UNION OF THE SOUL WITH HER GOD, WHICH IS PERFECTED IN PRAYER – St. Francis De Sales

HOW LOVE EFFECTS THE UNION OF THE SOUL WITH GOD IN PRAYER.

WE speak not here of the general union of the heart with its God, but of certain particular acts and movements which the soul, recollected in God, makes by way of prayer, to be more and more united and joined to his divine goodness: for there is truly a difference between joining or uniting one thing to another, and clasping or pressing one thing against or upon another; because to join or unite there is only required an application of one thing to the other, so that they may touch, and be together, as we join vines to elms, and jessamine to the trellis-work of the arbours which are made in gardens.

But to squeeze and press together, a strong application must be made, which increases and augments the union; so that to clasp together is to join strongly and closely, as we see ivy joined to trees, which is not united only, but pressed and clasped so hard to them that it even penetrates and enters into their bark. We must not drop the comparison of the love of little children towards their mothers, because of its innocence and purity.

Regard, then, that sweet little child, to whom the seated mother presents  her breast. It casts itself into her arms, gathering and folding its little body in this bosom and on this beloved breast. And see the mother, reciprocally, how, receiving it she clasps it, and as it were glues it to her bosom, and joining her mouth to its mouth kisses it. But see again this little babe, allured with its mother’s caresses, how for its part it concurs in this union between its mother and itself: for it also, as much as it possibly can, squeezes and presses itself to its mother’s breast and face, as though it would wholly dive into, and hide itself in that beloved being from whom it came.

Now, Theotimus, in this moment union is perfect; which being but one, proceeds notwithstanding from the mother and the child, yet so, that it has its whole dependence upon the mother. For she drew the child to her, she first locked it in her arms, and pressed it to her breast; nor had the babe strength enough to clasp and keep itself so tight to its mother.

Yet the poor little one does for its part what it can, and joins itself with all its strength to its mother’s bosom, not consenting only to the delightful union which its mother makes, but contributing, with all its heart, its feeble endeavours: and I say its feeble endeavours, because they are so weak that they rather resemble efforts after union than actual union.

Thus then, Theotimus, our Saviour, showing the most delightful breast of his divine love to the devout soul, draws her wholly to himself, gathers her up, and as it were folds all her powers in the bosom of his more than motherly sweetness, and then burning with love, he clasps the soul, joins, presses and glues her on his lips of sweetness, and to his delicious breast, kissing her with the sacred  kiss of his mouth, and making her relish his breasts more sweet than wine.

Then the soul, allured with the delights of these favours, not only consents, and yields herself to the union which God makes, but with all her power co-operates, forcing herself to join and clasp herself closer and closer to the divine goodness; yet in such a way that she fully acknowledges her union and attachment to this sovereign sweetness to be wholly dependent upon God’s operation, without which she could not make the least effort in the world to be united unto him.

When we see an exquisite beauty beheld with great ardour, or an excellent melody heard with great attention, or a rare discourse listened to with great satisfaction, we are wont to say that this beauty rivets the eyes of the spectators, this music takes the ears, and this discourse captivates the hearts, of the auditors. What does this mean—to rivet the eyes and ears, or to captivate the heart—save to unite and most closely join these senses and powers to their objects?

The soul then closely joins herself to, and presses herself upon, her object, when she exercises her affection towards it with great intensity; for pressure is nothing more than the progress and advancement of the union and conjunction. We make use of this word, according to our language, even in moral matters: he presses me to do this, or he presses me to stay, that is, he does not merely use his persuasion and prayer, but does it with earnestness and entreaty, as did the pilgrims in Emmaus, who not only petitioned our Saviour, but even pressed and forcibly urged him, and compelled him by a loving violence to remain in their lodging with them.

Now in prayer this union is often made by manner of little yet frequent flights and advancings of the soul towards God: and if you take notice of little children united and joined to their mothers’ breasts, you will see that ever and anon they press and clasp closer, with little movements which the pleasure they take in sucking makes them give: so the heart united to God in prayer often makes certain renewals of union, by movements which press and join it more closely to the divine sweetness.

As for example, the soul having long dwelt in the feeling of the union whereby she sweetly tastes how happy she is to belong to God, in fine, augmenting this union by an amorous pressing and moving forwards: Yea, Lord, will she say, I am thine, all, all, all, without reserve; or: Ah Lord! I am so indeed, and will be daily ever more; or, by way of prayer: O sweet Jesus! Ah! draw me still more deeply into thy heart, that thy love may devour me, and that I may be swallowed up in its sweetness.

But at other times the union is made not by repeated movements, but by way of a continued insensible pressing and advancing of the heart in the divine goodness. For as we see a great and heavy mass of lead, brass or stone, though not forced down, so work itself, sink down, and press itself, into the earth where it lies, that at length it is found buried, by reason of the effect of its weight, which makes it incessantly tend to the centre;—so our heart, being once joined to God, if without being drawn away it remain in this union, sinks still deeper by an insensible progress of union, till it is wholly in God, by reason of the sacred inclination given it by love to unite itself ever more and more to the sovereign goodness.

For as the great apostle of France says: “Love is a unitive virtue:” that is, it carries us to perfect union with the sovereign good. And since it is an undoubted truth that divine love, while we are in this life, is a movement, or at least a habit active and tending to movement; even after it has attained simple union, it ceases not to act, though imperceptibly, in order more and more to increase and perfect it.

