Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Paradoxical Commandments and the Mother Theresa Connection

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.


A big mahalo to Sisters Suzanne and Maurice of Holy Family Home in Osaka, Japan and Elizabeth Keith, for sharing this story with my family.

Personally, this was one of my "favorite quotes" by Mother Theresa. It was only after recently speaking to mutual friends of the Keiths, Sister of Charity sisters Suzanne and Maurice, as well as Mrs. Elizabeth Keith, who we had the pleasure of meeting last night, that we learned who the original author was and the interesting story behind it.


Source:
Kent M. Keith

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the foregoing "commandments" and if you are like most people, you have attributed this work to Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

However, Kent M. Keith wrote it when he was a 19 year old student at Harvard.


The Paradoxical Commandments were written by Kent M. Keith when he was 19, a sophomore at Harvard College. He wrote them as part of a book for student leaders entitled The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council, published by Harvard Student Agencies in 1968. The Paradoxical Commandments subsequently spread all over the world, and have been used by millions of people.

Mother Teresa, or one of her co-workers, put the Paradoxical Commandments up on the wall of Mother Teresa's children's home in Calcutta. That fact was reported in a book compiled by Lucinda Vardey, Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, which was published in 1995. As a result, some people have attributed the Paradoxical Commandments to Mother Teresa.

As Kent explains in his book, Do It Anyway: The Handbook for Finding Personal Meaning and Deep Happiness in a Crazy World:

"I found out about it in September 1997 at my Rotary Club meeting. We usually begin each meeting with a prayer or a thought for the day, and a fellow Rotarian of mine got up and noted that Mother Teresa had died, and said that, in her memory, he wanted to read a poem she had written that was titled "Anyway." I bowed my head in contemplation, and was astonished to recognize what he read–it was eight of the original ten Paradoxical Commandments."

"I went up after the meeting and asked him where he got the poem. He said it was in a book about Mother Teresa, but he couldn't remember the title. So the next night I went to a bookstore and started looking through the shelf of books about the life and works of Mother Teresa. I found it, on the last page before the appendices in Mother Teresa: A Simple Path. The Paradoxical Commandments had been reformatted to look like a poem, and they had been retitled "Anyway." There was no author listed, but at the bottom of the page, it said: "From a sign on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, the children's home in Calcutta."

"Mother Teresa, or one of her coworkers, thought that the Paradoxical Commandments were important enough to put up on the wall at their children's home, to look at, day after day, as they ministered to the children. That really hit me. I wanted to laugh, and cry, and shout–and I was getting chills up and down my spine. Perhaps it hit me hard because I had a lot of respect for Mother Teresa, and perhaps because I knew something about children's homes. Whatever the reason, it had a huge impact on me. That was when I decided to speak and write about the Paradoxical Commandments again, thirty years after I first wrote them."



More on Cafeteria Catholics

Hat tip to Tony for sharing this.

Source:
Theology for the Laity - Cafeteria Catholics

by Father Paul A. Duffner, O.P.


Most of us, at one time or another, have enjoyed a meal in a cafeteria. Customers pass down the line of a great variety of foods, picking this or that according to their taste, and passing up other things they do not want. You might say it is a “pick and choose" kind of eating house.


It seems that some Catholics look upon their Church in the same way, that is, as regards the doctrines of the Catholic Church. They are sometimes referred to as “Cafeteria Catholics.” They feel they can “pick and choose” among the various doctrines and laws of the Church, some of which they accept, others they feel they are not obliged to obey. More and more today there are those who call themselves Catholic, who feel they can, and must, decide for themselves which of the teachings of the Church they will accept, and which they will not. How many, for example, do not accept the clear teaching of the Church in regard to such basic things as birth control, or premarital sex, or divorce and remarriage, etc. They look upon these teachings not as laws, but, at best, as ideals that they may not be able to live up to. Many things have changed in the Church, they say, since the second Vatican Council.


Yet, Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated clearly and emphatically in the book “The Cardinal Ratzinger Report,” that it is absolutely incorrect to refer to Pre-Vatican Council II and Post-Vatican Council II, as if there were changes in the Church’s position in matters of faith and morals. The only changes in that respect have sprung from erroneous interpretations of the Council.


