Spiritual Talk
 
 
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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Catherine Labouré (3)

Ten years after St. Catherine Labouré received her visions of Mary, another sister of the same order, Sr. Justine, received her own vision. In 1840, she saw Mary clutching her enflamed Immaculate Heart with her right hand, and her left hand grabbing a green scapular, with an image of the Immaculate Heart pierced by swords on the reverse, encircled by the prayer “Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.” A voice told her that through this image, many lost souls would be brought to Mary and saved. Sr. Justine knew that she had to distribute this sacred image as fast as she could. In 1841, Sr. Justine told Fr. Jean-Marie about the visions, but as he was already promoting the Miraculous Medal devotion of St. Catherine Labouré, the promotion of the Green Scapular devotion was delayed and lacking in faith. Mary appeared in 1842 and 1846 to protest. People asked whether the devotion required any specific blessings, and Mary told Sr. Justine in a vision that, as the scapular belonged to no particular order, no specific blessing was needed. The devotee need only pray the prayer on the back of the scapular daily. The Pope approved the Green Scapular devotion and it spread widely, bringing many souls to conversion.
Publish date: 2018 - 5 - 26


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Catherine Labouré (2)

On the night of July 18, 1830, the Virgin Mary first appeared to St. Catherine Labouré, the “sweetest moment” of her life. On November 27, 1830, the Virgin Mary appeared again as she was meditating in the chapel – she saw Mary standing on a hemisphere before the altar, offering up a gold orb to God. On her hands were many jewelled rings: she told St. Catherine that they were graces delivered to those who requested them. The dull ones, she said, were the graces that no one requested. Then, Mary extended her two arms on the hemisphere, light shone forth, and she was encircled by the words “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee”. Then, the frame began to rotate, and on the reverse, she saw a large letter M surmounted by the cross and encircled by twelve stars above the Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns and the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced by a sword. Mary told Catherine to make sacred medals of this image, and that those who wore it on the neck would receive special graces. She only told her confessor about the visions, and after two years of investigation, he finally brought the matter to the Archbishop of Paris, who approved the distribution of the medals. The devotion spread widely and became known as the Miraculous Medal of Our Lady of Graces. There was a wealthy Jew called Alphonse Ratisbonne who hated the Catholic Church. One day, his friend dared him to wear the Miraculous Medal and pray the associated Memorare prayer. While waiting for his friend in church one day, Alphonse saw the Virgin Mary appear as in the Miraculous Medal image. He instantly understood Catholic teaching, converted, was baptized, became a priest to the Jews, and his entire family of 28 was converted, including two brothers who became priests. St. Catherine never revealed her identity as the Miraculous Medal visionary, and only just before death did she reveal her identity to her superiors, so that they could make a statue of Mary offering a gold orb to God as in the vision. In 1876, she died, and 57 years later, her body was found to be incorrupt. Today, she enjoys the company of Mary forever in Heaven.
Publish date: 2018 - 5 - 19


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Catherine Labouré

May 13th is Mother’s Day, also the 101st anniversary of the Fatima apparitions. The period of 1830-1954, known as the Marian Age, was a period of numerous Marian apparitions, starting with Catherine Labouré in 1830. Born on May 2, 1806, Catherine Labouré dreamt an old priest telling her to come over, but she refused. He said, “My child, it is good to care for the sick; you have left me now, but you will later come willingly. God has a plan for you, do not forget that.” Many years later, she saw a portrait of that priest on the wall in a Daughters of Charity-run hospital – it was their founder, St. Vincent de Paul. In 1830, she entered the order in Paris, and was granted many visions. On the eve of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, the mother superior explained the virtues of their founder to the novices, and gifted them some of his relics. She prayed fervently to the Saint, asking that he grant her a vision of the Virgin Mary. At night, an angel woke her up, told her to meet the Virgin Mary in the chapel. On entering, she saw Mary seated on the mother superior’s seat, and the angel told her to kneel beside Mary. Mary told her, “God will give you a mission. You will be opposed, but do not be afraid. Tell your superiors all that you see. France and the world are very evil. I will give graces to those who pray for them. There will be persecution, and the Cross will be insulted.” Over the next 125 years, the Church went through many revolutions and two World Wars, but Mary sustained her with messages of prayer and reparation.
Publish date: 2018 - 5 - 12


