Monday, November 30, 2009

And, now meet the other 'Father Z' - who achieved astonishing success evangelizing Muslims - click for link

Patrick Madrid on his blog has a post about Coptic priest, Fr Zakaria Botros who converted large numbers of Muslims with astonishing effectiveness through his popular TV program - please pray for this courageous priest! 

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My abode is in the full assembly of the Saints - Ecclus 24

In the midst of her own people she shall be exalted, and shall be admired in the holy assembly. And in the multitude of the elect she shall have praise, and among the blessed she shall be blessed, saying: I took root in an honourable people, and in the portion of my God. His inheritance and my abode is in the full assembly of saints.
I was exalted like a cedar in Libanus, and like a cypress tree on Mount Sion. I was exalted like a palm tree in Cades, and as a rose plant in Jericho: as a fair olive tree in the plains, and as a plane tree by the waters was I the vine I have brought a pleasant odour: and my flowers are the fruit of honour and riches. (Ecclus 24: 3, 4, 16-19, 23)

With reason is Mary styled Queen of All Saints. We have seen that she excelled the angels in purity, the patriarchs in faith, the prophets in knowledge, the apostles in zeal, the martyrs in courage, the confessors in longanimity, the virgins in whole-hearted devotedness to our Lord. Thus surpassing them all in their distinguishing characteristics she was able to sing: "So was I established in Sion, and in the hole city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem. And I took root in an honourable people, and in the saints. I was exalted like a cedar in Libanus, and as a cypress tree in Mount Sion". (Ecclus 24).

"The full assembly of saints". How at home our Lady must have felt from the first moment she entered heaven, where she found every one enamoured of God, as she had ever been, but hitherto with few to sympathize with the inner fire which consumed her! There all is love - love pure and without alloy. See her amazement  at being exalted above even Cherubim and Seraphim, as the  cedars of Libanus overtop all the other trees of the mountain, and how her imagery is drawn from the mount which St Jerome says derives its name from its stainless, glistening whiteness. "I was exalted like a cedar in Libanus."
"I took root in an honourable people." How delightful must be the society in heaven! All that is beautiful, true, noble and intellectual in human nature is to be found there perfected in the highest degree, and without any admixture of littleness, meaness, weakness or other imperfections that mar in some measure even the grandest character in this world.

'This an important point to know
There' no perfection here below,

but there, in our heavenly home, it exists in all its plenitude, and as our Lady had surpassed all the saints on earth by her humility - for it has been said that it was her humility even more than her purity that drew down to her heart the Son of God - so now she would exceed them all in her spirit of praise. We can imagine her singing joyfully the words: "Turn, O my soul, unto thy rest, for the Lord hath been bountiful to thee. For He hath delivered  my soul from death: my eyes from tears, my feet from falling." (Ps 64) "I will praise Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart...I will give praise to Thee in the sight of Thy angels."

How lovingly and unassumingly our Lady would take her place amongst all the saints and angels that throng the heavenly court, and how they would welcome her as their Queen, as the Mother of their Most High Creator! How they would praise her, and yet feel, as Dante says, that only the Creator can rightly estimate the beauty of His creature! May we not end fittingly with a quotation from the great St John Chrysostom: "Truly, dearly beloved brethren, the blessed Virgin Mary was a great wonder. What thing greater or more famous than she hath ever at any time been found, or can be found? She alone is greater than heaven and earth. What thing holier than she hath been, or can be found? Neither prophets, nor apostles, nor martyrs, nor partriarchs, nor angels, nor thrones, nor dominations, nor Seraphim, nor Cherubim, nor any other creature, visible, or invisible, can be found that is greater or more excellent than she. She is at once the handmaid and the parent of God, at once Virgin and Mother."
O Mary, truly thou a marvel of holiness. Well might Dante excclaim: "In te magnificenza, in the s'aduna quantunaue in creatura e di bontate." (Paradiso, 33:20,21) - In thee is magnificence, in thee is united whatever of good iss to be found in creatures!


