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 by O Legionário magazine


Lord, once again Christmas approaches. Christianity hastens anew to adore Thee in the manger at Bethlehem, where Thou can be seen by the light of the twinkling star of Bethlehem or under the brighter and more splendorous light of Mary’s maternal and sweet gaze. Saint Joseph stands nearby, so captivated by Thee that he seems to take notice neither of the animals that surround Thee nor of the angels who have opened the heavens and can be heard and seen singing in the highest. In a short while, the Magi will arrive with their entourage, laden with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Through the centuries, others will also come to venerate Thy crib: from India, Ancient Nubia, Macedonia, Rome, Carthage, and Spain; Gauls, Franks, Germans, Angles, Saxons, and Normans. Both pilgrims and crusaders will come from the West to kiss the ground of the cave where Thou were born. Thy manger will be venerated all over the earth. In the great Gothic or Romanesque cathedrals, multitudes will gather around Thee, offering Thee presents of gold, silver, incense, and above all the piety and sincerity of their hearts.Reliquary containing the Holy Crib at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

Then will come the period of the Western discoveries in which the benefits of Thy Redemption will reach new lands. Incas, Aztecs, natives of various tribes, blacks from African shores or further inland, bronze-skinned Indians, slender and pensive Chinese, short and agile Japanese all will gather around Thy crib and adore Thee.

The star of Bethlehem now shines over the whole world. All peoples have heard the angelic promise, and all across the earth hearts of goodwill have found the inestimable treasure of Thy peace. Overcoming all obstacles, the Gospel has finally spread to people all over the world. In the midst of contemporary desolation, this great gathering of people from all nations and races around Thee is our only consolation and our only hope.

 

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Kneeling before Thee, we count ourselves among them. Look kindly on us, Lord, and have pity on us. There is something we would like to say.

Who are we? We are those who will not kneel before the modern Baal. We carry Thy law engraved upon the bronze of our hearts and do not allow the errors of our times to become engraved upon this bronze sanctified by Thy Redemption. We love the immaculate purity of orthodoxy above all else and reject any pact whatsoever with heresy, its wiles and infiltrations. We are merciful to the repentant sinner since, owing to our unworthiness and infidelity, we count ourselves among that number and we implore Thy mercy. We spare no criticism, either, of insolent and conceited impiety or of strutting vice that scorns virtue. We pity all men, particularly the blessed who suffer persecution for love of the Church, who are oppressed everywhere because they hunger and thirst for virtue; who are abandoned, ridiculed, betrayed, and disdained because they remain faithful to Thy Commandments.

Many are those whose suffering is not celebrated in contemporary literature: the Christian mother who will pray alone before Thy crib because her children no longer practice the Faith; the strong yet austere husband who is misunderstood or even loathed by his own because of his fidelity to Thy teachings; the faithful wife who bears the solitude of heart and soul because her husband’s frivolous habits have led to adultery, he who should be her support, her “other half”; the pious son or daughter who, while Christian homes are celebrating, sense how in their own home and family life, religion has been stifled by egotism, hedonism and secularism; the student who is shunned and mocked by his classmates because of his fidelity to Thee; the professor who is eschewed by colleagues because he will not condone their errors; the parish priest or bishop around whom a menacing wall of misunderstanding or indifference has been raised because he refuses to compromise the integrity of the doctrine entrusted to his care; the honest man made penniless for refusing to swindle.

Nativity Scene in the Church of Santa Maria in Via, RomeAll of these isolated people, scattered across the globe, ignorant of each other, now gather around Thee to offer Thee a gift and a prayer.

Their gift exceeds the sun and the stars, the oceans with all its riches, and the earth in all its splendor: they give themselves entirely and faithfully. By preferring complete orthodoxy over approval, purity over popularity among the impure, honesty over gold; by remaining faithful to Thy law even when this entails sacrificing career and fame, they attain perfection in their spiritual life by practicing love of God above all things, which is a sincere and lasting love.

Such love differs greatly from love as it is understood nowadays, which predominantly consists of gushy and illogical feelings, senseless and blurry affections, obscure self-condescension and trite justifications to appease one’s conscience. Instead theirs is true love, enlightened by Faith, justified by reason, seriousness, chastity and perseverance.

In a word, theirs is love of God.

They also offer a prayer for Thy holy and immaculate Church whom they love above all else in this world: for the pastors and the flock; foremost, for the pastor of pastors of the flock, that is for Peter, whom today we call Benedict. May the Church, which now moans as a captive in the dungeons of this anti-Christian “civilization,” finally triumph over this era of sin and implant a new civilization for Thy greater glory.

May the saintly become ever holier, may the good be sanctified, may sinners become good, and may the impious convert. May the impenitent who have rejected grace and are jeopardizing souls be dispersed, humbled, and their efforts frustrated. May the souls in Purgatory rise to Heaven straight away.

They also pray for themselves: may their orthodoxy be ever purer, their purity ever more rigorous. May they be more faithful amidst adversity, stand ever taller amidst humiliations, be more energetic in their struggles. May they be more terrible to the impious, yet more compassionate toward those who, ashamed of their sins, strive seriously to overcome them and acclaim virtue publicly.

