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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 January 17, 2021

People hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is they lo...

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January 17

 

People hate the truth
for the sake of whatever it is they love more than the truth.
They love truth when it shines warmly upon them
and hate it
when it rebukes them.

St. Augustine of Hippo


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Anthony of Egypt

Anthony’s parents died before he was twenty leaving him in...

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St. Anthony of Egypt

Anthony was born in 251 in the village of Koman, south of Memphis in Egypt. Anthony’s well-to-do parents died before he was twenty leaving him in charge of a younger sister, and the owner of a considerable estate.

In 272, wishing to leave all to follow Christ, after securing his sister’s support and upbringing, he distributed his holdings among the poor, and retired to a life of solitude. He lived a life of penance, sleeping on a rush mat on the bare floor, eating and drinking bread and water. The devil was allowed to attack him grievously, on one occasion subjecting him to a beating that left him for dead, only to be saved by friends.  Anthony emerged victorious from all these trials.

At the age of thirty-five, the holy hermit moved from his solitude in the vicinity of his native village, to a location across the eastern branch of the river Nile where he made his abode in some ruins on the summit of a mountain. There he lived for twenty years, rarely seeing any man except one who brought him bread every so often.

St. Athanasius, his friend and first biographer, speaks of Anthony as not only spending his time in prayer and meditation but also in making mats. He also gardened.

At fifty-four, being sought out by men who wanted to follow his way of life, Anthony founded his first monastery in Fayum in a series of scattered caves, which he visited occasionally.

In 311 as religious persecution again broke out under Emperor Maximinus, Anthony left his solitude to give courage to the martyrs in Alexandria. When the persecution abated, he returned to his previous solitude. He later founded another community of monks near the Nile called Pispir, though he continued to live on his mountain.

Years later, at the request of the bishops, Anthony again journeyed to Alexandria to confute the Arians, who denied the divinity of Christ. All ran to hear the holy hermit, and even pagans, struck by the dignity of his character, flocked around him. Heathen teachers and philosophers often sought him out, and were astounded at his meekness and wisdom.

Anthony died at age 101 surrounded by his spiritual sons in his hermitage on Mount Kolsim. His last words were, “Farewell, my children, Anthony is departing and will no longer be with you.” Thus saying, he stretched out his feet and calmly ceased to breathe.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

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

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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