‘Crucifixion’ (circa 1600-1700)/The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA (PD-Art)
“TWO CRIMINALS WERE CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST. ONE WAS SAVED; DO NOT DESPAIR. ONE WAS NOT; DO NOT PRESUME.” – SAINT AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO
“How could I bear a crown of gold when the Lord bears a crown of thorns? And bears it for me!” – Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
“It is not the finest wood that feeds the fire of Divine love, but the wood of the Cross.” – Saint Ignatius of Loyola
“Oh cherished cross! Through thee, my most bitter trials are replete with graces!” – Saint Paul of the Cross
“Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.” – Saint Rose of Lima
‘Saint Francis Statue’/Pixabay
SUB TUUM PRAESÍDIUM
“Sub tuum praesídium confúgimus,
sancta Dei Génetrix;
nostras deprecatiónes ne despícias in necessitátibus,
sed a perículis cunctis líbera nos semper,
Virgo gloriósa et benedícta.”
[We fly to Thy protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.]
PRAYER OF LEO XIII
“Sancte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in próelio;
contra nequítiam et insídias diáboli esto praesídium.
Imperet illi Deus, súpplices deprecámur,
tuque, Prínceps milítiae caeléstis,
Sátanam aliósque spíritus malígnos,
qui ad perditiónem animárum pervagántur in mundo,
divína virtúte, in inférnum detrúde. Amen.”
[Saint Michael Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.]
‘The Virgin in Prayer’/Sassoferrato, National Gallery, London
“Think of Mary and Invoke Her in All Situations.”
“‘And the Virgin’s name was Mary’. Let us speak a little about this name, which is said to mean “star of the sea,” and which so well befits the Virgin Mother. Rightly is she likened to a star. As a star emits a ray without being dimmed, so the Virgin brought forth her Son without receiving any injury. The ray takes naught from the brightness of the star, nor the Son from His Mother’s virginal integrity. This is the noble star risen out of Jacob, whose ray illumines the whole world, whose splendour shines in the heavens, penetrates the abyss, and, traversing the whole earth, gives warmth rather to souls than to bodies, cherishing virtues, withering vices. Mary is that bright and incomparable star, whom we need to see raised above this vast sea, shining by her merits, and giving us light by her example.
All of you, who see yourselves amid the tides of the world, tossed by storms and tempests rather than walking on the land, do not turn your eyes away from this shining star, unless you want to be overwhelmed by the hurricane. If temptation storms, or you fall upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the star: Call upon Mary! If you are tossed by the waves of pride or ambition, detraction or envy, look to the star, call upon Mary. If anger or avarice or the desires of the flesh dash against the ship of your soul, turn your eyes to Mary. If troubled by the enormity of your crimes, ashamed of your guilty conscience, terrified by dread of the judgement, you begin to sink into the gulf of sadness or the abyss of despair, think of Mary.
In dangers, in anguish, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let her name be even on your lips, ever in your heart; and the better to obtain the help of her prayers, imitate the example of her life: Following her, you do not stray; invoking her, you do not despair; thinking of her, you do not wander; upheld by her, you do not fall; shielded by her, you do not fear; guided by her, you do not grow weary; favoured by her, you reach the goal. And thus you experience in yourself how good is that saying: ‘And the Virgin’s name was Mary'”.
‘The Symbols of the Eucharist’/© JanPietruszka/Stock Photo Secrets
‘From Admonitions to His Son by Saint Stephen’
“My dearest son, if you desire to honour the royal crown, I advise, I counsel, I urge you above all things to maintain the Catholic and Apostolic Faith with such diligence and care that you may be an example for all those placed under you by God and that all the clergy may rightly call you a man of true Christian profession. Failing to do this, you may be sure that you will not be called a Christian or a son of the Church. Indeed, in the Royal Palace – after the Faith itself – the Church holds second place, first propagated as she was by our Head, Christ; then transplanted, firmly constituted and spread through the whole world by His members, the Apostles and Holy Fathers. And though she always produced fresh offspring, nevertheless in certain places she is regarded as ancient.
However, dearest son, even now in our Kingdom the Church is proclaimed as young and newly planted; and for that reason, she needs more prudent and trustworthy guardians lest a benefit which the Divine Mercy bestowed on us undeservedly should be destroyed and annihilated through your idleness, indolence or neglect.