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November devotions to the Holy Souls in Purgaory - click for link

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Sunday in Advent - click for link

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Jesus living in Mary, Handbook of the Spirituality of St. Louis De Montfort. The Oxford Movement - click to read

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham and not long ago His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, made generous provision for Anglicans to join Catholic Church in his Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. We may remember then the Oxford Movement, "the name given to the actions and endeavors of a group of clergymen at Oxford University in the 1830s who sought to restore Catholic faith and practice within the Anglican Church. Its leaders were the professor of poetry, John Keble (1792-1866); the Regius Professor of Hebrew, Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-1892); and the vicar of St. Mary’s and fellow of Oriel, John Henry Newman (1801-1890). Keble’s sermon on "National Apostasy" on July 14, 1833, is generally regarded as the movement’s beginning, and Newman’s reception into the Roman Catholic Church on October 9, 1845, as the end of its first phase.....Newman’s conversion was a "parting of friends," the leaving, for the sake of the truth, of almost every person and thing humanly dear to him. On February 22, 1846, he said goodbye to Littlemore, the retreat of his final Anglican years; to Oxford, in which he had hoped for a "perpetual residence"; and to Dr. Pusey, his once close comrade and friend. The two men were not to meet again for another twenty years. When they did, it would be in a tense atmosphere of controversy, and the name of Louis de Montfort would figure in the debate." On September 12, 1865, Newman visited Kolbe for dinner and was "taken aback to discover that Pusey was also paying a visit.....At dinner Pusey was "full" of a new book, which would soon provoke a masterly rejoinder from Newman. It was a work of high polemic with the surprising title An Eirenicon. Pusey argued that the reunion of Canterbury and Rome was impeded by the excesses of Catholic piety, not least in relation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Newman was astonished by the title of Pusey’s book. In a letter to Kelbe, he says that if Pusey "is writing to hinder his own people from joining us, well and good, he had a right to write as he has done—but how can he fancy that to exaggerate, instead of smoothing contrarieties, is the way to make us listen to him?" Pusey offers the bread of peace but delivers the stone of polemic.

In the fragments below is the example of Newman's Marian apologetics:

"The Fathers made me a Catholic, and I am not going to kick down the ladder by which I ascended into the Church." In similar fashion, St. Louis Marie regularly quotes from the Fathers and claims that his theses on devotion to Our Lady can be supported from their writings. ... "If I were speaking to the great minds of our day, I should prove at greater length from Sacred Scripture and the holy Fathers, from whom I should quote passages in Latin, all that I am saying simply. . . . But I am speaking mainly to the poor and simple, who, being of good will and having more faith than the average scholar, believe with more simplicity and more merit..." (True Devotion 26).

In his Letter to Pusey, and in several other places, Newman confirms the truth of St. Louis Marie’s central doctrine by referring to religious history: "True devotion to the Mother is the ‘easiest,’ ‘shortest,’ and ‘surest’ way to union with the Son, and when devotion to Mary grows cold or dies, faith in Jesus as Lord, God, and Saviour is certain to wither away" (TD 152).

"If we look through Europe, we shall find, on the whole, that just those nations and countries have lost their faith in the divinity of Christ who have given up devotion to His Mother and that those, on the other hand, who had been foremost in her honor have retained their orthodoxy.  In the Catholic Church Mary has shown herself, not the rival, but the minister of her Son; she has protected Him, as in His infancy, so in the whole history of the Religion. There is then a plain historical truth in Dr. Faber’s words [in the preface to his translation of TD], which you quote to condemn, ‘Jesus is obscured, because Mary is kept in the background.’"

Newman suggests that the hesitations of some Protestants about Our Lady’s role, under Christ, as intercessor and advocate betray a woefully inadequate Christology. If we take from the Blessed Virgin her intercessory mission and transfer it to Christ, we shall be diminishing, not enhancing, his glory.

"If we placed Our Lord in that center, we should only be dragging Him from His throne and making Him an Arian kind of a God; that is, no God at all. He who charges us with making Mary a divinity is thereby denying the divinity of Jesus. Such a man does not know what divinity is. ....To her belongs, as being a creature, a natural claim on our sympathy and familiarity in that she is nothing else than our fellow. She is our pride—in the poet’s words, ‘Our tainted nature’s solitary boast.’ We look to her without any fear, any remorse, any consciousness that she is able to read us, judge us, punish us. Our heart yearns towards that pure Virgin, that gentle Mother, and our congratulations follow her, as she rises from Nazareth and Ephesus, through the choirs of angels, to her throne on high, so weak, yet so strong, so delicate, yet so glorious, so modest and yet so mighty."

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Last Sunday after Pentecost - click for link

Last Judgment by William Blake

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Feast of Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple

...In 1372, Gregory XI permitted the Feast of Presentation tobe kept for the first time by the Roman court at Avignon. Mary in return broke the chains of captivity that had bound the Papacy for seventy years; and soon the successor of St Peter returned to Rome. The feast of the Visitation, celebrated on July 2, was in like manner inserted in teh Western calendar to commemorate the re-establishment of unity after the schism which followed the exile....

