On the Catholic Priesthood
Day 14 – March 19 -Catechism on Sin
Sin is the executioner of the good God, and the assassin of the soul. It snatches us away from Heaven to precipitate us into Hell. And we love it! What folly! If we thought seriously about it, we should have such a lively horror of sin that we could not commit it. O my children, how ungrateful we are! The good God wishes to make us happy; that is very certain; He gave us His Law for no other end. The Law of God is great; it is broad. King David said that he found his delight in it, and that it was a treasure more precious to him than the greatest riches. He said also that he walked well, because he had sought after the Commandments of the Lord. The good God wishes, then, to make us happy, and we do not wish to be so. We turn away from Him, and give ourselves to the devil! We fly from our Friend, and we seek after our murderer! We commit sin; we plunge ourselves into the mire. Once sunk in this mire, we know not how to get out. If our fortune were in the case, we should soon find out how to get out of the difficulty; but because it only concerns our soul, we stay where we are.
We come to confession quite preoccupied with the shame that we shall feel. We accuse ourselves with hot air. It is said that many confess, and few are converted. I believe it is so, my children, because few confess with tears of repentance. See, the misfortune is, that people do not reflect. If one said to those who work on Sundays, to a young person who had been dancing for two or three hours, to a man coming out of an alehouse drunk, "What have you been doing? You have been crucifying Our Lord!" they would be quite astonished, because they do not think of it. My children, if we thought of it, we should be seized with horror; it would be impossible for us to do evil. For what has the good God done to us that we should grieve Him thus, and put Him to death again – Him, who has redeemed us from Hell? It would be well if all sinners, when they are going to their guilty pleasures, could, like St. Peter, meet Our Lord on the way, who would say to them, "I am going to that place where you are going yourself, to be there crucified again." Perhaps that might make them reflect.
The saints understood how great an outrage sin is against God. Some of them passed their lives in weeping for their sins. St. Peter wept all his life; he was still weeping at his death. St. Bernard used to say, "Lord! Lord! it is I who fastened Youto the Cross!" By sin we despise the good God, we crucify the good God! What a pity it is to lose our souls, which have cost Our Lord so many sufferings! What harm has Our Lord done us, that we should treat Him so? If the poor lost souls could come back to the earth! if they were in our place! Oh, how senseless we are! the good God calls us to Him, and we fly from Him! He wishes to make us happy, and we will not have His happiness. He commands us to love Him, and we give our hearts to the devil. We employ in ruining ourselves the time He gives us to save our souls. We make war upon Him with the means He gave us to serve Him.
When we offend the good God, if we were to look at our crucifix, we should hear Our Lord saying to us in the depths of our soul, "Will you too, then, take the side of My enemies? Will you crucify Me again?" Cast your eyes on Our Lord fastened to the Cross, and say to yourself, "That is what it cost my Savior to repair the injury my sins have done to God!" A God coming down to earth to be the victim of our sins, a God suffering, a God dying, a God enduring every torment, because He would bear the weight of our crimes! At the sight of the Cross, let us understand the malice of sin, and the hatred we ought to feel for it. Let us enter into ourselves; let us see what we can do to make amends for our poor life.
"What a pity it is!" the good God will say to us at our death; "why have you offended Me – Me, who loved you so much?" To offend the good God, who has never done us anything but good; to please the devil, who can never do us anything but evil! What folly! Is it not real folly to choose to make ourselves worthy of Hell by attaching ourselves to the devil when we might taste the joys of Heaven, even in this life, by uniting ourselves to God by love? One cannot understand this folly; it cannot be enough lamented. Poor sinners seem as if they could not wait for the sentence which will condemn them to the society of the devils; they condemn themselves to it. There is a sort of foretaste in this life of Paradise, of Hell, and of Purgatory. Purgatory is in those souls that are not dead to themselves; Hell is in the heart of the impious; Paradise in that of the perfect, who are closely united to Our Lord.
He who lives in sin takes up the habits and the appearance of the beasts. The beast, which has not reason, knows nothing but its appetites. So the man who makes himself like the beasts loses his reason, and lets himself be guided by the inclinations of his body. He takes his pleasure in good eating and drinking, and in enjoying the vanities of the world, which pass away like the wind. I pity the poor wretches who run after that wind; they gain very little, they give a great deal for very little profit – they give their eternity for the miserable smoke of the world.
