Friday, December 31, 2010

M. I. Prayer Intentions for 2011


Immaculate Virgin Mary, my Mother, I consecrate myself to you this day, and forever, so that you may dispose of me as you wish for the salvation of souls. I ask you only, my Queen and Mother of the Church, that I may co-operate faithfully with your mission in the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth. I offer to you, Immaculate Heart of Mary, all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day:

[here insert monthly intentions]

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you, and for all who do not have recourse to you, especially for the enemies of Holy Church and those recommended to you.

That we may help our fellow Christians to come into the fullness of Christ’s Church.

That we may help the suffering, and bring them the consolation of Christ.

That we may unite our hearts with our crucified Lord and do penance for those who do not believe in Him.

That the Resurrection of your Son will remind us to trust in His Divine Mercy.

That your Motherly presence will guide our youth to answer Christ’s call to the priesthood and religious life

That through our confirmation we may open ourselves to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

That like St. Maximilian Kolbe we may have a deep love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and advance the Eucharistic Kingdom of love.

That we may imitate St. Maximilian Kolbe in giving ourselves for others, especially the vulnerable and forgotten.

That united with you, Mother of Sorrows, we may defend the unborn, the elderly and the sanctity of marriage.

That our Pontiff and bishops be guided by your Immaculate Heart in leading the People of God.

That the faithful departed come to rejoice with St. Maximilian and all the saints in Heaven.

That the coming of Christ may open our hearts to His saving truth.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Message from Br Louis.

Dear MIs,

May the Infant Jesus bless you and your dear ones this Christmas. For many it has been a diffcult year, let Christmas renew our hope!

As we come to adore the Christ Child in the crib, let us ask our Immaculate Mother to prepare our hearts to receive the graces, which our Saviour offers to each of us, especially in the Holy Eucharist.Our Heavenly Father has sent his Son for each of us. For God so loved the world......

Let us remember , the Crib leads us to the Cross, the Cross to the Resurrection. Thus we come to the Altar of God,where the Sacred mysteries of our Salvation are made present. Let us renew our devotion the Holy Mass and not be deceived into treating the Sacred Mysteries with such casual regard as by so many. Let us pray for our priests that they may be worthy stewards of the Sacred Mysteries. Out of love for us , Our Lord offered himself totally for us in all humility and poverty, in the crib, on the Cross and continues this offering upon the Altar. In total humility, He the Divine Mercy comes to us, fully present, as the Holy Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine. As our Emmanuel, Christ remains in the Blessed Sacrament, to be with us. Oh come let us adore Him! Let us be united with Him, so we can love our neigbour and be ready instruments of the Immaculata, to advance the Kingdom of the Most Sacred Heart.

The greatest gift we can offer to the Divine Infant is the gift of ourselves. This Christmas in union with the Immaculata may we surrender ourselves totally to Jesus. Lord thy will be done!

United with Our Lady may we pray to the Most High, " Be it done unto me according to thy Will!" Before the Crib this Christmas, may we be strengthened to go and share the good tidings of Christ, like the shepherds of Bethlehem. Our Mother of God and St Joseph may we receive the Word made flesh,with your purity and trust, God incarnate, so tender and mild!

May we be united in prayer this Christmas.

Br Louis Mary

Monday, November 29, 2010

St. Maximilian Speaks - On the Immaculate Conception

The Immaculata’s Place in God’s plan of Creation and Salvation

The Immaculata appears in this world, without the least stain of sin, the masterpiece of God’s hand, full of grace. God, the most Holy Trinity, beholds the lowliness (i.e. the humility, the root of all Her other virtues) of His handmaid, and ‘does great things’ for Her (cf. Lk 1:49). God the Father gives Her His own Son to be Her Son; God the Son descends into Her womb; and God the Holy Spirit forms the body of Christ in the womb of this most pure virgin. ‘And the Word was made flesh’ (Jn 1:14). The Immaculata becomes the Mother of God. The fruit of the love of God in His Trinitarian life and of Mary, the Immaculate, is Christ, the God-Man. Henceforth all the sons of God must be modelled after this first Son of God, the God-Man, the infinite One. They must reproduce His traits; by imitating Christ souls reach sanctity.

This is the union brought about by the spousal love of the soul for Christ, through its resemblance to Him, and by God’s action. But if anyone does not wish to have Mary Immaculate for his mother, he will not have Christ for his Brother.

Since the first born Son, the God-Man, was conceived only with specific consent of the most Blessed Virgin, the same must hold true for all men, who must be conformed to their first model in all things.

