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Header - VOJ 28

What is the splendor of the stars? What the
beauty of all creatures, when placed in 
comparison with the excellence of a
soul adorned with divine grace,
and thus assimilated to
God Himself?
Statue Scared Heart of Jesus

 

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The Voice of the Disciple

1. My Child, do not disregard grace, but carefully preserve so sacred a deposit, which has been entrusted to thee.

For this is thy treasure, this thy glory, this thy happiness, this thy every good. This informs thee, the image of God, and renders thee alike to Him.

Know, then, thy dignity, man, who, by sanctifying grace, art raised even to the likeness of God, and becomest more exalted than the whole world, so that naught of earth can be compared to thee.

What is the splendor of the stars? What the beauty of all creatures, when placed in comparison with the excellence of a soul adorned with divine grace, and thus assimilated to God Himself?

Lift up thyself, therefore, and, mindful of thy dignity, do not defile nor debase thyself.

 

2. God adopts thee, resplendent with this grace not simply as His child, but as the child of His love and predilection.

Thus, what I possess by nature, thou receivest by adoption; so that thou art not only called, but art in very truth, a child of God.

Understand, if thou art able, what it is, to be a child of God: what it is, to be loved and cherished by such a Father.

In the world, children esteem themselves happy, and glory in having parents who are wise, good, influential, or wealthy, great, illustrious. But what are the distinctions of all the parents of this earth, when compared with the Attributes of God?

With how much more reason, therefore, shouldst thou glory and rejoice in having for thy Father, God Himself, the Lord of heaven and earth!

Ponder, then, with a true judgment the excellence of this divine adoption. For, when formerly thou wast a castaway, reduced to the lowest depth of degradation, thou becamest, by sanctifying grace, from bond, free; from one disowned, the acknowledged child of God; that, thus ennobled, thou mayst rejoice in the affluence of the good things of the Lord.

Blessed is he who knows the price of sanctifying grace, whereby he was raised to be a child of God; and who so esteems this, the highest nobility, that, on no account, he shows himself degenerate, but ever continues a child worthy of such a Father!

 

3. If, by grace, thou art a child, by the same thou art also made an heir, even the heir of God, and co-heir with Me. Wherefore, My Child, the everlasting kingdom, which is Mine by right of nature, becomes thine in virtue of sanctifying grace.

When thou lookest up to heaven, and viewest, in spirit, the glory, the beatitude, and all the good things of eternity, say to thyself: Behold my possessions, behold my inheritance, if I preserve the title of grace.

My merits obtained that this grace should confer upon thee a settled right to the possessions of heaven; of which none, except thyself, can deprive thee.

God's promise remains firm; He is faithful to His word: but, if thou losest sanctifying grace, thou throwest aside thy right, and becomest disinherited.

 

4. Grace, My Child, which constitutes thee an heir of the heavenly kingdom, makes thee also a companion of the Angels, a brother of the Saints.

If thou art glad when thou enjoyest the intercourse of distinguished companions, mortal men though they be, and subject to change; if thou art delighted at having brothers according to the flesh, although their number divides and lessens thy earthly inheritance: how great must be thy joy that, by grace, thou hast the blessed Angels for companions, the chosen Saints of God for brothers, whose countless number neither divides nor lessens thy celestial inheritance, but, on the contrary, increases and multiplies the same!

And what brothers, too, My child! How innumerable, how illustrious, how mighty, how good! They are thy elder brothers: celebrated for their triumphs, crowned with the glory of beatitude, secure of themselves, solicitous for thee; they love thee in truth, encourage thee by their example, help thee by their prayers, invite thee by their rewards.

Blissful grace, which makes thee the brother of such heroes! Oh, My Child, would that thou didst fully understand this!

 

5. Moreover, by an effect of sanctifying grace, thou mayst, even in this life, enjoy true happiness. This grace is the foundation of interior peace: without it, there is no real peace: with it, an undisturbed calm pervades the soul.

Who, that resists sanctifying grace, has ever enjoyed peace? And what happiness can there exist, where there is no peace?

If thou rejoicest in the peace of grace, thou mayst justly and safely be glad amid prosperity, and thou canst easily and usefully find solace in adversity.

Preserve thyself in grace, and thou shalt always be enabled to possess peace and happiness. Witness all the Saints: yea, also they who, when once converted, kept carefully within themselves the grace of God. When they had this, and compared their present feelings with those of their former life, taught by experience, they could say to Me: Better is one day in Thy courts, Lord, than thousands in the dwellings of sinners.