My children, how sad it is! when a soul is in a state of sin, it may die in that state; and even now, whatever it can do is without merit before God. That is the reason why the devil is so pleased when a soul is in sin, and perseveres in it, because he thinks that it is working for him, and if it were to die he would have possession of it. When we are in sin, our soul is all diseased, all rotten; it is pitiful. The thought that the good God sees it ought to make it enter into itself. And then, what pleasure is there in sin? None at all. We have frightful dreams that the devil is carrying us away, that we are falling over precipices. Put yourself on good terms with God; have recourse to the Sacrament of Penance; you will sleep as quietly as an angel. You will be glad to waken in the night, to pray to God; you will have nothing but thanksgivings on your lips; you will rise I towards Heaven with great facility, as an eagle soars through the air.
See, my children, how sin degrades man; of an angel created to love God, it makes a demon who will curse Him for eternity. Ah! if Adam, our first father, had not sinned, and if we did not sin every day, how happy we should be! we should be as happy as the saints in Heaven. There would be no more unhappy people on the earth. Oh, how beautiful it would be! In fact, my children, it is sin that brings upon us all calamities, all scourges, war, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, fires, frost, hail, storms – all that afflicts us, all that makes us miserable. See, my children, a person who is in a state of sin is always sad. Whatever he does, he is weary and disgusted with everything; while he who is at peace with God is always happy, always joyous.... Oh, beautiful life! Oh, beautiful death!
My children, we are afraid of death; I can well believe it. It is sin that makes us afraid of death; it is sin that renders death frightful, formidable; it is sin that terrifies the wicked at the hour of the fearful passage. Alas! O God! there is reason enough to be terrified, to think that one is accursed – accursed of God! It makes one tremble. Accursed of God! and why? for what do en expose themselves to be accursed of God? For a blasphemy, for a bad thought, for a bottle of wine, for two minutes of pleasure! For two minutes of pleasure to lose God, one's soul, Heaven forever! We shall see going up to Heaven, in body and soul, that father, that mother, that sister, that neighbor, who were here with us, with whom we have lived, but whom we have not imitated; while we shall go down body and soul to burn in Hell. The devils will rush to overwhelm us. All the devils whose advice we followed will come to torment us.
My children, if you saw a man prepare a great pile of wood, heaping up sticks one upon another, and when you asked him what he was doing, he were to answer you, "I am preparing the fire that is to burn me," what would you think? And if you saw this same man set fire to the pile, and when it was lighted throw himself upon it, what would you say? This is what we do when we commit sin. It is not God who casts us into Hell; we cast ourselves into it by our sins. The lost souls will say, "I have lost God, my soul, and Heaven; it is through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault!" He will raise himself out of the fire only to fall back into it. He will always feel the desire of rising because he was created for God, the greatest, the highest of beings, the Most High... as a bird shut up in a room flies to the ceiling, and falls down again, the justice of God is the ceiling which keeps down the lost.
There is no need to prove the existence of Hell. Our Lord Himself speaks of it, when He relates the history of the wicked rich man who cried out, "Lazarus! Lazarus!" We know very well that there is a Hell, but we live as if there were not; we sell our souls for a few pieces of money. We put off our conversion till the hour of death; but who can assure us that we shall have time or strength at that formidable moment, which has been feared by all the saints – when Hell will gather itself up for a last assault upon us, seeing that it is the decisive moment? There are many people who lose the faith, and never see Hell till they enter it. The Sacraments are administered to them; but ask them if they have committed such a sin, and they will answer you, "Oh! settle that as you please."
Some people offend the good God every moment; their heart is an anthill of sins: it is like a spoilt piece of meat, half-eaten by worms.... No, indeed; if sinners were to think of eternity – of that terrible forever – they would be converted instantly.
Day 9 - March 14 - Catechism on the Priesthood
My children, we have come to the Sacrament of Orders. It is a Sacrament which seems to relate to no one among you, and which yet relates to everyone. This Sacrament raises man up to God. What is a priest! A man who holds the place of God – a man who is invested with all the powers of God. "Go," said Our Lord to the priest; "as My Father sent Me, I send you. All power has been given Me in Heaven and on earth. Go then, teach all nations.... He who listens to you, listens to Me; he who despises you despises Me." When the priest remits sins, he does not say, "God pardons you"; he says, "I absolve you." At the Consecration, he does not say, "This is the Body of Our Lord;" he says, "This is My Body."