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Faustina (11)

During the last week of her life, Sr. Amelia took care of St. Faustina, and said, “I would like to go to Heaven a year from now just like you.” St. Faustina replied, “If I get the opportunity to, I will ask Jesus on your behalf.” Indeed, one year after St. Faustina’s death, Sr. Amelia passed away. At 10:45pm on October 5, 1938, after suffering greatly and offering up her sufferings to God, St. Faustina passed away. And when her body was displayed in an open casket, others noted that her face was so peaceful that she seemed more beautiful than in life. Her funeral occurred on October 7, but her family did not attend because, according to St. Faustina’s wishes, they were not notified in order to prevent them from spending precious money on the journey. But before the news of her death reached her family, her sister Natalia had already known – she had a vision in her room of a thin St. Faustina with a face as radiant white as the Eucharist, saying, “I am going to Heaven now, and have come to say goodbye. You must stay with God and mustn’t cry.” Natalia was speechless, and when St. Faustina left the room, she began to cry into her pillow, so St. Faustina returned and said, “I told you not to cry. Stop crying!” On April 30, 2000, the happiest day of his life, Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Faustina and declared every Second Sunday of Easter from then on as Divine Mercy Sunday.
Publish date: 2018 - 5 - 5


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Faustina (10)

St. Faustina was able to live out the Divine Mercy message as a doorkeeper in Krakow, and she had contact with more people. Even when she had no food to give to the poor, she gave them comfort through words. As her health worsened, she was unable to attend Mass, and she thirsted for the Eucharist and Heaven. Once, she experienced a miracle and she received the Eucharist from the hand of an angel on her bed. Previously, she had spoken to her spiritual director, Blessed Michael Sopocko, about her mission to establish an order dedicated to the Divine Mercy. While celebrating Mass one day, Fr. Sopocko had an idea – if St. Faustina was unable to draw the Divine Mercy image and commissioned an artist to do it instead, then why couldn’t she commission another person to establish the order for her? Afterwards, he asked St. Faustina if she had anything further to reveal about the order, and she replied, “No, Jesus has already answered you at Mass.” Afterwards, Jesus revealed to St. Faustina the regulations of the new order, and someone else founded the order after her death based on her writings. St. Faustina was close to death, and Fr. Sopocko began to prepare her soul to meet God.
Publish date: 2018 - 4 - 28


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Faustina (7)

In 1936, St. Faustina was transferred to live in two rural convents. Before departing Vilnius, she was asked by an elderly nun to ask Jesus whether He had truly forgiven her sins after Confession all these years. That night at Mass, during the Consecration, she heard Jesus saying, “Her lack of faith injures my Heart far more than her sins.” On April 3, Jesus showed her how many souls she had converted over Lent by revealing a ciborium holding the many Eucharists they had received. On May 11, St. Faustina transferred to Krakow and served as the gardener and porter. Jesus revealed that all who prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet would receive special graces from the inexhaustible Mercy of God. He also instituted Divine Mercy Sunday on the Sunday after Easter, which would be a refuge of sinners, when a fountain of mercy would be opened as an ocean of grace for sinners. On this Divine Mercy Sunday, let us ask for God’s mercy by praying the Chaplet.
Publish date: 2018 - 4 - 7


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Faustina (6)

On September 13, 1935, St. Faustina received a vision of an angel destroying a city. But she begged God to have mercy on the city, praying with some divinely-inspired words. After praying those words, the angel was made powerless to destroy the city. Later, God revealed to St. Faustina that she had prayed the first Divine Mercy Chaplet and was to spread it to others. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is prayed on the same beads as the Rosary, but begins with the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Apostles’ Creed; followed by five decades of one “Eternal Father” prayer and ten “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion” prayers; and concluded by three “Holy God” prayers. Jesus lamented that many of the elect, instead of entering into intimate conversation with Him in the interior life, were looking for distractions in the external world. When we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, let us meditate on the interior presence of God.
Publish date: 2018 - 3 - 31


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Faustina (5)

