The Sorrows of Motherhood

In this, the month devoted to the Seven Sorrows of Mary, it seemed fitting to examine the sorrows inherent in motherhood. Let’s begin with a quote by Saint Pope John XXIII in his Journal of a Soul. It is a little long, but hang on – I think you’ll find his message to be profound: 

During this retreat, the Lord has been pleased to show me yet again all the importance for me, and for the success of my priestly ministry, of the spirit of sacrifice, which I desire shall from now on evermore inspire my conduct ‘as a servant and prisoner of Jesus Christ.’ And also I want all  the undertakings in which I shall take part during this present year to be done in this spirit, in so far as I have a share in them; all are to be done for the Lord and in the Lord: plenty of enthusiasm but no anxiety about their greater success. I will do them as if everything depended on me but as if I myself counted for nothing, without the slightest attachment to them, ready to destroy or abandon them at a sign from those to whom I owe a obedience.

O blessed Jesus, what I am proposing to do is hard and I feel weak, because I am full of self love, but the will is there and comes from my heart. Help me! Help me!

The keen sense of my own nothingness must ripen and perfect in me the spirit of kindness, great kindness, making me patient and forbearing with others in the way I judge and treat them. Although I am only just 30 years old, I begin to feel some wear and tear on the nerves. This will not do. When I feel irritable I must think of my own worthlessness and of my duty to understand and sympathize with everyone, without passing harsh judgments. This will help me to keep calm.

The work I am doing now requires great delicacy and prudence as it frequently means dealing with women. I intend therefore that my behavior shall always be kind, modest and dignified so as to divert attention from my own person and give a richer spiritual quality to my work. Past experience is an encouragement for the future. Here again, if I think poorly of myself and distrust my own powers and raise my thoughts constantly to Jesus, returning to his embrace as soon as I have ended my task, it will be a great protection. It would be dangerous if in this work I were to presume on my own powers for a single moment. – Journal of a Soul, page 179 – 180.

If we changed PRIEST to MOTHER and 30 years to _____ years old, John XXIII could have been reading about the vocation of motherhood. Allow me to walk you through the passage.

The Lord has been pleased to show me yet again all the importance for me and for the success of my [motherly] ministry, of the spirit of sacrifice, which I desire shall from now on evermore inspire my conduct ‘as a servant and prisoner of Jesus Christ.’ The joys of motherhood are often discussed. But the difficulties, not so much. Perhaps you’ve never thought about it, but motherhood is actually a cross. Despite all its joys, there is a very painful aspect to our vocation. Whether concerned about a child’s character, sufferings, future decisions, safety or any number of other issues, our hearts can become overwhelmed with a love so powerful that it would be better expressed as excruciating sorrow. At times, the responsibility of a mother to lead her children to heaven is too daunting to comprehend.

Until recently, I never paid much attention to the Seven sorrows of Mary, but I’ve been reading about them lately. Mary was such a powerful example of Paul’s instruction in Roman’s 12:1, “… Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Each day we must we willing to crawl back up on that altar, regardless of the cost. It can be a challenge, but we must continue to persevere in faith.

And also… all the undertakings… are to be done for the Lord and in the Lord:  Plenty of enthusiasm but no anxiety about their greater success. I will do them as if everything depended on me but as if I myself counted for nothing…  This is the greatest challenge of all. We all know of parents who have done their best to raise their children to become saints, praying and sacrificing daily for them; but their children still left the faith, lived in sin, and tormented their parents with their decisions. This is devastating to witness and causes considerable anxiety for countless mothers who, in general, would claim to be devout in their Faith. Is it possible that we’ve learned to trust God with everything but the salvation of our children? More than anything, we must let go of our own pride and know that whatever happens, Ours is a God who answers prayer, and that He will lead our children Home.

O blessed Jesus, what I am proposing to do is hard and I feel weak, because I am full of self-love, but the will is there and comes from the heart. Help me! Help me! We can only carry on from day-to-day by the sheer grace of God, because when we presume to act on our own, it is disastrous, as noted by Pope John XXIII. 

