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Header VOJ 9

A good heart makes the soul happy,
gladdens heaven, terrifies hell.

Photo of Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue


1. The voice of Jesus. 
Well-beloved, if thou hast come to this, that thy heart has nothing wherewith to reproach thee, rejoice, yea rejoice, because peace, like a stream of bliss, is thine.

A good heart makes the soul happy, gladdens heaven, terrifies hell. But a wicked heart fills the sinner with wretchedness, moves the Saints with pity, inspires the demons with fiendish joy and exultation.

Picture to thyself all the possible calamities of this world; thou shalt never be able to imagine misfortunes so great, as those which the sinner bears in his heart.

How hard, how abject, is the slavery of the sinner! with how many chains, and how tightly lies he fettered beneath the yoke of the basest masters, the demon and his own tyrannical passions!

His understanding is bound with the chain of a dull ignorance, so that he may not see the truth: his will is chained with the fetters of an accursed malice, that he may not love goodness.

His senses are riveted with the fetters of concupiscence, that he may not follow righteousness: he is pressed down by the weight of the chains of his passionate desires, that he may not gain the sweet freedom of grace.

 

2. Who is more foolish than the sinner, who is himself the cause of his deepest degradation?

If, on earth, there be a foretaste of hell, it is surely in the heart of the wicked; who, inflamed with the fire of his passions, suffers all the tortures of an evil conscience.

How can he ever truly rejoice, who knows that, were the slender thread of life broken, he should be hurled into the depths of hell?

Verily, I know not how he dares betake himself to his nightly rest, who knows not whether he shall not awake in eternity as a reprobate?

 

3. The human heart necessarily strives after happiness: but, blindly hurried away by a mind unbridled and unsubdued, the sinner seeks happiness there, where only greater misery can be found.

Some seem to imagine that they may be able to satisfy their passions, by gratifying them completely; and that, when they are sated, then, at last, peace will come. Alas! how great an error!

For who, in order to put out a conflagration, will cast fresh fuel on the fire? Would he not, by so doing, rather increase than extinguish it?

Even so, if a man should sacrifice to his passions the salvation of his soul, and the health of his body; unsated still, they would exclaim: Thine we are, give us food.

O, were the heart of the sinner exposed, what wretchedness, what disgustful objects might be descried therein! Yet all things are open and visible to Me, who cannot err, and whom men cannot deceive.

 

4. A heart given to evil habits, sometimes goes so far that it no longer fancies, loves, or relishes anything, except what may gratify the passions: and, although it knows that it is hurrying on to an abyss of misery, yet it heeds not, but, like a senseless beast, it runs after its lusts, trampling under foot, not the good things of eternity alone, but also decency, and honor, and life itself.

The sinner needs no enemy to hurt or torment him: he himself is his own greatest enemy, and most cruel torturer.

Even from the things with which he seeks to delight and gratify himself, he is wont to receive manifold tortures.

 

5. How can he enjoy peace, who nourishes within himself the cause of his disturbance? or how can he even once breathe freely, who is the slave of the devil?

How unhappy must he be, who allows Satan to seat himself on the throne of his heart, and to be lord and master therein!

Blessed is he, that has never experienced the slavery of the devil! that has never groaned beneath the weight of the shackles of sin!

My Child, if thou hast never yet felt the wretchedness of the state of sin, rejoice thou with thy whole heart, and never seek to know what it is to serve the devil.

But if, unfortunately, thou art his subject, have pity on thy soul; eagerly cast off his yoke, burst his chains, enjoy the freedom of the children of God.

 

6. The voice of the Disciple. O Lord ! how great is the wretchedness of the state of sin! How truly unhappy is the soul, that languishes in this most pitiful state! what peace, what joy can she possess, when she has Thee, the Almighty and All-knowing One, for an enemy! when she knows herself banished from Thy Heart, her last place of refuge! when she is conscious that at any moment she may be plunged into fire everlasting.

How truly unhappy, when she cannot look up to heaven, without seeing that she has lost all right to the same! when she cannot look around her, without being upbraided, and without being terrified at every accident! when she cannot even cast down her eyes, without being silently reminded, that hell is her dwelling-place!

How truly unhappy, when she cannot turn to her own heart, without finding Satan therein! without being tortured therein as in a hell tasted beforehand, where there is nothing joyous, nothing consoling; but everywhere horror, and darkness, and dread, and torments.

O most wretched soul! how changed from what thou wast, when, adorned with celestial grace, ennobled by divine adoption, thou wast so fair, so great, as to be an object of wonder to the Saints and Angels!

How disfigured by sin! how abject! how base under every aspect!

 

7. O Jesus! would that I were able, even at the price of my blood, to undo what has unfortunately been done! would that I had never fallen into so great a wretchedness, but that I had rather lost my life instead of Thy grace!

O blessed are they that have never lost their innocence! that have never experienced the misery of the state of sin!

