A simple method to pray the Rosary without distractions

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The Annunciation (Fra Angelico)

A simple method to pray the Rosary without distractions

 

— Preamble: warning of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the world

In conclusion, we will recall these words, spoken by Sister Lucy of Fatima to Father Fuentes in 1959 (Messagero del Cuore di Maria, nos. 8-9, August-September, 1961):

“ – She told me this three times:

“Firstly; she stated that the devil is engaged in the decisive battle, that is to say, the final battle, from which one will emerge the victor or the vanquished: either we are with God or we are with the devil.

“The second time, she repeated to me that the ultimate remedies given to the world are: the holy Rosary and devotion to the immaculate Heart of Mary. The ultimate signifies that there will be no others.

“The third time, she told me that the other means, scorned by men, having been exhausted, she gives us in trepidation the last anchor of salvation which is the Blessed Virgin in person. The Lady said again that if we do not listen and if we still offend, we will no more be forgiven.

“Father (Lucy said to me), we must urgently take heed of the terrible reality. We don’t want to frighten souls, but this is an urgent appeal to reality.  Since the Most Blessed Virgin has given so great a power to the Rosary, no problem exists, material or spiritual, national or international, which cannot be resolved by the Holy Rosary and by our sacrifices.  To recite the Rosary with love and devotion will allow us console Mary and wipe away the many, many tears of her Immaculate Heart.”

 

— A method to pray the Rosary without distractions

Have you ever heard this episode from the life of St. Francis de Sales?  The illustrious bishop of Geneva had promised his horse to a brave peasant, provided he could recite one Our Father without distraction. Having barely arrived at “give us this day our daily bread…” the poor man stopped to ask if the saddle and bridle were included!

Who can boast of never experiencing any distractions during prayer?  The Blessed Virgin, knowing the difficulties of her children, has given us through St. Dominic a very effective way to fight against dissipation in prayer.  The Rosary, with its beads linked together, gives us a tangible reminder that we are in the act of praying.  However, we must know how to use it.  One method of reciting the Rosary suggested by St. Louis Marie Grignon-de-Montfort (but coming from the Middle Ages) is to precede each Hail Mary with a different thought relating to the mystery.  This does not add much time to the recitation of the Rosary (contrary to what one might think), and it helps us to refocus our attention.

Here is an example of this method as applied to the Joyful Mysteries:

THE ANNUNCIATION

1. The Blessed Virgin withdraws to a corner of the house to meditate on the Scriptures.

2. She reads the passage from Isaiah (7:14), “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a child…” and she begs the Lord to send the Messiah.

3. The Angel Gabriel appears and greets her by saying, “Hail full of grace.”

4. “Full of grace means she was preserved from all sin from the first moment of her existence.

5. She was conceived without original sin and never committed the slightest fault, even venial, neither through weakness, nor through surprise, nor through negligence.

6. The Blessed Virgin, who understands the meanings of his words, is troubled.

7. She knows that she is sinless, but it would be unthinkable for her to glorify herself.

8. It would be unthinkable for her to be greeted by an angel; who is by nature superior to men.

9. The angel says to her, “Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shall bring forth a son…And of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

10. She understands that she has been chosen to be the Mother of God.

THE VISITATION

1. The Angel Gabriel announces that Elizabeth has also conceived a child.

2. The Blessed Virgin, not thinking of herself, thinks only of her aged cousin.

3. She begins the tiring journey under the watchful protection of St. Joseph.

4. On arrival, the Blessed Virgin greets her cousin.

5. At the sound of the Blessed Virgin’s voice, St. John the Baptist is cleansed of original sin, and he leaps in the womb.

6. St. Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Ghost, exclaims: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb…”

7. The Blessed Virgin gives all the glory to God.

8. “My soul magnifies the Lord….”