Most of us would like to say that the keen sense of my own nothingness [has ripened] and [perfected] in me the spirit of kindness, great kindness, making me patient and forbearing with others in the way I judge and treat them, but if you’re anything like me, more often than not it only causes you to question everything you do as a mother. Like many parents, my husband and I have some children who, although they are certainly not perfect, tend to be kind, gentle, patient, compassionate, diligent and full of faith. And we have others who, while good at heart, insist on rocking the boat and questioning virtually everything we say. Because of the friction that parent/child relationships inevitably bring from time to time, I’ve taken to frequently questioning myself. Have I not been kind enough? Strict enough? Loving enough? Available enough? Am I too matter of fact? Or too wishy-washy? Am I to harsh? Or to meek? Sadly, while we often turn to The Lord in desperation, in reality, we tend to lean too hard on our own understanding. Why else would we be so unsure of ourselves? Trust more than anything will result in a foundation of peace that enables patience and kindness to bloom.

The work I am doing now requires great delicacy and prudence as it frequently means dealing with [children]. I intend therefore that my behavior shall always be kind, modest and dignified so as to divert attention from my own person and give a richer spiritual quality to my work. Recently I read the biography of Saint Monica, who suffered for many years as she begged God to lead her son back to Him. I found Monica’s story one that offers much in the way of hope and perspective. Unfortunately, most of us are not living saints. When dealing with our children, too often kindness and dignity go out the window when everyone needs mom and the chores all need to be done. There is a solution. We must take time out to strengthen our relationship with God. We must, must, MUST pursue holiness for ourselves. That intimate relationship with Our Lord will establish a profoundly spiritual dimension to our vocation and will enable us to approach our children with the delicacy and prudence necessary for long term success.

Here again, if I think poorly of myself and distrust my own powers and raise my thoughts constantly to Jesus, returning to his embrace as soon as I have ended my task, it will be a great protection. When my oldest was five years old, I remember sobbing through a rosary, begging Mary to lead my children to her son in spite of me. Being aware of our lack of power is usually not the problem; hopefully that knowledge helps us to spend more time on our knees. All failings aside, we must remember that it is by God’s grace alone that our children will grow to know love and serve Him, and it must be our daily prayer that, like Saint Joseph, one day in the not-so-distant future each and every one of them will die in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Christ comes from Heaven to Host: We Must Meet Him There

He came unto His own—that is, He comes as far as He can—from heaven to the Host, and down to the altar rails. Further He cannot come.  The rest of the way must be ours.

coram sanctissimo

Coram Sanctissimo
by Mother Mary Loyola

X
Neglect

He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.
(John i. II.)

 

How strange it seems, O Lord! For You had been promised so long.  You had been so ardently desired by the best and noblest of our race; so gloriously prefigured, so set forth in prophecy, as to awaken the keenest expectation and enkindle the most glowing love. How was it, then, that Your own received You not?  How is it that even now You come unto Your own and are not welcomed, are not wanted, are left alone, not through the night only—that perhaps was to be expected—but through the long day hours, with Your so-called friends, and the weary and the heavy laden within a stone’s throw of Your door? Ah, Lord, the outrage and the sacrilege that mark the hatred of Your enemies are less to be wondered at, less to be deplored, than the coldness of those You call Your own.  You are not given to complain.  But when along the ages a meek remonstrance does break upon the silence, it is always the same—the protest wrung from You by the desertion of those You love.  “Behold…my familiar friends also are departed from me…My brethren have passed by me”(Job vi).  Do you now believe?  Behold…you shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone” (John xvi).  How Your Heart felt the desolation of abandonment; how, to speak human language, You feel it still—You made known in that cry of unrequited love, “Behold this Heart which has so loved men and is so little loved by them.”

Who would have thought that God could upbraid so tenderly, or that men could hear such reproach without being touched and won!  If not to make great sacrifices for Him, if not to give up all, at least to go a few steps in order to keep Him company in His loneliness, and sympathise with Him in His sorrows—surely He might have looked for this!

Dearest Lord, one would have expected You to be in such request upon the altar; expected that there would be crowding and crushing in Your presence as in the days of Your earthly life; that we should be seen flocking to You early and late, to show our appreciation of Your love, and to pour out our troubles into Your willing ear.  Where is our faith to leave You thus deserted?  “Do you believe?  Behold you shall be scattered every one to his own, and shall leave Me alone.”

He came unto His own—that is, He comes as far as He can—from heaven to the Host, and down to the altar rails. Further He cannot come.  The rest of the way must be ours. We must meet Him there in Holy Communion, or His loving journey to us will have been in vain.  He will not force our free will.  But He does so want to come.  Shall we disappoint Him? Oh, if our own love will not draw us to Him, at least let us have compassion on His!  If we think ourselves at liberty to deprive ourselves of our communions, surely we are not free to deprive Him of His.

