New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Act of Consecration to the Most Precious Blood

Blood of Jesus, inebriate me! O Jesus, my Beloved Savior, ever present in the Tabernacle, to be the strength, the joy and the food of souls, I come to consecrate myself to Thy Precious Blood, and to pledge Thee my sincere love and fidelity. Pierced with sorrow at the remembrance of Thy sufferings, the contemplation of the Cross, and the thought of the outrages and contempt lavished by ungrateful souls upon Thy dear Blood, I long, O my Jesus, to bring joy to Thy Heart, and to make Thee forget my sins, and those of the whole world, by consecrating my body and soul to Thy service. I desire, my Jesus, to live henceforth, only by Thy Blood and for Thy Blood. I now choose It as my greatest treasure and the dearest object of my love.

O merciful Redeemer, deign to regard me as a perpetual adorer of Thy Most Precious Blood, and be pleased to accept my prayers, my deeds and my sacrifices, as so many acts of reparation and love.

Heavenly Wine, giver of purity and strength, pour down upon my soul. Make of my heart a living chalice from which grace shall constantly flow on those that love Thee, and especially on poor sinners that offend Thee. Teach me to honor Thee and to make Thee honored by others. Give me power to draw to Thee cold and hardened hearts, that they may feel how infinitely Thy consolations surpass those of the world.

O Blood of my Crucified Savior, detach me from the world, and the spirit of the world. Make me love suffering and sacrifice, after the example of St. Catherine of Sienna, who loved Thee so much [and whom I choose again today as my special patroness].

O Precious Blood, be my strength amid the trials and struggles of exile. Grant that at the hour of death I may be able to bless Thee for having been the comfort and the sanctification of my soul, before becoming, in Heaven, the everlasting object of my love and praise.

Saints of God, who owe thy happiness to the Blood of Jesus; Angelic spirits, who sing Its glory and power, august Virgin, who to It owest the privileges of thine Immaculate Conception and Divine Maternity, help me to pay to the Precious Blood of my Redeemer a perpetual homage of adoration, reparation and thanksgiving. Amen.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gregorian - Pange lingua

Keeping with our theme on the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Chirst, let us listen to this meditation in musical form.

Sing, my tongue, the Saviour's glory,
Of His Flesh the mystery sing;
Of the Blood, all price exceeding,
Shed by our immortal King,
Destined, for the world's redemption,
From a noble womb to spring.

Of a pure and spotless Virgin
Born for us on earth below,
He, as Man with man conversing,
Stay'd, the seeds of truth to sow;
Then He closed in solemn order
Wondrously His life of woe.

On the night of that Last Supper,
Seated with His chosen band,
He the Paschal victim eating,
First fulfils the Law's command;
Then, as Food to His Apostles
Gives Himself with His own hand.

Word made Flesh, the bread of nature
By His word to Flesh He turns;
Wine into His Blood He changes:-
What though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
Faith her lesson quickly learns.

Therefore, we, before It bending,
This great Sacrament adore;
Types and shadows have their ending
In the new rite evermore:
Faith, our outward sense amending,
Maketh good defects before.

Honor, laud, and praise addressing
To the Father and the Son,
Might ascribe we, virtue, blessing,
And eternal benison:
Holy Ghost, from both progressing,
Equal laud to Thee be done. Amen.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Two Companies

The following is an exceprt from the book 'Letter to the Friends of the Cross" by St. Louis De Montfort.

My dear brothers and sisters, there are two companies that appear before you each day: the followers of Christ and the followers of the world.

Our dear Saviour's company is on the right, climbing up a narrow road, made all the narrower by the world's immorality. Our Master leads the way, barefooted, crowned with thorns, covered with blood, and laden with a heavy cross. Those who follow him, though most valiant, are only a handful, either because his quiet voice is not heard amid the tumult of the world, or because people lack the courage to follow him in his poverty, sufferings, humiliations and other crosses which his servants must carry all the days of their life.

On the left hand is the company of the world or of the devil. This is far more numerous, more imposing and more illustrious, at least in appearance. Most of the fashionable people run to join it, all crowded together, although the road is wide and is continually being made wider than ever by the crowds that pour along it like a torrent. It is strewn with flowers, bordered with all kinds of amusements and attractions, and paved with gold and silver.