So trees that require transplanting, as soon as they are moved spread their roots and lodge them deeply in the bosom of the earth, which is their element and their aliment, nor do any perceive it while it is doing, but only after it is done. And man’s heart, transplanted out of the world into God by celestial love, if it earnestly practise prayer, will certainly ever extend itself, and will fasten itself to the Divinity, uniting itself more and more to his goodness, but by imperceptible advances, whose progress one can hardly see while it is doing, but only when it is done.

If you drink any exquisite water, for instance, imperial water, the simple union of it with you is instantly made upon your receiving it; for the receiving and union is all one in this case; but afterwards by little and little this union is increased, by a progress imperceptibly sensible: for the virtue of this water penetrating to all parts, will strengthen the brain, invigorate the heart, and extend its influence through all your humours.

In like manner, a feeling of love—as for example: How good God is!—having got entrance into the heart, at first causes union with this goodness; but being entertained for some fairly long time, as a precious perfume it penetrates every part of the soul, pours out and dilates itself in our will, and as it were, incorporates itself with our spirit, joining and fastening itself on every side more and more closely to us, and uniting us to it.

And this is what the great David teaches us, when he compares the sacred words to honey; for who knows not that the sweetness of honey is united more and more to our sense by a continual increase of savour, when, keeping it a good while in our mouth, or swallowing it slowly, the relish thereof more deeply penetrates our sense of taste. In the same way that sentiment of the divine goodness, expressed in those words of S. Bruno: O Goodness! or those of S. Thomas: My Lord and my God! or those of S. Magdalen: Ah! my Master! or those of S. Francis: My God and my All!—this sentiment, I say, having been kept some while within a loving heart, dilates itself, spreads itself, and sinks into the spirit by an intimate penetration, and more and more steeps it all in its savour.

This is nothing else than to increase union; as does precious ointment or balm, which, falling upon cotton-wool, so sinks into it and unites itself to it more and more, little by little, that in the end one cannot easily say whether the wool is perfumed or perfume, or, whether the perfume is wool, or the wool perfume. Oh! how happy is the soul who in the tranquillity of her heart lovingly preserves the sacred feeling of God’s presence!

For her union with the divine goodness will have continual though imperceptible increase, and will thoroughly steep the spirit of such a one in infinite sweetness. Now when I speak here of the sacred sentiment of the presence of God, I do not mean to speak of a sensible feeling, but of that which resides in the summit and supreme point of the spirit, where heavenly love reigns and conducts its principal exercises.

St. Philomena The Wonder Worker

St. Philomena The Wonder Worker by Father Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.  is an absolutely wonderful book that will greatly aid in furthering a devotion to this saint.

I read this several years ago and our entire family enjoyed it and developed a devotion to this saint.

She was a favorite of St. John Vianney and he promoted her devotion far and wide.

I was looking for this book in an online format so it could be shared on the blog and I was able to find a PDF version of it.

While reading from an actual book is easier, this books is only 90 or so pages and the online version would be free so I thought it worthwhile to put it up here.

If you would like to purchase this book you can find a few copies on Ebay for under $6 here. You can also find newer versions on Amazon here.

And if you would rather read it online or download the pdf  just click here.

Additionally, here is a litany composed by St. John Vianney to help encourage her intercession for us.

Lord have mercy on us.

Christ have mercy on us.

Lord have mercy on us.

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Queen of Virgins,

St. Philomena, pray for us.

St. Philomena, filled with the most abundant
graces from your very birth, pray for us.

St. Philomena, faithful imitator of Mary, pray for us.

St. Philomena. model of Virgins, pray for us.

St. Philomena, temple of the most perfect humility, pray for us.

St. Philomena, inflamed with zeal for the Glory of God, pray for us.

St. Philomena, victim of the love of Jesus, pray for us.

St. Philomena, example of strength and perseverance, pray for us.

St. Philomena, invincible champion of chastity, pray for us.

St. Philomena, mirror of the most heroic virtues, pray for us.

St. Philomena, firm and intrepid in the face of torments, pray for us.

St. Philomena, scourged like your Divine Spouse, pray for us.

St. Philomena, pierced by a shower of arrows, pray for us.

St. Philomena, consoled by the Mother of God, when in chains, pray for us.

St. Philomena, cured miraculously in prison, pray for us.

St. Philomena, comforted by angels in your torments, pray for us.

St. Philomena, who preferred torments and death to the splendors of a throne, pray for us.

St. Philomena, who converted the witnesses of your martyrdom, pray for us.

St. Philomena, who wore out the fury of your executioners, pray for us.

St. Philomena, protectress of the innocent, pray for us.

St. Philomena, patron of youth, pray for us.

St. Philomena, refuge of the unfortunate, pray for us.

St. Philomena, health of the sick and the weak. pray for us.

St. Philomena, new light of the church militant, pray for us.

St. Philomena, who confounds the impiety of the world, pray for us.

St. Philomena, who stimulates the faith and courage of the faithful, pray for us.

St. Philomena, whose name is glorified in Heaven and feared in Hell, pray for us.

St. Philomena, made illustrious by the most striking miracles, pray for us.

St. Philomena, all powerful with God, pray for us.

St. Philomena, who reigns in glory, pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V.) Pray for us, Great St. Philomena,

R.) That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray

We implore Thee, O Lord, by the intercession of Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, who was ever most pleasing to Thy eyes by reason of her eminent purity and the practice of all the virtues, pardon us our sins and grant us all the graces we need (and name any special grace you may require). Amen.

Sermon for Palm Sunday – St. Vincent Ferrer

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” (Mt 12:9).

   This text is taken as the basis of our sermon. It is a short and very devout song composed by the Holy Spirit, and today sung with devotion to Christ, when he solemnly  entered the city of Jerusalem.  We sing it today many times, representing that solemnity,  Christ coming into the city of Jerusalem: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

   The whole solemnity of Palm Sunday today consists of three points:

 — First is about the honor and solemnity today coming to Christ shown by the city of Jerusalem in which he was received honorably [receptus honorabiliter].

