Tuesday, May 19, 2015

LOVING THE POOR


Take part with your family in the adventure of encountering Jesus in the poor and gaining great wisdom from it

Download the one-page leaflet here.  


WHY LOVE AND VISIT THE POOR?

·         It heals our pettiness, selfishness and materialism. Blessed Alvaro del Portillo said: ‘It makes us see that often we are concerned about foolish things that are simply the result of our own selfishness and pettiness.” The Catechism states that “Love for the poor is incompatible with immoderate love of riches or their selfish use.”  

·         The poor give us great wisdom. Pope Francis told us of the wise lessons we can learn from them: dignity is not based on possessions; humility; trust in God; generosity; spirit of detachment. St. Josemaria wrote that “The poor are my best spiritual book”. (Furrow 827)

·         It is a soul-enriching encounter with Jesus Christ. St. Josemaria explained that the goal of the visits to the poor is “to see Jesus in the poor, the sick, the helpless, the lonely, the suffering, in the child. So [young people] will learn to wage a great battle against misery, against ignorance, against disease, against suffering.” He said that “contact with poverty is an occasion that the Lord usually uses, to enkindle in souls desires of generosity and divine adventures. At the same time, it makes young people aware of always having a heart for justice and love.”

·         Through almsgiving, we practice the virtues of charity, mercy and justice.  The Catechism calls almsgiving “one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God.” Because God created all the goods of the world for everyone, the Catechism explains through the words of two great saints: "Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs." (St. John Chrysostom) “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.” (St. Gregory the Great)

·         We follow the lead of Jesus and his Vicars, the Popes who want a Church of the poor for the poor. “Our faith in Christ, who became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of of society’s most neglected members.” (Pope Francis) The option for the poor “is implicit in our Christian faith in a God who became poor for us, so as to enrich us with his poverty”. (Benedict XVI)  Jesus taught: “as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.(Mt. 25:40)  Pope Francis taught that Matthew Chapter 25 which speaks of love for the least and of using our talents is “the standard by which we will be judged” at the end of our life.  

HOW DO WE LOVE THE POOR?

·         Show great respect, love and caring for the poor, especially those closest to you. Pope Francis taught: “what the Holy Spirit mobilizes is not an unruly activism, but above all an attentiveness which considers the other ‘in a certain sense as one with ourselves.’ This loving attentiveness is the beginning of a true concern for their person.”  Start with just pay and extra caring for your household help.  

·         Be involved in common efforts to alleviate the problems of the poor and solve poverty. Take part in and donate to educational endeavors. Work “to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to promote the integral development of the poor” and reject “all forms of injustice and corruption which, by stealing from the poor, poison the very roots of society.” (Pope Francis)

·         Pray for them. Pray for the poor people that you see in the streets, the slums, on TV and in the web. When you pray “Give us this day our daily bread”, think of replenishing the needs of all the poor.

·         Give spiritual help. Pope Francis emphasized that “Our preferential option for the poor must mainly translate into a privileged and preferential religious care.” Help in teaching catechism to the poor.

·         Make visits to the poor. (1)  Identify the poorest people in the area or the most needful among the sick in the public hospital. To achieve a greater impact, the family should aim at visiting those who are most of need of consolation, i.e. who are suffering the most, the most lonely in the hospital, etc., (2) Bring gifts. It would be good for children to contribute to the gifts from their allowance to help them live the spirit of poverty and generosity. St. Josemaria recommended gifts that the poor do not usually experience. It is also good to give them spiritual items which can help them pray, e.g. prayer cards, rosaries. It will console them greatly, if we promise to pray for them and their needs. (3) Interact and converse with each person with warmth and affection. This is the most important element of the visit. “The greatest gift we can give to them is our friendship, our concern, our tenderness, our love for Jesus. To receive Jesus is to have everything; to give him is to give the greatest gift of all.(Pope Francis’ undelivered speech for his Encounter with the Youth in the Philippines)

Download the one-page leaflet here.  

Friday, May 8, 2015

LOVING OUR MOTHER MARY: Beautiful and wise sayings, and practical ways to show our love


MARY IS OUR LOVING MOTHER.  Behold your mother. (Jesus) Am I not here, your mother? Are you not under my protection? Are you not happily under my mantle? (Our Lady of Guadalupe)  Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. (St. Irenaeus) There is no one, after God, who loves us as much as this most loving Mother does. Put together all the love of mothers for their children, all the love of husbands for their wives, and all the love of the Angels and Saints for the people under their care, it could never equal Mary's love for even a single soul!  (St. Alphonsus de Liguori) She loves you as if you were her only child in this world. Treat her accordingly: tell her about everything that happens to you, honour her and love her....  Love the Mother of God madly, for she is our Mother too. (St. Josemaria)  What a joy to remember that she is our Mother! (St.Therese of Lisieux)

