Wednesday, December 9, 2015
The Immaculate Conception
To understand how great a grace, and how singular a prerogative this total exemption from all sin was in Mary, we may take a survey of the havoc that monster made amongst men from the beginning of the world, excepting Mary.
The most holy amongst the saints all received their existence in sin; they were all obliged to say with Saint Paul: We were the children of wrath, even as the rest. The fall of our first father Adam involved all mankind in guilt and misery. From that time ... sin reigned without control on every side. By its dire effects the greatest part of the world was plunged into the most frightful state of spiritual darkness and blindness. Even the sons of light were born under its slavery: Abraham, Moses, Elias, Jeremy, Job, and all the other saints confessed with David: Behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sin my mother conceived me.
Sin was become a universal leprosy, a contagion which no one could escape; an evil common to all mankind, and infecting every particular individual that descended from Adam, as his own inherent guilt; something accidental, and foreign to our nature, yet so general an attendant upon it, that it might almost seem a constituent part thereof. It was communicated with the flesh and blood which men received from their parents, and from their first father, Adam. Every child contracted this infection with the first principle of life.
Mary, by a singular privilege, was exempted from it, and entered a world of sin, spotless and holy. Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array! These words we may understand as spoken by the angels at the first glorious appearance of the Mother of God, astonished to behold her, after the dismal night of darkness and sin, as the morning rising, beautiful as the moon, shining as the sun, decked with the brightest ornaments of grace, and terrible to all the powers of hell, as the face of an army drawn up in battalia, displaying her beams on the horizon of the earth, which had been hitherto covered with the hideous deformity of sin. What a glorious spectacle, what a subject of joy was it to the heavenly spirits, to see the empire of sin broken, and a descendant of Adam come forth free from the general contagion of his race, making her appearance pure, holy, and beautiful, richly adorned with the most precious gifts of grace, and outshining the highest angels and cherubims! Shall we refuse to her our admiration and praises? Shall we not offer to God our best homages in thanksgiving for such a mercy, and for so great a present which he has bestowed on the world in Mary?
O Mother of Mercy let your happy privilege, your exemption from all sin and concupiscence, inspire you with pity for our miseries: and by your spotless purity and abundant graces, obtain for us strength against all our dangers, the deliverance from all our miseries, and the most powerful remedies of divine grace.
~ Alban Butler
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
November 11th is Martinmas, the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours
Sancte Martine, ora pro nobis / Saint Martin, pray for us
In German-speaking Europe, Martinmas is usually celebrated by children making paper lanterns with candles, and carrying them in procession, while singing songs in honor of the Saint, behind a man dressed as a Roman Soldier (Saint Martin) - and the beggar with whom he shared his cloak, later revealed to be Christ.
Saint Martin of Tours (c.316 - 397)
He was born in the Roman province of Pannonia (approximately, the western half of modern Hungary) in about 316 and was educated at Pavia in Italy. He was baptized, left the army and after spending some time as a hermit on an island off the Ligurian coast, founded a monastery at Ligugé in western France, where he lived a monastic life guided by Saint Hilary. Later, he was ordained a priest and became bishop of Tours. In his actions, he gave an example of what a good shepherd should be. He founded other monasteries, educated the clergy, and preached the Gospel to the poor. He died in 397.
The famous story about St Martin is that while a soldier in Amiens he gave half of his military cloak to a beggar and later had a dream in which the beggar revealed himself as Christ.
Friday, November 6, 2015
Saint Joseph Cafasso's Prayer to Avoid Purgatory
O my sweet Jesus, in addition to the many graces which Thou hast conferred on me in the course of my life, I ask Thee for this further one: When my soul shall have departed from this world, not only that it not be condemned to Hell, but that it shall not be compelled to remain away from Thee for even a moment in Purgatory. It is true that I am a debtor to Divine Justice, but I hope to pay all my debts from the infinite merits of Thy Passion and Death. O Heaven, holy city of my God, my dear native land! Oh, how I sigh for thee! Oh happy day when I shall reach thee! O Heaven, my dear Heaven, come quickly and satisfy the desires of a wretched heart that sighs for thee!
My God, I accept whatever kind of death it may please Thee to send me, with all the terrors, all the pains, all the sufferings that shall justly accompany it. Finally, I pray Thee to accept the destruction of my body as the last act of homage that I can offer to Thy Supreme Divine Majesty, in satisfaction for the offenses committed in the course of my life.
O Mary, I ask thee for one more grace: Obtain from thy Divine Son that I may die, but that I may die with thee, and that I may fly to Heaven along with thee. O merciful Mother, grant that when my soul is liberated from this wretched body I may go immediately to find thee in Heaven, there to commence that life which will be my occupation for all eternity.
Requiem aeternam dona mihi, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat mihi. Requiescam in pace.*
*The Familiar prayer (in the third person) for the Faithful Departed, "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them. May they rest in peace," St Joseph Cafasso has here transposed into the first person singular, i.e., for himself: "Eternal rest grant unto me, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon me. May I rest in peace."