 — Second is about the solemnity which we today give, representing him appropriately [repraesentando appropriate].

 — Third is about the way which Christ walks today, coming into the city of Jerusalem virtuously [veniendo virtuose]

   And for each of these in particular and for all of them in general we should sing and say to God, “Blessed is he who comes,” etc.

RECEIVED HONORABLY

   The first point today is about the honor and solemnity which the Jews showed. In the temple they praised and blessed Christ coming into the city of Jerusalem, where he was received honorably with great joy and festivity.  Very remarkable.  I find that Christ came to Jerusalem often and for many reasons, and there was never any celebration nor honor given like today.

Christ first came to Jerusalem for the Presentation,  fifty days after his birth, when the Virgin Mary presented him in the temple.  We do not read that there was a solemn reception then, except that Simeon and Anna adored him, as is clear in Luke 2.  He was tiny, and the procession was tiny.  But his body grew, and his compassion grew, and the time came when he was no longer carried in the arms of the Virgin, but on the back of an ordinary donkey, not to be redeemed with [sacrificed] doves [birds], but he would redeem all men by his blood.

Second, Christ came to the city of Jerusalem for debating, when he was twelve years old. There was no celebration for him at that time.

   Third, he came for prayer.  In accord with the law, he would come to Jerusalem for  every feast day, and would enter the temple.

   Fourth, he came to stamp out sins and notorious vices, because the high priests by their greed had made of the temple a house of business, Jn 2.  Nor was there any celebration for him then.

   Fifth he came to preach, often, because  that city was a metropolis and the capital of the province.

   Sixth, he came to reveal his divinity by working miracles, healing the sick, raising the dead.  Not even then was there a celebration.

   Seventh, he came for sacrificing himself.   Today he wished to enter Jerusalem , [the place] where he should suffer for the redemption of the human race.  Then there was a great festival for him and a solemnity celebrated.

   For this reason, I reply there that although Christ had performed many good things for us, nevertheless we are bound and obliged to him more for the work of his passion and death, that for all the others.  We are bound to praise and bless him for the work of the incarnation which he did out of love of us. Also for the teaching and preaching which he had given, going from village to village. But above all we are bound [to bless] him for the work of  the passion, because the Lord himself wished to die for the servants, the king for his subjects, a just man for the unjust, the innocent one for sinners.  So Bernard: “Above all , good Jesus, the chalice of the passion which you drank, the work of our redemption, renders you beloved to me.”

   See the reason why God put it into the hearts of the people that he be received so solemnly when he came to Jerusalem for sacrificing.

   This solemnity consists in six circumstances or ceremonies which were done for him

   First, because he wished to enter riding.  It is not read anywhere that Christ ever rode an animal.  Only today, when he entered Jerusalem. And then he rode on a colt of an ass, according to the prophecy of Zach 9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold your king will come to you, the just and savior: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass,” (Zach 9:9). Then was fulfilled that prophecy.

   Read how he sent two disciples from Bethphage, according to the Gloss, Peter and Philip, for the donkey and colt, etc.  A tethered ass signifies the Jewish people, the synagogue bound by the chain of the law of Moses, which chain has three links, namely the three kinds of precepts: the ceremonial precepts which order a person toward God; second, the judicial precepts, which order one to the neighbor; third, the moral precepts which order a person regarding himself, how everyone should live.   The colt which had not yet had been tied, nor had ever borne a burden on its back, signifies the Gentiles, who had no chain of law around their neck, nor burden of precepts on their back.  It signifies that Christ not only had come to redeem and save the Jews, abut also the Gentiles and pagans.   Thus he observed this ceremony, because he wished first to ride on the ass, which he had to untie, because at the time of the Messiah-king all prefiguring and ceremonies should cease. Second, he wished to ride on the unbroken colt, not out of necessity, but that the scripture and prefiguring should be fulfilled.  Because the Gentiles also should be converted to Christ.  Thus the Apostle, “and whosoever believes in him shall not be confounded,” (Rom 9:33).

   The second ceremony or circumstance is this.  He wished today to enter Jerusalem in a procession, because a great crowd preceded him and followed him, and he with the apostles went in the middle. Just as we do today in processions in which many precede and many follow, and the bishop or priest who represents Christ, in the middle with the priests. And the gospel says that both the ones preceding and the ones following were looking back saying “Hosanna to the son of David,” (v. 9).  In this is shown that all who preceded, from Abel down to Christ, namely the Patriarchs and Prophets, as well as also those who would follow, down to the end of the world, all look upon Christ through faith, saying, “Hosanna,” etc.  Because no one can be saved, unless through Christ.  Therefore Gen 49: “I will look for thy salvation, O Lord,” (Gen 49:18). And, in Acts 4: “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 third circumstance is this.  The entire route, from the Mount of Olives up to Jerusalem was covered.  Such was the  devotion of the people, that not with caps [cappis] or other decorations [ornamentis], but with the coats and capes of men and women, they paved the path, the Evangelists says, ” Ad a very great multitude spread their garments in the way,” (v. 8).   Why this?  I reply that this was a figure of future martyrs, as is clear in sacred scripture.  The human body is called the clothing of the soul, which clothing the vast crowd of martyrs, would lay down on the way, dying for their faith in Christ.  So David says, in the person of martyrs: ” Because for thy sake we are killed all the day long: we are counted as sheep for the slaughter,” (Ps 43:22). Also in the Apocalypse 7 it says of martyrs: “These are they who are come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” i.e. of Christ, (Rev 7:14).