9. The more we glorify the Blessed Virgin, the more God is glorified.

10. The Blessed Virgin remains three months in humble service to her cousin.

THE BIRTH OF JESUS

1. The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph travel to Bethlehem for the census.

2. Because the crowds come to be enrolled, there is no room in any inn.

3. Thinking back to his youth, St. Joseph remembers a cave away from the city.

4. He sweeps the ground a little and puts things in order, then he leaves to go search for firewood.

5. During his absence, the Blessed Virgin prays deeply, waiting for the great mystery about to happen.

6. She enters into a state of ecstasy.

7. She awakens and there in her arms she sees the most beautiful baby the world has ever seen.

8. She has experienced no pain. Her soul is filled with unspeakable joy.

9. She contemplates the radiant Child, and she recognizes there her own features.

10. St. Joseph returns; upon seeing the Child, he falls to his knees to adore Him.

 

PRESENTATION OF THE CHILD JESUS IN THE TEMPLE

1. Forty days after His birth, the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph carry the Infant Jesus to the Temple to present Him to the Lord.

2. They give five shekels of silver to “redeem” the Child. (Numbers 1 8:16).

3. They also bring a pair of turtledoves for the sacrifice prescribed to women after birth. (Leviticus 12: 1 et seq.)

4. The old man Simeon, moved by the Holy Ghost, goes to the Temple.

5. He sees the Holy Family and recognizes Jesus as the awaited Messiah.

6. “Now thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen Thy salvation.”

7. Simeon blesses the Holy Family.

8. He prophesizes: “Behold this Child is set…for a sign which shall be contradicted,” that is to say, now every man will be either for Him or against Him.

9. To Our Lady he says, “A sword will pierce your soul.”

10. The Blessed Virgin keeps all these things in her heart.

 

RECOVERY OF THE CHILD JESUS IN THE TEMPLE

1. As Jesus is now twelve years old, the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph have taken Him to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.

2. They are part of a group of pilgrims from Nazareth.  Men and women and walk separately during the day.

3. During the return trip, St. Joseph thinks that Jesus is with the Blessed Virgin, and Our Lady thinks that Jesus is with St. Joseph.

4. In the evening, after having searched among all the pilgrims and not finding Jesus, they retrace their steps.

5. The Blessed Virgin knows that Jesus must suffer and die, but she does not know when.

6. This uncertainty is torture for her.

7. Jesus asks questions of the rabbis about the coming Messiah.

8. It was not to learn anything, but rather to show them that they themselves had misconceptions about the subject.

9. He quotes passages of Scripture that teach that the Messiah will have to die to save us from our sins, and not to assure world domination by the Jews.   The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph find Jesus among the amazed and confused rabbis.

(To be continued with the sorrowful and glorious Mysteries)

Gifts of the Magi

Gifts of the Magi


A meditation for the Feast of Epiphany

With Saint Thomas Aquinas

“Opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matth. II, 11.)

Ever since the birth of Christ, and perhaps before the Saviour’s birth, gold was considered precious and as something greatly to be prized.  St. Matthew (II, 11) tells us of the wise men who offered the Saviour gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  “Entering into the house, they found the Child with Mary, His Mother, and falling down they adored Him.  Opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

In a spiritual sense gold means heavenly wisdom.  The wise men were called wise because they followed the star, found the Saviour, gave Him their gold (in place of hoarding if), for they recognized Jesus as the Giver of all good gifts and realized that whatever good things they had were from God.  To recognize that important fact and to appreciate it is the highest wisdom and more precious to us than gold and silver.

— The Magi also brought frankincense to the Crib of Bethlehem and offered it to the world’s Redeemer.  Frankincense is a fragrant inflammable resin, burnt as incense, producing a sweet smelling odor.  In the spiritual order it signifies a devout prayer.  Hence King David, the royal Psalmist says, “O Lord, hear my voice, and let my prayer be directed as incense in Thy sight.” (Ps. CXL, 2.)  To have our prayers thus directed to God, they must be fervent and inflamed with the fire of charity.

— Myrrh is the aromatic gummy resin of Balsamodendron.    Myrrh that grows in Arabia and Abyssinia and is of an agreeable or spicy nature.  By Myrrh, in the spiritual sense, is understood the mortification of the flesh (so much needed in this age of luxury, ease and up-to-date comfort).  Wherefore, we read in Canticles (V, 5) “I arose up to open to My Beloved.  My hands dropped with myrrh and my fingers were full of the choicest myrrh.”  In these words the Church mystically describes Christ to those who know Him not, that is, to infidels; in order to convert them to the true faith.

By the visible things namely, gold, frankincense and myrrh when considered in a spiritual manner, we rise to a knowledge of the invisible things of God; and only then do we realize how much we need heavenly wisdom, devout prayer and mortification of the flesh. These three are the spiritual gold of the human soul.

