A New Forum For Catholics Interested In Living The Monastic Life At Home

AbbeyDoor

There is a new Community Forum for Catholics seeking to make their homes a peaceful sanctuary, and to lead a more prayerful, contemplative life:

http://monasterylifeathome.boards.net/

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Should This Blog Change? A Poll-

Dear Readers,

My blog has been around for a few years and gets its share of visitors, but I’m wondering if there’s more I can do more for you than I have been. What do you think? Should this blog change its direction? Thank you for your feedback.

Do You Have The Five-Fold Scapular?

Scapular-FiveFold

07/08/2015 by The Home Monastic

I want to introduce you to the Five-Fold Scapular, because I want you to partake in the graces available to you through the Holy Catholic Church. It consists of:

1) The Passion Scapular: Red with Red Wool Braid
2) The Scapular of Mt. Carmel: Brown
3) The Scapular of The Seven Dolors: Black
4) The Immaculate Conception Scapular: Blue
5) The Trinity Scapular: White with Red-Blue Cross

Here is a brief introduction to The Five-Fold Scapular:

*In 1190 A.D., St. John of Matha, a Spaniard, was saying his first Holy Mass, when he saw over the altar the figure of an angel wearing a white robe, with a blue and red cross on the breast and the shoulder. This became the habit of the Order of the Holy Trinity. (White Scapular)
*In 1240 A.D., the Blessed Virgin appeared to seven prominent citizens of Florence who bound themselves by vow to honor the Mother of God in her sorrows. She handed them the black habit of the Servites and said, “…these garments shall be to you a perpetual memory of the sufferings in my heart.” (Black Scapular)
*In 1251 A.D., Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, holding in her hands the brown habit of the Carmelites, she made this promise: “Whoever dies in this habit shall not suffer everlasting fire…” (Brown Scapular)
*In 1605 A.D., Our Lord appeared to Sr. Ursula Benincasa, and made great promises if she and her fellow nuns would adopt as their religious habit one of a light blue color in honor of the Immaculate Conception of His Mother. Sister Ursula then asked Him if He would grant similar favors of those of the laity or of other religious orders who would wear, in honor of the Immaculate Conception, a small Blue scapular; and Our Lord did so promise. (Blue Scapular)
*In 1846 A.D., Our Blessed Lord appeared to Sr. Appoline Andriveau, showing her the red scapular of the Passion, promising that a great increase in faith, hope and charity would be reserved every Friday for those who wore the scapular. This vision was several times repeated; and the extraordinary thing about it is the rapidity with which it was approved in Rome. (Red or Passion Scapular)

These five scapulars have been apporoved separately and together by the Church. The five-fold are one single devotion, approved by the Church. The Brown Scapular is the best known and entitles its wearer to the greatest privileges and indulgences. There is a ‘blanket investiture’ to enroll you in all of them at once, with with specific mention and blessing of each individual scapular in the Five Fold.

Read more about the Five Fold Scapular at http://www.ihomm.org/five.html

There are tremendous blessings, graces and indulgences attached to the Five Fold Scapular. I hope you take the effort to be enrolled.

Just Say No To ‘Talk Like A Pirate Day’: The Catholic Calendar vs. The Pagan Calendar

Somewhere inside everyone is a sense that each day should celebrate something, each day individually for a different reason. In today’s society, just about every day has a silly, concocted ‘feast day’ in an attempt to fill this need. How is a National Doughnut Day necessary? And just think of how Halloween is celebrated…The Holy Catholic Church provides the real calendar of feasts. Here is what St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859) (The Curé of Ars) had to say about feast days, Patron Saint’s days in particular:

We Are Keeping A Feast 

In the early days of the Church, the faithful of one province, or district, used to come together publicly on the feast day of a saint in order to have the happiness of participating in all the graces which God bestows on such days. The office of the vigil was started. The evening and night were spent in prayer at the tomb of the Saint. The faithful heard the word of God. They sang hymns and canticles in honor of the Saint. After passing the night so devoutly, they heard Mass, at which all those assisting had the happiness of going to Holy Communion. Then they all withdrew, praising God for the triumphs He had accorded the Saint and the graces He had bestowed in response to the latter’s intercession. After that, my dear bretheren, who could doubt but that God pours out His graces with abundance upon such a reunion of the faithful and that the Saints themselves are happy to be the patrons of such people. That was the way in which the feast days of Patron Saints were celebrated in olden times.

What do you think of that? Is it thus that we celebrate such feasts today? Alas! If the first Christians were to come back upon this earth, would they not tell us that our feasts are no different from those the pagans kept? Is it not the general rule that God is most seriously offended on these holy days? Does it not seem, rather, that we combine our money and our energies together to multiply sin almost to infinity?