 

6. Nay more, My Child, if thou livest in sanctifying grace, My kingdom is within thee; so that I repose and reign in thy heart as on My throne.

Now, My kingdom consists in the tranquility and joy of the Holy Ghost, who is a Spirit of charity and sanctification.

In this kingdom I hold sway, not as a Lord ruling My subjects, but as a Father training My Child, whom I design to reign with Me. So long, therefore, as thou continuest under this rule of grace, I guide thee specially by My Wisdom, I protect thee by My power, I attend and encompass thee by My love.

Neither hast thou aught to fear, My Child, for this kingdom so governed, so protected, so cherished; unless, indeed, thyself becomest its betrayer.

If thou art faithful, it shall, doubtless, stand firm and endure for evermore: nor can all its enemies combined overthrow, or even weaken the same.

How sweet, how consoling is this thought, My Child! How well suited to make thee esteem sanctifying grace above everything!

 

7. See now, My Child, how many, and what great possessions thou hast in this one good alone!

Does not this one good surpass, in excellence, all the riches of this world?

Pray, Child, that thou mayst ever understand better, and more perfectly the value of grace, and prize it in reality as highly as thou shouldst do.

If thou dost understand and appreciate it rightly, thou wilt deem it little, or certainly not too much, to sacrifice for its preservation not only fortune, fame, and all that is dear and pleasing, but even health, and, if it were necessary, life itself.

Did not My holy Martyrs, and all My sainted heroes, among whom thou beholdest so many children and tender Virgins, prize it thus? Did not thousands among them, when it was left to their choice, prefer to sacrifice, amid torments, all the blessings of life, yea, life itself, rather than lose the same, for any possession, however great, that was offered?

Thou, therefore, the child of such heroes, use thy every effort, constant watchfulness, and thy greatest care, to preserve grace, the most precious of all gifts; the more so, as the most powerful exertions of thy enemies are directed to despoil thee, and thus to accomplish thy destruction.

For the rest, dearly beloved, be thou strengthened in grace: increase in the same, and, by acts of true virtue, advance thou, even unto perfection.

Didst thou understand all these things, My Child?

 

The Voice of the Disciple

8. Yea, Lord. Would that I had understood all this before! Would I not then, after I had lost Thy grace, have wept and moaned more dolefully than Esau, when he had forfeited his birthright? For greater, beyond comparison, was my loss, and sustained too, for a far baser object.

Oh! Had I understood all this, would I, for aught here below, have cast away so great a treasure?

Lord Jesus, would that I had never lost this greatest of all possessions! One thing, however, brings me solace, it is not yet too late; I may still enjoy the privileges of Thy grace, and thereby sanctify myself.

Thanks to Thee, most sweet Jesus, for that Thou hast showed so great a mercy to me, so unworthy.

The ineffable kindness of Thy Heart, I will not forget forever.

O Jesus! Hereafter, grant me sooner to die than to lose Thy grace. By Thy most Sacred Heart, I beg and entreat Thee, hearken graciously to my petition.

Let others seek after silver and gold, honor and distinction, the joys of this world and its consolations: taught by Thee, Lord, this alone do I desire above all else, to preserve Thy grace, and to increase therein all the days of my life.


"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 May 18, 2021

Our Lord loves you and loves you tenderly; and if He does no...

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May 18

 

Our Lord loves you
and loves you tenderly; and
if He does not let you feel the sweetness of His love,
it is to make you more humble and abject in your own eyes.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Eric IX of Sweden

The king’s zeal for the faith was far from pleasing to his...

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St. Eric IX of Sweden

Eric the Holy or Erik the Saint was acknowledged king in most provinces of Sweden in 1150, and his family line subsisted for a hundred years. He did much to establish Christianity in Upper Sweden and built or completed at Old Uppsala the first large church to be erected in the country. It is said that all the ancient laws and constitutions of the kingdom were, by his orders, collected into one volume, which came to be known as King Eric’s Law or The Code of Uppland.

The king soon had to take up arms against the heathen Finns. He vanquished them in battle, and at his desire, St. Henry, Bishop of Uppsala, who had accompanied him on the expedition, remained in Finland to evangelize the people.

