❤️❤️❤️ Please join us Tuesday 02/15/22 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm ET). ❤️❤️❤️
Opening Prayer: The Memorare
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Modern Malady: Ancient Remedy
If you travel in Europe, especially on pilgrimage, you often find that the residents of various cities and towns are very proud of their canonized saints. Siena boasts St. Catherine. Assisi boasts St. Francis and St. Clare. Lourdes gives us St. Bernadette, etc. Spain, France, Germany all have many such places that vaunt well-known saints.
A question arises, though: Why only one or two recognized saints in a given area, in centuries of time? Why, for that matter, are there not more recognizable saints among us in the present age? Granted, certain saints are chosen for universal recognition because their lives are particularly inspiring and encouraging. But still, if the Faith and its transformative potential is so powerful, why don’t we see more holiness than we seem to?
Holiness of course is not always dramatically visible. Jesus spent 30 years in a hidden life of unparalleled holiness with Mary and Joseph and for the most part seems to have gone unnoticed until He began His public ministry. But nonetheless, where are the faithful disciples passionate enough to make a difference in the world we live in? Mother Angelica said that if every Catholic lived as they should the world would be changed overnight.
Every age has its particular challenges and Jesus tells us the way is narrow. In the early Church, persecution and heresy, the threat of torture and death, the poison of false theology, suppression and other opposition tested the courage of believers, but at the same time, mysteriously spawned more living faith and conversion.
In our day, in the West, one of the greatest challenges to our faith comes from the deadening influence of materialism and the constant overstimulation of our senses. Our lives become centered in gratifying ourselves in every way possible. Witness the number of food channels on cable, the multi-billion dollar fragrance, fashion and cosmetic industry, the incredible, life-altering reach of the music business into the lives especially of young people. And note the impact “image” has on determining crucial decisions in our lives.
We are led around by our senses but find ourselves lost in a kind of bewildering jumble of meaning, unable to discern truth and direction, unable to see properly, tossed about by the feelings and desires we let drive us. This overstimulation takes on a life of its own and smothers our spirit along with any taste for spiritual things.
The spiritual masters tell us that this “overstimulation and noise in our lives kills our receptivity to God.” (Fr. T. Dubay, OP). We slowly lose interest in our spiritual lives and anything related to it. We go through the motions of what we think we should do but are in great part disconnected from why we do what we do.
The remedy always comes from the Lord and in this case, it is the Lord’s simple prescription that we need. “Everyday, deny yourself, pick up your Cross and follow Me.”
Start to fast, to mortify yourself, to pray more, to practice silence so that the Lord, who speaks in the silence can make Himself felt in your life, and so that your spirit can be freed from earth-bound weights. (Note: some mortification is not appropriate for those who are sick. But others can be substituted, especially interior mortifications.)
Do we like to deny ourselves? No. Yet, it is vital. If we exercise some “violence” toward ourselves, our spirit begins to awaken and we experience some of the deeper touches of the Lord in sweetness, light and peace. And this in turn becomes soul-saving. “Unless souls are saved, nothing is saved; there can be no world peace unless there is soul peace. World wars are only projections of the conflicts waged inside the souls of men and women, for nothing happens in the external world that has not first happened within a soul.” Archbishop Fulton J Sheen
This is the battle the disciple has to engage in. This is the battle he has to win. The question comes to every believer: do I really want to follow the Lord or do I just want to appear to be in His company?
Please reflect in silence for 5 minutes on these questions:
1. What “noise” do you see in your own life? What things affect your spirit in a negative way?
2. What increases your own sensitivity to grace and to the Lord’s presence? What dampens your sensitivity?
3. How does suffering impact your relationship with the Lord? What positive things come from self-denial?
4. What kinds of mortification are appropriate for those who are sick?
5. What is the deeper healing mortification effects in us? Do you have experience of that in your own life?
In the Heart of Our Blessed Mother,
Sr. Anne Marie