Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Thanks for the prayers edition)

flores rose mother L

There are many of you who pray for me. I try to pray a Chaplet of the Immaculate Conception for you all (if I can) daily. Thank you. And there is someone I would like to thank in particular, well, very many in particular, but this one said something to me rather incisive that needs repeating. So…

On the feast of Pentecost, this rose for the Immaculate Conception was sent in by a cloistered benedictine nun in New Zealand, a certain Mother L. known to many of you. She prayers for me really very much, about which I’ve told her that I have mixed feelings. I very much appreciate the prayers on the one hand, very much aware of them in my daily life as a priest, as it is evident to me – evident, I say – that those prayers keep me going, hopefully in the right direction, though, on the other hand, I complain because, as I tell her, I fear the judgment of Jesus, which I fear – fear, I say – will witness words to me such as, “Do you know how many prayers were offered to me for you by so many good souls? And what do you have to show for those prayers?”

And then, I hope I will not run away into hell but will simply stand there, then dropping to knees, utterly ashamed, weeping for for sins, a time when it is too late for repentance and any kind of purpose of amendment, but, oddly, not too late for contrition, for, in heaven, we will always see those wounds on the body of Jesus, in His hands and feet, in His side and Heart, and that contrition will be an act of love that is most appropriate in heaven as it will be the foundation for the exuberant thanksgiving which we (that is my hope) will have the great, great joy of putting before Him. Should our Lord then roll His eyes, making the angels laugh (they having done this a gazillion times), and then say that I now have the great privilege of going to purgatory until the end of the world, I think I will then jump up and throw my arms around Jesus like a little kid might do and thank Him a million times, knowing that, in the end, I’ll be able to go to heaven and thank Him there. I will be the happiest person at the judgement to have the joy of running into purgatory. Yay! And then the angels will peal me off of Jesus and lightly toss me into the very depths of fiery purgatory, with me nevertheless not able to stop rejoicing.

I know I’ve recounted this before, but it bears repeating, that the answer of Mother L. to my complaint was immediate and incisive. With no hesitation she scolded me so as to just get over it, for without their prayers I would certainly be on my way to hell, but, hey, look at me now, with a little possibility of going to heaven! Yes, awesome that. So, then, no mixed feelings. We all have the possibility of going to heaven.

Dum spiro spero. While I breathe I hope (the motto of South Carolina). That can be said by all of us, looking to Jesus. You know why? Because the Immaculate Conception has first of all interceded with us as only a mother can with her Son. Yikes!

25 Comments

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25 responses to “Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Thanks for the prayers edition)

  1. sanfelipe007

    I am most foolish to ask this question (in public, as it were), but I, having no more than a child’s simple faith, wonder about something that I have been doing at Mass.

    First, some background, Father. My sister passed away on Christmas day last year, surrounded by her siblings and having had recourse to the Sacrements; a happy death, maybe.

    So, in addition to having gone to the Holy door on the feast of Mary, Mother of God, I have been offering my reception of the Eucharist for my sister’s soul. Begging the Lord to allow this healing Grace to pass on to her. Am I crazy? Is this permitted?

  2. sanfelipe007

    I should have said “The solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.” you knew what I meant.

  3. Father George David Byers

    No. Yes.

    St Thomas Aquinas speaks of the grace of final perseverance, which kicks in at the very end. It’s the very end that counts. Of course, if your sister is in heaven, those prayers are on her honor and applied to others. Never ever a prayer not heard!

  4. Father Dana Christensen

    Father, I seem to have lost your email. If I still had it I would have emailed you there. What are your thought on this: http://www.onepeterfive.com/cardinal-ratzinger-not-published-whole-third-secret-fatima/

  5. sanfelipe007

    Thanks, Father! Such a comfort to me.

  6. Nan

    Father, I look at a priests holiness as analogous to motor oil as it needs to be cleaned out and replenished periodically. This cloistered sister might not phrase it as I do, but she’s aware of the need for prayers so you don’t run low on holiness. It isn’t so much that you’re a sinner like the rest of us but that you’re busy with your parish, going to the ends of it, climbing mountains to take Him to those who can’t get to Mass, each of these things uses holiness. Let’s just say that you turn pastoral care into an extreme sport so have a continuing need for prayers to achieve normal levels of holiness.

    Prayers are a good thing. Imagine what it would be like if people decided you were a holy priest, thus had no need of prayers? I’ve encountered a couple of priests whose holiness reservoir was completely empty. It’s not a good thing.

  7. Father George David Byers

    The problem is, the rumors of statements from Cardinal Ratzinger right through the years were pretty strong. Anyway, there are a lot of arguments to both sides. However, as far as the consecration having been done, I take Sr Lucia’s word on that.