The fourth ceremony consisted of the tree branches.  The Evangelist says that ” others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way,” (v. 8), namely flowers and leaves and branches from trees.  It was a sign. For in sacred scripture men are called trees.  Mark 8: “I see men as it were trees, walking,” (Mk 8:24).  From these trees, flowers, leaves and branches of merit and good works are to be spread out before the way of Christ, namely that they be done for him, because otherwise they are worthless.  Jn 15: “for without me you can do nothing,” (Jn 15:5), of merit.

   The fifth was, because he wished to be praised and blessed both by the great as well as by the small, and Hosannas cried out, according to that of David: “Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings you have perfected praise,” (Ps 8:3).  This was to show that by virtue of his passion not only adults and great ones are saved through penance, but also children through innocence.  Wis 6: “For he made the little and the great, and he has equally care of all,” (Wis 6:8).

   Sixth, because all, both the great as well as the small with one voice were saying, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” (v. 9). In which it is shown that he was the universal redeemer of all. Authority: “For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: Who gave himself a redemption for all,” (1 Tim 2:5f).

   From all this we understand why and how today this solemnity was celebrated for Christ and not otherwise.  About this Zacharias,the father of John the Baptist, had prophesied saying: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; because he has visited and wrought the redemption of his people,” (Lk 1:68).

REPRESENTED APPROPRIATELY

   The second point which touches us more, is about the solemnity which we make, representing that solemnity appropriately given today to Christ, because just as Christ today with solemnity and procession came to the place of his passion, so also we today with great solemnity and procession, come to the passion which today is read in the mass.   Someone might ask: “Why is the passion of Christ read today with such solemnity?”    Because the passion of Christ ought to generate sadness and pain in the hearts of the faithful, and not happiness and joy.  Note how the passion and death of Christ can be received and considered in a fourfold way, according to which it is read four times in the church, according to the four gospels.

   First it can be viewed and thought about from the point of view of his personal dignity,  considering the person who suffers, who is Christ, King, father [papa], Lord, innocent and pure.  And according to this consideration the passion of Christ brings sadness, pain, tears and sighs to Christians.  In this respect the passion of Christ is read on Good Friday, on which the bells are not rung, and people prostrate themselves, sad, and bowing their heads.  In this respect the prophet Jeremiah considered the passion of Christ saying, “And I was as a meek lamb, that is carried to be a victim,” (Jer 11:19).

   In a second way the passion of Christ can be received and considered according to human necessity, because we are all weak and wounded by the plague of sins, nor can we be cured except by the blood of Christ, who willed to suffer for our sins.  Isa 53: “But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins,” (Isa 53:5).  And according to this point of view the passion of Christ urges us to contrition and sorrow for our sins, for which it was necessary for Christ to suffer and die.  And in this respect  the passion of Christ is read in the church on Wednesday, according to the gospel of Luke.

   A third way it can be considered according to judicial perversity, because the Jews had been honored by God, the sons of the prophets and patriarchs, the people chosen by God and yet so strongly they had rebelled against their God.  In this respect the passion of Christ gives us an occasion for compassion  for that reprobate people, destroyed and damned by the passion of Christ.  And from this point of view the passion of Christ is read in church on Tuesday.  And in this way the prophet Zacharias considered the passion of Christ, saying: “What are these wounds in the midst of your hands? And he shall say: With these I was wounded in the house of them who loved me,” (Zach 13:6).

   Fourth, the passion of Christ can be heard and pondered according to its ultimate usefulness, because from the passion of Christ we have been freed from damnation to hell, from mortal sins, and we have grace in this world and glory in the next.  See the ultimate utility of the passion of Christ. And seen in this way the passion of Christ generates in us joy, happiness, exultation and consolation. This is why the passion of Christ is read today [on Palm Sunday] with such solemnity, joy and happiness, singing, “Glory and praise.”   So Isaiah says: “Rejoice, and give praise together, deserted Jerusalem: for the Lord has comforted his people: he has redeemed Jerusalem,” (Isa 52:9).  Note, the “deserted Jerusalem,” about which the Apostle says in Galatians 4: “But that Jerusalem, which is above, is free,” (Gal 4:26), and from her all men of the world had deserted by her sins.  But now, already, it must be rejoiced, “…for the Lord has comforted his people,” by paying for them the price.  This is the reason why the passion today is read with joy.

   Here note the six differences of today’s joy as opposed to the six sorrows of Good Friday.

   The first sadness, because on Good Friday the holy bells are not rung, they are silenced.    Because in the passion and death of Christ, the bells, i.e. the apostles whose sound of preaching goes out to the whole world, according to the prophecy of David, lose their sound, because none dared to announce Christ, moreover the greater bell, namely Peter was broken by denying Christ, nor did John who was next to the cross dare to say anything in Christ’s behalf.  But today, considering the ultimate benefit of the passion of Christ we make a great solemnity, ringing the bells.

   The second sadness, because then the tables are struck, a sound of sadness and pain, and it symbolizes the sound of derision and blasphemy which they heaped on Christ in the passion.  But today the priests sing with a high and clear voice.  Reason: because of the passion of Christ, the souls of the blessed shall sing with the angels in glory.

   The third sadness is this.  On Good Friday the holy images, crosses and icons are hidden and covered, just as in the passion of Christ, the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalen and John and others covered their heads out of grief and sadness.  They could not gaze upon the cruel passion of Christ.  But today the cross is held high, solemnly, in a sign of the benefits of the passion of Christ.