You long, O Lover of my soul, to come to me.  Your delights are to be with me, cold, inhospitable as I am.  Come, then; come, Lord Jesus, and in satisfying Your own desire, enkindle mine.

 

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Thank you so much to St. Augustine Academy Press for cooperating with this endeavor! If you are interested in this or other works by Mother Mary Loyola (as well as many other great books for spiritual growth and meditation), please check out their website.You will find many wonderful treasures from which to choose!

 

 

Lord, Come and See!

Come to my heart, this dull cold heart of mine,
All irresponsive to a love divine;
What lacks it to become Thy hallowed shrine?  
Lord, come and see!  

coram sanctissimo

Coram Sanctissimo
by Mother Mary Loyola

IX
Lord, Come and See!

(John xi. 34)

 

Come to my heart as unto Bethl’hem’s grot,
A hovel-home that love despises not:
Can love transform it to a pleasant spot?
Lord, come and see!

Come to my heart as once to Bethany:
A brother’s grave is there, and piteously
Are tears and supplication calling Thee:
Lord, come and see!

How flocked of yore unto Thy blessed feet
The sick, the sad, Thy mercy to entreat!
I too have needs Thy pitying eye to meet:
Lord, come and see!

Come, lay Thy hand upon each leprous stain;
Come with Thy word of might the fiend to chain;
The open festering sore, the hidden pain,
Lord, come and see!

Come to my heart, this dull cold heart of mine,
All irresponsive to a love divine;
What lacks it to become Thy hallowed shrine?
Lord, come and see!

Happier by far than in the olden days
Judea’s glorious Temple—what delays
Its song and sacrifice, its prayer and praise?
Lord, come and see!

Perchance, like Temple Courts, doth sinful stain,
The world’s loud trafficking, the greed of gain
Thy Father’s house, the house of prayer profane:
Lord, come and see!

Come, Holy One, I yield myself to Thee;
E’en scourge in hand, come, Lord and Love, to me.
What change shall make me Thine, Thine utterly?
Lord, come and see!

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you so much to St. Augustine Academy Press for cooperating with this endeavor! If you are interested in this or other works by Mother Mary Loyola (as well as many other great books for spiritual growth and meditation), please check out their website.You will find many wonderful treasures from which to choose!

 

 

Make My Heart Perfectly at Ease With You, Lord

What should I have to say were I in the presence of the one I love best in the world; with whom I am quite at my ease; my friend par excellence; to whom my trials, difficulties, character, the secrets of my soul are known…

coram sanctissimo

Coram Sanctissimo
by Mother Mary Loyola

VIII
Looking Through the Lattices

(Cant. ii. 9.)

 

But meanwhile the Beloved is behind the wall.  And He is there with all the sympathy for our difficulty which His perfect knowledge of it enables Him to have. “Jesus…needed not that any man should tell Him…for He knew what was in man”(john ii).  He knows the weariness of praying on against apparently unanswered prayer; against the pain of physical restlessness, the labour of thought, the irksomeness of concentration, the perpetual gathering together of the forces that are playing truant in a thousand fields, recalled for a brief space only to be off again more wayward for their capture. All this He knows.  And our remedy is to remember that He knows it.  He Who has appointed prayer to be the channel of grace, means such prayer as we can bring Him. He does not ask impossibilities.  He does not place us amid distracting work all day long and expect us to shut it out by an effort of will the moment we kneel down to pray. Nor even to shut it out by repeated efforts.  He would have us turn our distractions and weariness not so much into matter for self-reproach, or humiliation even, as into a loving, trustful plea for His pity and His help.  This is prayer.  Lay the tired brain, the strained muscles, the aching head—lay them all down at His feet without a word, just for His eye to rest on and His Heart to help and heal.

There are times when physical lassitude, cold or heat, an importunate thought, a trial with its sting still fresh, baffles every effort to fix the mind on the subject of prayer, and concentrates the whole attention on what for the moment is all-absorbing.  Times harder still to manage, when mind and heart are so absolutely vacant and callous that there is no rousing them to action.  This reflection will sometimes be helpful then: What should I have to say were I in the presence of the one I love best in the world; with whom I am quite at my ease; my friend par excellence; to whom my trials, difficulties, character, the secrets of my soul are known; that one in whose concerns and welfare I take the deepest interest; whose plans and views are mine, discussed again and again together; in whose company time flies and the hour for parting comes too soon—what should I find to say?

