Novena for the Annunciation

The following simple and short Novena should have begun yesterday, March 16, 2023, but I overlooked it. I apologise for the lateness! But this Novena is a very easy one to add to our daily prayers and I hope many will make use of it!

On March 25, a Saturday this year,  we will honor the Feast of Annunciation. To prepare, we offer this Novena. If you start it today, you will finish on the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We are praying it for the repentance and re-conversion of those who have fallen from the faith. But we will also be praying for all others who are participating in this Novena. May our Most Merciful Mother hear our supplications and offer them to her Son in the chalice of her Immaculate Heart. Continue reading “Novena for the Annunciation”

Insight from Mother Maria de Jesus de Agreda, 2023

Updated for 2023 by evensong.

Did you know that the title of Venerable Mother Maria de Agreda’s book, “The Mystical City of God” refers to the Blessed Virgin Mary? I didn’t, but now I want to share with you some of what I learned from Mother Maria de Agreda.

The following is taken from her Book I, Chapter XVIII.


“The angels of which the Evangelist speaks in this place, are seven of those who attend in a special manner at the throne of God and who have received commission and power to punish some of the sins of men. This vengeance of the wrath of the Omnipotent (Apoc. 15, 1) will happen in the last ages of the world; but it shall be a new punishment, greater than which neither before nor after is possible during mortal existence.”

ED. NOTE: Ven. Agreda here refers to Apocalypse Ch.15,1: “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and wonderful: seven angels having the seven last plagues. For in them is filled up the wrath of God.”

We return to Ven. Agreda again:

“But since these mysteries are deeply hidden and since not all have been revealed to me, nor concern this history, I do not consider it proper to expatiate upon them, but I will pass on to what more closely concerns my task.

“This angel, of which St. John speaks, is the one through whom God will avenge with an especial and dreadful chastisement the injuries committed against His most holy Mother ; for the insane daring, with which they have despised Her, has roused the indignation of His Omnipotence. As the most holy Trinity has pledged Itself to honor and exalt this Queen of heaven above all human creatures and above the angels, placing Her in this world as a Mirror of the Divinity and as the special Mediatrix of mortals, God has taken it in a particular manner upon Himself to avenge the heresies, errors, outrages, and all injuries committed against Her, since thereby men have not glorified, acknowledged and adored Him in this tabernacle and have not made use of this incomparable mercy.

“These punishments are prophesied to the holy Church. Although the mysterious words of the Apocalypse enshroud in obscurity the rigor of this punishment, yet woe to the unhappy ones, that shall be overtaken by it! Woe to me, who have offended a God so strong and powerful to chastise! I am overwhelmed in the expectation of the great calamity here threatened.”

Continue reading “Insight from Mother Maria de Jesus de Agreda, 2023”

The Strength and Tenderness of Our Saviour’s Love for Us

Something Lovely from Rev. Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange to remind us of Christ’s unfailing love.

The Strength and Tenderness of Our Savior’s Love for Us

Christ’s love descends upon our souls from the summit of the beatific vision, and in Jesus’ love for us we find the same two qualities which are so different: the deepest tenderness and the most heroic strength. Our Lord’s tender mercy for souls did not lessen for a moment, in spite of all the ingratitude, the opposition, and the hatred that He met on His path.

We human beings find it easy to love with tender affection a few persons in our family or among our friends, but often this tenderness is entirely a matter of superficial feelings. . .

Our hearts are poor, miserly with their affection: the indifferent remain outside, and all the more so those who have offended or wounded us. Toward the latter we are even hard and sometimes pitiless. The supernatural tenderness of Christ for souls is deep, because its primary object is the soul and the desire for its eternal happiness. At the same time, it is universal, immense, and extends to everyone.

Jesus is, as He Himself says, the Shepherd of souls; all can become the sheep of His fold, and He knows each of them by name. He is concerned about those that are absent, He rushes forth to seek them and takes them up on His shoulders. He explains to them with kindness the doctrine of salvation, and He even waits upon them. He chooses His apostles among the poor and the humble. . . .

What does He say to sinners? “Come to me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you” (Matt. 11:28).

He is the father of the prodigal son, He embraces the child who is unhappy through his own fault. He forgives the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned. He receives repentant Mary Magdalen, and at once opens to her the mystery of His intimate life. He speaks of eternal life to the Samaritan woman in spite of her unsavory past. He promises prompt entry into heaven to the good thief.

“Christ died for all,” says St. Paul. Many turn from Him, but He drives no one away. And even when many have turned away from Him, He intercedes for the ingrates, as when He prayed for His executioners. This is the supreme degree of mercy, sweetness, and humility. He tells Peter that he must forgive “seventy times seven,” that is, always, and He is the first to do it.

