Author Archives: frjflader

United in the Communion of Saints

A depection of the Communion of Saints

Communion of Saints

One of the most consoling truths of our faith is the reality of the Communion of Saints – the Church triumphant in heaven, the Church suffering in purgatory, and the Church militant on earth, all helping one another. In this meditation we use texts from Scripture, the Catechism, St Bernard, St Thomas More, St Therese of Lisieux and St Josemaria to consider how:

  • The saints in heaven “fix the Church more firmly in holiness” by their example and prayer for us
  • We should have as the goal of our life to be with them for all eternity
  • The souls in purgatory suffer greatly and are exceedingly happy, relying on our prayer for them and interceding for us before God
  • In the Church militant, we are helped by the prayers of all in this Communion and we should feel responsible to help the others by our struggle for holiness and our prayers and works.

Devotion to the Souls in Purgatory

Purgatory is a reality but because we cannot see the souls being purified there we tend to forget them. In this meditation we pray about the importance of having great devotion to the holy souls. Using texts of Scripture, the Catechism, Pope Benedict XVI, St Thomas More, St Josemaria, St Augustine and others, we consider that:

  • It is difficult to go straight to heaven when we die because the soul must be perfectly purified
  • The souls in purgatory suffer greatly from the pain of fire and from not being able to be with the God they love so much
  • At the same time they are exceedingly happy
  • From the earliest days, the Church has prayed for those who have died
  • Our devotion to the souls in Purgatory helps them and makes it easier for us to avoid going there ourselves

The Rosary, a powerful prayer

The Rosary, which developed out of Christian piety over the centuries, has shown itself to be a very powerful prayer. In this meditation we consider how:
  • The Rosary gradually developed over the centuries
  • St Dominic used the Rosary to win over the heretics of his day
  • The Rosary has been credited with winning military battles, including that of Lepanto
  • Following Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima, the Rosaries said for the conversion of Russia helped bring down the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe
  • The Rosary is powerful in uniting families
  • The  Rosary helps those who say it to grow in holiness

Devotion to the Holy Angels

Angels are real. They appear throughout the Bible, from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation. Because we can’t see them, we can easily forget them. In this meditation we pray about how to increase our devotion to the angels, using texts of Scripture, St Josemaria Escriva and St John Vianney, to consider:

  • The Church’s teaching on the angels in the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • The angels’ presence surrounding the tabernacle and in the Mass
  • St Raphael as an example of the protection and many services of our guardian angel
  • St Gabriel, as a messenger who passes on to us inspirations from God
  • St Michael, who defeats Satan and who protects us in times of temptation

Using our talents

Christ teaching the apostles

In the parable of the talents, one servant received five talents, another two and another one. So too, we have all received many, and different, talents from God, for which we will give an account at the end of our life. In this meditation we consider how:

  • We have all received many talents from God: our life, family, faith, intelligence, education, skills, etc.
  • Some of these are more important than others and we should use them accordingly
  • At the end of life we will be judged, not on whether we did better than someone else, but on whether we used well the talents God gave each of us
  • We should not give in to the temptation to bury, or not use well, certain talents because it would be “too hard”
  • We should especially develop those talents related to our relationship with God, our family and friends, and our work

Always optimistic

As we go through life we often find ourselves tossed on the stormy seas and we can become discouraged, sad, and even depressed. The Covid pandemic adds to those troubles. In a situation like this, we need an attitude not of pessimism and sadness but of optimism and happiness. In this meditation we consider how:

  • Christ is always with us, no matter how bad the situation is, and he can calm every storm
  • Nothing is impossible for God
  • There is a bright side to every dark situation
  • God has a plan for our life, including our suffering, which we will see only at the end
  • We should give thanks for what we have instead of lamenting what we have not
  • Many people are far worse off than we are
  • God always brings good out of evil
  • In the end the eternal joy of heaven awaits us

The cross, pathway to heaven

Our Lord invited us, if we would be his disciples, to take up our cross and follow him. A few days later he manifested his divinity to three of his apostles in the Transfiguration, as we will see him in his glory in heaven.  In this meditation, using texts from Scripture, St Josemaria and St John Vianney, we consider how:

  • Our pathway to heaven passes by way of the cross
  • The cross is truly a blessing, in that it purifies us and it can be offered up for others
  • The cross is a manifestation of God’s love for us
  • When we have a cross to bear, we can think that Christ suffered more than we ever will, and that many others are suffering more than we are
  • If we love the crosses life brings, we will find joy in them and they will unite us with Christ
  • We should seek the cross too through mortification and penance

The Spiritual Olympics

Athletes go through a rigorous training regime in order to achieve their goal of competing, or winning a medal, in the Olympic games. The goal of Christians is much higher: eternal life with God in heaven, and we too need a training regime. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture, St Augustine and St Josemaria Escriva to consider how, like athletes, we need:

  • Determination, singlemindedness, to reach our goal
  • Commitment to training, involving regular times for prayer
  • Self-discipline
  • A spiritual diet of grace from the sacraments
  • A doctor to heal our injuries: the sacrament of penance
  • A coach, in the form of a spiritual director
  • Knowledge of the rules of morality
  • The support of others in the Communion of Saints

 

Christ the Sower

Christ gives us the parable of the sower, who sows seed on different types of soil, yielding different results. In this meditation we consider how we can all be, at times, each of the different types of soil:

  • The path, when we turn a deaf ear to Christ’s promptings
  • The rocky ground, when we begin something with enthusiasm but then give up because it was too hard
  • The thorns, when we are drawn away from God by the attraction of the world
  • The good soil, when we respond to God with generosity and yield a rich harvest

 

Growing in love through the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Our Lord has loved us to the last drop of his blood and water, and he invites us to love him more in return. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture, St Margaret Mary Alacoque and St Josemaria Escriva to consider that:

  • St John writes in his Gospel that Jesus has loved us “to the end” and in his first Letter that “God is love”.
  • Our Lord asked St Margaret Mary for the feast of the Sacred Heart, in order to increase love for him throughout the world.
  • St Margaret writes in a letter about the three streams that pour out from the heart of Christ.
  • Considering the immense love Our Lord has for us, we should endeavour to grow constantly in love for God and for our neighbour.