As regards the “picking and choosing” of what teachings of the Church some will follow or not follow, Pope John Paul II stated in his talk to the Bishops in Los Angeles in 1987:


“It is sometimes reported that a large number of Catholics today do not adhere to the teaching of the Catholic Church on a number of questions, notably sexual and conjugal morality, divorce and remarriage. Some are reported as not accepting the clear position on abortion. It has to be noted that there is a tendency on the part of some Catholics to be selective in their adherence to the Church’s moral teaching. It is sometimes claimed that dissent from the magisterium is totally compatible with being a “good Catholic,” and poses no obstacle to the reception of the Sacraments. This is a grave error that challenges the teaching of the Bishops in the United States and elsewhere.”


If we can believe the polls, we are experiencing in the Church at the present time a considerable amount of dissent from the teaching of the Church. However, if we would call this dissent what it really is, it is a crisis of one’s Catholic faith. We have several times in past issues examined the virtue of faith, and we feel we must do so again because of the topic we are examining. We will see what that gift demands of us, and how we can lose it, if we reject the light and guidance given us by the Church.


THE GIFT OF FAITH


The first Vatican Council which ended in 1870 defined the gift of faith as follows:


“Faith is a supernatural virtue whereby, under the inspiration and assistance of grace, we believe those things revealed by God to be true, not because the intrinsic evidence of those things has been perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself revealing who can neither deceive nor be deceived."


The above definition explains why we believe when we are motivated by the virtue of faith. The Council continues explaining what we must believe when motivated by supernatural faith.


“All those things are to be believed, on divine and catholic faith, which are contained in the written and unwritten word of God, and which are proposed by the Church as divinely revealed, whether this is accomplished through her solemn pronouncements (ex cathedra definitions), or through her ordinary and universal teaching power." (Encyclicals, decrees of S. Congregations, etc.)


We notice that the Vatican Council does not make any distinctions (in relation to the virtue of faith) between the “solemn pronouncements” and the “ordinary universal teaching power” of the Church, i.e. between her solemn magisterium and ordinary magisterium; nor does it refer to one as infallible and the other as non-infallible.


THE FIRST DISSENTERS


Today’s dissenters from God’s revealed truth, as handed down by the Church, are similar to some of the first disciples of Jesus who refused to accept His veiled words regarding the Eucharist long before the Last Supper (Jn.6:28-59). “This is a hard saying,” they said. “Who can accept it?” Jesus was aware that they were murmuring in protest at what He had said. Yet, He made no attempt to soften or modify his words. He was testing their faith in Him.


“Does it shake your faith,” He said to them? “The words I spoke to you are spirit and life. Yet there are some among you who do not believe ... No one can come to Me (i.e. believe Me, accept My word) unless he is enabled to do so by my Father.” (Jn.6:63f)


St. John tells us that from that time on those disciples broke away and would not remain in his company any longer. Faith is a gift of God, and only those who have received it (and retain it) can accept His word in its entirety when put to the test. Our Lord had given them plenty of evidence of His divine power by His miracles. They should have accepted His words, even though they did not comprehend what He was saying. When they rejected it, it was because they were relying on the light of reason alone, and not on reason enlightened by faith. It was too much for them.


But note the language referring to those who believe: “No one can come to me..” One “comes" to Him, not by approaching Him physically, but by believing in His word, believing even when it is hard to believe ... for He is TRUTH.


TODAY’S DISSENTERS


There are many in the Church today who are similar to those who walked away, and would follow Christ no longer. Included in that category are some who still come to Mass ... still receive Holy Communion. You might wonder: How can that be ... if one comes to Mass.. and receives Holy Communion? Isn’t that following Christ...isn’t that being His disciple?


To come to Jesus, to accept Him in the deepest sense, it is not enough to receive Him sacramentally, for one can receive Him in Holy Communion and not accept His word in its entirety. We must accept not just most of what the Church teaches as divinely revealed, but all of it.


Let us suppose I tell someone about five incidents that happened to me on a trip (all of which are true), and this person says to me: “I believe the first four, but I can’t believe the fifth.” The fact that he will not believe one of the incidents related - in spite of my word as to its truth - means he no longer believes I always tell the truth. My credibility (for him) is shattered.


We have a parallel to this in regard to the Church. Christ still speaks through His Church when it makes official pronouncements in faith and morals for all the faithful, declaring something to be divinely revealed. If an adult Catholic rejects just one of those official teachings, that in effect is saying: “The Church cannot always be relied on to teach the true interpretation of God’s revelation.” What happens, in that case, to the gift of divine faith? It is no longer one’s guiding light. St. Thomas Aquinas spoke of this centuries ago:


“If, of those things taught by the Church (as divinely revealed), one holds what he chooses to hold, and rejects what he chooses to reject, he no longer adheres to the teaching of the Church as an infallible guide, but to his own will.” Such a one may accept other teachings of the Church, but he does so not out of divine faith, but “only by a kind of opinion in accordance with his own will.” (II II,5,3)


Pope Leo XIII, who relied much on St. Thomas, expressed the same idea in his Encyclical on the Unity of the Church:


“If it be certain that something be revealed by God, and this is not believed, then nothing whatever is believed by divine faith....He who dissents even in one point from divinely revealed truths absolutely rejects all faith, since he thereby refuses to honor God as the supreme truth.”