He is the voluntary victim who offered Himself up to save us. “Greater love than this no man hath,” Jesus Himself has told us, “that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus bore the punishment that each of us should have borne. He suffered because of sin in the measure of His love for God whom sin offends, and in the measure of His love for our souls which sin ravages and kills.

The sorrowful and immaculate heart of Mary was intimately associated with this heroic oblation, and helps us to fathom this mystery. . . .Jesus has consented to take for Himself the loathsome chalice of Gethsemane, so that He might give us the chalice of His precious blood which is raised up every morning on the altar. These two chalices represent the whole history of the world of souls. They are as it were the two pans of the scales of good and evil, and it is good that prevails. The precious blood of Christ can obliterate all crimes if their perpetrators beg forgiveness.

Jesus, by His victory over sin on the cross, is the source of life and of holiness, the source of all consolation, the salvation of those who hope in Him, the hope of the dying, the delight of the saints, as the Litany of the Sacred Heart reminds us.

Finally, He has left us the Eucharist so that He might remain with us until the end of the world and give Himself as food to each and every one of us.

To His privileged friends who follow His example, He says: “It is My love which keeps open the wound of My heart. I desire to prove to souls that My heart is never closed. On the contrary, My greatest wish is that souls may enter through My wounded heart, which is an abyss of charity and mercy. It is only in the heart of God that they will find solace for their sufferings and strength for their weakness. If they will but hold out their hands to Me, I will lead them to it Myself.”

We remain selfish because our love is too weak, too poor, too narrow, and because it is pitifully engrossed with our own selves. The heart of Jesus will dilate our hearts by teaching us to love above all else the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

Why are we cowards? Because we do not love enough, because our hearts are cold, because we rely far too much on our own strength when our helplessness is obvious, and because we do not depend enough on the heart of Jesus, on His love for us. The heart of Jesus is able and desires to give us the saintly powers we need, confidence and love, which inspire adoration, thanksgiving, and atonement, by placing the glory of God above all else.

Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received, have mercy on us!

(Reverend Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P. Collection [16 Books] . Aeterna Press. Kindle Edition)

The above thoughts are offered to you, as they were written, in love; for in the end, that is all we will have and the love with which we meet our dear Saviour is all the love we shall have for all eternity.

Now, for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, we have entered into a time where there is a growing lack of love, an environment of darkness, confusion and acrimonious discord.

Harmony is becoming an undefinable concept in what passes for our society today. And part of our task is to maintain the entirely Christian concept from the early church, “See how these Christians love one another.” As St. John of the Cross enjoined us, “Where there is not love, put love in and you will draw love out.”

A lofty concept, to be sure, but within reach for those who put aside reliance on their own wills, their own reasoning, and trust with all their loving hearts, the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is just for this especial time that He has given us devotion to His Sacred Heart. These two hearts have designs of mercy on us, and so we take up our Rosaries and follow Our Most Blessed Mother, our sure path to Him and the joys He has prepared for us, which no one can take from us.

The coming trials can do nothing to take us from Our Saviour as long as we hold fast to the sure means He offers us from His Cross, that is, the Immaculate Heart, the perfectly pure and invincible will of the Blessed Virgin Mary who always protects those whom He entrusts to her.

. NOTE: It is only in His love that we shall be saved in the coming calamitous ordeal, only in His love! And the way to that love? Only in the sorrowful and immaculate Heart of the most loving Mother of God. By her Holy Rosary, we will be confirmed in love, taught to love her Divine Son, Our Savior as she herself loves Him.

This article is already too long and I have not come near to saying what I had hoped to tell you. I will write more soon, God willing. Until then,

Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey:  First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.

Open your hearts to the Lord and serve Him only: and He will free you from the hands of your enemies. With all your heart return to Him, and take away from your midst any strange gods” (I Kings 7:3)

✝︎  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.

Novena for the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary 2023

previously posted January 23, 2020 by evensong

We offer this Novena today to begin  it tomorrow, January 24 and finish on the Vigil of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for those of us who would like to renew our Consecrations on Our Lady’s Feast day.

Please note that each day’s prayers conclude with the God the Shepherd Prayer for the Pope. This is because we really do need to put aside our own opinions and pray for this benighted man. Saint Jacinta of Fatima stressed the need for us to pray for the Pope and I believe that when we pray for this poor man, it pleases Our Lady so much. I hope you will consider it. In this regard, recall St. John of the Cross’s admonition: “In the evening of your life, you will be judged on love. Put away your own way (of loving) and learn to love as God wills.” For more on this subject, please see our earlier post, “Prayer and Penance for the Pope“.

Everything about this diabolical combat demonstrates for those who pay attention that this is all about love; for we were created in love, redeemed in love and are sustained in love – and satan is never happier than when he has instigated hatred, bitterness and the desire to wreak revenge. For Love’s sweet sake, return to Love! Put away the hate, it does no good, simply love and allow God’s grace to begin healing the Church through Her – She who is the Immaculate Mother of God.