St. Bernard tells us that everything has come to us through Mary; and we may also say that everything has come to us through the priest; yes, all happiness, all graces,all heavenly gifts. If we had not the Sacrament of Orders, we should not have Our Lord. Who placed Him there, in that tabernacle? It was the priest. Who was it that received your soul, on its entrance into life? The priest. Who nourishes it, to give it strength to make its pilgrimage? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, by washing that soul, for the last time, in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest – always the priest. And if that soul comes to the point of death, who will raise it up, who will restore it to calmness and peace? Again the priest. You cannot recall one single blessing from God without finding, side by side with this recollection, the image of the priest.
Go to confession to the Blessed Virgin, or to an angel; will they absolve you? No. Will they give you the Body and Blood of Our Lord? No. The Holy Virgin cannot make her Divine Son descend into the Host. You might have two hundred angels there, but they could not absolve you. A priest, however simple he may be, can do it; he can say to you, "Go in peace; I pardon you." Oh, how great is a priest! The priest will not understand the greatness of his office till he is in Heaven. If he understood it on earth, he would die, not of fear, but of love. The other benefits of God would be of no avail to us without the priest. What would be the use of a house full of gold, if you had nobody to open you the door! The priest has the key of the heavenly treasures; it is he who opens the door; he is the steward of the good God, the distributor of His wealth. Without the priest, the Death and Passion of Our Lord would be of no avail. Look at the heathens: what has it availed them that Our Lord has died? Alas! they can have no share in the blessings of Redemption, while they have no priests to apply His Blood to their souls!
The priest is not a priest for himself; he does not give himself absolution; he does not administer the Sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for you. After God, the priest is everything. Leave a parish twenty years without priests; they will worship beasts. If the missionary Father and I were to go away, you would say, "What can we do in this church? there is no Mass; Our Lord is no longer there: we may as well pray at home." When people wish to destroy religion, they begin by attacking the priest, because where there is no longer any priest there is no sacrifice, and where there is no longer any sacrifice there is no religion.
When the bell calls you to church, if you were asked, "Where are you going?" you might answer, "I am going to feed my soul." If someone were to ask you, pointing to the tabernacle, "What is that golden door?" "That is our storehouse, where the true Food of our souls is kept." "Who has the key? Who lays in the provisions? Who makes ready the feast, and who serves the table?" "The priest." "And what is the Food?" "The precious Body and Blood of Our Lord." O God! O God! how You have loved us! See the power of the priest; out of a piece of bread the word of a priest makes a God. It is more than creating the world.... Someone said, "Does St. Philomena, then, obey the Cure of Ars?" Indeed, she may well obey him, since God obeys him.
If I were to meet a priest and an angel, I should salute the priest before I saluted the angel. The latter is the friend of God; but the priest holds His place. St. Teresa kissed the ground where a priest had passed. When you see a priest, you should say, "There is he who made me a child of God, and opened Heaven to me by holy Baptism; he who purified me after I had sinned; who gives nourishment to my soul." At the sight of a church tower, you may say, "What is there in that place?" "The Body of Our Lord." "Why is He there?" "Because a priest has been there, and has said holy Mass."
What joy did the Apostles feel after the Resurrection of Our Lord, at seeing the Master whom they had loved so much! The priest must feel the same joy, at seeing Our Lord whom he holds in his hands. Great value is attached to objects which have been laid in the drinking cup of the Blessed Virgin and of the Child Jesus, at Loreto. But the fingers of the priest, that have touched the adorable Flesh of Jesus Christ, that have been plunged into the chalice which contained His Blood, into the pyx where His Body has lain, are they not still more precious? The priesthood is the love
Day 7 - March 12 - Catechism on the Sanctification of Sunday
You labor, you labor, my children; but what you earn ruins your body and your soul. If one ask those who work on Sunday, "What have you been doing?" they might answer, "I have been selling my soul to the devil, crucifying Our Lord, and renouncing my Baptism. I am going to Hell; I shall have to weep for all eternity in vain." When I see people driving carts on Sunday, I think I see them carrying their souls to Hell.