My beloved son, delight of my heart, hope of your posterity, I pray, I command, that at every time and in everything, strengthened by your devotion to me, you may show favour not only to relations and kin, or to the most eminent, be they leaders or rich men or neighbours or fellow-countrymen, but also to foreigners and to all who come to you. By fulfilling your duty in this way, you will reach the highest state of happiness. Be merciful to all who are suffering violence, always keeping in your heart the example of the Lord who said: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. Be patient with everyone, not only with the powerful but also with the weak.
Finally be strong lest prosperity lift you up too much or adversity cast you down. Be humble in this life, that God may raise you up in the next. Be truly moderate and do not punish or condemn anyone immoderately. Be gentle so that you may never oppose justice. Be honourable so that you may never voluntarily bring disgrace upon anyone. Be chaste so that you may avoid all the foulness of lust like the pangs of death.
All these virtues I have noted above make up the royal crown, and without them, no one is fit to rule here on earth or attain to the Heavenly Kingdom.”
(From ‘Office of Readings’ on August 16 for the Memorial of Saint Stephen of Hungary)
From a Discourse on the Psalms by Saint Augustine, Bishop – The Easter Alleluia
“Our thoughts in this present life should turn on the praise of God because it is in praising God that we shall rejoice forever in the life to come, and no one can be ready for the next life unless he trains himself for it now. So we praise God during our earthly life, and at the same time, we make our petitions to him. Our praise is expressed with joy, our petitions with yearning. We have been promised something we do not yet possess, and because the promise was made by one who keeps his word, we trust him and are glad; but insofar as possession is delayed, we can only long and yearn for it. It is good for us to persevere in longing until we receive what was promised, and yearning is over; then praise alone will remain.
Because there are these two periods of time – the one that now is, beset with the trials and troubles of this life, and the other yet to come, a life of everlasting serenity and joy – we are given two liturgical seasons, one before Easter and the other after. The season before Easter signifies the troubles in which we live here and now, while the time after Easter which we are celebrating at present signifies the happiness that will be ours in the future. What we commemorate before Easter is what we experience in this life; what we celebrate after Easter points to something we do not yet possess. This is why we keep the first season with fasting and prayer, but now the fast is over, and we devote the present season to praise. Such is the meaning of the Alleluia we sing.
Both these periods are represented and demonstrated for us in Christ our head. The Lord’s passion depicts for us our present life of trial – shows how we must suffer and be afflicted and finally die. The Lord’s resurrection and glorification show us the life that will be given to us in the future.
Now, therefore, brethren, we urge you to praise God. That is what we are all telling each other when we say Alleluia. You say to your neighbour, “Praise the Lord!” and he says the same to you. We are all urging one another to praise the Lord, and all thereby doing what each of us urges the other to do. But see that your praise comes from your whole being; in other words, see that you praise God not with your lips and voices alone, but with your minds, your lives and all your actions.
We are praising God now, assembled as we are here in Church; but when we go on our various ways again, it seems as if we cease to praise God. But provided we do not cease to live a good life, we shall always be praising God. You cease to praise God only when you swerve from justice and from what is pleasing to God. If you never turn aside from the good life, your tongue may be silent, but your actions will cry aloud, and God will perceive your intentions; for as our ears hear each other’s voices, so do God’s ears hear our thoughts.”
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Eucharist in Fruit Wreath, Oil on Canvas, 1648, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna/Jan Davidszoon de Heem/Wikipedia (PD-Art)
“You must receive through love that which Love alone caused to be given to you. No, you cannot consider our Saviour in an action more full of love or more tender than this. In it, He abases Himself, if we may so express it, and changes Himself into food, so that He may penetrate our souls and unite Himself most intimately to the heart and to the body of His faithful.” – Saint Francis de Sales
‘Eucharist in Fruit Wreath’, Oil on Canvas, 1648, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna/Jan Davidszoon de Heem/Wikipedia (PD-Art)
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: “The Chalice (of gold, silver and precious jewels) and the luminous Host, symbols of Salvation, are surrounded by an excessive amount of wheat and grapes of different types. Rare fruit of all kinds, large plums, peaches, cherries, oranges, lemons, and others in fine condition and state of ripeness together with hanging garlands, individual blooms, leaves, tendrils are all delicately painted as decoration and adornment. The lower plants, farther away from the light of heaven, droop and wilt.” (Image Description adapted from ‘Idle Speculations’)