   The fourth sadness is because on Good Friday, the holy passion is commemorated with tears and sorrows, to show the tears and sighs of the Virgin Mary and the others.  But today it is remembered with joy and gladness because of its ultimate usefulenss.

   The fifth sadness is because on Good Friday, people prostrate themselves, shoes off, grieving, and many fast on bread and water.  But today people walk in procession with great joy, well dressed, carrying branches in their hands which signify the victory which we have over our enemies by the passion of Christ.

   The sixth sadness, because then the passion is sung without any procession and order, for the apostles were dispersed, separated and divided.  But today a solemn procession takes place, and we all go, gathered and ordered, because from the passion of Christ we all are united and gathered. John 6 says that Christ was to die “to gather together in one the children of God, who were dispersed,” (Jn 11:52).  So we sing with joy: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” (v. 9).

THE WAY TO JERUSALEM

   The third point is about the way which Christ took coming into Jerusalem, which way is made up of six stages.

   The first stage. Christ, today, in the morning, left Bethany and came to Bethphage.  Second, from Bethphage to the Mount of Olives. Third from the Mount of Olives he descended into the Valley of Josephat.  Fourth from the Valley of Josaphat he came to Jerusalem.  Fifth, from Jerusalem he went into the Temple of God.  Sixth, from the Temple he returned to Bethany with the twelve apostles, as in Mark 11.   So, it seems that he had six stations.

    And this represents our path which we walk by sinning and returning to grace through t the way of penance.

    First, through sin we depart from Bethany which is interpreted “house of obedience,” from which we withdraw whenever we break the precepts of God for the sake of gaining  some earthly prize. In this withdrawal there should be weeping. So when Christ left Bethany, leaving Mary Magdalen, Martha and Lazarus, thanking them, because often they had received him into their home, Mary Magdalen began to weep, saying to Christ, “Lord where do you wish to go? because it is already decided in Jerusalem that they should kill you. So keep the paschal feast here, and your mother will come here.”  The apostles said the same, and Martha and Lazarus. They were afraid. Christ replied to them, “It is necessary to fulfill the will of him who sent me.”  Magdalen and all the others wept, saying, “Perhaps we shall never see you again.”    Tears in the departure from Bethany, in which it is shown that man, when he departs from the house of obedience ought to weep, through contrition, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, 2: “Know you, and see that it is an evil and a bitter thing for you, to have left the Lord your God, and that my fear is not with you,” (Jer 2:19).  So, the first station.

   Second he comes to Bethphage, which is interpreted the “house of the cheek” or “house of the mouth.” This represents oral confession. After you have left Bethany, i.e. the house of obedience, with tears of contrition, it is necessary that you come to Bethphage, i.e. to the house of confessing your sins by mouth.  Bethphage is a village of priests. So confession has to be done to priests, because no one else, no matter how holy, can forgive sins, because only to the priests did Christ say, “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them,” (Jn 20:23).  Note “they are forgiven them,” he does not say they will be forgiven, because that very same hour in which they are forgiven by a confessor, they are forgiven by God.  “and whose sins you shall retain,”  namely by not absolving, because they were unwilling to refrain from sinning, or because they were unwilling to

make restitution, or because they were unwilling to forgive injuries, “they are retained,” (Jn 20:23) by God. Thus, the second station.

   Third, from Bethphage he went up the Mount of Olives. So, the works of satisfaction. The Mount of Olives has three conditions in which are signified the three works of satisfaction. First because the Mount of Olives is difficult. See here the difficulty of fastings, of vigils etc. Second because it is high. This stands for the height of prayer, which according to Damascene is the “elevation of the mind to God.”  Third because there olives grow, which are medicinal.   See, the generous giving of alms. “Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance,” (Mt 3:8).

   Fourth, from the Mount of Olives he descended into the valley of Josaphat, which means “the judgment of the Lord.”  Thus the repayment of debts, because the Lord shall judge irrevocably that everyone repay his debts.  Although you are in the Mount of Olives through satisfactory works, it is also required that you descend into the Valley of Josaphat, by restoring things taken in two ways, either spiritually or temporally. Spiritually a clergyman descends into the valley of Josaphat who obtained his prelacy or dignity or benefice by simony, because he committed theft. John 10: “He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up another way, the same is a thief and a robber,” (Jn 10:1).  The door represents legitimate election, without your assistance, or dealing.  It means a spiritual appointment is pure, because the Pope appointed you without your knowledge or dealing.   If you wish to be saved it is necessary to descend into the Valley of Josaphat by making reparations saying, “Lord I have stolen this, so I restore it to the hands of your vicar.”  In a secular matter, he who stole a castle, a villa, a home, a field or possessions or money, or something else descends into the Valley of Josaphat, when he restores it.  It is necessary to descend from the evil state. Let no one deceive you.  Also if you defame someone, it is necessary to descend to restoring to him his good name if it not true what you said, or if it is hidden or a secret.  If you say that it will be embarrassing or dangerous for you to recant,  I respond, it doesn’t matter, because the sin is not remitted until what was taken is restored.

   Fifth, from the valley of Josaphat he comes to Jerusalem which is interpreted as “peaceful”.  See here the forgiveness of injuries, when a man makes peace for himself with his enemy.  So David: “Pray you for the things that are for the peace of Jerusalem: and abundance for them who love you. Let peace be in your strength: and abundance in your towers,” (Ps 121:6-7). Note: “abundance,” because unless a greater person has peace with lesser and e converso, and the greater among themselves do not “abound” then there will be poor and the earth will be sterile. So the Apostle says: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness: without which no man shall see God,” (Heb 12:14).  Note peace and holiness go together, because some have peace but no holiness, but malice and sin likes robbers among themselves, like procurers with their prostitutes. Thus the buyer, seller and manager have peace but not holiness when they defraud each other.