What are we concerened with on the vigil of such feasts, and even for several days beforehand? Is it not with spending foolish and unnecessary money? And all this time poor people are dying of hunger and our sins are calling down upon us the anger of God to the point where eternity would not be sufficient to satisfy for them. You should pass the night in repentance and remorse, in considering how very little you have followed the example of your Patron Saint. And yet you consecrate that time to preparing everything that will flatter your gluttony! Might it not be said that this day is one for pure self-indulgence and debauchery? Do parents and friends come, as in former times, to enjoy the happiness of participating in the graces which God bestows at the intercession of a Patron Saint? They come, but only to pass this feast day wholly at the table.

In former times, the religious services were much longer than they are today, and still they seemed always too short. Nowadays you will see even the fathers of families who, during the performance of the offices, are at table filling themselves with food and wine. The first Christians invited each other in order to multiply their good works and their prayers. today it seems rather as if people invite each other so that they can multiply the sins and the orgies and the excesses in which they indulge in eating and drinking. Does anyone think God will not demand an account of even a penny wrongly spent? Does it not seem that we celebrate the feast only to insult our holy Patron and to increase our ingratitude?

Let us look a little closer, my dear bretheren, and we shall realize that we are far from imitating Him whom God has given us for a model. He passed His life in penance and in sorrow. He died in torments. What is more, I am sure that there are parishes where more sins are committed on those days than during all the rest of the year. The Lord told the Jews that their feasts were an abomination and that He would take the filth of their feasts and throw it in their faces. He wished to make us understand by this how greatly He is offended on those days which should be passed in weeping for our sins and in prayer.

We read in the Gospel that Jesus Christ came on earth to enlighten souls with the fire of divine love. But we can believe that the Devil also roams around on earth to light an impure fire in the hearts of Christians and that what he promotes with the greatest frenzy are balls and dances.

I have debated for a long time whether I should speak to you about a matter so difficult to get you to understand and so little thought upon by the Christians in our days, who are blinded by their passions. If your faith were not so weak that it might be extinguished in your hearts in the blink of an eye, you would understand the enormity of the abyss towards which you precipitate yourselves in giving yourselves over with such abandon to these wretched amusements. But, you will tell me, for you to talk to us about dances and about the evil that takes place at them is just a waste of time. We will indulge neither more nor less in them. I firmly believe that, since Tertullian assures us that very many refused to become Christians rather than deprive themselves of such pleasures.

Scapular Indulgences

The conditions for gaining these indulgences are:

a) The first pair of scapulars that one wears must be blessed by an authorized priest. — Scapulars that replace the first pair need not be blessed.

b) Investing with the scapular must be done by a priest authorized to do so. — One and the same blessed scapular may be imposed on a number of people successively.

c) The names of those invested must be entered in the Confraternity register if the reception in a Confraternity takes place with the investment, as is done with the scapular of the Blessed Trinity, the Seven Dolors and Carmelite Scapulars. — Some, however, have the privilege of enrolling people without the obligation of entering their names in the Scapular Confraternity, e.g., the members of the Unio Cleri pro missionibus.

Special conditions are required for obtaining the privilegium sabbatinum which is connected with the Carmelite scapular; but these conditions can be commuted by a priest with faculties to do so.

d) The scapular must be worn in such wise that one part hangs suspended on the breast, the other, on the back. It may be worn over the garment or next to the skin. — If one does not wear the scapular for a length of time, he does not meanwhile gain the indulgences. Temporary laying aside of the scapular is permitted, e.g., in bathing. If one resumes wearing the scapular after neglecting to do so for a long time he gains the indulgence forthwith, no new investment being necessary, unless one has taken the scapular off in contempt.

Excerpt from Moral Theology, pp. 585-586. Rev. Heribert Jone, O.F.M., CAP., J.C.D., 1929, Translated by Rev. Urban Adelman, O.F.M., CAP., J.C.D., 1945. Reprint by Refuge Of Sinners Publishing, Pekin, IN, 2013.

*Note: The prescibed material for scapulars is 100% wool.

Indulgences For Mental Prayer And Examination Of Conscience

Modernists have tried to eradicate knowledge of the treasures the Holy Catholic Church has offered the laity. For example, did you know there are Indulgences attached to both Mental Prayer and making an Examination of Conscience?