Finally, they pray for Thy Grace, without which no will can durably persevere in good, and no soul can be saved; may it be more abundant in proportion to the number of their miseries and infidelities.

 


This adapted article was originally published in O Legionário, December 22, 1946. Taken from Crusade Magazine Nov-Dec1998

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 16, 2020

Today God invites you to do good; do it therefore today. Tom...

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July 16

 

Today God invites you to do good;
do it therefore today.
Tomorrow you may not have time, or
God may no longer call you to do it.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Elias saw the cloud as a symbol of the Virgin mentioned in t...

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel can be traced back to the hermits living on Mount Carmel in Israel during the Old Testament. This ancient community prayed for the advent of the Virgin-Mother through whom salvation was promised to mankind. In Hebrew, “Carmel” means “garden”. In ancient times this mountain was celebrated for its lush, verdant, and flowery beauty.

It was also on Mount Carmel that the Prophet Elijah prayed to God for rain during a terrible drought afflicting Israel for its sins and idolatry of Baal. The first sign that his prayer was answered was a tiny cloud that appeared in the sky out over the Mediterranean, the precursor of a great rainfall.

Elias saw the cloud as a symbol of the Virgin mentioned in the prophecies of Isaiah (7:14). The hermits took after his example and prayed likewise for the advent of the much-awaited Virgin who would become the mother of the Messiah. Praying thus became their spiritual mission.

Theologians see in that little cloud a figure of Mary, bringing salvation in the seventh age of the world. As the clouds arise out of the sea without the weight and the salinity of the waters, so has Mary arisen out of the human race without its stains.

In the twelfth century, St. Berthold, a Frenchman, pilgrim or crusader, came to Mount Carmel seeking to visit Elijah’s cave, and ended by founding a community imbued with the Marian spirit of the holy prophet and the hermits of old.

St. Brocard, successor of St. Berthold, set their way of life to a Rule, which was approved by Pope Innocent IV in 1247. From the time of St. Brocard, these monks were known as the “Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.”

Our Lady of Mount Carmel cannot be mentioned without also mentioning her brown scapular. On July 16, 1251, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, an English Carmelite monk, and then General of the Carmelite Order. On one arm she held the Child Jesus and on the other a brown garment called a scapular, to be draped over the front and back of a person. As she showed him this garment she said, “This shall be the privilege for you and for all the Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall be saved.”

This privilege is extended to lay persons who, wishing to participate in this promise, choose to be enrolled in a small version of the scapular by an officiating priest or deacon.

This practice must not be understood superstitiously or “magically”, but in light of Catholic teaching that perseverance in the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity are required for salvation.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protest...

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Walk to Conversion

In September, I brought the statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the home of Mr. John Black and his family in Kings City, California.  John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about thirteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California (though these are holy sites, they also serve as tourist attractions.)

“Who is this Junipero Serra anyways?”  he asked, as the tour guide shared the history of the mission. “Well,” the guide responded, “you are standing on his grave!”  Surprised, John looked down and read inscription on the stone. Sure enough, Blessed Father Junipero Serra was buried right there. “I became electrified,” John told me, “I had to learn more about this man and about the missions.”  The more he studied Blessed Serra, the founder of the first nine missions, the more impressed he became, and he decided to travel on-foot to all 21 missions. 

With the blessing of his wife, now left at home with their two infant sons, John left for his solo expedition, taking with him a single backpack, the bible and little money.  He told me that every mission he visited he felt the presence of someone receiving him, even if the mission was empty. He felt this ambiance in the missions so serene and uplifting, and began to realize it was the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that made him feel so at home.

At one point, John collapsed from exhaustion near a mission run by Franciscans, who kindly hosted him for the night. Before he left the next day, one of the friars gave him a first-class relic of Blessed Serra. Since he was Protestant, John did not know what a relic was, but not wanting to appear rude, he accepted it. Not long after he left the Franciscans, John became lost in the wilderness in the middle of the night. Through his exhaustion and fear he heard a voice say, “Let’s help John.” He had the distinct feeling that Blessed Serra was guiding him, and gathered the strength and courage to continue. About six hours later, he stumbled upon the next mission. “It was kind of a miracle,” he said, “I was really lost!”

During his journey, John slowly came to a realization. “I know what you want from me, God,” he thought to himself one day, “you what me to became a Catholic. That is what this is all about!” However, he still had many questions about aspects of Catholicism that have been rejected by his Protestant faith – mainly about the Blessed Mother. Yet, from that point on he received answers to all of his questions, especially his reservations about devotion to Mary: he believed that it was once again Blessed Serra answering him.

With the help of Blessed Serra, one problem after another was resolved in the solitude of his travels. By the time John reached the final mission, he wholly decided to become a Catholic. “I realized that by having devotion to Mary, you love Our Lord even more,” he told me.

John returned home, filled with zeal and enthusiasm for his newfound faith. He shared his astonishing experiences with his wife, and she too converted. “I feel at home in the Catholic church,” John said, “and I have never loved Our Lord Jesus Christ more than I do now.”

by Joseph Ferrara

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John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about fourteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California 

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