernatural forces of evil.” – Ephesians 6:12

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1st  Decade: Jesus, the King of Glory, is Born in Bethlehem

BEFORE OUR FATHER

“At that time the emperor issued a decree for a census of the whole empire to be taken. This first census was taken while Quirinus was governor of Syria. Joseph set out from Nazareth of Galilee with Mary, his wife, who was with child. They were in Bethlehem when the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her firstborn. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, with the Glory of the Lord shining around them.  As they were terrified, the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid; I am here to give you good news, great joy for all the people. Today a Savior has been born to you in David’s town; he is the Messiah and the Lord.” Suddenly the angel was surrounded by many more heavenly spirits, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest; peace on earth for God is blessing humankind.” – cf. Luke 2:1-14

HAIL MARYS

1.1    “Who is the King of glory? The Lord, the strong, the mighty, the Lord, valiant in battle.”  – Psalms 24:8

1.2    “When the hour of battle draws near, the priest shall advance to the head of the army and shall speak to the people saying: “Listen, Israel, today you are to enter into battle against your enemies. Do not let your heart be discouraged, or afraid or troubled, and do not tremble before them, for the Lord, your God, is with you, to fight in your favor against your enemies and save you.” – Deuteronomy 20:2-4

1.3   “They will fight against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings; and with him will be his followers who have been called and chosen and are faithful.” -Rev. 17:14

1.4    “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.” – Psalms 144:1

1.5    “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:3, 10-12

1.6.    “Fight the good fight of faith and win everlasting life to which you were called when you made the good profession of faith in the presence of so many witnesses.”  – 1 Timothy 6:12

1.7   “They were strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain firm in the faith, for they said, “We must go through many trials to enter the Kingdom of God.” – Acts 14:22

1.8    “Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “See him; he will be for the rise or fall of the multitudes of Israel. He shall stand as a sign of contradiction, while a sword will pierce your own soul. Then the secret thoughts of many may be brought to light.”  – Luke 2:34-35

1.9    “We are more than conquerors, thanks to him who has loved us.”  – Romans 8,37

1.10  “The word of the LORD came to me: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I consecrated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you…I am the one who today makes you a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of brass, against the whole land…They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.”  – Jeremiah 1

 

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.” – 2 Timothy 4:1-5

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 2nd Decade: The Baptism of Jesus

BEFORE OUR FATHER

“At that time Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And the moment he came up out of the water, heaven opened before him and he saw the Spirit coming down on him like a dove. And these words were heard from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved, the One I have chosen.” – Mark 1:9-11

HAIL MARYS

2.1 “Your ancient ruins will be rebuilt; the age-old foundations will be raised.  You will be called the Breach-mender, and the Restorer of ruined houses.”  – Isaiah 58:12

2.2 “Maccabeus felt confident and put his trust in God’s help. He encouraged his men not to fear the attack of the pagans, and not to forget the times God had come to their help, confident that even now God would give them victory. He roused their spirit with the words of the Law and the Prophets, reminding them of previous triumphs. Then Maccabeus stretched forth his hands to heaven and called on the Lord who works marvels, for he knew that God gives victory to those who deserve it, and this does not depend on weapons, but on the will of God. Judas and his men entered into battle with supplication and prayer.  As they fought with their hands, their hearts prayed to God. And being so magnificently strengthened by the manifest presence of God, they killed no less than 35,000 enemies.  When the battle ended, and they returned rejoicing, they blessed God in their ancestral language amidst shouts and clamors .”(cf. 2 Mac. 15:6-29).

2.3 “People can notice in our upright life, knowledge, patience and kindness, action of the Holy Spirit, sincere love, words of truth and power of God. So we fight with the weapons of justice, to attack as well as to defend.” – 2 Corinthians 6:6-7

2.4 “Timothy, my son, I command you to fight the good fight, fulfilling the prophetic words pronounced over you.”  – 1 Timothy 1:18

2.5 “Constantly give thanks to the Father who has empowered us to receive our share in the inheritance of the saints in his kingdom of light.”  – Colossians 1:12

2.6 “Do not let evil defeat you, but conquer evil with goodness.”  – Romans 12:21

2.7 “In this the just judgment of God may be seen; for you must show yourselves worthy of the kingdom of God for which you are now suffering.”  – 2 Thessalonians 1:5

2.8 “They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they gave up their lives going to death.”  – Revelation 12:11

2.9 “But give thanks to God who gives us the victory through Christ Jesus, our Lord.”  – 1 Cor. 15:57

2.10  “With God we will gain victory; he will crush the enemy for us.”  – Psalms 60:14

 

“I beg you, dearly beloved, by the mercy of God, to give yourselves as a living and holy sacrifice pleasing to God: such is the worship of a rational being. Don’t let yourselves be shaped by the world where you live, but rather be transformed through the renewal of your mind. You must discern the will of God: what is good, what pleases, what is perfect. The grace that God has given me allows me to tell each of you: be active, but not indiscreet. Let each one exercise wisely the gifts of faith granted by God.  Let each one of us, therefore, serve according to our different gifts. Let love be sincere. Hate what is evil and hold to whatever is good. Love one another and be considerate. Outdo one another in mutual respect.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not wish evil on anyone. Rejoice with those who are joyful, and weep with those who weep. Live in peace with one another. Do not dream of extraordinary things; be humble and do not hold yourselves as wise. Do not return evil for evil, but let everyone see your good will.  Do your best to live in peace with everybody. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but let God be the one who punishes, as Scripture says: Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” -Romans 12:1-3, 6, 9-10, 14-19.

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3rd Decade: Jesus Dies on the Cross

BEFORE OUR FATHER

“Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.  Therefore, as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord. When I came to you, brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness and in much fear and trembling; and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (cf. 1 Cor. 1:17-2:1-5).

HAIL MARYS

3.1  “Then Jesus called the people and his disciples and said, “If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” – Mark 8:34

3.2  “He went to the cross burdened with our sins so that we might die to sin and live an upright life. For by his wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24

3.3  “I have received a message from The Lord, a herald has been sent among the nations: ‘Assemble! Prepare for battle!;”  – Jeremiah 49:14

3.4 “I do not wish to take pride in anything except in the cross of Christ Jesus our Lord. Through him the world has been crucified to me and I to the world” (Gal 6:14).

3.5  “He canceled the record of our debts, those regulations which accused us. He did away with all that and nailed it to the cross. Victorious through the cross, he stripped the rulers and authorities of their power, humbled them before the eyes of the whole world and dragged them behind him as prisoners.” –Colossians 2:14-15

3.6  “All those born of God overcome the world. And the victory which overcomes the world is our faith. “Who has overcome the world? The one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”  – 1 John 5:4-5

3.7  “Through him God willed to reconcile all things to himself, and through him, through his blood shed on the cross, God establishes peace, on earth as in Heaven.  At present I rejoice when I suffer for you; I complete in my own flesh what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body, which is the Church.” – Colossians 1:20, 24

3.8  “Christ, in the days of his mortal life, offered his sacrifice with tears and cries. He prayed to him who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his humble submission.”  – Hebrews 5:7

3.9 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Will it be trials, or anguish, persecution or hunger, lack of clothing, or dangers or sword?  No, in all of this we are more than conquerors, thanks to him who has loved us.  I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor spiritual powers, neither the present nor the future, nor cosmic powers, were they from heaven or from the deep world below, nor any creature whatsoever will separate us from the love of God, which we have in Jesus Christ, our Lord.”  – Romans 8:35, 37-39

3.10  “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword.  He hid me in the shadow of his hand.  He made me into a polished arrow set apart in his quiver.”  – Isaiah 49:2

“Let us no longer speak of the circumcised and of non-Jews, but of a new creation.  Let those who live according to this rule receive peace and mercy: they are the Israel of God!  Let no one trouble me any longer: for my part, I bear in my body the marks of Jesus. May the grace of Christ Jesus our Lord be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen” (Gal 6:15-18).

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 4th Decade: The Resurrection of Jesus

BEFORE OUR FATHER

“On the evening of that day, the first day after the Sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews, but Jesus came and stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace be with you”; then he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples kept looking at the Lord and were full of joy. Again, Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” After saying this he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit; for those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.” –John 20:19-23

4.1 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain, for the world that was has passed away.” – Revelation 21:4

4.2  “It is sown in humiliation, and it will be raised for Glory. It is buried in weakness, but the resurrection shall be with power. When buried it is a natural body, but it will be raised as a spiritual body.” – 1 Corinthians 15:43

4.3  “But God raised him to life and released him from the pain of death, because it was impossible for him to be held in the power of death.” — Acts 2:24

4.4  “I am the living one; I was dead and now I am alive for ever and ever; and mine are the keys of death and the netherworld.”  – Revelation 1:18

4.5 “When our perishable being puts on imperishable life, when our mortal being puts on immortality, the word of Scripture will be fulfilled: Death has been swallowed up by victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:54

4.6  “Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?”  – 1 Corinthians 15:55

4.7  “With God nothing is impossible.” – Luke 1:37

4.8 “I have told you all this, so that in me you may have peace. You will have trouble in the world; but, courage! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

4.9 “A remnant of the house of Judah shall take root below and produce fruit above. For a remnant will come from Jerusalem and survivors from Mount Zion. The zeal of The Lord of hosts will accomplish this.  That is why the Lord has said…I will protect this city and so save it for my own sake.” – 2 Kings 19:30-34

4.10  “You know what hour it is. This is the time to awake, for our salvation is now nearer than when we first believed; the night is almost over, and day is at hand. Let us discard, therefore, everything that belongs to darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” – Romans 13:11-12

“When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him while Mary remained sitting in the house. And she said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, though he die, shall live; and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world” (John 11:20-27).

 5th Decade: Pentecost

BEFORE OUR FATHER

“Indeed, what the prophet Joel spoke about has happened: In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on every mortal. Your sons and daughters will speak through the Holy Spirit; your young men will see visions and your old men will have dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants, both men and women, and they will be prophets. I will perform miracles in the sky above and wonders on the earth below. The sun will be darkened, and the moon will turn red as blood, before the great and glorious Day of the Lord comes. And then, whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.” –Acts 2:16-21

HAIL MARYS

5.1  “Our God is indeed a consuming fire.” – Hebrews 12:29

5.2  “Sovereign Lord, enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness.  Stretch out your hand to heal and to work signs and wonders through the Name of Jesus your holy servant.”  When they had prayed, the place where they were gathered together shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God boldly.  With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, for all of them were living in an exceptional time of grace (cf. Acts 4:24-33).

5.3  “I baptize you in water for a change of heart, but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than I; indeed I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.” -Mathew 3:11

5.4 “But any spirit which does not recognize Jesus is not from God, it is the spirit of the antichrist. You have heard of his coming and even now he is in the world.  You, my dear children, are of God and you have already overcome these people, because the one who is in you is more powerful than he who is in the world.”  – 1 John 4:3-4

5.5  “Greetings from your countryman, Epaphras, a good servant of Christ Jesus; he constantly BATTLES for you through his prayer that you be perfect and firm in whatever God asks of you.” Colossians 4:12

5.6  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  – 2 Timothy 4:7

5.7 “Most beloved, I had wanted to write to you about the salvation we all share, but now I feel I must urge you to fight for the faith God has given once for all to the saints.”  – Jude 1:3

5.8 “By faith the walls of Jericho crumbled and fell… Do I need to say more? There is not enough time to speak of Gideon…and David, as well as Samuel and the prophets.  Through faith they fought and conquered nations, established justice, saw the fulfillment of God’s promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the sword, were healed of their sicknesses, were valiant in battle, and repulsed foreign invaders.”  – Hebrews 11:28-34

5.9  “Therefore, put on the whole armor of God, that in the evil day, you may resist and stand your ground, making use of all your weapons.  Take truth as your belt, justice as your breastplate, and zeal as your shoes to propagate the Gospel of peace.  Always hold in your hand the shield of faith to repel the flaming arrows of the devil.”  – Ephesians 6:13-16

5.10  “Finally, use the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, that is, the Word of God.  Pray at all times as the Spirit inspires you. Keep watch, together with sustained prayer and supplication for all the holy ones.”  – Ephesians 6:17-18

 

“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.  Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near. Grace to you from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.  To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (cf. Revelation 1:1-6).