Mental Prayer:

The faithful who devote at least a quarter of an hour to mental prayer, are granted:

An indulgence of 5 years;

A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they do this every day for a month (Benedict XIV, Apostolic Brief, Dec. 16, 1746; S.P., Ap., June 19, 1933).

Examination of Conscience:

The faithful who examine their consciences and sincerely detest their sins with a firm purpose of amendment are granted:

An indulgence of 500 days;

A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform this exercise daily for a month (S. P. Ap., Nov. 16, 1938).

The Beloved Crosses

St John of the Cross3 st. Teresa - Bensiger

This is Saint Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney’s sermon on personal crosses. This is very useful for people offering their suffering for Christ.

The Beloved Crosses 

The Saints, my dear bretheren, all loved the Cross and found in it their strength and their consolation.

But, you will say to me, is it necessary, then, always to have something to suffer?… Now sickness or poverty, or again scandal or calumny, or possibly loss of money or an infirmity?

Have you been calumniated, my friends? Have you been loaded with insults? Have you been wronged? So much the better! That is a good sign; do not worry; you are on the road that leads to Heaven. Do you know when you ought to be really upset? I do not know if you really understand it, but it should be precisely for the opposite reason—when you have nothing to endure, when everyone esteems and respects you. Then you should feel envious of of those who have the happiness of passing their lives in suffering, or contempt, or poverty. Are you forgetting, then, that at your Baptism you accepted the Cross, which you must never abandon until death, and that it is the key that you will use to open the door of Heaven? Are you forgetting the words of our Saviour: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Not for a day, not for a week, not for a year, but all our lives. The Saints had a great fear of passing any time without suffering, for they looked upon it as time lost. According to St. Teresa, man is only in this world to suffer, and when he ceases to suffer, he should cease to live. St. John of the Cross asks God, with tears, to give him the grace to suffer more as a reward for all his labors.

What should we should conclude, my dear children, from all that? Just this: Let us make a resolution to have a great respect for all the crosses, which are blessed, and which represent to us in a small way all that our God suffered for us. Let us recall that from the Cross flow all the graces that are bestowed upon us and that as a consequence, a cross which is blessed is a source of blessings, that we should often make the Sign of the Cross on ourselves and always with great respect, and, finally, that our houses should never remain without this symbol of salvation.

Fill your children, my dear bretheren, with the greatest respect for the Cross, and always have a blessed cross on yourselves; it will protect you against the Devil, from the vengeance of Heaven, and from all danger. This is what I desire for you.

The Curé of Ars: Beware If You Have No Temptations

This sermon by St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney is long (by internet standards, that is), but I hope you read it in its entirety. *note: St. Jerome was a great saint who had intense battles with Satan. His account may be somewhat intense for some readers.

Beware If You Have No Temptations 

Whom does the devil pursue most? Perhaps you are thinking that it must be those who are tempted most; these would undoubtedly be the habitual drunkards, the scandalmongers, the immodest and shameless people who wallow in moral filth, and the miser, who hoards in all sorts of ways. No, my dear bretheren, no, it is not these people. On the contrary, the Devil despises them, or else he holds onto them, lest they not have a long enough time in which to do evil, because the longer they live, the more their bad example will drag souls into Hell. Indeed, if the Devil had pursued this lewd and shameless old fellow too closely, he might have shortened the latter’s life by fifteen or twenty years, and he would not then have destroyed the virginity of that young girl by plunging her into the unspeakable mire of his indecencies; he would not, again, have seduced that wife, nor would he have taught his evil lessons to that young man, who will perhaps continue to practice them until his death. If the Devil had prompted this thief to rob on every occasion, he would have long since have ended on the scaffold and so he would not have induced his neighbor to follow his example. If the Devil had urged this drunkard to fill himself unceasingly with wine, he would long ago have perished in his debaucheries, instead of which, by living longer, he has made many others like himself. If the Devil had taken away the life of this musician, of that dancehall owner, of this cabaret keeper, in some raid or scuffle, or on any other occasion, how many souls would there be who, without these people, would not be damned and who now will be? St. Augustine teaches us that the Devil does not bother these people very much; on the contrary, he despises them and spits upon them.