Oh, how mistaken in his calculations is he who labors hard on Sunday, thinking that he will earn more money or do more work! Can two or three shillings ever make up for the harm he does himself by violating the law of the good God? You imagine that everything depends on your working; but there comes an illness, an accident.... so little is required! a tempest, a hailstorm, a frost. The good God holds everything in His hand; He can avenge Himself when He will, and as He will; the means are not wanting to Him. Is He not always the strongest? Must not He be the master in the end?
There was once a woman who came to her priest to ask leave to get in her hay on Sunday. "But," said the priest, "it is not necessary; your hay will run no risk." The woman insisted, saying, "Then you want me to let my crop be lost?" She herself died that very evening; she was more in danger than her crop of hay. "Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting." [Jn. 6: 27].
What will remain to you of your Sunday work? You leave the earth just as it is; when you go away, you carry nothing with you. Ah! when we are attached to the earth, we are not willing to go! Our first end is to go to God; we are on the earth for no other purpose. My brethren, we should die on Sunday, and rise again on Monday. Sunday is the property of our good God; it is His own day, the Lord's day. He made all the days of the week: He might have kept them all; He has given you six, and has reserved only the seventh for Himself. What right have you to meddle with what does not belong to you? You know very well that stolen goods never bring any profit. Nor will the day that you steal from Our Lord profit you either. I know two very certain ways of becoming poor: they are working on Sunday and taking other people's property.
Day 3 - March 8 - Catechism on the Holy Spirit
O my children, how beautiful it is! The Father is our Creator, the Son is our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit is our Guide.... Man by himself is nothing, but with the Holy Spirit he is very great. Man is all earthly and all animal; nothing but the Holy Spirit can elevate his mind, and raise it on high. Why were the saints so detached from the earth? Because they let themselves be led by the Holy Spirit. Those who are led by the Holy Spirit have true ideas; that is the reason why so many ignorant people are wiser than the learned. When we are led by a God of strength and light, we cannot go astray.
The Holy Spirit is light and strength. He teaches us to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and between good and evil. Like glasses that magnify objects, the Holy Spirit shows us good and evil on a large scale. With the Holy Spirit we see everything in its true proportions; we see the greatness of the least actions done for God, and the greatness of the least faults. As a watchmaker with his glasses distinguishes the most minute wheels of a watch, so we, with the light of the Holy Spirit, distinguish all the details of our poor life. Then the smallest imperfections appear very great, the least sins inspire us with horror. That is the reason why the most Holy Virgin never sinned. The Holy Spirit made her understand the hideousness of sin; she shuddered with terror at the least fault.
Those who have the Holy Spirit cannot endure themselves, so well do they know their poor misery. The proud are those who have not the Holy Spirit.
Worldly people have not the Holy Spirit, or if they have, it is only for a moment. He does not remain with them; the noise of the world drives Him away. A Christian who is led by the Holy Spirit has no difficulty in leaving the goods of this world, to run after those of Heaven; he knows the difference between them. The eyes of the world see no further than this life, as mine see no further than this wall when the church door is shut. The eyes of the Christian see deep into eternity. To the man who gives himself up to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, there seems to be no world; to the world there seems to be no God.... We must therefore find out by whom we are led. If it is not by the Holy Spirit, we labor in vain; there is no substance nor savor in anything we do. If it is by the Holy Spirit,we taste a delicious sweetness... it is enough to make us die of pleasure!
Those who are led by the Holy Spirit experience all sorts of happiness in themselves, while bad Christians roll themselves on thorns and flints. A soul in which the Holy Spirit dwells is never weary in the presence of God; his heart gives forth a breath of love. Without the Holy Spirit we are like the stones on the road.... Take in one hand a sponge full of water, and in the other a little pebble; press them equally. Nothing will come out of the pebble, but out of the sponge will come abundance of water. The sponge is the soul filled with the Holy Spirit, and the stone is the cold and hard heart which is not inhabited by the Holy Spirit.