Say it, make an effort to say it to Him Who is in the tabernacle yonder.

O Jesus, hidden God, more friendly than a brother(Prov. xviii), I believe most firmly that You are present, a few feet only from where I kneel. You are behind that little wall, listening for every word of confidence, and love, and thanksgiving, and praise.  Listening when my heart is free to pour itself out to You as the brook to the river in the days of spring.  Listening more tenderly when the stream is ice-bound; when I kneel before You troubled, wearied, anxious about many things—about many souls perhaps—yet dry and hard, without a word to say. Make my heart so perfectly at ease with You, O Lord, that it may be able to turn to You even in its coldness and inertness; to confide to You naturally all that most intimately concerns it; to be content with this, when discontented with all else, with self most of all—that You know all men and need not that any should give testimony of man, for You know what is in man (john ii). 

 

 

 

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Thank you so much to St. Augustine Academy Press for cooperating with this endeavor! If you are interested in this or other works by Mother Mary Loyola (as well as many other great books for spiritual growth and meditation), please check out their website.You will find many wonderful treasures from which to choose!

 

 

A Beautiful Reflection on The Hidden God

There is no use denying that with the exception of rare intervals, our intercourse with God in this life is more or less laborious and difficult. This is only saying that Heaven is not yet come.  Faith was meant to be a trial, and a trial it certainly is. 

coram sanctissimo

Coram Sanctissimo
by Mother Mary Loyola

VII
The Hidden God

Vere Tu es Deus absconditus!
(Isaias xiv. 15.)

 

 

There is no use denying that with the exception of rare intervals, our intercourse with God in this life is more or less laborious and difficult. This is only saying that Heaven is not yet come.  Faith was meant to be a trial, and a trial it certainly is.  The evidence of sense is against us; the levity of imagination is against us; the inconstancy of our desires and of our will is against us when we kneel down to pray.

“Behold He standeth behind our wall”(Cant. ii).  We know He is there, close as the priest in the confessional, with attention to every word we say.  Yet, for all that, the words and the confidences come slowly.  It is hard to prolong a conversation that is all on one side, and this, so it seems to us, is the case in prayer. Useless to tell us that our faith is at fault.  That in the presence of the Pope, or the King, we should be all attention. Where the conditions are so different, there can be no parallel.  The voice, the look, the question and answer, the surroundings—all these are wanting.  Such admonitions irritate us by their injustice, and we look away wearily for help elsewhere.  But where to look?  We cannot alter the present state of things or fix our wandering thoughts and unstable heart.  No, but we can accept all things as they are in truth, and in the truth find a remedy.

“Behold He standeth behind our wall.” But the barrier between us is not a drawback, an obstacle to union with Him—inseparable indeed from the present condition of things—yet an obstacle for all that.  It is distinctly willed by Him as a necessary part of our trial, a wholesome discipline, a purification of love.  It has in it all the privileges, advantages and blessings that in this life belong to pain, and can be won by pain alone.  It is a present blessing as well as a pledge of blessing to come.  “Blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.”(John XX)  It is a pledge of that full clear vision, “reserved in heaven for you, who, by the power of God, are kept by faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.  Wherein you shall greatly rejoice, if now for a little time you must be made sorrowful…That the trial of your faith (much more precious than gold tried by the fire) may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen you love; in Whom also now, though you see Him not, you believe, and believing shall rejoice with joy unspeakable” (1 Peter i.). 

“We see now in a dark manner: but then face to face”(1 Cor. xiii). “I shall see Him, but not now” (Numbers xxiv).  How will that face to face vision be the brighter and the sweeter for the dimness now! How will the joy of that moment when we part for ever with faith be intensified by what faith has cost us in the past!

O days and hours, your work is this,
To hold me from my proper place,
A little while from His embrace,
For fuller gain of after bliss.
That out of distance might ensue
Desire of nearness doubly sweet,
And unto meeting when we meet,
Delight a hundredfold accrue.
In Memoriam 

 

 

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Thank you so much to St. Augustine Academy Press for cooperating with this endeavor! If you are interested in this or other works by Mother Mary Loyola (as well as many other great books for spiritual growth and meditation), please check out their website.You will find many wonderful treasures from which to choose!