Each day, we begin with:

Come, Holy Ghost
Come, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray.
O God, who hast taught the hearts of Thy faithful by the light of the Holy Ghost; grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may always be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

First Day (Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023):

Come, Holy Ghost (as above)

Most holy Mary, bright Mirror of all virtues, the forty days after thy delivery were no sooner past than thou, though the purest of all virgins, didst will to be presented in the Temple to be purified according to the Law; Grant that we by imitating thee, may keep our hearts unstained by sin, that so we too may be made worthy one day to be presented to our God in Heaven.

Ave Maria

Litany of Loreto
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of Virgins, pray for us.
Mother of Christ, pray for us.
Mother of Divine Grace, pray for us.
Mother most Pure, pray for us.
Mother most Chaste, pray for us.
Mother Inviolate, pray for us.
Mother Undefiled, pray for us.
Mother most Amiable, pray for us.
Mother most Admirable, pray for us.
Mother of Good Counsel, pray for us.
Mother of our Creator, pray for us.
Mother of our Savior, pray for us.
Virgin most Prudent, pray for us.
Virgin most Venerable, pray for us.
Virgin most Renowned, pray for us.
Virgin most Powerful, pray for us.
Virgin most Merciful, pray for us.
Virgin most Faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of Justice, pray for us.
Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.
Cause of our Joy, pray for us.
Spiritual Vessel, pray for us.
Vessel of Honor, pray for us.
Singular Vessel of Devotion, pray for us.
Mystical Rose, pray for us.
Tower of David, pray for us.
Tower of Ivory, pray for us.
House of Gold, pray for us.
Ark of the Covenant, pray for us.
Gate of Heaven, pray for us.
Morning Star, pray for us.
Health of the Sick, pray for us.
Refuge of Sinners, pray for us.
Comforter of the Afflicted, pray for us.
Help of Christians, pray for us.
Queen of Angels, pray for us.
Queen of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Queen of Prophets, pray for us.
Queen of Apostles, pray for us.
Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.
Queen of Confessors, pray for us.
Queen of Virgins, pray for us.
Queen of all Saints, pray for us.
Queen conceived without Original Sin, pray for us.
Queen assumed into Heaven, pray for us.
Queen of the most Holy Rosary, pray for us.
Queen of the Family, pray for us.
Queen of Peace, pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
Grant, we beg Thee, O Lord God, that we Thy servants, may enjoy lasting health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, be delivered from present sorrow and enter into the joy of eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

V. Thou gavest birth without loss of thy virginity.
R. Intercede for us, O holy Mother of God.
Let us pray.
O God, by the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary, Thou hast bestowed upon the human race the rewards of eternal salvation; grant, we beg Thee, that we may know the effects of her intercession, through whom we have been made worthy to receive the Author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. Who livest and reignest with Thee forever and ever. R. Amen.

God the Shepherd
O God, the Shepherd and Ruler of all the faithful, graciously look down upon Thy servant Pope Francis, whom Thou hast chosen to be the pastor of Thy Church; and grant him, we beseech Thee, both by word and example, so to direct those over whom Thou hast placed him, that, together with the flock entrusted to his care, he may attain eternal life. O God, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all holiness, hear the prayers of Thy Church, and grant that what we ask in faith we may effectually obtain. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Second Day (Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023):

Come, Holy Ghost

Virgin most obedient, at thy Presentation in the Temple, thou didst willingly offer the customary sacrifice of women; enable us so to follow thine example, that we may become a living sacrifice to God, by practising every virtue.
Ave Maria.
Litany of Loreto
God, the Shepherd

Third Day (Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023):

Come, Holy Ghost

Virgin most pure, thou didst despise the reproach of men whilst observing the precept of the Law; intercede for us that we may always to keep our hearts pure, despite what the world may think of us.
Ave Maria.
Litany of Loreto
God, the Shepherd

Fourth Day (Friday, Jan. 27, 2023):

Come, Holy Ghost

Virgin most holy, by offering thy Son, the Divine Word, to His Eternal Father, thou didst gladden the Court of Heaven; present our poor hearts to God, that by His grace they may always be kept free from mortal sin.

Ave Maria.
Litany of Loreto
God, the Shepherd

Fifth Day (Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023):

Come, Holy Ghost

Virgin most humble, by placing thy Son Jesus in the arms of holy old Simeon, thou didst fill His soul with heavenly joy; place our hearts in God’s loving care, that He may fill them with Holy Ghost.

Ave Maria.
Litany of Loreto
God, the Shepherd

Sixth Day (Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023):

Come, Holy Ghost

Virgin most diligent, in ransoming thy Son Jesus according the Law, thou didst cooperate in the salvation of the world; ransom now our poor hearts from the slavery of sin, that they may be ever pure before the sight of God.