 

 

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Anticipating the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I revisited this morning in adoration a talk/reflection which I wrote in 2014—I was amazed at the scope of this post.  It covers the history of the devotion with St. Margaret Mary Alacoque [1600’s];  St. John Chrysostom (born. c. 347); St. Bonaventure, 1221-1274;  St. Gertrude the Great, b. 1256; the founding of the feast with Pope Innocent VI [1353]; a Eucharistic miracle which our present Pope Francis had as Cardinal in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Much of the talk then reflects on sections of Ven. Archbishop Luis Martinez’ book ONLY JESUS—bringing us deep into the interior martyrdom of the Sacred Heart.  You will find substantial material for adoration and private meditation.  Please find it here:  THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS.

“To be a Living Host”

Here it is, 5:00 in the morning and the Holy Spirit will not let me sleep. I have been rereading once more UNDER THE GAZE OF THE FATHER—Conchita’s [Ven. Conception Cabrera de Armida’s] retreat on “mystical incarnation.”  In our Love Crucified community, we refer to this grace as “living host.”  Every time I read of it in Archbishop Martinez’ reflections, I wonder, “Can this be for me?  Does Christ call me to this—or am I only daring to dream that this is the grace of my life?”

In Conchita’s reflection on the Third Day, she recounts how this grace gradually became the totality of her spirituality, beginning with “The Father is gazing upon you”:

He [Jesus] tells me that in that gaze of the divine Father, the germ of the mystical incarnation was communicated to me.”

 Later, in Mexico City she heard:  “The Divine Word is pursuing you.”  How can these graces apply to me?  Conchita could hardly believe that they applied to her!

Later she explains:  “Jesus explained to me that the goal of the Chain of Love should be the offering, this ongoing offering of the Divine Word to the Father in union with the Word, entirely lost in Him.” Then I thought to myself, “But that is what I do every day—it is what I live for!” In Conchita’s Diary we read also:  [Jesus to Conchita]  “The Word became flesh and becomes flesh again in souls only to be crucified. It is the purpose of all mystical incarnationsYour Word has just become flesh mystically in your heart… in order to be constantly sacrificed there not on an altar of stone, but in a living temple of the Holy Spirit, by a priest and victim who, by an inconceivable grace, received the power to participate in the love of the Father.”  [Diary, p. 120]

In Dec. 2016, in Mexico City, as I prayed at the tomb of Conchita, meditating for several days on the mystical incarnation in her Diary, I read and reflected repeatedly:

“The mystical incarnation,’ the Lord has stated, ‘has as its object the offering of Myself in your heart, as an expiatory victim, checking at each moment divine justice and obtaining heavenly graces'” (Diary, Feb. 2, 1911) [p.160].

“’The principal object of this grace is a transformation which unites what you will to what I will, your will to Mine, your immolation to Mine. Wholly pure and sacrificed in your body and in your soul, you must offer yourself and offer Me to the heavenly Father at each instant, at each breath…[for the Church, for souls](Diary 160).

This is My Body, this My Blood. I say this again to the eternal Father, at each instant, on the altars. Make yourself worthy, as much as possible, to offer your body, your blood, your soul and all that you are, as I have told you, in union with this continual immolation on behalf of the world” (Diary 160).

“The purpose of the mystical incarnation is the fusion of My life in you, according to its development on earth. ‘Be yourself…’” (Diary 161).

I want you to be My host and have the intention, renewed as often as possible day and night, of offering yourself with Me on all the patens on earth. I want you, transformed in Me by suffering, by love and by the practice of all the virtues, to raise heavenward this cry of your soul in union with Me: ‘This is My Body, This is My Blood’”  (Diary 161).

“’Be yourself,’ I told you one day, and today I tell you again: ‘Let Me come to you, and be one with Me and transform yourself through the instrumentality of My divine life in your heart. Let Me possess you, simplify you in God, in Our indivisible unity through the Holy Spirit’” (Diary 161).

“You must transform yourself into charity, that is, into Me, who am all Love, killing the old man, making with Me but one single heart, and one single will’” (Diary 160).

Here, again, in the impassioned words of Jesus himself, is the objective:  …one only Host, one only Victim, one only Priest immolating Himself and immolating Me in your heart on behalf of the whole world. The Father pleased, will receive this offering presented through the Holy Spirit, and the graces of heaven will descend as rain on the earth” (Diary 162).

Jesus told her, “Be yourself.”  Although I know I am no Conchita, I thought this also.  I am unique on the face of the earth, so the way that I live and breathe the mystical incarnation, as His living host, will therefore be different from the way anyone else lives it.  Conchita’s intensity is of Conchita.  I may be a lesser soul, [for every soul is different and unique], but I have my own spiritual intensity—my intensity is of Kathy.

How can this be?  “Be yourself.”  I know that the Father is gazing on me, for I read in Eph. 1:4 that “He chose me in Christ before the foundations of the world that I should be holy and blameless before him.” In Psalm 139:13, I read that He “knit me in my mother’s womb“ and that “I am fearfully, wonderfully made,” a unique creature drawn through the Divine Word from one unique time, place, culture, family, history in all the universe, [in whatever pain, weakness, suffering, or shame inherent there], distinct and particular in the gaze of the Father, an intense pinpoint of reflected light designed uniquely to glorify the Blessed Trinity as has never before me been accomplished, or ever after will be accomplished.  All this—if only I can “Be myself.”  In this does my intensity of holiness consist; “Be yourself,” the living host in which the Father is well pleased.

Then, seeking confirmation, [I am always seeking confirmation!] I went to The Simple Path to Union, and here I read:

#49  “Your ordinary and hidden life through the Cross becomes united to My Eucharistic life. Your hidden life takes on the same power as My hidden life because we are no longer two but ONE. These are My living hosts. In this union of love, you enter and live in the realm of God.  Through Me, with Me and in Me your most ordinary life is the power of God.”

[See “The Eternal Mode of Prayer,” https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/the-eternal-mode-of-prayer/ ]

#51  “Trust and place all your confidence in the power of the hidden life being revealed to you now in My Eucharistic presence. I am the power of the hidden life. I want to possess you with My hidden life, which is the Eucharist, transforming you into living hosts. This transformation will take place as you live your hidden and interior life united to My interior crucifixion, suffering all with Me and in Me. In this way, the power of the hidden force will intensify with the fire of the Holy Spirit…”

#52  “The Eucharist is the power of God in the world, and God desires to make you living Hosts.”

Lourdes tells us in the chapter on Living Hosts:  When a soul, filled with the Holy Spirit, is united to Jesus so profoundly as to share His sufferings and joys, in total abandonment to the Father, she is a “living host.”

Archbishop Martinez also saw that this also was required of the living host:  that a human being—priest, religious, or lay— make the “marvelous exchange” of his independent human will for the Divine Will by allowing the Holy Spirit to unite him to Jesus in all of his acts.”

Finally, I read in # 57 of Simple Path:  “The purpose of the Path is to make all of you My living hosts.”

It is perfectly clear to me that my vocation is to be a Mother of the Cross in Love Crucified community, that I have been accepted by the community in this vocation, and that I have made my covenant and strive to live it daily—so I am a living host.  This is my unique spirituality—in every sense of the word, in every aspect.

I meditated a long time also on these words in #57 of the Simple Path:  Allow Me to possess you with My life. Ponder every relationship and situation in your lives where you are not loving with Me, through Me and in Me.”

In the section on prophecy, I read:  Our Lord wants us to be living hosts, blessed, broken and given to many” (Simple Path, p. 172).

Yet nothing is possible without the Holy Spirit.  During this Pentecost season, I have reflected so much on the Holy Spirit, struggling to be completely docile to Him, completely abandoned to Him—and not only this, but to completely sever any attachments which keep me from yielding totally to Him.  Only in docility to the movements of the Holy Spirit, in conceding total control to Him, can I live Christ as His living host, loving with, through, and for Him—being “blessed, broken and given to many.”

Archbishop Martinez explains this so well, as I cited in the Rosary of the Holy Spirit:

During these days, [these days of spiritual warfare] you should be the faithful and loving bride of the Holy Spirit. Let Him possess you without obstacles or reserve, with perfect self-abandonment and love.

Let the Holy Spirit do with you as He wills. Let Him envelop you in silence, or lull you with heavenly harmony. Let Him console or immolate you. Let Him penetrate you to the inmost recesses of your soul. Let Him fashion you as He pleases, and shake you with His powerful action, and permeate you with His victorious love.”  [Under the Gaze of the Father, p. 34]

Pray with me the beginning prayer in the Rosary of the Holy Spirit:

“…we plead with You, little Dove of Conchita, Holy Spirit of the Father and of our beloved Jesus, come make your nest in our hearts.  Groan, Little Dove, groan with the thirst that we be one. Come, overshadow all of us and create in us a New Pentecost.  Fill us with Your precious gifts and fruits, fill us with the gaze of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the gaze of our Abba. We abandon ourselves completely to Your Divine Fire of Love.”

+++++++++++

See also:    A Simple Path to Union  and   “Become a Living Holocaust for His Glory”

 

 

 

 

 

ROSARY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Our poor world and Church today so desperately need the Holy Spirit.  Please join me in a novena of Rosaries in honor of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.  Inspired by Ven. Conchita Cabrera de Armida and Ven. Luis Martinez, I put together this little meditation for such a rosary for my community of Love Crucified and have amended it for all:

 ROSARY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

As we approach Pentecost, we plead with You, little Dove of Conchita, Holy Spirit of the Father and of our beloved Jesus, come make your nest in our hearts.  Groan, Little Dove, groan with the thirst that we be one. Come, overshadow our Holy Father Francis with all of your priests and religious, overshadow your entire Church and world.  Create  in us a New Pentecost.  Fill us with Your precious gifts and fruits, fill us with the gaze of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the gaze of our Abba. We abandon ourselves completely to Your Divine Fire of Love.

THE FIRST GLORIOUS MYSTERY:  THE RESURRECTION

We ask for the grace to welcome, adore, and treasure the Holy Spirit who dwells within us as a beloved Guest.

“Even the resurrection of the flesh is a consequence of this indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who converts our bodies into His temple.  ‘If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then he who raised Jesus Christ from the dead will also bring to life your mortal bodies, because of His Spirit who dwells in you.’ (Rom. 8:11).  And the Holy Spirit does not come to us in a transitory manner; infinite Love is not a passing visitor who pays us a call and then goes away.  He establishes in us his permanent dwelling and lives in intimate union with our souls as their eternal Guest.” [The Sanctifier, p. 11]

THE SECOND GLORIOUS MYSTERY:  THE ASCENSION

We beg for the grace to cooperate completely with the actions of the Holy Spirit as He transforms us into Christ.

“The Holy Spirit takes us to Jesus; he makes us Jesus by transforming us into Him.  This is His work; nobody can be conformed to Jesus except in the unity of the Holy Spirit….This is the divine cycle in the sanctification of souls:  nobody can go to the Father except through Jesus; nobody can go to Jesus except through the Holy Spirit.  Through Jesus, with Jesus, and in Jesus, souls glorify the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever.”  [The Sanctifier, p. 39]

THE THIRD GLORIOUS MYSTERY:  THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

We ask for the grace always to live in complete abandonment to the promptings and inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

“…sweet abandonment to all the movements of love is the characteristic mark of devotion to the Spirit.  To love this divine Spirit is to let ourselves be taken along by him, as the feather is carried by the wind; to let ourselves be possessed by him, as the dry branch is possessed by the fire that burns it; to let ourselves be animated by him, as the sensitive strings of a lyre take life from the artist’s touch.”  [The Sanctifier, p. 83].

