• God wants a contrite heart'

    From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Wed Jul 21 23:37:15 2021
    God wants a contrite heart'

    "The reason why our prayers ought to be frequent and brief is in case
    the enemy, who is out to trap us, should slip a distraction to us if ever we are long-drawn-out. There lies true sacrifice. 'The sacrifice which God
    wants is a contrite heart' (Ps. 50:19). This indeed is the saving oblation,
    the pure offering, the sacrifice of justification, the sacrifice of praise. These are the real and rich thank offerings, the fat holocausts offered
    by contrite and humble hearts."
    --St. John Cassian.

    July 22nd - Saint Mary Magdalen, Penitent

    Commenting on St. Mary Magdalene, the Roman Martyrology says that
    after Our Lord expelled the devils from her, she became so perfect
    that she was worthy to be the first person to see Him resurrected.

    Comments of the late Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira: (died 1995)

    The famous episode in a banquet where St. Mary Magdalene washed the
    feet of Our Lord Jesus Christ with perfume reveals some facets of her personality and her position in the Church.

    We know that she was a sister of Lazarus. According to the traditions
    and documents of that time, he was a person of high society, because
    he had a rank of a prince and was very wealthy. He had been a prince
    of a small people (tribe, clan) who had been incorporated into the
    Jewish nation, and still had the title and honors of a prince even
    though he no longer played a political role. Therefore, he and his two
    sisters, Mary and Martha, were persons of a high social level.

    However, Mary Magdalene strayed from the good path and became a public
    sinner. She repented profoundly and became a model of two different
    things: contemplation and penance.

    Her contemplation was marked in contrast with the active life of
    Martha, who censured Mary for not caring about the needs of the house
    but only about staying close to Our Lord listening to Him and admiring
    Him. Our Lord told her: “Martha, Martha, Mary has chosen the better
    part, and it will not be taken from her.” She represents pure
    contemplation, unlinked to the active life.

    Her repentance, her penance, and her perfect fidelity prepared her to
    stand with Our Lady and St. John at the foot of the Cross. Her penance
    was so perfect and the pardon she received so great that she achieved
    an extraordinary union with Our Lord. Studying her case, some serious theologians even raised the hypothesis that perhaps penance is more
    beautiful than innocence.

    In the episode of the banquet, she represented penance, contemplation
    and complete detachment from worldly goods. To the contrary, Judas
    represented treason, hatred dissimulated under the pretext of charity,
    and attachment to material things. The opposition between Mary
    Magdalene and Judas could not be more flagrant.

    After that episode, the opposition continued. She, the repentant
    sinner, was faithful and stood at the foot of the Cross. He, the
    damned Apostle, was the one who delivered Jesus Christ to be
    crucified. She was the first to witness the Resurrection of Our Lord
    and His ascension to Heaven to meet the Eternal Father; the impenitent
    Judas hanged himself in despair and hurled himself into Hell to meet
    the Devil. The antitheses are strong and expressive. On one hand, in
    Mary Magdalene, we see repentance, pure contemplation and detachment
    from worldly goods. On the other hand, in Judas, we find final
    impenitence, total attachment to money and cupidity for worldly goods.

    St. Louis Grignion of Montfort distinguished two types of human
    psychology: those who are like Jacob and those like Esau. St. Mary
    Magdalene is characteristic of one with the spirit of Jacob: she had a
    superior soul turned toward heavenly things and indifferent to the
    things of this world. Judas, the opposite, was a type like Esau. He
    not only sold his birthrights for a plate of lentils, but much worse,
    he sold his Savior for thirty coins.

    Fra Angelico painted the scene of the kiss of Judas delivering Our
    Lord to the Jewish soldiers. He painted Our Lord’s head surrounded
    with a golden halo, and Judas’ head with a black halo. He wanted to
    express that Judas was the son of iniquity, the damned Apostle whose
    spirit was one of sin and darkness, while Our Lord’s was filled with
    sanctity and light. We could apply this to the contrast between St.
    Mary Magdalene and Judas. One had a golden halo, the other a black