A soul that possesses the Holy Spirit tastes such sweetness in prayer, that it finds the time always too short; it never loses the holy presence of God. Such a heart, before our good Savior in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, is a bunch of grapes under the wine press. The Holy Spirit forms thoughts and suggests words in the hearts of the just.... Those who have the Holy Spirit produce nothing bad; all the fruits of the Holy Spirit are good. Without the Holy Spirit all is cold; therefore, when we feel we are losing our fervor, we must instantly make a novena to the Holy Spirit to ask for faith and love.... See, when we have made a retreat or a jubilee, we are full of good desires: these good desires are the breath of the Holy Spirit, which has passed over our souls, and has renewed everything, like the warm wind which melts the ice and brings back the spring.... You who are not great saints, you still have many moments when you taste the sweetness of prayer and of the presence of God: these are visits of the Holy Spirit. When we have the Holy Spirit, the heart expands – bathes itself in divine love. A fish never complains of having too much water, neither does a good Christian ever complain of being too long with the good God. There are some people who find religion wearisome, and it is because they have not the Holy Spirit.
If the damned were asked: Why are you in Hell? they would answer: For having resisted the Holy Spirit. And if the saints were asked, Why are you in Heaven? they would answer: For having listened to the Holy Spirit. When good thoughts come into our minds, it is the Holy Spirit who is visiting us. The Holy Spirit is a power. The Holy Spirit supported St. Simeon on his column; He sustained the martyrs. Without the Holy Spirit, the martyrs would have fallen like the leaves from the trees. When the fires were lighted under them, the Holy Spirit extinguished the heat of the fire by the heat of divine love. The good God, in sending us the Holy Spirit, has treated us like a great king who should send his minister to guide one of his subjects, saying, "You will accompany this man everywhere, and you will bring him back to me safe and sound." How beautiful it is, my children, to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit! He is indeed a good Guide; and to think that there are some who will not follow Him. The Holy Spirit is like a man with a carriage and horse, who should want to take us to Pans. We should only have to say "yes," and to get into it. It is indeed an easy matter to say "yes"!... Well, the Holy Spirit wants to take us to Heaven; we have only to say "yes," and to let Him take us there.
The Holy Spirit is like a gardener cultivating our souls.... The Holy Spirit is our servant.... There is a gun; well you load it, but someone must fire it and make it go off.... In the same way, we have in ourselves the power of doing good... when the Holy Spirit gives the impulse, good works are produced. The Holy Spirit reposes in just souls like the dove in her nest. He brings out good desires in a pure soul, as the dove hatches her young ones. The Holy Spirit leads us as a mother leads by the hand her child of two years old, as a person who can see leads one who is blind.
The Sacraments which Our Lord instituted would not have saved us without the Holy Spirit. Even the death of Our Lord would have been useless to us without Him. Therefore Our Lord said to His Apostles, "It is good for you that I should go away; for if I did not go, the Consoler would not come." The descent of the Holy Spirit was required, to render fruitful that harvest of graces. It is like a grain of wheat – you cast it into the ground; yes, but it must have sun and rain to make it grow and come into ear. We should say every morning, "O God, send me Your Spirit to teach me what I am and what You are."
Day 2 - March 7 - Catechism on the Love of God
Our body is a vessel of corruption; it is meant for death and for the worms, nothing more! And yet we devote ourselves to satisfying it, rather than to enriching our soul, which is so great that we can conceive nothing greater – no, nothing, nothing! For we see that God, urged by the ardor of His love, would not create us like the animals; He has created us in His own image and likeness, do you see? Oh, how great is man!
Man, being created by love, cannot live without love: either he loves God, or he loves himself and he loves the world. See, my children, it is faith that we want.... When we have not faith, we are blind. He who does not see, does not know; he who does not know does not love; he who does not love God loves himself, and at the same time loves his pleasures. He fixes his heart on things which pass away like smoke. He cannot know the truth, nor any good thing; he can know nothing but falsehood,because he has no light; he is in a mist. If he had light, he would see plainly that all that he loves can give him nothing but eternal death; it is a foretaste of Hell.
Do you see, my children, except God, nothing is solid – nothing, nothing! If it is life, it passes away; if it is a fortune, it crumbles away; if it is health, it is destroyed; if it is reputation, it is attacked. We are scattered like the wind.... Everything is passing away full speed, everything is going to ruin. O God! O God! how much those are to be pitied, then, who set their hearts on all these things! They set their hearts on them because they love themselves too much; but they do not love themselves with a reasonable love-they love themselves with a love that seeks themselves and the world, that seeks creatures more than God. That is the reason why they are never satisfied, never quiet; they are always uneasy, always tormented, always upset. See, my children, the good Christian runs his course in this world mounted on a fine triumphal chariot; this chariot is borne by angels, and conducted by Our Lord Himself, while the poor sinner is harnessed to the chariot of this life, and the devil who drives it forces him to go on with great strokes of the whip.
