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Header VOJ 8

Unless thou avoidest every voluntary sin,
thou shalt labor in vain, whatever
efforts thou mayst make.

Photo of Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue

 

1. The voice of Jesus. My Child, cleanse thy heart from every fault: and keep thyself carefully from the stain of even the least sin.

There is nothing, there can be nothing, for the sake of which it is allowed to commit a sin, however light.

Wherefore, although thou mightst thereby save the whole world from ruin, it would be unlawful to offend Me, even in the least thing, since I am infinitely more excellent than the whole universe.

Some guard themselves against grievous offenses, but of light faults they render themselves guilty without scruple; a clear sign that they are rather governed by self-love, than by love for Me.

Deluded souls! they will learn, at their cost, how greatly they have deceived themselves.

 

2. Whoever overlooks little things, will gradually fail in great ones: and, having accustomed himself to think everything little, he will still fancy that all is well with him; when, without much uneasiness of conscience, he commits great sins.

In his folly, he finds it delightful to walk on the brink of the precipice: yet, it will come to pass, and that justly too, that, at the first slip of his foot, he is thrown headlong into the abyss.

Beware, therefore, of venial trespasses, lest thou fall into mortal sins.

As long as thou yieldest, even to the slightest fault, so long wilt thou expose thy salvation to danger.

 

3. Many seem heartily to abhor the renewal of My death by mortal sin; and yet, they cease not, by small offenses, to load My Heart with bitterness, and afflict It with continued sorrows.

Ah! My Child, consider again and again, and carefully attend to what thou art doing. For, whilst thou art willing to inflict a small wound on My Heart, perhaps thou shalt mistake, as has happened to many, and thou shalt pierce My Heart with a mortal blow.

O perverseness of the human heart! Many dread more to give offense to the meanest of men, than to Me, their God and Savior.

 

4. So long as thou continuest to sin, even slightly, thou shalt be ill at ease; nor shalt thou taste true happiness.

If thou hast thy perfection at heart, as it behooves, unless thou avoidest every voluntary sin, thou shalt labor in vain, whatever efforts thou mayst make.

For, venial sin lessens charity, brings on lukewarmness, vitiates acts of virtue, obstructs the sources of special grace; and, finally, despoiling, by degrees, the soul of her possessions, leaves her empty.

 

5. And for what is it, in most cases, that man exposes himself to evils so numerous, and so great? is it not for self-interest, or for self-gratification?

But consider, how great a loss will ensue, and how severely thou shalt have to suffer in purgatory.

There, torments are undergone, which far exceed all the pains of this world, and all the ills of life: nor shalt thou go thence, until thou hast paid the last farthing.

How exceedingly shalt thou then deplore, that thou didst commit even the smallest offense, on account of which thou perceivest, too late, alas! that thou art excluded from heaven, and most sorely tormented?

Do not, My Child, render useless My Heart’s desires and endeavors of making thee happy; neither be thou so thoughtless as to choose to be unhappy, in spite of Me.

 

6. The voice of the Disciple. Venial sin, O Lord, is then no small evil, since it offends Thy divine Majesty, wounds Thy Heart, deprives the soul of special graces and helps, hinders her progress, vitiates her good deeds, prepares the way for her destruction, exposes her to the danger of everlasting perdition, and excludes her from heaven.

And evils so great, I have deemed small! O what madness was mine! And, what is worse, I have committed them without number, without measure. My transgressions have exceeded all bounds.

Where are the limits? Behold! As many powers of the soul, and senses of the body as there are in me, so many kinds of sin: as many gifts and favors, so many faults of misuse or ungratefulness: as many species of employments, so many sorts of offenses.

Alas! amongst all my actions, even those of religion or of piety, which is the one wherein Thou findest not some short-coming?

O my soul, we commit so many faults through want of attention, by surprise, and through frailty, ought not these to suffice? Should we add greater ones through carelessness, through the abuse of our free-will, through malice?

Is this the return we make to the Lord, by whose goodness we live, to whose love we owe whatever we are and possess!

 

7. O Lord God, my Savior! that I have not perished beneath the weight and multitude of my offenses, this I acknowledge is altogether due to the kindness of Thy Heart: yea, to Thy Heart’s mercy it is owing, O Lord, that I have not been utterly destroyed.

