Monday, November 29, 2010

From Goffine's Devout Instructions: The First Sunday of Advent



This is the first day of the ecclesiastical year; on it the Church begins to contemplate the coming of Our Saviour, and, with the prophets, to long for Him ; she exhorts the faithful to true penance for their sins, which oppose Christ s entrance into their hearts; she sings, therefore, at the Introit of the Mass, in the words of the psalmist : “To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul.”

Prayer.

Raise up Thy power, O Lord, we pray Thee, and come, that by Thy protection we may deserve to be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins, and to be saved by Thy deliverance. Who livest and reignest, etc. Amen.

EPISTLE. Rom. Xiii. 11-14.

Brethren : Knowing the season, that it is now the hour for
us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when
we believed. The night is passed and the day is at hand. Let
us therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor
of light. Let us walk honestly as in the day : not in rioting and
drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention
and envy ; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is understood here by sleep ?

Sin, in which man, as if sunk in a torpor, no longer sees the light of the Gospel, no longer hears the warning of his conscience, neglects the means of salvation, and lives without care, until he awakes, alas ! too late, as from a dream.

What is understood by night and day ?

By night is to be understood ignorance, infidelity, and sin. The day represents faith, grace, and reconciliation with God.

What are the works of darkness ?

All sin, especially that which is unknown to men, but seen and known by God, of Whose grace it deprives us.

What is the armor of light ?

It consists in faith, hope, charity, and good works, the spiritual arms with which we have to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil.

What does it mean to put on the Lord Jesus Christ ?

It means that Christians should think, speak, and act like Jesus, adorning themselves by the imitation of Him as with precious garments.

Prayer.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who became man for us, grant that we
may in all things comply with the admonitions of this epistle ;
that we may arise from the slumber of our sins, and walk in the
light of grace by the diligent performance of good works, and
adorn our souls by putting on Thee, through the imitation of
Thy virtues.

GOSPEL. Luke xxi. 25-33.

At that time Jesus said to His disciples: There shall be
signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the
earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roar
ing of the sea and of the waves : men withering away for fear,
and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world, for
the powers of heaven shall be moved ; and then they shall see
the Son of man coming in a cloud with great power and majesty.
But when these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up
your heads, because your redemption is at hand. And He spoke
to them a similitude : See the fig-tree, and all the trees ; when
they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh.
So you also when you shall see these things come to pass, know
that the kingdom of God is at hand. Amen I say to you, this
generation shall not pass away till all things be fulfilled. Heaven
and earth shall pass away : but My words shall not pass away.

Why does the Church cause this Gospel concerning the Last Judgment to be read to-day?

To prepare our hearts by penance for the coming of Jesus as our judge.

What signs shall precede the Last Judgment?

The sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give light, the stars shall fall from heaven ; the heavens themselves shall pass away with a great noise, the elements shall melt with heat, and the earth with all that is in it shall be burned up. At the command of God the world shall be shaken to its centre ; fearful tempests shall arise ; the sea and wave? shall roar, and wild struggle and destruction take the place of quiet and order. Men shall wither away with fear, not knowing whither to fly. Then shall appear the holy cross, the sign of the Son of man a terror to sinners who have hated it, a consolation to- those who have loved it.

How will the Last Judgment begin?

At the command of God the angels, with the sound of the trumpet, shall summon all men to judgment (i. These, iv. 15).

The bodies and souls of the dead shall be again united, and the wicked shall be separated from the righteous, the just on the right, the wicked on the left (St. Matt. xxv. 33). The angels and the devils will be present, and Christ Himself will appear in a bright cloud with such power and majesty that the wicked, for fear, will not be able to look at Him, but will say to the mountains, “Fall on us,” and to the hills, “Cover us” (St. Luke xxiii. 30).

Why will God hold a general and public judgment?

1. That all may know how just He has been in the particular
judgment of each one.

      2. That justice may at last be rendered to the afflicted and
    persecuted, while the wicked who have oppressed the poor, the
    widow, the orphan, the religious, and yet have often passed for
    upright and devout persons, may be known in their real characters
    and be forever disgraced.
     3. That Jesus Christ may complete His redemption, and openly
    triumph over His enemies, who shall see the glory of the Crucified,
    and tremble at His power.

How will the Last Judgment proceed?

The books will be opened, and from them all men will be judged ; all their good and bad thoughts, words, and deeds, even the most secret, known only to God, will be revealed before the whole world, and according to their works men will be rewarded or be damned forever. The wicked shall go into everlasting punishment, but the just into life everlasting (St. Matt. Xxv. 46).

Exhortation.

