Monthly Archives: January 2015

Sweet and sour consolations

Sensible devotion and particularly spiritual sweetness are very precious graces. They inspire us with horror and disgust for the pleasures of the world which constitute the attraction of vice. They give us the will and power to walk, to run, to fly along the ways to prayer and virtue. Sadness contracts the heart, while joy dilates it. This dilation helps us powerfully to mortify our senses, to repress our passions, to renounce our own wills and to endure trials with patience. It urges us to greater generosity and more lofty aspirations. The abundance of divine sweetness makes mortification a delight and obedience a pleasure. We rise promptly at the first sound of the bell. We miss no opportunity for practicing virtue. All our actions are done in peace and tranquility…. Saint Francis de Sales, sweet consolations, ” excite the appetite of the soul, comfort the mind, give to the promptitude of devotion a holy joy and cheerfulness which render our actions beautiful and agreeable”….

With regard to aridities, observe, first of all, with St. Alphonsus, that they can be either voluntary or involuntary. They are voluntary in their cause when we allow our minds to become dissipated, our affections to attach themselves to created things, our wills to follow their caprices and consequence we commit a multitude of little faults without making an effort to correct them. It is no longer a case of simple dryness of sensibility, it is languor of the will. “This state is such,” says Saint Alphonsus, “That unless the soul does violence to herself in order to escape from it, she will go from bad to worse. God Grant she does not fall after a time into the greatest of misfortunes! This kind of aridity resembles consumption, which never kills at once, but infallibly leads to death”. We must do all that depends on us to get rid of it. If it persist in spite of our efforts, let us accept it resignedly as a merciful chastisement of our faults. Involuntary dryness is that experienced by one who is endeavoring to walk in the ways of perfection, who guards against all deliberate sin, practices prayer” and faithfully discharges every duty….

Spiritual aridities and sensible desolations constitute an excellent purgatory where we can pay our debts to divine justice on easy terms. Still more truly can they be described as the crucible designed for the purification of souls. From an abundance of heavenly favors, the soul derives the courage to detach her affections from earthly objects and attach them securely to God.

–Abbot Vital Lehodey


On into…

Purgative aridity,
Unknowing all things to a point of losing stable ground,
Flailing, faltering forward, step by step, into an abyss lacking,
Comprehension acutely nowhere,
Memory amiss misfiring, appetite quenched,
A Presence, absolute darkness,
Existence assails with cruelty and persistence,
Abandoning to indifference, ready and not,
Thoughts heavy, cloudiness, unable to penetrate on into,
On into prayer,
On into alienation,
On into smallness,
Diminutive and dim,
Agitated over-eagerness rejected through bitter sweetness,
Now ready, moment by moment,
Instilled knowledge loaded and experience locked down,
Remembrance wounded, weak, and repetitive,
Repeating over and over,
On into…
On into…
On into…
Stronger, more mature, well rested, less noisy, accurate and assured,
A blankness smothers, covers immense,
Crushing underneath all that was, all that is and all that is to come,
Quiet and still,
God remains stationary, the same, silently thriving, aware, loving intense,
Metamorphoses, consubstantial,
On into the overwhelming,
No longer pursuing intellectually,
Sufficing, surrendering to that which is not,
Seduced, contradictory, the Divine entwines,
No rules engaged, commandment obligation, obedient,
A game of casual happenstance, coincidence resounding, predicated not,
A friendly smile warms the heart, melodramatics ignored,
In the meantime, a brother to a brother, a brother to a sister,
The tugging lure of passions tempting,
The disabling emptiness of yearning inflicting interior pain,
Loneliness, isolation, temptation,
Others are happy,
Others are not,
Others are sad,
Others are not,
Disregarding appetites aplenty,
On into, absorbing, adoring
Content, happily sad, contrite, weeping at the feet loving upon the Cross,
Shaded by the mantle of a Mother held dear,
I am lost, He finds, together we search.



A further prayer from St Thomas Aquinas

Prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving

I praise,
Glorify and bless you,
My God,
For the immeasurable
Favours shown to me
Who am unworthy.

I praise
Your kind forbearance,
Waiting on me for so long

And your gentleness
Appearing in the guise of a sharp reprisal.

I praise
Your tenderness
Calling out to me,

Your kindness
Supporting me,

Your mercy
Forgiving my sins

I praise
Your goodness for giving me
More than I deserve
And your patience
For not remembering
Past injuries

I praise your humility
That consoles me,
Your patience
That protects me,
Your eternity
That preserves me,
Your truth
That rewards me.

What can I say,
My God, about your ineffable generosity?

For you call back the fugitive,
You welcome the one who returns.

You support the one who falters.

You gladden the despondent,
You urge on the negligent.

