Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sirach 28:2

“Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray” (Sir 28:2).

Many are happy to read this verse from the Sacred Scriptures: Sir 28:2 (along with: Ps 103:3; Wis 11:23; Is 38:17; etc.). The mercy of God is very important, indeed crucial, and even the most important attribute of God.. It is not by chance that in this most difficult period God has offered to us the Divine Mercy, by way of Saint Faustina.

But the devil is cunning; he wants to deny or cancel, or at least diminish, this great gift from God to men. Those who pray and study little are not used to opening their eyes to discover the snares of the devil, and therefore do not have the defences for these subtle traps of our very intelligent enemy. Our enemy slowly leads us to false mercy without our commitment to repent or to change our lives.

We say in the Act of Contrition: "I promise with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin"! Many religious leaders today speak of this mercy of God, that pleases the people, but do not add the words that Jesus said, "'Go, and sin no more" (John 8:11), or do not finish the story of the sick man healed by Jesus Who said after the healing, "See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you"(Jn 5:14)!

If one habitually speak only that God is all merciful without speaking or communicating, in the same speech and in the same context, “go and sin no more”, as Jesus did in the Gospels (John 5:14; 8:11), there is a great tendency to take the easy way out by not trying to change ones own life with the help of God. Unless we respond to the great gift of God's forgiveness, our love is insincere and inauthentic, and therefore the words of the Our Father that we say with our mouths are empty and ineffective: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us" (Matthew 6:12). How many people do not live, "Freely you have received, freely give" (Mt 10,8)?!? Without gratitude, there is no salvation!

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An Experience of Life:

After two years of marriage, our daughter was going through a period of crisis. At the beginning of this year, she and her husband separated. We welcomed her back into our house, trying to support her in this difficult and painful period. There were moments of tension, but we tried to keep calm, with forgiveness in the heart, maintaining a relationship of openness towards them both. We wanted to help them both, not favoring only our daughter on her side. After three months of separation (and on our part, hospitality, continuous listening, discreet help and many prayers), they returned back together with a new awareness and a confident hope.

M. L., Malta

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Father Joseph Dwight


A supplement to this “Spiritual Food 1408”:

In a world immersed in the poison of relativism, which according to Pope Benedict XVI, "the most profound difficulty of our time" and which leads the world to "letting oneself be tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times”, I thought I would offer you a few pages (pp. 49-52) from the 100-page booklet, "Saint Veronica Giuliani - True Disciple and Apostle of Mary”, by Fr. Emmanuele of the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary. It is a little bit long, but one might use these pages as points of further meditation!

Part Two: Her Doctrine and Teaching

Now that the readers have been able to (pp. 1-48), in a sense, "touch" the level of holiness quite unique to this seraphic Saint, and see the immensity of the divine riches hidden in her life and in her diary, the readers will share with father Iriarte that "before the case of Veronica Giuliani, one cannot have neither the attitude of a pseudo-spirituality that chases after the extraordinary, nor the scientist who does not succeed in perceiving anything but clinical pictures, but we must have the attitude of Moses before the bush that burned without being consumed: "I will go and see this great sight" (Ex 3, 3).

The readers will also share his claim that "the ecstatic Capuchin of Città di Castello is a special case even among the saints. It is, first of all because of the multiplicity and singularity of her mystical experiences: there is no phenomenon of soul or body, of the records in the hagiography, which she has not already gone through and described; and has been favored, different from others, absolutely unknown. Exceptional is also her vocation to participate in the sufferings of Christ and the mystery of pain ... no one has ever rejoiced and suffered so intensely”.

Now we can begin to grasp the scope of the words of Cardinal Palazzini: "The mission of St. Veronica has yet to begin in the Church" that this second part will make even more obvious; a mission that the Lord Himself has stated thus: "What do you think? These writings have to go into all the world, for my glory and for the benefit of souls"(Diary). He affirms even more: "That of Veronica is a great prophetic message that seems reserved for our times: to correct dangerous deviations of those who go in search of a Christianity without the Cross, of those who sink in the abundance of those consumer goods which Christ preached moderation for all, and the renunciation for the strong "(Card. Palazzini).