The Church, during the season of Advent, reminds thee, O Christian, of the coming of Christ to judgment, that thou mayest with the more zeal apply thyself to profit by His first coming ; for they only will be justified and glorified who have acknowledged and received Him as their Redeemer. Examine thyself, therefore, to-day, and during this week, whether thou hast believed in Him, loved Him, admitted Him into thy heart, and kept His holy commands. Begin at once penance and good works, that thou mayest with confidence await the judgment-day of the Lord.

Aspiration.

Thou art just, O Lord! and just is Thy judgment. Oh, penetrate my soul with holy fear, that I may be kept from evil deeds, and incited to good works. Would that I could say, with St. Jerome, “Whether I eat or drink, or whatever I do, it is as if I heard the awful summons of the trumpet, 'Ye dead, arise, and come to judgment !' ”


Goffine's Devout Instructions

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Mysteries of Guadalupe.



Sunday, September 05, 2010

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary


September 8

This feast is a commemoration of that happy and joyful day on whIch the ever-blessed vIrgin Mother of God first saw the light of day. The Church accordingly sings on this day,
"Thy nativity, virgin Mother of God, has brought joy to the whole world; for from thee has come forth the Sun of justice, Christ the Lord, Who putting away cursing bestowed blessing, and by overcoming death obtained for us life eternal."
In the Introit of the Mass the Church sings:
"Hail, holy parent, who as a happy mother brought forth the King Who rules heaven and earth from eternity to eternity. My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak my works to the King."
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Prayer

Vouchsafe, O Lord, we beseech Thee, unto us Thy servants the gift of Thy heavenly grace, that, as in the childbirth of the Blessed Virgin our salvation began, so from the votive solemnity of her nativity we may obtain an increase of peace. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Epistle: Proverbs 8:22-35

The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived, neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out: the mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth: He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was present: when with a certain law and compass He enclosed the depths: when He established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters: when He compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits: when He balanced the foundations of the earth, I was with Him forming all things; and was delighted every day, playing before Him at all times; playing in the world, and My delights were to be with the children of men. Now, therefore, ye children, hear Me: Blessed are they that keep My ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth Me, and that watcheth daily at My gates, and waiteth at the posts of My doors. He that shall find Me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.

Gospel: Matthew 1:1-18

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begot Isaac. And Isaac begot Jacob. And Jacob, begot Judas and his brethren. And Judas begot Phares and Zara of Thamar. And Phares begot Esron. And Esron begot Aram. And Aram begot Aminadab. And Aminadab begot Naasson. And Nasson begot Salmon. And Salmon begot Booz of Rahab. And Booz begot Obed of Ruth. And Obed begot Jesse. And Jesse begot David the king. And David the king begot Solomon, of her that had been the wife of Unag. And Solomon begot Roboam. And Roboam begot Abias. And Abias begot Asa. And Asa begot Josaphat. And Josaphat begot Joram. And Joram begot Ozias. And Ozias begot Joatham. And Joatham begot Achaz. And Achaz begot Ezechias. And Ezechias begot Manasses. And Manasses begot Amon. And Amon begot Josias. And Josias begot Jechonias and his brethren in the transmigration of Babylon. And after the transmigration of Babylon, Jechonias begot Salathiel. And Salathiel begot Zorobabel. And Zorobabel begot Abiud. And Abiud begot Eliacim. And Eliacim begot Azor. And Azor begot Sadoc. And Sadoc begot Achim. And Achim begot Eliud. And Eliud begot Eleazar. And Eleazar begot Mathan. And Mathan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Let us honor Mary, especially by imitation of those virtues of hers which are to us, as Saint John Damascene says, an open book of instruction; let us rejoice in her prerogatives and glory; let us encourage others in the veneration of her; let us, in our need, have recourse to her, who, according to the name Star of the Sea with which the Church salutes her, shines for all who sail upon the dangerous sea of the world. For this reason Saint Bernard calls out to each one of us,
"Take not your eyes from the light of this star if you would not be overwhelmed by the waves; if the storms of temptation arise, if you are thrown upon the rocks of affliction, look to the star, invoke Mary. Are you confounded at the enormity of your sins, are you ashamed at the defilement of your conscience, are you terrified on account of the dreadful judgment, so that you begin to be overpowered by sadness, or even to sink into the abyss of despair, then turn your thoughts to Mary. In dangers, in distress, in doubt, call on Mary. She will not be far from your mouth, or your heart; and that you may obtain her intercession omit not to imitate her conduct. When you follow her, you will not go astray; when you invoke her, you will no longer be in doubt; when she supports yon, yon will not fall; when she leads you, you will surely come to eternal life, and will find by your own experience that she is justly called Maria - that is, Star of the Sea."



