Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

Oh, ouch, right?  The kids and I were having a chat the other day about this very point though. It's so easy to lay blame elsewhere for my own stupidity.  I'd like to think some mistakes were inevitable and unavoidable.  I want to say the devil made me do it.... But, really.  Really?

Generally speaking, he doesn't need to expend the effort.

One of the saints (I can't remember which one) illustrates this in the tale of a heaven-sent vision.  It seems he was permitted an aerial view of the countryside -- that alone, a unique perspective for medieval days -- but, more amazing, perhaps, was that as he flew over the hills and valleys, he was allowed to see how the forces of hell dispersed their legions.  And he was surprised at what he found.

Over a Benedictine abbey tucked away in the hillside, demons swarmed like bees around an upset hive.  The air was alive with the sound and smell of them.  Our saint was happy to keep his distance and quickly flew on, afraid of what he'd see at the large and worldly city over the hill, but curious still to see how many more fiends would inhabit such an evil place. But, as he tentatively approached, he was surprised; there was no cloud of  demons buzzing over the city. In fact, he couldn't see even one devil.

He flew in for a closer look.  Maybe the devils were more subtle in cities, he thought.  But, hard as he looked, hovering over the streets and houses and marketplaces, he couldn't catch sight of a single evil spirit!  He looked in windows, dove down through  alleyways and searched the busy thoroughfares, but in the end, all he found was one lone devil lounging at the city gate, picking his teeth.

Our saint, puzzled, asked God, "What the heck?" Or words to that effect.  The explanation was simple:

 Most people, led by their own fallen natures and the lures of the world, make their own trouble.  The devils don't need to tempt them; they sin all on their own. It's at the religious houses -- the convents and abbeys and seminaries -- where the devils need to do the most work to get men and women to fall -- and where they can expect the best return for their labors.

So, the devil really is not standing next to the Easter candy "bar," luring me over to those peanut M&Ms, forcing me to eat them against my will.  The half a (very large) bag of M&Ms that I've consumed over the last three days is my own bad decision -- and I'm the one solely responsible for the indiscretion (and I'll be the one to pay for it, whenever I actually get the courage to stand on the scale again...)

 But my sons in the seminary -- well, we'll leave it up to them to figure out who to blame their peanut M&Ms on...

Daily Prayer for a Seminarian
Until his Ordination to the Priesthood

O Jesus, Eternal High Priest,
I offer You through Your Immaculate Mother Mary,
Your own Precious Blood, in all the Masses throughout the world, as petition for graces for all seminarians, Your future priests, especially for...... (Dominic, Br. Philip,  Henry, and Fr. Vincent and all their fellow seminarians at  Mater Dei and St. Augustine seminaries)

Give them humility, meekness, prudence, and a burning zeal for souls. Fill their hearts with the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Teach them to know and love the church, that they may always and everywhere speak, act, and think with her, the glorious spouse of Christ.

Teach them generosity and detachment from wordly goods; but above all, teach them to know You and to love the One and Only Eternal Priest. good Shepherd of Souls, hear this my prayer for saintly priests.

The very powerful prayer to St. Michael to defeat all the powers of darkness -- the entire prayer and the story of how Pope Leo XIII was inspired to write it -- can be found here.

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