(From Sketches for a Book, 1940)

Novena to the Immaculate Conception

The Conventual Franciscan Friars and the Crusade of Mary Immaculate (M.I.) invite you to join us in praying this Solemn Novena in honour of the Immaculate Conception from November 29 to December 7. Entrust your petitions and special intentions to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God.

Opening prayer to the Immaculata

V. How fair You are, O Mary!
R. How fair You are, O Mary!

V. The original stain is not in You.
R. The original stain is not in You.

V. You are the boast of Jerusalem.
R. You are the joy of Israel.

V. You are the pride of our people.
R. You are the advocate of sinners.

V. O Mary!
R. O Mary!

V. You are the wisest of virgins.
R. You are the kindest of mothers.

V. Pray for us.
R. Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.

V. Holy Virgin, You were spotless from the very moment of Your conception.
R. Because You bore His Son, pray to the Father for us.

Let us pray:

Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, O God, You made ready a dwelling place worthy of Your Son. In anticipation of Your Son’s death You preserved Her from every stain. Please purify us by Her intercession, so that we might find our way to You. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Novena Prayer to the Immaculata

I greet You, ever-blessed Virgin, Mother of God, throne of grace, miracle of almighty power! I greet You, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity and Queen of the universe, Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners! Most loving Mother, attracted by Your beauty and sweetness, and by Your tender compassion, I confidently turn to You, and beg of You to obtain for me of Your dear Son the favour I request of this novena:

[Here to mention your request]

Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven, the most lively contrition for my many sins and the grace to imitate closely those virtues which You practiced so faithfully, especially humility, purity, and obedience. Above all, I beg You to be my mother and protectress, to receive me into the number of Your devoted children, and to guide me from Your high throne of glory. Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy! Have pity on me, and do not abandon me during life or at the moment of my death.

Daughter of the Eternal Father, Mother of the Eternal Son, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, temple of the adorable Trinity, pray for me. Immaculate and tender heart of Mary, refuge of sinners, filled with the most lively respect, love, and gratitude, I devote myself forever to Your service, and I offer You my heart with all that I am and all that belongs to me. Accept this offering, sweet Queen of heaven and earth, and obtain for me of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ, the favours I ask through Your intercession in this novena. Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God, perfect submission to His adorable will, the true spirit of a Christian, and the grace of final perseverance.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

St. Francis Anthony Fasani OFM Conv.

Feast Day - November 27

St. Francis Anthony Fasani was born in Lucera (south-east Italy) in 1681. He entered the Order of Friars Minor Conventual in 1695, taking the names of Saints Francis and Anthony, thus expressing his fervent desire to follow their example by consecrating himself to an evangelical and apostolic life. After his ordination, he taught philosophy to younger friars, served as guardian of his friary and later became provincial, exercising his office with charity and wisdom. He received a graduate degree in theology and from that time on Fr. Fasani was known to all as ‘Padre Maestro’ (‘Father Master’), a title which is still attributed to him today in Lucera.

The spiritual life of Fr. Fasani was characterized by those virtues that made him like his Seraphic Father St. Francis. In fact, it was said in Lucera: “Whoever wants to see how St. Francis looked while he was alive should come to see Padre Maestro.” In imitation of St. Francis, his whole religious life was a participation in the mysteries of Christ through the faithful practice of the evangelical counsels, which he considered to be a radical expression of perfect charity. In his constant prayers, inflamed with seraphic love, he called out to God, saying to Him: “O Highest Love, Immense Love, Eternal Love, Infinite Love.”

His fervent devotion to the Immaculate Mother of the Lord was nourished by his intense dedication to knowing ever better “who Mary is” and making her known to others, while at the same time knowing and making known the maternal role entrusted to her in the history of salvation with faith and love.

In his various ministries, he was loving, devout and penitential. He was a sought-after confessor and preacher. One witness at the canonical hearings regarding his holiness testified: “In his preaching he spoke in a familiar way, filled as he was with the love of God and neighbour; fired by the Spirit, he made use of the words and deeds of Holy Scripture, stirring his listeners and moving them to do penance.” Francis Anthony showed himself a loyal friend of the poor, never hesitating to seek from benefactors what was needed.

At his death in Lucera in 1742, children ran through the streets and cried out, “The saint is dead! The saint is dead!” But it was not until 1986 that he was canonized by Pope John Paul II. During his homily at the Mass of Canonization, John Paul observed that in the final analysis human holiness is decided by love. “He [Francis Anthony] made the love taught us by Christ the fundamental characteristic of his existence, the basic criterion of his thought and activity, the supreme summit of his aspirations.”