Ave Maria.
Litany of Loreto
God, the Shepherd

Seventh Day (Monday, Jan. 30, 2023):

Come, Holy Ghost

Virgin most meek, on hearing the prophecy of Simeon foretelling thy woes, thou didst humbly resign thyself to the good pleasure of God; make us always resigned to the dispositions of His Providence, and enable us to bear all troubles with patience.

Ave Maria.
Litany of Loreto
God, the Shepherd

Eighth Day (Tuesday Jan. 31, 2023) :

Come, Holy Ghost

Virgin most compassionate, when through thy divine Son thou didst fill the soul of Anna the prophetess with light, thou didst make her magnify the mercies of God by recognizing Jesus as the Redeemer of the world: enrich our souls with heavenly grace, that we may share the fruit of the divine redemption.

Ave Maria.
Litany of Loreto
God, the Shepherd

Ninth Day (Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023):

Come, Holy Ghost

Virgin most resigned, although thou didst feel thine own soul transfixed with sorrow, foreseeing all the bitter Passion of thy Son, yet knowing the grief of Joseph thy Spouse for all thy sufferings, thou didst console him with holy words; pierce through and through our souls with true sorrow for our sins, that we may one day come to rejoice with thee in everlasting bliss.

Ave Maria.
Litany of Loreto
God, the Shepherd

V. Simeon received an answer from the Holy Spirit.
R. That he should not see death until he had seen the Christ of the Lord.

Let us pray:

Almighty, everlasting God, we pray Thy majesty, that as Thine only begotten Son was presented in the temple in the substance of our flesh, so Thou wouldst enable us to present ourselves before Thee with clean hearts. Amen

NOTE: I you found anything of benefit in this post, please consider offering a Rosary or Seven Sorrows Chaplet for our priests who suffer greatly in this crisis of the faith. Thank you so much for reading. I pray for you all, always.

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

Thank you for reading. Please continue to pray for our priests!

Epiphany, 2023

Today, January 6, is the Feast of the Epiphany, the Manifestation of God.

“And the gentiles shall walk in Thy light, and Kings in the brightness of Thy rising … all they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense, and showing forth praise to the Lord.” (Isaias 60, 3,6)

In years past, we offered the poem, “The Journey of the Magi” by T.S. Eliot, and we do also today, but we have added another Epiphany poem for this year of Our lord 2023; this one from a sainted English martyr,  the Jesuit priest, Robert Southwell.

First, Eliot’s well known poem, which reflects his very modern response to the discovery of Christ.  It is increasingly rare for modern man to discover Christ in any meaningful way, for the bitter irony of the modern intellect  precludes them from receiving the Christ Child with a child’s simplicity.

The Journey of the Magi

by T. S. Eliot

‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Eliot was raised in the residue of protestantism, a non-Christian sect , Unitarianism, which considers itself Christian witout actually believing that Jesus Christ is God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, for indeed, Unitarians do not believe in the Trinity at all. Eliot converted  to Anglicanism  at a time when many Anglicans were returning to the Holy Catholic faith.

Now for our second poem:

“They found the child with Mary, His Mother, and falling down, they adored Him.” (Matt. 2,11)

The Epiphany
by Saint Robert Southwell, S. J.

To blaze the rising of this glorious sun,
A glittering star appeared in the East
Whose sight to pilgrim-toils three sages won,
To seek the light they long had in request;
And by this star to nobler star they pace,
Whose arms did their desired sun embrace.

Still was the sky wherein these planets shine,
And want the cloud that did eclipse their ways,
Yet through this cloud their light  did passage find,
And pierced these sages hearts by secret ways,
Which made them know the Ruler of the skies,
By infant tongue and looks of babyish eyes.

Heaven at her light, Earth blusheth at her pride,
And of their pomp these peers ashamed be;
Their crowns, their robes ,their trains they set aside,
When God’s poor cottage, clothes and crew they see;
All glorious things their glory now despise,
Since God contempt doth more than glory prize.

Three gifts they bring, three gifts they bear away;
For incense, myrrh and gold; faith, hope and love;
And with their gifts the givers’ hearts do stay,
Their mind from Christ no parting can remove;
His humble state, His stall, His poor retinue
They fancy more than all their rich revenue.

Had Eliot been able to free himself from the anti-Catholic toxins of protestantism, he would have appreciated Father Southwell’s beautiful, simple and pure poetic tribute to the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Of course the obvious difference between the two is that Southwell experienced his own epiphany as he suffered the contempt of the world and its rulers for  the love of his Master, Jesus Christ; while Eliot’s epiphany was set in the desolate twentieth century wasteland, our legacy from the protestant attack on the Holy Catholic Church . Eliot recognised that Christian culture was crumbling around him, but his protestant upbringing left him unable to fully appreciate that there can be no Christian civilization without the Holy Catholic Church, Christ’s Mystical Body on earth.

