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Private Vows in The Laity/Spirituality


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Life of St Teresa of Avila




These cursed spirits have tormented me so often, and I am now so little afraid of them,--because I see they cannot stir without our Lord's permission,--that I should weary both you, my father, and myself, if I were to speak of these things in detail 10. May this I have written be of use to the true servant of God, who ought to despise these terrors, which Satan sends only to make him afraid! Let him understand that each time we despise those terrors, their force is lessened, and the soul gains power over them.

Teresa of Avila. The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus (p. 170).  . Kindle Edition.



 The fact is, I know now how little power the evil spirits have, provided I am not out of the grace of God; I have scarcely any fear of them at all, for their strength is as nothing, if they do not find the souls they assail give up the contest, and become cowards; it is in this case that they show their power.

Teresa of Avila. The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus (p. 171).  . Kindle Edition.

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(A prayer taught to me by my Dad when I was a child as a night prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help)


About the icon: Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Night Prayer to Our Lady


"Night is falling dear mother, long day is o'er; Before thy image I am kneeling [or reflecting] once more to thank thee for keeping me safe this day, to ask thee this night to keep evil away.

Many times have I fallen mother dear; Many graces neglected since last I knelt here;

Wilt thou not in pity, my own mother mild, Ask Jesus to pardon the sins of thy child?

I am going to sleep now, day's work is done; Its hours and its moments have passed one by one.

God Who will judge me, has counted them all; He has numbered each grace, he has counted each fall;

In his book they are written against the last day. Oh! mother ask Jesus to wash them away. For one drop of his blood for sinners was spilt, Is sufficient to cleanse the world of its guilt.

And if er' the dawn I should draw my last breath; The sleep I take be the long sleep of death; Be near me mother for dear Jesus' sake. When at eternity shore my soul shall awake.


Our Lady of Perpetual Help Icon




"An icon is not simply an artistic representation. Once it is blessed, it becomes a window to heaven, a point of contact, “so that in praying before it, one is in the spiritual presence of the person represented. Reverently kissing the icon, one kisses the personage; bowing before it, one bows before the personage” 
(Robert Lane, “Russia and the Icon,” The Reign of Mary #117, p. 5).

Our Lady's Golden Crown was placed on the icon by order of the Vatican in 1867; it is a symbol of the many miracles performed by Our Lady while invoked under the title of "Our Lady of Perpetual Help".  The child Jesus' crown was also placed on the original icon by order of the Holy See in 1867.

The star in the center of Mary's Veil is indicative that she is the "Star of the Sea" who bore the light of Christ into our darkened world.  This star leads us to the safe port of Heaven.

The primary initials on either side of Our Lady's Crown are the Greek initials for "Mother of God"

The initials above the angel on the left are the Greek initials of St. Michael the Archangel

The angel on the left, St. Michael, is depicted holding the lance and gall-sop, foreshadowing Christ's Passion and death.

Our Lady's Blue Garment is the color worn by mother's in Palestine, symbolic that Mary is both Virgin and Mother.

Mary's red tunic underneath is the color worn by Virgins during the time of Jesus.

Both Mary and Jesus' Clothing are colors of royalty.

Our Lady's face is peaceful, serene, and contemplative of her son Jesus' future sufferings.

Our Lady's mouth is tiny and silent for prayer, meditation and recollection.

Mary's eyes are large to see our troubles and needs; they are always turned toward us.  They also tenderly plead for us to avoid sin and remain faithful to and love her son, Jesus.
The entire golden background is a symbol of Heaven, where both Jesus and Mary are now enthroned; this Light of Heaven raidates through both of their clothing: an indication of the heavenly joy they bring to human hearts.
The initials above the angel on the right are the Greek initials of St. Gabriel the Archangel.

The angel on the right, St. Gabriel, holds the cross and the nails, foreshadowing of His Passion and death.

The hands of the angels are covered in a veil much like that which the priest holds while blessing with the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance during Benediction.

The initials to the right of Jesus' head are the Greek initials for "Jesus Christ".

The child Jesus is depicted not as an infant, but as a "miniature adult", signifying Christ's divinity and His humanity. 

Mary's hands hold the child Jesus possessively and lovingly, because she is his Mother.  She, too, is our loving Mother.  Her hand does not clutch the hands of Jesus' tightly, but remains open, inviting us to her son, Jesus.

Jesus' hands are turned downward, a symbol of His placing the Graces of Redemption in her hands.  These Graces are available to any and to all who implore her for them through prayer.

Jesus' sandal falling from his foot is indicative of the haste with which he has run to her in fear, gazing at the angels who hold the instruments of his Passion and death.   The loose sandal also represents Christ's divine nature, untied from the bounds of earth.  The sandal that remains secure is symbolic of His human nature."


