Conformed to the Holy Will

I have much to learn.

Concerning sufferings, in his diary on Dec 21, 1720 St. Paul of the Cross writes:

I would like to make everyone understand the great grace that God in his mercy bestows when he sends us suffering, especially suffering devoid of consolation. Then indeed the soul is purified like gold in the furnace; without knowing it. It becomes radiant and is set free to take flight to its Good, that is to the blessed transformation. It carries the cross with Jesus and knows it not. I understand that this is a great and fruitful way of suffering most pleasing to God, because the soul thereby becomes indifferent to such an extent that it no longer thinks of sorrow or joy but solely of remaining conformed to the holy will of its beloved Spouse, Jesus.

God reward you!

My recent post on the progress of forming a community has caught the attention of a larger crowd. On account of this, I want to say thank you to those who have financially contributed this week to this effort through ContinueToGive and through PayPal (HERE).

The gifts from this week have helped me to provide some resources for the men I am in contact with, to help them in their discernment.

I am presently working on a publication of 31 days of Meditations. The goal for this work is to have it published by the start of Lent. If you haven’t already, subscribe below or on the sidebar to receive updates via email, for my posts and my publications. I was able to provide a proof copy of this work, consisting of just the meditations (the final version will be a bit larger of a work), thanks to the gifts. Also, I was able to send them the Rule of Saint Paul of the Cross and the Letters of Saint Gabriel. These works alone, I believe, will bear good fruit in their discernment and their spiritual growth.

Progess towards Communal Life

I have been in Rome for two and a half years now. In this time, I have had many graces to assist at the diocesan parish of Rome for the Traditional Roman Rite, as the sacristan for some of this time, as a parishioner, and as an altar server, for many Pontifical Masses, Solemn Masses, Low Masses, private Masses, Vespers, and devotionals. Even before coming to Rome, I had been moved to discern the formation of a community of young men devoted especially to the Passion of Our Lord and to the Most Blessed Sacrament. This community would take form under the Holy Rule of Saint Paul of the Cross, whom we would take as our father and founder.

This is an unconventional path in our present day. But I tell people two things. First, it is not as though I, personally, want to live this rule, that I, Jacob, want to have interrupted sleep to rise for prayers in the middle of the night, that I, Jacob,  want to fast three days during the week, that I, Jacob, want to submit myself to a way of life that dictates most every moment, BUT, it is God Who wills this for me. It is not about me, Jacob, it is about God! And not only for me does He will it, but for many men. Second, it is apparent that an attempt was made to divorce the Passion from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and it is also apparent that so many do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, partly on account of this attempted separation. This calls for courageous men to devote their whole selves to keeping the memory of the Passion on their heart and to be inflamed with a pure love for the Most Holy Eucharist. In this sacrifice of themselves, by their life, and also by their words, they will preach this same devotion to the whole Church and they will reinvigorate true love for the Most Precious Gift of the Holy Eucharist!

I have spoken to many priests, many seminarians, and many faithful about my endeavors. So many hunger for this community of men to come to fruition. Even for those whose obligations in life would not permit them to partake materially and physically in this communal life, simply knowing it exists in the Church would bring much hope, joy, and grace to their hearts and to their homes. A group of men needs to arise in the Church, inspired by the example of Saint Gemma, whose love for the Passion and love for the Most Blessed Sacrament were one and the same, in every aspect of her life!

The Blessed Sacrament is the Testament of the Heart of Jesus Turgis

I am currently in discussion with a small number of men about the imminent formation of this group here in Rome, permitting the continuation of my studies and of some of the other men for at least the next two and a half years. We would begin as a community of Catholic laymen with the intent to form an association of the faithful and from that point would seek recognition under a Bishop. I seek your prayers for this evermore so now than before; first, for the courage of these men and for their preservation in their good will, and, also, for the specific intention and success of organizing this group here in Rome.

We turn to Saint Paul of the Cross:

O glorious Saint Paul of the Cross who, by meditating on the Passion of Jesus Christ, didst attain to so high a degree of holiness on earth and of happiness in Heaven, and, by preaching the same Passion, didst offer anew to the world the most certain cure for all its ills, obtain for us the grace to keep it ever deeply engraved in our hearts, that so we may be able to reap the same fruits both in time and in eternity. Amen!

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To learn more about my efforts: go HERE.

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Happy Epiphany and First Saturday: January 2018

Happy Feast of the Epiphany!

This day we keep a holiday in honour of three wonders, this day a star led the wise men to the manger; this day at the marriage, water was made wine; this day was Christ, for our salvation, pleased to be baptized of John in Jordan. Alleluia

This Feast is also the anniversary of the baptism of Saint Paul of the Cross!

Don’t forget to pray the First Saturday devotions!