Goffine's Devout Instruction

Friday, August 13, 2010

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 August 15




 This feast is so-called because on this day, according to a very old and pious belief, the Blessed Virgin was, in body and soul, taken up into heaven. This feast is of very great antiquity; it was fixed on the 15th of August at the request of the Emperor Maurice, and afterwards, by Pope Leo IV, was extended to the whole Church.
In the Introit of the Mass the Church invites us to universal joy by singing,
“Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating this festival in honor of the most blessed Virgin Mary, on whose assumption into heaven the angels rejoice and give praise to the Son of God. My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak my works to the King.”
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Prayer
Pardon, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the sins of Thy servants, that we, who are not able to please Thee by our deeds, may be saved by the intercession of the Mother of Thy Son. Who livest, and reignest, for ever and ever. Amen.
Epistle: Ecclesiasticus 24:11-20
In all things I sought rest, and I shall abide in the inheritance of the Lord. Then the Creator of all things commanded, and said to me: and He that made me rested in my tabernacle. And He said to me: Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, and thy inheritance in Israel, and take root in My elect. From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling-place I have ministered before Him. And so was I established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem. And I took root in an honorable 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 as 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 water in the streets, was I exalted. I gave a sweet smell like cinnamon, and aromatical balm; I yielded a sweet odor like the best myrrh.
Gospel: Luke 10:38-42[]
At that time Jesus entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord’s feet, heard His word. But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: Lord, hast Thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? speak to her therefore, that she help me. And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things. But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Why does the Church read this gospel to-day?
Because it readily admits of being applied to Mary, the Mother of God, since she, far more worthily and lovingly than Martha, chose the best part, and thereby obtained the most glorious reward, which no one shall ever take from her.
What is the one thing necessary?
The glory of God and the salvation of the soul. Let a man, therefore, fulfil the duties which are binding upon him; but in so doing let him look only to God, avoid all uneasiness and distraction, all extravagance and excess, all that is unjust, and sooner sacrifice everything than suffer injury to his soul.

--Goffine's Devout Instructions







Thursday, March 18, 2010

Feast of Saint Joseph


           March 19



SAINT JOSEPH was descended from the kingly line of David, and was a kinsman of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Matthew 1:1-16) The Gospel gives him the praise of being just (Matthew 1:19), that is, a man distinguished for all virtues. And surely, as he was chosen from all other men by God to be the foster-father of His Son, he undoubtedly excelled, in virtues and sanctity, all saints then living. Of his youth nothing certain is known to us, and of his later life we know only what the Gospel relates. He was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55), and lived at Nazareth, in Galilee (Luke 2:4). Being espoused to Mary, he was inclined, upon learning that she was with child, to put her away privately, not wishing to expose her to public reproach; but being instructed by an angel, he took her to himself, in obedience to the command of God, went with her to Bethlehem, and afterwards, with Mary and the new-born child, fled, without timidity, to Egypt. (Matthew 2:13) At the command of the angel he returned thence, and again dwelt in Nazareth (Matthew 2:23). From this place they went every year to the feast at Jerusalem, where it happened that Jesus, then twelve years old, remained behind them in the temple, and was anxiously sought for by them. More than this is not told us. At the time of the marriage at Cana it would seem that he was no longer living, since there is no mention made of him. Though little is said of him, that little is rich in profitable instruction. How worthy to be admired and imitated is his example, his chastity, his tenderness towards Mary, his forbearing to pronounce a judgment in regard to her condition when he could not explain it, his quick and unreserved obedience towards God and the commands of authority, his love for Jesus, and his care for both the mother and the child. On account of his sanctity God has specially distinguished him by miracles, and the Church honors him in a particular manner. In the Litany of the Saints he is named among the patriarchs, and the feast of his patronage is celebrated on the third Sunday after Easter. Venerate, therefore, Saint Joseph; choose him for your protector in life and in death, and make yourself worthy of his protection by following his example.

The Introit of the Mass is as follows:
"The just shall flourish like the palm-tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus, planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name, O Most High."
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Prayer

We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be assisted by the merits of the spouse of Thy most holy Mother, that what of ourselves we are unable to obtain may be given to us by his intercession. Who livest and reignest with You and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen.

Epistle: Ecclesiasticus 45:1-6

He was beloved of God and men: whose memory is in benediction. He made him 1ike the saints in glory, and magnified him in the fear of his enemies, and with his words he made prodigies to cease. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and showed him His glory. He sanctified him in his faith and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh. For He heard him, and his voice, and brought him into a cloud. And He gave him commandments before his face, and a law of life and instruction.

Gospel: Matthew 1:18-21

When Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put per away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost; and she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.

Instruction

To encourage us to veneration for Saint Joseph, Saint Teresa wrote:
"I do not remember to have asked Saint Joseph for anything which he did not grant me. The great favors which God has granted me through him, and the many dangers of soul and body from which he has freed me, truly deserve admiration. It seems that God has granted to other saints the grace of assisting, in particular needs, those who invoke their intercession; but this glorious saint assists in all needs. The Lord seems thereby to indicate that, as He was subject to Joseph on earth, so now He grants him whatever he asks for. The same thing has been experienced by persons whom I have advised to recommend themselves to him."