So, you will ask me, who then are the people most tempted? They are these, my friends; note them carefully. The people most tempted are those who are ready, with the grace of God, to sacrifice everything for the salvation of their poor souls, who renounce all those things which most people eagerly seek. It is not one devil only who tempts them, but millions seek to entrap them. We are told that St. Francis of Assisi and all his religious were gathered on an open plain, where they had built little huts of rushes. Seeing the extraordinary penances which were being practiced, St. Francis ordered that all instruments of penance should be brought out, whereupon his religious produced them in bundles. At this moment there was one young man to whom God gave the grace to see his Guardian Angel. On the one side he saw all of these good religious, who could not satisfy their hunger for penance, and, on the other, his Guardian Angel allowed him to see a gathering of eighteen thousand devils, who were holding counsel to see in what way they could subvert these religious by temptation. One of the devils said: “You do not understand this at all. These religious are so humble; ah, what wonderful virtue, so detached from themselves, so attached to God! They have a superior who leads them so well that it is impossible to succeed in winning them over. Let us wait until their superior is dead, and then we shall try to introduce among them young people without vocations who will bring about a certain slackening of spirit, and in this way we shall gain them.”

A little further on, as he entered into the town, he saw a devil, sitting by himself beside the gate into the town, whose task was to tempt all of those who were inside. This Saint asked his Guardian Angel why it was that in order to tempt this group of religious there had been so many thousands of devils while for a whole town there was but one–and that one was sitting down. His good angel told him that the people of the town had not the same need of temptations, that they had enough bad in themselves, while the religious were doing good despite all the traps which the Devil could lay for them.

The first temptation, my dear bretheren, which the Devil tries on anyone who has begun to serve God better is in the matter of human respect. He will no longer dare to be seen around; he will hide himself from those with whom heretofore he had been mixing and pleasure seeking. If he should be told that he has changed a lot, he will be ashamed of it! What people are going to say about him is continually in his mind, to the extent that he no longer has enough courage to do good before other people. If the Devil cannot get him back through human respect, he will induce an extraordinary fear to possess him that his Confessions are not good, that his confessor does not understand him, that whatever he does will be all in vain, that he will be damned just the same, that he will achieve the same result in the end by letting everything slide as by continuing to fight, because the occasions of sin will prove too many for him.

Why is it, my dear bretheren, that when someone gives no thought at all to saving his soul, when he is living in sin, he is not tempted in the slightest, but that as soon as he wants to change his life, in other words, as soon as the desire to give his life to God comes to him, all Hell falls upon him? Listen to what St. Augustine has to say: “Look at the way,” he tells us, “in which the Devil behaves towards the sinner. He acts like a jailer who has a great many prisoners locked up in his prison but who, because he has the key in his pocket, is quite happy to leave them, secure in the knowledge that they cannot get out. This is his way of dealing with the sinner who does not consider the possibilty of leaving his sin behind. He does not go to the trouble of tempting him. He looks upon this as time wasted because not only is his sinner not thinking of leaving him, but the Devil does not desire to multiply his chains. It would be pointless, therefore, to tempt him. He allows him to live in peace, if, indeed, it is possible to live in peace when one is in sin. He hides his state from the sinner as much as is possible until death, when he then tries to paint a picture of his life so terrifying as to plunge him into despair. But with anyone who has made up his mind to change his life, to give himself up to God, that is another thing altogether.”

While St. Augustine lived in sin and evil, he was not aware of anything by which he was tempted. He believed himself to be at peace, as he tells us himself. But from the moment that he desired to turn his back upon the Devil, he had to struggle with him, even to the point of losing his breath in the fight. And that lasted for five years. He wept the most bitter of tears and employed the most austere of penances: “I argued with him,” he says, “in my chains. One day I thought myself victorious, the next I was prostrate on the floor again. This cruel and stubborn war went on for five years. However, God gave me the grace to be victorious over my enemy.”

You may see, too, the struggle which St. Jerome endured when he desired to give himself to God and when he had the thought of visiting the Holy Land. When he was in Rome, he conceived a new desire to work for his salvation. Leaving Rome, he buried himself in a fearsome desert to give himself over to everything with which his love of God could inspire him. Then the Devil, who foresaw how greatly his conversion would affect others, seemed to burst with fury and despair. There was not a single temptation that he spared him. I do not believe that there is any saint who was as strongly tempted as he. This is how he wrote to one of his friends: “My dear friend, I wish to confide in you about my affliction and the state to which the Devil seeks to reduce me. How many times in this vast solitude, which the heat of the sun makes insupportable, how many times the pleasures of Rome have come to assail me! The sorrow and the bitterness with which my soul is filled cause me, night and day, to shed floods of tears. I proceed to hide myself in the most isolated places to struggle with my temptations and there to weep for my sins. My body is all disfigured and covered with a rough hair shirt. I have no other bed than the naked ground and my only food is coarse roots and water, even in my illnesses. In spite of all these rigors, my body still experiences thoughts of the squalid pleasures with which Rome is poisoned; my spirit finds itself in the midst of those pleasant companionships in which I so greatly offended God. In this desert to which I have condemned myself to avoid Hell, among these somber rocks, where I have no other companions than the scorpions and the wild beasts, my spirit still burns my body, already dead before myself, with an impure fire; the Devil still dares to offer it pleasures to taste. I behold myself so humiliated by these temptations, the very thought of which makes me die with horror, and not knowing what further austerities I should exert upon my body to attach it to God, that I throw myself on the ground at the foot of my crucifix, bathing it with my tears, and when I can weep no more I pick up stones and beat my breast with them until the blood comes out of my mouth, begging for mercy until the Lord takes pity on me. Is there anyone who can understand the misery of my state, desiring so ardently to please God and to love Him alone? Yet I see myself constantly prone to offend Him. What sorrow this is for me! Help me, my dear friend, by the aid of your prayers, so that I may be stronger in repelling the Devil, who has sworn my eternal damnation.”