Click here for the First Saturday Devotionshb_11.143

First Friday: January 2018

When St. Margaret Mary was before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament one day, He showed her His Divine Heart, saying:

Behold this Heart which has so loved men, that it has spared nothing, even to the exhausting and wearing itself out, to manifest to them its love; and in recompense, I receive for the most part only ingratitude, contempt, irreverence, sacrilege, and the indifference which they show Me in this Sacrament of love.”

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A German prayer card: “For God has so loved the world…”

Read more about the First Friday devotions
and find the prayers: HERE

Make it a resolution this year to make the Nine First Fridays, starting today!

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Blood of Jesus, Save us!

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I have spent the past days exploring Bavaria and surrounding areas. I have been blessed to serve Mass in Weingarten, in addition to Masses in Bavaria. The monastery would serve as a perfect home for a group of men devoted particularly to the Passion and the Most Blessed Sacrament, just saying. A brief history of the Basilica is below, followed by a short meditation, from my next book project. (More pictures below from a tour of the Basilica).

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Serving Mass in a private chapel

The greatest treasure of Weingarten is its famous relic of the Precious Blood, still preserved in the church of Weingarten. Saint Longinus, the solder who opened Jesus’ side with a lance, caught some of the Sacred Blood and preserved it in a leaden box, which later he buried at Mantua. Being miraculously discovered in 804, the relic was solemnly exalted by Pope Saint Leo III, but again buried during the Hungarian and Norman invasions. In 1048 it was re-discovered and solemnly exalted by Pope Saint Leo IX in the presence of the emperor, Henry III, and many other dignitaries. It was divided into three parts, one of which the pope took to Rome, another was given to the emperor, and the third remained at Mantua. Henry III bequeathed his share of the relic to Baldwin V, Count of Flanders, who gave it to his daughter Juditha. After her marriage to Welf I, Duke of Bavaria, Juditha presented the relic to Weingarten. The solemn presentation took place in 1090, on the Friday after the feast of the Ascension, and it was stipulated that annually on the same day, which came to be known as Blutfreitag (Blood Friday), the relic should be carried in solemn procession.

The procession was prohibited in 1812, but since 1849 it has again taken place every year. It is popularly known as the Blutritt (Blood Rite). The relic is carried by a rider (currently the parish priest), der heilige Blutritter (the Holy Blood-rider), on horseback, followed by many other riders, and many thousands of people on foot.

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Relic under the Altar of the People erected by the Monks in 1934. Accessed from behind, under key and lock.

From the publication (a book of 31 days of meditations on the Passion, by Ignatius of the Side of Jesus, C.P.) I am presently working on:

Jesus thirsts for our eternal salvation, He thirsts for souls. This is the thirst of which he complains, and which is consuming His very life’s Blood. Jesus most passionately desires that the Blood He has shed should benefit mankind by saving them from Hell; and yet He foreknows that there will be many eternally lost, notwithstanding all His love and all His sufferings. Oh, truly does this thirst consume the loving Heart of Jesus, and its sacred heat slowly but surely deprives Him of life!…

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A friend of mine receiving the Blessing with the Relic. We prayed the Litany of the Precious Blood and then each received a blessing with the Relic.

The text continues:

…My soul, reflect now what things thy desires tend to, and what thou does thirst after. No doubt thou thirstest after worldly goods, after honors, pleasures, comforts, and amusements, but thou thirstest not after thy salvation; thou are not desirous of gaining heaven, of entering into the possession of that eternal, undying bliss which Jesus has purchased for thee at so dear a rate. Jesus Crucified thirsts in an especial manner after thy salvation and progress in Divine love. If thou hadst been present on Mount Calvary, and hadst heard our Redeemer saying, “I thirst,” wouldst thou not have relieved His sufferings by giving Him a littler water? Know that even at the present moment it is in thy power to relieve His burning thirst. He says to thee from the Cross, “My Son, I thirst for thy soul.” Art thou desirous of affording thy Redeemer some solace in His sufferings from thirst? Offer Him thy thoughts by frequent consideration on His goodness and sufferings. Give Him thy heart with all its affections by constant protestations that thou lovest Him above all things, and will ever love Him in preference to all created objects. Give Him thy soul with all its powers, and often renew thy resolution to work out thy eternal salvation, however much it may cost thee, and hope that thy efforts may be crowned with success, through the merits of His Passion. Thus mayest thou relieve Jesus in His thirst.

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Probably late 15th, early 16th Century Crucifix from a local artist, repainted.
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Painting near the old sacristy.
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Illumination in a Ritual for Blood Friday
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The High Altar
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Very fitting vestment for Weingarten (Wine garden), made from the remnants of older vestments, hence the variation of textile in the decoration.
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Vox Humana stop on the Pipe Organ. The builder of the organ, in his devotion to proclaim the Glory of God, saved of his own money the necessary funds to cover the stops and keys in ivory, as the Abbot deemed it excessive for a monastic church, in its poverty.
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Pipe Organ
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Reliquary in the Sacristy with Benedictine Saints and a relic of Saint Benedict at the bottom of the Cross.