My children, the three acts of faith, hope and charity contain all the happiness of man upon the earth. By faith, we believe what God has promised us: we believe that we shall one day see Him, that we shall possess Him, that we shall be eternally happy with Him in Heaven. By hope, we expect the fulfillment of these promises: we hope that we shall be rewarded for all our good actions, for all our good thoughts, for all our good desires; for God takes into account even our good desires. What more do we want to make us happy?
In Heaven, faith and hope will exist no more, for the mist which obscures our reason will be dispelled; our mind will be able to understand the things that are hidden from it here below. We shall no longer hope for anything, because we shall have everything. We do not hope to acquire a treasure which we already possess.... But love; oh, we shall be inebriated with it! we shall be drowned, lost in that ocean of divine love, annihilated in that immense love of the Heart of Jesus! so that love is a foretaste of Heaven. Oh, how happy should we be if we knew how to understand it, to feel it, to taste it! What makes us unhappy is that we do not love God.
When we say, "My God, I believe, I believe firmly," that is, without the least doubt, without the least hesitation... Oh, if we were penetrated with these words: "I firmly believe that You are present everywhere, that You seest me, that I am under Thine eyes, that one day I myself shall see You clearly, that I shall enjoy all the good things You have promised me! O my God, I hope that You wilt reward me for all that I have done to please You! O my God, I love You; my heart is made to love You!" Oh, this act of faith, which is also an act of love, would suffice for everything! If we understood our own happiness in I being able to love God, we should remain motionless in ecstasy....
If a prince, an emperor, were to cause one of his subjects to appear before him, and should say to him, "I wish to make you happy; stay with me, enjoy all my possessions, but be careful not to give me any just cause of displeasure," with what care, with what ardor, would not that subject endeavor to satisfy his prince! Well, God makes the same proposals to us... and we do not care for His friendship, we make no account of His promises.... What a pity!
Day 1 - March 6 - Catechism on Salvation
There are many Christians who do not even know why they are in the world. "Oh my God, why have You sent me into the world?" "To save your soul." "And why do You wish me to be saved?" "Because I love you." The good God has created us and sent us into the world because He loves us; He wishes to save us because He loves us.... To be saved, we must know, love and serve God. Oh, what a beautiful life! How good, how great a thing it is to know, to love and serve God! We have nothing else to do in this world. All that we do besides is lost time. We must act only for God, and put our works into His hands.... We should say, on awaking, "I desire to do everything today for You, O my God! I will submit to all that You shall send me, as coming from You. I offer myself as a sacrifice to You But, O God, I can do nothing without You. Do help me!"
Oh, how bitterly shall we regret at the hour of death the time we have given to pleasures, to useless conversations, to repose, instead of having employed it in mortification, in prayer, in good works, in thinking of our poor misery, in weeping over our poor sins; then we shall see that we have done nothing for Heaven. Oh, my children, how sad it is! Three-quarters of those who are Christians labor for nothing but to satisfy this body, which will soon be buried and corrupted, while they do not give a thought to their poor soul, which must be happy or miserable for all eternity. They have neither sense nor reason: it makes one tremble.
Look at that man, who is so active and restless, who makes a noise in the world, who wants to govern everybody, who thinks himself as important, who seems as if he would like to say to the sun, "Go away, and let me enlighten the world instead of you." Some day this proud man will be reduced at the utmost to a little handful of dust, which will be swept away from river to river, and at last into the sea.
See my children, I often think that we are like those little heaps of sand that the wind raises on the road, which whirl round for a moment, and are then scattered.... We have brothers and sisters who are dead. Well, they are reduced to that little handful of dust of which I was speaking. Worldly people say it is too difficult to save one's soul. Yet nothing is easier. To observe the Commandments of God and the Church, and to avoid the seven capital sins; or if you like to put it so, to do good and avoid evil: that is all. Good Christians, who labor to save their souls and to work out their salvation, are always happy and contented; they enjoy beforehand the happiness of Heaven: they will be happy for all eternity. While bad Christians, who lose their souls, are always to be pitied; they murmur, they are sad, they are as miserable as stones; and they will be so for all eternity. See what a difference!
