Posts made in September, 2019

September Ember Week

Posted by on Sep 15, 2019 in Sanctification | 1 comment

I could use two secretaries. I do almost nothing during the day but write letters. I am a conventual preacher, reader at meals, parochial preacher, director of studies, overseer of eleven monasteries, superintendent of the fish pond at Litzkau, referee of the squabble at Torgau, lecturer on Paul, collector of material for a commentary on the Psalms, and then, as I said, I am overwhelmed with letters. I rarely have full time for the canonical hours and for saying Mass, not to mention my own temptations with the world, the flesh, and the Devil. You see how lazy I am.”

In looking at Our own life, We could rattle off a list of things as this man did in a letter above over five centuries ago. In fact, as We were writing this, an interruption came in, and We see a squabble brewing elsewhere, that We will have to deal with. Actually this man omitted something very important, setting aside time for prayer. (I will tell you who he was in a moment.) Four times a year, we are given three days to bring us back on course, the Ember Days. This year in the fall, they are Wednesday, September 18, Friday September 20 and Saturday, September 21. In addition to the customary fasting the Ember Week is ideal for focusing on our spiritual life and getting back on track, if we have wandered off. And consider the distractions of summer, that can take us from what is truly important. We are entering fall. It is time to tune up our spiritual life and restore prayer to the first place, if it has slipped from there.

This man was Martin Luther, and this letter written before he defected from the Faith. A fall from a serious life of prayer leads to apostasy. Pray or die are our options. This Ember Week, we plan on spending Our spare time in considering some changes in Our life. This week sees Us occupied every day with something that would go on the list above.

“But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided.” (I Corinthians 7:33) As we can see from Martin Luther, our lives can become divided even without having a wife. Our own division is caused in part by Our wife, the Church. In the early centuries of the Church, Bishops were considered to be married to their own church, which we call a diocese today. So, when a man became Bishop of a diocese, he was Bishop until death did part him from his diocese. He was not transferred to another.

“But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42) Let us also choose to be at the feet of Jesus as much as duty will allow. Today’s sermon is on Spiritual Communion, and although We leave in thirty minutes for two Masses and 350 miles traveling, it is not yet printed out. We hope to prepare it also for the new podcasts, which are replacing the internet radio station, which became too much of a burden with our limited resources here. Also for the Olive Tree.

Let us withdraw from the world as much as duty will allow this Ember Week and enjoy the best part. Let us make Spiritual Communions as well: “I believe that Thou, O Jesus, art in the most Most Holy Sacrament! I love Thee and desire Thee! Come into my heart. I embrace Thee; oh, never leave me! Never let me leave Thee!”


+Michael pp

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Spiritual Communion

Posted by on Sep 2, 2019 in Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Saint John Vianney tells us that the whole life of a Christian should be a preparation to receive Holy Communion.

Dear friends in Christ,

Except for helping a friend get to and from work today, this morning there were no plans. After making a 350 mile round trip for a mission in south central Kansas We are ready for a break and planned on finding something to send to you. And then the work arrived. First something for Our Daily Passion Podcast website. And then a thought, which We are expanding.

In this time of apostasy it is difficult to find a place where a Mass is celebrated that is pleasing to Almighty God. Several things have made Our trips to southern Kansas difficult, causing several of Our bi-weekly visits to be cut off. We were discussing the spiritual losses from inability to assist at Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist.

How should we prepare to receive Holy Communion? We see above our whole life is a preparation. Much can be said on this, but We ask you to consider this in your hour of prayer. We began with thinking about Spiritual Communion, and opened the appropriate file. While We were reviewing Our notes, a thought came to Our mind. What about preparing something more specific on preparing for Holy Communion. And then another thought for later on, preparing a series of considerations to help us become far more sincere in living the Catholic way of life, for Catholicism is not a religion, but a way of life.

Let us return to Spiritual Communion. Saint Alphonsus tells us: “How pleasing these spiritual Communions are to God, and the many graces which he bestows through their means, was manifested by our Lord himself to Sister Paula Maresca, the foundress of the convent of St. Catharine of Sienna in Naples, when (as it is related in her life) he showed her two precious vessels, the one of gold, the other of silver. He then told her that in the gold vessel he preserved her sacramental Communions, and in the silver one her spiritual Communions. He also told Blessed Jane of the Cross that each time that she communicated spiritually she received a grace of the same kind as, the one that she received when she really communicated. Above all, it will suffice for us to know that the holy Council of Trent greatly praises spiritual Communions, and encourages the faithful to practise them.” He continues that we can make a Spiritual Communion anytime we want. Unlike actual Communion, we do not have to be fasting. In fact Spiritual Communion is a good preparation for Sacramental Communion.

One may find prayers in prayer books that will help, but our prayer must reflect the dispositions of our heart and not be mere words. When We make a brief visit to the chapel or at other times We recite a prayer adapted from Saint Alphonsus, who preovides several prayers. (We hope to publish something on this, first for the Olive Tree and later something in more depth.) “I believe that Thou, O Jesus, art in the most Most Holy Sacrament! I love Thee and desire Thee! Come into my heart. I embrace Thee; oh, never leave me! Never let me leave Thee!” Do we truly desire Jesus to come into our heart and soul and change them?

Through Spiritual Communion we can come close to Jesus and welcome Him into our hearts, which is what we desire. Let us bring the holy practice of Spiritual Communion into our prayer life, especially as part of our more formal times of prayer, such as morning and evening prayers.

We now return to labor on this Labor Day in the United States.

+Michael pp

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