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Header-First Friday Devotions Confirmed at Death

by Andrea F. Phillips

Heaven and earth shall pass away, 
but My words shall not pass away. Luke 21:33

 

My sister, Teresa, worked for many years for America Needs Fatima in Customer Service. In that position, she heard many a story of woe and wonder, pain and joy, sin and grace.

One such story was that of a lady who called America Needs Fatima to order a devotional prayer card. In the course of the conversation, she mentioned she had left the Church.

“You are obviously back, though,” asked Teresa.

“Yes,” confirmed the lady, “because of the First Fridays devotion my mother instilled in my brother and I, and because of his tragic death…”

My sister was now sympathizing and curious.

So the lady went on to relate that when she and her brother were children, their mother had taught them the devotion of the Nine First Fridays, which Our Lord Himself revealed to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in the seventeenth century.

 

Sacred Heart Devotional Set

 

St Margaret Mary & Our LordOur Lord told the saint: "In the excess of the mercy of My Heart, I promise you that My all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion* on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor will they die without receiving the sacraments; and My Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour."

In the company of their pious mother, brother and sister indeed received Holy Communion for nine consecutive First Fridays in honor of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

As they grew, matured, and began to lead their own lives, they were both confused by the innovations in their Church. They watched as the tabernacle was de-centralized, beautiful statues removed, churches built that resembled more assembly halls than places of prayer. For a while, devotions such as that of the Nine First Fridays were also de-emphasized. 

Eventually, not recognizing the Church of their youth, they left altogether, and their faith suffered.

Years later, the lady’s brother was driving down a highway when he collided with a freight truck. The truck was ditched, but those who rushed to the scene, were unaware that there was a car lodged somewhere under the massive frame…Inside, was the brother agonizing.

It so “happened” that on that stretch of road, there was a single house. In that house was a man who watched the whole scene. Running out to the spot of the accident, he convinced the rescue personnel that there was someone else, most likely fatally injured, under the wreckage.

On his directions, the rescuers managed to find the lady’s brother. He was badly wounded although still conscious.

And now the man who had assured them of the existence of another vehicle told the rescuers,

Our Lord helping a sick person“I’m a Catholic Priest and I’d like to offer the dying man the Church’s assistance.”

And so the lady’s brother, on acknowledging that he was indeed a Catholic, received the last rites. His soul was cleansed, and he was rejoined to Holy Mother Church.

There, on that lonely highway, Our Lord, Who three centuries before, had pledge His word to Saint Margaret Mary, fulfilled His promise to a dying man, who, when a little boy, had received Holy Communion in honor of His Sacred Heart for nine consecutive first Fridays.

What were the “chances” of that?

His sister, on hearing the story, decided there was no “chance” at all. She was so moved by Our Lord’s fidelity to His own promise that, once more confirmed in the faith she had abandoned, also returned Home.

 


 *Provided we are aware of no mortal sin still unconfessed.

 

 Also Read:  The Sacred Heart, Bridge and Refuge

 

Sacred Heart Devotional Set

 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for April 8, 2020

Every virtue in your soul is a precious ornament which makes...

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April 8

Every virtue in your soul
is a precious ornament
which makes you dear to God and to man.
But holy purity, the queen of virtues, the angelic virtue,
is a jewel so precious
that those who possess it become like the angels of God in Heaven,
even though clothed in mortal flesh.

St. John Bosco

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

 

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Julie Billiart

She was miraculously healed of the paralysis of her legs on...

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St. Julie Billiart

Born on July 12, 1751 in Cuvilly, France, Marie Rose Julie Billiard was the daughter of fairly well-to-do peasant farmers who also owned a small shop. From early childhood Julie had a keen interest in spiritual things and by seven years of age she had memorized the catechism and attained an understanding of it beyond her years.

During her youth, her father’s shop was robbed and her father attacked. This so traumatized his daughter that she became ill and gradually a physical paralysis took hold of her. Deprived of the use of her legs, she eventually had great difficulty in even speaking. Julie's paralysis lasted for twenty-two years, and throughout this whole trial she continued to teach her beloved catechism to children and to trust unwaveringly in the everlasting goodness of “le bon Dieu”. Her infirmities drove her to an even deeper life of prayer and union with God.

