The CAPG's Blog
Friday in Ember-Week
On Exercising Works of Mercy:
Consider first, that in order to hind mercy, we mush show mercy. Blessed are the merciful, saith our Lord, for they shall obtain mercy. Matt. V 7. And on the other hand, judgment without mercy, saith St. James, to him that hath not done mercy, Ch.ii 13. God expressly rejects the fasts of them that refuse to show mercy to their neighbor, Isaias, Lviii. He declares he will neither give ear to their prayers, nor accept of their sacrifices, Prov. xxi. 13. Isai. i. 11,15,16,17,18. If then, my soul, thou desirest at this time effectually to sue for the divine mercy, in the forgiveness of thy sins; see that thy fasting and prayer be accompanied with alms-deeds. If thou have much, give abundantly; if thou have little, take care even so to be willing to bestow a little, Tob. iv. 9. This mercy and charity exercised by thee, will recommend thy fasting and thy prayer to that God who is all charity, and whose tender mercies are above all his works.
Consider secondly, how many days, and upon how many occasions, the word of God recommends alms giving to us. It promises an eternal kingdom in heaven, to all them that are diligent in this exercise, and threatens with eternal damnation all them that are negligent, St. Matt. xxv. It shows that the definitive sentence, which is to decide our eternal doom, is to pass upon each one of us according to he behavior in this respect, ibid. It encourages even the greatest sinners, to redeem their sins with alms, and their iniquities with works of mercy to the poor, Daniel iv. 24. That alms deliver from all sin, and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness, Tob. iv, 11. That Christ considers what is done for the poor, as done for himself, and will reward it accordingly, St. Matt. xxv. That he that hath mercy on the poor, lendeth to the Lord, and he will repay him, Prov. xix. 17. To pass over many other texts, promising all kind of good, both for this world and the next, to works of mercy; and threatening the hard-hearted and unmerciful with the worst of God's judgments. O! my soul, attend to these heavenly oracles: embrace with all the affection of thy heart this lovely virtue of mercy, the favorite daughter of the great King. it was mercy brought him down from heaven to thee; and mercy must carry thee up to him thither.
Consider thirdly, the conditions that must accompany our alms, that they may be capable of producing these great effects.
1. They must be liberal, and proportionable to our ability: he that soweth sparingly shall reap but sparingly. What then can the wordling expect, who for every penny he gives to God, in the person for the poor, gives a pound to the devil, and to his own passions and lusts?
2. our alms must be given with a pure intention: that is, not out of ostentation, or vain-glory, or for any other human motive, but for God's sake: otherwise they will have no reward from God.
3. Our alms can never effectually procure for us the remission of our sins; except we join with them a sincere resolution of loving and serving God for the future. Christians, take good notice of these three articles: and particularly remember, that neither alms, nor any thing else, can give any manner of security to any man that willfully persists in mortal sin.
Conclude to esteem, love, and practice, upon every occasion, this blessed virtue of mercy. But see that thy intention be pure: and beware of losing the benefit of it by an impenitent heart.
Source: Considerations upon Christian truths and Christian duties, Fr. Richard Challoner
Day 11 – March 6 - Catechism on the Real Presence
Our Lord is hidden there, waiting for us to come and visit Him, and make our request to Him. See how good He is! He accommodates Himself to our weakness. In Heaven, where we shall be glorious and triumphant, we shall see him in all His glory. If He had presented Himself before us in that glory now, we should not have dared to approach Him; but He hides Himself, like a person in a prison, who might say to us, "You do not see me, but that is no matter; ask of me all you wish and I will grant it." He is there in the Sacrament of His love, sighing and interceding incessantly with His Father for sinners. To what outrages does He not expose Himself, that He may remain in the midst of us! He is there to console us; and therefore we ought often to visit Him. How pleasing to Him is the short quarter of an hour that we steal from our occupations, from something of no use, to come and pray to Him, to visit Him, to console Him for all the outrages He receives! When He sees pure souls coming eagerly to Him, He smiles upon them. They come with that simplicity which pleases Him so much, to ask His pardon for all sinners, for the outrages of so many ungrateful men. What happiness do we not feel in the presence of God, when we find ourselves alone at His feet before the holy tabernacle! "Come, my soul, redouble your fervor; you are alone adoring your God. His eyes rest upon you alone." This good Savior is so full of love for us that He seeks us out everywhere.
Ah! if we had the eyes of angels with which to see Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is here present on this altar, and who is looking at us, how we should love Him! We should never more wish to part from Him. We should wish to remain always at His feet; it would be a foretaste of Heaven: all else would become insipid to us. But see, it is faith we lack. We are poor blind people; we have a mist before our eyes. Faith alone can dispel this mist. Soon, my children, when I shall hold Our Lord in my hands, when the good God blesses you, ask Him then to open the eyes of your heart; say to Him like the blind man of Jericho, "O Lord, make me see!" If you say to Him sincerely, "Make me see!" you will certainly obtain what you desire, because He wishes nothing but your happiness. He has His hands full of graces, seeking someone to distribute them to; Alas! and no one will have them.... Oh, indifference! Oh, ingratitude! My children, we are most unhappy that we do not understand these things! We shall understand them well one day; but it will then be too late!
Our Lord is there as a Victim; and a prayer that is very pleasing to God is to ask the Blessed Virgin to offer to the Eternal Father her Divine Son, all bleeding, all torn, for the conversion of sinners; it is the best prayer we can make, since, indeed, all prayers are made in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ. We must also thank God for all those indulgences that purify us from our sins... but we pay no attention to them. We tread upon indulgences, one might say, as we tread upon the sheaves of corn after the harvest. See, there are [indulgences] for hearing the catechism, for reciting the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, the Salve Regina, the Angelus. In short, the good God multiplies His graces upon us; and how sorry we shall be at the end of our lives that we did not profit by them!
When we are before the Blessed Sacrament, instead of looking about, let us shut our eyes and our mouth; let us open our heart: our good God will open His; we shall go to Him, He will come to us, the one to ask, the other to receive; it will be like a breath from one to the other. What sweetness do we not find in forgetting ourselves in order to seek God! The saints lost sight of themselves that they might see nothing but God, and labor for Him alone; they forgot all created objects in order to find Him alone. This is the way to reach Heaven.
Source: Lenten Reading plan: Daily readings from St. John Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests, by Fr. Bryan W. Jerabek