Our help in difficulties and in sin. The greater sinners we are, the more tenderness and compassion she feels for us. (St. John Mary Vianney) Love for our Mother will be the breath that kindles into a living flame the embers of virtue hidden in the ashes of your indifference… To Jesus we go and to him we ‘return’ through Mary… In the darkness of the night, when a little child is afraid, it cries out: "Mommy!" That is what I have to do, to cry out many times with my heart: "Mother! Mommy! Don't leave me." (St. Josemaria)  If the winds of temptation blow, look to the star of the sea by calling out to Mary. If you are disturbed by the memory of your sin, think of Mary. In every danger, moment of anguish, or doubt, invoke Mary.  You will never be lost if you think about her. (St. Bernard)  If you ever feel distressed, just say this simple prayer: "Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now." I must admit — this prayer has never failed me. (Bl. Mother Teresa) 

She is the easy path to God. The Madonna is the shortcut to get to God. (St. Padre Pio) The world being unworthy to receive the Son of God directly from the hands of the Father, he gave his Son to Mary for the world to receive him from her. (St. Augustine) When the Holy Spirit finds Mary in a soul, He enters that soul completely and communicates Himself completely to that soul. (St. Louis de Montfort) Before, by yourself, you couldn't. Now, you've turned to our Lady, and with her, how easy! (St. Josemaria)  

Her great dignity, beauty and power. God could make a greater world and a greater heaven, but He cannot exalt a creature more than by making her His Mother. (St. Bonaventure)  From the fact that she is the Mother of God, she has a certain infinite dignity. (St. Thomas Aquinas)  Mary is the most beautiful of God's creatures. (Ven. Pope Pius XII) She is omnipotent in supplication. (Tradition)  The Son never refuses the Mother anything she seeks.  (St. Alphonsus)

LOVING MARY LIKE HER CHILD, JESUS. Become little. Look at the way your kids look at you, hug you, and think that you can do the same with our Blessed Lady...A mother’s greatest desire for her children is to have them close to her. (St. Josemaria)  Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did. (St. Maximilian Kolbe). You can never love her enough. And Jesus will be very happy, because the Blessed Virgin is His Mother. (St. Therese) After God, our greatest glory and greatest joy is Mary. (St. Bonaventure)

Having devotion to Mary. Devotion to Mary is delicious, sweet and nourishing. (St. John Vianney) Devotion to you, O Mary, is a pledge of salvation which God grants to those whom He wills to save. (St. John Damascene)   

Greeting Mary. When you ‘hail’ Mary, she immediately greets you! If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you! (St. Bernardine)  St. Bernard used to say to her, “I salute you Mary.” One day she replied to him, “I salute you my son, Bernard.” (St. John Mary Vianney)  O Mary, what must you yourself be, since your very name is so loving and gracious. (Bl Henry Suso)  The Angelus makes us relive in a way that great event in human history, the Incarnation, to which every "Hail Mary" refers. (St. John Paul II)

Praying and spreading her rosary.  It is Our Lady’s favorite prayer. (Bl. Paul VI)  It is to contemplate with Mary the beauty of the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love (St. John Paul II) Saying the rosary is the most pure joy of my heart! (St. Francis de Sales) Pray the rosary every day. Our Lady has repeated that in all her apparitions. (Sr. Lucia) One who propagates my Rosary shall be saved. (Our Lady to Bl. Bartolo)

Praying the family rosary. There is no surer means of calling down God's blessings upon the family... than the daily recitation of the Rosary. (Pope Pius XII)  The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary. (St. Pius X) Making the rosary a family prayer is very pleasing to me. I ask that all families strive to do so. But be careful to say the Rosary with great devotion, meditating on each mystery and striving to imitate in your daily lives the virtues depicted. (Our Lady of America) How beautiful is the family that recites the Rosary every evening! (St. John Paul II)

Accompanying her at Jesus’ sacrifice. The first Marian devotion is the Holy Mass…we recall the silence and recollection with which Mary accompanied her Son to Calvary. (St. Josemaria) The Passion of Christ was as it were mirrored in the heart of the Virgin, in which might be seen faithfully reflected, the spitting, the blows, and all that he suffered. (St. Lawrence Justinian) The heart of Mary was so filled with motherly tenderness and compassion for men that no one ever suffered so much for their own pains, as Mary suffered for the pains of her children. (St. Jerome)  

Consecrating oneself to Mary. Since Mary is of all creatures the one most conformed to Jesus Christ, it follows that among all devotions that which most consecrates and conforms a soul to our Lord is devotion to Mary, his Holy Mother. This devotion consists in giving ourselves entirely to the Blessed Virgin, in order to belong entirely to Jesus. (St. Louis de Montfort )

Saying short prayers to Mary. Let us not be shy about repeating short prayers to her throughout the day. (St. Josemaria)  O Mary, I want to be always your child. (St. Dominic Savio)  Totus tuus, I am all yours. (St Louis de Montfort and St.  John Paul II)
 
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