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Header VOJ 21

 Observe carefully, with what objects thy heart busies
itself; by what it is moved, towards what it tends.

Photo of Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue

It is never at rest: when it escapes from one object, it is entangled in
another. It is excited by curiosity, it is allured by cupidity, it is
misled by vanity, it is defiled by pleasure, it is wasted by
sadness, it is tortured by envy, it is disturbed by love
and hatred, it is worried by its own misery, and
by worrying itself it is broken down.

(5.5 minute read…enjoy)

 

1. The Voice of Jesus

My Child, with all watchfulness, keep thy heart safe for Me: for from it proceeds either life or death.

The greatest and most pleasing gift thou canst offer, is to present thy whole heart irrevocably to Me; and thou canst have no better, nor more wholesome employment, than to preserve thy heart faithfully for Me.

In vain dost thou devote thy heart to Me, if thou do not guard it sedulously: for the enemy, even without thy being fully aware of it, will corrupt it and tear it away.

 

2. A man, loose in heart, and given up to outward things, may, indeed, on occasion of some swift passing fervor, devote his feelings to Me; but soon, when this warmth of devotion disappears, he will fall into a worse than his wonted low estate.

A heart not watched over, is rarely self-present, and more rarely still, mindful of Me: hence, in a short time, it becomes unfeeling, and grows hardened against things spiritual.

It lies open to everyone, like a public thoroughfare, through which thoughts, temptations, errors of every sort may freely pass.

All its enemies come and go through it; and, in various ways, disturb, defile, and corrupt it.

A man, given to outward things, never seriously gives heed to this; and, shrinking from the very thought of dwelling within himself, or of busying himself with what goes on in his heart, he endeavors to flee from himself, or to turn away his mind.

And thus the evil grows worse; and, from day to day, the condition of his heart becomes more dangerous.

 

3. If thou art unwilling to be the victim of miseries so great, remove their causes, and the effects will cease.

By calling to mind the divine Presence, by frequent recourse to Me, check thou all levity, and take heed, lest thou be too indulgent to thy ever-changing nature; which always seeks to go abroad, which is prone to vanity, which seeks to show itself everywhere, which studies continually how it may gratify the senses.

Shun things trifling and useless, shut out all outer things, with which it is not needful to busy thyself; accustom thyself to dwell within thyself, and to live interiorly in such a manner, as if thou wast alone with Me in the world.

Study, always and everywhere, to possess thyself and to be self-collected: to this thou mayst attain by grace, by effort, and by practice, so that it will become, as it were, natural to thee.

And, when thou hast acquired it, this self-presence of the mind will bring its own reward; for it is a boundless treasure to man.

 

4. The self-collected man keeps watch over all the avenues of the heart; Me, his God and Savior, he entertains within himself; with Me he deals generously, with Me he converses familiarly.

Everywhere self-possessed, he peacefully enjoys the Beloved of his soul, and is ever saved from weariness, and from numberless faults.

Whilst inwardly recollected, he makes progress in virtue; and, in spite of every obstacle, he hastens on to perfection.

Wherefore, allow not thy spirit to grow dissipated, My Child; neither on account of the appearance of external objects, nor on account of the varied throng of circumstances, nor on account of the urgency of labor, nor on account of the comfortless inward state of thy soul.

Observe carefully, with what objects thy heart busies itself; by what it is moved, towards what it tends.

Turn thyself wholly to interior things; and, intent on these, preserve inward peace, and rejoice in My presence.

 

The Voice of the Disciple

5. Grant me, I beseech Thee, Lord Jesus, an inward spirit, that I may keep my heart for Thee, that I may watch over its employments.

For I find it ever busy: but, by reason of my neglectfulness, it heeds neither place, nor time, nor objects.

Behold! Frequently have I surprised it in strange places, pouring out its feelings, whether of love or of aversion, distracted with emotions, becoming stained by the objects which engaged it.

Frequently have I found it to steal away and give itself up to dissipation, at the hours, yea at the very moments, which were specially consecrated to Thee; and when it ought to have been praying to Thee, praising Thee, loving Thee, and enjoying Thee.

How often have I seen it engaged with objects vain, or even forbidden, when it should have occupied itself with things good or useful!

When unguarded, it slips forthwith away, it runs to and fro, it is carried towards different objects, according as it is swayed by different impulses of nature.

It is never at rest: when it escapes from one object, it is entangled in another. It is excited by curiosity, it is allured by cupidity, it is misled by vanity, it is defiled by pleasure, it is wasted by sadness, it is tortured by envy, it is disturbed by love
and hatred, it is worried by its own misery, and by worrying itself it is broken down.

Thus is my heart busied, thus is it defiled, when I watch not over it, or when I am careless about it.

 

6. O Lord! How great the need of being vigilant! How great the need of guarding my heart! It must not only be made to stay at home in recollection, but it must also be kept busy, yet only with Thee or for Thee.