There are some today, not only among the laity, but even some of the clergy, who cry out like the first disciples: “This is a hard doctrine. Who can accept it?" When some of His first disciples said that, Our Savior did not soften His words in order to keep them from walking away. He let them go away, because they had failed the test, failed to-accept a difficult teaching on His word.


Today also, the Church does not change its teaching to fit the mentality of the times. It cannot do so, because it is based on the revealed word of God. (Vat,Coun.II, Gaudium et Spes, n.50) As Pope Paul VI revealed in an address in Jan. 1972:


“The teaching Church does not invent her doctrines; she is a witness, a custodian, an interpreter, a transmitter. As regards the truths of Christian marriage, she can be called conservative, uncompromising. To those who would urge her to make her faith easier, more in keeping with the tastes of the changing mentality of the times, she answers with the apostles, we cannot.” (Acts. 4:20)


Since adult Catholics have an obligation to form their conscience under the guidance of the teaching authority of the Church, they are responsible for the weakening of their faith when they look to other sources for guidance. The Irish Bishops spoke of those “other sources” in a statement on Conscience and Morality.


“In practice, those who dissent from authoritative Church teaching very often give as their reason for doing so, not so much their own personal insights, as the authority of dissenting theologians. This, however, is to misunderstand the role of theologians in the Church, for their authority does not, and cannot outweigh the authority of the Pope in declaring the faith of the Church.”


THEOLOGIANS AND THE MAGISTERIUM:


Without doubt the Church does rely on theologians in the expression of doctrine. Nevertheless, it is up to the teaching authority which Christ gave to His Church, authority centered in the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops in union with him, to accept or reject their explanations or conclusions.


St. Thomas Aquinas, by his writings has contributed to the expression of Catholic doctrine more than any other theologian in the history of the Church. Pope John XXII said of him at his canonization: “He has illuminated the Church more than all the other Doctors.” Centuries later Pope Pius X wrote of St. Thomas: “Since the death of the holy Doctor there has never been a council of the Church at which he was not present by his doctrine and influence.” And yet this great saint, whose humility was as great as his learning, once wrote that should there be a dispute between the teaching authority of the Church and a private theologian, “we must abide rather by the Pope’s judgment than by the opinion of any of the theologians, however well versed he may be in the divine Scriptures.” (Quodlibetum IX,Q.8, Quaest. Quodlibetales)


WHERE SOME HAVE GONE ASTRAY:


The great wave of dissent in the Church at the present time, seems to have been given its greatest impetus with the rejection on the part of some priests and theologians of the Encyclical of Pope Paul VI “Humani Generis” on the regulation of birth in 1968. The main argument those dissenters offer to justify their action is this: The encyclical of Pope Paul VI was not an “ex cathedra” decree, therefore (they say) it is not infallible. Hence it could be reversed, and therefore one is not bound by this teaching.


This reasoning completely ignores the following declaration of the second Vatican Council (L.G. n.25):


“In matters of faith and morals...religious submission of will and mind must be shown in a special way to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking “ex cathedra.” That is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known chiefly either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.”


Too, the above reasoning of the dissenters was flatly rejected by the U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Doctrine, when they issued a critical statement on the two-volume work entitled “Catholicism” by Fr. Richard McBrien, who at the time was head of the department of theology at Notre Dame University. Their statement goes at the heart of the issue of dissent in the Church when it stresses the following:


“In addition to those doctrines which have been taught by the Magisterium of the Church in the extraordinary way of infallible definitions, the ordinary teaching of the Pope and the Bishops in union with him preserves many revealed truths which have never been solemnly defined, but which, nevertheless, are infallibly true and definable. These are truths which cannot be rejected or neglected without injury to the integrity of the Catholic faith, because they are either explicitly contained in Holy Scripture, or, although only implicit in Sacred Scripture, they have been taught universally and continually, are professed in the liturgy, and are believed and witnessed by the faithful as divinely revealed.”


There are apparently many in the Catholic Church today who outwardly live and worship as Catholics, but who do not accept in its entirety the Catholic faith. That faith is no longer the guiding light of their life. They seek the sacraments of the Church, but are unwilling to accept some of the teachings of the Church. They want the gifts God gives through the Church, but not the sacrifices He asks through the Church.