What Luther began, the current occupants seem determined, with a hellish intensity, to do. Perhaps we may be called to follow Saint Robert Southwell. Note well, “… God contempt doth more than glory prize.” That is to say, turn from the world where glory is sought and honored, for God, in these latter days, reminds us that He values the contempt of the world and despises its honors.

Once we grasp this fact, it follows that we understand that perhaps we might learn from the English martyrs, murdered by protestants who were trying to extirpate the Catholic faith. Decide for yourselves what that means during this dark night of the Passion of the Church. For, make no mistake, Golgotha follows Gethsemane.

Open your hearts to the Lord and serve Him only: and He will free you from the hands of your enemies. With all your heart return to Him, and take away from your midst any strange gods” (I Kings 7:3)

✝︎  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
✝︎  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
✝︎  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
✝︎ St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.

Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies!

Christmas Sermon of Saint Jean-Marie Vianney

O, when we come to the crib, let us bring our Saviour a childlike, repentant heart, and pray to Him that we may be as little children; that we, as children, may walk in the purity of our hearts, that we may be humble before God and men.

For Christmas time this year, we share with you a Christmas sermon by St. Jean Vianney from a book I recommend, Sermons of the Curé of Ars, by KIC.


“And His name shall be called Emmanuel.” —Is. vii. 14. Beloved brethren, assembled in the name of Jesus Christ: On the plains of Bethlehem, the angels of heaven brought to the shepherds and to us a wonderful message of joy. “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: For this day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David” (Luke ii. 10, 11). Since the world was made no such message of joy had ever been brought to men. Men bring one another messages of joy. How many joyful sounds have already been heard upon earth, how many days of happiness are arranged, how many joyful messages are brought; but the sounds of joy are carried away on the air, to leave behind only slight remembrances, like faint lights; joyful days pass away, and days of visitation follow days of blessing, and joyful chimes are often changed to chimes of mourning. How often is the joy of one the sorrow of the other! How often does it happen that what to one is a cause of jubilation to another is an occasion for tears! And even if the curse of inconstancy and the reverse of earthly happiness did not sadden man’s joyful message, it would still be incapable of making the heart of man happy in its deepest depths; it does not send its rays right down to the bottom of the heart; it is hardly able to gild the walls of our soul with its feeble, caressing light.

But the angels’ message on the plains of Bethlehem was of quite another kind; it did not come from the palaces of earthly kings, or from the halls of pleasure, from the markets of the earth; it came from heaven, bringing with it heavenly flowers, heavenly blessings, and heavenly graces. The angels, messengers from the choirs of blessed light, bring it on lips overflowing with jubilation; pure and undefiled, without shadow of deception and sorrow, rings out the jubilee down upon the earth, laden with sin, and it reaches into our innermost hearts.

It is announced, not to one or the other, but to the beggar and the king, the child and the old man, the poor and the rich. The angels announced to the shepherds that it should be made known to all people, in the east and the west, in the north and the south; it shall ring forth and make joyful through all the ages; it shall never cease, not even when the world shall keep its vigil, and the book of humanity will be closed, and then it will ring on in eternity: a Saviour is born to you, who is Christ the Lord. Oh, who can depict the joy of a Christmas festival! Over our altars floats the joy of this joyful message, from the plains of Bethlehem it sinks into our hearts and breathes consolation and hope into our souls.
Continue reading “Christmas Sermon of Saint Jean-Marie Vianney”

Bethlehem and Calvary

We offer again a repost from a controversial author that was not well received initially. But I have always liked tis essay and so here we are, again. thank you for reading.
previously posted on : december 23, 2018  by : evensong

Our Lord Jesus Christ could have chosen to redeem us in an infinite variety of ways, but He chose the way of a helpless infant. There is a lesson in that, but it is often overlooked. Caryll Houselander was a quirky lady, and has some interesting thoughts to offer on the subject. She certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I am fond of this essay and hope that you too will see something of value in it.

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On the night of His birth, when He first gave His body to us, lambs were brought to Christ. On the night before He died, when He gave us His body in Holy Communion, He kept the ritual of the Paschal lamb. The lowly beasts came into the stable to stand close to Mary and Joseph and to warm them with their great shaggy flanks. The breath of cattle is fragrant with clover; old men and children believe that this is so because the ox was to breathe on the nakedness of the little Lord to warm Him. At all events it was the yoke of the ox that Christ used as the symbol of the Cross laid on the shoulders of all those who would follow Him through the ages. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and humble of heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is sweet, and my burden light.”  (Matt 11, 29-30)