THE FOURTH GLORIOUS MYSTERY:  MARY IS ASSUMED INTO HEAVEN

We ask for an increase in hope as we long for our own complete union with the Holy Trinity.

“There above, you will enter into the joy of your Lord, into the ineffable mysteries of the Divinity. The Holy Spirit will possess you without fear of breaking the vessel which contains the heavenly treasures. The Word will unite Himself to your soul in an ineffable way and the delightful, profound gaze of the Father, sharper than any two-edged sword, will penetrate the inmost recesses of your soul. “ [Under the Gaze of the Father, p. 62]

THE FIFTH GLORIOUS MYSTERY:  MARY IS CROWNED QUEEN OF HEAVEN & EARTH

We ask for the grace to live faithfully and intimately with the Holy Spirit in the Fire of His Love.

“During these days, you should be the faithful and loving bride of the Holy Spirit. Let Him possess you without obstacles or reserve, with perfect self-abandonment and love.

Let the Holy Spirit do with you as He wills. Let Him envelop you in silence, or lull you with heavenly harmony. Let Him console or immolate you. Let Him penetrate you to the inmost recesses of your soul. Let Him fashion you as He pleases, and shake you with His powerful action, and permeate you with His victorious love.”  [Under the Gaze of the Father, p. 34]

THE HOLY SPIRIT & HIS GIFTS –Tony Mullen

As we approach Pentecost, let us reflect on some of the beautiful posts given to us on the Holy Spirit by Tony Mullen, who died a couple months ago from a heart attack.  I followed his blog, DIVINE ANTIDOTE, and learned much about the FLAME OF LOVE DEVOTION approved by the Church.  Tony was the National Director—a faithful, devoted, loving, and holy man.  I miss him; we did correspond a little.  Tony followed this blog just as I followed his; he was always enthusiastically supportive.   I post here a series of talks on the Holy Spirit which he gave us before Pentecost in 2016.  The articles altogether are long, but select topics of your choice–Tony’s reflections are rich and knowledgeable.

The Reign of the Holy Spirit in Us and in the World

Posted on April 17, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

I will begin reposting the entire series on the Holy Spirit, since His Reign in the New Pentecost is the ultimate purpose of the Triumph of Mary. While The Trinity seeks to have each person in the world now understand the Truth of the Father’s Plan for the salvation of humanity in Jesus Christ, as well as Mary’s role as our true Spiritual Mother (and thus Unique Cooperator in our Salvation, Mediatrix of All Grace and special Advocate), the ultimate reality will be the Reign of the Holy Spirit in each person who cooperates. Therefore, the pressing need to know and desire the Holy Spirit as a Person and all His Gifts, Virtues, Charisms and Beatitudes.

Our Lord explained the power of the Holy Spirit to Elizabeth Kindelmann and the role He must play as a Person in our lives in order to become Holy as God is Holy (as far as possible in this life): “The Holy Spirit whom you invoke frequently will take possession of your soul.”  Elizabeth responded with these insights: “With His enlightened words, Jesus poured out the wonderful Grace of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Power, and the wonderful Light of the Holy Spirit enlightened my soul….While The Lord poured out His Spirit in my soul,  I felt the Holy Spirit breathe upon me a different level of Grace, so I could overcome all temptations.”  The Lord made very clear to Elizabeth the need to understand the role of the Holy Spirit as a Divine Person with whom we must have a relationship in order to grow in holiness, and the Church has always insisted on appropriating our sanctification to the Holy Spirit.

Our Saint Pope John Paul II explained how the Trinity is now pointing us clearly to the urgent need for a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, which so few have today. He wrote: “Whereas sin, by rejecting love, has caused the ‘suffering’ of men which in some way has affected the whole of creation, the Holy Spirit will enter into human and cosmic suffering with a new outpouring of love, which will redeem the world.” Blessed Pope Paul VI stated: “The breath-giving influence of the Spirit has come to awaken latent forces within the Church, to stir up forgotten charisms and to infuse that sense of vitality and joy which in every epoch of history marks the Church itself as youthful and up-to-date, ready and happy again to proclaim its eternal message to the modern age…..we are living in a privileged moment of the Spirit in the Church. People everywhere are trying to know Him better as He is revealed in scripture. They are happy to place themselves under His inspiration. They gather around Him; they want to be guided by Him.”

Dr. Alan Shreck of Franciscan University has this exceptional insight for us: ” Some Catholics do not find any particular joy or power for living in their Faith, and certainly do not have much, if any, motivation to tell others about it. And then there are probably many more Catholics, who do find strength and meaning in their Faith, but wonder or wish there were something more to strengthen or truly change their lives.  The Church has the answer for these people…ask for the Holy Spirit!  Pray for the Holy Spirit to come into your life!  For those already baptized into Christ, this prayer is for a renewed or a fresh personal outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  “Charisms”–the various gifts of the Holy Spirit that St. Paul describes–accompany this renewal in the Holy Spirit…However, the primary Grace of that movement is a “release” or renewal of the fundamental action of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life–enabling one to know God personally in Jesus Christ and to receive greater power to live as a Christian daily, in service, witness, prayer and action.”  This is indeed the central element of the Flame of Love Grace…to know the Holy Spirit as a Person and the power He has to sanctify us through the death of Jesus Christ for the glory of the Father and by the intercession of our Mother chosen by the Trinity to be the perfect model for us and the Mediatrix of this Grace!

Venerable Concepcion Cabrera de Armida was given special insights by God into the coming Reign of the Holy Spirit: “Once transformation into Jesus is brought about in a soul, the Holy Spirit also becomes the spirit of the creature raised to a more or less higher degree according to the intensity and amplitude of transformation, which strictly depends upon the growth of the soul in virtue. The Holy Spirit absorbs the creature’s spirit in the course of the transformation and fills it with this so pure love which is Himself. Then, it is with this same Love that the creature loves the Divine Word, that is, with the same Love with which the Father loves Him, with absolute Love.  Loving with the Holy Spirit is the grace of graces….I desire that this last epoch of the Church be consecrated in a very special way to this Holy Spirit who ever operates out of Love…It is His turn, it is His epoch, it is the triumph of Love in My Church, in the whole universe.”

Our Lord raised up Elizabeth Kindelmann to demonstrate to us that a lay person, with no education nor training in the spiritual life,  overwhelmed with family duties and with no money, could become holy….simply by His Grace poured out through His Mother…and by our desire and sacrifice, which two elements are possible to every person on earth with none excepted.  Therefore our Lord wanted to make absolutely clear that the Call to Holiness through the Gospel and the Church, is not only possible, it is our duty!  Anyone can achieve it through Grace, who simply desires it and perseveres through the Sacraments, prayer and fasting!  The Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Grace is a component of God’s Divine Mercy, in order to make our sanctification more secure, more effective and to occur in a much shorter period of time than previously possible…it is a pure Gift of Love…God is Love!  Consecration to Jesus through Mary has always been seen as the shortest and most effective route to God (and now we have an explicit confirmation from God though His Church, which has been approved after years of careful study with other Bishops, by a faithful Prince of the Church in Cardinal Peter Erdo, the Archbishop of Budapest, Hungary).

Our Lord made this exact point on all being called to holiness explicitly clear to Venerable Concepcion Cabrera de Armida: “I did not choose (just) saints to tell them: ‘Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.’  I addressed Myself to all men, to the good and to the evil.  All without exception are obliged to sanctify themselves.”

Let us recommit today that we will accept all of this Grace simply out of love for Him who desired to Love us first and who accepted such a brutal and humbling death for our sins…by calling upon our Mother to pour out more of God’s Grace and Gifts of the Holy Spirit upon us!  Fiat!

 

Understanding Who the Holy Spirit is and His Role in our Soul and our Sanctification

Posted on April 21, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

The quote from St. Teresa of Avila is one of the most important we will ever read. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us, but if we do not truly know Him as a Person, how can the process of sanctification occur?

Elizabeth Kindelmann prayed this prayer: “Spirit of understanding, of strength, of wisdom, descend upon me and take possession of me.” Our Lord told Elizabeth that he wanted all to have this exceptionally close relationship with the Holy Spirit: “I will pour out upon all of you My extraordinary graces.”

Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen (“Divine Intimacy”) reminds us: “Because the Holy Spirit is the effusion of divine love, He is called ‘Spirit’, according to the Latin sense of the word, which means air, respiration, the vital breath…It is in this sense that the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity is called the ‘Spirit of the Father and Son’… that is the ‘breath’ of divine love… Let us invoke the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love, so that He may come to enkindle in our hearts the flame of Charity. “ (Note how similar this language is to Elizabeth Kindelmann’s messages).

Father Gabriel goes on to explain the Church’s teaching: “This, the work of sanctification, which is a work of love, is especially attributed to the Holy Spirit, who is the breath of divine love.” Father Gabriel then makes a critical point that we must understand and contemplate in Sacred Scripture: “The Holy Spirit is often called the “Spirit of Christ”… We know … that the Divine Paraclete, with the Father and Son, dwells in every soul that is in the state of grace…and the higher degree of grace He finds in the soul, the greater His delight … This is why the Holy Spirit took such great complacency in the soul of the Blessed Virgin … yet the grace possessed by Mary was but a pale reflection of the grace which filled the soul of Jesus, grace which theologians call “infinite”… the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and dwells in Him as in His divine temple… When we speak of Christ, however, we do not speak of Him as God only, but also, and especially, as Man, that is, the Incarnate Word. In this sense… it can be said that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ.”

Why is it so important to understand this? Because we must realize that we can not imitate Christ Jesus, we can not become holy as we must, unless we understand the critical importance of how we become holy. It is only through the Holy Spirit (first by Baptism and then by Confirmation) and by continuing to receive His Grace in ever increasing amounts (while avoiding any serious sin or habitual venial sin that we refuse to give up) that we become holy. Most Catholics have only a vague understanding of the Holy Spirit, and sadly some Catholics believe that those who do have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit are a little wacky or subject to emotionalism with no basis in the Church. Oh, how Satan has blinded us! Nothing could be further from the Truth, and all we need to do is read the Catechism and the Church documents to see the need for a loving, personal relationship with the Holy Spirit! Without knowing and desiring a mature, intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, we cannot be as holy as God desires for us.

Father Gabriel continues: “The Holy Spirit was in Christ completely, but the Father wanted to draw our attention to how Jesus perfectly fulfilled the will of the Father. St. John describes the Baptism of Jesus when the Holy Spirit “descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon Him,” and then St. John adds: “Jesus, being full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the desert.” Father Gabriel explains: “This is an explicit statement of the immeasurable plentitude with which the Holy Spirit dwelt in the soul of Jesus; without doubt, this plentitude existed from the first moment of the Savior’s life, but God wished to make it sensibly manifest in the time of His baptism. It is also a striking example of the unceasing operation of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ soul, inspiring all His actions and guiding Him to the accomplishment of His redemptive mission.”

So, because Jesus has a human soul due to His human nature (in His divinity He is Pure Spirit), the Holy Spirit filled His soul completely, and this is the goal of each of us who seeks to fulfill our duty of holiness. We must constantly desire and call upon the Holy Spirit and seek every opportunity for Grace in the Sacraments and through prayer and acts of charity; so that the Holy Spirit will inspire all our thoughts, emotions, words and actions, just as He did the human nature of Jesus. We must understand, recognize and acknowledge the Holy Spirit present in our soul as a Divine Person if we are to advance in our duty of holiness. We must speak with Him daily and develop an intimate relationship of love with Him.