Restore to me, I entreat Thee, my first garment; give me back my innocence: and lo! in the newness of life I will so serve Thee, as to preserve it stainless for Thee all my days, even to the end.

 


“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 July 5, 2020

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do...

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July 5

 

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.
We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence,
but we rather have those because we have acted rightly.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

Aristotle


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

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Elizabeth of Portugal

Her goodness went as far as raising her husband’s illegiti...

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St. Elizabeth of Portugal

Elizabeth of Portugal known as “The Holy Queen” was born Isabel of Aragon in Zaragoza, Spain, the daughter of King Pedro III of Aragon and Queen Constanza of Naples. She was named after her great aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

From childhood, having received a most Christian upbringing, she learned to practice self-discipline, mortification of wayward tendencies, the avoidance of sin and the pursuit of virtue, prayer and union with God’s holy will.

Beautiful, talented and good, she was sought in marriage by several European monarchs, and was ultimately betrothed by proxy at the age of thirteen to King Dinis of Portugal.

A year and a half later she arrived in Portugal to assume her responsibilities as queen. Although he was an able ruler, her husband had an irate temper and sinful habits. While he respected and revered his queen, he was unfaithful to her and had several illegitimate children.

Elizabeth bore the conjugal betrayal with exquisite patience and heroic magnanimity, praying continuously for her wayward spouse. She and Dinis had two children: Constanza and Alfonso.

The young queen started her day with Mass and prayer, and then proceeded to see to the governance of her palace. In the free moments she sewed and embroidered with her ladies for the poor, and personally tended to their needs. Afternoons were dedicated to the care of the elderly, the poor or anyone else in want.

Amazingly talented, Elizabeth mastered several languages, sang beautifully, and enjoyed a remarkable understanding of engineering and architecture. She herself designed and oversaw the building of several churches, monasteries and hospitals, developing her own “Elizabethan Style.”

One day while inspecting a construction site, a girl approached and gave her a bouquet of flowers. The queen then distributed the flowers, one to each of the workers saying: “Let’s see if today you will work hard and well for this pay.” The men reverently placed their flower each in his own satchel, only to find, at the end of the day, a gold coin in place of the flower.

In her city Elizabeth built hostels for the poor, a hospital, a house for repentant wayward women, a free school for girls, and a hospice for abandoned children. She built bridges in dangerous places, visited and procured doctors for the ill, and endowed poor girls for the convent or for marriage. She kept a beautiful tiara and wedding dress to lend to poor brides so they could “shine” or their special day. Her goodness went as far as raising her husband’s illegitimate children.

A great devotee of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Most Holy centuries before the dogma was declared; she obtained from the bishop of Coimbra the establishment of the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, which was afterwards observed with great solemnity throughout the whole country.

A constant peacemaker, the holy queen ironed out many a conflict between bellicose rulers and nobles. Twice she reconciled her husband and son, on one occasion, even interposing her person between them in the battlefield.
In the end, Dinis died a most repentant man. In one of his poems he left his ultimate tribute to his ultimate queen:

God made you without peer
In goodness of heart and speech
As your equal does not exist,
My love, my lady, I thus sing:
Had God so wished,
You’d made a great king.  

After her husband’s death, Elizabeth took the habit of a Franciscan Tertiary and retired near a convent of Poor Clares which she had built, dedicating herself to the sick and the poor.

The saintly queen died at age sixty-five invoking Our Lady, and was canonized in 1625 by Pope Urban VIII who had vowed not to canonize anyone during his pontificate. He made the exception for Elizabeth at being promptly healed of a serious illness after praying to her.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. N...

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A Young Man and His Lady Love

In twelfth century England, a group of young men had gathered and were bragging of their various feats, as young men have done since the beginning of time.

The lively conversation went from archery to sword fighting to horsemanship, each trying to outdo the accomplishments of the others.

Finally, the young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

Thomas of Canterbury meant the most holy Virgin as the object of his affection, but afterwards, he felt some remorse at having made this boast. He did not want to offend his beloved Lady in any way.

Seeing all from her throne in heaven, Mary appeared to him in his trouble, and with a gracious sweetness said to him: "Thomas, what do you fear? You had reason to say that you loved me, and that you are beloved by me. Assure your companions of this, and as a pledge of the love I bear you, show them this gift that I make you."

The gift was a small box, containing a chasuble, blood-red in color. Mary, for the love she bore him, had obtained for him the grace to be a priest and a martyr, which indeed happened, for he was first made priest and afterwards Bishop of Canterbury, in England.

Many years later, he would indeed be persecuted by the king, and Thomas fled to the Cistercian monastery at Pontignac, in France.

Far from kith and kin, but never far from his Lady Love, he was attempting to mend his hair-cloth shirt that he usually wore and had ripped. Not being able to do it well, his beloved queen appeared to him, and, with special kindness, took the haircloth from his hand, and repaired it as it should be done.

After this, at the age of 50, he returned to Canterbury and died a martyr, having been put to death on account of his zeal for the Church.

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

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

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