Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What is the greatest type of courage?

Of the several types of courage which a man needs,
one of the greatest – or the greatest –
is the courage to decide to be pure.


To be pure requires
great manliness, great seriousness,
great strength of will.


Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

St. Rupert of Salzburg

Rupert’s origins are obscure, though there are strong indications that he was a Frenchman, and, according to a certain tradition, a scion of the old Frankish Merovingian family – and certainly a contemporary of Childebert III, king of the Franks.

Rupert was already a bishop and known for his great virtue, when he was invited by Duke Theodo of Bavaria, himself still a pagan, to evangelize his people. Although the Gospel had already been preached in Bavaria, its people were, for all intents and purposes, but nominally Catholic, as pagan practices and Arian heretical beliefs persisted in their midst, adulterating the purity of the Christian doctrine.

Rupert and his companions were warmly received in the ancient town of Ratisbon. The Duke Theodo presently received Baptism and with him a number of his nobles.

With no serious opposition to the missionaries’ work, Christianity flourished under the apostolate of Bishop Rupert and his companions who proceeded to confirm the faith of some, to evangelize many, Christianize pagan temples, and build churches. In the course of his work the saintly bishop worked countless miracles.

In his generosity, Theodo gave Rupert the region of Juvavum, present-day Salzburg in Austria, for his apostolic see. Returning to France, the abbot-bishop convinced another twelve men, as well as his niece St. Erentrudis, to join him in his mission. With his niece he founded a Benedictine monastery for women in Nonnberg, and with the twelve men a Benedictine monastery for men, St. Peter at Salzburg. The saint spent his life dedicated to the work of not only evangelizing and guiding his flock, but also of civilizing his people. He also did much to promote the salt mines in the region for which he renamed the city Salzburg.

Rupert died in Salzburg around the year 710. Many churches in the region are named after this Apostle of Austria and Bavaria, and the first Abbot-Bishop of Salzburg.