They foolishly think they do not need the guidance and protection of the chief Shepherd that Christ has provided for His flock. Yet just as the sheep that wanders off and gets separated from the fold become an easy prey to wild animals that would kill and devour it, so Catholics who wander aside from the protective guidance of the Roman Pontiff, the Chief Shepherd whom Christ has provided, become easy prey to the deceptions and wiles of the devil. Such a one may be clever about worldly things, but his vision has become clouded (without the light of faith) as to his own innate weakness, and as to the wisdom of seeking God’s will rather than their own.


Whether or not the rejection of this or that teaching of the Church (divinely revealed) causes total loss of faith, only God knows. Only a grave sin of disbelief can cause this, and only God knows when all the conditions are present. But those who deliberately reject something taught by the Church as divinely revealed, even if taught only by the ordinary magisterium, are walking dangerously close to the edge of the precipice.


The Christian life has always demanded many sacrifices of the true follower of Christ. That is a major part of the cross that His followers are asked to carry. And now the time has come when greater and greater sacrifices are going to be required in order to be a true and practicing Catholic, when more and more what we stand for, what we believe, is going to be challenged and ridiculed. It will take a strong faith, a firm hope and a courageous love to encounter all this and not accept the wisdom of the world. Without these divine helps, that cross will become a "stumbling block," and will be rejected as "foolishness." (1Cor. 1:23-25). Strengthen our faith, Lord, to accept and live all that You have revealed and made known through Your Church. "Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed." (Jn. 20:29)

Prayer to the Holy Spirit in Every Need

Thanks Sue!

Holy Spirit, my Light, my Life, my Love, my Strength,
Be with me now and always: in all my doubts, anxieties and trials,
Come, Holy Spirit; in hours of loneliness, weariness and grief,
Come, Holy Spirit; in failure, in loss and in disappointment,
Come, Holy Spirit; when others fail me, when I fail myself,
Come, Holy Spirit; when I am ill, unable to work, depressed,
Come, Holy Spirit; now and forever, and in all things,
Come, Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Whatever Happened to "You're Welcome"?



Graphic courtesy of my friend 

Have you ever noticed that people don't say "You're Welcome" that often anymore? Don't believe me? Next time you say "Thank you" to someone, take a notice of what they respond.
I've noticed this curiosity when emailing people. I'll email a thank you and more often than not, I will not get a response back from that person. At first this lack of response miffed me a bit and I began to feel ever so slighted. Then I found myself doing the same thing on occasion. But not responding to someone's thank you seemed so rude to me.

In person, I noticed that when you say "Thank you", you receive a "No, thank you!" Well, that is by far much better than not getting a response but heck, still no "You're welcome"!

That response is a little harder to criticize because obviously there is an element of humility to that response. I am guilty of using that response. I find it hard to say "you're welcome" and instead thank the person who is thanking me.

I'll leave you with a little food for thought...

It is easy to think of ways of saying Thank You in different languages, Gracias, Danke schoen, Mahalo, Arigato, and I'm sure you can come up with a few others yourself. Now try to come up with "You're welcome" in a different language?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Sacred Heart


The month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is almost over. But I'd like to post the following.

Thanks to Brad for sharing this with us.

Source:
Tan Books

Sacred Heart of Jesus, leading soul on the narrow right path into eternal life, have pity and mercy on me, my families, friends and benefactors.Amen

In honor of your Sacred Heart, O Jesus, have pity and mercy, on my friends, families and benefactors who are in purgatory, grant them each now everlasting peace, happiness and life, through the merits of your Holy Wounds, Amen

The Sacred Heart of Jesus revealed MORE than the famous 12 Promises for devotion to His Sacred Heart. Here is an extract of the MANY different promises He made through St Margaret Mary. They are from the book, “The Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus” (“How to Practice the Sacred Heart Devotion”) by Fr. John Croiset, S.J, reprinted by TAN Publishers.