Father Gabriel asks us to contemplate a critical insight: … “If the Holy Spirit’s role is to sanctify us, why do we not all become saints? … (Because) He respects our liberty … He will not act … unless we give Him free access. It is an example of the great principle in which St. Teresa (of Avila) liked to insist: ‘God does not force anyone, He takes what we give Him; but He does not give Himself wholly to us, until we give ourselves wholly to Him.’ “

This is why the life of Elizabeth Kindelmann is so valuable. She clearly has shown us this example of what it looks like day to day to give ourselves completely to the Spirit of Christ, in a family situation with all the normal duties of a family. However, her example is one of suffering and the Cross. Father Gabriel explicitly reminds us that Elizabeth is not an exception: “Jesus is Jesus the Crucified; therefore there can be no conformity to Him except by the Cross … yes, conformity to Jesus Crucified has more value and importance than all mystical graces! … The more we share in the Cross, the more (the Holy Spirit can mold us) … to resemble Him and cooperate in the work of redemption.”

Our Lord told Elizabeth over and over that this is our purpose: “to cooperate in the work of redemption.” We cannot cooperate completely unless we give ourselves completely to the Holy Spirit as Elizabeth did. Let us read and learn everything we can about the Holy Spirit. A terrific resource is “Your Life in the Holy Spirit” by Alan Schreck. Let us write down this truth and look at it every day: “God will not give Himself wholly to us, until we give ourselves wholly to Him.” Let us pray each day with Elizabeth: “Holy Spirit descend upon me and take possession of me”.

Fiat!

 

Without the Holy Spirit We Accomplish Little in Ourselves and Others

Posted on April 27, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

This insight on the Holy Spirit is one of the most important we can ever possibly learn and a Grace that if begged for consistently and perseveringly, will radically draw us closer into the Divine union for which we were created even here on earth.

Once when Elizabeth Kindelmann (www.flameoflove.us) was speaking with a very intelligent person, who did not understand the messages of Jesus and Mary about the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Elizabeth stated: “I frequently pray using the Blessed Virgin’s words, and I ask the Holy Spirit to enkindle light in those who have heard the messages.” She then added this key insight: “I felt that what I said (to that person) did not come from my natural powers.”

This is a critical piece of Wisdom that we must be convicted of and seek to meditate on now and until we believe we have absorbed this Wisdom through our daily mental prayer. The Wisdom flows directly from one of the most important insights in all of Holy Scripture:

“No one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the (power of) the Holy Spirit!”

Blessed Pope Paul VI in his masterful encyclical on Sharing the Gospel Message, teaches this truth: “The Holy Spirit is the principal agent of evangelization; it is He who impels each individual to proclaim the Gospel, and it is He who in the depths of consciences causes the Word of Salvation to be accepted and understood…” It is “He alone (who) stirs up the new creation(within)…Through the Holy Spirit, the Gospel penetrates to the heart of the world…The most perfect preparation of the evangelizer has no effect without the Holy Spirit.” St. Pope John Paul II echoed this truth in “Mission of the Redeemer”: “It is not possible to bear witness to Christ without reflecting His Image, which is made alive in us by Grace and the power of the Holy Spirit….He (the Holy Spirit) is the principal agent of Mission…It is the Holy Spirit who opens people’s hearts so that they can believe in Christ and ‘confess Him’…”

What this means simply is we can NOT accomplish anything beyond very, very limited human accomplishments without the Holy Spirit working through and in us (and even that tiny amount is a Grace)! All changes of heart, all repentance of rebellion/sin and conversion to the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ, happen only by the Divine power and action of the Holy Spirit! Even the inclination for us to share the Faith and the Gospel Message is a gift which comes only from the Holy Spirit!

If we have not been as successful as we had hoped or wanted with our family, our parish, our country in bringing them to Christ and His Life, is it not due to our failure (most likely an inadvertent but still real failure) to know and execute this Truth: we can do nothing without the power of the Holy Spirit? Would it be reasonable to presume that we can not have the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us, if we do not know the Holy Spirit as a Person, and further to have a mature and intimate relationship with the Love between the Father and the Son? How can we develop such a personal relationship, if we do not spend the time to get to know the Person and talk (pray) with Him daily, and many times a day? We should greatly desire to get to know him, especially since He dwells in our soul always….as long as we are in a state of Grace.

The cause of our blindness is Satan, the world and our fleshly, inordinate desires. But the root cause flowing from these three opponents is that we have failed to release the Graces, the sharing in the Divine Life, from the First Sacrament of Baptism and the further Graces of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. These Sacraments are critical to overcome Satan, the world and our flesh and in our ability to know and have the Holy Spirit working in and through us to produce supernatural results in all our efforts for Christ.

Virtually all Catholics were baptized as infants and confirmed at 12 years of age or so and we have never made a conscious and definitive choice to know and accept the Graces of our Baptism and Confirmation and thus have them released so they are working constantly in our souls. So, this is the critical step/choice we must make through prayer and spending time to get to know all we can about the Holy Spirit and His role in Sanctifying us. One can not be holy/sanctified without the Divine Gifts, Charisms and Virtues of the Sanctifier!

In fact, one can not truly know, love and work for Jesus Christ if they do not know the Holy Spirit! One can believe in Jesus Christ (which as many as one third of the world claim and many of these would also claim they love Jesus), but not truly know and love Him without the Holy Spirit! St. Paul makes this very clear in Acts 19: 1-6: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed (in Jesus Christ)?” Do we have other evidence of this reality? We do. The Holy Spirit tells us in Sacred Scripture that there is one test, if we want to be certain to know if we love Jesus and Jesus Himself stated it: “If you love Me, you will keep My Commandments.” The vast majority of Catholics do not keep the third Commandment: “Keep Holy the Sabbath,” by worshiping God in Spirit and Truth at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which He instituted as a perpetual memorial of His ultimate Sacrifice for our salvation. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us we must obey this and all Commandments. Thus, the Holy Spirit is absent (in fact driven out of the soul completely if the sin qualifies as mortal which this sin normally would) and the person can not truly know and love Jesus Christ, because he is not keeping His Commandments.

Let us close by reminding ourselves of how little we can do unless we take the words of our Popes seriously! Let us especially focus on these words of Blessed Pope Paul VI in his masterful encyclical on Sharing the Gospel Message: “The Holy Spirit is the principal agent of evangelization; it is He who impels each individual to proclaim the Gospel, and it is He who in the depths of consciences causes the Word of Salvation to be accepted and understood…” It is “He alone (who) stirs up the new creation (within)…Through the Holy Spirit, the Gospel penetrates to the heart of the world…The most perfect preparation of the evangelizer has no effect without the Holy Spirit.”

So, like Elizabeth Kindelmann, we must pray each day and spend real time to get to know all we can about the Sanctifier, the third Divine Person, the Gift of the Father and Son! Here is a short prayer that reflects what the Church teaches: “Holy Spirit, the Love between the Father and Son, I beg you to let me know you completely as a Person. I beg you to draw me to yourself in an intimate embrace and take possession of me. I beg you to release all the Graces of Baptism and Confirmation so I can imitate Jesus through all Your Gifts, Charisms and Virtues. I beg you to fill me with more and more Grace through worthy Holy Communions each day, through very frequent Confessions, and through daily prayer and meditation on the Passion and Death of my Savior Jesus Christ. I beg You, who guided Jesus in everything, be my guide today so that I may witness to Your Love in everyone I encounter today. Holy Spirit possess me completely as You did Mary my Mother.” Fiat!

 

The Holy Spirit is our Divine Friend/Understanding the Dove and the Paraclete

Posted on April 25, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

As we proceed in our quest to internalize all these insights on the Holy Spirit so that they are embedded in our thoughts, words and actions, we beg The Father and the Son to send us the Holy Spirit as our dearest Friend, so we may know His Presence deeply each moment.

Our Lord explained to Elizabeth Kindelmann (www.flameoflove.us) the power of the Holy Spirit to help us in every way to grow in holiness, especially in making decisions and in speaking or acting, since it is our emotions, thoughts, words and actions which must be controlled in order to become holy. On one particular occasion, when Elizabeth was about to encounter and speak with a priest in a very stressful situation, she stated: “…my whole body shook, but the Holy Spirit was helping me.” Note how she was aware of His Presence, despite the fact that she was so nervous that her body shook!

In growing into an intimate, personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, we must overcome two key problems that our frail human nature causes related to how to think and relate to the Holy Spirit. The first is to understand the image used of a dove. The Holy Spirit is not to be thought of as an animal nor a bird. The image was used by the God in Scripture along with many others (tongues of fire, wind, cloud, oil etc.) solely to help us associate certain properties or attributes which we appropriate to the Third Person in His role to sanctify us. St. John describes the Holy Spirit at the Baptism of Jesus as “like” a dove. Why did God choose this image in this context? There are important reasons to sear into our minds. It began at the flood at the time of Noah, the symbol or foreshadowing of Baptism, where sincere repentance and the water (the”living water” of God’s Grace or share in His Divine Life) save us from eternal death and make us children of God. God through Noah sent out a raven and a dove to see if the waters had receded. The raven, opposite to the dove in many ways, did not come back. The dove not only came back, but came back with an olive leaf in its mouth as a symbol of the peace and forgiveness which God’s Spirit brings when we are open to Him.

The dove also represents the Holy Spirit’s main Attributes. First, whiteness for purity and holiness. Second, gentleness as the dove is so gentle that it will not retaliate but cries out as the Spirit does within us with “groans” of love. Finally, love…especially in the form of caring caresses and words. A dove often strokes its children and coos at them more than most any other creature. So, when we think of the Holy Spirit, we think of Purity, Gentleness/Meekness and Loving tenderness all leading to Peace with God and our neighbor! So, when we see the image of a dove, we should immediately think of these attributes appropriated to the Holy Spirit within us as our Great Sanctifier leading us to imitate Jesus in His Purity, Meekness and Love. The Holy Spirt has a very special role in convicting us of our sin, especially the hidden sin, which we must come to see, acknowledge and give up with His help so we may indeed be Pure!

The next element is to understand the word Paraclete. This word does not mean dove or bird. It actually means one who stands beside us as a wise counselor especially in matters of extreme importance (our salvation and sanctification!). The Holy Spirit will come to our aid in all circumstances and decisions as we call upon Him each day and grow in our relationship with Him. Slowing down and asking for His Counsel is a critical habit we must develop through prayer. Most Catholics spend virtually no time speaking with and praying to the Holy Spirit, but this a necessary part of our duty of holiness. If we think of our soul as a true temple…a magnificent structure of God…and that the Holy Spirit dwells there each moment we are in a state of Grace…we can begin to see the need to acknowledge Him as a Person and speak with Him! How can we have a divine guest, our greatest friend, in our soul constantly and ignore Him? Would that not be the height of impoliteness or lack of charity now that we know the Truth!

Dr. Alan Shreck has this wise advice: “Our conversations with the Holy Spirit do not have to be lengthy or involved. As well as expressing the beautiful formal prayers of the Church to the Holy Spirit, we may simply use short ‘aspirations’ such as ‘Come Holy Spirit’ or ‘Holy Spirit guide me and give me Wisdom’…”. The Holy Spirit is the one who best teaches us to pray, so let us ask Him…”Holy Spirit teach me to pray as You desire,”…since St. Paul reminds us in Romans 8: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deeps for words.”

Let us commit through God’s Divine Mercy to read all we can about the Holy Spirit and apply this to our quest with Elizabeth to be transformed into Christ through His Spirit so we can fully participate in the “work of Redemption.” How? By suffering, especially fasting from food or something else, with Jesus and offered together with His merits, for the salvation of as many souls as He will permit; and for His consolation that there are those who will love Him as Elizabeth did…through pain as He Himself experienced out of Love…until He makes the pain a joy now and forever. Our dear Mother is there each day in our Rosary to help us grow in our relationship with the Holy Spirit, her Spouse. Let us consciously ask her in our Rosary intentions to accelerate this process through the “Extraordinary Grace” God has given her to pour out on us at this time in salvation history! Fiat!