Stories of Mary 19: She Was The Scandal Of Alexandria


Oh, if all men loved this most kind and loving Lady,
and in temptations always and immediately had
recourse to her, who would fall?
Who would be lost?
Nothing remains to be done, says St. Thomas of Villanova, when the devil comes to tempt us, but, like the chickens when the kite appears, to run quickly under the shelter of the wings of our mother.
Let us, then, at the approach of the temptations which assail us, without stopping to parley with them, place ourselves at once under the protection of Mary. And then, the saint goes on to say, Our Lady and mother must defend us; for, after God, we have no refuge but thee, who art our only hope, and the only protectress in whom we may confide.
Let us then conclude with the words of St. Bernard; Oh man, whoever thou art, thou knowest that in this miserable life thou art rather tossing on the tempestuous waves, among dangers and tempests, than walking upon the earth; if thou wouldst not sink, keep thy eye fixed on this star, namely, Mary.
Look at the star, invoke Mary. When in danger of sinning, when tormented by temptations, when doubts disturb thee, remember that Mary can aid thee, and instantly call upon her. May her powerful name never depart from the confidence of thy heart, nor from the invocation of thy lips.
If thou wilt follow Mary, thou shalt never wander from the path of safety. Commend thyself always to her, and thou shalt not despair. If she upholds thee, thou shalt not fall. If she protects thee, thou need not fear ruin. If she guides thee, thou shalt be saved without difficulty. In a word, if Mary undertakes to defend thee, thou shalt certainly arrive at the kingdom of the blessed.
Thus do, and thou shalt live.
EXAMPLE:
In the celebrated history of St. Mary of Egypt, which we find in the first volume of the Lives of the Fathers, we read that, at twelve years of age she fled from her parents, and went to Alexandria, where she led an infamous life, and became the scandal of the city. After sixteen years spent in sin, she wandered off to Jerusalem; when, on the festival of the Holy Cross, she was led to enter the church, more from curiosity than devotion. On the threshold she was thrust back, as if by some invisible power; she attempted a second time to enter, and again was repelled, and a third and a fourth time the same thing happened.
The wretched creature withdrew then into a corner of the portico, and there she was interiorly enlightened, and saw that God had refused her entrance into the church on account of her wicked life.
By chance she raised her eyes, and saw a picture of Mary which was painted in the vestibule. She turned to it, weeping, and said: “Oh Mother of God, have pity on this poor sinner! I know that, on account of my sins, I do not deserve that thou shouldst regard me; but thou art the refuge of sinners: for the love of Jesus, thy Son, help me. Obtain for me that I may enter the church, for I desire to change my life, and go and do penance wherever thou shalt direct.”
Then she heard an interior voice, as if the blessed Virgin answered her: “Come, since thou hast invoked me, and wishest to change thy life, enter the church, for the door will no longer be closed against thee.”
The sinner entered, adored the cross, and wept. She returned to the picture: “Oh Lady,” she said, “I am ready; where shall I retire to do penance?” “Go,” said the Virgin, “beyond the Jordan, and thou wilt find the place of thy repose.”
She made her confession, received Holy Communion, passed the river, reached the desert, and understood that there was her place of penance.
During the first seventeen years that she lived in the desert, the evil spirits fiercely assailed her, to make her fall again. What did she then do? She recommended herself to Mary, and Mary obtained for her strength to resist for seventeen years, after which the conflict ceased.
Finally, after fifty-seven years spent in the desert, in the eighty-seventh of her age, through Divine Providence, she was found by the abbot St. Zosimus. To him she related the story of her whole life, and begged him to return there the following year, and bring her holy communion.
The holy abbot returned, and gave her communion. Then she implored him again to do the same thing. He returned the second time, and found her dead, her body surrounded with light, and at her head these words written in the sand: “Bury in this place the body of me, a miserable sinner, and pray God for me.”
A lion came and dug her grave, the abbot buried her, and, returning to the monastery, he related the wonders of divine mercy towards this happy penitent.
PRAYER:
Oh mother of mercy! holy Virgin! behold at thy feet the traitor, who, returning ingratitude for the favors received through thee from God has betrayed thee and God. But, oh my Lady! know that my misery does not destroy, but rather increases my confidence in thee, because I see that my misery increases thy compassion for me.
Show, oh Mary! that thou art the same to me as thou art to all those who invoke thee, full of grace and mercy. It is enough for me that thou regardest me with compassion. If in thy heart thou hast pity for me, thou wilt not cease to protect me; and if thou dost protect me, what should I fear?
No, I fear nothing; I fear not my sins, for thou canst remedy their evil consequences; nor the demons, for thou art more powerful than hell; nor thy Son who is justly angry with me, for at one word of thine He will be appeased.
I only fear that through negligence I may fail to implore thy protection in my temptations, and that this may cause my ruin. But I promise thee today; I will always have recourse to thee. Help me to keep this resolution. Behold the opportunity thou hast of satisfying thy desire to relieve so miserable a creature as I am.
Oh mother of God, I have great confidence in thee. From thee I expect the grace to do just penance for my sins, and from thee I hope the strength never more to fall back into them. If I am sick, thou canst heal me, oh heavenly physician. If my sins have made me weak, thy help can make me strong. Oh Mary, I hope every thing from thee, for thou hast all power with God.

This “Stories of Mary – Stories of the Rosary” is taken from the Glories of Mary, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus Liguori; New Revised Edition, P.J. Kennedy & Sons. Copyright 1888

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The unlimited power of prayer

Prayer is powerful beyond limits when we turn to the Immaculata
who is queen 
even of God's heart. 

St. Maximilian Kolbe

St. Tutilo

Tutilo was an Irish man who, while visiting the renowned Benedictine Abbey of St. Gall in present-day Switzerland, delayed his departure – and stayed his whole life.

Said to have been a large, powerful, handsome and quick-witted Irishman, Tutilo was also genial in that he was a teacher, an orator, a poet, an architect, a painter, a sculptor, an accomplished illuminator, a musician, even a mathematician and astronomer. His numerous talents and gifts led to his being much in demand and, by permission of his abbot, he fulfilled many artistic commissions outside the monastery. One of these was his sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Cathedral at Metz, considered to be a masterpiece.

He was a member of the abbey at the zenith of its influence throughout all of Europe. Many of the Gregorian chant manuscripts that survive to this day, and some of the most authentic, are undoubtedly Tutilo’s own work.

Of all his many talents, the one Tutilo loved the most was music. According to tradition, he could play and teach all of the instruments in the monastery and had a fine musical voice.

King Charles had a great admiration for the gifted monk and remarked that it was a great pity for so much talent to be hidden away in a monastery. But the saint himself shrank from publicity and when obliged to go to the great cities he strove to avoid notice and compliments. All he wanted was to use his gifts for the service of God. Though Tutilo was the epitome of today's "Renaissance man", sanctity was his real crown.