PROMISES ATTACHED TO THE WORSHIP OF THE IMAGE OF THE SACRED HEART

a) BLESSINGS PROMISED TO NATIONS THAT PUT THE IMAGE OF THE SACRED HEART ON THEIR STANDARDS:

". . . Our Divine Lord does not wish to stop there: He desires, it seems to me, to enter with pomp and magnificence into the houses of princes and kings, in order to be honored there as much as He was outraged, despised and humiliated in His Passion, and to receive as much pleasure at seeing the great ones of this world abased and humiliated before Him, as He felt bitterness at seeing Himself annihilated at their feet."

b) BLESSINGS PROMISED TO FAMILIES WHERE THE IMAGE OF THE SACRED HEART IS HONORED:

"Our Divine Lord assured me that He takes a singular pleasure in being honored under the figure of His Heart of flesh, the image of which He wishes to be exposed in public in order to touch the unfeeling hearts of men. He promised that He would pour out in abundance into the hearts of all those who would honor His Heart all the gifts with which It is filled, and that everywhere this image is exposed and honored, it would draw down all kinds of blessings."

c) BLESSINGS PROMISED TO COMMUNITIES:

"He promised that He would pour out the sweet unction of His ardent charity on all those communities in which this divine image would be honored; that He would turn away from them the thunderbolts of the just anger of God, and that He would restore them to His grace, if they should have the misfortune to fall into sin."

d) BLESSINGS PROMISED TO INDIVIDUALS:

"He promised to pour out into the hearts of all those who honor the image of His Heart all the gifts which It contains. He promised also to imprint His love on the hearts of all those who would wear this image on their persons, and that He would destroy in them all disordered movements."

PROMISES ATTACHED TO THE CONSECRATION TO THE SACRED HEART

Consecration to the Sacred Heart is the principle, the resume and the final term of all the devotional practices demanded by our Divine Lord for His Sacred Heart.

a) THIS CONSECRATION REJOICES THE SACRED HEART AND TERRIFIES THE DEVIL, AGAINST WHOM IT IS A POWERFUL WEAPON.

"Let us renew often our consecration to the Heart of Jesus," writes St. Margaret Mary, "and let us live that consecration faithfully. The Sacred Heart takes a singular pleasure in it.

"The devil has a most intense fear of the devotion to this loving Heart, because of the salvation of the multitude of souls which it effects in favor of those who consecrate themselves completely to the Sacred Heart for the purpose of loving It, honoring It, and glorifying It."

b) CONSECRATION 10 THE SACRED HEART IS A SOVEREIGN REMEDY AGAINST MORTAL SIN.

"I cannot believe," writes St. Margaret Mary, "that those consecrated to the Heart of Jesus will fall under the domination of Satan through mortal sin, if having consecrated themselves to the Heart of Jesus, they endeavor to honor It, love It, and glorify It, by conforming themselves in all things to Its holy maxims."

c) CONSECRATION PUTS SOULS ON THE ROAD TO PERFECTION.

"There is no surer means of attaining perfection than to be consecrated to the Heart of Jesus. If therefore, we wish to attain that perfection which the adorable Heart of Jesus desires of us, we must make an entire sacrifice of ourselves, and of everything that depends on us, to the Sacred Heart and live entirely for It."

d) CONSECRATION WILL PROCURE PEACE.

"Establish your dwelling in the amiable Heart of Jesus, and you will find unalterable peace, strength to carry out all your good desires, and a protection against voluntary faults."

e) CONSECRATION IS THE KEY WHICH OPENS THE SACRED HEART TO US.

"Our Lord gave me to understand that He wishes to be known, loved and adored by men, and for that end He would give them many graces, provided they consecrated themselves to the devotion and love of His Sacred Heart."

f) CONSECRATION TO THE SACRED HEART IS A PLEDGE OF SALVATION.

"There is no surer means of salvation than to consecrate oneself to the Divine Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ. "The loving Heart of Jesus will not allow any of those consecrated to It to perish, so great is His desire that His Sacred Heart be known, loved and honored by His creatures. In this Sacred Heart they will find assistance during their life in all their necessities; It will be their secure place of refuge at the hour of their death, into which they will be received and protected from their enemies."

PROMISES MADE IN FAVOR OF SINNERS

THE DEVOTlON TO THE SACRED HEART IS AN EFFICACIOUS MEANS OFFERED FOR THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS.

"My Divine Master:' writes St. Margaret Mary, "revealed to me that it was His ardent desire to be known, loved and honored by men, and His eager desire to draw them back from the road to perdition, along which Satan is driving them in countless numbers, that induced Him to manifest His Heart to men with all the treasures of love, mercy, grace, sanctification and salvation that It contains, in order to have a means of satisfying Its desire to pour out on them abundantly Its mercies and Its graces. It is by this means that the Sacred Heart of our loving Jesus wishes to save many souls from eternal perdition . . . This Divine Heart is like a fortress or a secure place of refuge for all poor sinners who wish to take shelter in It from the Justice of Almighty God, the thunderbolts of whose wrath, like an impetuous torrent, would overwhelm sinners and their sins, on account of the enormous number committed at the present time."