St. Francis Anthony Fasani, pray for us!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Let us remember to pray for the Christians of Iraq.

Let us not forget our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq, who are experiencing persecution for the name of Christ. Let us entrust them to Our Lady of Sorrows. May the Immaculata triumph over all the enemies of Christ. May they come into the saving Light of Christ!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Moment With Brother - On Purgatory

From time to time, readers of our humble publication, The Little Troubadour, write in for advice of the friars. Their questions or troubles often concern things that affect us all. Over the past year I have dedicated some space in our magazine to answer these questions. I thought it might be helpful to share them here as well.

Alex from Queensland wrote asking: “Brother, where do we find Purgatory in the Bible?”

Dear Alex,

Your question is a common question, an interesting question, but a question which nonetheless betrays a Protestant approach to Scripture. We need to remember that the Sacred Scriptures come to us through, with and in the Church. The Bible is the treasure of the Church, and separated from the Church’s understanding of Word of God (which is protected by the Holy Spirit), one can easily be led into error. The countless number of Protestant denominations which differ in scriptural interpretation attests to that reality. That’s not to say they are not sincere, good-living, Christian people; but when it comes to their beliefs, they unfortunately have lost the fullness of the Faith that has been passed on to us by the Apostles through the Church.

The word Purgatory is not found in the Bible, but the ancient belief in Purgatory is deeply grounded in what Scripture explicitly teaches about divine judgement, on the need for holiness to enter into the presence of God, and on the reality of the temporal punishment for sins which have been forgiven through Christ’s redemption. What we believe has been revealed to us by God through the Bible and in the Sacred Tradition. Sacred Tradition is not what the Church invents, but what has been passed on from the Apostles by the authority of Christ, through the Church, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit.

The Jews before Christ had already a limited understanding of the need for purification after death. This is revealed in the Old Testament in the Book of Maccabees – a book absent from the Protestant canon of Scripture. In 2 Macc 2:41-45 we read how prayers were offered in atonement for the dead. To this day Orthodox Jews pray the ‘Mourner’s Kaddish’ for their dead.

The Separated Orthodox and Coptic Churches also offer prayers for the dead and believe in the purification of the soul after death, even though they reject the Catholic name of Purgatory. The reality of purification from the consequences of sin after death is alluded to in the New Testament in passages such 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 and Matthew 5:25-26, 12:31-32. St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians teaches that imperfections and the consequences of misdeeds will be purged through fire which is a symbol of purification. The verses from Matthew’s gospel concern Our Lord speaking of how certain sins must be atoned for in the afterlife.

Finally, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of Heaven” (n. 1030). As I teach the children during Catechism lessons, if you were invited to dinner with someone famous, you would certainly want to be your best for the occasion. So you shower and make yourself presentable. Purgatory is our bath before we enter the eternal banquet of our Lord and God. Yes, Jesus saved us on the Cross, but the application of His mercy is also the experience of purification, of Purgatory, after death.

Alex pray, especially at Holy Mass, for your beloved dead and those who have no one to pray for them. It is a work of mercy and an act of love we can offer for our departed brothers and sisters.

God love you,

Br. Louis Mary

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christ the King

The Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, is celebrated each year on the last Sunday of Ordinary Time. It recognises that, through the event of the Incarnation, Christ reigns in history. It also looks forward to the final realisation of His Kingdom when God will be ‘all in all’ (1 Cor 15:28).

“Long live Christ the King!” Such were the dying words of Blessed Miguel Pro, priest and martyr, who was executed during the wave of anti-clericalism that gripped his native Mexico early last century. Blessed Miguel was a priest of the Jesuit Order. He had been forced to flee Mexico during his years of formation because of political instability, but returned after ordination to serve the Church in the face of grave religious persecution. The churches had been closed and the priests gone into hiding. In these difficult circumstances, Fr. Pro carried out his ministry secretly, adopting many disguises: dressing as a beggar to get him into homes to celebrate Mass; posing as a police officer in order to bring the sacraments to prisoners. He was eventually arrested on suspicion of political treason and was sentenced to death. On the day of his execution, Fr. Pro forgave his executioners, and refusing the blindfold, stretched out his arms in prayer proclaiming: “Viva Cristo Rey! – Long live Christ the King!”
We might ask ourselves what type of king would allow his faithful subject to suffer in this way? What sort of king is Christ that Blessed Miguel would die for him? A similar question is put to Christ himself in the Gospels. At his crucifixion, the soldiers, and one of those crucified with him, question Christ’s kingship. “If you are the King of the Jews,” they insist, “save yourself” (Lk 23:37). They mock him. For in light of the scandal of the cross, in his humility and weakness, our Lord appears to be anything but kingly.

