Praying with the Heart of Jesus

PRAYING WITH THE HEART OF JESUS

WITH THE HEART OF ALL THE WORLD

To pray, to you, Lord Jesus, not just with my heart,                            but with the whole world’s heart;

Pray with the heart of all of those who pray to You                           and of all of those who don’t pray to You;

Pray with the heart of others, in order that my prayer not sicken me inside;

Pray with the heart of all of those who love You and of all of those would love You if only they knew Your Love;

Pray with the heart of those who rejoice, as they offer up to             You their joy as a thanksgiving;

Pray with the heart of those who mourn, showing to You             their sorrow as a kind of imploration;

Pray with the heart of those who are assailed by despair,                     begging you, to have reborn in them hope;

Pray with the heart of those who work and who are dedicated thereunto, in order that their labor, by Your grace, contribute to the making of a better world;

Pray with Your heart, O Jesus; inside it, the source and center of all love, beats the heart of humanity.

Amen.

AVE MARIA!

 

Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Heaven and earth came together the night when the Savier was born. That night there was something like a happy meeting between the pure of heaven and the humble on earth.

St. Luke describes that meeting which for us once more makes mani­fest the Lord’s predilection for the little.

“And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping their flocks by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear…

But the angel said: Be not afraid, for I…bring you good news of a great joy. For all the people. To you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”.

If God’s affairs were like the affairs of men, the first announce­ment of the Savior’s birth would not have been made to such men, so sim­ple in themselves and so “insignificant” in regard to the society of Is­rael, but rather to the men in power, the “heads” of government, banking, and religion.

Express one’s self by means of an angel to some poor shepherds at work in the fields to transmit the greatest news event of all time, only God can do. God himself is humble. He makes himself man, and a poor man, born among the poor. The more we think about the ways of God, the more astounded we became. There exists the Gospel, though, to answer any doubts.

In the social scale of Israel, the lowest no doubt were the shepherds. Their chief merit would be in their condition as laborers. They did their work with dedication and honestly. They weren’t pushy people, bursting to lay hands on something out of their reach, like many modern-day workers, who live unhappily, trying to copy the rich.

Surely the shepherds did their work at peace with their own consciences, and not trying to fool anybody. As good Israelites they must have had knowledge, although sketchily, of the prophecies which referred to the coming of the Messiah. Like the rest of Israel, they were waiting. And they’d not forget to pray, during any rest in their labors, that the Savior come soon.

The manner of the angel’s appearance, surrounded by light, struck the humble shepherds with fear. Therefore the angel spoke, explaining the meaning of the apparition. To you is born this day…a Savior”.

Once more our imagination is tricked by painting artists. We visua­lize angels with wings, bright colors, flowing hair…Nothing like that was witnessed by the shepherds. The vision they saw was, first of all, effect of grace. A particular lighting up inside their souls made them see and feel the presence among them of something supernatural. The words they heard were a revelation that would not resemble any human word, yet which without a doubt gave them to know that the familiar prophecies had been fulfilled.

The angel invites them to investigate and gives them the sign: “And this will be a sign for you; you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger”. A poor person, too, like them and poorer yet perhaps. Laid down in the straw that was a bed for animals. What a way to come upon a king! King of heavens and heath. But different from all the kings of history.

And suddenly there appeared other angels. And all the heavenly host praised God saying: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men…”

The angels bring that night a new message. In the highest of heaven they proclaim God’s glory and they unite it with the peace which should reign, among men. That is to say, when God is duly glorified, there rises as necessary consequence a peace among men. We may state as corollary, when men sincerely seek peace, God is glorified.

The glory of God aids our honor towards his name and our subjection to his holy will. To glorify God is not just singing or praying or adop­ting a posture of body or of the hands, it is rather recognizing His full dominion ever the universe, us included.

Peace among men presupposes many things. It is not a simple announ­cing of the word, peace. Nor is it a paralyzing fear that annuls free deci­sions. Nor is it conforming to a status quo. Nor is it even the more absence of war.