    When St. Mary Magdalene repented, she completely rejected all those
    things that had induced her to sin. In her case, this constituted the
    brilliant things of life. As penance she distanced herself totally
    from such things, she completely detached herself from them. To
    achieve such detachment she abandoned all links with the active life
    and became a pure contemplative. Her contemplation, therefore, was
    born from penance and detachment. It made her understand the
    excellence of heavenly things and how every created thing was made to
    serve and glorify heavenly things. So, nothing could be more
    consistent for her than to take a very valuable perfume and pour it on
    the divine feet of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    What had induced the despicable Judas to be attached to money, which
    led him to hate Our Lord? Yes, I say hate, because no one betrays the
    Man-God as he did only for a profit. What induced Judas to steal the
    alms collected for the poor? No one can know for sure, but one can
    raise a hypothesis.

    When Our Lord was preaching His doctrine, Judas was probably thinking
    about other things, for instance, about the prestige of the Pharisees
    in Jerusalem and how he would like to do something to impress them.
    So, he wanted to become rich and have a parallel career in order to be considered an important man by the Pharisees. He started to think
    about these things of this world and fell into sin, he started to
    steal money. This habit made him more and more hostile to Our Lord.
    The process continued to the final extreme, where Judas handed over
    Our Lord to the ones he admired and wanted to impress, and also to
    make some money.

    The processes of both, Mary Magdalene and Judas, are logical. One has
    the logic of the golden halo; the other, the logic of the black halo.
    The pathway of a woman who was in sin and became a saint crossed the
    pathway of an Apostle who was in grace and became a traitor.

    What was the most profound reason why one repented and other fell into
    despair? In my opinion it is because of their different relations with
    Our Lady.

    St. Mary Magdalene was always close to Our Lady, helping her and
    giving her support, above all at the supreme moment when her Son was
    crucified and died on Calvary. Judas, however, was cold toward Our
    Lady. Catharine Emmerich says that before the treason was consummated,
    Our Lady, who knew what he was planning, approached Judas and spoke
    with him for a long time, trying to convert him. He rejected
    everything, and the Gospel affirms that after the Last Supper, the
    Devil entered his soul.

    The woman who had warm and close relations with Our Lady became one of
    the greatest saints of the Church, who in Heaven certainly is very
    close to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The Apostle who was cold
    toward her became the son of perdition, who was pictured by Dante
    inside the very mouth of Satan in the deepest place of Hell.

    This contrast has many lessons. The principal one is for us to be as
    close as possible to Our Lady, no matter what our situations are,
    whether we be in the state of grace or in sin.


    Saint Quote:
    I find myself so bound to the divine will that neither death nor life
    is important: I want to live as He wishes and I want to serve Him as
    He likes, and nothing more.
    -- Saint Rose Venerini

    Bible Quote:
    He who believes in Me, the works that I do he also shall do, and
    greater than these shall he do.  (John 14:12)

    Prayer to St. Dymphna - Prudence

    You were marked in life, St. Dymphna, by a high degree of
    prudence. You sought and followed the advice of your
    confessor and spiritual guide. You fled from temptation even
    when it meant exile and poverty. In your last extremity you
    chose to die rather than offend God. Please help us now by
    your merits not only to know what is right, but procure for us
    also the strength to do it. Amen.

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  • From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Sat Jul 23 00:13:04 2022
    God wants a contrite heart'

    "The reason why our prayers ought to be frequent and brief is in case
    the enemy, who is out to trap us, should slip a distraction to us if ever we are long-drawn-out. There lies true sacrifice. `The sacrifice which God
    wants is a contrite heart' (Ps. 50:19). This indeed is the saving oblation,
    the pure offering, the sacrifice of justification, the sacrifice of praise. These are the real and rich thank offerings, the fat holocausts offered
    by contrite and humble hearts."
    --St. John Cassian.

    July 23rd - John Cassian

    This patriarch of monachism, commonly known simply as Cassian, was
    born about 360, probably in the Dobruja (Romania), and may have fought
    against Goths at the battle of Adrianople. Somewhere about the year
    380 he set out with a friend, Germanus, to visit the holy places of
    Palestine. In Bethlehem they became monks. In those days the heart of
    the contemplative life was in Egypt, and before long they went into
    that country, and visited in turn the famous holy men who from their
    solitudes "had a great mission to the world, not only a mission of
    prayer for the needs of the world, but a great mission to edify and
    instruct the ages after them" (Ullathorne).