But the Church in her Catechism teaches that “the true meaning of Christ’s kingdom is revealed only when he is raised high on the cross” (CCC, 440). For the cross is in truth the hour of his exaltation, the proclamation of the Kingdom – not one of power and domination, but a kingdom of love – a divine love that expresses itself in the Son of God’s intimate sharing in our human suffering and in the total gift of himself. In his Angelus Address for the Feast of Christ the King in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed that “the Cross is the ‘throne’ where he manifested his sublime kingship as a God of Love: by offering himself in expiation for the sin of the world, he defeated the ‘ruler of this world’ (Jn 12: 31) and established the Kingdom of God once and for all.”

Yet, while Christ already reigns, ‘all things of this world are not yet subjected to him’ (CCC, 680). We don’t have to look very far to know this to be true. Wherever there is hatred and injustice, the kingdom of God is not there. Whenever we find that human life is not respected – where there is poverty and hunger, abortion and the destruction of human embryos, wherever human rights are not upheld and people are exploited – we know that the kingdom of God has not yet fully come. In short, as long as there is sin, God’s kingdom is frustrated. That is why the first words of Jesus in his ministry are: ‘Repent – turn away from sin – for the kingdom of God is at hand’ (Mk 1:15).

Through our Baptism we have been turned away from sin, to share in the life of Christ, to share in our King’s victory over sin. It is our Christian duty to see that the divine life which God has given us is kept safe from the poison of sin, that the life of grace grow always stronger within us (cf. Rite of Baptism). Our recourse to the Sacrament of Penance and our participation in Christ’s loving sacrifice of the Cross through the Holy Eucharist, makes real Christ’s victory over sin and proclaims his kingdom present in our midst. “Christ already reigns through the Church” (CCC, 680), not as earthly power and privilege, but as the medium, the sacrament, of God’s love. The Church, as the sacrament of communion between God and humankind, through the grace of the Sacraments and works of charity, makes present the reign of Christ’s love.

The example of Blessed Miguel Pro is given to us as one who, by his Christ-like love, gave himself totally for the sake of the Kingdom. May we in our turn, by our loving fidelity to Christ and his Church, further his kingdom of justice, love and peace. May we allow Christ’s love to reign in our hearts, to overwhelm us, and flow out of us in love for God and neighbour.

Blessed Miguel Pro was born in Guadalupe, Mexico, in 1891. He was executed in 1927, and beatified by John Paul II as a martyr in 1988. His feast day is celebrated on November 23, the day of his execution.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

St. Maximilian Speaks - On Penance and Sacrifice

No Love Without Penance

Penance for the sake of penance would have no value; but it can be a helpful means in striving to love God. It is precisely because of this love for God that penance is practiced.

Our Holy Father St. Francis established an Order of Penance. He himself performed penances and that is why he became a seraph of divine love. Love without penance, without sacrifice, is not love. There are souls who would like to possess the love of God, but they avoid and fear to do penance. Without the spirit of penance and self-abnegation, there will be no love.

Accept Our Crosses

Is penance really necessary? Our Lord did not equivocate when he spoke of the need for penance, and the Immaculate Virgin entrusted St. Bernadette of Lourdes with the message of penance to be preached to others. But how to do penance? Not everyone’s health and obligations permit them to undertake severe penances, though all admit that crosses are to be found everywhere in life. The acceptance of these crosses in the spirit of penance is a wide field for the practice of penance.

Moreover, the fulfillment of our obligations, the accepting of the will of God at every moment of life and its fulfillment perfectly in action as well as in word and thought, requires a great deal of self-denial, especially of that which would appear to be more pleasant to us. This is indeed the most abundant source of penance.

Drink of the Chalice to its Dregs

In all things let us not forget to repeat with the Lord Jesus: ‘Not my will, but your will be done.’ And if God should judge it appropriate and, as in the Garden, require that we drink the chalice to the dregs, let us not forget that Jesus not only suffered but also rose in glory. So too we go to the glory of resurrection by the way of suffering and the cross.

