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Header VOJ 17

 Ask The Departed, 
What They Think Of The World.
If thou cleavest to the world,
thou ceasest, in fact, to be a Christian.

Photo of Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue

1. The Voice of Jesus My Child, the whole world is made up of deceits, and by its arts and wiles, it allures to itself the unwary.

It holds out to man pleasures, honors, and riches; and says, all these things will I give to thee, if thou serve me.

But attend thou, not to what it promises, but to what it gives.

Through the deceitful hope of pleasant things, it brings its votaries beneath the cruel tyranny of the passions, and thence leads them to the ceaseless tortures of the stings of conscience.

Didst thou ever find a worldling, even the most fortunate, whose heart was every way satisfied? Neither shalt thou find such a one, even if thou searchest the whole earth.

The world, indeed, promises good things; but, in reality, it bestows true evils only; because what it gives, makes man wicked, and hinders him, by no means, from being truly unhappy.

 

2. The Voice of the Disciple

Yet, O Lord, worldlings frequently obtain possession of those things which they covet; and, therefore, they care little for the spiritual distresses of the heart.

 

The Voice of Jesus

Even so, My Child: granted that they abound in whatever things they may lust after in this world; as they possess them with an inordinate affection, and misuse them; nevertheless, they enjoy them not, except for their present and future unhappiness.

Besides, they appear, indeed, not to care for the interior tortures of the soul; but, My Child, if thou couldst look, as I do, into their hearts, thou shouldst see how many things they suffer within, which they endeavor to hide outwardly, and thou wouldst conclude, that the happiness of man consists, not in having an abundance of the things of this world, but rather herein, that he keeps his heart free from every worldly object, and calmly, and permanently satisfied in Me.

Moreover, how long shall these things of worldlings last? Behold! Yet a little while, and eternity shall summon them to appear. What then shall the plentifulness of delights and other things avail them? They shall leave the world, taking with them nothing, except the load of their sins.

Wouldst thou, then, be willing, for the misuse of the things of time, to lose the use of those of eternity? Or, for the false possessions of earth, to forfeit the true riches of heaven?

 

3. My Child, if thou cleavest to the world, thou ceasest, in fact, to be a Christian, and thou foregoest the possession of all the privileges which belong to that noble name.

For, at thy new birth, in the waters of Baptism, thou didst, by a solemn promise made before heaven and earth, renounce the world and its wickedness; nor would I, without that promise, have adopted thee as My Child.

If, after this, thou goest again over to the party of the world, thou art not only faithless, but even worse than the heathen, who made no such promise.

For, it is better not to promise, than not to make good what is promised.

 

4. Ask the departed, what they think of the world. The Elect will answer, that their happiness began from the time they learnt to despise the things of earth: and the reprobate will reply, that they were deceived and ruined by the world. 

Thyself, My Child, shalt, one day, think and experience concerning the world, the one or the other of these things.

Be timely wise, My Child, lest hereafter thou feel sorrow to no purpose: follow the footprints of the Saints, by withdrawing thy heart from the world, and keeping thy affections from its contagion.

 

5. Use the things of this world, as if thou didst not use them; and, whilst thou treadest the earth with thy foot, have thy heart in heaven. The more thou shalt withdraw thyself from creatures, the nearer shalt thou come to the Creator; and the more proper shalt thou be to receive divine gifts.

If thy heart be wholly disengaged from the world, so far from being hurtful to thee, the world itself will be, in many ways, subservient to thy interests.

O, how base the whole world would grow in thy sight, if thou didst duly consider what awaits thee in eternity!

 

6. The Voice of the Disciple

Truly, O Lord, the world is a deceiver. Such have I experienced it to be, to my own loss.

When it offered me its own favors, madman that I was, I believed that thereby I should be happy. But Oh! How greatly was I deceived! How truly wretched was I, even when, giddy with worldly love, I fancied myself most happy!

The animal man within me, made me imagine that I was happy, whilst I was feeding on the husks, which the world threw before me; and, in spite of myself, I groaned full often beneath the degradation of my slavery, beneath the burden of my heart’s misery.

I fully acknowledge now, that I was myself the author of my own unhappiness; and that I can, with justice, blame no one except myself.

Because I was unwilling to serve Thee with joy and gladness of heart, amid the abundance of all things, I became a slave to Thy enemy and to mine, -- served him in hunger, and thirst, and every want, in so far that I even delighted to fill myself with the food of the vilest animals.

 

7. Would, O Lord, that I could blot out from the number of my years, those during which, estranged from Thee, I served the world!

What fruit do I now reap from them, except bitterness, stings of conscience, anguish of heart, sins to be atoned for, either in this life by sorrow, or to be bewailed in vain in the next?

Be gracious to me, O my Savior! And forgive me all my offenses, which I committed by following the world, and which I now detest from my inner most heart.

Suffer no more, I entreat Thee, that my heart cling again to aught – even the least object – of this wicked world: withdraw it wholly, with all its affections, from the false tinseling of earth, which contains naught except deceit, emptiness, and affliction of heart.

 


“Voice of Jesus” is taken from Arnoudt’s “Imitation of the Sacred Heart”, translated from the Latin of J.M. Fastre; Benziger Bros. Copyright 1866

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for November 23, 2020

The purer are your words and your glances, the more pleasing...

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November 23

 

The purer are your words and your
glances,
the more pleasing will you be to the
Blessed Virgin. And
the greater will be the
graces that she will obtain for you
from her Divine Son.


St. John Bosco


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Columban

He struggled with purity, and desperate to dedicate himself...