I have been lowered to the dust: my strength has forsaken me; darkness has overspread me: my heart itself has grown faint within me. Lo! ever deeper have I sunk, and, through very weariness, I am now unable to extricate myself. 0, how great is my misery!

O! who shall give water to my eyes, and strength to my heart, that I may weep, and move Thee, O Lord, to set me free!

Have pity on me, good Jesus! and deliver me: cleanse and renew me wholly.

Inflame my heart with the love of Thy Heart: with Its divine fire do Thou consume my offenses: nor keep them for the fire of purgatory. Here, I beseech Thee, here let me burn and be cleansed in the fire of Thy sweet love; not there in the fire of avenging flames.

Behold! O most sweet Jesus, love for Thee will now make me do, what fear has hitherto been unable to effect: through love for Thee, I will shun every sin, even the slightest.

 


“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 November 24, 2020

The devotions we practice in honor of the glorious Virgin Ma...

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November 24

 

The devotions we practice in honor of the glorious Virgin Mary,
however trifling they may be,
are very pleasing to Her Divine Son, and
He rewards them with eternal glory.

St. Teresa of Avila


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Andrew Dung-Lac and the Martyrs of Vietnam

Vietnamese Christians were ordered to trample on a crucifix...

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St. Andrew Dung-Lac and the Martyrs of Vietnam

Born in 1795 in the Tonkinese town of Bac-Nihh in North Vietnam, Tran An Dung was the son of pagan parents. In search of work for themselves in 1807, his parents moved to the ancient citadel of Hanoi. Here their twelve-year-old son was taken care of by a catechist and for three years was instructed in the Catholic faith. Baptized in Vinh-Tri, he received the Christian name Andrew (Anrê) in baptism and went on to learn both Chinese and Latin and himself became a catechist. He was selected for further studies in theology and was ordained to the priesthood on March 15, 1823.

An exemplary pastor, Andrew was ardent and indefatigable in his preaching, often fasted, and drew many to the Faith by his simple and moral life. As a testament of the love which his congregation had for him, in 1835, when he was imprisoned during the persecution of the Annamite emperor Minh-Mang, his freedom was purchased exclusively by donations from his parishioners.

The Vietnamese Christians suffered unspeakably during this time. Beginning in 1832 Minh-Mang expelled all foreign missionaries and commanded all Vietnamese Christians to demonstrate their renunciation of the Catholic Faith by trampling on a crucifix. Churches were destroyed; religious instruction was forbidden. Christians were branded on the face with the words ta dao (false religion) and Christian families and villages were obliterated. Many endured extreme privations and hardship; many more were put to death for their fidelity to the Faith.

To avoid further persecution by the authorities, Andrew Dung changed his name to Lac and relocated to a different region. While visiting a fellow priest, in order to confess himself, Dung-Lac was arrested with Father Peter Thi on November 10, 1839. In exchange for a monetary ransom paid to their captors, the two priests were liberated, but their freedom was short-lived. Re-arrested not long afterwards, they were taken to Hanoi and severely tortured. They were beheaded shortly before Christmas Day on December 21, 1839.

The priests, Andrew Dung-Lac and Peter Thi, were beatified on May 27, 1900 by Pope Leo XIII and formed part of a group of Vietnamese martyrs beatified together on that day. Another group, Dominicans all, was beatified on May 20, 1906 and a third on May 2, 1909 both by Pope St. Pius X. A fourth group, which included two Spanish bishops, was beatified on April 29, 1951 by Pope Pius XII. All 117 martyrs were canonized in Rome on June 19, 1988 by Pope John Paul II.

These 117 martyrs met their deaths during several persecutions of Christians that swept through the Vietnamese peninsula between the years 1625 and 1886. Approximately 130,000 gave their lives for the Catholic Faith and further beatifications may be expected from amongst their glorious ranks. Among the 117 that have been canonized were 96 Vietnamese and 21 foreign missionaries. Of the Vietnamese group 37 were priests and 59 were lay people, among whom were catechists and tertiaries. One of them was a woman, mother of six children. Of the missionaries 11 were Spaniards: 6 bishops and 5 priests, all Dominicans; and 10 were French: 2 bishops and 8 priests from the Société des Missions Etrangères in Paris.