A donkey stood by the manger, and Christ rode on a donkey on the eve of His Passion – which, we are told, is the reason why every donkey has a cross marked out in soft dark fur on his grey back. Long ago the prophet had foreseen the hour of Christ’s birth and Christ’s death in one inseparable vision: “In the midst of two animals, Thou shalt be made known. When the years shall draw nigh, Thou shalt be known. When the time shall come, Thou shalt be shown.”  On Calvary Christ is set between two thieves; in Bethlehem He is set between two animals. On Calvary He is poor, with the poverty of destitution; in Bethlehem He is poor, with the poverty of destitution. He is deprived of his home in Nazareth; the cradle made ready for Him is empty: “The foxes have holes; the birds of the air nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.”
Continue reading “Bethlehem and Calvary”

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2022

Today, we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary on the feast day of her Presentation in the Temple, when her parents, Joachim and Anne, who had consecrated her to the Lord God, brought her to the Temple of Jerusalem.

“Hearken O Daughter and consider, and incline thine ear, forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house. And so shall the King desire thy beauty, for He is the Lord thy God.”
† . † . †

We don’t expect that Pope Francis will honor Our Lady on her feast day today, so it is up to us, her children to honor our Mother today.  Although modernists disparage this feast for what they perceive as a “lack of historicity”, for those who are consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, this beautiful feast teaches volumes about Mary’s devotion to the most Holy Trinity. According to Venerable Maria de Agreda,  this beautiful mystery is a lesson of the importance of humility. Thus, it is a worthwhile meditation for our preparation for our Total Consecration soon.

The Hebrew Ark of the Covenant was but a foreshadowing of the true Ark which is the most Blessed Virgin Mary herself; she who was foreordained to bear our Lord Jesus Christ, Savior. As our Little Office proclaims, “Thou wast the Mother of Him Who made thee, and thou remainest a Virgin forever”. And so, Joachim and Anne brought the true Royal Ark of the Covenant to the Temple, but to all appearances they were merely ordinary pious Jews of their time  bringing yet another consecrated child to the Temple.

Continue reading “The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2022”

For Saint Gertrude, with love

previously posted on : november 16, 2019 by : evensong 
And updated with additional material Nov. 17, 2022 by evensong

We’ve not desired to allow Saint Gertrudes’ feast day to go unhonored. And so with apologies for the poverty of our offering, we have the following quotes from the archives. Unfortunately, there has not been time or energy to properly edit them. The original sources for today’s offering are listed below the essay.

Prayer to Saint Gertrude on her Feast Day

I venerate and greet thee, O most blessed Saint Gertrude. in the sweetest Heart of Jesus Christ, and I congratulate thee with all my heart on that honour wherewith thou wast honoured by God and by all the court of Heaven on this the day of thine entrance to heaven. And for the increase of thy joy and thy glory I offer thee that same transcendently precious and worthy Heart of Jesus Christ, beseeching thee that thou wouldst deign to pray to God for me, and to assist me in the hour of my death. Amen.


Saint Gertrude and the Mother of God

The first great saint of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is St. Gertrude, the only female saint honored by the Church with the title, “Great”. In her writings and in her actions, Saint Gertrude provides us with the certainty that devotion to His Immaculate Mother is the devotion which pleases Him most of all. Indeed, as we shall see, Our Lord Himself states clearly what is most pleasing to Him:

Once, when conversing with Our Lord,  Gertrude inquired. “What dost Thou desire of me?” His answer: “Place thyself before My Mother, who reigns at My side, and endeavor to praise her.”

Gertrude then greeted the Heavenly Mother as the paradise of delights, the most beautiful habitation of God. She besought Mary to give her a heart so replete with virtues that God would take pleasure in dwelling therein. This good Mother adorned Gertrude with the rose of love, the lily of chastity, the violet of humility, and the heliotrope of obedience.

Our Lord Jesus, at the very beginning of His conversations with Gertrude told her, “I give thee My own Mother as thy protectress. I confide thee to her care.” Once, when Gertrude was being subjected to severe trials and suffering greatly, she cried out to Jesus to help her. In response she heard,

“I have given thee My own most merciful Mother for thine, and it is through her I will dispense My graces to thee. Have recourse to her in all thy necessities and thou wilt surely find strength and consolation.”

Our Lord assured Saint Gertrude that He wished her to write down all that He revealed to her:

“It is the love of My Heart which has inspired your writings; I wish them to be for later ages the evidence of My love, to draw souls to My Heart.”

One day, as St. Gertrude affectionately held and kissed her crucifix, Our Lord said to her: “Each time that a man does so, or merely looks upon a crucifix with devotion, the mercy of God looks down upon his soul. He ought then to think in his heart that these tender words are addressed to him:

‘Behold how for thy love I have willed to be attached to a cross, naked, disfigured, covered with wounds, and with all My members violently distended. My heart is so passionately enamoured of thee that, were it necessary in order to save thee, I would again willingly endure, for thee alone, all that I have suffered for the salvation of the whole world.’ ”

In view of this, how then can we ever sin again? How can we be so thick-headed as to continue on in our selfish way, ignoring this tremendous Love? May God have mercy on us all!