On the right, the little groups which follow Jesus speak about sorrow and penance, prayer and indifference to worldly things. They continually encourage one another saying, "Now is the time to suffer and to mourn, to pray and do penance, to live in retirement and poverty, to humble and mortify ourselves; for those who do not possess the spirit of Christ, which is the spirit of the cross, do not belong to him. Those who belong to Christ have crucified all self-indulgent passions and desires. We must be true images of Christ or be eternally lost."

"Have confidence," they say to each other. If God is on our side, within us and before us, who can be against us? He who is within us is stronger than the one who is in the world. The servant is not greater than his master. This slight and temporary distress we suffer will bring us a tremendous and everlasting glory. The number of those who will be saved is not as great as some people imagine. It is only the brave and the daring who take heaven by storm, where only those are crowned who strive to live according to the law of the Gospel and not according to the maxims of the world. Let us fight with all our strength, let us run with all speed, that we may attain our goal and win the crown.

Such are some of the heavenly counsels with which the Friends of the Cross inspire each other.

Those who follow the world, on the contrary, urge each other to continue in their evil ways without scruple, calling to one another day after day, "Let us eat and drink, sing and dance, and enjoy ourselves. God id good; he has not made us to damn us. He does not forbid us to amuse ourselves. We shall not be damned for so little. We are not to be scrupulous. 'No, you will not die'."

Dear brothers and sisters, remember that our loving Saviour has his eyes on you at this moment, and he says to each one of you individually, "See how almost everyone deserts me on the royal road of the Cross. Pagans in their blindness ridicule my Cross as foolishness; obstinate Jews are repelled by it as by an object of horror; heretics pull it down and break it to pieces as something contemptible.

"Even my own people - and I say this with tears in my eyes and grief in my heart - my own children whom I have brought up and instructed in my ways, my members whom I have quickened with my own Spirit, have turned their backs on me and forsaken me by becoming enemies of my Cross. 'Will you also go away?' Will you also desert me by running away from my Cross like the worldlings, who thus become so many antichrists? Will you also follow the world; despise the poverty of my Cross in order to seek after wealth; shun the sufferings of my Cross to look for enjoyment; avoid the humiliations of my Cross in order to chase after the honours of the world? 'There are many who pretend they are friends of mine and protest that they love me, but in their hearts they hate me. I have many friends of my table, but very few of my Cross.' (Imit. II, 11, 1)."

At this loving appeal of Jesus, let us rise above our human nature; let us not be seduced by our senses, as Eve was; but keep our eyes fixed on Jesus crucified, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection (Heb 12.2). Let us keep ourselves apart from the evil practices of the world; let us show our love for Jesus in the best way, that is, through all kinds of crosses. Reflect well on these remarkable words of our Saviour, "If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself, and take up his cross and follow me" (Mt 16.24; Lk 9.23).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Lanciano Miracle

In keeping with the theme of the month which is the Precious Blood of Christ, let us recall the miracle of Lanciano.

A Basilian monk, wise in the ways of the world, but not in the ways of faith, was having a trying time with his belief in the real presence of Our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. He prayed constantly for relief from his doubts, and from the fear that he was losing his vocation. He suffered through the routine of his priesthood day after day, with these doubts gnawing at him.

The situation in the world did not help strengthen his faith. There were many heresies cropping up all the time, which kept chipping away at his faith. They were not all from outside the church either. Brother priests and bishops were victims of these heresies, and they were being spread throughout the church. This priest couldn't seem to help being more and more convinced by the logic of these heresies, especially the one concerning his particular problem, the physical presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

One morning, while he was having a strong attack of doubt, he began the Consecration of the Mass for the people of the town. He used the same size host which is used in the Latin Rite masses today. What he beheld as he consecrated the bread and wine caused his hands to shake, indeed his whole body. He stood for a long time with his back to the people, and then slowly turned around to them.

He said; "O fortunate witnesses to whom the Blessed God, to confound my disbelief, has wished to reveal Himself in this Most Blessed Sacrament and to render Himself visible to our eyes.

Come, brethren, and marvel at our God so close to us. Behold the Flesh and Blood of our most beloved Christ." The host had turned into Flesh. The wine had turned into Blood.