(From Will to Love: Reflections for Daily Living by St. Maximilian Kolbe, ‘Prophet of the Civilization of Love’.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, patroness of the Secular Franciscan Order (along with saintly King Louis IX). She was born in 1207, the daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary. According to the custom of the time, while still a child she was betrothed to Louis, a German prince and landgrave of Thuringia and Hesse, leaving her family and homeland to be raised at her future husband's castle. Elizabeth very early became aware of God and was drawn to Him by love. She was fascinated by the chapel of the castle and would find every excuse she could, even while playing a game, to enter and genuflect before His presence. Even though she was raised in wealth and luxury, she also became aware of her duties toward her neighbour. When she won something in a game, she would share it with children who were poor. Elizabeth’s growing love for God led her to want to sacrifice for Him. She stopped wearing some of her finery as a sacrifice. Even at this early age she began the process of conversion and penance that is at the heart of Christianity and the Franciscan vocation.

Elizabeth took seriously her royal duties, and ruled with gentleness and prudence. Any spare time she had she devoted to the care of the poor, the sick, and especially the lepers. She built a hospital to take care of the sick, and at times would even take patients into the palace in order to care for them. During a famine she personally fed hundreds of needy people daily. The story is told that once when she was on her way with her cloak full of good things for the poor and sick, she met her husband, who teasingly blocked her path until she would show him what she was carrying away this time. When she unfurled her cloak, instead of finding food, he was astonished to behold fresh, fragrant roses, even through it was midwinter. Overcome, he reverently permitted Elizabeth to go on her charitable way. Louis gave his wife full liberty to do all the good her heart desired. But after his sudden death in battle, Elizabeth was driven out of the palace by her in-laws. She had nowhere to turn. Those whom she had helped dared not give her shelter fearing the resentment of their new masters. Though destitute and homeless after her husband’s death, rather than go home to Hungary she chose to live in her new country, where she could fulfil the choice of life she had made on behalf of the poor.

She was given refuge by a convent of Franciscan friars, and there found renewed inspiration for the work that she had already set her heart upon. Though eventually reinstated of her royal privileges, Elizabeth had so learned to love poverty and seclusion that she had no desire for worldly greatness. Her children returned to the palace, but she and her two maids remained in a small house near the Franciscan church in Marburg. There she led a quiet religious life, nursing the sick in the hospitals, and submitting her whole life to the direction of the learned and devout Friar Conrad.

Elizabeth died on November 19, 1231, when she was only 24 years old. The miracles that took place at her tomb were so numerous that Pope Gregory IX quickly canonized her in 1235.

The example of her enduring love and patience in the midst of disappointment and persecution is the enduring legacy of St. Elizabeth. Her conformation to the mind and heart of Christ her Saviour, who came not to be served but to serve, was evident throughout her life of charitable works. May we be inspired by her life, and be moved to give ourselves completely to the Lord as she did, in preferential love for the poor and lowly.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our Lady of Revelation

The Shrine of Our Lady of Revelation in Rome is located in a area called Tre Fontane, near where St. Paul was beheaded. This shrine of Our Lady is cared for by the Conventual Franciscan Friars. It is only a few minutes stroll from the Seraphicum, our international Seminary.

On April 12, 1947, Bruno Cornacchiola, an apostate Catholic who had become a bitter enemy of the Church, (so much so that he planned to assassinate the Pope), took his three children on a picnic to Tre Fontane. While Bruno was preparing a speech refuting devotion to Our Lady, he was interrupted by one of his children who had lost their soccer ball. While searching for the ball, Bruno found his younger son Gianfranco kneeling at the entrance to a dark cave. The child repeated, with his eyes fixed toward the inside of the cave: “Beautiful lady! Beautiful lady!” Bruno was greatly disturbed by his son’s strange behaviour. He called his other two children, but they joined their brother on their knees. He tried to move his children, but they were enraptured in ecstasy. Then suddenly Bruno also saw the beautiful woman. Her head was adorned by a halo of brilliant light. She had black hair, and was clothed in a white tunic gathered together by a rose sash. Over her tunic she wore a green mantle.

The Blessed Virgin identified herself to Bruno as the Virgin of Revelation. She proclaimed her relationship to each Person of the Blessed Trinity: the daughter of the Eternal Father, Mother of the Divine Son, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Our Lady said to Bruno: “You persecute me. Enough of it now! Enter into the true fold of God’s Kingdom on earth. The nine first Fridays (which he performed as a little child) has saved you.” She revealed to Bruno the sad condition of his soul, and he immediately recognised that the way to salvation is through the Holy Catholic Church.