This is a good rule of conduct, to do nothing but what we can offer to the good God. Now, we cannot offer to Him slanders, calumnies, injustice, anger, blasphemy, impurity, night clubs, dancing; yet that is all that people do in the world. Speaking of dances, St. Francis of Sales used to say that "they were like mushrooms, the best were good for nothing." Mothers are apt to say indeed, "Oh, I watch over my daughters." They watch over their attire, but they cannot watch over their hearts. Those who have dances in their houses load themselves with a terrible responsibility before God; they are answerable for all the evil that is done – for the bad thoughts, the slanders, the jealousies, the hatred, the revenge.... Ah, if they well understood this responsibility they would never have any dances. Just like those who make bad pictures and statues, or write bad books, they will have to answer for all the harm that these things will do during all the time they last.... Oh that makes one tremble!
See, my children, we must reflect that we have a soul to save, and an eternity that awaits us. The world, its riches, pleasures, and honors will pass away. Let us take care, then. The saints did not all begin well; but they all ended well. We have begun badly; let us end well, and we shall go one day and meet them in Heaven.
Source: The Little Catechism of the Curé of Ars St. John Vianney (Patron Saint of Parish Priests)
Lenten Reading plan: Daily readings from St. John Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests
There are forty days of Lent – but there are more than forty days listed below! This is because Sundays and the days of the Sacred Triduum are not counted as part of the forty days of Lent. But in our spiritual discipline, it is good to have a certain consistency every day. Therefore, I have included enough daily readings for all of the days from Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday.
The texts provided below are taken from the catecheses, exhortations, and sermon excerpts of the Holy Curé of Ars, Saint John Vianney. During this Year for Priests, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has held up this important saint as a model for all parish priests. His writings contain a great depth of spirituality and wisdom.
These daily readings, which vary in length, will be a spiritual nourishment for all who read them. And as you read them, remember to pray for your priests: who baptized you, confirmed you, married you, anointed you, heard your confessions, and celebrated Mass for you. Your priest prays for you each day in his Mass and Breviary; do not forget to pray for him!
Source: Fr. Bryan W. Jerabek (Huntsville, Alabama, 2010)
"God in heaven and I on earth, we desire nothing more ardently than prayer and sacrifice for priests...
Let us beg God that He may give us holy priests! If we have this, all else will follow: but if this be wanting, all else will avail nothing."
It is something quite simple and easy, yet immeasurably great in its results. You should make it a point to offer the Saturday after the First Friday of each month to your Savior, through the hands of Mary, the great mediatrix of all graces, for the sanctification of all the priests and students for the priesthood throughout the whole world. For this purpose you should give the Saturday wholly and entirely to Him, that is to say, Holy Mass, Holy Communion, all prayers, labors, sacrifices, joys, and sorrows. Whatever you cannot do on this day (Holy Mass and Holy Communion) you ought to supply immediately on Sunday. So there is really nothing new for you to do. You merely offer up this Saturday ( or even every Saturday or some other day) for the sanctification of priests. It is not a case of any sodality or fraternity or anything like that. Like the First Friday in honor of the Sacred Heart, the Priest's Saturday seeks to become something religiously observed by all the Catholics of the world.
Concern about the holiness of priests is the concern of the Heart of the Divine Savior and of His Blessed Mother. Therefore, you should be sure to take part in this apostolate to the apostles.
Source: Priest's Saturday Pamphlet #2, Prayers and Devotions for Priest's Day. Salvatorian Fathers.
New Prayers on CAPG
New prayers on the CAPG:
Day of Great Reparation: Thursday of Sexagesima week
According to the writings of Mother Catherine Mectilde de Bar, the Day of Great Reparation takes place on the Thursday of Sexagesima week, this year today on February 28. Mère Catherine was a French Benedictine who lived in 17th century and was the foundress of the institute of the Benedictines of the Perpetual Adoration.