The people, having witnessed the miracle for themselves, began to wail, asking for forgiveness, crying for mercy. Others began beating their breasts, confessing their sins, declaring themselves unworthy to witness such a miracle. Still others went down on their knees in respect, and thanksgiving for the gift the Lord had bestowed on them. All spread the story throughout the town and surrounding villages.

Modern Anaylysis

At the initiative of Archbishop Pacifico Perantoni of Lanciano, and of the provincial minister of the Franciscan Conventuals of Abruzzo, and with authorization from Rome, in November 1970 the Franciscans of Lanciano decided to have the relics examined scientifically.

Dr. Edoardo Linoli says he held real cardiac tissue in his hands, when some years ago he analyzed the relics of the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano, Italy

Linoli was entrusted with the study. He was assisted by Dr. Ruggero Bertelli, retired professor of human anatomy at the University of Siena.

Linoli extracted parts of the relics with great care and then analyzed the remains of "miraculous flesh and blood." He presented his findings on March 4, 1971.

His study confirmed that the flesh and blood were of human origin. The flesh was unequivocally cardiac tissue, and the blood was of type AB.

In regard to the blood, the scientist emphasized that "the blood group is the same as that of the man of the holy Shroud of Turin, and it is particular because it has the characteristics of a man who was born and lived in the Middle East regions."

"The AB blood group of the inhabitants of the area in fact has a percentage that extends from 0.5% to 1%, while in Palestine and the regions of the Middle East it is 14-15%," Linoli said.

Linoli's analysis revealed no traces of preservatives in the elements, meaning that the blood could not have been extracted from a corpse, because it would have been rapidly altered.
For more about this Miracle refer here

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father, save us.
Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word of God, save us.
Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament, save us.
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in the Agony, save us.
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging, save us.
Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns, save us.
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross, save us.
Blood of Christ, price of our salvation, save us.
Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness, save us.
Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls, save us.
Blood of Christ, stream of mercy, save us.
Blood of Christ, victor over demons, save us.
Blood of Christ, courage of Martyrs, save us.
Blood of Christ, strength of Confessors, save us.
Blood of Christ, bringing forth Virgins, save us.
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril, save us.
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened, save us.
Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow, save us.
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent, save us.
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying, save us.
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts, save us.
Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life, save us.
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory, save us.
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honour, save us.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord!.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord!.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. .

V. You have redeemed us, O Lord, in your Blood.
R. And made us, for our God, a kingdom.

Let us pray. Almighty and eternal God, you have appointed your
only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world, and willed to be appeased by his Blood. Grant we beg of you, that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation, and through its power be safeguarded from the evils of the present life, so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in heaven.
Through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

Monday, July 5, 2010

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria - 5th July 2010

(Relic of St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria)
Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born in 1502, in Cremona, a city of Lombardy, fifty miles southeast of Milan. His father, Lazzaro, died when Anthony Mary was two years old. His mother, Antonia Pescaroli, a widow at eighteen, devoted herself completely to the education of her son.

Little is known of Anthony Mary’s childhood. His biographers have handed down a significant episode. One day, on his way home from school the boy gave his cape to a destitute man. It is not clear whether he studied the humanities in Cremona or in Pavia. What is certain is that in 1520 (incidentally, the year of Exsurge Domine, the papal bull that condemned Luther), he went to Padua to study philosophy and medicine. Before leaving for Padua, he irrevocably bequeathed his whole inheritance to his mother.

After graduation he returned to Cremona, but never practiced medicine. A historically shadowy Dominican friar, Fra Marcello, became his spiritual director. The twenty-two-year old university graduate deliberately opted for an uncompromising and active Christian lifestyle. Contiguous to the Zaccaria residence, there was a small church, St. Vitalis. Here, Anthony Mary, still a layman, began to gather on Sundays, first, children to teach them catechism; then, adults for Scripture reading and meditation. Later on, his spiritual director steered him toward the priesthood. Under Dominican guidance, Anthony Mary’s theological studies were thoroughly based on the Bible and Church Fathers and Doctors, particularly St. Thomas Aquinas. In January 1529 he was ordained to the priesthood. Surrounded by a few close relatives and friends and without the customary solemnity, he celebrated his first Mass in the church of St. Vitalis. According to a charming tradition, angels were seen around the altar.

