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Private Vows in The Laity/Spirituality


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Excerpt: "Josefa Navel Girbes is an exceptional mistress of secular holiness: a model of Christian life in her heroic simplicity; a model of parish life. Her entire life proves how one can reach holiness in all states of life in a total consecration to God and in a selfless love for one’s brothers and sisters, even while living in the world. Without extraordinary gifts an exceptional woman in her genuine simplicity as a daughter of the people. She carried out her duties faithfully, in intense union with God, in the midst of the ordinary circumstances of her working day."

A quote from the General Promoter of the Faith, Monsignor Petti, at the conclusion of the Theological Consultors’ examination.



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Last Friday, the depression seemed to have passed - however, Saturday I drifted in and out of a depressed state again without knowing any actual reason why and that sounds like bipolar to me.  Last night I attended Vigil Mass and then helped with the cuppa after Mass.  Not many attended but we all agreed that we would continue, after Easter, on the first Saturday Vigil each month to offer a get together with a cup of tea or coffee after Mass.  We felt that if we persevered, chances were we would get more attending.  We can only experiment and see what unfolds and go on from there.  However, last night someone I had on a huge pedestal and canonized in my book, said something that contradicted all that.  I was almost in tears as that pedestal and canonization in my mind collapsed. But with the collapsing something really came home to me, internalised on a deeper level.  We are all indeed quite broken creatures somewhere or other.

I was distracted throughout the cup of coffee break after Mass last night, but I don't think that it really showed.  Got a lift home after.  Today, Sunday, I seem to be free of all depression.  Depression is very rare with me, thankfully - Deo Gratius.  Depression does not seem to have the destructive power of a manic state once it is extreme and a psychotic state - destructive of one's life, lifestyle and relationships.  But personally, depression seems to me to be far more difficult to actually bear in the depressive process.  In the manic state, one is convinced that one is totally sane and that everything one thinks, does and says is sane.  It is not.  But one FEELS as if one is on top of the world (as high as a kite in actuality).  In the depressed state, most everything one thinks is entirely negative and condemning of oneself - a heavy dark force seems to be pressing down on one and getting the better of one too.  I can recognise in passing moments that I am not thinking straight without knowing how to get out of that state and negative frame of reference to which I constantly refer, not able to free myself of that dark and heavy pressing downward negative force.  When I came home last night after Vigil Mass, I felt as if my whole world and frames of reference were collapsing around me.  I found it very difficult to get off to sleep.

This morning, amazingly, I woke up ok and this has persisted throughout today, Sunday.  Yep!  It sure sounds like bipolar to me.

Though it was impossible to feel it and I did not demand of myself that I should feel it, I made endless acts of belief and trust in Jesus and His Gospel.  I made acts of trust in our theology and all it teaches especially about Divine Providence.  The problem can be in the manic state that one's understanding is distorted on the subject of Jesus, His Gospel and Divine Providence.  One is so far off the beaten track of theological reality in the manic state that it is literally craziness, a madness of mind. My consolation after a manic episode in the past has been that while those around me may not have understood my confused state of mind that seemed to me totally unconfused, but that The Lord did indeed - and that He understood with Great Compassion.

That has to be the place of refuge for those who suffer mental illness.  The world might call us all sorts of names and we might have to bear all sorts of worldly nasty sounding tags.  Those all around us might not understand and we might experience rejection, isolation and loneliness, misunderstanding.  But all that is as the world functions, not as The Lord does.  He understands - and on the Last Day all shall be revealed so that all will understand fully.  It can be a cold sort of comfort this side of death that those with mental illness must endure so much as they do.  And the truth is that for myself, I have never felt it any sort of comfort nor consolation to think of the Last Day and all being revealed.  It is not for myself I am in it all at my feeling level as well as my conscious choice............ not for myself and my needs and desires, my hopes, at all.  Never has been.

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I think too that one progresses slowly and does not of necessity, nor probably very often at all - au contraire perhaps not at all - scale the heights of holiness in one step.  While I do recognise The Lord in the trivial, grievous and mortifying matters in life - I do not at all honour everything equally with delight and rejoicing.  Some things I still dread and would avoid if possible while yet holding to the Doctrine of Divine Providence.  I do not kick myself all over the place for being less than the ideal -  and still the quite weak and the most imperfect of souls.  I still hold the ideal as the ideal, nor can I see the road ahead to the ideal.  The past cannot be changed, the future I cannot know, I have only today...........and the Grace of The Holy Spirit........... with my stubborn and self indulgent nature.

Deo Gratius

Laudate Dominum in all things regardless.

Psalm 51 "A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit:

a contrite and humbled heart,

O God, thou wilt not despise."


History of Lent


Catholic Education.org

What are the origins of Lent? Did the Church always have this time before Easter?


Excerpt "Over the years, modifications have been made to the Lenten observances, making our practices not only simple but also easy. Ash Wednesday still marks the beginning of Lent, which lasts for 40 days, not including Sundays. The present fasting and abstinence laws are very simple: On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, the faithful fast (having only one full meal a day and smaller snacks to keep up one's strength) and abstain from meat; on the other Fridays of Lent, the faithful abstain from meat. People are still encouraged "to give up something" for Lent as a sacrifice. (An interesting note is that technically on Sundays and solemnities like St. Joseph's Day (March 19) and the Annunciation (March 25), one is exempt and can partake of whatever has been offered up for Lent. "


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The theological virtue of hope is symbolized by the colour green, just as the burning fire of love is symbolized by red. Green is the colour of growing things, and hope, like them, is always new and always fresh. Liturgically, green is the colour of Ordinary Time, the season in which we are being neither especially penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
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Rerum Novarum

Leo XIII, Pope from 1878 to 1903
Encyclical Rerum Novarum, 20

Whoever keeps his eyes on the divine model will understand… that true human dignity and excellence dwells in a person’s habits, that is to say, in his virtue. Virtue is the common patrimony of mortals; it is available to everyone, to the small and to the great, the poor and the rich. Wherever they are seen, virtue and merit alone will obtain the reward of eternal beatitude.

Even more, it seems that God’s heart is more inclined towards the less fortunate classes. Jesus Christ calls the poor blessed (Lk 6:20). With love he invites all who suffer and weep to come to him so that he might console them (Mt 11:28); he embraces with a more tender charity those who are small and oppressed. These teachings are certainly given in order to humble the haughty soul of the rich and to make him more compassionate, to raise the courage of those who suffer and to inspire them with trust.

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Liturgical colour: violet


Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.
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St Vincent de Paul Society - Daily Reflection



Mar 01, 2017

“To commit ourselves to Him for strength and refuge is the only relief from thoughts which would overpower the mind that did not resist them.”
– St. Elizabeth Ann Seton



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First Reading - Saturday 4th March 2017



Isaiah 58:9-14
The Lord says this: If you do away with the yoke, the clenched fist, the wicked word,
if you give your bread to the hungry, and relief to the oppressed, your light will rise in the darkness, and your shadows become like noon. The Lord will always guide you, giving you relief in desert places.
He will give strength to your bones and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water
whose waters never run dry. You will rebuild the ancient ruins, build up on the old foundations.


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