Monthly Archives: December 2014

Ecce Panis Angelorum

1. Ecce Panis Angelorum,            1. Behold the Bread of Angels
Factus cibus viatorum                     made the Food of wayfarers,
Vere panis filiorum,                         Truly the bread of children,
Non mittendus canibus.                   not to be given to the dogs.

2. In figuris praesignatur,             2. Presignified by figure,
Cum Isaac immolatur,                    When Isaac was immolated,
Agnus Paschae deputatur,              the Paschal Lamb was commanded,
Datur manna patribus.                    Manna was given to the fathers.

3. Bone pastor, panis vere,         3. Good shepherd, true Bread,
Jesu, nostri miserere:                     Jesus, have mercy on us:
Tu nos pasce, nos tuere,                Feed us, protect us,
Tu nos bona fac videre                   Make us to see good things
In terra viventium.                          in the land of the living.

4. Tu qui cuncta scis et vales,    4. Thou who knowest and willest all things,
Qui nos pascis hic mortales:          Who feeds us mortals by This:
Tuos ibi commensales,                  Make thine own to be partakers of,
Coheredes et sodales                    coheirs and citizens in
Fac sanctorum civium.                  that holy City of Saints.
Amen.                                         Amen.

“Behold the Bread of Angels” – this is often used as a Benediction hymn, for obvious reasons. It recalls how the mystery of the Eucharist was signified by many events in the Old Testament – the immolation of Isaac, the Paschal Lamb, the manna given to the fathers in the desert. It then proceeds to ask Jesus for the grace to save our souls, so that we can join the citizens of Heaven, seeing Him forever in “the land of the living”.

This is only the last 4 stanzas of the famous hymn, “Lauda Sion”, written by St. Thomas Aquinas before the year 1274. It is the sequence for Corpus Christi, the great feast of the Body of Christ when the Church turns our attention to the great Gift of the Eucharist. Jesus gave us this precious Gift of Himself so that He might always be with us.

–Special attention Ann Marie


Angels proclaiming


“Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis

“Behold, this child is set for the fall[d] and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”


I saw an angel beside me toward the left side, in bodily form. He was not very large, but small, very beautiful, his face so blazing with light that he seemed to be one of the very highest angels, who appear all on fire. They must be those they call Cherubim. I saw in his hands a long dart of gold, and at the end of the iron there seemed to me to be a little fire. This I thought he thrust through my heart several times, and that it reached my very entrails. As he withdrew it, I thought it brought them with it, and left me all burning with a great love of God. So great was the pain, that it made me give those moans; and so utter the sweetness that this sharpest of pains gave me, that there was no wanting it to stop, nor is there any contenting of the soul with less than God. –St. Teresa, ‘Life’


Adrift in a nebulous void, an abyss undefined by darkness, sensing the quality of light beyond, I am aroused by a sensation below. Slothfully, I identify myself in a lucid dream. Looking downward, viewing my naked body, I notice a chord emanating from my chest. A winding twining thing, comprised of two distinct strands bursting forward.

Exiting, originating from my heart, the chord is constantly drawn from my body. The force pulling the chord is consistent and firm. It does not move my body—the chord sliding forth while not pulling my body. Gliding outward, the distinct chord is apart from my body. It is something connected, yet detached; similar to a magician pulling a seemingly endless napkin from his pocket.

Visually, I follow the chord to its source, discovering two beings pulling forth. Their form is that of humans, however, their appearance is shrouded by a mysterious cloud of illusion. I notice wings, tiny bodies: cherubs a playing, filled with joy, laughing and singing. I can not clearly focus upon the sweet tiny angels. They swim in and out of focus. I am able to distinguish both cherubs are absorbed in the effort of pulling at the chord, or rather pulling at individual ends. The twining strands couple to form the single chord passing from my heart.

At the point of contact with my flesh, the mystical chord creates friction, igniting a burning sensation throughout my body. Energy exchanged. Fear erupts. I panic, fighting against the heavenly exterior efforts. Opposition ingrained, I reach out to grasp the chord in order to strengthen my resistance. As I grab the chord, my perspective suddenly changes, my consciousness exiting my body. I am now able to perceive, simultaneously, from the opposite originating points. I am looking back at myself, the pulling cherubs now my two eyes, two eyes seeing as one. I watch my body struggle as I sustain the effort of drawing the chord outward, from my current perspective inward.

Incredibly, my emotional state achieves an abnormally peaceful state with my change of perception. The tension of my physical body assuaged. I acknowledged the serene state of being as a hand holding a dagger extends outward from my current position. The singular hand is huge in perception. Unemotionally, I realize the intention of the dagger. A driving force plunges the dagger directly into my heart. The moment the dagger penetrates my flesh, my perspective snaps back to my body.

An emotional upheaval erupts. I am pierced, overwhelmed, finding it difficult due to the flooding of thoughts. Anxiety forces the desire to move. Deluged with fear, hysterical with the thought of death, I cry out to the surrounding emptiness.

Remarkably, I am stunned by an incredible lack of sensation within the overwhelming. The dagger does not pierce inflicting pain, rather it soothes, gratifies, burning with an extreme coldness, cauterizing. My chest is an infected, seriously abscessed wound now being relieved of its painful pressure. The supernatural relaxing sensation comforts, causing a complete inner collapse, or is it possibly a return to a natural unknown state? All my muscles release.  Miraculously, physical tension is eliminated. I am shocked by the feeling of complete release. I never realized there was so much tension existing within my body.

