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Header VOJ 7

 Avoid sin, and
whatever may befall thee,
it will turn to thy advantage.

 Photo of Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue

1. The Voice of Jesus. Look thou, My Child, lest in thy heart there be that sin which causeth the death of the soul.

How canst thou love, or darest thou receive, as a guest, into thy heart, thy deadly foe; who, when admitted, will, without doubt, make thee the slave of hell, the most wretched of men; yea, more base than the irrational beings themselves.

How many there are who exclaim: Alas! What evils ravage the earth! Yet sin is the only evil, and there is none other besides.

 

2. It is marvelous, that a being, gifted with reason, should, of its own accord, commit sin, which, in its very nature, is so unbecoming and detestable, that, even were there no heaven nor hell, it ought to be shunned on account of its inherent foulness.

If thou considerest the infinite majesty of Him that is offended, and the infinite meanness of the one offending; thou wilt understand that sin is in some sort an infinite evil.

Whoever sins mortally, assails God, and would do away with God Himself, if that were possible: nor is it for want of will, on the part of the sinner, that the God of heaven and earth is not destroyed.

 

3. So great an evil is sin, that, in order to destroy this hell-born monster, and to satisfy the divine justice, I, the Son of the Most High, must needs come down from My throne of Majesty, and being made man, suffer during life a ceaseless martyrdom, and, at last, writhing in agony, expire upon a cross.

Alas! Wretched man, how canst thou love to do that, which has cost Me so much? Or how canst thou be willing, for a moment’s pleasure, to renew all My toils, My sufferings, and My most bitter death?

When thou sinnest mortally, thou makest thyself guilty of a far more grievous crime than the Jews, My torturers. For these, had they known Me as the Lord of eternal glory, would never have put Me to death. But thou, thou knowest Me: yea, thou knowest who, and how good I am, and thou knowest this by the experience of My favors.

 

4. Was it not by My charity alone, that I not only created, redeemed, and preserved thee; but that I ever protected, guided, and cherished thee more kindly than the most tender-hearted parent?

Whatever thou art, whatever thou hast, I have given thee, and, over and above all, I have given thee My own Self: and is this the return which thou makest?

Behold, if thou throwest to an animal, devoid of reason, a morsel of the meanest food, it shows thee gratefulness, as much as it is able. But I have bestowed upon thee boundless favors, and, in return, thou persecutest Me, even unto the death! Reflect, then, what shouldst thou think of thyself?

 

5. O child of My everlasting love! Whom I have loved more than My life, sin thou no more.

If thou lovest Me, yea, if thou lovest thyself, flee from sin.

For, whenever thou committest a mortal sin, thou diest in a supernatural manner; thou losest whatever merits thou didst possess; thou dost forfeit thy right to the heavenly inheritance; thou becomest a co-heir with the devils; thou givest the preference to misery over bliss, to hell over heaven, to Satan over Me.

Meditate upon these things, My Child, that thou mayst learn fully, as far as the human mind can understand, how great an evil sin is; and that thou mayst shun that which alone can make thee wretched for evermore.

 

6. The voice of the Disciple. O my soul! Behold sin! Truly the greatest of evils, that places man below the brute, blocks up the gates of heaven, throws open the abyss of hell. O monster to be abhorred, a thousand times more frightful than the demon himself!

O my God! I blush to own it, and disown it I cannot, I have become the vilest slave of sin, and by the greatest madness, the greatest ingratitude, the greatest malice; with it, and by it, I have again and again insulted Thy dread Majesty, before which the awe-struck Angels tremble with reverence.

I feel wholly confounded, because I have become viler than any irrational creature; I have done iniquity, which my reason disapproved, and I have misused all the powers of my soul, all the senses of my body.

 

7. O Lord my God! Thou didst establish in me Thy sweet likeness; and I, after having denied the same, have substituted in its stead the horrid image of Satan; yea, in various ways, I have rendered myself even more horrible than the devil.

He sinned through pride, when no punishment had yet been inflicted for sin; I sinned knowing, but disregarding Thy vengeance: he was placed in innocence but once; I was restored to it so many times: he rose up against Him who made him – I against Him, who also remade me.

Most wretched sinner that I am; for nothing, yea, for an object baser than nothing, I have voluntarily cast aside Thy friendship, the blissful peace of my soul, the right to eternal beatitude; I have delivered myself up, as a hapless slave, to the devil; thus sharing from this time his unhappy condition, and ready to partake of his never-ending torments, unless, returning to my senses, I find mercy in Thy Heart.

 

8. I acknowledge, Lord Jesus, that I am unworthy to find that mercy, which I have so often abused: I am not worthy to serve Thee, since I have become the slave of the devil. If Thou wilt treat me as I deserve, hell must be my abode.

Yet, Jesus, my Savior! there is infinite mercy in Thy Heart: my very sins show this: for unless Thy mercy were infinite, Thou wouldst never have tolerated the infinite malice of my sins.

O Jesus! have pity on me, according to Thy great mercy. A suppliant, I implore forgiveness; I hope that Thou wilt pardon me, a wretched sinner. I am sincerely sorry for the sins I have committed, and I firmly resolve to serve Thee faithfully henceforth, and to love Thee fervently.

 


“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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