 

 

Come to Me, Everyone!

Beneath His glance, as snow ‘neath sunny ray,
Some of my cares dissolve and melt away,

coram sanctissimo

Coram Sanctissimo
by Mother Mary Loyola

VI
Venite ad Me Omnes

(Matt.  xi.  28.)

 

“Come to Me, heavy-laden ones, come all!”
I hear, I rise, I hasten at His call;
‘Neath burden bent, across the threshold steal,
The curtain lift, and in His Presence kneel:

There loose my load—and wide, With none to check nor chide,
Scattering, a sorry sight, on every side,

They fall—pains, troubles, cares—lying, how meet,
About the weary, way-worn, wounded Feet;
Under the Eye of yore bedimmed with tears,
The Heart Gethsemane oppressed with fears,

The Heart that sore afraid Strong supplication made,
And with a sweat of blood the Father prayed.

Beneath His glance, as snow ‘neath sunny ray,
Some of my cares dissolve and melt away,
And some He takes and smoothes a little space
The less to chafe, and lays again in place.

‘Tis mystery to me How some He smiles to see,
And how on some His tears fall tenderly.

One I hold up to Him, and pleading pray,
“This, Lord, just this, in pity take away!”
And ever comes His word with cheering smile:
“A little longer, trust Me yet awhile;

Each pang of keen distress, Each prayer, I mark and bless,
Each in its hour shall show forth fruitfulness”.

That, my life’s woe,
against a bleeding Side Is pressed, and lo!
transfigured, glorified, It glows as crystal flushed with rosy ray.
“O gem unprized!  Restore it, Lord, I pray;

As costly gift from Thee Dear shall it be to me”;
And in my heart I hide it lovingly.

A lightened load He lays on me, all sweet
With words of love—and thus I leave His Feet,
With steadier step to plod on day by day,
With stouter heart to climb the upward way

And when anew life’s strain Frets me with weary pain,
I take my load and go to Him again.

 

 

 

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Thank you so much to St. Augustine Academy Press for cooperating with this endeavor! If you are interested in this or other works by Mother Mary Loyola (as well as many other great books for spiritual growth and meditation), please check out their website.You will find many wonderful treasures from which to choose!

 

 

Has Your Child Left the Church? You are not Alone, but Elisabeth Leseur Can Help

In a recent homily, our parish priest discussed the staggering fact that 80 percent of baptized young people are leaving the Faith before they are 25 years old.

In a recent homily, our parish priest discussed the staggering fact that 80 percent of baptized young people are leaving the Faith before they are 25 years old. He was sharing the findings of a newly published study conducted by St. Mary’s Press, in conjunction with Georgetown University. The report —  Going, Going, Gone! The Dynamics of Disaffiliation in Young Catholics — discusses the self-reported reasons Millennials give for leaving the Church. Our pastor mentioned three:
  1. They do not believe in God
  2. The Church is full of Hypocrites.
  3. What the Church has to say about morality (particularly sexual morality) is diametrically opposed to what the culture is teaching Millennials.
Elisabeth intuitively recognized and understood each of these reasons, and sought to eradicate them through the only productive means possible —  personal transformation. May each of us be inspired to adopt her resolutions, that His light may be encountered by every soul we meet:
Elisabeth_LeseurIt is not in arguing or in lecturing that I can make them know what God is to the human soul. But in struggling with myself, in becoming, with His help, more Christian and more valiant, I will bear witness to Him whose humble disciple I am. By the serenity and strength that I mean to acquire, I will prove that the Christian life is great and beautiful and full of joy. By cultivating all the best faculties of my mind, I will proclaim God is the highest Intelligence and that those who serve Him can draw without end from that blessed source of intellectual and moral light. The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur, p. 10

 

Elisabeth Leseur, Pray for us!

 

Important Note: The brief reflection above was written for a wonderful website promoting the cause for Elisabeth Leseur’s canonization – an effort I pray will be fruitful, as there is so much we can learn from this holy woman. Please check out elcause.org for more information and join EL Circle of Friends!

 

Don’t Shy from Adoration Because You Get Distracted in Prayer – Take Your Cares to Your Lord!