 

The Joy of the Holy Spirit Must Be in You and Your Joy Will be Complete

Posted on May 1, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

Knowing we forget the vast majority of what we read, especially as more time goes by, we seek to put into practice with God’s Grace the most important elements of Union with the Trinity, which flow from our Baptism, Confirmation and the Grace of the other Sacraments and the Signal Graces God wills to send us now: the Joy of a dramatic increase in the three Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love.  These three virtues correspond to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and are designed by God to produce the repentance/conversion of our heart and our will such that we rejoice always!  This Joy is a Gift and should then cause us to smile as much as possible and radiate our thanksgiving and love, because of the Joy of the Holy Spirit within us…the Love between the Father and the Son!  Our subtle pride often causes us problems with others, especially when we seek to prove our opinion or to value it more highly than others.  God instead wills that we submit ourselves as He did to the opinions of others, unless they are demonstrably false or evil, and to always seek the advice of a wise spiritual director when there is any disagreement among an established Group of Catholics working for the good of the Church.

Our Lord taught Elizabeth Kindelmann: “Be My servant! Be always joyful!  Every day that you serve Me must be a feast!…Wherever you go, let others feel that you partake every day in the Heavenly Banquet!”

This is admittedly one of the hardest concepts for us to grasp and implement in our daily life until we obtain all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but especially the Gift of Wisdom.  Obtaining the actual joy of God is the goal that our Lord has stated for us in John 15:11.  So, how do we begin this process, this spiritual journey to the Fruit of Joy in the Holy Spirit!

The first step is to “put on the mind of Christ” by consecrating ourselves to Jesus through Mary and committing our entire life to the imitation of Christ by the imitation of the one who perfectly did so…His Mother and our Mother, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.  The single greatest insight here is we must commit to give up all sinfulness and worldly interests which hold us back from advancing in holiness.  Only the Holy Spirit can convict us of these unrepented sins and the sins to which we are currently blinded!  The daily living of one’s Consecration is the perfect path to Joy, because as the great St. Louis de Montfort reminds us: “When the Holy Spirit finds Mary in a soul, He flies to it. He enters therein (in a more abundant and effective way to release the Grace of Baptism and Confirmation) and communicates Himself to that soul with such abundance ( since He is Joy).” The best source for living the Imitation of Christ each day, through and in Mary’s Immaculate Heart and under her Mantle, is the small, classic book by Fr. Emil Neubert called “My Ideal Jesus Son of Mary”. Obtain a copy and read from it every day for the rest of your life.

The second step is to be devoted to a deep, personal relationship with the Holy Spirit that includes intimate prayer to Him each day for all the Gifts, Virtues and Charisms,  which produces the Fruits, especially the two foundational ones of Love and Joy!  A perfect short prayer is : “Come Holy Spirit and possess me completely by the power of the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” Obtain a copy of “The Sanctifier” by the Servant of God Archbishop Luis Martinez or “Your Life in the Holy Spirit” by Alan Schreck.  Read from them every day.  They can be an excellent source of meditation every day,  as mental prayer is a necessary element of advancing in our journey to possess the Joy of the Holy Spirit!  Without daily mental prayer, we will not advance far at all.

The third step is the daily practice of the will.  Joy is a choice we make with God’s Grace. It does not depend upon emotion nor does it require positive thoughts.  We will often experience distaste and suffering, but The Lord teaches us to “Rejoice always, again I say Rejoice!”  This choice must be based in our unshakeable Faith that every single thing that God causes or permits to happen to us is for our greater spiritual good; the conversion and salvation of our soul and the souls of many others;  and our greater eternal reward and glory!  If you are not completely convinced of this, pray for the Gifts of Knowledge and Understanding!  Obtain a copy of the classic on this knowledge by Father de Caussade entitled: “Self Abandonment to Divine  Providence”.  Daily prayer to the Holy Spirit and the knowledge in this book can overcome this great impediment that almost all of us have in the Journey: not truly knowing and then believing with unshakeable Faith that everything that happens to us is caused or permitted by God for our greater spiritual glory of all eternity!

The final step is to smile as often as possible!  The Carmelite Sister Mary Angelica of Jesus had this insight from the Holy Spirit for us: “The good Lord makes me find joy everywhere….I try always to smile, for I know that every smile contrary to our natural inclination is in wonderful harmony with the desires of the Heart of Jesus.”

So, what are we to do when we invariably fall in the Journey and start to experience fear, unease and discouragement and want to complain to others.  St. Paul gives us the only answer: “Do not be anxious about anything. But in everything, through prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God.”  We must immediately release our burdens of thought and our negative emotions to God and “cast our burdens” upon Him for direction.  He will respond if we trust Him completely.  In fact, He tells all the saints how sad He chooses to become when we don’t cast our burdens upon Him!  This is what it practically means to “abide in Him”.  The Lord wants to live His life again in you!

Our Lord confirmed this Truth to St. Faustina: “You will give Me pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and griefs.  I shall heap upon you treasures of My Grace…Oh how much I am hurt by a soul’s distrust!  Such a soul professes that I am Holy and Just, but does not believe that I am Mercy and does not trust in My Goodness!.. Oh how that wounds My Heart!”

So, let us smile at everyone today and always, but especially at the Holy Spirit in our soul!  Fiat!

A Divine Insight of the Holy Spirit: Two Sanctifiers Are Necessary

Posted on May 3, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

When we realize that the Apostles despite having been Baptized, despite receiving the Eucharist, despite engaging in daily prayer and acts of Charity, did not become fearless warriors for Jesus Christ until after receiving the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we likewise must resolve to beg for the Holy Spirit as they did………with Mary.  It was the spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mary the Mother of Jesus Christ, who led them during that time to properly receive this great Gift of the Love between the Father and the Son, so that the Holy Spirit finally and completely changed their lives to imitate Christ the way Mary did.  Why would it be different for us?

Elizabeth Kindelmann explained how God poured out a powerful stream of Grace into her soul. She stated: “He poured out the wonderful Grace of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Power, and the wonderful light of the Holy Spirit enlightened my soul.”

We have discussed previously in this Series on the Holy Spirit that part of the reason that the Graces from our Baptism and Confirmation have not been fully released is our failure to know and love the Holy Spirit the way we should. While we have heard, even many times before, the role of the Holy Spirit, most of us must admit with God’s Grace that we have little studied nor spent time getting to know Him. Few of us have an intimate, loving relationship with the Holy Spirit as a Person, who lives in our soul and has the Virtues, Gifts, and Charisms waiting to bestow on us for our Sanctification and to help build the Kingdom of God. Even the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love given at our Baptism are smothered over time if we do not come to know and love the Holy Spirit! We must in all humility accept the truth of God’s Word in Scripture which states: it is only the Holy Spirit who fully reveals the knowledge of the Father and Son; and only The Holy Spirit can bring us into a loving relationship with Each such that we can be the praise of the Glory of the Father by being transformed into the Son.

Here are the two key insights from Scripture that should convict us and unveil why we progress so little despite our best human intentions: “No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit,” and “No one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him.” So, we must admit that the Holy Spirit is the One who must fully reveal the Son and the Father to us, but how can this happen if we do not truly know the Holy Spirit and have an intimate relationship each day, each moment, with Him?

The Servant of God, Archbishop Luis Martinez, has written a masterpiece on the Holy Spirit entitled, “The Sanctifier”. He describes in great but understandable detail the role of the Holy Spirit in our soul and in our day to day life. Since God is Love, and to Love is to give, God the Father and God the Son give the Love between Them to us through Baptism and then strengthened again through Confirmation and then a continuing share in Their Divine Life through the Most Blessed Sacrament, the other Sacraments, Prayer and our acts of Charity. The Holy Spirit lives in us (assuming we are in a state of Grace) not only to possess us, but to be possessed by us! The Holy Spirit is ours…as pure unmerited Gift! He is the First Gift! We have the Divine Life within us! But without our cooperation through a constant, loving disposition (desire and effort), we cannot release His Love and Gifts into our souls to truly know the Father and Son. The Holy Spirit groans because His Love is unrequited and He can NOT perform His appropriated role of fully revealing the Father and the Son. Sadly, we are not willing to sell all and buy the field with the Treasure…the Pearl of Rare Price! We stand next to the woman at the well and listen as we hear: if you but knew the Gift of God!

So, because the Holy Spirit is so little known, and forgotten by those who do know Him, the Father wanting us to know and glorify Him through the Son, has raised up Exemplars like Elizabeth Kindelmann, Venerable Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, St. Hannibal di Francia, and Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, as well as the Renewal or Pentecost Movement within the Church, so that we can know, desire and love the Holy Spirit as a Person, in order to truly know the Son and the Father!

Archbishop Martinez was given this powerful insight…an insight coming from something simple we have heard thousands of times….and it is such a powerful insight that hopefully it will change our life from this moment forward! Jesus, the Incarnate Word, was conceived by the Holy Spirit through the Virgin Mary. He explains: “That is the way Jesus is always conceived. This is the way He is reproduced in souls. He is always the fruit of Heaven and Earth…Two Sanctifiers are necessary to souls: the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, for they are the only ones who reproduce Christ.” Think about this! Ponder this! This is God pouring out His Wisdom and Love for us in this insight! We cannot glorify the Father without being transformed into the Son! But we cannot be transformed into the Son without a loving, intimate relationship with both Mary and the Hoy Spirit!

Now, they do sanctify in different ways. The Holy Spirit sanctifies by His Essence, because He is God, who is Infinite Sanctity. The Virgin Mary is the perfect cooperator, the indispensable instrument chosen by God for His Plan. She perfectly models the Holy Spirit and demonstrates it is possible for us, because she was a human being like us though free from sin from her conception by His Grace! But the Mother wants to give what she has and God wants/needs to Give new Gifts!

So, what does this practically mean to us? We must have both the Holy Spirit and Mary in our daily life to perfectly form Jesus within us for the Glory of the Father. Thus, those in the Renewal Movement who reject, ignore or downplay Mary will never progress as God desires! Similarly, those in the Marian Movement who reject, ignore or downplay the Holy Spirit will never progress as God desires! Mary and the Holy Spirit can and will lead us into the life of Jesus Crucified where His Sacred Heart beats in the Most Blessed Sacrament so we can perfectly fulfill the Will of the Father and be a praise of His Glory…so we can be a perfect copy and truly say: It is no longer I who live, it is Christ who lives in me.

So, let us commit today to do three things every day: beg the Father and Son for the Holy Spirit; learn all we can by reading and hearing all we can about the Holy Spirit; and pray with Mary to the Holy Spirit each day in a loving personal way and acknowledge Him in our soul throughout the day with a loving smile and frequent aspirations to know and love Him better… so He will reveal the Father and Son fully to us! Fiat!

 

The Holy Spirit Within: the Life of Continuous Presence and Love

Posted on May 5, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

One of the great blessings bestowed on Elizabeth Kindelmann (and the goal of our life in Christ on earth) was the continuous contact with the Son for the glory of the Father through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit within her, which she corresponded to in a heroic way. Most of us struggle to remain in loving contact with the Trinity at all during the day outside our normal prayer time. The great insight from God’s Word through St. Paul is that we can and should be “praying continuously” and not just at formal prayer time or during Mass or religious events. So how exactly do we do this? How do we achieve this main goal of the spiritual life…this life of intimate, Divine Love we have been called to from all eternity?

We have learned in this series on the Holy Spirit that it is only through the Holy Spirit that we can achieve this or any part of our Sanctification….our duty to Love as He loves us! This Gift of Gifts happens only if we know and desire the Extraordinary Grace given to us at Baptism and Confirmation and we beg each day as often as possible that this Grace be released within us; and if we are faithful to learn all we can about the Person of the Holy Spirit; and if we pray through His Spouse, our Mother, each day as often as we can to know Him as she knows Him, as our Greatest Friend dwelling in our soul in order to achieve an intimate, loving relationship with Him for the Glory of the Father by becoming Jesus Crucified!

Our master guide, Fr Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, has this insight for us to ponder: “A soul who longs for a life of intimacy with God is not satisfied to limit relations with Him to the time of (formal) prayer, but tries to extend (these times) throughout the day…if God is always with us, why can we not be always in contact with Him?”