His priesthood enabled him to refine and enhance his previous work in St. Vitalis. His audience evolved into a structured Oratory, possibly styled "Amicizia." To this group Anthony Mary preached his Sermons. One of his spiritual disciples was Valeria degli Alieri, a distant relative and a member of Anthony Mary’s Oratory. Under his guidance she gathered a group of young women in her house and Anthony Mary became their spiritual director. After his death, they obtained the authorization to become a convent of Angelic Sisters.

In addition to his work of spiritual direction and formation, Anthony Mary engaged in active apostolate among the poor and the sick, particularly during the plague of 1528. This exertion earned him the name "father of the city" from his townsmen.

Meanwhile, Anthony Mary chose a new spiritual director from the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Fra Battista Carioni da Crema (1460-1534), a disciple of Sebastiano Maggi and a confrere of Gerolamo Savonarola.

A few years earlier, Fra Battista persuaded Cajetan Thiene to leave Vicenza and go to Rome to engage in the work of reform. At this time the Dominican friar was the confessor of Ludovica Torelli (1500-1569), Countess of Guastalla. Quite probably, it was at his urging that Ludovica chose Anthony Mary as her chaplain. Accordingly, at the direction of Fra Battista, Anthony Mary took up residence in Ludovica’s castle.

In 1531 Ludovica, Anthony Mary, and Fra Battista went to Milan where they joined the Oratory of Eternal Wisdom. Here Anthony Mary met two Milanese noblemen, Giacomo Antonio Morigia (1497-1546) and Bartolomeo Ferrari (1499-1544). Toward the end of 1532, he brought to maturity their common project of transforming that waning oratory into a new and original religious community, consisting of three families: priests, sisters, and laypeople. The priests’ family, Sons of St. Paul, was quickly approved by Clement VII on February 18, 1533 with the brief Vota per quae. It was highly unusual to have a new religious family approved before it started functioning. On July 24, 1535, with the bull Dudum felicis recordationis, Paul III accorded them a second approval and their new religious name of Clerics Regular. After they took over the church of St. Barnabas in Milan in 1545, they were given the popular name of Barnabites.

In Milan, Countess Torelli began gathering in her house young women inclined to the spiritual life. Anthony Mary became their confessor and spiritual director. In this role he steered them toward becoming the female family of his foundation. On January 15, 1535 Paul III with a bull, Debitum pastoralis, authorized them to organize as a religious congregation under the Rule of St. Augustine. The new religious were briefly guided by some Dominican Sisters and adopted their habit. They chose the name Angelics to which Anthony Mary added "of St. Paul." In October 1535 they settled in their first convent named after St. Paul, located in Milan. The formal name of Angelics of St. Paul was approved by Paul III on August 6, 1545. At this time, the Angelics were not cloistered because they shared in the apostolate of the Barnabites.

The third family of Anthony Mary’s foundation consisted of lay people and was styled Marrieds of Saint Paul. They shared the same spirituality of Barnabites and Angelics.

These three families soon became known throughout Milan because of their lifestyle, their penitential practices, their way of dressing and their preaching which was at times provocative. Some of their initiatives later became customary in Milan, such as the ringing of bells at 3 p.m. on Fridays to commemorate the death of the Lord on the cross. They also actively promoted the solemn exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament by turn in various city churches (the so-called Forty Hours).

Not everyone in Milan was pleased with the zeal of this new spiritual family. Its members were threatened. They were accused of Pelagianism and of being followers of controversial Fra Battista (d. January 1, 1534). They were also suspected of embracing the heresies of the Beguines and the Poor Men of Lyons. Milanese civil and Church authorities intervened. Two trials ensued. The first one, against the Sons of St. Paul, was held on October 5, 1534. It shelved the whole matter and issued no verdict. The second one, against the Sons of St. Paul and the Angelics of St. Paul, began in June 1536 and was concluded on August 21, 1537 with full acquittal.

It was a bracing experience for the Sons of St. Paul. On the eve of the first trial, October 4, 1534, in what could be termed his finest hour, Anthony Mary addressed a crucial talk to his religious. "Here we are," he impassionedly intoned, "fools for the sake of Christ, who can boast about our sufferings, because those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones God has chosen to show up those who are everything. Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who endured the cross, disregarding its shamefulness and we shall prove that we are servants of God by great fortitude in times of suffering, prepared for honor or disgrace, taken for impostors while we are genuine."

