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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 December 9, 2019

Happiness is secured through virtue; it is a good attained b...

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December 9

 

Happiness is secured through virtue;
it is a good attained by man’s own will.

St. Thomas Aquinas


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

Inspired by a sermon on the virtue of chastity, they mutuall...

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St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

Juan Diego was born in Cuautlitlán – today part of Mexico City – in the year 1474 and given the name "Cuauhtlatoatzin" or "Eagle that speaks". He was a gifted member of the Chichimeca people, one of the more culturally advanced indigenous groups living in the Anáhuac Valley.

In 1524, at fifty years of age, Juan Diego was baptized with his wife Maria Lucia by one of the first Franciscan missionaries to arrive in Mexico, Fray Pedro de Gante. His religious fervor, his simple artlessness, and his respectful but gracious demeanor are among his defining characteristics. It is said that after their baptism, he and his wife, inspired by a sermon on the virtue of chastity, mutually decided to embrace this evangelical counsel by living celibately afterwards. After the 1529 death of his wife, Juan Diego moved to be near his aged uncle Juan Bernardino in Tolpetlac. Thereafter, the pious widower was in the habit of walking to the Franciscan mission at Tlatelolco for religious instruction and to perform his religious duties. His frequent journeys took him close by the hill at Tepeyac.

At daybreak on Saturday, December 9, 1531, Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass as usual, when he suddenly heard the exquisite sound of many birds singing. The beautiful melody came from higher up the hill, and thinking himself transported to heaven, his whole being attracted by the sound, he let it draw him up the Tepeyac. When the birdsongs suddenly ceased, he heard his name called in his native Náhuatl language and he beheld a beautiful young maiden. She called him to come closer and Juan Diego, “filled with admiration for the way her perfect grandeur exceeded all imagination,” prostrated himself in her presence. With unutterable sweetness, she revealed her identity to him “… the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence. He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth.” She asked him to go to the bishop in Mexico City, Don Fray Juan de Zumárraga, and to request in her name that a shrine be built at Tepeyac, where she promised to pour out abundant graces upon those who invoked her.

After some difficulty in gaining admission to the bishop, the humble messenger recounted the marvels he had witnessed and delivered the lady’s message. However, the prelate’s response was discouraging and Juan Diego left downcast and disappointed.

The Queen of Heaven was waiting for him at the top of Tepeyac on his return that evening, and casting himself down he told her of his heart’s sorrow at meeting with incredulity on the part of the bishop and adds: “I beg you, my Lady, Queen, my little girl, to have one of the nobles who are held in esteem, one who is known, respected, honored, [have him] carry, take your dear breath, your dear word, so that he will be believed. Because I am really [just] a man from the country, I am a [porter’s] rope … a man of no importance: I myself need to be led, carried on someone’s back. That place you are sending me to is a place where I’m not used to going or spending any time in, my little Virgin, my Youngest Daughter, my Lady, Little girl.”

With great gentleness, she tells him that he is the one that must carry out this commission. And Juan Diego promises that he will return to the bishop the following day with her request.

Despite the obstacles posed by the bishop’s attendants, Juan Diego was again admitted into his presence. Don Juan de Zumárraga questioned the Indian kneeling before him thoroughly but remained unmoved by the man’s account. Not on his word alone would he believe, he told him, a sign must be given to prove that the apparition was indeed from heaven.

Undaunted by the prelate’s request, he returns to Tepeyac to convey it to Our Lady, who asks him to return in the morning that she might give it to him. During the night, however, Juan Diego’s sick uncle worsens and it is clear that he is dying. Shortly after midnight, his nephew sets off for Tlatilolco to summon one of the priests that he might confess and prepare for death.

Not wanting to meet the beautiful Lady, who would surely want to send him to the bishop with the “proof” he had requested, he hurried along, set on his task. But the Queen of Heaven came down to meet him and gently chiding him she asked, “What is happening, youngest and dearest of all my sons? Where are you going, where are you headed?” Humbling himself before her, he told her of his uncle’s grave illness and his need for a priest to assist him. She assured him that the illness was not grave and that he had nothing to fear on that account. Her solicitude filled him with joy and consolation: “Am I not here, I, who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you, disturb you; do not let your uncle’s illness pressure you with grief, because he will not die of it now. You may be certain that he is already well…” And, as they later found out, his uncle became well at that very moment.

Full of confidence, Juan Diego begged her to send him immediately to the bishop with the sign she had promised. The Blessed Mother told him to climb the hill and to pick the flowers that he would find there. He obeyed, and although it was winter time and the frost at that time of year was very harsh, he found flowers of many kinds, in full bloom. Astonished, he cut and gathered the fragrant blossoms and took them to Our Lady who carefully arranged them in his mantle – the rough-woven “tilma” worn by his people – and told him to take them to the bishop as "proof". When he opened his tilma to show the bishop the profusion of blooms, the flowers fell to the ground, and there remained impressed upon his cloak an image of the Blessed Mother, the apparition at Tepeyac.

With the Bishop's permission, Juan Diego lived the rest of his life as a hermit in a small hut near the chapel where the miraculous image was placed for veneration. Here he cared for the church and the first pilgrims who came to pray to the Mother of Jesus. He died in 1548 and was buried in the first chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. He was beatified on May 6, 1990 by Pope John Paul II in the Basilica of Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Mexico City and canonized by him on July 31, 2002.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Allow me to live, work, suffer, be consumed and die for Thee...

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Prayer to the Immaculate Conception

Allow me to praise Thee, O most holy Virgin Mary, with my personal commitment and sacrifice.

Allow me to live, work, suffer, be consumed and die for Thee, just for Thee.

Allow me to bring the whole world to Thee.

Allow me to contribute to your ever-greater exaltation, to Thine greatest possible exaltation.

Allow me to give Thee such glory that no one else has ever given up to now.

Allow others to surpass me in zeal for Thine exaltation and me to surpass them, so that by means of such noble rivalry, your glory may increase ever more profoundly, ever more rapidly, ever more intensely as He Who has exalted Thee so indescribably, above all other beings Himself desires.   Amen

By Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe

 

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