  8. Father George David Byers

    Call me the greatest sinner in the world!!!

  9. Liz

    God bless Mother L.!!!!!!!!

  10. Father George, I always believed that way too. And then I began to study the life of my confirmation Patron – Saint Therese who was made a Doctor of the church by John Paul II in 1997. What I read was like the biggest present wrapped with the biggest bow! Yipee! You need to think about this and REJOICE!!!!!!

    ….The common teaching within the Church is that Purgatory can hardly be avoided. While still only a novice, the saint commented about this with one of the sisters, Sr. Maria Philomena, who believed in the near impossibility of going to heaven without passing through purgatory:

    ” You do not have enough trust. You have too much fear before the good God. I can assure you that He is grieved over this. You should not fear Purgatory because of the suffering there, but should instead ask that you not deserve to go there in order to please God, Who so reluctantly imposes this punishment. As soon as you try to please Him in everything and have an unshakable trust He purifies you every moment in His love and He lets no sin remain. And then you can be sure that you will not have to go to Purgatory.

    She even said that we would offend God if we didn’t trust enough that we would get to heaven right after dying. When she found out that her novices talked occasionally that they would probably have to expect to be in Purgatory, she corrected them saying: “Oh! How you grieve me! You do a great injury to God in believing you’re going to Purgatory. When we love, we can’t go there.”

    Isn’t this wonderful and encouraging?

  11. Father George David Byers

    Yes

    Nevertheless, pray for my soul should I die soon as I don’t want to be there until the end of the world. ;-)

  12. I do and I will continue.

  13. elizdelphi

    I do not profess to know if I am a good soul but I prayed for you very recently at Adoration Fr George, I think it was today.

    Yes joisygoil, my understanding is also that Therese was totally, totally against aiming for purgatory. She absolutely held that St Dismas was the proof of her doctrine of the Little Way of total confidence in Jesus’ merits and none at all in one’s own… though she said if someone DID aim to go to Purgatory then they would get what they wanted. My parish book study group (that just finished 2 books by St Teresa of Avila) is about to start reading Story of a Soul (the John Clarke translation from her actual manuscripts) which I intend to highlight strongly her teaching on Mercy.

    Though having said all that, one cannot but be enthralled by St Catherine of Genoa’s account of the joy of the souls in Purgatory.

  14. elizdelphi

    Sometimes I puzzle whether I would behave with Jesus like I do in life, that is, slightly autistic, and I am reserved with men for reasons of chastity also, I scrupulously do not hug men I am not related to with rarely an exception (a person recently diagnosed with cancer for instance). Now part of the point is that I reserve it for Jesus–and with Him I would be at home, as with a spouse. But I often feel so deeply “Domine, non sum dignus” and feel I should keep a reverential distance, especially since in God’s judgment I am not just, I have sinned and I may have little insight into some of those sins, which may be quite bad, and I may not be detached from them or adequately sorry. But then of course at Mass one says “Domine non sum dignus” and then if we SEEM to be disposed we receive Holy Communion. I imagine meeting Jesus being unimaginable. It is impossible that in heaven (or at the last judgment before I get tossed into purgatory) autism or grief over past sins would stand between us and Jesus because every such thing is transfigured. I have a horror of presumption though and can never think of these things without thinking that it may be that I am in mortal sin or will die in mortal sin.

  15. Father George David Byers

    On the other hand, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and is a great gift.

  16. Nan

    Your status as a sinner is a separate issue, between you and Him. Prayers are to keep your holiness in a normal range because of your extreme ministry. Most priests aren’t chupacabra fighting mountaineers like you.

  17. sanfelipe007

    Ok, Father, when Elizabeth said “… it may be that I am in mortal sin or will die in mortal sin.” that was your cue to tell us all how to discern when one is in mortal sin. I know that I would like to hear your thoughts on this subject.

  18. sanfelipe007

    “Prayers are to keep your holiness in a normal range….”

    What an interesting thought. Father, did you know your Holiness is not in the “normal” range?

    “Most priests aren’t chupacabra fighting mountaineers like you.”

    Now that, right there, is funny!

  19. Father George David Byers

    On the road today. @500 miles. You might try!

  20. Nan

    San Felipe, we wouldn’t want Father to run low on holiness! Especially when he’s driving a lot.

  21. sanfelipe007

    No, we certainly do not! I’m starting a Rosary for him right now.

  22. Father George David Byers

    I joined yiu

  23. elizdelphi

    This is an especially lovely comment thread.

  24. Nan

    I wanted to start a rosary for him, but one of the beads broke.

  25. sanfelipe007

    ‘one of the beads broke”
    Now that is some hard prayin’. But who has not been “hugged” too hard by their mother? “Mom, not so hard!”

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