Peace is an inseparable ally of justice. Therefore, wherever there are wrongs, inequalities coming from lack of opportunities for all, vio­lation of rights, and privileges that are extreme, manipulation of interests there no peace is. Often the forgetting of God and the oppression of man go hand in hand.

The angels and the shepherds have established as of two thousand years ago a dialogue whose echoes last, but whose lesson has not been sufficiently exploited.

To find benefit in those happenings, Mary shows the way. So St. Luke says: “Mary kept all those things, pondering them in her heart…” For her, it was no secret Who the Child was. On she went, following a humble way of life, with no show or pretension being His mother.

The Christian, in keeping with the lesson of Mary, ought to obser­ve God’s signals, keeping them deep in his heart. Such observance may give us the peace we seek and perhaps have not encountered.

Prayer to Mary, Queen of Apostles

PRAYER TO MARY, QUEEN OF APOSTLES

 Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles,

You who (brought) Christ to the world,

You who shared – the very first – in the first of the desires to grow which animated Christ.

You carried him to Elizabeth and John the Baptist who showed him to the shepherds, to the Magi, to Simeon.

You who brought together the apostles, in the quiet of the Cenaculum, before their dispersion throughout the world and who communicated to them your zeal for the work of your Son:

Give me a vibrant and determined soul,

one at once combative and sheltering,

a soul that moves me at all times to give testimony

how Christ is the light of the world

and how men will never encounter peace

save in the implantation of His Kingdom.

 

Christmas Message by Fr. Menard

C H R I S T M A S  1 9 5 9

The feasts of Christmas and New Year give us the opportunity to mark out the fleeting of time and it is as if instinctively we look back on the past year to thank God for all the graces that he has given us while at the same time, regretting our weaknesses.

The work of the Holy Apostles, which is constantly progressing, thanks to the divine kindness and the good will of its members has known and will know many trials. If we are inclined to complain, we will fail to recognize the su­pernatural character of our work. We absolutely want to give priests to the Church where the needs are greatest, it is our ‘raison d’être’. Do you believe that the enemy, I mean the devil, looks upon us favorably? We prepare men who will dedicate themselves entirely to fight against him: do you believe that he will not be interested in us? He doesn’t care that a human enterprise succeeds? But it is normal that he attacks the roots that appear to him a danger and a threat. If we succeed in our enterprise, the Church will have more priests and the kingdom of Satan will have to yield to the Kingdom of God. It is enough to drive the Prince of Darkness wild and that is why he has to be busy with us.

His tactics are simple: he divides to reign, and even more, he seeks to set up the members of a community one against the other, he sows misunder­standing. He increases in our eyes the defects of others and makes them unbea­rable to us. If he knows that we are working together, he is also conscious of the strong bond that unites us: the love of Christ. That is why he has dissocia­ted the Lord’s double commandment which tells us that the second commandment is similar to the first. To love God and to love our brothers, it is one in the Spirit of God. But Satan has dissociated this love and, sometimes, even too often, persons dedicated to God by love live as if they didn’t like their bro­thers.

To protect us against such traps, we have a model, Jesus, who is meek and humble of heart and it is necessary that these two virtues, meekness and humili­ty, penetrate all our relations with God and with others.

Meekness: God has given it to us and we must practice it in our relations with him. It is then called patience. We do not jostle God. He knows what he is doing and he knows our needs. Let us have confidence in him and let us remind ourselves what he was saying to St Paul who wasn’t always meek and patient when he saw himself limited in his apostolate by his physical disability. “My grace is sufficient. It seems, at times, we don’t know how to satisfy oursel­ves with this grace.

Humility, it goes without saying, is the virtue which is the source of our relations with God. By humility, we become conscious that God is all and that we depend on him in everything. It is a fundamental condition to live an au­thentic spiritual life.

These two virtues must inspire our relations with others, be they superiors, equals or subordinates. It is the paradox of humility, because if we conceive that we must be humble to obey authority, we must see in our fellow-men as in our subordinates, representatives of God, the Supreme Authority. It is the beautiful title of the Pope: “servant of the servants of God. Because he is the Supreme Chief, he is the servant of the least among us… Does that inspire our attitude towards our neighbor? Would we dare to rob all the meaning of the washing of the feet, that gesture that the one who came did come, not to be served but to serve? Will we forget the Gospel or pervert the teaching of our Master?