....Mary, brought to the Temple to prepare herself - through a retreat, through humility and love - for her incomparable destiny, also received the mission to perfect, at the foot of figurative altars, the prayer of mankind, which was too weak to rain the Savior from the heavens.

She was, says Saint Bernardine of Sienna, the blessed crowning of all expectations and demands of the advent of the Son of God; in her, as in a summit, all the desires of the saints who preceded her found their end and consummation.
By her admirable intelligence of the Scriptures, by her daily and hourly conformity to the smallest teachings and prescriptions of the Mosaic rituals, Mary discovered and adored the Messiah under the letter everywhere; she united herself to him, immolated herself to him in each one of the victims immolated before her eyes; and thus she was paying the God of Sinai the homage - never rendered Him before - of a Law duly understood, obeyed, and as fruitful as the Legislator had planned for it to be.

Then Jehovah was able to say in complete truth: As the rain comes down from heaven and doesn't return to it, but inebriates the earth and causes it to produce its fruits; so will my word be: it will not come back to me barren, but it will have all the happy effects that I willed....

After Dom Gueranguer 'The Liturgical Year'


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Monday, November 16, 2009

Feast of Our Lady of Ostra Brama - click for link

.....Early in the fifteenth century, the new city walls of Vilnius were built. Above each of the gates the people of the town placed an image of the Blessed Virgin. About a century later, the Carmelite Order took over one of the parish churches in the vicinity of the southeastern gate of the town. In the Lithuanian language this gate was commonly known as 'Auros Vartai' (the gate of dawn). The Polish speaking population knew it as 'Ostra Brama' (the sharp gate).

The Carmelites are known for their special dedication to the Mother of Jesus. They took special care of the image that was placed above the gate near their church (according to new research, the painting was created in Vilnius between 1620 and 1630 by an unknown artist. It was part of a folding diptych, a two-part painting, showing Christ the Savior on the inside and the Mother of God on the outside....

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Dark Night and Living Flame of Love - the stages of spiritual journey to God in Poetry of St John of the Cross

 St John of the Cross is not only mystical Doctor of the Church but also a poet who describes the steps followed by the soul on the way to reach God through classical purgative, illuminative and unitive way. In the first, purgative stage, the soul escapes from the dark night of the senses, annihilating the self through denials and practice of detachments. The next stage allows the soul to see and feel the presence of God and grow in the knowledge and love of the Creator. In the final stage, the soul is consumed in love of God which culminates in mystical union (esposo) when soul becomes one with God and experiences perfect peace and beatitude. The steps of spiritual growth are not easy but full of pain, darkness, aridity and annihilation of self. To get through this journey the seed of love of God must be planted and nourished in the heart of man from the beginning and this is absolutely vital to endure pains of spiritual development. St John describes the experiences of purgative way, or passive night of the soul, and gives the advice to those who are called to make this journey in his books, 'Dark Night of the Soul' and 'Ascend to Mt Carmel'. However, in his poetry, in particular in two poems, "Dark Night" and "Living Flame of Love", we find beautiful, nutshell-description of mystical experiences of the soul reaching to God:

DARK NIGHT - (Songs of the soul delighted at having reached the high state of perfection, the union with God, by way of spiritual negation.)

On a darkened night,
Anxious, by love inflamed,
-- O happy chance! --
Unnoticed, I took flight,
My house at last at peace and quiet.

Safe, disguised by the night,
By the secret ladder I took flight,
-- O happy chance! --
Cloaked by darkness, I scaled the height,
My house at last at peace and quiet.

On that blessed night,
In secret, and seen by none,
None in sight,
I saw with no other guide or light,
But the one burning in my heart bright.

This guide, this light,
Brighter than the midday sun,
Led me to the waiting One
I knew so well -- my delight!
To a place with none in sight.

O night! O guide!
O night more loving than the dawn!
O night that joined
The lover with the Beloved;
Transformed, the lover into the Beloved drawn!

Upon my flowered breast,
For him alone kept fair,
There he slept
There I caressed,
There the cedars gave us air.

I drank the turret's cool air
Spreading playfully his hair.
And his hand, so serene,
Cut my throat. Drained
Of senses, I dropped unaware.

Lost to myself and yet remaining,
Inclined so only the Beloved I spy.
All has ceased, all rests,
Even my cares, even I;
Lost among the lilies, there I die.