Some of us, maybe, are deterred from visiting our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament by a false conception of what a visit should be.  We suppose that the occupations which fill our heads and our hands from morning till night must all be laid aside at the church door and sternly forbidden entrance, much in the same way as we bid our dog lie down in the porch and wait for us. 

coram sanctissimo

Coram Sanctissimo
by Mother Mary Loyola

V
What Things?


“Art Thou a stranger and hast not known the things that have
been done
in these days?” To whom He said: “What things?”
(Luke xxiv. 18, 19.)

 

Some of us, may-be, are deterred from visiting our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament by a false conception of what a visit should be.  We suppose that the occupations which fill our heads and our hands from morning till night must all be laid aside at the church door and sternly forbidden entrance, much in the same way as we bid our dog lie down in the porch and wait for us.  We read that St. Bernard thus dismissed all secular thoughts, and we conclude—though his biographer does not say so—that they returned at the end of his prayer, and not before. Self-mastery such as this demands an effort to which few of us feel equal.  Do what they will, the mind of the doctor and the lawyer will run more or less upon their anxious cases, the student’s head will be full of his examination, the mother’s of her household cares.  These thoughts, if indeliberate, will be at least persistent, and if quite deliberate will become sinful.  In either case they render prayer an impossibility—hence we stay away.

Now do we find this view of prayer borne out by the practice of God’s servants?  Of David in perplexity and trouble we read: “And the Philistines coming spread themselves in the valley of Raphaim.  And David consulted the Lord, saying: Shall I go up to the Philistines? and wilt Thou deliver them into my hand?  And the Lord said to David: Go up, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into thy hand…And the Philistines came up again…And David consulted the Lord: Shall I go up against the Philistines?…He answered: Go not up against them.”(2 Kings v. ) 

Of David in a mood of joy and thankfulness we are told: “And King David came and sat before the Lord, and said: Who am I, O Lord God, that Thou shouldst give such things to me?” (1 Par. xvii.)  

See, too, the simplicity and confidence of Ezechias on receiving the threatening message of Sennacherib: “And Ezechias took the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it, and went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord.”(Isa. xxxvii.) 

A common complaint is that daily worries and anxieties so invade our minds that our prayer has no chance.  But is this our feeling about a talk with a trusty friend—a man of sound judgment, wide experience and influence, on whose interest in all that concerns us we can count with certainty?  Should we say: “I had half an hour with him this morning, but my mind was so full of that affair I could find nothing to say”; or: “I had it all out with him this morning, and am ever so much better already”?

Why not deal thus familiarly with our best Friend?  If Ezechias could spread out his letter before the Lord in that old Temple, which was but a shadow of the better things to come, why may not we carry our good news and our bad before the pitying human Heart of Christ, with us all days on purpose to hear every day—and, if we will, every hour of the day—all we have to tell Him, and hearing all, to help in all?

Had our Lord said to us: “I will prosper any spiritual concerns that you commend to Me, but really you must look after your own temporal affairs, and I shall count it an irreverence if you bring such things into My presence”—had He said this, there might be some excuse for the pains we take to shut Him out of the cares and business of everyday life.

But has He said this, or does all we know of Him go to prove the exact contrary?  Did He count it an irreverence when the sick were thrust upon Him at every step; when a paralytic let down from the roof and laid at His feet stopped His teaching; when messengers came one upon another to draw Him here and there for some temporal need: “Lord, he whom Thou lovest is sick”(John xi); “Lord, come down before that my son die” (Ibid. iv)? Did He refuse the invitation at Cana?  And if, for a brief space, He delayed the miracle designed from all eternity to manifest His tender interest in the joys as well as in the sorrows of home life, was it not obviously to show how Mary’s heart beat in unison with His, and to honour His Mother’s prayer?

“Lord, come and see,” said the weeping sisters as they led the way to the grave.  Look at Him between them, listening now to one, now to the other, as they tell the history of the past three days—how they had watched and waited for Him, and counted on His coming, and He came not. See their tearful eyes.  See the eager Heart, longing for the moment when He may reward their trust and turn their mourning into gladness.

What should we have felt and said that day at Bethany if, after raising Lazarus, He had turned to us and made Himself our listener, placing Himself, as was His wont, at the complete disposal of the one who wanted Him?  Should we have felt shy of trying to interest Him in the details of our life, in our little joys and troubles?  Or would our hearts have opened out to Him, and simply emptied themselves in His presence?