From Fr. Kirby's page: (http://vultuschristi.org/index.php/2019/02/reparation-3/#respond): "In her meditations for the Feast of Reparation, solemnized on the Thursday of Sexagesima week, Mother Mectilde de Bar reflects on the sins of those who serve in the sanctuaries of the Lord. The Church, in her desolation, cries, O you who have some love for me, you who know all the glory that my Bridegroom deserves, see and consider if there be any sorrow like unto mine. O you, ministers of the Lord and friends of the Bridegroom, the Bride address these laments to you. Hasten to relieve her pain by making reparation for the affronts to Jesus Christ; give Him the glory that others would strip from Him. Having once shown the disorders of the children of Israel to the prophet Jeremias, the Lord led him to the entrance of the temple; He ordered him to pierce an opening in its wall, and to look upon what was going on inside. The prophet obeyed, and says that therein he saw even greater abominations. Who, alas, does not grasp that this is but a figure? Who does not know that the sanctuary is the theater par excellence of the Lord’s ignominies? Who does not know that, alongside of priests who are fervent and truly divine, there are priests who are lukewarm and indifferent, priests who are wicked […]? And so, the Church, in calling [us] to reparation, begs us not to forget the outrages made against the glory of her Divine Spouse by His own ministers. Yours it is, she says, to expiate the sins of the Sanctuary; yours it is to bear the weight of the sins of the priesthood. Let us enter into these intentions of the Church, and united in spirit with what remains on earth of fervent Christians, and of priests pressed by the charity of Jesus Christ, let us strive to repair the outrages of indifference and impiety; let us lift up the throne of the Lord, and offer Him the tribute of homage that, by so many titles, He deserves."
Father Price's Daily Prayer
O Mother Immaculate, Patron of America, who, through little Bernadette, bade us pray and work for the conversion of the countless souls now perishing. I offer all the prayers, actions, and sufferings of this day and every day of my life for their conversion, and I beg of thee to bless my resolution to do what I can throughout my life to bring about their salvation.
St. Bernadette, Pray for Father Price.
Imprimatur: Most Rev. Vincent S. Waters, D.D. May 2 1949
They are "The Light of the World"
The great roots of all the evils that press upon society, and make man unhappy, are "the ignorance of the mind, and the depravity of the will. "
Hence he who wished to civilize the world, and thus assist in executing the plans of God's providence, must remove these two great root of evil by imparting to the mind infallibly the light of truth, and by laying down for the will authoritatively the unchangeable principles of morality.
If the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has accomplished in society this twofold task, then has it rendered itself worthy of the praises of all men, and deserves to be called the greatest, the most astonishing, the most divine fact in the history of the world - then the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is truly " the light of the world, and the salt of the earth."
Source: The Catholic Priest, Rev. Michael Muller C.S.S.R
January: Holy Childhood
Prayer to the Holy Infant for priests
Jesus, Divine Infant, I bless and thank Your most loving Heart for the institution of the priesthood. Priests are sent by You, as You were sent by the Father. To them You entrusted the treasures of Your doctrine, of Your Law, of Your Grace, and souls themselves.
Grant me the grace to love them, to listen to them, and to let myself be guided by them in Your ways. Jesus, send good laborers into Your harvest. May priests be the salt that purifies and preserves; may they be the light of the world; may they be the city placed on the mountain. May they all be formed after Your own Heart. And in heaven may they be surrounded by a joyous throng of those they shepherded on earth. Amen.
Glory Be three times.
Infant Jesus, make me love You more and more!
Source: Cure d'Ars Prayer Group
Day 1 - St. John Vianney Novena
Saint John Vianney, you were blessed with a loving and devout family who supported your desire to increase your faith and devote yourself fully towards imitating the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. In your quest to pursue your holy vocation, you were not deterred by the many obstacles that came your way. Your strong faith carried you through all of life’s trials to your place in God’s kingdom.
Obtain for me the same courage and faith that allowed you to give all to God without counting the cost. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide me to the right decisions that will best serve God and my neighbor.
Believing in the power of your kind intercession, I humbly ask you to pray for me and the special intention I am hoping God will grant me through this novena: For the successful surgery of Fr Mark Shuey and his complete recovery.
St. John Vianney, Priest of Ars, pray for our priests, and pray for us. Amen.
Prayer for Deceased Priests
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the souls of Thy servants, Thy priests whom in this life
Thou didst honor with the sacred office, may rejoice in the glory of Heaven for ever more.
We pray for the happy repose of the soul of ........
May eternal rest be granted to him, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon him, and may he rest in peace. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God, rest in peace. AMEN