Tuesday, March 30, 2021

His Mother Stood by the Cross by Saint Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux

From the sermons of Saint Bernard 

 The martyrdom of the Virgin is set forth both in the prophecy of Simeon and in the actual story of our Lord's passion. The holy old man said of the infant Jesus: He has been established as a sign which will be contradicted. He went on to say to Mary: And your own heart will be pierced by a sword.   

  Truly, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart. For only by passing through your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son. Indeed, after your Jesus - who belongs to everyone, but is especially yours - gave up his life, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from his lifeless body, tore open his side. Clearly it did not touch his soul and could not harm him, but it did pierce your heart. For surely his soul was no longer there, but yours could not be torn away. Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly call you more than martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering.   

  Or were those words, Woman, behold your Son, not more than a word to you, truly piercing your heart, cutting through to the division between soul and spirit? What an exchange! John is given to you in place of Jesus, the servant in place of the Lord, the disciple in place of the master; the son of Zebedee replaces the Son of God, a mere man replaces God himself. How could these words not pierce your most loving heart, when the mere remembrance of them breaks ours, hearts of iron and stone though they are!   

  Do not be surprised, brothers, that Mary is said to be a martyr in spirit. Let him be surprised who does not remember the words of Paul, that one of the greatest crimes of the Gentiles was that they were without love. That was far from the heart of Mary; let it be far from her servants.  

   Perhaps someone will say: "Had she not known before that he would not die?" Undoubtedly. "Did she not expect him to rise again at once?" Surely. "And still she grieved over her crucified Son?" Intensely. Who are you and what is the source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than at the passion of Mary's Son? For if he could die in body, could she not die with him in spirit? He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his.   


  Lord, you have wanted the Mother to share the pains of your Son at the foot of the cross; Let the Church, associating with Mary to the passion of Christ, deserve to participate in His resurrection. For our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, March 27, 2021


Lo, we are on Calvary! made the theatre of divine love, where a God dies for us in a sea of sorrows. When Jesus had arrived there, they violently strip off his garments cleaving to his torn flesh, and cast him on the cross. The divine Lamb stretches himself out on this bed of death, presents his hands to the executioners, and offers to the Eternal Father the great sacrifice of his life for the salvation of men. Behold, now they nail him to the cross and raise him on it. Look, my soul, on thy Saviour, who, fastened by three hard nails, hangs from the cross, where he can find neither room nor rest. At one time he leans on his hands, at another on his feet; but where he leans, there the pain is increased. 

Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

Wednesday, March 24, 2021


“My Son, do not take it to heart, if some think ill of you, and say of you what you are not willing to hear. 

 You ought to think worse of yourself anyway, and to believe that no one is weaker than you. 

  If you walk with inward reflection, you will take small account of such flying words. 

 It is an exercise in great prudence to keep silent in an evil time and to turn inwardly to Me, and not to be disturbed by human judgment.  

  Do not let your peace depend upon the words of others; for whether they judge well or ill of you, you are not therefore any other person than yourself. 

Where is true peace or true glory? Is it not in Me? And whoever does not seeks to please others, nor fears to displease, shall enjoy abundant peace (Col 3:22). 

 All disquiet of heart and distraction of the senses arises from inordinate love and vain fear.”  

  Thomas à Kempis, “Imitation of Christ”, Book 3; CHAPTER XXVIII.

Friday, March 19, 2021


O Glorious Patriarch, Saint Joseph, in whom God has gathered the splendors of all the saints, grant us that, in this world of pride, we may take refuge in humility. 

O Glorious, Saint Joseph, in whom God has gathered the privileges of the nine Choirs of Angels, grant us that, in this world of lust, we may keep ourselves pure in body and soul.

 O Glorious Saint Joseph, you always provided firm consolation to the Mother of God, grant us that, in this world enslaved by sin, we may remain as faithful slaves of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

O Glorious Saint Joseph, guardian of the Word of God made man, Our Lord Jesus Christ, grant us that, in the Culture of Death, we may live in true Charity. 

O Glorious Saint Joseph, you faithfully cooperated while on Earth to the Redemptive Incarnation, grant us that, in these idolatrous times, we may always adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

O Glorious Saint Joseph, provident supporter of the Sacred Family, provide our needs of soul, mind and body. 