It was after this bruising experience that the Sons of St. Paul, who had begun common life in the summer of 1534 but without the rule of poverty, now embraced it without hesitation. Similarly, in 1537, in the course of the second trial, Anthony Mary promptly accepted a request from the bishop of Vicenza, Cardinal Nicola Ridolfi and sent a group of his priests, sisters, and married couples to reform the monasteries of that city.

In May 1539 Anthony Mary was back in Guastalla. The reason for his return is controverted. In any event, he was already in poor health and his exertions in Guastalla and the hot and humid climate of the lower Po valley aggravated his condition. The last week of June he felt so ill that he requested to be taken home to his mother in Cremona.

Surrounded by his family and closest friends, he spoke his last words and, comforted by the Church’s sacraments, died, as he had predicted, on the octave of the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, July 5, 1539. A pious tradition holds that, before expiring, Anthony Mary was granted a vision of St. Paul.

After a Cremona funeral, his body was taken to Milan and buried in St. Paul’s Convent of the Angelics. His saintliness was instantly recognized, and he was venerated as a Blessed until 1634, five years short of a century, which would have automatically given him the title of Saint. Instead, when Urban VIII issued new canonization rules in 1634, Anthony Mary lost the popular title of Blessed. In 1802 his cause was reintroduced. By 1888 three miracles were about to be approved for his official beatification. An alert Barnabite cardinal, Giuseppe Granniello, close to Pope Leo XIII, obtained that Anthony Mary be beatified as a result of the previous 95 years of popular devotion (1539-1634). The three miracles approved on February 14, 1897 finally led to his canonization on May 27,1897.

Month of the Precious Blood

The month of July is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of the Redeemer. Supreme homage is given to the Sacred Blood. As we adore the Sacred Heart, because it is the Heart of Jesus, who is God, so we adore the Most Precious Blood.

The Blood of Jesus is the fountain of salvation. Each drop that flowed from the wounds of the Saviour is a pledge of man’s eternal salvation. All races of the earth have been ransomed, and all individuals, who will allow the saving power of the Sacred Blood to be applied to their soul, are heirs of heaven. St. John Chrysostom calls the Precious Blood “the saviour of souls”; St. Thomas Aquinas, “the key to heaven’s treasures”; St. Ambrose, “pure gold of ineffable worth”; St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, “a magnet of souls and pledge of eternal life”. The sins of mankind, in their number, in their offense to the Supreme Being, in the effects on transgressors, are immense; yet, the Precious Blood of Jesus is not frightened by numbers, it has in Itself the power to appease an angered God and to heal wounded creatures.

The Precious Blood is a cleansing bath. Unlike all other blood, which stains, the Blood of Jesus washes clean and white. According to the words of St. John, in the Apocalypse, the Angels wonder, and the question is asked: “These that are clothed in white robes, who are they?” The Lord answers: “These are they that have washed their robes, and have made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.” For no other reason did the Precious Blood flow but to regain for the souls of men the beautiful dress of innocence, and , once regained, to preserve it throughout life and into eternity.

The Blood of the Saviour is a well of consolation for troubled hearts. Can anyone, confidingly, look at the Sacred Blood trickling down from the Cross without taking courage to carry on, in spite of the difficulties which are the common lot of all? One glance at the Cross must be able to drive away fear. And, another, must be able to instill trust in Him who did not rest until the last drop, mingled with water, flowed out of an opened Heart. He, who was willing to do so much for men, must be willing to overlook and forget the frailties which they deeply regret; He must be willing to come to their assistance when harassed, to defend them when tempted, to comfort them when afflicted. The Blood of Jesus must be for Christians what the north-star is to sailors.

Would that men on earth honored the Precious Blood in the manner in which they who are in heaven give honor and praise and thanksgiving! They proclaim that It purchased the glory which they enjoy. Without It, they would have remained slaves of Satan and outcasts from the eternal mansions of God. Let us profess that we owe to the Sacred Blood of Jesus all that we have in this life, and that to It we shall owe all that we shall enjoy in a better and eternal life!

(Courtesy Magnificat)