But it is also, and above all, a prophetic message against rationalism and the Enlightenment which, consciously or not, try to empty the faith of its supernatural dimension: the reason is bewildered before the irruption of the Divine in the everyday living and writing of the Saint, in undeniable corporeal phenomena, inexplicable, repeated. It is God Himself who through a harmless woman wanted to refute, already from that time - and even more so today - rationalism to the point of rendering it ridiculous before the evidence. If it is true that faith and reason do not contradict each other, it is equally true that reason is a gift of God in the service of the faith but it must recognize its limitations and bow its heads before the Divine.

Even Lumen Gentium states that "God shows to men, in a vivid way, His presence and His face in the lives of those companions of ours in the human condition who are more perfectly transformed into the image of Christ. He speaks to us in them and offers us a sign of this kingdom …” (n. 50).


--- How much it is necessary today her example of absolute faith in obedience to God and to His Holy Church; already as a teacher, she taught the novices the Catechism even before their spirituality; she firmly wrote: "I believe what the Roman Church believes"; but especially obedience to God's representatives: superiors, confessors and ecclesial authorities which she called "God's deputies on earth," so much so that, for example, the wound of her heart opened and closed according to the will of obedience, and that the scenes of the Passion were renewed at will of her superiors ... to the point of healing and dying - as we have seen – out of obedience; for her obedience to her confessor became as "the seal of fidelity to God and to the Blessed Virgin Mary", to the point of signing with the name of "daughter of obedience."

--- And how much we need to deepen her humility: so holy, she resorted to the intercession of the saints, begging them; seeing her "nothingness" before God, she considered herself unworthy to be with her sisters, and even more to be abbess. How much it cost her to write about herself in her diary, and she felt embarrassed of "these outward signs," that is the stigmata, asking God to conceal them; truly seeking the way of hiding ... Blessed is she! How many lessons for vain men, the prideful today, who go in search of power, of esteem, of vainglory ... Most Holy Mary once said to her: "My daughter, know that, when the angel Gabriel came to give me this proclamation, from God Almighty, I was knowledgeable of my baseness and cowardice; and this is the exercise that I give to you. Remain always humiliated and annihilated below everyone, as vile mud and dust. "

--- How much we need her love and loyalty to holy poverty, which cost her a lot of hostility and misunderstanding ...? When she found abuses, she often felt the reproaches of Saint Francis and Saint Clare: and so she would use both sweetness, and firmness, always with prudence, and she triumphed ... She considered poverty as the essential condition to arrive to love. Her example is a living reproach to the pursuit of wealth and abundance in which we live today, often even among religious.

--- How much we need her devotion and piety:

- to the Holy Trinity, already as a child, as we have seen, even to deserve to be called by the Blessed Virgin Mary "Daughter of the Father, Bride of the Son, Disciple of the Holy Spirit." The saint writes: "In doing adoration of the Most Holy Trinity my soul was confirmed as daughter, spouse and disciple of the three Divine Persons ... ".

- And to the Holy Eucharist, this "great invention of love," as she called It, to which she resorted to ask the most difficult graces, obtaining permission to receive Him every day; and how often she received Him from the hands of the Angels ... or from Most Holy Mary ... One must look in the mirror of the Diary to understand how little reverence and so much superficiality we approach the Sacred today, and how little faith in the real and working presence of God in this wonderful Sacrament, even to the limits of desecration ... How important it was for her the way to receive Him! All ... all the spiritual fruits depended on this. She used to say, "Whenever we receive Him in the Blessed Sacrament, God is reborn in the souls of the righteous who, with the heart ,serve Him and receive Him with purity." It is enough to remember that she was raptured into union with God after almost every Communion …

- And what of her prayer? How much she tried to perfect it! It is enough to remember that she saw, one night, the Lord who was sitting along side of the other nuns in choir reciting the morning prayers with the community, seen only by her; Jesus offered that prayer in reparation for the faults and imperfections committed by the Saint in the liturgical prayer of the Divine Office ...

But it would take too long to move forward. Therefore, we focus in this second part on the four aspects which seemed to us, along with the refutation of rationalism, the most current and necessary:

1. The infinite and unspeakable love of God;

2. The frightening reality of hell and the demons;

3. The doctrine of the atonement;

4. The indispensable role of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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In the next few “Spiritual Food”, I will translate these four aspects.

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