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@philothea  I really liked and appreciated the quotation from St John of The Cross in your "About Me" on your profile, philothea.  Thank you for the props too :)

Thank you for sharing the quote:like2:


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Meditation on Today's Gospel: dailygospel.org

Monday of the First week of Advent

Commentary of the day
Blessed Guerric of Igny (c.1080-1157), Cistercian abbot
3rd Advent Sermon, 2


“A centurion of the Roman army approached him”

"Oh true Israel, be ready to go out to meet the Lord! Do not only be ready to open the door to him when he is there and knocks at your door, but even go out to meet him cheerfully and joyfully when he is still far away. And so to speak with complete trust where the day of judgment is concerned, pray with all your heart that his reign might come… May your mouth be able to sing: “My heart is steadfast, oh God, my heart is steadfast!”…  And you, Lord, come to meet me who am going out to meet you!

For in spite of all my efforts, I won’t be able to rise up to your height unless you bend down and stretch out your right hand to the work of your hands. So come to meet me and see whether there is a way of iniquity in me; and if you find in me a way of iniquity that I know nothing about, take it away from me and have mercy on me; lead me by the eternal way, which is to say Christ, for he is the way on which we walk and the eternity to which we come, the immaculate way and the blessed dwelling."


Beautiful hymn "Father I Put My Life in Your Hands" (Psalm 31) You Tube HERE


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There are websites of contemplatives that take prayer requests.  I click onto them in times of need for self or others - also my best pals are Carmelite nuns and attended my Home Mass for renewal of life private vows.  But even before all else and always, our contemplatives pray for us daily and for our intentions ..............

As does Heaven.

The Community and Unity of The Mystical Body of Christ

Deo Gratius

Today's Saint Quote


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I am an avid reader and an extensive writer too at times - not only on Phatmass.

Am reading on and off a beautiful little book "The Mixed Life" (Walter Hilton).  While in the main he seems to write for those in the laity who have servants and tenants - or at times for bishops and priests - the book does contain absolute gems for those in the laity living the mixed life of activity and prayer as most all in the laity probably do.  I was quite surprised that Walter Hilton, born in March 1396 could write with great simplicity and downright common sense applicable to a life in the laity in the 21st century.  In reading this work, one does need to be able to lift out the gems for daily life in the laity in the 21st century, some of which are buried in a commentary on those who are people of means or bishops and priests.

I did a very quick Google search, but could not find it online free.  My copy of his work was purchased on 31.10.14 according to my note on the inside cover.  If memory serves, and in reality it rarely does, I probably purchased it from Pauline Media.  I cannot recall if I ever picked the little book up to read it before. If I did, I did not note in memory the gems it does contain.

Worth the read.  It would not cost much as it is only a small book (booklet really) of 36 pages.

Venite, exsultemus Domino

Deo Gratius

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Sitting out under the pergola with a coffee.  I had been reading by the light under the pergola. It is a beautiful night after a beautiful day - and in the sweet silence of night time. It came to mind what Jesus said: "And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."

Me: "I guess that's how long I will be in Purgatory for sure, not that that matters, at least in Purgatory I will know that Heaven is my final destination"

I do not have moral assurance I will go to Heaven, I don't have any kind of assurance whatsoever and can find it near on impossible to insight those that do have assurance of some kind.   When one has no experience whatsoever of something, it can be near on impossible to understand those that do.  Now I cannot reconcile that awareness with the fact that I feel moral assurance in going to Holy Communion at Mass and Holy Communion is Heaven.  :drunks: Ah the paradoxes and absurdities in the journey.

I have Hope alone and in the Loving Mercy of God for one of His most least.  Hope that it will be by God's Will alone that I land even in Purgatory.


Deo Gratius for "Venite, exsultemus Domino."

Edited by BarbaraTherese
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I can't recall where I read it, it might have been in the Vatican document on "Fraternal Life in Community", or perhaps St Teresa of Avila or even elsewhere, but sometimes we might come across out here in the laity those who can be difficult to get along with for one reason or another. 

What I read was, wherever I read it, that a difficult member(s) in a community is sent by God to polish and hone community members into holiness.  It is all a question of response. I smiled when I read it wherever I did - and for the following reason:

In Catholicism, God is the answer to absolutely everything with nothing excepted. 

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

-- St. Teresa of Avila


"Fraternal Life in Community" is written for those in consecrated life.  However, there are gems in it to apply to a life in the laity.  We are all in community somewhere, even the hermit, some of us perhaps in a few communities out in secular life: workplace, clubs etc.  The family is a community, as is one's neighbourhood - and parish of course.  Even Catholic discussion sites are a type of community.  We are called by Jesus to His Gospel at all times and everywhere without exemption.  Mea maxima culpa.

The hermit lives ideally in relationship with, and in the Heart of, The Blessed Trinity - as do we all ideally.  The hermit 'points'/witnesses to the Truth to which we are called.