"I would gladly advise everyone," says Saint Alphonsus, "to have a great devotion towards this saint, since I have experienced what graces he can obtain from God. For several years I have asked him, on his feast, for some par ticular grace, and every time my petition has been granted. As we all have to die, we should have a particular devotion towards Saint Joseph, that he may obtain for us a happy death; for all Catholic Christians consider him to be an intercessor for the dying, and that he assists, at the hour of death, those who venerate him; and this for three reasons:
  1. Because Jesus loves him, not only as a friend, but as a father, on which account his intercession is more powerful than that of any other saint.
  2. Because Saint Joseph obtained special power against the evil spirits who tempt us at the hour of death.
  3. The assistance which Jesus and Mary gave to Joseph at the hour of his own death procured for him the right to obtain a holy and easy death for his dependants. If in their dying hour they invoke his aid, not only will he assist them, but he will obtain for them the assistance of Jesus and Mary."
Ought not these words of a great saint encourage you to venerate Saint Joseph every day? Should not the hope of dying one day under the protection of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, move you to devotion to the foster-father of Jesus?

Prayer to Saint Joseph

O most chaste Joseph, who, by thy purity and other exalted virtues, wast worthy to be chosen for the spouse of Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, I beseech thee, by the great graces of which thou wast made partaker, that thou wouldst, by thy intercession, obtain for all parents grace to rear their children piously; for all married persons who are distressed and afflicted through poverty and tribulations consolation and encouragement; for all unmarried persons who have devoted tbeir chastity to God the grace of perseverance; and, finally, for all the dyjng the grace to come, after a happy death, to thy foster- child, Jesus Christ, Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth one God, world without end. Amen.

Goffine's Devout Instructions


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Saint Francis of Assisi's prayer praising Mary the Mother of Jesus



Hail, holy Lady, most holy Queen,
Mary, Mother of God, ever Virgin.
You were chosen by the Most High Father in heaven,
consecrated by Him, with His most Holy Beloved Son
and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

On you descended and still remains all the fullness of grace and every good.
Hail, His Palace.
Hail His Tabernacle.
Hail His Robe.
Hail His Handmaid.
Hail, His Mother.
and Hail, all holy Virtues, who, by grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
are poured into the hearts of the faithful
so that from their faithless state,
they may be made faithful servants of God through you. 
Amen

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Our Lady of Lourdes

 
 
I had gone down one day with two other girls to the bank of the river Gave when suddenly I heard a kind of rustling sound. I turned my head toward the field by the side of the river, but the trees seemed quite still and the noise was evidently not from them. Then I looked up and caught sight of the cave where I saw a lady wearing a lovely white dress with a bright belt. On top of each of her feet was a pale yellow rose, the same color as her rosary beads.

At this I rubbed my eyes, thinking I was seeing things, and I put my hands into the fold of my dress where my rosary was. I wanted to make the sign of the cross, but for the life of me I couldn't manage it, and my hand just fell down. Then the lady made the sign of the cross herself, and at the second attempt I managed to do the same, though my hands were trembling. Then I began to say the rosary while the lady let her beads clip through her fingers, without moving her lips. When I stopped saying the Hail Mary, she immediately vanished.

I asked my two companions if they had noticed anything, but they said no. Of course, they wanted to know what I was doing, and I told them that I had seen a lady wearing a nice white dress, though I didn't know who she was. I told them not to say anything about it, and they said I was silly to have anything to do with it. I said they were wrong, and I came back next Sunday, feeling myself drawn to the place....

The third time I went, the lady spoke to me and asked me to come every day for fifteen days. I said I would and then she said that she wanted me to tell the priests to build a chapel there. She also told me to drink from the stream. I went to the Gave, the only stream I could see. Then she made me realize she was not speaking of the Gave, and she indicated a little trickle of water close by. When I got to it I could only find a few drops, mostly mud. I cupped my hands to catch some liquid without success, and then I started to scrape the ground. I managed to find a few drops of water, but only at the fourth attempt was there sufficient for any kind of a drink. The lady then vanished and I went back home.

I went back each day for fifteen days, and each time, except one Monday and one Friday, the lady appeared and told me to look for a stream and wash in it and to see that the priests build a chapel there. I must also pray, she said, for the conversion of sinners. I asked her many times what she meant by that, but she only smiled. Finally, with outstretched arms and eyes looking up to heaven, she told me she was the Immaculate Conception.

During the fifteen days she told me three secrets, but I was not to speak about them to anyone, and so far I have not.

-- from a letter by Saint Bernadette of Lourdes