   Sixth, from Jerusalem he enters the Temple of the Lord.  This means Holy Communion. After you have done the previous stations, you go to the Temple of the Lord for communion, nor do you expect that the Lord would come to you in your weakness, etc. Gen “Come in, you blessed of the Lord: why do you stand without?…And bread was set before him,” (Gen 24:31,34), which is allegorically said to every Christian.   This is the way to paradise which Christ showed to us by entering into Jerusalem. And so: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” Mt 12:9

Meditation – The Imitation Of Christ

THE kingdom of God is within you,” says the Lord. Turn, then, to God with all your heart. Forsake this wretched world and your soul shall find rest. Learn to despise external things, to devote yourself to those that are within, and you will see the kingdom of God come unto you, that kingdom which is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, gifts not given to the impious.

Christ will come to you offering His consolation, if you prepare a fit dwelling for Him in your heart, whose beauty and glory, wherein He takes delight, are all from within. His visits with the inward man are frequent, His communion sweet and full of consolation, His peace great, and His intimacy wonderful indeed.

Therefore, faithful soul, prepare your heart for this Bridegroom that He may come and dwell within you; He Himself says: “If any one love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him.”

Give place, then, to Christ, but deny entrance to all others, for when you have Christ you are rich and He is sufficient for you. He will provide for you. He will supply your every want, so that you need not trust in frail, changeable men. Christ remains forever, standing firmly with us to the end.

Do not place much confidence in weak and mortal man, helpful and friendly though he be; and do not grieve too much if he sometimes opposes and contradicts you. Those who are with us today may be against us tomorrow, and vice versa, for men change with the wind.

Place all your trust in God; let Him be your fear and your love. He will answer for you; He will do what is best for you. You have here no lasting home. You are a stranger and a pilgrim wherever you may be, and you shall have no rest until you are wholly united with Christ.

Why do you look about here when this is not the place of your repose? Dwell rather upon heaven and give but a passing glance to all earthly things. They all pass away, and you together with them. Take care, then, that you do not cling to them lest you be entrapped and perish.

Fix your mind on the Most High, and pray unceasingly to Christ. If you do not know how to meditate on heavenly things, direct your thoughts to Christ’s passion and willingly behold His sacred wounds. If you turn devoutly to the wounds and precious stigmata of Christ, you will find great comfort in suffering, you will mind but little the scorn of men, and you will easily bear their slanderous talk.

When Christ was in the world, He was despised by men; in the hour of need He was forsaken by acquaintances and left by friends to the depths of scorn. He was willing to suffer and to be despised; do you dare to complain of anything? He had enemies and defamers; do you want everyone to be your friend, your benefactor? How can your patience be rewarded if no adversity test it? How can you be a friend of Christ if you are not willing to suffer any hardship?

Suffer with Christ and for Christ if you wish to reign with Him. Had you but once entered into perfect communion with Jesus or tasted a little of His ardent love, you would care nothing at all for your own comfort or discomfort but would rejoice in the reproach you suffer; for love of Him makes a man despise himself. A man who is a lover of Jesus and of truth, a truly interior man who is free from uncontrolled affections, can turn to God at will and rise above himself to enjoy spiritual peace.

He who tastes life as it really is, not as men say or think it is, is indeed wise with the wisdom of God rather than of men. He who learns to live the interior life and to take little account of outward things, does not seek special places or times to perform devout exercises. A spiritual man quickly recollects himself because he has never wasted his attention upon externals. No outside work, no business that cannot wait stands in his way.

He adjusts himself to things as they happen. He whose disposition is well ordered cares nothing about the strange, perverse behavior of others, for a man is upset and distracted only in proportion as he engrosses himself in externals. If all were well with you, therefore, and if you were purified from all sin, everything would tend to your good and be to your profit. But because you are as yet neither entirely dead to self nor free from all earthly affection, there is much that often displeases and disturbs you.

Nothing so mars and defiles the heart of man as impure attachment to created things. But if you refuse external consolation, you will be able to contemplate heavenly things and often to experience interior joy.

 

More Evidence of a Forced Papal Resignation

Hypothesis on the Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

Mr. José Alberto Villasana Munguía is a Mexican journalist who has received the national award for journalism on the “Vulnerability of the Financial System” (2004) and a 2009 exposé on the murder of Pope John Paul I (2009.)  Mr. Villasana is academic advisor to the “International Institute for Human Rights” in Mexico and is directing member of the “Journalism Club of Mexico.”  In Rome, he studied theology at the Gregorian and philosophy at the Angelicum.   Most importantly,  Mr. Villasana has functioned as the advisor to the secretary on the external relations between Mexico and the Vatican.  

Our below translation to English was completed in April 2019 of Mr. Villasana’s December 2017  talk, “Hypothesis on the Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.” It maintains some of the colloquialisms of the spoken word, as heard in the YouTube video above in Spanish, but we expedite this information to you based on Mr. Villasana’s credentials above, most especially the fact that he served as the advisor to the secretary on the external relations between Mexico and the Vatican.  The underlined headers below are the only words that come from us at TCP.  The following is our best translation of Mr. Villasana’s expert-witness Papal Resignation thesis:

Death Threats Against Pope Benedict XVI
For me as a theologian, it is easy to say, due the fact I have knowledge of canon law, as well as having certain direct contacts that I, your servant, have in the Vatican (such as Fr. Paul Kramer, world expert in Fatima who lives in Ireland) the following:   Immediately when the [Papal] renunciation and the [next] election happened, I had obtained the precise dates about how [Pope] Benedict XVI had been obliged to renounce [the Chair of Peter.]  The first date had been when the VatiLeaks story in Rome appeared through which they had put into jail the butler of Pope Benedict XVI, Paolo Gabriele.  This happened because, supposedly, he had taken those stolen documents from the Papal apartments and had published them via this journalist who put them in his book, Su Santità.  When Paolo Gabriele was arrested for this accusation, at the same time, it was published in three daily Italian newspapers whereupon an anonymous person said that the butler, Paolo Gabriele, was a scapegoat.  This anonymous person claimed, “The conduit of the documents is me” giving himself the nickname, “The Crow.”  I, the Crow, in reality forwarded his documents, not Paolo Gabriele.