These, my dear bretheren, are the struggles to which God permits His great saints to be exposed. Alas, how we are to be pitied if we are not fiercely harried by the Devil! According to all appearances, we are the friends of the Devil; he lets us live in a false peace, he lulls us to sleep under the pretense that we have said some good prayers, given some alms, that we have done less harm than others. According to our standard, my dear bretheren, if you were to ask, for instance, this pillar of the cabaret if the Devil tempted him, he would answer quite simply that nothing was bothering him at all. Ask this young girl, this daughter of vanity, what her struggles are like, and she will tell you laughingly that she has none at all, that she does not even know what it is to be tempted. There you see, my dear bretheren, the most terrifying temptation of all, which is not to be tempted. There you see the state of whom the Devil is preserving for Hell. If I dared, I would tell you that he takes good care not to tempt or torment such people about their past lives, lest their eyes be opened to their sins.

The greatest of all evils is not to be tempted because there are then grounds for believing that the Devil looks upon us as his property and that he is only awaiting our deaths to drag us into Hell. Nothing could be easier to understand. Just consider the Christian who is trying, even in a small way, to save his soul. Everything around him inclines him to evil; he can hardly lift his eyes without being tempted, in spite of all his prayers and penances. And yet a hardened sinner, who for the past twenty years has been wallowing in sin, will tell you that he is not tempted! So much the worse, my friend, so much the worse! That is precisely what should make you tremble–that you do not know what temptations are. For to say that you are not tempted is like saying the Devil no longer exists or that he has lost all his rage against Christian souls. “If you have no temptations,” St. Gregory tells us, “it is because the devils are your friends, your leaders, and your shepherds. And by allowing you  to pass your poor life tranquilly, to the end of your days, they will drag you down to the depths.” St. Augustine tells us that the greatest temptation is not to have temptations because this means that one is a person who has been rejected, abandoned by God, and left entirely in the grip of one’s own passions.

The Unchangeableness of Christian Doctrine

The Unchangeableness of Christian Doctrine by Pope St. Simplicius 468-483 [ From the epistle “Cuperim quidem” to Basiliscus Augustus, January 10, 476 ] Those genuine and clear [ truths ] which flow from the very pure fountains of the Scriptures cannot be disturbed by any arguments of misty sublety. For this same norm of apostolic doctrine endures in the successors of him upon whom the Lord imposed the care of the whole sheepfold [ John 21:15 ff. ], whom [ He promised ] He would not fail even to the end of the world [ Matt. 28:20 ], against whom He promised that the gates of hell would never prevail, by whose judgement He testified that what was bound on earth could not be loosed in heaven [ Matt. 16:18 ff. ]. (6) … Let whoever, as the Apostle proclaimed, attempts to disseminate something other, than what we have received, be anathema [ Gal. 1:8 f. ] Let no approach to your ears be thrown open to the pernicious plans of undermining, let no pledge of revising any of the old definitions be granted, because, as it must be repeated very often, what has deserved to be cut away with the sharp edge of the evangelical pruning-hook by apostolic hands with the approval of the universal Church, cannot aquire the strength for a rebirth nor is it able to return to the fruitful shoot of the master’s vine, because it is evident that it has been destined to eternal fire. Thus, finally, the machinations of all heresies laid down by decrees of the Church are never allowed to renew the struggles of their crushed attack. Exerpt from the epistle “Cuperem quidem’translated by Roy J. Deferrari, pp. 64-65 (#160). The Sources of Catholic Dogma. Loreto Publications, 2010. This translation was made from the thirtieth edition of Enchiridion Symbolorum, by Henry Denzinger, revised by Karl Rahner, S.J., published in 1954, by Herder & Co., Frieburg.