THE DEVOTION TO THE SACRED HEART IS A SOVEREIGN REMEDY AGAINST TEPIDITY.

"Our Lord wishes through this devotion to His Divine Heart to rekindle the charity that has grown cold and has almost been extinguished in the hearts of the greater part of Christians; He wishes to give men a new means of loving God by His Sacred Heart, as much as He desires and merits, and of making reparation for their ingratitude.

"If we are cowardly, cold, impure, imperfect, the Sacred Heart is an ardent furnace in which we must purify and perfect ourselves like gold in the crucible. It will purify all that is imperfect in our actions; it will sanctify those that are good."

PROMISES MADE IN FAVOR OF THE JUST

"There is no shorter way of attaining perfection than to render to the Divine Heart an the homage, love, honor and praise m our power.

"I do not know of any other exercise in the spiritual life more calculated to raise a soul in a short time to the height of perfection, and make it taste the true sweetness that is to be found in the service of God; if it were known how pleasing this devotion is to Jesus Christ, there is no Christian, however little his love for our amiable Savior, who would not begin to practice it immediately."

"The names of beginners," writes St. Margaret Mary, "are written on the adorable Heart of Jesus only with ink. This signifies the initial grace given us to combat and conquer our imperfections, especially our proud self-love, which insinuates itself everywhere, sullying and disfiguring our holiest actions. These black letters should be purified from the earth which they contain and made bright in the crucible. This means that our inclinations and actions should be purified in the furnace of the love of the Divine Heart from all that is earthly and human and from all self-seeking.

"These black letters will gradually brighten in the crucible of Divine Love, and become like silver, which signifies purity of heart. But when in the process of purification all the black letters are changed into letters of silver, we must not stop there, we must continue until they are changed into gold.

"It is love that will change them into gold. Charity is the divine gold that will write our names on the Heart of Jesus in letters never to be effaced. We shall then become like holocausts, consumed completely in the ardent flames of the loving Heart of Jesus."


PROMISES FOR THE AFFLICTED

a) THE HEART OF JESUS CONSOLES HIS SERVANTS
IN THEIR PRIVATE CALAMITIES.

b) THE HEART OF JESUS IS THE TRUE SOURCE OF CONSOLATION
IN PUBLIC CALAMITIES.

PROMISES THAT HAVE REFERENCE TO OUR LAST END
THE GREAT PROMISE

This promise is contained in a letter written in May, 1688, by St. Margaret Mary to Mother Saumaise:

"On a Friday during Holy Communion, He said these words to His unworthy slave, if I mistake not: I promise you in the excessive mercy of My Heart that Its all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on nine first Fridays of the month consecutively, the grace of final repentance; they will not die under My displeasure or without receiving their Sacraments, My Divine Heart making Itself their assured refuge at the last moment."

With regard to this promise it may be remarked: 1) that Our Lord required Communion to be received on a particular day chosen by Him; 2) that the nine Fridays must be consecutive; 3) that they must be made in honor of His Sacred Heart, which means that those who make the nine Fridays must practice the devotion and must have a great love for Our Lord; 4) that Our Lord does not say that those who make the nine Fridays will be dispensed from any of their obligations or from exercising the vigilance necessary to lead a good life and overcome temptation; rather He implicitly promises abundant graces to those who make the Nine Fridays to help them to carry out these obligations and persevere to the end; 5) that perseverance in receiving Holy Communion for nine consecutive First Fridays helps the faithful to acquire the habit of frequent Communion, which Our Lord eagerly desires; and 6) finally, that the practice of the Nine Fridays is very pleasing to Our Lord since He promises such a great reward, and that all Catholics should endeavor to make the Nine Fridays.

PROTECTION PROMISED BY OUR LORD AT THE MOMENT OF DEATH.

"The Divine Heart of Jesus again gave me to understand and assured me," writes St. Margaret Mary, "that the pleasure which He takes in being known, loved and honored by His creatures is so great that He promised me that none of those who practice this amiable devotion and are devoted to His adorable Heart will ever perish."

SPECIAL REWARDS IN HEAVEN FOR THOSE WHO ARE DEVOTED TO THE SACRED HEART

"The adorable Heart of Jesus has shown inexpressible favor to our Holy Founder [St. Francis de Sales] because the devotion has been established in our Institute. Never has his accidental glory been so much increased as by this means. [The order is the Visitation Order.]

"Our good Father Claude de la Colombiere by his intercession in Heaven is the cause of what takes place here on earth for the glory of the Sacred Heart."