The Prayers of Saint Gertrude

Nearly every prayer of St. Gertrude contains salutation, adoration, praise, and thanksgiving, and at the end a short, humble petition. The predominant tone of all her prayers is to offer the sacrificial life of Jesus Christ, from His crib, where He weeps, bedded on the straw, to that hour when on the Cross He surrenders His Spirit into the hands of His Father. The immeasurable love of the Sacred Heart in the Holy Eucharist ravished Gertrude’s soul.

From this inexhaustible treasury, the holy virgin drew the excellence, power and unction of her prayers. Before the Sacrament of Love, her loving heart burst forth into songs of praise and joy, surpassing the understanding of men weighed down by earthly affections. The charm, love, and affection with which the blessed Gertrude knew how to unite herself with our Savior, with His prayers, His sufferings, His Death and merits, is beyond expression.

On one of Our Lady’s festivals, St. Gertrude chanted the office of this glorious Queen, in uniting herself to the Heart of Jesus. As she did so, she saw Him draw to that Divine Heart, the praises expressed in the psalms, and thence they flowed, like an impetuous current, towards the Blessed Virgin, His Mother. At the antiphon, “Thou art all fair,” Gertrude endeavored to sing these sweet words by the very Heart of Jesus, in memory of the loving appellations and childlike praises He must have bestowed upon her in similar terms, during His mortal life.

At this, stars of great brilliancy, symbolizing these praises, issued from the Heart of Jesus, and shed their luster on Our Lady. Some fell here and there upon the ground, and were collected by the citizens of Heaven, who presented them to Jesus with signs of inexpressible joy and admiration. Gertrude understood from this that the praises given to Our Lady by the Heart of Jesus are a source of unutterable glory and happiness to the Saints.

Meanwhile the Angels, uniting their voices to those of Gertrude’s Sisters, asked: “Quæ est ista”—Who is she?—and Jesus, with a powerful voice, answered: “The most beautiful of the daughters of Jerusalem.” This voice, issued from the Divine harp of His Sacred Heart, whose chords seemed touched by the Holy Spirit, and thus enabled to celebrate worthily the eminent glories of the Virgin Mother. Enraptured, as it were, with delight, Mary bent over the Heart of her most loving Son, and appeared to find therein the quiet of a peaceful sleep; but as the strophe, “O Gloriosa Domina,” was sung, she raised herself, as if about to respond to her daughters’ call, and extended her hand over them in token of motherly protection, and as if to assure them that, having all power over her Son’s Heart, she would efficaciously guard them from their enemies.

Once, St Gertrude said to Our Lord, “Teach me, my Lord, how I may show my devotion and love to Thy most blessed Mother.” Then, Our Lord taught her the following prayers and when she recited them, it seemed to her that she saw Our Lord offering His Sacred Heart, in the likeness of a gold vessel to His Mother. As our Most Blessed Lady drank from the golden vessel, St Gertrude understood that Our Lady delights in rewarding those who recite the prayers.

The following prayers are from the website,

St. Gertrude was taught the following prayer, containing three petitions by the Blessed Virgin Mary and she recalled that it seemed to her as though she were so clothed and adorned with her surpassing merits, that the Lord of Majesty took ineffable delight in her.

Saint Gertrude’s Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

O most blessed Virgin Mary, I beseech thee, by the most spotless purity wherewith thou didst prepare in thy womb a still and glad abode for the Son of God, that by thy intercessions I may be cleansed from every stain. O most blessed Virgin Mary, I beseech thee by that thy most gentle, deep humility whereby thou didst merit to be raised high above all Angels and Saints, that by thy intercessions all my negligences may be forgiven and satisfied for.
O most blessed Virgin Mary, I implore thee by that unutterable love which united thee inseparably to God, that by thy intercessions I may receive an abundance of all merit. Amen.

And the prayer which is called:

The Golden Ave

Hail, Mary, in union with that sweet unction of the Holy Ghost, wherewith He so pervaded thee and made thee so full of grace, that everyone who through thee seeketh grace doth find it. Call to mind now that unspeakable operation wherewith the whole most Blessed Trinity wrought in thee, when human flesh taken from thy substance was so united to the Divine Nature that God was made man and man became God, and thy whole soul was suffused with a sweetness and a gladness which the heart of man cannot conceive. And therefore every creature with rapturous admiration doth acknowledge and confess that thou art blessed and incomparably exalted above all creatures in Heaven or on earth, and blessed the Fruit of thy womb, even Jesus, who quickens, sanctifies, and blesses all things for ever. Amen.