THE LIVING FLAME OF LOVE - (Songs that the soul sings in her intimate union with God, her beloved Bridegroom.)

O Love's living flame,
Tenderly you wound
My soul's deepest center!
Since you no longer evade me,
Will you, please, at last conclude:
Rend the veil of this sweet encounter!

O cautery so tender!
O pampered wound!
O soft hand! O touch so delicately strange,
Tasting of eternal life
And canceling all debts!
Killing, death into life you change!

O lamps of fiery lure,
In whose shining transparence
The deep cavern of the senses,
Blind and obscure,
Warmth and light, with strange flares,
Gives with the lover's caresses!

How tame and loving
Your memory rises in my breast,
Where secretly only you live,
And in your fragrant breathing,
Full of goodness and grace,
How delicately in love you make me feel!

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost - click to read

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Montligeon Sanctuary - prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory - click to visit

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montligeon is a pilgrimage-shrine and world center of prayer for the dear departed

Our Lady of Poor Souls

Mary loves the Poor Souls in Purgatory because she has also gone through a kind of purgatory of tribulation - not indeed, in punishment of her sins, for she had none - but that she might have more compassion on us, and be more fully entitled to the name by which she is so well know, "Comforter of the Afflicted. For this reason she descended into a sea of sorrow, into the depths of tribulation, into the furnace of poverty, exile, persecution. For this reason she suffered those pains of mind and soul, which were caused by the loss of her Son, and by His absence during the years she lived after His death. All those sufferings were a real purgatory to her. Its flames but increased her love for the poor souls, and made her more truly the Mother of the Poor Souls in Purgatory.

While we still sojourn in this valley of tears, let us beg Mary to increase daily our ardour, and give us perseverance in good works, to obtain for us a happy death and assure us of her advocacy at the judgment-seat of God. Saint Alphonsus tells us that if we truly venerate Mary and faithfully serve her during life, we can certainly hope, when we die, to be led by her at once into Heaven without having to undergo the pains of purgatory. One of the best means to find God's favor is to imitate Mary's love for the Poor Souls. Pray often to the Mother of Mercy for these suffering souls; those of parents, relatives, friends, acquaintances gone before. Above all, say the Rosary for these holy souls. Our compassion will be most pleasing to the Mother of Mercy, and when our hour shall come, she will remember us and show herself a true mother. That which was but vain conceit among the ancients, is truth and reality among Christians; for the spiritual rose of the Rosary can and do help the souls of the departed.

In the Revelations of Saint Bridget we read that Mary said, "I am the Mother of all those who are in the place of expiation... My prayers wipe away the punishments inflicted on them for their faults."

Saint Peter Damien tells us that each year, on the day of the Assumption, Mary delivers several thousand souls from Purgatory. The more we place ourselves in Mary's care, the more quickly will she lead us to God. Let us call on Mary constantly for our suffering ones; we can feel confident that her tender, loving heart will reach out to those poor, afflicted, helpless ones, free them from their place of exile and lead them to their eternal destiny, the face to face vision of Heaven.
(After 'A Moment with Mary)

To visit the shrine and learn more about history of the shrine, the founder, Fr Paul Bouget click HERE

Montligeon Sanctuary air-view

Please, visit the Sisters of New Alliance affiliated with Montligeon Sanctuary via their BLOG

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Upon the image of death - A Poem by English Jesuit priest and martyr, St Robert Southwell, SJ

BEFORE my face the picture hangs
That daily should me put in mind
Of those cold names and bitter pangs
That shortly I am like to find:
But yet, alas ! full little I
Do think hereon that I must die.

I often look upon a face,
Most ugly, grisly, bare and thin ;
I often view the hollow place
Where eyes and nose had sometime been ;
I see the bones across that lie,
Yet little think that I must die.

My ancestors are turned to clay,
And many of my mates are gone ;
My youngers daily drop away,
And can I think to 'scape alone ?
No, no, I know that I must die,
And yet my life amend not I.

If none can 'scape Death's dreadful dart,
If rich and poor his beck obey ;
If strong, if wise, if all do smart,
Then I to 'scape shall have no way.
Oh ! grant me grace, O God, that I
My life may mend, sith I must die.