As the dagger settles deeper, blood begins to pour out and over my body. Striking the center of my heart, the dagger produces a thick stream of dark red, almost black blood. Bathing my body, the blood stimulates a primordial warmth, blanketing innate fear and ignorance. The profoundness of the act advances into a practical awareness. This must be done. The subtle thought of a womb never completely develops as it is overwhelmed by the image of a red orchid blossoming upon my open chest.

Slowly awakening, slothful and groggy, I emerge from the dream. Whispering. “Should have dug the dagger deeper.”

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.


Mary, we love your example

1. It was through the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that he must reign in the world.

2. Because Mary remained hidden during her life she is called by the Holy Spirit and the Church “Alma Mater”, Mother hidden and unknown. So great was her humility that she desired nothing more upon earth than to remain unknown to herself and to others, and to be known only to God.

3. In answer to her prayers to remain hidden, poor and lowly, God was pleased to conceal her from nearly every other human creature in her conception, her birth, her life, her mysteries, her resurrection and assumption. Her own parents did not really know her; and the angels would often ask one another, “Who can she possibly be?”, for God had hidden her from them…

–St Louis de Montfort, ‘True Devotion to Mary’


Humility Inventory

St Laurence Justinian says, that nobody knows well what humility is, but he who has received this gift from God; that it is of itself very difficult to be known, and that there is nothing in which man deceives himself so much as in knowing what true humility is.  ‘You think,’ he says, ‘that it consists in saying you are a sinner and a miserable creature.  If it consisted in that, nothing in the world would be easier; we should all be humble, for we all speak in that manner, and God grant we believe what we say and that our words are not just a mere matter of form….by no means; there may still lurk a great deal of pride at bottom.  It may easily happen, that by adopting this mode you wish to distinguish yourself from others, and to pass for a better and more humble man than they, and so all may be but a sort of refined pride. 

–St Alphonsus Rodriguez, ‘On Christian Perfection’


True Humility


The Prayer Of Mary

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.


John Paul II on “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”

A face of sorrow

25. In contemplating Christ’s face, we confront the most paradoxical aspect of his mystery, as it emerges in his last hour, on the Cross. The mystery within the mystery, before which we cannot but prostrate ourselves in adoration.

The intensity of the episode of the agony in the Garden of Olives passes before our eyes. Oppressed by foreknowledge of the trials that await him, and alone before the Father, Jesus cries out to him in his habitual and affectionate expression of trust: “Abba, Father”. He asks him to take away, if possible, the cup of suffering (cf. Mk 14:36). But the Father seems not to want to heed the Son’s cry. In order to bring man back to the Father’s face, Jesus not only had to take on the face of man, but he had to burden himself with the “face” of sin. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).

We shall never exhaust the depths of this mystery. All the harshness of the paradox can be heard in Jesus’ seemingly desperate cry of pain on the Cross: ” ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ” (Mk 15:34). Is it possible to imagine a greater agony, a more impenetrable darkness? In reality, the anguished “why” addressed to the Father in the opening words of the Twenty-second Psalm expresses all the realism of unspeakable pain; but it is also illumined by the meaning of that entire prayer, in which the Psalmist brings together suffering and trust, in a moving blend of emotions. In fact the Psalm continues: “In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you set them free … Do not leave me alone in my distress, come close, there is none else to help” (Ps 22:5,12).

26. Jesus’ cry on the Cross, dear Brothers and Sisters, is not the cry of anguish of a man without hope, but the prayer of the Son who offers his life to the Father in love, for the salvation of all. At the very moment when he identifies with our sin, “abandoned” by the Father, he “abandons” himself into the hands of the Father. His eyes remain fixed on the Father. Precisely because of the knowledge and experience of the Father which he alone has, even at this moment of darkness he sees clearly the gravity of sin and suffers because of it. He alone, who sees the Father and rejoices fully in him, can understand completely what it means to resist the Father’s love by sin. More than an experience of physical pain, his Passion is an agonizing suffering of the soul. Theological tradition has not failed to ask how Jesus could possibly experience at one and the same time his profound unity with the Father, by its very nature a source of joy and happiness, and an agony that goes all the way to his final cry of abandonment. The simultaneous presence of these two seemingly irreconcilable aspects is rooted in the fathomless depths of the hypostatic union.

27. Faced with this mystery, we are greatly helped not only by theological investigation but also by that great heritage which is the “lived theology” of the saints. The saints offer us precious insights which enable us to understand more easily the intuition of faith, thanks to the special enlightenment which some of them have received from the Holy Spirit, or even through their personal experience of those terrible states of trial which the mystical tradition describes as the “dark night”. Not infrequently the saints have undergone something akin to Jesus’ experience on the Cross in the paradoxical blending of bliss and pain. In the Dialogue of Divine Providence, God the Father shows Catherine of Siena how joy and suffering can be present together in holy souls: “Thus the soul is blissful and afflicted: afflicted on account of the sins of its neighbour, blissful on account of the union and the affection of charity which it has inwardly received. These souls imitate the spotless Lamb, my Only-begotten Son, who on the Cross was both blissful and afflicted”.13 In the same way, Thérèse of Lisieux lived her agony in communion with the agony of Jesus, “experiencing” in herself the very paradox of Jesus’s own bliss and anguish: “In the Garden of Olives our Lord was blessed with all the joys of the Trinity, yet his dying was no less harsh. It is a mystery, but I assure you that, on the basis of what I myself am feeling, I can understand something of it”.14 What an illuminating testimony! Moreover, the accounts given by the Evangelists themselves provide a basis for this intuition on the part of the Church of Christ’s consciousness when they record that, even in the depths of his pain, he died imploring forgiveness for his executioners (cf. Lk 23:34) and expressing to the Father his ultimate filial abandonment: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:46).