That prayer is reported to have been dictated to Saint Gertrude by Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It is especially helpful as an aid in our meditations on Our Lady and her Mysteries of the Rosary.

Prayer to Saint Gertrude on her Feast Day

I venerate and greet thee, O most blessed Saint Gertrude. in the sweetest Heart of Jesus Christ, and I congratulate thee with all my heart on that honour wherewith thou wast honoured by God and by all the court of Heaven on this the day of thine entrance to heaven. And for the increase of thy joy and thy glory I offer thee that same transcendently precious and worthy Heart of Jesus Christ, beseeching thee that thou wouldst deign to pray to God for me, and to assist me in the hour of my death. Amen.

Added Thursday, November 17, 2022:

In St. Gertrude’s Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary above, you may have noticed that she asked for “an abundance of merit”. Perhaps the following anecdote will explain why:

“St. Gertrude, having made a donation of all her merits and good works to the souls in Purgatory, the demon appeared to her at the moment of her death and mocked her, saying: ‘How vain thou art! and how cruel thou hast been to thyself! For what greater pride can there be than to wish to pay the debts of others without paying one’s own? Now—now we will see the result; when thou art dead thou wilt pay for thyself in the fires of Purgatory, and I will laugh at thy folly whilst thou weepest for thy pride.’ Then she beheld her Divine Spouse approaching her, who consoled her with these words: ‘In order that you may know how agreeable your charity for the souls of the departed has been to Me, I remit to you now all the pains of Purgatory which you might have suffered; and as I have promised to return you a hundred for one, I will further increase your celestial glory abundantly, giving you a special recompense for the charity which you have exercised toward My beloved souls in Purgatory, by renouncing in their favor your works of satisfaction.’”

While I’m at it,  and since there are so many good quotes available regarding St. Gertrude and purgatory, let’s add another:

“Once Gertrude prayed with particular fervor for the faithful departed. On asking Our Lord how many souls His mercy would deliver, she received this reply: “My love urges Me to release the poor souls. If a beneficent king leaves his guilty friend in prison for justice’s sake, he awaits with longing for one of his nobles to plead for the prisoner and to offer something for his release. Then the king joyfully, sets him free. Similarly, I accept with highest pleasure what is offered to Me for the poor souls, for I long inexpressibly to have near Me those for whom I paid so great a price. By the prayers of thy loving soul, I am induced to free a prisoner from purgatory as often as thou dost move thy tongue to utter a word of prayer!”

And so we see how generous Our Lord is to respond to our loving prayers for the poor souls – and now I ask you, what do you think – will He be any less generous to us who intercede for them?

Thank you for reading, I pray for you always – please pray for our priests!


The Spirit of St. Gertrude or the Love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to His Creatures by an Anonymous Author, Burns, Lambert and Oates, 1866 from

The Exercises of Saint Gertrude, Virgin and Abbess, author not cited, Burns and Lambert 1863 with introduction by Dom Prosper Gueranger, also from

Preces Gertrudianae, Prayers of Saint Gertrude and Saint Mechtilde, Burns and Lambert, 1861, also

Saint Gertrude the Great, Herald of Divine Love, TAN Books, Kindle Edition, Amazon

Love, Peace and Joy, Devotion to the Sacred Heart by Fr. Andre Prevot, TAN Books, Kindle Edition, Amazon

Life and Revelations of Saint Gertrude the Great, TAN Books, Kindle Edition, Amazon.

Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey:  First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.

“Open your hearts to the Lord and serve Him only: and He will free you from the hands of your enemies. With all your heart return to Him, and take away from your midst any strange gods” (I Kings 7:3)

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Grace in the Reign of Francis, 2022

The current crisis in the Church is part of God’s plan for us, and the Immaculata leads us safely through it.

Previously published in October, 2021

The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary become even richer in meaning as we spend more time with them, and in this papacy all the more so! In the First Sorrowful Mystery, the Agony in the Garden we see Jesus confronting His persecutors who had been led to Him by Judas, the Patron for the current betrayers of Christ  who now occupy the visible Church. As Jesus restored the ear of Malchus, He spoke to those who had come to destroy Him, “Are ye come out, as it were against a thief, with swords and clubs? When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hands against Me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (Luke 22, 52-53)

We are now deep within this hour of darkness in the Passion of the Church, and so we shall find much to profit us in these Sorrowful Mysteries of Our Lady’s Rosary.

At the beginning of that first Passion, there was a terrible betrayal, and the Apostles fled, scandalized, into the darkness. Today, as the Pope and the whole corrupt edifice of the hierarchy  betray our Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother, Catholics are scattered. Some are indifferent to the scandal, some fall into sedevacantism, some simply fall away. Some few, however, watch and pray in the darkness, trusting in His promise.
Continue reading “Grace in the Reign of Francis, 2022”