St. Robert Southwell, S.J.  (1561-1595) was English Jesuit priest and poet, who was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn for preaching the Catholic Faith under the reign of Queen Bess. He belongs to the number of English Catholic priests who were determined not to abandon the Catholic laity during persecution of Catholics from 1535 to 1713, but to be with them and for the ultimate price of their own life to provide for them as long as possible the consolation of Catholic Sacraments. Robert joined the Jesuits in 1578 and after ordination left Rome for England with Henry Garnet. Both were arrested almost immediately upon landing but escaped capture and went on to work with the Catholics in London. Robert's writings were extremely popular with his contemporaries and the best known of his poems are The Burning Babe  and Saint Peter's Complaint  (1595), in which he made experiments with verse that were further developed by other poets, including Shakespeare. Robert spent six years in zealous and successful missionary work and moved under various disguises traveling from one Catholic house to another. Finally he was betrayed in 1592. Robert never gave any information about other priests or Catholics, even though for three years he was interrogated ten times under atrocious torture. He was transferred to Newgate prison where he was confined in a dungeon swarming with vermin and frequently chained in such a way that he could neither stand, sit nor lie down. His jailers were exasperated at his answers. When asked his age he would reply: "near that of our Blessed Savior." He was martyred at Tyburn on February 21, 1595. He was beatified in 1929 and canonized by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales on 25 October 1970.  

..."Though the resistance of the English as a people to the Reformation compares badly with the resistance offered by several other nations, the example given by those who did stand firm is remarkably instructive.
(1)They suffered the extreme penalty for maintaining the unity of the Church and the Supremacy of the Apostolic See, the doctrines most impugned by the reformation in all lands, and at all times.
(2) They maintained their faith almost entirely by the most modern methods, and they were the first to so maintain it, i.e., by education of the clergy in the seminaries, and of Catholic youth in colleges, at the risk, and often at the cost of life.
(3) The tyranny they had to withstand was, as a rule, not the sudden violence of a tyrant, but the continuous oppression of laws sanctioned by the people in Parliament, passed on the specious plea of political and national necessity, and operating for centuries with an almost irresistible force which the law acquires when acting for generations in conservative and law-abiding counties. 
(4) The study of their causes and their acts is easy. The number of martyrs are many; their trials are spread over a long time. We have in many cases the papers of the prosecution as well as those of the defense, and the voice of Rome is frequently heard pronouncing on the questions of the debate, and declaring that this or that matter is essential, on which no compromise can be permitted; or by her silence she lets it be understood that some other formula may pass"....(after Catholic Encyclopedia). 

More about English Martyrs and Confessors in Penal times (1534-1729) HERE

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Thoughts from St Teresa on Saints:

'O blessed heavenly souls! Help our misery and be our intercessors before the divine mercy that we may be given some of your joy and a share in this clear knowledge you posses' 

'I say, daughters, that we should set our eyes on Christ, our Good, and on His saints. There we shall learn true humility, the intellect will be enhanced, as I have said, and self-knowledge will not make one base and cowardly'

'Look at the multitude of souls God draws to Himself by means of one. He is to be greatly praised for the thousands converted by the martyrs: for a young girl like St Ursula; for those the devil must have lost through St Dominic, St Francis, and other founders of religious orders' 

Why has the Church appointed this feast?
To honor God in His saints, in whom He has shown Himself so wonderful, and to thank Him, as the author of all sanctity, for the benefits He has bestowed upon them.
To put us in lively remembrance of the communion of saints; that is, of all true children of the Church, whether they belong to the Church militant on earth, to the Church suffering in purgatory, or to the Church triumphant in heaven; but more particularly to cause us to consider, with earnestness, the communion of the saints in heaven with us, who are yet combating on earth.
To encourage us to strive for the like sanctity with them, and to teach us that it is by no means impossible; for if thousands of men could become saints, why should not we, who can do all things through Him Who strengthens us, and has sent the Holy Ghost for our sanctification?
To pay honor to those saints to whom no particular day in the year is dedicated.
That, in consideration of so many intercessors, God may grant us perfect reconciliation, may give us a share in their merits, and may grant us the grace of one day sharing in their joy in heaven.

By whom was this feast instituted?
By Pope Boniface IV, who, in the year 610, appropriated the Pantheon (that is, the temple of all gods) to the divine service of Christians, dedicated it to the Blessed Virgin and saints, and commanded this feast in honor of all saints to be celebrated at Rome every year. Gregory IV, in the year 840, extended this feast to the whole Church, and transferred it to the 1st of November.