Fr. Gabriel explains that there are two ways to be in continual contact with The Trinity: the mind and the heart. While the mind will grow tired and usually can not be occupied with two things at once (duty and God), our heart can indeed be focused solely on God through our will and our desire. He states: “Since supernatural love does not consist in sentiment (emotion), but in an intimate orientation of the will toward God, we know that turning (to God) is possible, even during the performance of duties which absorb all of our attention. The will can strengthen this orientation of itself toward God precisely by the desire to fulfill each duty for love of Him, to please Him and give Him glory.”

St. Augustine confirms this Truth: “Prayer is nothing but desire of the heart; if your desire is continuous, your prayer is continuous. Do you wish never to cease praying? Then never cease desiring.”

In the classic work on this critical insight into loving God as He loves us (“The Practice of the Presence of God”), Brother Lawrence teaches us: “Let (us) then think of God as much as possible so that we will become accustomed to this little but holy exercise. No one will notice it and nothing is easier to repeat often during the day than these little acts of interior adoration.”

Brother Lawrence confirms what all the great masters of the spiritual life teach us: “We need only to recognize God intimately present with us, to address ourselves to Him every moment (that we can with our mind and then with our desire as our mind becomes occupied), that we beg His assistance for knowing His Will in things (that we are unsure of), and for rightly performing those which we plainly see He requires of us, offering them to Him before we do them, and giving Him thanks when we have done them.”

With daily prayer and consistent practice, we will find ourselves coming to that realization that “we can do nothing without Him”; and we will indeed start to call upon Him before every decision and action, and then to thank Him afterwards no matter the outcome from our viewpoint….for all happens for His glory and the salvation of souls! One of the great short prayers to make a habit before all duties, decisions and actions is: “Spirit of Love, in union with my Mother and Your Spouse, I enter into the Divine Will and place all in your hands.” As we finish the duty, action or after making a decision, we can pray: “Spirit of Love, in union with my Mother and Your Spouse, I give thanks and place all in your hands.” We can envision Jesus doing the act or making the decision within us (this assumes we are in a state of Grace and have an informed conscience) and thus He can achieve His purpose of living again through us for the glory of the Father by the folly of the Cross!

Let us rejoice and praise The Holy Spirit continuously knowing that our desire, the desire of our heart fixed forever on the Trinity alone, will allow us to pray and love continuously when our mind becomes occupied! Fiat!

 

Nine Days of Prayer for the Gifts: Come Holy Spirit!

Posted on May 6, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

As we prepare for the great Feast of Pentecost, we will pray together for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The first day of prayer with Mary in our “upper room with others close to her” will remind us of the utter need we have for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Most Catholics have never seriously studied or pondered them, which is part of the reason they have not yet fully blossomed in us. So, for the next 7 days of the Novena, we will examine each Gift and then on the last day, we will examine the result expected or the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray as a united “Family of Spiritual Beggars” for the Gifts as part of the Church’s oldest Novena.

Archbishop Luis Martinez had another analogy for us to consider the Gifts and how they allow the Holy Spirit to act in all our faculties: “Science has produced amazing equipment that enables us to pick up invisible waves and to hear what is said or sung in any part of the world. Anyone who has a receiving set can pick up these mysterious waves that carry sounds from the most distant places. In somewhat the same way, we may consider the Gifts of the Holy Spirit as Divine receivers for picking up the inspirations of the Holy Spirit….so one who is without the Gifts of the Holy Spirit will not be able to pick up these Divine inspirations….Naturally, the comparison is incomplete. With this invention of modern science, one can only hear. By these Divine receptors, we receive not only light and teaching of the Holy Spirit, but also His movements in such a way that under their influence we accomplish in the spiritual order the best and most perfect acts….’For whoever is led by the Spirit of God, is a child of God’…From these considerations, we can reach a very wonderful conclusion: if the Holy Spirit moves us and our acts are performed under His influence, those acts truly have a Divine character.”

What this practically means for us is that by knowing, desiring and praying daily for the Gifts, our duty to become holy will be accelerated, and if we persevere, we will accomplish our PURPOSE! When we are completely surrendered to the Holy Spirit, the Gifts become supernatural instincts, which cause us to think, judge and act in all as our Lord would. The Flame of Love Grace of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is God’s gratuitous Love poured out to make this process more secure and cause it to happen much more quickly than ever before! Why would we fail to know, desire and accept this Grace? Would it not be complete folly on our part? Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

 

The Gifts: Fear of The Lord

Posted on May 6, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

This Gift is considered the lowest or foundational Gift of the Holy Spirit. However, it is important to understand that is does not mean servile or fear of punishment….this fear is not rooted in Charity and is therefore not a Gift of the Holy Spirit. The Gift of Fear means the filial or childlike fear of offending or displeasing God and being separated from Him as Love. One who loves completely fears separation from his Great Love…God. This is the fear that is a Gift of the Holy Spirit.

Archbishop Martinez explains the importance of this Gift: “the Gift of Fear…makes us know our true value, and prevents that rebellion against God and that pride by which we believe ourselves to be better than we are. The Gift of Fear…by uniting us with God, makes us feel deeply our own deficiency….it is a supernatural effect which the Holy Spirit produces in souls so that we can look with horror at sin and thus cling with intensity to God.”

As we progress in love, this Gift produces a total detachment from the things of earth such that we can be poor in spirit, since nothing but love for God…the Holy Spirit…moves our faculties. We are the ready to sell all and “buy the field”…to be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect, since Fear of The Lord is ultimately directed by Wisdom, which is rooted in Love.

 

The Gifts: Fortitude

Posted on May 7, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

Fortitude is a Virtue and a Gift. As a Virtue, Fortitude allows us to work hard, be courageous and to overcome real difficulties, much more so than those who do not possess this Virtue. However, as a Virtue, it functions according to the maximum measure of our human strength. The Virtue of Fortitude allows us to overcome many instances where we otherwise would be timid and fail without the Virtue, but as a Virtue, it does not allow us to achieve with assurance and boldness anything superior to our human strength. This is when the Gift of Fortitude is needed, because we come to recognize that the temptations of the devil, the flesh and the world are simply too much for us, and we must have the strength and courage of the Holy Spirit to finally overcome those aspects of ourselves, the temptations of satan and the world’s bad influence, which we simply cannot do on our own! We recognize after failing many times over many years that even with the Virtues, we simply have too much self-love, certain personality flaws and bad habits that prevent us from being a saint; but the Gift of Fortitude from the Holy Spirit allows us to say with St. Paul: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

It is the Gift of Fortitude, which allows us to embrace suffering and find joy in suffering! This is not humanly possible! It is the Gift of Fortitude, which allows us to always be at peace, no matter what is happening around us! This is not humanly possible! We must be willing to stand firm in the Faith, even if it means being sent to prison or killed, as the martyrs for the Faith have done throughout history. This is not humanly possible! We have this Gift in our soul from our Baptism and strengthened further In Confirmation, but we must beg to release it and then beg to remain with the Gift each day by having a personal, intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit!

God is asking us now through Elizabeth Kindelmann, Venerable Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, St. Faustina and many other Exemplars to beg the Father and Son for the Holy Spirit and all His Virtues, Gifts, Charisms and Beatitudes each day throughout the day; to read all we can about The Holy Spirit; and to beg our Mother to pour out the Grace of the Flame of Love of her Immaculate Heart as an extraordinary Grace and help to know, desire and live intimately with the Holy Spirit in preparation for the approaching New Pentecost, the Reign of the Holy Spirit in the world!

 

The Gifts: Piety or Godliness

Posted on May 8, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

We learn from our guide Archbishop Luis Martinez in “The Sanctifier” that our spiritual life cannot be isolated. Even monks or contemplative sisters have duties toward others and to God, which are not precluded because they live mostly in solitude. Many of these duties are rooted in the Virtues of Charity and Justice, giving to God and our neighbors what is their due. With God, we have the duty to recognize Him as our Creator and Redeemer and to keep His Commandments. With regard to our parents, we have the duty to obey. With regard to those who do not have food or clothing, we have the duty to provide for them when we know we can and should. Virtues, as we have discussed, can only take us to the limit of our human strength. Only the Gift of Piety from the Holy Spirit can rightly order and fulfill all our duties toward God and others.

A child should love their Father unconditionally and have a deep childlike trust in Him and when God is recognized as our Father, we are even more obligated to love Him as much as possible as a human being can. The Gift of Piety allows us to fulfill all the duties we owe to God. The Virtue of religion allows us to know God as the Sovereign Being; the Gift of Piety sees Him as Father. The Gift allows us to complete all our duties toward God in a sweet, childlike manner and to fulfill our duties toward our family and neighbors with true love for all our fellow men. When we give someone their due, for example when we pay someone back who loaned us money and thank the person, this is the Virtue of Justice; with the Gift of Piety, we instead love the person as we love God, with agape love for sharing with us. The absolute surrender of ourselves to God where we put all in His Hands with complete trust, especially with regard to our willingness to suffer all to repair the sins against Him and for the salvation of other souls, comes from the Gift of Piety….so we can say with St. Paul: “But I will most gladly spend and be spent myself for your souls, even though loving you more, I be loved less.” (2 Cor 12:15)

 

The Gifts: Counsel

Posted on May 9, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

The Theological Virtue of Faith is our guide in this life for our thinking, since it allows us to trust in God as the Ultimate Authority…as Truth Itself. However, we need the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to move our intellect in order to have the Truth made Divinely manifest and shine in our intellect to know as God knows. The Gifts related to our intellect are Counsel, Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom. While they are related, there are important distinctions to know, desire and relish. These Gifts allow us to love God more than any learned person in the sciences…or the smartest person on earth with the highest IQ, since the intellect was created by God to ultimately know and love Him! With the Gifts of the intellect from the Holy Spirit, you become “God’s rocket scientist of Love”! You will give God more Glory than anyone with a keen intellect, simply because an intellect without the Gifts, is a lowly thing even when used to its maximum human potential!

The first intellectual Gift is Counsel, which directs the Gifts of Fear of The Lord, Fortitude and Piety. Normally we don’t notice our intellect working as most of our tasks are quite routine, but in difficult matters we deliberate about the lawfulness, the appropriateness and the value of what we are thinking about. Normally, we will use the Virtue of Prudence to judge what is the best course of action, especially if we are responsible for others as parent or superior. However, human life can be so complicated and difficult at times that we need the supernatural help of God through the Gift of Counsel, where the Holy Spirit becomes our guide to the decisions needed by giving us His Light. When we work under this Gift, we make quick, sure and bold decisions, because this is what the Holy Spirit wants in those circumstances! However, the Holy Spirit will also show us when to be silent and when not to act.

The number of decisions and acts we undertake each day are staggering, especially in talking with others without planning in what usually are spontaneous conversations. Here we must be especially careful and place ourselves under this Gift. If not, we will find ourselves quickly saying (gossip or uncharitable remarks) and even doing things which offend God! As we train our intellect with the Virtue of Prudence to speak less and listen more (an act of love), we will also notice the influence of the Holy Spirit from the Gift of Counsel as we respond in charity with what is needed for ourselves, for others and for the situation at hand, because the Holy Spirit will be responding for us. The great daily habit to employ is the prayer: “Holy Spirit I thank you for the Gifts. I place all in your hands, especially the decisions, words and acts of today and this moment. May they be done by You solely for Your Glory and as You Will.

 

The Gifts: Knowledge

Posted on May 10, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

As part of our human nature, we have a capacity to know, which allows us to scrutinize with our intelle

ct, to probe into the depth of things and of beings and to recognize the amazing wonders God has created. In the supernatural order, we can know beyond these things with the “science of the saints”, which is a Gift of the Holy Spirit. Knowledge as a Gift allows us to know creatures and things in a Divine manner.