The king’s zeal for the Catholic Faith was far from pleasing to his nobles, and we are told that they entered into a conspiracy against him with Magnus, the son of the king of Denmark. King Eric was hearing Mass on the day after the feast of the Ascension when news was brought that a Danish army, swollen with Swedish rebels, was marching against him and was close at hand. With unwavering calm he answered, “Let us at least finish the sacrifice; the rest of the feast I shall keep elsewhere”. After Mass was over, he recommended his soul to God, and marched forth in advance of his guards. The conspirators rushed upon him, beat him down from his horse, and beheaded him. His death occurred on May 18 in 1161.

The relics of St. Eric IX of Sweden are preserved in the Cathedral of Uppsala, and the saintly king's effigy appears on the coat of arms of the city of Stockholm.

Pope St. John I

The king had the pontiff arrested at Ravenna and thrown into...

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Pope St. John I

St. John I was a native of Siena in Tuscany and was one of the seven deacons of Rome when he was elected to the papacy at the death of Pope Hormisdas in the year 523.

At the time, Theodoric the Great ruled over the Ostrogoths in Italy and Justin I was the Byzantine Emperor of Constantinople. King Theodoric supported the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ.

Justin I, the first Catholic on the throne of Constantinople in fifty years, published a severe edict against the Arians, requiring them to return to orthodox Catholics the churches they had taken from them. The said edict caused a commotion among eastern Arians, and spurred Theodoric to threaten war.

Ultimately, he opted for a diplomatic solution and named Pope John, much against his wishes, to head a delegation of five bishops and four senators to Justin.

Pope John, refused to comply with Theodoric’s wishes to influence Justin to reverse his policies. The only thing he did obtain from Justin was for him to mitigate his treatment of Arians, thus avoiding reprisals against Catholics in Italy.

After the delegation returned, Theodoric, disappointed with the result of the mission, and growing daily more suspicious at reports of the friendly relations between the Pope and Justin I, had the pontiff arrested at Ravenna.

Pope John I died in prison a short time later as a result of ill treatment.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

As the century began anew, so did Catherine’s life. Cathe...

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The Rosary & True Beauty

As the century began anew, so did Catherine’s life.

Catherine was a young woman possessing great beauty. So much so, that she was known to those in Rome where she made her home as “Catherine the Beautiful.” Sadly, Catherine’s beauty went only skin deep, and she led a very sinful life.

One afternoon, strolling the streets of Rome, Catherine heard the voice of St. Dominic. This was the early 13th century and it was not unusual to cross paths with this great man of God.

On this particular day, he was preaching on the devotion to the Mother of God and the importance of praying her most holy Rosary. Caught up in the moment, Catherine had her name inscribed in the book of the confraternity and began to recite the Rosary. Though praying the Rosary gave her a sense of calmness she had not known before, Catherine did not abandon her sinful ways.

One evening, a youth, apparently a nobleman, came to her house. Catherine invited the handsome young man to stay to dine with her. When they were at supper, she saw drops of blood falling from his hands while he was breaking a piece of bread. Moments later, she observed, much to her discomfort, that all the food he took was tinged with blood.

Gathering up some courage to appease her curiosity, she asked him what that blood meant. With a firm but gentle look in his eyes, the youth replied that a Christian should take no food that was not tinged with the blood of Jesus Christ and sweetly seasoned with the memory of His passion.

Amazed at this reply, Catherine asked him who he was. "Soon," he answered, "I will show you." The rest of their meal passed uneventfully, yet always the drops of red catching Catherine’s eye, causing her to wonder about this man she supped with.

After dinner, when they had withdrawn into another room, the appearance of the youth changed. To Catherine’s stunned gaze, he showed himself crowned with thorns, his flesh torn and bleeding.

With the same firm but gentle gaze he said to her: “Do you wish to know who I am? Do you not know me? I am your Redeemer. Catherine, when will you cease to offend me? See how much I have suffered for you. You have grieved me enough, change your life."

Catherine began to weep bitterly, and Jesus, encouraging her, said: "Now begin to love me as much as you have offended me; and know that you have received this grace from me, on account of the Rosary you have been accustomed to recite in honor of my mother." And then he disappeared.

Catherine went in the morning to make her confession to St. Dominic, whose preaching on the Rosary had brought so marvelous a grace into her life. Giving to the poor all she possessed, from that day forward Catherine led so holy and joyful a life that she attained to great perfection.

It could now be said of her among the inhabitants of Rome that Catherine was indeed beautiful, but her beauty was no longer skin deep; her loveliness radiated from the depths of her soul.

The Most Holy Virgin often appeared to her; and Jesus himself revealed to St. Dominic, that this penitent had become very dear to him.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

As the century began anew, so did Catherine’s life. Catherine was a young woman possessing great beauty.

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