Venite, exsultemus Domino

Deo Gratius


Edited by BarbaraTherese
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When it first came out, I loved this funny tune as a teenager by Ray Stevens - it still can make me laugh. I can recall most of the lyrics still.  I see on You Tube there is an actual video (from my teenage years) of The Coasters singing it, but the words are unclear in places and the video is not the best either.........too old I guess.

The song captures the basic script back in my teenage years of every movie I saw, the goodies and the baddies but always the happy ending.  The very first movie I ever saw which didn't have a happy ending was in my twenties: "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" (excellent if depressing movie, thought provoking)  You can find it on You Tube HERE

Review "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"

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You never know - Christmas 2016

(Format in Bold is not my choice, I can't remove it for some reason)
The man who calls fortnightly to do odd tasks in the garden called this morning.  He is a very friendly (and efficient) man, extremely talkative.  This morning he was telling me how he got cornered by a couple of Jehovah Witnesses (to my experience, generally very nice people incidentally).  They were talking to C (my garden man)about The Birth of Jesus and something about His coming again, he related.  I replied to Him that we (he knows I am Catholic) celebrate and recall in this Advent Season, the three comings of Jesus.  The first is an anticipation of His Birth over 2000 years ago and his walk on this earth.  The second is that He is very much with us still.  The Third is that He will come again in Glory at the end of time.   
I think C. might be Catholic (due to his nationality) but not practising (due to some of the things he has said in the past).

No way to know without asking.  Journey with the person, rather than trying to drag him/her along......and probably kicking to boot.  The Holy Spirit provides the time and circumstances, as well as one's response.

(Now the format has changed of its own accord to the norm):  C. said nothing after I had shared what Advent is about for Catholics, but I could almost see his mind ticking over as I let the silence continue for some seconds before he suddenly changed the subject completely.

But it seemed to me that something was clicking over in his mind, perhaps a seed planted for later thought. One cannot know.  I cannot know what this day, this moment and hour is going to present to me asking my response.  I cannot know certainly what might be ticking over in the mind of the other.  I can pray. 



Last night, I completed putting up my Christmas decorations.  I bought some different coloured lights for over the stable in the nativity scene in the front window.  Only $3 at The Reject Shop.  Had a peek last night after dark - gosh, for $3 they are great and really bright.  

This year I have let all know that I am having a very quiet Christmas this year (and really looking forward to it).  This year will be a concentration on the reason we have a Christmas Season.   Finances this year are really stretched for me as well. Next year, however, I hope to be right back in the thick of it all once more.  But every couple of years or so, I am going to have a very quiet Christmas as Christmas tends to be out here in the secular world sometimes..........expensive, stress, anxiety.  On the plus side, it is a time to catch up with others, especially family, and in celebration mode.  And every negative situation, disposition etc. has a positive side and vice versa.  It only takes to see it or look for it - it is there for sure.  "Lord that I might see".

Of course, all is dependant on the fact that I have not been carried out of Bethany in a box.  In the midst of life we are in death.  The other potential hiccup might be finances.  This year has been a real drain on the pocket.   Aside from the unexpected, I am hoping next year will be mainly hiccup free financially.


I begin putting up Christmas decorations First Sunday of Advent, especially the wreath on the front door and a nativity scene in the front window - at very least.  I take decorations down in the first week after the conclusion of the Season of Christmas on the Solemnity of The Epiphany and the beginning of the new Church year.

Deo Gratius.




“For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary:

to fulfil our own destiny according to God's will,

to be what God wants us to be.”  

     (Thomas Merton)




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For God and The Church

FAMVIN - St Vincent de Paul society

Quote of The Day:  1 December 2016


"It is a maxim of the saints that,

when, after much prayer and consultation,

action has been taken in an important matter involving the glory of God and the welfare of the Church,

it must be believed that it is God’s will that this be done"

St Vincent de Paul (V:316).



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I am now in a position of involuntary real poverty.  I reinstated my donations after which, it now it seems likely I have lost the ironing.  More importantly, my only ironing client who has breast cancer has been admitted to hospital with possible liver failure.  Prayers for her please.

My feeling on the other score is that poverty I privately vowed and so poverty it is especially involuntary poverty.  It comes about through the Permissive Will of God and His Divine Providence.  Amen.  All luxuries are crossed off and necessities must be made to last as long as is possible - and then longer if I can.  I am very thankful that I can pay the rent and bills as well as food - including bread and butter days quite literally.

I am considering reducing my funeral policy to very basic and saving on premiums.  I cut back on my contents policy some time back for the same reason.  Nothing else I can take a hatchet too it seems, although it looks as if studying in 2017 as well as joining a senior citizens club just might be off the table too.  At Peace and Joyful.......strangely for me, quite unconcerned.

The Lord provides and is Forever The Faithful One.

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