Our Lady of Revelation taught him the importance of the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary. She said: “Pray much, and recite the Rosary for the conversion of sinners, of unbelievers, and all Christians.” She promised: “In this place I shall perform wonderful miracles for the conversion of unbelievers.” She also revealed the truth of her Assumption: “My body could not be allowed to decay. My Son came for me with His angels.” Our Lady also promised miracles through the use of the dirt from the cave where she appeared, and to this day many miracles have been granted through the use of this blessed earth as a token of trust in Our Lady’s intercession. Our Lady called herself the Virgin of Revelation as she also held the Sacred Scriptures in her hands. By this title she corrects the error of those who would claim that her role in salvation and her privileges are unscriptural.

Since then the grotto of apparition has become a shrine of the Church. Of course Bruno converted and devoted the rest of his life as a catechist and devotee of Our Lady. The original statue was blessed by Pope Pius XII. Miracles and conversions have been numberless. In Australia there is a shrine of Our Lady of Revelation in Bulsbrook, Western Australia.

Prayer to Our Lady of Revelation

O Most Holy Virgin of the Revelation, You who are in the Divine Trinity, we ask you to turn your merciful and kind eyes towards us.

O Mary you are our powerful advocate before God, and with the soil of the Grotto You obtain graces and miracles for the conversion of unbelievers and sinners. Obtain from your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, we beg you, the salvation of our soul, the health of our body and the graces that we so need.

(Here we make our petitions…)

Obtain for our Holy Church and her visible head the Supreme Pontiff the joy of seeing the conversion of her enemies, the spreading of the reign of Christ over all the earth, the true unity of all believers in Christ and the peace of all nations so that we can love and serve You in this life and thank You in Heaven for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

St. Maximilian Speaks - On Daily Suffering

Suffering at the Hands of others

To facilitate our work for the good of souls the Lord permits little crosses to come to us. This is a wide field for countless graces. Very profitable are those sufferings that we encounter at the hands of others. With what blessed hope we recite over and over the ‘Our Father’ and ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’. This prayer is given us by Jesus himself. Hence, it is sufficient to totally pardon all offences against us to be entitled to the forgiveness of our sins by God. What is true, of course, is that nature reacts badly to suffering and humiliation, but in the light of faith how necessary it is for our soul, how wonderful. Through suffering and humiliation we come closer to God and out of it grows the efficacy of our prayer, so that our missionary work may be more powerful.

Daily Duty is the Best Mortification

Mortification is a good thing, but within the bounds of holy obedience. The best mortification is that which flows from our everyday obligations, and so, those not dependent upon our own will, for those which we take upon ourselves by free choice may well favour self-love. When some cause for impatience arises, bear it serenely. This is the best mortification, for no one notices it, and in the course of the day there are numerous occasions for such mortification. I would like to note that it is important not to be imprudent in mortification. The Immaculata wills that we be healthy, therefore in event of some symptoms of illness, we should go to the infirmary for help. What is most to be recommended is mortification of the will. Everyone of us has his superiors, and he can train and exercise himself in obedience. By this mortification we can bring the greatest possible benefit to souls.

(From Will to Love: Reflections for Daily Living by St. Maximilian Kolbe, ‘Prophet of the Civilization of Love’.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Militia of the Immaculata

The Militia of the Immaculata (MI) is a worldwide evangelization movement founded by St. Maximilian Kolbe in 1917 that encourages total consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a means of spiritual renewal for individuals and society.

The MI movement is open to all Catholics over 7 years old. It employs prayer as the main weapon in the spiritual battle with evil. MIs also immerse themselves in apostolic initiatives throughout society, either individually or in groups, to deepen the knowledge of the Gospel and our Catholic Faith in them and in others.

Marian consecration is a formal act of self-giving that does not stop at Mary, but is Christ-directed. It is really consecration to Jesus. The MI's mission is "To Lead Every Individual With Mary to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus."

By joining the MI, members become willing instruments of Our Lady, the woman foreshadowed in Genesis 3:15. She leads them to personal sanctification, the conversion of Church opponents and ultimately the universal reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Militia of the Immaculata began on October 16, 1917, around a table at the Conventual Franciscan seminary in Rome. Maximilian Kolbe gathered six like-minded young friars before a statue of the Blessed Virgin and drafted a charter that would establish one of the most influential Marian apostolates ever. The charter still serves as a blueprint of spiritual progress for MI members today.

Since these humble beginnings, the MI has spread throughout the world and is today present on five continents and in forty-six nations. Official membership now nears four million.

Militia of the Immaculata