The tortures these martyrs endured were among the worst in the history of Christian martyrdom. The means included cutting off limbs joint by joint, ripping living bodies with red hot tongs, and the use of drugs to enslave the minds of the victims. Among the 117 Martyrs of Vietnam, 76 were beheaded, 21 were suffocated, 6 burnt alive, 5 mutilated and 9 died in prison as a result of torture.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared stan...

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The Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne

Born in 1814, Alphonse Ratisbonne was from a family of wealthy, well-known Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, France. In 1827, Alphonse’s older brother, Thèodore, converted to Catholicism and entered the priesthood, thus breaking with his anti-Catholic family whose hopes now lay in the young Alphonse. At 27, Alphonse was intelligent and well mannered. He had already finished his law degree, and decided to travel to Italy before marrying and assuming his responsibilities in the family business. However, God had other plans for him.

While in Rome, Alphonse visited works of art, and strictly out of cultural curiosity, a few Catholic churches. These visits hardened his anti-Catholic stance, and nourished his profound hatred for the Church. He also called on an old schoolmate and close friend, Gustave de Bussières.

Gustave was a Protestant and several times had tried, in vain, to win Alphonse over to his religious convictions. Alphonse was introduced to Gustave’s brother, Baron de Bussières, who had recently converted to Catholicism and become a close friend of Father Thèodore Ratisbonne. Because of the Baron’s Catholicism and closeness with his turncoat brother, Alphonse greatly disliked him.

On the eve of his departure, Alphonse reluctantly fulfilled his social obligation to leave his calling card at the Baron’s house as a farewell gesture.

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Hoping to avoid a meeting, Alphonse intended to leave his card discreetly and depart straight away, but was instead shown into the house. The Baron greeted the young Jew warmly, and before long, had persuaded him to remain a few more days in Rome. Inspired by grace, the Baron insisted Alphonse accept a Miraculous Medal and copy down a beautiful prayer: the Memorare. Alphonse could hardly contain his anger at his host’s boldness of proposing these things to him, but decided to take everything good-heartedly, planning to later describe the Baron as an eccentric.

During Alphonse’s stay, the Baron’s close friend, Count de La Ferronays, former French ambassador to the Holy See and a man of great virtue and piety, died quite suddenly. On the eve of his death, the Baron had asked the Count to pray the Memorare one hundred times for Alphonse’s conversion. It is possible that he offered his life to God for the conversion of the young Jewish banker.

A few days later, the Baron went to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte to arrange for his friend’s funeral. Alphonse reluctantly went with him, all the while making violent criticisms of the Church and mocking Catholic practices. When they arrived, the Baron entered the sacristy to arrange the funeral while Alphonse remained in the church.

When the Baron returned just a few minutes later, the young man was gone. He searched the church, and soon discovered his young friend kneeling close to an altar, weeping.  Alphonse himself tells us what happened in those few minutes he waited for the Baron: “I had only been in the church a short while when, all of a sudden, I felt totally uneasy for no apparent reason. I raised my eyes and saw that the whole building had disappeared. Only one side chapel had, so to say, gathered all the light. In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar. She was grandiose, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness, just as she is in the Miraculous Medal. An irresistible force attracted me to her. The Virgin made a gesture with her hand indicating I was to kneel.”

When de Bussières talked to Alphonse, he no longer found a Jew, but a convert who ardently desired baptism. The news of such an unexpected conversion immediately spread and caused a great commotion throughout Europe, and Pope Gregory XVI received the young convert, paternally. He ordered a detailed investigation with the rigor required by canon law, and concluded that the occurrence was a truly authentic miracle. 

Alphonse took the name Maria Alphonse at baptism, and, wishing to become a priest, was ordained a Jesuit in 1847. After some time, and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, he left the Jesuits and joined his brother Thèodore in founding the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, dedicated to the conversion of the Jews. Father Theodore spread his congregation throughout France and England, while Father Maria Alphonse went to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, he established a house of the congregation on the plot of land where the praetorium of Pilate had formerly stood.

The two brothers died in 1884, both famed and well-loved for their exceptional virtues.  

By Armando Santos  

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In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar"

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