We must never loose sight of the example given to us by Christ. He knew that Satan would try to divide the elected and he was so conscious of it that he made it the object of his great prayer before his agony: That they be one, as You and I are one.”

But the trial of misunderstanding and of division can be constructive. It is a purification through which we have to pass in order that “Christ grows in us”. Being conscious that we are sometimes divided, we must redou­ble our efforts to be united; being conscious that our love for God and for others is particularly frail, we must redouble our efforts to intensify it. We have the assurance that God will never fail us. It is up to us to be on guard, knowing that the enemy prowls and that he is always ready to divide us.

If we really want to love God and our fellow-men, we must take all the means that we have at our disposal to grow in our spiritual life. At times, we may feel discouraged and weary and we are then tempted to think that it is better elsewhere. This is still a trap. Now, we speak much about fide­lity and it is one of the secrets of the spiritual life but let us think also about the fidelity to the present moment, to the place where we are now. It is God himself who wants us to be saints and before asking ourselves if we would have more chances elsewhere, let us, first, see if we take full advantage of our community life.

In this time of Christmas, let us consider that the shepherds and the Magi discovered Christ where he was, in the humbleness of the manger, in the gentleness of his Mother’s eyes. They didn’t think, even for an instant, to delay their pilgrimage and prostrated in adoration at the feet of the Child Jesus, let us make together this act of faith in the Child God who will give us the strength and the grace to live in his love.

Lord Jesus, let us realize that we are members of the same family in your Mystical Body.

Let all that the others do and all that happens to them become personal to me and reach me as directly as if I had done it myself.

That their successes become my successes, and their failures, my failu­res. Expand my heart which is naturally closed and selfish.

Lord Jesus, I know that it is impossible to accept you in my life without accepting at the same time all those that you bear in yourself. “That they be one as You, Father, You are in me and I in you (Jo, 17, 21).

Eusébe – M. Ménard, OFM

Francis of Assisi Revolutionary of Love

Eight hundred years ago, a man passed through the world who witnessed to the transforming power of the Gospel: Francis of Assisi.

This man lived so close to Christ that his life was permeated by God’s love, and he cried out in the streets: “Love is not loved; love is not loved!”

Today, the whole world celebrates the eight hundredth anniversary of this great saint’s birth.

Why are his message and his person so fresh and alive in today’s world?

–     Because his life was the Gospel and the Gospel is always pertinent to today.

–     Because as a man who was humble, poor, simple, obedient to the Church, <he was> happy.

–     Because he was a man who never criticized the rich, but became poor himself.

–     Because his greatest revolution was his example.

–     Because he was liberated, generous, free of complexes, and a brother to all.

–     Because he never attacked the Church, trying to destroy it, but always compromised with it, feeling himself to be Church, called to give it back its purity and holiness.

–     Because he preached love among mankind, not violence, hatred, and division.

–     Because he so identified himself with the poor that they were his favorites.

–     Because, in his leper brother, he found Christ, sick, cast out, despised by society.

–     Because he is the man who sings to sister death, and joyfully receives her, since she will open the doors for the eternal encounter with his Creator.

Francis of Assisi is a challenge to the Church today, inviting it, without saying a word:

–     To be poorer.

–     To be more committed to Jesus’ chosen ones, the poor.

–     To be open, receptive and simple, bearing peace, love and hope to a world oppressed by pain, slavery, injustice, and lack of respect for the dignity of the human being.

There is a great need for more men like Francis of Assisi, who will cry out, as George Mounin did: “If I were a Christian, I would make my motto: ‘Either like Francis of Assisi, or nothing!’” Or like Clemenceau, at the hour of his death: “Indeed, it might be necessary that every Christian have at least one drop of Francis of Assisi‘s blood in his veins.”

Lenin, the great revolutionary, near the end of his life, said: “Perhaps I have been wrong. Maybe what the world really needed, more than a Communist Revolution, was a dozen Francis of Assisis.”

