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Sunday, April 5, 2020

How to Love As Jesus Loves~4

(Chapter 4)
  
    Studying this brief chapter opens hearts in humble preparation for Lent. Holy contrition sets aside entitlement to any pride filled perception of spiritual vigor. A closer look at its deepest meaning facilitates a sublime contrition that unites our hearts with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The author states "Contrition must be supernatural." Rather than focusing upon "giving up" something of our limited human design, our soul becomes more available to understand what God wants this Lent. Only He knows the glories and beauty of the path He has selected for us!
     Timeless Catholic writings are keys that help us to appreciate the vast treasures of our faith. I look forward to sharing more about  How to Love As Jesus Loves, Unlocking the Treasures of Christ's Sacred Heart,  by Francis P. Donnelly, S.J.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

How to Love As Jesus Loves~3

(Chapters 5 and 6 Healing and Holiness)
     In chapter 5, the author contrasts the hearts reaction to two types of interpersonal loss: death and separation. Father Donnelly's depiction of the seemingly irreparably broken heart's response to these types of loss underscores the supernatural depth of healing afforded to us by Jesus. Christ's Sacred Heart remains lacerated to provide us with a healing outpouring of His love. The author explains: "There was, then, no wound of death which His heart did not feel and there was no wound of estrangement which He was not called upon to suffer."
     Chapter 6 reminds us that Our Blessed Lord also teaches us that our hearts are the source of both holiness and sinfulness. Do our seemingly charitable actions come from hypocricy or Christian love? Our true motives are determined by the condition of our hearts. "What comes out of the heart reaches a wire which sends a man's soul over the wide chasm of the grave into the the unending depths of Heaven or Hell.", writes Father Donnelly.
      Timeless Catholic writings are keys that help us to appreciate the vast treasures of our faith. I look forward to sharing more about  How to Love As Jesus Loves, Unlocking the Treasures of Christ's Sacred Heart,  by Francis P. Donnelly, S.J.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

How to Love As Jesus Loves~2

(Chapters 2 and 3 Meekness and Humiliy )
     Anger, pride and vengeance are powerful motivations for many unfortunate actions. Resultant mortal tragedies are all too frequent. We learn in these chapters of How to Love As Jesus Loves, Unlocking the Treasures of Christ's Sacred Heart,  by Francis P. Donnelly, S.J., about the overriding supernatural efficacy of meekness and humility in drawing us closer to Christ in all of life's circumstances. The author contrasts the stregth of meekness with anger's "unlovely daughters". Referring to the limitless meekness and humility we see in Our Lord's words and actions, as the "school of Christ", we, His "students", are again reminded of the need to be like children, to grow in holiness, virtue and  love for one another. In a beautiful weekday Mass sermon our priest explained that we are unlikely to err when the motivation of our actions is truly the love of Jesus.
      Timeless Catholic writings are keys that help us to appreciate the vast treasures of our faith. I look forward to sharing more about  How to Love As Jesus Loves, Unlocking the Treasures of Christ's Sacred Heart,  by Francis P. Donnelly, S.J.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

How to Love As Jesus Loves~1

(Introduction and first chapter)  
     We learn from Holy Scripture that God commands us to love Him with our whole heart, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Holy Mother Church teaches us that we cannot approach the Eucharist if within our heart resides any hatred towards another. Regardless of the depth of pain we experience at the hand of others, Jesus requires that we forgive "seventy times seven." From the Cross itself Jesus prays for Divine forgiveness for His persecutors. His love is without limits. Mary presents us with a perfect example of loving obedience to Gods's will. Further, she instructs us to do what Jesus tells us. We are to love as Jesus loves.
      So, how do we accomplish this daunting feat?
      Father Donnelly introduces this theologically rich work by clarifying the meaning of devotion. He explains the symbolism of the Sacred Heart of  Our Savior. With a vivid metaphor, he illustrates the mystical significance of the hearts of Jesus and Mary.
      Jesus' intercession on our behaĺf is expressed in this beautiful quote at the end of the first chapter:
     "The unbelief of Thomas was the occasion of showing us that Christ did not permit His wounds to be closed. They are still open, and the most eloquent intercession comes from the wound of the Heart."
      Father Donnelly (1869-1959) was a uniquely gifted author, poet, teacher and priest, who also wrote the lyrics to hundreds of hymns.
      Timeless Catholic writings are keys that help us to appreciate the vast treasures of our faith. I look forward to sharing more about  How to Love As Jesus Loves, Unlocking the Treasures of Christ's Sacred Heart,  by Francis P. Donnelly, S.J.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation~12 Self Denial and Love of the Cross

  In December, we commemorate the Immaculate conception of Mary and the Divine Infancy. Mary's life was dedicated to Jesus from the moment of her conception. Jesus gave His life for our salvation.
 Mary was the perfect example of self denial and love of the Cross.
Jesus' passion and death freed us from eternal separation from God. 
     Mary's early life was dedicated to God in humble prayer: her "yes" as the mother of Jesus, her fidelity to Jesus as she followed Him along the Via Crucis. She united her suffering to that of her Son. By her perfect example, we learn to follow Jesus as true Christians. 
     In  The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation  Saint Alphonsus Liguori writes that the suffering is a means of atoning for past sins ans well as a proof of love for another." Mary Magdalen de P'Azzi said 'every pain, howsoever great becomes sweet when we contemplate Jesus on the cross.'"
My favorite quote from this chapter is," The best prayer you can say is to resign yourself to the will of God in the midst of your sufferings, uniting your pains to the pains of Jesus Christ and offering them as a sacrifice to God."  Beginning a new year intending the development of virtues described in The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation brings to my memory a dear elederly man who suffered many illness and pains at the end of his life. He smiled and spoke of offering these sufferings for his wife, children, relatives and loved ones as well as for the holy souls in purgatory and persons who had hurt him during his life How fortunate are all who are on his "prayer list"! God bless you and Happy New Year! 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation~11 Prayer

Always rejoice.
Pray without ceasing.
In all things give thanks; 
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible
     As Catholic Christians, we believe in the eternity the soul. We are commanded by God to pray for one another "Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much." James 5:16 Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible
     During the Month of November, the Catholic Church commemorates the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Our relationship with the Poor Souls in Purgatory is a loving example of God's mercy and the power of prayer in Christian life.
    In  The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation  Saint Alphonsus Liguori writes about vocal and mental prayer and the importance of conformity to God's will. He writes "'Nothing', says Saint John Chrysostom, 'proves our love for Jesus Christ better than the zeal we have to oray for our Brethren.'"


  

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation~10 Recollection


He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; 
he it is that loveth me. 
And he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father: 
and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 
Judas saith to him, not the Iscariot: 
Lord, how is it, that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, 
and not to the world? 
Jesus answered, and said to him: 
If any one love me, he will keep my word, 
and my Father will love him, 
and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him.
John 14:21-23
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible

     The Holy Rosary and the Holy angels are commemorated during the month of October. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said that when we pray the Rosary, we are loving Jesus with the heart of Mary. We remember His healing miracles and teachings and apply them to our current lives, making every moment a step towards heaven. We open our lives to the love and mercy of Jesus, the Holy Spirit's guidance, an outpouring of God's graces delivered to us by our Blessed Mother, the assistance of Angels (especially our Guardian Angel) and Signal Graces.
     In  The 12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation  Saint Alphonsus Liguori writes, "To preserve recollection of spirit or the constant union of the soul with God, three things are necessary: solitude, silence, and the recollection of the presence of God." The Holy Rosary provides us with the opportunity for all three of these requirements."Love is always strengthened by the presence of the object loved."