Mortification … Tuesday, August 20

Scourged 06

Mortification. Self-denial. Its about more than this life and the things around us here and now. Its a path to the next life and the One Who waits for us there.

A Rosary Meditation … The Second Sorrowful Mystery, the Scourging. “There is more security in self-denial, mortification, and other like virtues, than in an abundance of tears.”

~ St. Teresa of Jesus.

Jesus, as always, gives us our best example. He had prayed in the garden that the cup He was about from drink of might pass. That couldn’t be. At least it couldn’t be if a way for us, a Merciful Way, was to be forged. Much of that way revolves around His example and our doing likewise. And so He prayed for God‘s will regardless, and here is a part of the result. The scourging. Not that He deserved it, but that we do. He took upon Himself a path of mortification to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves. Oh, we can undergo self-inflicted mortification (aka “self-denial”), but we can only do it by His grace. And that’s the example He gives us here. It’s by God’s grace that He was, in the flesh, able to do what needed to be done. This example should give us the strength we need to place ourselves second, at best, and God and His will first. Isn’t that what Jesus really prayed for in the garden? Never forget that He is as human, save for sin, as He is Divine. And always remember that He is here with us now offering always the strength and grace we need to follow the example He set for us. For you.

Today …

St. Bernard of Valdeiglesias


St. Bernard of Valdeiglesias

St. Bernard of Valdeiglesias is the patron saint of Candelada, Spain. He was a monk at Valdeiglesias, possibly a Cistercian. I’ve said before, Cistercians are Benedictines to the 10th power. It takes a lot of self-denial to be a member of that order. We don’t know a lot about this saint and in this instance that’s a good thing. There aren’t a lot of details to get in our way and perhaps muddy the water for us. What little we know helps give us a clear view of the one thing we need to see most. Self-denial. Certainly, we aren’t all called to the Cistercian Order but every one of us needs to set self aside in preference for Christ. Christ did, as we’ve just seen, the same for us. Our St. Bernard might make a good prayer partner as we practice our own needed self-mortification.

Saintly advice … “He who wishes to find Jesus should seek Him, not in the delights and pleasures of the world, but in mortification of the senses.” ~ St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.


Amazing, just amazing … Monday, February 25

The Lord is my Good Shepherd

The Lord is my Good Shepherd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Rosary Meditation … The Fifth Joyful Mystery, the Finding of Jesus in the Temple. “And all who were listening to Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.” Luke 2:47. The priests and scribes were listening to the boy Jesus in amazement. That reaction, amazement, goes on even today when people are presented with the words of Jesus, with His Gospel, with the love and logic presented to them by His Body, His Church. But what follows? What comes after the amazement wears off? Think about the people around Jesus, all of them as a whole, and how they reacted to Him. They always seemed to separate into two groups. Those amazed enough to believe and follow, those amazed enough to swear He was a fake or worse. The first group, the sheep, see the miracles and hear the truths and believe with their hearts because they work with God’s grace. The second group, seeing all of the same things and hearing all the same words, shun God’s grace, and find in Jesus something they don’t want. He isn’t to their liking. He isn’t worldly, there is no monetary gain, there will never be political power or social pull, and so these, the goats, amazing as it may seem to the faithful sheep, go their own way rather than go the way of the Shepherds. Nothings changed, has it? He’s either what we want or He isn’t. He’s amazing either way. And after people form two camps, the sheep and goats, what happens THEN? The goats work against the sheep because they follow and represent the One they reject, the one they don’t want. And the sheep follow Him, meekly, because He told them that the meek would inherit the earth. But the sheep do something else too. A part of following Him is treating the goats with kindness and love, even when they raid the flock. This is amazing in itself. But following the Good Shepherds example does something. It changes the sheep into better sheep, and sometimes the example shown turns goats into sheep. And that makes the slight sufferings of this life worthwhile. Amazing, isn’t it?