Stories of Mary 17: Just For Wearing A Rosary

Looking at him with great kindness Our Lady said: “As a reward
for this little honor that you paid me in wearing my Rosary,
I have obtained a great grace for you from my Son.
Your life will be spared for a few more years.
See that you spend those years wisely, and do penance.”
DISCOURSE:
It would hardly be possible for me to put into words how much Our Lady thinks of the Holy Rosary and how she vastly prefers it to all other devotions.
Neither can I sufficiently express how highly she rewards those who work to preach the devotion, to establish it and spread it, nor, on the other hand, how firmly she punishes those who work against it.
All during life, Saint Dominic had nothing more at heart than to praise Our Lady, to preach her greatness and to inspire everybody to honor her by saying her Rosary. As a reward he received countless graces from her; exercising her great power as Queen of Heaven, she crowned his labors with many miracles and prodigies. Almighty God always granted him what he asked through Our Lady. The greatest honor of all was that she helped him to crush the Albigensian heresy and made him the founder and patriarch of a great religious order.
As for Blessed Alan de la Roche, who restored the devotion to the Rosary, he received many privileges from Our Lady; she graciously appeared to him several times to teach him how to work out his salvation, to become a good priest and perfect religious, and how to pattern himself on Our Lord.
He used to be horribly tempted and persecuted by devils, and then a deep sadness would fall upon him and sometimes he would come close to despair – but Our Lady always comforted him by her sweet presence which banished the clouds of darkness from his soul.
She taught him how to say the Rosary, explaining its value and the fruits to be gained by it and she gave him a great and glorious privilege: the honor of being called her new spouse.
As a token of her chaste love for him she placed a ring upon his finger and a necklace made of her own hair about his neck and gave him a Rosary.
Father Tritème Carthagena and Martin of Navarre (both very learned men), and others as well, have spoken of him in terms of the highest praise. Blessed Alan died at Zwolle in Flanders September 8, 1475, after having brought over one hundred thousand people into the Confraternity [of the Rosary – Ed.].
Blessed Thomas of Saint John was well known for his sermons on the Most Holy Rosary, and the devil, jealous of the success he had with souls, tortured him so much that he fell ill and was sick so long that the doctors gave up on him.
One night when he really thought that he was dying, the devil appeared to him in the most horrible form imaginable. There was a picture of Our Lady near his bed; he looked at it and cried with all his heart and soul and strength: “Help me, save me, my sweet, sweet Mother!”
No sooner had he said this than the picture seemed to come alive and Our Lady put out her hand, took him by the arm and said: “Do not be afraid, Thomas my son, here I am and I am going to save you: get up now and go on preaching my Rosary as you used to do. I promise to shield you from your enemies.”
When Our Lady said this the devil fled and Blessed Thomas got up, finding that he was in perfect health. He then thanked the Blessed Mother with tears of joy. He resumed his Rosary apostolate and his sermons were marvelously successful.
Our Lady not only blesses those who say her Rosary, but also abundantly rewards those who, by their example, inspire others to say it as well.
Alphonsus, King of Leon and Galicia, very much wanted all his servants to honor the Blessed Virgin by saying the Rosary. So he hung a large Rosary on his belt and always wore it, but unfortunately never said it himself.
Nevertheless, his wearing it encouraged his courtiers to say the Rosary very devoutly.
One day the King fell seriously ill and when he was given up for dead he found himself, in a vision, before the judgment seat of Our Lord. Many devils were there accusing him of all the sins he had committed and Our Lord as Sovereign Judge was just about to condemn him to hell when Our Lady appeared to intercede for him.
She called for a pair of scales and had his sins placed in one of the balances. On the other side, she put the Rosary that he had always worn, along with all the Rosaries that had been said because of his example.
It was found that the Rosaries weighed more than his sins.
Looking at him with great kindness Our Lady said: “As a reward for this little honor that you paid me in wearing my Rosary, I have obtained a great grace for you from my Son. Your life will be spared for a few more years. See that you spend those years wisely, and do penance.”
When the King regained consciousness he cried out: “Blessed be the Rosary of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, by which I have been delivered from eternal damnation!”
After he had recovered his health, he spent the rest of his life in spreading devotion to the Holy Rosary and said it faithfully every day.
People who love the Blessed Virgin ought to follow the example of King Alphonsus and that of the saints whom I have mentioned so that they too may win other souls for the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. They will receive great graces on earth and eternal life later on.
“They that explain me shall have life everlasting” (Ecclus. 24:31).


This “Stories of Mary – Stories of the Rosary” is taken from The Secret of the Rosary, 1st Edition, by Saint Louis de Montfort, America Needs Fatima, PO BOX 341, Hanover, PA 17331

Monday, March 27, 2017

Take courage

Courage, my soul,
through prayer we can do all that is asked of us.
The Heart of Jesus is there:
let us knock.

St. Bernadette Soubirous