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12
At that time: Jesus seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain, and when He was set down, His disciples came unto Him. And opening His mouth, He taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake; be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. This gospel is read to-day because it is by practising what it contains that the saints have gained the eternal kingdom.

Explanation of the Eight Beatitudes which are the 'law of entrance' into Heaven:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  
The poor in spirit are: Those who, like the apostles, readily forsake all earthly things, and for Christ's sake become poor. Those who, happening to lose their property by misfortune or in justice, suffer the loss patiently, in resignation to the will of God. Those who, like Jesus (Matthew 8:20), are content with their poor and humble position, seek no higher or happier one, and would rather suffer want than enrich themselves by unlawful acts, by fraud or theft. The rich and noble who set not their hearts upon the riches and greatness of the world (Psalm 61:11; 1Corinthians 7:30), but who use their riches and influence to relieve the misery of the needy and oppressed. Finally, the truly humble, who, convinced of their weakness, their helplessness and misery, think lowly of themselves, and regard themselves but as beggars, who are always in need of the grace of God. To all these, therefore, in whose hearts the world has no place, there is assured, as their inheritance, the kingdom of heaven; here the kingdom of grace, there the kingdom of glory.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land." 
 That man is meek who does not murmur against God for sending afflictions upon him, who is not angry at men who do him injury, but who rather suppresses impatience, anger, envy, and revenge, nay, who seeks to recompense the evil done him by his neighbor with good. Such a one is greater than he who takes by storm fortified cities (Proverbs 16:32); he possesses an unfailing fountain of peace, quiet, and cheerfulness; by his meekness prevails over the most hostile minds, is by such means truly a ruler upon earth, and will one day, for his portion, obtain heaven, the land of the living, there to enjoy eternal peace.

"Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."  
By them that mourn we are not to understand such as grieve and lament over a death, a misfortune, a loss of worldly goods, or the like; but those who are grieved that God should be in so many ways offended by themselves and by others that His Church should be so heavily oppressed, and thereby so many souls lost that have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. The only evil really to be grieved for is sin, and the tears shed on account of sin are the only tears that are profitable, for they shall be recompensed with everlasting joy.

"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill." 
 Hunger and thirst denote the most ardent longing after those virtues which constitute Christian perfection; such as humility, meekness, the love of God and of our neighbor, penance. Whoever longs for these virtues as the hungry man does for food and drink, and prays to God for them with perseverance and earnestness, shall have his fill; that is, he shall be enriched with them, and one day shall be satisfied with eternal happiness.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."  
The merciful here spoken of are: 1. Those who willingly forgive the injuries done to them. 2. Those who have compassion on their poor neighbors, and, according to their ability, sustain them by alms. These shall obtain mercy; that is, God will forgive them their sins and endow them abundantly with the goods of this world and of the world to come. Thus God deals with us as we deal with others. (Matthew 7:2)

"Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God."  
The clean of heart are those who preserve with care the innocence with which they are invested at holy Baptism, or seek to regain it, when lost, by penance; those who keep their hearts and consciences unspotted from all sinful thoughts, particularly from all unchaste thoughts, desires, words, and acts, and who endeavor in all things to have a pure intention directed to God alone. They shall see God, that is, they shall know Him even here upon earth, for as the eye that is to see must be clean, so only souls that are pure and unstained can behold God. But further, our knowledge is like our hearts; the purer the heart the clearer and greater is the knowledge of God. But in the world above they shall see, know, and possess Him as He is. What blessedness! Strive, therefore, to keep your heart clean.

"Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God." 
By peace-makers we are to understand those who have peace with themselves, that is, a quiet conscience, and who endeavor to maintain peace among others, or to restore it when broken. Such are called the children of God, because they follow God, Who is a God of peace (Romans 15:33), and Who even gave His only Son to reconcile the world with Him (Romans 5:10), and to bring down upon earth that peace which the world itself could not give (Luke 2:14; John 14:27).

"Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  
Hereby all those are declared blessed who, on account of the true faith, of virtue, of the fear of God, of purity, are persecuted, calumniated, and even put to death, and who bear all this with Christian patience and constancy, nay, with joy. Thus have the saints done, and thereby they have gained the heavenly crown. Do we desire to be crowned with them, we must also suffer with them. And in truth, if we would apply ourselves zealously to virtue, occasions will not be wanting to us, for all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2Timothy 3:12)

after Goffine's Devout Instructions
Top of the post painting is 'All Saints' by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528).

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All Saints Day

“After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.... [One of the elders] said to me, ‘These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’” (Revelation 7:9,14).

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