For all of us who have studied these themes of the Church in the Vatican, “the Crow” is none other than Angelo Cardinal Sodano who is certainly the Dean of all the Cardinals.  He has a higher rank and gathers them.  Sodano is without a doubt this sinister personage who had forwarded the documents. One of these three documents was a direct death-threat against Pope Benedict XVI coming from a monsignor in Palermo who also made it known in Germany that no one was to interfere with this.   It was made known that in no more than one year, we would poison you [the Pope.]  Pope Benedict XVI took this threat very seriously and formed a commission of three Cardinals to investigate where this threat had come from and if it was real, that is to say, whether he had to take it seriously. These three cardinals worked throughout six months and delivered on 17 December 2012 the result with over 300 pages which contained the findings of their investigation. And in few words, they tell him, the threat is real. They are going to assassinate you, they are going to poison you, in no more than a year.  This was on the 17 December 2012. I had a direct contact [in the Vatican] who confirmed this the next day.  [Benedict] called the Vicar of Rome and his brother (who is a priest) and told them: “I’ve just made the decision to resign.” That is to say, before Christmas of 2012, he had already made the decision to resign even though he had not announced it until 11 February. This is more evidence that he had made such decision based on confirmation of a death threat. 

Threats of Schism against Pope Benedict XVI
Then came even stronger threats such as a threat of schism.  A group of cardinals, most of them German, made it known to him [Benedict XVI] that we have more than two thousand signatures from priests, bishops and lay people, declaring, “If you don’t resign, along with all of your team at the Secretary of State with Cardinal Bertone as the head, that if you do not proceed to act now by removing yourself, we have the signatures to form a new church separated from Rome.”  It is evident, for me, that this was the threat that really got to him. I don’t believe that Benedict feared having to give his life since—because that is what the cardinalate means—to be willing to shed blood…What exactly did Benedict say in this?  “If I am the object, If I am the center of this blackmail and my person can give rise to a schism, well, better that I withdraw myself and defuse the threat of schism.”  It was truly a master move. At least he delayed the schism, something, which had never come about in the history of the Church (sic). And so, we could go on with many other proofs. I have published five or six proofs of a coercion to resign. 

Now, in canon law, when an act is flawed with fear, pressure or deception, the human act is in itself invalid, as occurs within marriage.  Why does the Church sometimes grant nullity?  It is not that it grants a “divorce.”  It grants nullity, that is to say, the Church declares that a marriage did not exist. Why? Well, because [for example] the father-in-law put a gun to the man’s head so he would marry his daughter.  That is, it was not an act of the free will. Therefore, this marriage never existed. In the same manner, in this case of Benedict XVI, the resignation never existed, although he may have said ‘I freely resign’, in reality, a percentage of that decision, we do not know if a ten, fifty or a ninety percent was flawed by that very coercion.

Much later, that is today, proof is no longer needed.  No more proof of this kind is needed. The proof which I had dedicated myself to compile at the time since about eight or nine months ago, well, Belgian cardinal, Godfried Danneels published his biography where he said that he, along with eight cardinals, formed a kind of “club-mafia,” as he called it.  This club-mafia which gathered in Sankt Gallen, Switzerland had as its main objective to impede Joseph Ratzinger from reaching the papacy, and that if this came about after they had worked against it, once he would come to be [Pope Benedict XVI], they would see how to force him to resign and to find how to elevate Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy. 

In jurisprudence, there is a phrase that says:  “When there is a confession, there is a relief of proof of evidence.”  That is to say, once having been incriminated, an individual or any person who admits to having committed such [crime], the judge no longer needs further proofs, since there was a confession on their behalf. This is what happened with that fortunate book written by Cardinal Godfried Danneels. We no longer need to go on bringing up whether they were going to threaten him [Benedict XVI], whether they were going to poison him. No!  It is true that he was forced to resign.

An Invalid Conclave
Furthermore, there is something even more serious, namely, that in the apostolic constitution Universii Dominicii Gregis (the one which regulates apostolic succession in conclaves), it establishes very clearly that if a Cardinal lobbies in favor of another Cardinal, that Cardinal is excommunicated ex latae sententiae. What does this mean? This means he excommunicates himself without a necessary declaration from anyone.  In that very moment in which they commit their act of lobbying, as well as the Cardinal who illegitimately receives such lobbying in his favor, all are excommunicated. This means that even before the conclave was held, Jorge Mario Bergoglio and these cardinals were already excommunicated.  They were already outside the Church. So, this is very important to keep in mind because that is precisely where the confusion comes from.