Human knowledge is discursive, which means it proceeds in a slow, methodical way through reasoning as it assembles facts and opinions and weighs them until it arrives at a systematic or complete whole of the concept. The Gift of Knowledge is intuitive. It gives immediate insight into the mysterious relationships between creatures and into the supernatural mystery of the relationship of all creatures and things to God. The Gift of knowledge allows us to realize that all things and creatures are nothing on their own and only have value because God created them for His purpose, which is to give Him Glory for all eternity in His Wisdom and Love for us and all things He has created. This Gift gives one the realization as King Solomon was given to know: all things are vanity. We are made for God alone and can never be fulfilled except in Him!

People and things almost always take us away from God. Other people, money, sex, drugs, alcohol, greed, power, pleasure, entertainment and laziness usually take up most of our time and attention. It is the Gift of Knowledge which allows us to finally see the vanity and uselessness of all these diversions and traps. The Gift also helps us to see the need for the dark night of the senses, which is required to purify us of all our inordinate inclinations and to love God properly. The Gift also allows us to see the Divine in each person and to love them only for God and in God, instead of for ourselves and our selfish motives.

In the perfection of the Gift of Knowledge is found complete detachment from things where we can indeed embrace true poverty of spirit and sell all to embrace only sacrifice and suffering as Christ did. This is anathema to human knowledge, so we know it must be Divine in origin…a Gift! Let us continue with the Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Gifts at http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/Pentecost/seven.htm. (Note: our ordering of the Gifts is different from those at the EWTN site, but the reminders will reinforce what we are learning.) Fiat!

 

The Gifts: Understanding

Posted on May 11, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

While related to The Gifts of Knowledge and Wisdom, the Gift of Understanding has a precise role: to penetrate in a divine way the information and intuition gained from the Gift of Knowledge. With Knowledge, we come to know the purpose for which we exist: to love and glorify God alone, and all only to see God in persons and creatures as a means to love Him. With Knowledge we come to know that all things are vanity and that in comparison to God we are nothingness, but we are still intimately loved and we must return that love. By contrast, the Gift of Understanding allows us to completely penetrate all we know from the Gift of Knowledge and to penetrate all these spiritual truths to reveal their depths in God the infinite. We learn to probe the few critical pieces of knowledge and savor them….to delight in them with joy…because we realize our end: eternal salvation and possession of God, who is Infinite Love for all eternity! So, Knowledge unveils the key eternal truths, while Understanding allows the deep penetration, savoring and joy of realizing what these truths bring if we remain faithful: intimate love though suffering and reparation with Him now in this life and eternal love with God forever in Heaven!

Archbishop Martinez asks us to contemplate this analogy: with the people we love and are closest to, we do not need for them to talk to know what is in their thoughts. The same way with the Gift of Understanding. When this Gift is operating, we see in our soul and understand His Love and our response to that love. When our Lord was speaking to Nicodemus, He showed the need for both Knowledge and Understanding: “If I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I speak to you of heavenly things?” (John 3:12)

Understanding is the key Gift needed in order to properly practice the prayer of contemplation, where God will raise souls to a singular and profound vision of God and the things of God. “How much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13)

The Gift of Understanding allows us to more fully see God in the Blessed Sacrament as a Person with feelings, who is so alone! Understanding allows us to realize that all things work together for good for those who love God, and that He brings God out of the most evil things man has done. Understanding allows us to realize that all things are caused or permitted by God for our greater spiritual glory and thus we should NEVER be sad, but to ask and expect joy even in pain and suffering as God will transform it into joy if we but love….and ask!

All those who love have seen glimpses of God through the Gift of Understanding: the feeling and sense of love, wonder and awe at a beautiful Mass or First Communion; a heroic moment when someone risks their life for another and dies trying; an extraordinary sunset where God seems to be reaching and calling out to us with love. Have we not seen clearly in a flash something of God we never fully understood before? This is from the Gift of Understanding!

The Gifts: Wisdom

Posted on May 12, 2016 by Anthony Mullen

While The Gift of Knowledge allows us to know God and all persons and things in relation to Him, and Understanding allows us to penetrate them and realize their depth and cling to our purpose of eternal salvation and infinite Love, the Gift of Wisdom allows us to coordinate all the supernatural truths and Gifts and unify them in Love so we may become the image of Jesus Christ even in this life! Even with Understanding, we still do not have Christ perfectly formed within us, it requires the unification of all God’s Truths in Love, which is called Wisdom! It proceeds from “I Am Who Am”.

The Gift of Wisdom allows us to coordinate all the Truths about God and unifies them such that we can say with St. Paul: “For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God!” (1 Corinthians 2:10) The soul now looks at all things with the great height and thought of the Supreme Cause and coordinates and unifies them in Love!

The Gift of Wisdom is reflected in St. Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all with faces unveiled, reflecting as in a mirror the glory of God, are being transformed into His very image from glory to glory, as through the Spirit of The Lord.” It is better to love God than to know Him, but it is best to know Him and to Love Him! This is the Gift of Wisdom. It comes forth from Charity and also leads back to Charity for the same reason we came forth from God who is Charity, and we all go back to Him who is Charity, although some go back and reject such Love! Wisdom prevents this eternal outcome of rejecting Charity!

The Gift of Wisdom allows us to know Love and give ourselves to Love as Love has been given completely to us! This means complete self-giving through the Cross for the Glory of the Father…a compete consummation! The Gift of Wisdom allows us to experience God as Love…..as Love Crucified! It is this EXPERIENCE of Love Crucified, which is the Gift of Wisdom and truly differentiates it from The Gift of Understanding. The Saints seemed mad to the point of folly with their self-abnegation, their recognition of their nothingness despite their holiness, and their willingness to suffer all things for Christ, because this is indeed madness to human wisdom! Therefore, we know it is Divine Wisdom….a Gift of the Holy Spirit!

Those who have the Gift of Wisdom are sublimely peaceful, since the Gift produces this Peace….”that Peace which surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7) These are the “children of God”, because Wisdom has made them sons and daughters and has engraved in them the perfect image that one can have on earth, the image of the Son of God Crucified!

Ultimately, Wisdom allows us to see, understand and relish the ultimate Truth: “That they may be one as we are one; I in them and You in Me; that they may be perfected as one.” (John 17:21)

“MISERY & MERCY” –St. Faustina

              “Human kind cannot bear very much reality.”  I read this line in T. S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets,” a poem, nearly 50 years ago.  As a matter of fact, I wrote my master’s thesis on the poem—so I remember pouring over these lines, trying to divine Eliot’s often obscure meanings.  Parts of lines often come to my mind, but I have come to know that this one expresses a great spiritual truth.  Human kind does everything to avoid facing reality: drugs, alcohol, sex, progressively deteriorating entertainment, mindless media, mindless eating—how far and how deep do we really want to go?

In silence and solitude, we cannot escape ourselves, for this is our most basic reality.  To enter reality is to enter self-knowledge; and that is to enter misery. I remember well what I read in St. Faustina’s diary: if God were to give me the full revelation of who and what I am in a  full, instant disclosure of self-knowledge, I would be terrified. However, knowing my misery, God has such tenderness for how such a revelation would affect me, would destroy me, that He gives me self-knowledge in tiny doses, gradually revealing to me the absolute depths of my unique misery.  Even so, occasional events devastate me when I catch a glimpse of myself as He sees me.

In a recent retreat, I meditated on misery with my brothers and sisters.  Until I begin to fathom the depths of my own misery, until I begin to enter self-knowledge, I cannot begin to understand who and what God is, His astonishing mercy.

What is this misery?  Years ago I entered into several deep reflections on original sin—a great place for anyone to start.  We all know we were born in original sin, inheriting our fallen nature from Adam and Eve.  Do you remember what its affects are on “human kind”?  Original sin produces a darkened intellect, a weakened will, and disunity between the soul and the body.  Here is where we start.  Now compound the misery by adding the wounds of personal sin, our own and the wounds we receive from others’ sins, the faults and habits we cannot give up, the vices, etc.  As years pass, we often find ourselves entrenched in these disordered tendencies.  Even as we struggle to gain the habits of virtue, we fall often, and sometimes severely.

St. Paul bemoaned this condition in Romans:

18 And really, I know of nothing good living in me — in my natural self, that is — for though the will to do what is good is in me, the power to do it is not:

19 the good thing I want to do, I never do; the evil thing which I do not want — that is what I do.

20 But every time I do what I do not want to, then it is not myself acting, but the sin that lives in me.

21 So I find this rule: that for me, where I want to do nothing but good, evil is close at my side.

22 In my inmost self I dearly love God’s law,

23 but I see that acting on my body there is a different law which battles against the law in my mind. So I am brought to be a prisoner of that law of sin which lives inside my body.

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death?

25 God — thanks be to him — through Jesus Christ our Lord. So it is that I myself with my mind obey the law of God, but in my disordered nature I obey the law of sin.”

How does baptism affect original sin and our fallen nature?  The Catholic Catechism teaches us:

1263 By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.

1264 Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, “the tinder for sin” (fomes peccati); since concupiscence “is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ.” Indeed, “an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”

            The saints were not free of this misery, either.  If they entered into self-knowledge—and they certainly did—then they experienced the same great depth of human misery that we all experience.  St. Faustina uses the word misery 115 times in her diary.  She tells us:

[56]“…from the beginning I have been aware of my weakness. I know very well what I am of myself, because for this purpose Jesus has opened the eyes of my soul; I am an abyss of misery, and hence I understand that whatever good there is in my soul consists solely of His holy grace. The knowledge of my own misery allows me, at the same time, to know the immensity of Your mercy. In my own interior life, I am looking with one eye at the abyss of my misery and baseness, and with the other, at the abyss of Your mercy, O God.”

St. Faustina also gives us the key to joy in our misery!  Because in us “deep calls unto deep”—deep misery calls to deeper mercy.     She writes:

[66]“Truly, Jesus, I become frightened when I look at my own misery, but at the same time I am reassured by Your unfathomable mercy, which exceeds my misery by the measure of all eternity. This disposition of soul clothes me in Your power. O joy that flows from the knowledge of one’s self!”

Long before St. Faustina or any of the saints, Mary, the Blessed Mother herself, taught us this joy in her Magnificat:  “He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.”  The very depth of our misery is an abyss of hunger for goodness which only His mercy can fill.  Only the truly poor in spirit can be filled with the riches of His mercy. If we do not acknowledge or even know our misery, we are the rich which He sends empty away.  How foolish we are to hide behind our pride, our false wealth, our masks, our claims that we are perfectly fine, that we don’t need anything—thank you very much!

Let us reflect and pray with St. Faustina:

“69 (29) + O Jesus, eternal Truth, strengthen my feeble forces; You can do all things, Lord. I know that without You all my efforts are in vain. O Jesus, do not hide from me, for I cannot live without You. Listen to the cry of my soul, Your mercy has not been exhausted, Lord, so have pity on my misery.”

“[52] God demands great purity of certain souls, and so He gives them a deeper knowledge of their own misery. Illuminated by light from on high, the soul can better know what pleases God and what does not.”

“[113] Pride keeps it [the soul] in darkness. The soul neither knows how, nor is it willing, to probe with precision the depths of its own misery. It puts on a mask and avoids everything that might bring it recovery.”

“283 I want to love You as no human soul has ever loved You before; and although I am utterly miserable and small, I have, nevertheless, cast the anchor of my trust deep down into the abyss of Your mercy, O my God and Creator! In spite of my great misery I fear nothing, but hope to sing You a hymn of glory for ever.”

“289 My happiest moments are when I am alone with my Lord. During these moments I experience the greatness of God and my own misery.”

“[346]  Suddenly, I heard these words: You are My delightful dwelling place; My Spirit rests in you. After these words, I felt the Lord looking into the depths of my heart; and seeing my misery, I humbled myself in spirit and admired the immense mercy of God, that the Most High Lord would approach such misery.”