Do we want an ideal visit to Christ?  Let us seek it in Nicodemus’ talks by night; in the centurion’s urgent pleading for his servant; in the unburdening of soul that we see in Zaccheus and in the sisters at Bethany. And let us frame our own visits on such models.  If a big worry threatens to invade prayer, why not take it straight away into prayer, giving it the place and time it wants, making it the subject-matter of our intercourse with God, and so turning a hindrance into a help!

Of course we must do all this with reverence and a certain amount of watchfulness, or our prayer will be no prayer at all, but distraction pure and simple.  But if we put our case before our Lord and talk it over with Him, representing our difficulty, asking His advice, listening to His whispered word in answer, our time of prayer will be what He wants it to be—a time of rest, and light, and strength.

Some may say that this so-called prayer is very unsupernatural, and that the results of such a compromise between prayer and distraction will not be very satisfactory. It may be so; we can only reply that there are times without number when this is the only method of getting results at all, and that our Lord’s method of dealing with His own and theirs with Him was eminently natural. 

No, surely, our difficulty is not due to want of sympathy on the part of Christ our Lord.  It can only come from our failing to recognise the full purpose of the Incarnation and its bearing on every detail of human life.  Had His act of Redemption been His one motive in coming amongst us, He might have come straight from His throne at the right hand of the Father to the cross on Calvary.  But the proof of love greater than which no man can give did not satisfy Him.  He wanted, as “Firstborn amongst many brethren,”(Rom. viii) as Head of the human family, to place Himself in intimate communication with it on every side—to touch, as far as might be, every point, every experience of human life, entering personally into its mysteries of joy, and fear, and love, and sorrow.  And so we have the years of infancy and childhood and youth, and—precious above all— the blessed years of the public life, when “the Lord Jesus came in and went out among us,”(Acts i.) proving by every word and act His desire to be associated with us His brethren, His right to His name of predilection—the Son of Man. 

He it is Whom we find waiting for us when our turn comes to pass across the short stage of life on earth.  He calls us to Him, calls us by our name, one by one.  He bids us take Him to our hearts as the nearest and dearest of our friends, Who alone can stand by us when all others fail.  He bids us cultivate His friendship, and try it and prove it.  And He promises that we shall find Him what all have found Him who have put their trust in Him—what Martha and Mary, and Paul and Bernard, and Teresa and Margaret Mary have found Him—the “Faithful and True,”(Apoc. xix)  “Jesus Christ yesterday, and to-day: and the same for ever.”(3 Heb. xiii) 

 

 

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Thank you so much to St. Augustine Academy Press for cooperating with this endeavor! If you are interested in this or other works by Mother Mary Loyola (as well as many other great books for spiritual growth and meditation), please check out their website.You will find many wonderful treasures from which to choose!

When Jesus Speaks from the Tabernacle

There will be no more visitors for Me today, none through the long hours of the night.  Stay with Me because it is towards evening.

coram sanctissimo

Coram Sanctissimo
by Mother Mary Loyola

IV
The Son of Man


“I also have a heart as well as you.”
(Mark x. 38, 39.)

 

 

Our Lord does quite simply what some of us are too proud to do.  He owns to the yearning felt by every human heart for the sympathy of its kind. He speaks plainly of His desire to share His joy and sorrows with His friends, and is at no pains to conceal His need of their support, His gratitude for their devotedness, His distress at their unfaithfulness and desertion.  “Father, I will that where I am, they also whom Thou hast given Me may be with Me: that they may see My glory.”(John xvii)  “You are they who have continued with Me in My temptations.”(Luke xxii)  “My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here, and watch with Me…Could you not watch one hour with Me?”(Matt xxvi)  “The hour cometh…that you shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone.”(John xvi) 

He comes to a weak woman for her compassion and her help.  He asks her to spread abroad among His friends the words in which He unburdened His heart to her, and beg them to come and bear Him company in His life of solitude and neglect.  To each one of us He says from the tabernacle: “Stay you here, and watch with Me…Could you not watch one hour with Me?” Or if not one hour, one quarter?

Stay with Me because I am going to offer My morning sacrifice, and men are too busy to assist at the oblation of Myself for them.