O Glorious Saint Joseph, you have always answered to all the pleas made to you, in such a way that made Saint Teresa awestruck because of the great graces that God granted her through your intercession. Grant us, too, ahe graces we ask you today. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021


It is of faith that Heaven exists for the good and Hell for the wicked. Faith teaches that the pains of Hell are eternal, and it also warns us that one single mortal sin suffices to condemn a soul forever because of the infinite malice by which it offends an infinite God. With these most positive principles in mind, how can I remain indifferent when I see the ease with which sins are committed, sins that occur as frequently as one takes a glass of water, sins and offenses that are perpetrated out of levity or diversion? How can I rest when so many are to be seen living continually in mortal sin and rushing in this blind manner to their eternal destruction? No indeed, I cannot rest, but must needs run and shout a warning to them. 

 If I saw anyone about to fall into a pit or a fire, would I not run up to him and warn him, and do all in my power to help him from falling in? Why should I not do this much to keep sinners from falling into the pit and fires of Hell?  

  I simply cannot understand how other priests who believe the same truths that I do, and as we all should, do not preach and exhort people to save themselves from falling into hell.  

  It is still a source of wonder to me how the laity – those men and women blessed with the Faith – do not give warning to those who need it. If a house were to catch fire in the middle of the night, and if the inhabitants of the same house and the other townsfolk were asleep and did not see the danger, would not the one who first noticed it shout and run along the streets, exclaiming: “Fire! Fire! In that house over there!” Then why should there not be a warning of eternal fire to waken those who are drifting in the sleep of sin in such a way that when they open their eyes they will find themselves burning in the eternal flames of Hell?".  

  Saint Anthony Mary Claret

Monday, March 8, 2021


In a series of lectures delivered in 1861, Cardinal Henry Edward Manning said the following:

 As the wicked did not pre¬vail against Him [Our Lord] even when they bound Him with cords, dragged Him to the judgment, blindfolded His eyes, mocked Him as a false King, smote Him on the head as a false Prophet, led Him away, cruci¬fied Him, and in the mastery of their power seemed to have absolute dominion over Him, so that He lay ground down and almost annihilated under their feet; and as, at that very time when He was dead and buried out of their sight, He was conqueror over all, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, and was crowned, glorified, and invested with His royalty, and reigns supreme, King of kings and Lord of lords,—even so shall it be with His Church : though for a time persecuted, and, to the eyes of man, overthrown and trampled on, dethroned, despoiled, mocked, and crushed, yet in that high time of triumph the gates of hell shall not prevail. There is in store for the Church of God a resurrection and an ascension, a royalty and a dominion, a recompense of glory for all it has en¬dured. Like Jesus, it needs must suffer on the way to its crown; yet crowned it shall be with Him eternally. Let no one, then, be scandalised if the prophecy speak of sufferings to come. We are fond of imagining triumphs and glories for the Church on earth,—that the Gospel is to be preached to all nations, and the world to be converted, and all ene¬mies subdued, and I know not what,—until some ears are impatient of hearing that there is in store for the Church a time of terrible trial: and so we do as the Jews of old, who looked for a conqueror, a king, and for prosperity; and when their Messias came in humility and in passion, they did not know Him. So, I am afraid, many among us intoxicate their minds with the visions of success and victory, and cannot endure the thought that there is a time of persecution yet to come for the Church of God…

  The holy Fathers who have written upon the subject of Antichrist, and of [the] prophecies of Daniel, without a single exception, as far as I know, and they are the Fathers both of the East and of the West, the Greek and the Latin Church— all of them unanimously,— say that in the latter end of the world, during the reign of Antichrist, the holy sacrifice of the altar will cease. In the work on the end of the world, ascribed to St. Hippolytus, after a long description of the afflictions of the last days, we read as follows: “The Churches shall lament with a great lamentation, for there shall be offered no more oblation, nor incense, nor worship acceptable to God. The sacred buildings of the churches shall be as hovels; and the precious body and blood of Christ shall not be manifest in those days; the Liturgy shall be extinct; the chanting of psalms shall cease; the reading of Holy Scripture shall be heard no more. But there shall be upon men darkness, and mourning upon mourning, and woe upon woe.” Then, the Church shall be scattered, driven into the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the beginning, invisible, hidden in catacombs, in dens, in mountains, in lurking-places; for a time it shall be swept, as it were, from the face of the earth. Such is the universal testimony of the Fathers of the early centuries…

  The Word of God tells us that towards the end of time the power of this world will became so irresistible and so triumphant that the Church of God will sink underneath its hand — that the Church of God will receive no more help from emperors, or kings, or princes, or legislatures, or nations, or peoples, to make resistance against the power and the might of its antagonist. It will be deprived of protection. It will be weakened, baffled, and prostrate, and will lie bleeding at the feet of the powers of this world.