A Papacy Bifurcated is Novel and Invalid
 Going back to the master play done by Benedict XVI, let us say that what he did is very important to understand.  And to do that, we need to take a look at the farewell speech that was delivered to the Roman curia.  It is very important.  On 11 February 2013, when he announced to the world that he was going to resign on 28 March, you remember no? Well then, the day before he took a helicopter in which he left for vacation to Castel Gandolfo, he delivered an extremely important speech in which he said farewell to the entire curia.  All the cardinals, bishops and priests of the Vatican curia were gathered. In that speech (paragraph nine in the Latin) wherein he thanked God Our Lord for having chosen him in 2005 as Vicar of Christ.  Yes?.. It was for having carried upon his shoulders the Munus Petrinus, that is to say the office of Peter, to be a successor of Peter.  But in that office, the Munus Petrinus, to be the Vicar of Christ, one cannot resign. It is something that is taken until death.  There is no, there cannot be any returning to a life which is private.  And, the next paragraph says “I resign the munus administrativus,” that is to say, to the administrative duties of the papacy. 

Let us say that what he did for the first time in history, Benedict XVI, created a similar figure (barring obvious differences) to what exists in Spain and England:  The figures of a king who carry the sovereignty and the figure of a of the prime minister who is the one that carries the administrative government.  That is what he created with the speech.  And then, immediately, we hear [essentially]:  “[T]hus, because I am still the Vicar of Christ, because I continue to carry the Munus Petrinus, thus, I will continue to call myself Pope, with the name Your Holiness.  I will continue to wear white, I continue to carry the keys of Peter on my shield, and I will continue with the papal ring!” …which Bergoglio does not use. He does not carry the papal ring.  Benedict continues to carry it…

An AntiPope is the Outcome of an Invalid Election, not of a Private Moral Judgment
And here, I would like to make a point which I also believe is important. When talking about an ‘antipope’, the reaction that many have is immediately negative. Why? Well, perhaps because they relate it to the term ‘antichrist’. No? Well,then an antipope is not necessarily someone who is bad. In the history of the Church, there have been 38 antipopes. Yes? Counting Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Many of those antipopes have done much good for the Church. Even a saintly antipope exists, who was St. Hippolytus of Rome.  During the early centuries of the Church when they imprisoned the pope and so this group of bishops said, well, the Church cannot be left without a pope—the pope is imprisoned and elected Hippolytus, the bishop Hippolytus, Hippolytus of Rome. So, Hippolytus accepted the nomination, and finally, he began to govern the Church, suffered martyrdom, etc. and well, the point is that during that time, nobody reasoned that despite the pope having been imprisoned, that they could elect another one because the papacy, the petrine office, like Benedict said in that speech, was Ad Vitam, that is to say, for one’s whole life. 

Heresy is being Taught by Cardinal Bergoglio
So, there wasn’t clarity in regard to this question, hence, why we now have an antipope who is also a saint, St. Hippolytus of Rome.   Then, what does the word antipope imply? The only thing that the word antipope implies is that there is a canonical irregularity in his election.  That’s all.  Then comes another aspect, namely, that of heresy which in this situation is piling on. Let us say we have an antipope because he [Jorge Mario Bergoglio] was not canonically-elected given that he was excommunicated before the conclave. Moreover, it turns out that one day after another, he goes on spewing heresy and nonsense such as what he spewed here in Colombia about how through the veins of Christ flowed pagan blood. I mean, with this statement alone, you bring down everything such as the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the dogma of the Incarnation by the Holy Spirit. Everything! You bring down Redemption itself. Everything! Everything! You bring down like ten dogmas just because of that little phrase! That.. of course not, how can it [pagan blood] flow? If the Immaculata was preserved from original sin and the Incarnation was a work of the Holy Spirit? The blood of Christ is divine from both of these sides. How can you say that pagan blood flowed from His veins? You bring down all dogmas, but, well since it is the case that the immense majority of Catholics do not read, do not read the Bible, do not read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, [Bergoglio’s] phrases seem somewhat charming no? Very witty. No, no, no…

Ours is a Different Stance than that of Modern Sedevacantists
Well, in this case of the heresy that is spoken by a pope, let us also qualify because there is also an [idea] that says that when a pope pronounces a heresy, in that moment, he ceases to be pope. Here, let us clarify that such a judgment (which today prevails in theology) comes from St. Robert Bellarmine in the sixteenth century and from other followers. Yes, it can happen because many times people will ask: Can a given pope fall into heresy? Yes! He can fall into heresy. In fact, there are several popes that fell into heresy.  

The first of them who by the way has some similarity to what is happening in our time was Pope Liberius. And this case is very important because it is repeating itself today! At that time, in fourth century, beginning of the fourth century, the immense majority of bishops had fallen into heresy, in Arianism, including the emperor and the Pope. The only one who sustained himself in the true faith was St. Athanasius and another small group of two or three bishops, but let us say that ninety-eight percent of the bishops, the emperor and the pope were in heresy. The same thing is important for our days! Why? Because a good ninety-eight percent, the immense majority of Catholics consider that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a legitimate pope and that what he is saying and doing is correct. No? The few of us who are questioning are very few in number. We are two percent! Don Rafael, Don Jose, Carlos the engineer, that is, we are just a handful who are beginning to discuss the situation.

Then, also, we have the case of the heresy with Pope Honorius I.  Pope Honorius I was condemned as a heretic by two councils, better yet, three general councils. The second.. the third and fourth council of Constantinople and the second council of Nicea. And this is important because they condemned Honorius I forty years after his death. However, the point is that neither of those three councils (that condemned Pope Honorius as a heretic) said that he had lost the papacy, that is, the Munus Petrinus, due to having been a heretic. No! I repeat, during this time period, this subject regarding a Pope ceasing to be a Pope or ceasing to be Catholic when he falls into heresy simply did not exist. The subject matter did not even cross the mind of the councils, that is, to question whether Honorius I ceased to be pope…