    For a time they lived as hermits under Archebius, and then Cassian penetrated into the desert of Skete, there to hunt out the anchorites
    concealed among its burning rocks and live with the monks in their
    cenobia. For some reason unknown, about the year 400 he crossed over
    to Constantinople. He became a disciple of St. John Chrysostom, by
    whom he was ordained deacon, and when that great saint was
    uncanonically condemned and deposed Cassian was among those sent to
    Rome to defend the archbishop's cause to Pope St. Innocent I. It is
    possible that he was ordained priest while in Rome, but nothing more
    is known of his life until several years later, when he was in

    Here Cassian founded two monasteries, one, whose church was built over
    the tomb of St. Victor the martyr, for monks, the other for nuns; and
    there radiated from him and his foundations the spirit and ideal of
    Egyptian asceticism which had great effect on the Church of southern
    Gaul. For the instruction and guidance of religious he drew up his
    Institutes of the Monastic Life and Conferences*...{*Collationes, a
    word which has crept into our common speech. For "collation", in the
    sense of a meal, derives from the monastic custom of reading
    collationes (not necessarily Cassian's) while food is taken.}... on
    the Egyptian Monks, and these were destined to have an influence far
    beyond anything within the intention of the author; for, with the
    Vitae patrum and the Rule of St Basil, they were recommended by St
    Benedict as the most suitable reading for his monks after the Bible,
    and had the greatest influence on his rule, both in the planning of
    its life and the adumbration of its spirituality.

    Through St. Benedict, Cassian has left his mark on all Christendom. In
    the first four books of the Institutes he describes a way of living as
    a pattern for the monastic state; the rest of the work is devoted to
    the virtues which the monk must strive for and the deadly sins that
    lie in wait for him in common with all Christians.

    He prefaces the book with the declaration that, "I shall make no
    attempt to relate anecdotes of miracles and prodigies. For although
    I have heard of many unbelievable marvels from my elders and have seen
    some with my own eyes, I have wholly omitted them because they
    contribute nothing but astonishment to the instruction of the reader
    in the perfect life."

    That sobriety is characteristic of Cassian.

    It is surprising that Cassian is not named in the Roman Martyrology;
    but doubtless he was not included by Baronius because he came to be
    regarded as the originator and leading exponent of that teaching which
    is now known as Semi-Pelagianism. His views were expressed in the
    course of a controversy about St. Augustine's “On Rebuke and Grace”,
    and may more fairly be called "anti-Augustinian". All St. John
    Cassian's later life was passed at Marseilles, where he died about
    433; there his feast is kept today and by the Byzantines on February

    There is no ancient life of Cassian, but a good deal of information
    may be found collected in the Acta Sanctorum, July, vol. v; see also
    the introduction to Petschenig's edition of his works in the Vienna
    Corpus script. eccl. Lat. English trans. of works by E.C.S. Gibson
    (1894). Most writers who are concerned with early monasticism make
    frequent reference to him, e.g. Herwegen, Albers and C. Butler.
    Cassian has received a good deal of attention lately, e.g. L.
    Cristiani's Cassien (2 vols., 1946); but an even better book on the
    strictly biographical side is O. Chadwick's John Cassian (1950), full bibliography. Cf. also DHG., vol. xi.

    Saint Quotes:
    “Whoever has achieved love
    has God within himself
    and his intellect is always with God.”

    “No structure of virtue
    can possibly be raised in our soul
    unless, first, the foundations
    of true humility are laid in our heart.”

    “The thief on the cross certainly did not receive
    the Kingdom of Heaven as a reward for his virtues
    but as a grace and a mercy from God.
    He can serve as an authentic witness
    that our salvation is given to us
    only by God’s mercy and grace.
    All the holy masters knew this
    and unanimously taught
    that perfection in holiness
    can be achieved only through humility.”
    --St John Cassian (c 360- c 435)

    O Lord our God, grant us grace to desire you with a whole heart,
    so that desiring you we may seek you with a whole heart,
    so that desiring you we may seek and find you;
    and so finding you, may love you; and loving you,
    may hate those sins which separate us from you,
    for the sake of Jesus Christ.
    --St. Anselm (1033-1109)

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