During the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution when the pastor of Cuvilly was superseded by a constitutional priest sworn to the new atheistic government, Julie influenced her friends and neighbors to boycott the intruder. Though an invalid herself, she worked to hide and assist fugitive priests who remained loyal to the Catholic Church, and for this charitable work she was herself persecuted and obliged to escape from place to place – on one occasion, hiding all night under a haystack.

While taking refuge with the aristocratic family of Gézaincourt, Julie met Françoise Blin de Bourdon, a noblewoman who had barely escaped the guillotine by the fall of Robespierre before her execution. The two became close friends and collaborators.

After the Terror, they both dedicated themselves to the spiritual care of poor children, and the Christian education of girls in a generation sorely neglected by the ravages of the Revolution.

In 1804, after a novena to Him, Julie Billiart was miraculously healed of the paralysis of her legs on the feast of Sacred Heart of Jesus. Now physically free to pursue a full range of activity, her educational work increased rapidly.

At odds with the bishop of Amiens through the meddling influence of a misguided young priest, Julie and Françoise were obliged to move to Namur, in present-day Belgium, where with the full support of the local bishop, they proceeded with their work, eventually founding the Institute of Notre Dame de Namur, today in sixteen countries around the world.

Julie Billiart died on April 8, 1816 while praying the Magnificat. She was canonized in 1969.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort...

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And He Stole Heaven

He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort, the infamous highwayman.
 
On his left hung another man, covered in the matted blood of his wounds. Yet, with the exception of a few intermittent words, there was no sound from him.

As time passed, the thief became more and more engrossed in the silent crucified beside him, and less and less in his own plight.St Dismas Picture

Indeed life is ironic, mused Dismas, this man who had lived in the open, and was acclaimed as a healer and even as a king, now hung beside him who had spent his life lurking and hiding.

And now they were lifted up, both on a high parallel. He could see the roof tops of the city, he could see the highways he had stalked, and he could see the way they had walked. Now he looked down on those gathered around this place of execution, the Roman soldiers, the Pharisees, the curious, the friends of the man beside him…and a young man supporting a lady directly beneath them...

And then he knew her; that upturned face, that maidenly majesty now wracked by sorrow, her tear-filled eyes fastened on the man on his left–Yes, he knew that face.

As the wheels of time rolled back in his mind,  his heart gave a jolt as he remembered that blessed day in the desert, decades ago, when a young family making its way to Egypt, sought refuge for the night in his family’s hovel. The man was strong and kind, the woman was the fairest his child’s eyes had seen, and she carried a golden haired babe, as if nothing in the universe was more precious.

He remembered the lady’s gaze on him, her beautiful eyes full of concern for the leprous sores on his young body. Then she and his mother talked. And next, he was being bathed in the same water the lady had just washed her infant son.

And then the sores were gone.  His mother wept for joy, and kissed the lady’s hands, and the baby’s feet. And even his robber-father was moved, and offered the strong man and his family the best in the house.

Now, in one revealing flash, he knew the identity of the wounded man on his left.  He looked again at the lady, and her eyes, those same sweet eyes of old, were on him once more.  
He felt his heart quiver, as the power of gratitude filled his being and softened his criminal soul.  And then came tears, rivers of tears.  When he could speak, he turned to the left,

“Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

And the Lord turned his face to him, His divine eyes on him, and he heard the most beautiful voice he had ever heard, a voice at once full of pain and full of strength, full of sweetness and full of majesty, a judge’s voice, and a father’s voice,

“Amen, amen I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise.”

 

By Andrea F. Phillips
Based on: A Legend of St. Dismas and Other Poems,
Copyright by P. J. Kenedy and Sons. 1927, p. 18.

 

Free Meditation Booklet - Be Still and Know That I AM GOD

He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort, the infamous highwayman.

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