PROMISES MADE FOR PEOPLE IN THE WORLD AND THEIR FAMILIES

"Our Divine Lord assured me," writes St. Margaret Mary, "that He takes such pleasure in being known, loved and honored by His creatures, that He promises: 1) that people in the world will find through this amiable devotion all the helps necessary for their state of life, that is to say; 2) peace in their families: He promised me that He will unite families that are divided. Our Divine Lord wishes us to have great charity for our neighbor; He wishes us to pray to Him for our neighbor as we would for ourselves, for it is one of the special effects of this devotion to unite hearts divided and to bring peace to souls; 3) consolation in their afflictions; 4) solace in their labors: He promised that He would protect and assist families that were in any necessity, if they addressed themselves to Him with confidence; 5) the blessings of Heaven on all their enterprises; 6) that in His Sacred Heart they would find refuge during their life and especially at the hour of their death."

SPECIAL PROMISES MADE TO PERSONS CONSECRATED TO GOD
PROMISES MADE TO RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES

"Our Divine Lord promised me," writes St. Margaret Mary, "that as His Sacred Heart is the source of all blessings, He will pour out the sweet unction of His ardent charity on all those communities where His Sacred Heart is honored and who place themselves under Its special protection.

"He promised me that He would keep their hearts united so that they would form but one.

"He promised me that He would turn away the thunderbolts of Divine Justice from them and restore them to favor, if they should fall.

"Let religious embrace this amiable devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for they will draw from It such help that no other means will be needed to reestablish in their first fervor and in the most exact observance of their rule those communities that have become lax, and to bring to the height of perfection communities that are already fervent."

TEN PROMISES FOR THE APOSTLES OF THE SACRED HEART

FIRST PROMISE FOR APOSTLES OF THE DEVOTION

"My Divine Master;' writes St. Margaret Mary, "showed me the names of several persons written in letters of gold on His Sacred Heart, names of which He will never allow to be effaced. These are the names of the persons who have labored the most to make His Sacred Heart known and loved."

SECOND PROMISE FOR APOSTLES OF THE DEVOTION

"The Sacred Heart of Jesus has such a great desire to be known, loved and honored by men; He wishes so ardently to establish the empire of His love in all hearts by destroying in them the empire of Satan, that He promises great recompenses to all those who devote themselves with their whole hearts to establishing the reign of His Sacred Heart according to the lights and graces which He gives them."

THIRD PROMISE FOR APOSTLES OF THE DEVOTION

In addition to the friendship of the Divine Heart, the apostles of the Devotion are assured of the protection of the Blessed Virgin and of the Saints, especially of St. Margaret Mary.

She writes: "Oh! what happiness for us and for all who contribute in making the loving Heart of Jesus known and glorified! For they will draw down upon themselves the friendship and eternal blessings of this unique Love of our hearts. The Blessed Virgin will be their special protectress, she will assist them in attaining to the perfect life."

FOURTH PROMISE FOR APOSTLES OF THE DEVOTION

The apostles of the Sacred Heart will make rapid progress in virtue. The Sacred Heart of Jesus will sanctify and glorify them.

"The loving Heart of Jesus," writes St. Margaret Mary, "has made known to me that He will take care to sanctify and glorify us before His Heavenly Father in the measure in which we exert ourselves to procure glory for Him and to increase the reign of His love in the hearts of men."

FIFTH PROMISE FOR THE APOSTLES OF THE DEVOTION

The apostles of the Sacred Heart will receive the grace of the pure love of God.
"The zeal with which you labor to make the Sacred Heart of Jesus known and loved will gain for you in an ever increasing degree the crowning gift of the pure love of God."

SIXTH PROMISE FOR THE APOSTLES OF THE DEVOTION

The apostles of the Sacred Heart will draw down special blessings on their native land and on their families.

"Oh! what happiness for those who contribute to making the adorable Heart of Jesus known, loved and glorified! By what means they will secure a powerful Protector for their native land."

SEVENTH PROMISE FOR THE APOSTLES OF THE DEVOTION

Great blessings are reserved for the works of zeal undertaken by those apostolic workers who propagate the devotion to the Sacred Heart. They will make great conversions.

"My divine Savior," writes St. Margaret Mary, "assured me that those who labor for the salvation of souls will have the art of touching the hardest hearts and will obtain marvelous success, if they themselves are animated with a tender devotion to His Divine Heart.