“363 O good Jesus, thank You for the great grace of making known to me what I am of myself: misery and sin, and nothing more. I can do only one thing of myself, and that is to offend You, O my God, because misery can do no more of itself than offend You, O infinite Goodness!”

“[411] …I thought I would die of joy. At such times, my knowledge of God and his attributes becomes more acute, and also I know my own self and my misery much better. I am amazed at the Lord’s great condescension to such a miserable soul as mine.”

“435] Then I heard these words: Do not fear; I Myself will make up for everything that is lacking in you. But these words penetrated me to my depths and made me even more aware of my misery, and I understood that the word of the Lord is living and that it penetrates to the very depths. I understood that God demands a more perfect way of life of me. However, I kept using my incompetence as an excuse.”

593 O my Jesus, nothing is better for the soul than humiliations. In contempt is the secret of happiness, when the soul recognizes that, of itself, it is only wretchedness and nothingness, and that whatever it possesses of good is a gift of God. When the soul sees that everything is given it freely and that the only thing it has of itself is its own misery, this is what sustains it in a continual act of humble prostration before the majesty of God. And God, seeing the soul in such a disposition, pursues it with His graces. As the soul continues to immerse itself more deeply into the abyss of its nothingness and need, God uses His omnipotence to exalt it. If there is a truly happy soul upon earth, it can only be a truly humble soul. At first, one’s self-love suffers greatly on this account, but after a soul has struggled courageously. God grants it much light by which it sees how wretched and full of deception everything is. God alone is in its heart. A humble soul does not trust itself, but places all its confidence in God. God defends the humble soul and lets Himself into its secrets, and the soul abides in unsurpassable happiness which no one can comprehend.”

“[605] The Lord has inclined himself to my misery like a ray of the sun upon a barren and rocky desert. And yet, under the influence of His rays, my soul has become covered with verdure, flowers, and fruit, and has become a beautiful garden for His repose.”

“606 My Jesus, despite Your graces, I see and feel all my misery. I begin my day with battle and end it with battle. As soon as I conquer one obstacle, ten more appear (69) to take its place. But I am not worried, because I know that this is the time of struggle, not peace. When the burden of the battle becomes too much for me, I throw myself like a child into the arms of the heavenly Father and trust I will not perish. O my Jesus, how prone I am to evil, and this forces me to be constantly vigilant. But I do not lose heart. I trust God’s grace, which abounds in the worst misery.

“672  His justice pervades me to the marrow; outwardly I lose strength and consciousness. With this, I come to know the great holiness of God and my own great misery. A great torment affects my soul; the soul perceives its deeds to be not without blemish. Then the strength of trust is awakened in the soul, which longs for God with all its might. Yet is sees how miserable it is and what utter vanity everything that surrounds it. And face to face with such holiness, Oh, poor soul…”

“718 After Holy Communion, I heard these words:- You see what you are of yourself, but do not be frightened at this. If I were to reveal to you the whole misery that you are, you would die of terror. However, be aware of what you are. Because you are such great misery, I have revealed to you the whole ocean of My mercy. I seek and desire souls like yours, but they are few. Your great trust in Me forces Me to continuously grant you graces. You have great and incomprehensible rights over My Heart, for you are a daughter of complete trust. You would not have been able to bear the magnitude of the love which I have for you if I had revealed it to you fully here on earth. I often give you a glimpse of it, but know that this is only an exceptional grace from Me. My love and mercy knows no bounds.”

“723  …your heart is My constant dwelling place, despite the misery that you are. I unite Myself with you, take away your misery and give you My mercy. I perform works of mercy in every soul. The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy.”

“852 (232) Today the Lord’s gaze shot through me suddenly, like lightning. At once, I came to know the tiniest specks in my soul, and knowing the depths of my misery, I fell to my knees and begged the Lord’s pardon, and with great trust I immersed myself in His infinite mercy. Such knowledge does not depress me nor keep me away from the Lord, but rather it arouses in my soul greater love and boundless trust. The repentance of my heart is linked to love. These extraordinary flashes from the Lord educate my soul. O sweet rays of God, enlighten me to the most secret depth, for I want to arrive at the greatest possible purity of heart and soul.”

1182 (50) + Today the Lord said to me, My daughter, My pleasure and delight, nothing will stop me from granting you graces. Your misery does not hinder my mercy. My daughter, write that the greater the misery of a soul, the greater its right to My mercy; [urge] all souls to trust in the unfathomable abyss of My mercy, because I want to save them all.

“1273 Jesus: My daughter, do you think you have written enough about My mercy? What you have written is but a drop compared to the ocean. I am Love and Mercy Itself. There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted – it increases. The soul that trusts in My mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it.”

“1318 Jesus said to me, My daughter, you have not offered Me that which is really yours. I probed deeply into myself and found that I love God with all the faculties of my soul and, unable to see what it was that I had not yet given to the Lord, I asked, ‘Jesus, tell me what it is, and I will give it to You at once with a generous heart.’ Jesus said to me with kindness, Daughter, give Me your misery, because it is your exclusive property. At that moment, a ray of light illumined my soul, and I saw the whole abyss of my misery. In that same moment I nestled close to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus with so much trust that even if I had the sins of all the damned weighing on my conscience, I would not have doubted God’s mercy but, with a heart crushed to dust, I would have thrown myself into the abyss of Your mercy.”

“1485I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace.”

“1602 If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls.”

“1775 Jesus said, For you, I am mercy itself; therefore I ask you to offer Me your misery and this very helplessness of yours and, in this way, you will delight My Heart.”

 

HUMILITY

Over the last few weeks I have been tested, leaving me in some desolation of spirit, but mostly stripping me of my self-confidence.  I have been on a steep learning curve which shocked and confused me.  Then this week everything which comes before me is about humility—confirming the whole point of my hard lessons.

Powerful words came to me from my spiritual mother, Lourdes, in a teaching which she sent to our whole community.  What especially struck me were these two passages from The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena:

“For one does not arrive at virtue except through knowledge of self, and knowledge of Me, which knowledge is more perfectly acquired in the time of temptation, because then man knows himself to be nothing, being unable to lift off himself the pains and vexations which he would flee…”

Then this one:

“…in order to exercise them in virtue and raise them above their imperfection, I withdraw from their minds My consolation and allow them to fall into battles and perplexities.  This I do so that, coming to perfect self-knowledge, they may know that of themselves they are nothing and have no grace, and accordingly in time of battle fly to Me, as their Benefactor, seeking me alone, with true humility…”

These passages tell me that God permits, even takes care to design, pains, vexations, battles, and perplexities specifically to teach me humility, my powerlessness, my utter inability to help myself, that I may fly to Him.  Yes, this is exactly where I have been in the last few weeks.

How kind the Holy Spirit—all this week He has brought all manner of teaching about humility to my face, reinforcing what I learned with great pains in the battles.

In the meditation today in DIVINE INTIMACY by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, O.C.D., I read:  “We must humble ourselves …under the mighty hand of God, sincerely recognize our nothingness, take account of our poverty; and if we wish to glorify ourselves, we must glory, like St. Paul, solely in our infirmities. It is only in our weakness, humbly acknowledged, that grace and divine virtue work and triumph…[God] stoops only to the humble; the more lowly He finds a soul, the closer He draws it to Himself.  Humility deepens the soul’s capacity to receive the fullness of divine gifts.” [#106]

How long have I known this?  For years.  In how many battles has God permitted me to learn this? I cannot begin to estimate.  Why am I so hard-headed?  Yet to know this in an intellectual way is to remain ignorant still.

We have to experience the full frustration of deception by the evil one, perplexities, vexations, and spiritual pain—to endure a real beating sometimes—to gain the experience of our nothingness.  And then to repeat the whole process often at a later time!  What miserable children we are!

I also found in ROSARY TO THE INTERIOR [http://rosarytotheinterior.com/the-first-joyful-mystery-the-annunciation/ ] this passage from the reflection on the Annunciation/Incarnation:

“The one truth regarding Our Lord’s Incarnation which is totally inexplicable, and therefore truly does make it the ‘most hidden’ of all of the mysteries of Christ is offered to us in a passage from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians:

For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.” (2: 5-8).

“ It is the humility of Christ in the Incarnation which is the ‘least understood’ of all the mysteries of Our Lord. It can make no rational sense to us as to why an Eternal and Infinitely Perfect God should lower himself to be united in human nature with men who are nothing in themselves; that He should then voluntarily suffer the most ignominious and cruel death at the hands of men – that He should be spat upon, scourged, mockingly tortured with a crown of cruel thorns, forced to bear His own Cross, and Crucified – in order to merit the grace of their salvation; and then still be rejected by the vast majority of mankind.”

If He emptied Himself, how can I not empty myself?  In DIVINE INTIMACY, same meditation, St. Therese exclaims: “O Divine Guest, You know my misery; that is why You come to me in the hope of finding an empty tabernacle, a heart wholly emptied of self.  This is all You ask.”

Finally, last night I was deeply touched by Mark Mallett’s post, “On True Humility.”  I have read repeatedly the wonderful poem and part of his post which I cite here:

“Humility is perpetual quietness of heart.
It is to have no trouble.
It is never to be fretted, vexed, irritated,  sore, or disappointed.
It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing  that is done to me,
to feel nothing done against me.
It is to be at rest when nobody praises me,
and when I am blamed and despised.
It is to have a blessed home in myself,  where I can go in,
shut the door, kneel to my God in secret, 
and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness
when all around and above is troubled.
(Author Unknown) 

“Finally, a soul is abiding in true humility when it embraces all of the above—but resists any kind of self-satisfaction—as if to say, “Ah, I am finally getting it; I’ve got it figured out; I’ve arrived… etc.” St. Pio warned of this most subtle enemy:

“Let us always be on the alert and not let this very formidable enemy [of self-satisfaction] penetrate our minds and hearts, because, once it enters, it ravages every virtue, mars every holiness, and corrupts everything that is good and beautiful. —from Padre Pio’s Spiritual Direction for Every Day, edited by Gianluigi Pasquale, Servant Books; Feb. 25th

“Whatever is good is God’s—the rest is mine. If my life bears good fruit, it is because He who is Good is working in me. For Jesus said, “without me, you can do nothing.” [3]

“Repent of pride, rest in God’s will, and relinquish any self-satisfaction, and you will discover the sweetness of the Cross. For the Divine Will is the seed of true joy and real peace. It is food for the humble.”

I don’t know where Mark found this little poem, but how amazing it is.  How amazing that the Holy Spirit constantly supports us with every grace for union with God—whatever we need. This Lent is a time of immense grace and gratitude for me—I hope it is the same for you.

The Passion of Jesus and Mary for Lent

As we enter Lent in a few days, we need to spend some time contemplating the Passion, perhaps with the Stations of the Cross of St. Faustina.

Wonderful promises are also available to those who take a few minutes each day to reflect on the Sorrows of Mary [youtube video]. 

With the following powerpoint, say a Hail Mary after each reflection as you gaze at the beautiful icon of her sorrow.

SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY

 

These are the seven promises Our Lady made, through St. Bridget of Sweden, to those who are devoted to meditating on her Seven Sorrows:

1. “I will grant peace to their families.”

2. “They will be enlightened about the Divine Mysteries.”

3. “I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.”

4. “I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my Divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.”

5. “I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.”

6. “I will visibly help them at the moment of their death. They will see the face of their Mother.”

7. “I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.”

Additionally, as relayed by St. Alphonsus de Liguori in his classic work The Glories of Mary, Our Lord promised four graces to those devoted to the Sorrows of his Blessed Mother:

1. That those who before death invoke the divine Mother in the name of Her Sorrows will obtain true repentance of all their sins;

2. That He will protect all who have this devotion in their tribulations, and will protect them especially at the hour of death;

3.  That He will impress on their minds the remembrance of His Passion;

4. That He will place such devout servants in Mother Mary’s hands to do with them as She wishes and to obtain for them all the graces She desires.