While a Cardinal, Pope Paul VI said, “Francis, teach us to become poor, that is, free and generous in the search for and use of these earthly things that are so weighty and fleeting, so that we may remain brothers and Christians.”

In front of his tomb, Pope John Paul II exclaimed, “Francis of Assisi, help us!”

I finish this reflection with the Prayer of Saint Francis, who before he died would say, “I, Francis, did my part; may Christ teach all of you what you must do.”

A SIMPLE PRAYER

“Lord! make me an instrument of YOUR peace!

Where there is hatred…       let me sow love.

Where there is injury…         pardon.

Where there is discord…        unity.

Where there is doubt…          faith.

Where there is error…           truth.

Where there is despair…        hope.

Where there is sadness…       joy.

Where there is darkness…    light.

O divine Master!

Grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled…   as to console.

To be understood…           as to understand.

To be loved…        as to love.

For,

It is in giving…      that we receive.

It is in pardoning…            that we are pardoned.

It is in dying…       that we are born to eternal life.

(Saint Francis of Assisi)

The Visitation

Finally, Mary consulted someone with experience. Her cousin Elizabeth was another whose life had been turned upside down by an incredible pregnancy, which forced her “to hide herself away for five months” (Lk 1, 24). Mary therefore “went as quickly as she could” to her (Lk 1, 39), for she could no longer keep her secret to herself, could no longer bear the burden alone.

The two women met and understood each other. They spoke of their trials, their reflections, their prayers. And Elizabeth gave Mary strength, <saying, in all probability>:

“Yes, you are right to believe. Yes, it is the Lord who has been acting in your life. He has asked more of you than of anyone else, but he is generous in proportion to what he asks. Thanks to him, every suffering turns into joy, every trial into a reward. My own child has become for me a source of joy and pride that is a prophetic proclamation of how much greater your own joy will be.”

It was then that Mary sang her Magnificat, and not after the Annunciation, for after the latter she felt much too uneasy and disturbed. The Magnificat sprang from her heart after the Visitation. The real angel in her life was this woman who had suffered as she was suffering, and who encouraged her to believe.

How much time shall we devote to singing our own Magnificat? Our Magnificat for our vocation, for our marriage, for our children, for our parents, for all the missions to which God urges us?

Mary and the Mystical Body by Father Menard

Go … ! – says Jesus, “Go …!”

“Go…!” – says Jesus, “Go…!”

It is the proper and the richness of the great ideas in the Gospel to be expressed in few words. Most evangelical sayings – all so valuable – have kept that privilege. One only word, – and it means so much!

Jesus says to his disciples: “Go…!” that is: “Do not stay put…”

No stagnation in our Christian life. Go, as far as possible. Never say: “Now, I’ll stop: that’s enough.”

Young people and elderly ones, lay or clerics, craftsmen or famous professors…, every one of you, go ahead.

– All life is to be fruitful as long as it lasts.

– You can only do a little? Do this little. You can do much? Go as far as you possibly can.

– Give light with the whole power of your light.

– Love with the whole force of your love.

– Don’t measure yourself and get right out of yourself.

– Difficulty braces the vitality of the soul. It becomes strength when it is practised. Not only do muscles need exercise, but also the faculties of the mind, of the heart, of apostolate, patience, etc…

– Let’s not aim at performance and competition: they often are the weakness of sport, – they always are weakness in spiritual life. Their result is an attitude which is cold, proud, lonely and discouraging.

– Grow up like the tree, with the whole forest, sustaining the small branches, protecting the weak shrubs from the hurricane.

– You work for all when you work, yourself, as much as possible.

“To live one’s whole life, to love with one’s whole love, to die one’s whole death….”          St. Teresa of Avila

As does Jesus every day on the altar of our Mass.

Happy Christmas! Holy New Year to each of you.

I bless you.

Rev. Pe. Eusebe – M. Menard,

Superior M. Ss. A.