(The Humanity of Christ.)

(From: Saint Thomas Meditations for every day, by Fr E.C. McEnery O.P., Columbus [Ohio], Long’s College book company, 1951)

Friends and Benefactors Letter number 21, January 2016 – The Importance of Principles, Part II

Letter from the Dominicans of Avrillé

No. 21, January 2016

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Group photo with H. E. Bishop Faure and our three newly tonsured Brothers (see chronicle).

 

 

The Importance of Principles (Part II)

Maintaining Principles in the Modern World

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Escaping the seduction of false principles is especially difficult nowadays because these false principles are being taught to the youth beginning at elementary school (thanks to the pseudo-educational system), continually hammered out by the media, and largely accepted by the Conciliar Church:

“The battle is mainly a battle of doctrines. Your resistance, dear brothers, consists therefore in being firm in your minds against the seduction of false and misleading principles. […]  When I ask the wise [men] of this era to identify the worst hardship of modern society, they reply unanimously that mankind is becoming weak and soft.  This reply has even become cliché.  However, we must go further, and ask the ultimate question. […]  Where does this weakness come from?  Isn’t it the natural and inevitable consequence of doctrinal weakness, weakness in belief, and, to be more exact, weakness in the Faith?  After all, courage has no reason to exist if it isn’t at the service of a conviction.  The will is a blind faculty when it is not enlightened by the intellect.  One cannot walk with assurance in the darkness of night, nor even in merely dim daylight. […]  Dear brethren, today, more than ever, the primary strength of the wicked is the weakness of the good.  The core of Satan’s reign among us is the toning down of Christianity in Christians”  (Cardinal Pie. Panégyrique de Saint Émilien, November 8, 1859.  Note that Saint Pius X cited the last sentence of the above passage, in his sermon on December 13, 1908, when he beatified Saint Joan of Arc).

The Importance of Education, Especially in the Family

It is especially in the home that moral principles are acquired.  These principles are indelible when they are learned right from childhood – which is the reason why the Revolution constantly wages war against the family, in order to remove any obstacle to the spreading of its errors:

“Nowadays [in 1910!] we have become helpless witnesses to such acts which – if we were living in the ancient times of paganism – even the barbarians and savages would have violently opposed.  Everywhere in France, schools in which the young are taught to know, love, and adore God, are being closed by a government declaring openly that its goal is to establish a nation of atheists.  We are helpless to remedy the situation because we no longer have firm principles solidly established in our souls.  Instead, we have but vague and unstable ideas, incapable of giving us the strength and energy we need.  Why are our ideas unstable?  It is because the higher, fundamental principles have not at all been inculcated in the souls of children by parents, who, having been formed by these principles, have not transmitted them.  In a word, our families no longer have the sense of tradition.”   (Msgr. Henri Delassus. L’Esprit familial dans la maison, dans la Cité et dans l’État. Lille, France. Éditions Deslcée de Brouwer, 1910. pp. 147-148).

The Force of Principles

There is a force attached to the confession of the truth.  If we know good principles well, and if we count on the grace of Our Lord to make these principles known, there will always be men of good will to listen and understand:

“Today more than ever – and let it be understood rightly – society needs strong and consistent doctrines.  Even though ideas are falling apart everywhere, asserting the truth can still be done in society, provided that this assertion of truth be firm, substantial, and without compromise.  The exchanges between men are becoming more and more sterile; each one seems to hold on to a part of truth, without grasping the whole.  As in the early days of Christianity, it is necessary now that Christians attract the attention of all, by the unity of their principles and judgments.  They have nothing to borrow from this chaos of negations and endless experimentation that testify so eloquently to the powerlessness of modern society.  This society is only living off the rare remnants of the former Catholic civilization that the Revolution has not yet taken away and which God’s Mercy has preserved from destruction.  It is up to you, convinced Catholics, to show yourself as you are.  The world may fear you at first, but be convinced that it will come back to you.  However, if you try to flatter these men by using their language, you will amuse them only for a time.  In the next moment they will forget you because you have not made a serious impression on their minds.  They will see in you the image of themselves; and since they have no trust in themselves, they won’t have much more confidence in you.  There is a grace attached to the full and entire confession of the Faith.  This grace, according to Saint Paul, is the salvation of those who accomplish this confession; and experience shows that such a confession is also the salvation of those who witness it.  Be Catholic and nothing other than Catholic.”   (Dom Prosper Guéranger, O. S. B. Le Sens Chrétien de l’Histoire. The Christian Sense of History. Cited in Le Sel de la Terre: issue 22 – Fall 1997, p.196).