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St. Columban

Columban was born about the year 543 in County Meath, in the Irish province of Leinster, to respectable parents. He was well-educated in grammar, rhetoric, geometry, and the Holy Scriptures. The young Columban resolved early to embrace monastic asceticism and dedicate himself to a strict and disciplined life, abstaining from many of the pleasures of the world. However, he struggled with purity, and desperate to dedicate himself wholly to God, asked the advice of a religious woman who had lived as a hermit for many years.

His mother tried her utmost to deter him from the course of action proposed by the saintly hermit, but Columban took the holy woman’s advice and left Leinster to become a cloistered monk at the monastery of Bangor in County Down. He remained there a number of years before gaining permission from his superior, St. Congall, to evangelize in foreign lands. With twelve companions he traveled to Gaul and set about preaching and teaching the Gospel.

In 590, news of these monks reached Guntramnus, the King of Burgundy, who was so inspired by the holy men that he gave the Irish monk and his companions the ancient Roman castle of Annegray, in the region’s Vosges Mountains, in which to establish a monastery. Within a few years, the increasing number of followers obliged Columban to expand and, with the help of one of the King’s ministers, he obtained from the King another ancient Roman fortification named Luxeuil, on the site of some ancient Roman baths. A third monastery soon followed to house the growing number of disciples. The monks followed a harsh discipline similar to the unusual characteristics of Celtic Christianity: they carried out penances for every transgression, no matter how small, fasted, performed bodily mortifications and prayed at length.

Twenty years after his first monastic foundation, Columban and his fellow Irishmen were expelled from the country. Brunhilda, the wicked and corrupt queen regent, disliked the holy man for his reproach of the immoral ways of her court and ultimately exiled him in 610.

Columban and his monks traveled to Italy where they were welcomed by Agilulf, King of the Lombards. Agilulf gave the monks a dilapidated church at Bobbio to reestablish themselves. Columban himself did much of the repairs in spite of his seventy years of age.

He died at Bobbio in 615 having spent the last few years of his life praying and preparing for death. His followers established monasteries all over Europe.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared stan...

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The Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne

Born in 1814, Alphonse Ratisbonne was from a family of wealthy, well-known Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, France. In 1827, Alphonse’s older brother, Thèodore, converted to Catholicism and entered the priesthood, thus breaking with his anti-Catholic family whose hopes now lay in the young Alphonse. At 27, Alphonse was intelligent and well mannered. He had already finished his law degree, and decided to travel to Italy before marrying and assuming his responsibilities in the family business. However, God had other plans for him.

While in Rome, Alphonse visited works of art, and strictly out of cultural curiosity, a few Catholic churches. These visits hardened his anti-Catholic stance, and nourished his profound hatred for the Church. He also called on an old schoolmate and close friend, Gustave de Bussières.

Gustave was a Protestant and several times had tried, in vain, to win Alphonse over to his religious convictions. Alphonse was introduced to Gustave’s brother, Baron de Bussières, who had recently converted to Catholicism and become a close friend of Father Thèodore Ratisbonne. Because of the Baron’s Catholicism and closeness with his turncoat brother, Alphonse greatly disliked him.

On the eve of his departure, Alphonse reluctantly fulfilled his social obligation to leave his calling card at the Baron’s house as a farewell gesture.

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Hoping to avoid a meeting, Alphonse intended to leave his card discreetly and depart straight away, but was instead shown into the house. The Baron greeted the young Jew warmly, and before long, had persuaded him to remain a few more days in Rome. Inspired by grace, the Baron insisted Alphonse accept a Miraculous Medal and copy down a beautiful prayer: the Memorare. Alphonse could hardly contain his anger at his host’s boldness of proposing these things to him, but decided to take everything good-heartedly, planning to later describe the Baron as an eccentric.

During Alphonse’s stay, the Baron’s close friend, Count de La Ferronays, former French ambassador to the Holy See and a man of great virtue and piety, died quite suddenly. On the eve of his death, the Baron had asked the Count to pray the Memorare one hundred times for Alphonse’s conversion. It is possible that he offered his life to God for the conversion of the young Jewish banker.

A few days later, the Baron went to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte to arrange for his friend’s funeral. Alphonse reluctantly went with him, all the while making violent criticisms of the Church and mocking Catholic practices. When they arrived, the Baron entered the sacristy to arrange the funeral while Alphonse remained in the church.

When the Baron returned just a few minutes later, the young man was gone. He searched the church, and soon discovered his young friend kneeling close to an altar, weeping.  Alphonse himself tells us what happened in those few minutes he waited for the Baron: “I had only been in the church a short while when, all of a sudden, I felt totally uneasy for no apparent reason. I raised my eyes and saw that the whole building had disappeared. Only one side chapel had, so to say, gathered all the light. In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar. She was grandiose, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness, just as she is in the Miraculous Medal. An irresistible force attracted me to her. The Virgin made a gesture with her hand indicating I was to kneel.”

When de Bussières talked to Alphonse, he no longer found a Jew, but a convert who ardently desired baptism. The news of such an unexpected conversion immediately spread and caused a great commotion throughout Europe, and Pope Gregory XVI received the young convert, paternally. He ordered a detailed investigation with the rigor required by canon law, and concluded that the occurrence was a truly authentic miracle. 

Alphonse took the name Maria Alphonse at baptism, and, wishing to become a priest, was ordained a Jesuit in 1847. After some time, and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, he left the Jesuits and joined his brother Thèodore in founding the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, dedicated to the conversion of the Jews. Father Theodore spread his congregation throughout France and England, while Father Maria Alphonse went to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, he established a house of the congregation on the plot of land where the praetorium of Pilate had formerly stood.

The two brothers died in 1884, both famed and well-loved for their exceptional virtues.  

By Armando Santos  

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In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar"

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