"He will penetrate the most unfeeling hearts by the words of His preachers and faithful friends. He will so pour out the sweet unction of His ardent charity with such strong and powerful graces on their words that He will make them like a flaming sword which will cause the most frozen hearts to melt in His love. The words of these apostles will be like two-edged swords, which will penetrate the most hardened hearts and make the holy fountain of penance spring up in them, purifying and sanctifying the most obstinate sinners and rendering them susceptible to the love of this Divine Heart. By this means the most criminal souls will be led on to salutary penance."

EIGHTH PROMISE FOR THE APOSTLES OF THE DEVOTION

It will be given to the apostles of the Sacred Heart to understand the inestimable value of the Cross, and they will obtain strength and consolation in their difficulties.

"The adorable Heart of Jesus," writes St. Margaret Mary, "wishes to establish the reign of His pure love in all hearts. Happy are those whom He will employ to aid Him to establish His reign! But He did not tell me that His friends would have nothing to suffer, for He wishes them to make their greatest happiness consist in tasting its bitterness."

NINTH PROMISE FOR THE APOSTLES OF THE DEVOTION

The apostles of the Sacred Heart will obtain the grace of final perseverance and of a holy death.

TENTH PROMISE FOR THE APOSTLES OF THE DEVOTION

The Sacred Heart Itself will be the reward of Its apostles. "Happy are those," writes St. Margaret Mary, "whom the Sacred Heart of Jesus will employ in establishing His reign. For it seems to me .that It is like a king who thinks only of recompensing His friends while He gains victories and triumphs over His enemies. When this Heart reigns victorious on Its throne, It will be Itself their eternal recompense."


PARTICULAR PROMISES MADE AND SPECIAL MISSION ENTRUSTED TO THE ORDER OF THE VISITATION AND TO THE JESUIT FATHERS

"This mission," writes Father Ramiere, S.J., "is not of an exclusive character. It is a source of joy for the Sisters of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and the confreres of Blessed Claude de la Colombiere to see their efforts shared by religious of the various orders and congregations, by secular priests of every rank and even by the simple faithful."

DEVOTION TO THE SOULS IN PURGATORY AND THE DEVOTION TO THE SACRED HEART

Among the devotions which should form a crown of honor around the Sacred Heart, St. Margaret Mary gives a privileged place to devotion to the Souls in Purgatory. She herself had an extraordinary devotion to these Souls and called them her good suffering friends. The revelations which she received about the sufferings of these Souls, about our Divine Lord's tender love for them and His eager desire for their deliverance, of the great efficacy of the devotion to the Sacred Heart for their early release, and the fact that St. Margaret Mary, the apostle of the public devotion to the Sacred Heart, combined these two devotions so intimately in her own person, indicate that there is such a close connection between the two devotions that the devotion to the Souls in Purgatory may be said to form a part of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. Her extraordinary compassion for these suffering Souls may be said to be a share of the compassion of the Divine Heart for them; she called the devotion to the Sacred Heart the sovereign remedy for their relief.

It is a remarkable fact that our Divine Lord demanded of the two pioneers of the public devotion to His Sacred Heart an act of consecration of themselves to It, and a total donation in favor of the Souls in Purgatory of all the satisfactory merits of their lives and of all the prayers, Masses and good works offered for them after their death, and that they were the first to make this heroic offering.

St. Margaret Mary was in constant communication with the Souls in Purgatory; our Divine Lord allowed many privileged Souls among them to visit her, to tell her of their great sufferings and what it was that caused them, and to appear to her in glory after their deliverance. Towards the end of her life this became known outside the convent and people came to inquire from her about their deceased friends. While she usually declined to give any reply at the time of the inquiry, later on she sometimes declared that such a person was now in Heaven and exhorted the relatives of others to continue their prayers.

MARVELOUS EFFICACY OF THE DEVOTION TO THE SACRED HEART TO SUCCOR THE SOULS IN PURGATORY

"Would that people knew;' writes St. Margaret Mary, "with what eagerness the poor Souls in Purgatory ask for this new remedy which is so powerful to relieve their sufferings. They call the Devotion to the Sacred Heart the 'Sovereign remedy,' and ask particularly for Masses in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus."

ST. MARGARET MARY RECOMMENDS NOVENAS IN HONOR OF THE SACRED HEART FOR THE SOULS IN PURGATORY

Writing to Mother de Saumaise she says: "There is a Soul in Purgatory that I cannot comfort as much as I desire. She told me to apply to you and ask you to have three Masses said for her, and, in addition, to offer your Rosary and all the practices of our holy rule for nine days, and a general Communion. She said that these things would greatly alleviate her pains and that she would not be ungrateful.