You arm the warrior,
You crown the victor.

You spurn the repentant sinner,
You do not remember past crimes.

You set us free from many perils,
You soften our hearts for penitence.

You frighten us with chastisements,
You entice us with promises.

You correct us with scourges,
You guard us with a ministering angel.

Temporal things
You supply for us, eternal things you keep for us
In reserve.

You inspire us with grandeur of creation.

You draw us forward
With the mercy of redemption. You promise us
Blessings in reward.

For all these things
I cannot give sufficient praise.

I give thanks, however,
To your majesty,
For the abundance of your immense goodness,
May you always
Increase your grace in me,
Preserve that increase,
And reward what you have preserved.


Corpus Christi


Pride and impatience

Bitterness and vexation at what humbles us are simply the workings of pride, just as bitterness and vexation at what hurts us are the fruits of impatience. –Abbot Vital Lehodey

Dom Vital Lehody


St Thomas Aquinas

A prayer for the virtues

O Almighty and all-knowing God,

without beginning or end,
who art the giver, preserver, and rewarder of all virtue:

Grant me to stand firm on the solid foundation of faith,
be protected by the invincible shield of hope,
and be adorned by the nuptial garment of charity;

Grant me by justice to obey thee,
by prudence to resist the crafts of the Devil,
by temperance to hold to moderation,
by fortitude to bear adversity with patience;

Grant that the goods that I have I may share liberally
with those who have not,
and the good that I do not have I may seek with humility
from those who have;

Grant that I may truly recognise the guilt of the evil I have done,
and bear with equanimity the punishments I have deserved;
that I may never lust after the goods of my neighbour,
but always give thanks to thee for all thy good gifts…

Plant in me, O Lord, all thy virtues,
that in divine matters I might be devout,
in human affairs wise,
and in the proper needs of the flesh onerous to no one…

And grant that I may never rush to do things hastily,
nor balk to do things demanding,
so that I neither yearn for things too soon,
nor desert things before they are finished.


St Thomas provides spiritual direction

For Ordering a Life Wisely

O merciful God, grant that I may desire ardently, search prudently, recognize truly, and bring to perfect completion whatever is pleasing to You for the praise and glory of Your name.
Put my life in good order, O my God.
Grant that I may know what You require me to do.
Bestow upon me the power to accomplish Your will, as is necessary and fitting for the salvation of my soul.

Grant to me, O Lord my God, that I may not falter in times of prosperity or adversity, so that I may not be exalted in the former, nor dejected in the latter.
May I not rejoice in anything unless it leads me to You; may I not be saddened by anything unless it turns me from You.
May I desire to please no one, nor fear to displease anyone, but You.

May all transitory things, O Lord, be worthless to me and may all things eternal be ever cherished by me.
May any joy without You be burdensome for me and may I not desire anything else besides You.
May all work, O Lord, delight me when done for Your sake and may all repose not centered in You be ever wearisome for me.

Grant unto me, my God, that I may direct my heart to You and that in my failures I may ever feel remorse for my sins and never lose the resolve to change.

O Lord my God, make me submissive without protest, poor without discouragement, chaste without regret, patient without complaint, humble without posturing, cheerful without frivolity, mature without gloom, and quick-witted without flippancy.
O Lord my God, let me fear You without losing hope, be truthful without guile, do good works without presumption, rebuke my neighbor without haughtiness, and—without hypocrisy—strengthen him by word and example.

Give to me, O Lord God, a watchful heart, which no capricious thought can lure away from You.
Give to me a noble heart, which no unworthy desire can debase.
Give to me a resolute heart, which no evil intention can divert.
Give to me a stalwart heart, which no tribulation can overcome.
Give to me a temperate heart, which no violent passion can enslave.
Give to me, O Lord my God, understanding of You, diligence in seeking You, wisdom in finding You, discourse ever pleasing to You, perseverance in waiting for You, and confidence in finally embracing You. Grant that with Your hardships I may be burdened in reparation here, that Your benefits I may use in gratitude upon the way, that in Your joys I may delight by glorifying You in the Kingdom of Heaven. You Who live and reign, God, world without end.


Saint Thomas Aquinas


Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Two videos with different takes on hymnal words being sung. The first silence and the original rendition of Bach’s intention. The second proficiently and craftily demonstrating beauty through simple meaningless intoning.

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
With the fire of life impassioned,
Striving still to truth unknown,
Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

Through the way where hope is guiding,
Hark, what peaceful music rings;
Where the flock, in Thee confiding,
Drink of joy from deathless springs.

Theirs is beauty’s fairest pleasure;
Theirs is wisdom’s holiest treasure.
Thou dost ever lead Thine own
In the love of joys unknown.