Community Chronicle

September 5th – 6th:  Fathers Innocent-Marie, Louis-Marie, Reginald and Terence, accompanied by a group of the high school boys, attend the yearly book fair at Chiré-en-Montreuil (the Publishing house which handles our Éditions du Sel).

September 7thStart of the school year for Saint Philomena Elementary School, and Saint Thomas Aquinas High School.  Among the extracurricular activities for the high school boys:  weekly study groups to give them a formation for the doctrinal, political and economic combats of tomorrow.  The number of volunteers having grown from last year, there are now three different groups, under the direction of Fathers Innocent-Marie, Reginald and Terence.

September 14th:  Start of the school year for our three clerical brothers.  On the same day, according to the Constitutions of our Order, the Regent of Studies (Fr. Emmanuel-Marie) and the Master of Novices (Fr. Marie-Dominique), renew their Tridentine Profession of Faith, the anti-modernist oath, and the oath to always hold firmly to the doctrine of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

September 26th:  “Our Lady of Fatima Youth Club” has its first meeting of the year, with Fathers Angelico and Hyacinthe-Marie.

October 3rd: Father Prior and Father Angelico represent the community at the official blessing by Bishop Faure of Saint Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort Seminary in nearby Avrillé.

October 16thEntry of our three new postulants:  Filip (Poland), Tiago (Brazil), and Maximilien (France).

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October 24th to 11th November:  Fathers Marie-Dominique and Angelico fly to the U.S. to preach two retreats with Father Zendejas on the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary.  In all, about 35 men and woman from all over the U.S. followed the retreats, and will now hopefully know how to get more out of their daily Rosary.  These retreats were also the occasion for five postulants to be received as novices in the Third Order.  For the Feast of Christ the King, the Fathers replaced Fr. Zendejas at his chapels in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.  Before returning to France, the Fathers made a small detour to Minnesota for Sunday Masses, and a few conferences.  A large number of faithful came out, despite the distance.  In each of the places visited, the zeal and fervor of the faithful was remarkable.

November 21st: Meeting for the preparation of next summer’s “John Vaquié Days” (yearly doctrinal session on the tactics of the enemies of the Church).  Three graduates from Saint Thomas Aquinas Boys’ school begin to take an active role in organizing this event, which gives us hope for the future!

December 1st:  As on every first and third Tuesday of the month, Fr. Angelico meets with a group of faithful in the Friary Library for the adult catechism class.  This year’s theme: Old Testament History.

December 8th:   Second annual Mass and candle-light Procession in the city of Angers, in honor of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.

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On the same day, Pope Francis inaugurated the “Year of Mercy” with a light show at the Vatican.  The show, jointly sponsored by the World Bank, had a “New Age” environmental theme, in conjunction with the Pope’s recent Encyclical on ecology.  We cannot participate in this “Jubilee”, whose sole purpose is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vatican II and the new humanistic religion it has ushered in.  For a more detailed refutation of those who advocate participating in the “Year of Mercy”, please go to <http://www.dominicansavrille.us/should-we-participate-in-the-jubilee-of-mercy/>

December 22nd:  Feast of the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary over the Order of Preachers.  Bishop Faure confers the ecclesiastical tonsure to our three clerical Brothers.

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Brothers Alain, Louis-Bertrand and Agostinho offer their candles to the Bishop as part of the ceremony.

December 25th: After the solemn ceremonies of the Dominican Christmas Liturgy*, the afternoon is reserved for the traditional Christmas recreation.  As each year, Christmas carols were sung in French, English, Portuguese, Polish and Flemish (the five most common mother tongues among the members of our very international community), but this year there was something new:  it’s the first year we were privileged with the presence of a Bishop (H.E. Faure)!

*The Dominican liturgy has conserved a few practices that have been abandoned in the Roman rite, for example, the beautiful sequence Laetabundus that is sung just before the Gospel.

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For more information write to:

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