Today … St. Nestor of Magydos was bishop of Magydos. Pamphylia, and martyr. He was arrested during the persecution under Emperor Trajanus Decius and was put to death when he refused to make sacrifices to the gods. The local governor, Pollio, condemned Nestor to death. This is all simple and straightforward. Now consider. After his witness, after his faithfulness had been witnessed by those around him, what effect did it have? How many more sheep where there, how many less goats, as a result?

And … ” it came to pass when Jesus had fully ended these words, the people were in admiration at his doctrine.” Matthew 7:28.

Whats in a Name? … Monday, February 11

L' Annonciation, 1644, peinture de Philippe de...

“You will call His Name Jesus” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Rosary Meditation … The First Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation. “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.” Luke I:31. Jesus. It was a common name at the time, its meaning reflecting a nations hope. Jesus basically means “the Lord is salvation”. (As an aside, and concerning the name Jesus, there are different ways of looking at the validity of transliteration and translation, semantics, and etc. Bluntly, there are people who like to argue any and every point regardless the validity of the argument or its worth. I’ve never known one of these that could read or translate Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, or Latin. And that means they really don’t know what they’re talking about even though they think they do. Like Shakespeare’s play, for them the argument is the thing. Please read Titus 3:9. I leave those folks to themselves and to their own devices. Personally, and with no concern for what these argumentative people may think about it, but with a great distaste for the mindset that goes with the argument, I trust that when I say “Jesus” He knows Who He is, and so do I.) Salvation, help from the Lord, is exactly what the Jews were looking for. And they needed to be saved. Saved from the Romans, from their own “king” Herod, from the pagan world around them, from sin, from themselves. Not much has changed for Jew or Gentile, has it? Humanity, as long as we live with our own fallen nature, needs salvation. And we’ll continue to until Jesus returns. The old adage, to “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps”, sounds good. Until push comes to shove. Try it sometimes, try pulling yourself up out of the muck and mire of your own sinful nature via human endeavor alone and see how much real progress you make. Isaiah 64:6. Gravity takes its toll. So does sin. That’s why we need a savior. And just as we need Jesus, just so He needs our co-operation.

The Lord’s salvation is one thing. Our acceptance of it and our willingness to work with it is another. Where would we be now if, after the Annunciation, Mary had said “Yes” and then sat on her hands? God’s salvation, His grace, is a gift. Like a Christmas (Christ-Mass) package under the tree (cross) its beautiful but of no use to me unless I accept it and unwrap it. “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.” Philippians 2:12., Douay-Rheims. It may sound hard, but we need to remember, and never forget, that grace follows grace and He supplies all the help we’ll ever need. John 1:16, Philippians 4:19, Matthew 19:26.

“And in all things whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” Matthew 21:22. “Because I go to the Father: and whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, that will I do: that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13.

Call on the Name above all names. It’s a gift given us, this Name is a gift whereby we must be saved. God sent the angel Gabriel with this Gift to the Blessed Virgin Mary. “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. The Divine Name, the Name of God under the New and Everlasting Covenant, JESUS, isn’t a magic talisman. It isn’t a wizard’s concoction. It isn’t a charm to be worn around the neck and forgotten about. It IS a REALITY and a SPIRITUAL weapon. “Our God is our refuge and strength: a helper in troubles, which have found us exceedingly.” Psalm 46:1b. “That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth … ” Philippians 2:10.

Today … St. Jonas was an Egyptian monk under St. Pachomious at Demeskenyanos Monastery. He served as a gardener for eighty-five years in the desert hermitage and was known for his deep piety. A gardener in the desert. A vine dresser in the Lord’s vineyard, which vineyard is located in the world despite its being a desert of sin, and via God’s Grace there is a blooming in the desert. In the desert heat St. Jonas toiled. And believe me, if his gardening brought forth any fruit, it was ONLY because of the Name above every other name. It was ONLY because of Jesus.

Pray in Jesus Name … “The great method of prayer is to have none. If in going to prayer one can form in oneself a pure capacity for receiving the spirit of God, that will suffice for all method.” ~ St. Jane Frances de Chantal ~

Published in: on February 11, 2013 at 2:15 am  Comments Off on Whats in a Name? … Monday, February 11  
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