Christmas 1967

Annual Retreat Letter to MSA – Having the Lord’s Spirit

Annual Retreat – The Missionaries of The Holy Apostles U.S.A.                                                                                                           (1.6.73)

  • Act 2, 14 – 20 …..all prophets…
  • 16, 5 – 15: The coming of the Holy Spirit

The world would be an interesting place to live if we believed the gospel of peace, if we appreciate what it means to have the Lord’s spirit.

Jesus clarifies what his gift will mean: “But when the spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth.”

It is important to note that the guiding spirit Jesus promises is not the private possession of any one person or group in the church. Consequently, it is expected that we consult with the society, the community in determining what is the best for the common good.

In ascertaining what is the will of God, one must inquire of those who also possess the spirit who “leads to complete truth: (…prayer…)

The ultimate formation of conscience consists in our opening to the spirit, who will lead us to do the right thing when action is demanded. To the degree we are led by the spirit of love there is no need of particular laws. The fact that the law has been the guiding factor for most of us does not agree for law; it simply documents the fact that few allow the spirit to do what Jesus promised. Many of us may not advance very far in living according to the one law of love, but why be so reluctant at least to start? Who knows what would happen if we opened ourselves to the spirit? There is no harm in trying, and little peace in resisting.

To show how little we respect the influence of the spirit today, we probably find it somewhat strange to hear Jesus say: act 2, 17-18 “…I will pour out my spirit on all flesh…”

Who says the day of prophecy is over? Who is to say that there shall be no more dreams and no more visions? How can a man say this if the present of the spirit of the Lord is in the world? This is the promise Jesus gave:

Applications: –    our society M.Ss.A!  active, creative…

each member: dynamic, co-creative…

Some men do still believe in dreams and visions. Robert Kennedy seems to have been this kind of man. He used to say: “Some men see things as they are and say ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and say ‘Why not?’”

The danger is obvious. Without domination of Jesus and subsequent inspiration to do what is necessary and the most loving thing, the world will abound with false prophets and pseudo. Charismaties, men who bounce (faire du bruit) along on the whims (caprices) of their own superficial instincts.

The point is: He will lead us if we are leadable – Here, let us be convinced that “obedience” and “initiative” go together: obedience is freedom, creativity, protection from any illusion, and any egoism, discernment of spirit. Rom 16, 17-20

“What? Really wrote for, after all, was to test and see whether you are completely obedient.” (2 Cor. 2, 9)

As Jesus promised; the false prophet or phony visionary will be known by his fruits: “The spirit of truth will be my witness, Jesus claimed, and you too will be witnesses, you do will give evidence.” (Luke 24, 48ss) – The witness and evidence we give is by the life we live; and we are measured as true to the extent our life demonstrates that we know Christ Jesus and live his gospel.

Application: no hypocrisy: at least to desire to practise what we preach…

The gift of his peace – his spirit, which leads us to truth and to prophecy and is the cause of our joy – is also the cause of restlessness. The spirit is the spirit of love, and love is always restless in the midst of a world so lacking in love. Having his peace impels us to war – against unlove, against our personal egoism: source of enormous problems in any group.

How else can we make any sense out of this apparent contradiction? – Jesus says, “My peace I give you”. But he also says, “I have not come to bring peace, but the sword”.

Jesus is not talking about the peace the world gives, He is not speaking about a type of “suburban, superficial, diplomatic peace, which is really a withdrawal from reality, a disengagement from the full challenges of life – frequently a foolish search for a mythological peace guaranteed with: … possessions, investments and brands whether it be corporations, women, neighborhood, dog, stocks and bonds, automobile, membership cards, scotch, friends, boat, or cemetery plot.

The peace that is the gift of Jesus to us is his spirit of love, and this causes an uneasy conscience for those who dare to face the real world, where men are so desperately in need of love, a world full of the horrors of war, social violence and poverty, a world where every 8 second one human being dies of starvation, every minute seven, every hour 417, and every day 10,000.

The peace Jesus gives forces us to adopt the radical ethic of Jesus with its urgency to meet the need of our suffering brothers and sisters wherever they may be, whoever they may be – Lets us be a bridge of love between ourselves, for the rich and the poor, between north and south America. May the spirit makes us instrument of real peace.