I must examine, then, by what it is impelled, whether by nature or by grace: how it acts, whether according to Thy good pleasure, or according to its own natural likings: what it has ultimately in view, Thee or itself.

And I must watch constantly, until my heart, in some manner, has grown accustomed, sweetly and courageously to follow, for love of Thee, the motion of grace.

O Jesus! Of how great an importance is this work! Whatever efforts be needed to accomplish it, behold! I will not cease to pursue the same, until I see it perfected.

If I loved Thee, if I were all captivated with Thy love, how easily, and how speedily should this work be completed! For, if my heart were filled with love for Thee, it would repose in Thee, it would not stray from Thee: in Thee it would find its happiness; all else it would, of its own accord, drive off or cast away.

O, sweetest Jesus! How wonderful is Thy love! Replenish Thou my heart with Thy love and Thy grace, and my heart will gladly stand watch over itself, will zealously reserve itself for Thee.

 


“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 April 19, 2021

He asked to die like a thief and steal Paradise....

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April 19

 

A dying man asked a dying man for eternal life. 
A man without possessions asked a poor man for a Kingdom. 
A thief at the door of death asked to die like a thief and steal Paradise. 
 
One would have thought a saint would have been the first soul 
purchased over the counter of Calvary by the red coins of Redemption. 
 

But in the Divine plan it was a thief 
who was the escort of the King of kings 
into Paradise.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

 
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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Alphege of Canterbury

Alphege hastened to the defense of his people, and pressing...

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St. Alphege of Canterbury

As a youth, Alphege became a monk in the monastery of Deerhurst in Gloucestershire, England, afterwards an anchorite and later an abbot in a monastery in Bath. At thirty, at the insistence of St. Dunstan and to his great consternation, he was elected Bishop of Winchester. As bishop, he maintained the same austerity of life as when a monk. During his episcopate he was so generous toward the poor that there were no beggars left in the diocese of Winchester.

Alphege served twenty-two years as bishop of this see and was then translated to the see of Canterbury at the death of Archbishop Aelfric.

During this period, England suffered from the ravages of the Danes who joined forces with the rebel Earl Edric, marched on Kent and laid siege to Canterbury. When the city was betrayed, there was a terrible massacre, men and women, old and young, dying by the sword.

The Archbishop hastened to the defense of his people, and pressing through the crowd begged the Danes to cease the carnage. He was immediately seized, roughly handled, and imprisoned.

A mysterious and deadly plague broke out among the Danes, and, despite the fact that the holy prelate had healed many of their own with his prayers and by giving them blessed bread, the Danes demanded an exorbitant ransom for his release. As the Archbishop protested that the country was too poor to pay such a price, he was brutally assassinated.

St. Alphege was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to die a violent death. In 1023, the martyr's body was translated with great ceremony to Canterbury accompanied by the Danish King Canute. Although he did not die directly in defense of the Faith, St. Alphege is considered a martyr of justice.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a...

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The Robber Who Stole Heaven

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. His occupation being what it was, he would only increase his property by decreasing that of his victims.

One day, he was admonished by a local religious to change his course of life and thereby insure his eternal salvation. The only answer the robber gave was that for him there was no remedy.

"Do not say so," said the religious, "do what I tell you. Fast on each Saturday in honor of the Virgin Mary, and on that day of the week do no harm to anyone. She will obtain for you the grace of not dying in God’s displeasure.”

The robber thought to himself, “This is a small price to pay to insure my salvation; I will do as this holy man has prescribed.” He then obediently followed the religious’ advice, and made a vow to continue to do so. That he might not break it, from that time on he traveled unarmed on Saturdays.

Many years later, our robber was apprehended on a given Saturday by the officers of justice, and that he might not break his oath, he allowed himself to be taken without resistance. The judge, seeing that he was now a gray-haired old man, wished to pardon him.

Then the truly miraculous occurred. Rather than jump for joy thanking the judge for his leniency, the old robber, said that he wished to die in punishment of his sins. He then made a public confession of all the sins of his life in that same judgment hall, weeping so bitterly that all present wept with him.

He was beheaded, a death reserved for the nobility, rather than hanged. Then his body was buried with little ceremony, in a grave dug nearby.
Very soon afterwards, the mother of God came down from Heaven with four holy virgins by her side. They took the robber’s dead body from that place, wrapped it in a rich cloth embroidered with gold, and bore it themselves to the gate of the city.

There the Blessed Virgin said to the guards: "Tell the bishop from me, to give an honorable burial, in such a church to this dead person, for he was my faithful servant." And thus it was done.

All the people in the village thronged to the spot where they found the corpse with the rich pall, and the bier on which it was placed. And from that moment on, says Caesarius of Heisterbach, all persons in that region began to fast on Saturdays in honor of she who was so kind to even a notorious robber.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. 

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