Stay with Me for a few moments at midday, when the glare of the world and its rush and its din are fiercest. Turn off the crowded pavement into the quiet church, “Come apart…and rest a little.”(Mark vi) 

Stay with Me because it is towards evening and the day is now far spent.  There will be no more visitors for Me today, none through the long hours of the night.  Stay with Me because it is towards evening.

O Lover of men, so lonely, so forsaken, if Your object in staying with us day and night was to win our love, have You not failed? Has it been worth Your while to work miracle after miracle to produce Your Real Presence upon the altar?  Have I made it worth Your while to be there for me?   Jesus, dear Jesus, I bury my face in my hands; I know of no heart more ungrateful, more callous than my own.  I have been miserably unmindful of Your Presence here for me. I have let self, pleasure, troubles even—anything and everything furnish an excuse for keeping away from You and neglecting You in that sacramental life which is lived here for me.

 

 

 

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Thank you so much to St. Augustine Academy Press for cooperating with this endeavor! If you are interested in this or other works by Mother Mary Loyola (as well as many other great books for spiritual growth and meditation), please check out their website.You will find many wonderful treasures from which to choose!

What Can We Promise in Response to Our Lord?

“Can you come after Me by taking up your cross daily— the cross I have laid upon you to liken you to Myself?” 

As we continue our Thursday Lenten meditation series for adoration, join us in reading Chapter III of Mother Mary Loyola’s Coram Sanctissimo.

 

coram sanctissimo

Coram Sanctissimo
by Mother Mary Loyola

III
“Possumus.”
[We can.]

“Can you drink of the chalice that I drink of?” “We can.”
(Mark x. 38, 39.)

 

Far back in the ages before the world was, “in the beginning,” I hear the Eternal Father treating with His co-equal Son about my redemption:

“Canst Thou for that soul and for its salvation go down from heaven and be made man?”

And the Divine Word answered: “I can.”

“Canst Thou live a life of thirty-three years, toiling and teaching and instituting Divine means for its salvation, and end that life of hardship and suffering by a death of pain and shame?”

I can.”

“Canst Thou perpetuate that Incarnation and annihilation even to the end of time; hiding Thyself under the form of bread in order to meet it on its entrance into life, to be its companion, its refuge, its food all the days of its pilgrimage?”

I can.

“And when, O Lover of that soul, it shall meet Thy love, Thy advances, Thy sacrifices as Thou knowest it will meet them, canst Thou bear with it still, supporting its coldness, its waywardness, its indifference, its ingratitude?”

And Jesus said, “I can.”

And now my Redeemer turns to question me in my turn:

“Can you for the sake of your salvation co-operate with Me and turn to your own profit all I have done and am ready to do for you, resolving to avoid everything that would imperil the great work we have undertaken—all grievous sin and all venial sin that leads to mortal?”

What can I answer but, “O Lord, I can”—?

“Can you, as some return for My love, find it in your heart to avoid not only sin, but the infidelities which impede My work in your soul, obstruct My grace and hinder union between us?”

What is my answer now?

“Can you, with the eye of faith, see Me in My suffering members—the poor, the sick, the outcast, the unprotected, the little helpless children—and for My sake sacrifice leisure, or ease, or worldly means to succour and serve them?”

“Give me the faith, Lord, to recognise You in all these, and in the strength of that faith, I can.

“Can you come after Me by taking up your cross daily— the cross I have laid upon you to liken you to Myself?”

“Yes, Lord, for beneath will be the everlasting arms.  You will not leave me alone, and with Your help, I can.”

“Can you uphold My cause in the face of ridicule and disgrace—ready, if not glad, to suffer reproach for My name?”

“In Him Who strengtheneth me, Lord, I can.”

“Can you bear to be overlooked, set at naught, despised by the world as one at variance with its principles, as following another leader?  Can you bear the taunt: ‘And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth’ —? ”

“Look on me, Lord, in hours of trial as You looked on Peter, and sustained by that glance, I can.”

“Can you drink still deeper of My chalice—the chalice I drained for you—bearing with constancy desolation of spirit and the hiding of the Father’s Face, content to serve Him for Himself rather than for His gifts?”

“In union, O my Lord, with Your desolate soul on Calvary, I can.”

 

 

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Thank you so much to St. Augustine Academy Press for cooperating with this endeavor! If you are interested in this or other works by Mother Mary Loyola (as well as many other great books for spiritual growth and meditation), please check out their website.You will find many wonderful treasures from which to choose!
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