From 1933 to 1936, St. Faustina lived in Vilnius, present-day Lithuania. She found a spiritual director in Fr. Michael Sopocko, who asked her to ask Jesus about the meaning of the red and white rays in the Divine Mercy Image. Jesus responded that they represented the blood and water that flowed from his Sacred Heart after it was pierced, and that those souls who took refuge in it were blessed. In 1934, St. Faustina was told by Mary that she would suffer much for her mission to the Divine Mercy devotion and was told to pray for the souls of the dying. At 3pm one day, she heard a sister’s voice from Warsaw, “Please pray for me until I tell you to stop. I am nearing death.” St. Faustina prayed without ceasing until, at 5pm, she heard the voice again: “Thank you.” The next day, she received news that Sister Philomena had passed away in Warsaw the previous day at 4:45pm. In 1935, a marshal was on his death bed, and he was admired for his achievements but was far from the Church, and his sins caused him to suffer a hell on earth. Nonetheless, he had a strong devotion to the Virgin Mary, and through the intercessory prayers of St. Faustina, he entered Purgatory instead of Hell. St. Faustina also had a gift of prophecy and she told Fr. Sopocko that a beautiful Polish city would be destroyed because of the sin of abortion. After World War II, he realized that she had prophesized the destruction of Warsaw by the Nazis after the Warsaw Uprising.
Publish date: 2018 - 3 - 24


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Faustina (4)

In 1931, St. Faustina received a vision of the Divine Mercy Image: Jesus with His right hand raised in blessing and his left hand over His Heart, out of which shone two rays of light – one red and one white. Jesus commanded St. Faustina to depict the vision on an image with “Jesus, I trust in You” at the bottom, to promote its veneration, and promised special protection to the souls who venerated it, especially at the hour of death. He also promised the special grace of conversion to those who prayed the Conversion Prayer. He said, “The faithlessness of sinners rends My Heart, and the lack of trust in the elect increases my anguish.” In the five months that St. Faustina spent in Warsaw in preparation for taking her perpetual vows, she struggled to find a confessor who could tell her whether her visions came from God. Eventually, she found a priest who understood her at a retreat, and she understood that her mission was from God. After taking her perpetual vows in 1933, she commissioned an artist in Warsaw to paint the vision, but on first seeing it, she was so distraught at its inferiority to the vision of Jesus that she tearfully ran back to the convent chapel to pray. Jesus told her, “The importance of the image lies not in the beauty of the paint, but in the grace of God.”
Publish date: 2018 - 3 - 16


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Spiritual Talk – Fr Ho talks about St. Faustina (2)

From 1926 to 1928, Sr. Faustina was a novice sister. Her novitiate teacher taught her to be humble and trust in God like a child, and she did not hold grudges against others, only praying to God about them. At the end of her first year of the novitiate, she experienced her 18-month Dark Night of the Soul. She felt abandoned and despaired, prayer and meditation were difficult, and temptations great. She was supported by her teacher, who told her that God had favoured her. Once, she received a vision of St. Thérèse de Lisieux after praying a Novena to her, and was told, “I suffered like you, but if you trust in Jesus, you will be a saint too.” In 1928, she took her first vows and left the novitiate. After the ceremony, she told her parents, “The one I took my vows to, is the son-in-law you have betrothed me to, Jesus Christ.”
Publish date: 2018 - 3 - 3


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima (11)

If children can be saints, all the more so can adults. After the Fatima apparitions, Lucia suffered greatly until her death in 2005. Francisco, her father, and then Jacinta died in quick succession, and she fell into severe depression and spent much time in the cemetery mourning them. Her bishop eventually decided to move her away from Fatima. In 1925, while living in a Dorothean convent, she received a vision of Mary and the Child Jesus. Mary said the offences of ungrateful sinners had caused her a lot of suffering and promised special grace at the hour of death to those who followed the Five First Saturdays devotion. On the first Saturday of five consecutive months, they would need to go to Confession, receive Holy Eucharist, and pray and meditate on the Rosary. Jesus revealed that these practices would repair the offences done to Mary. Of course, we can receive the Sacraments on days other than first Saturdays – the important thing is to do this for the reparation of sinners. The Opus Dei Prelature has a tradition of praying five decades of the Rosary daily and meditating on the remaining fifteen, for the reparation of offences to the Virgin Mary.
Publish date: 2018 - 2 - 10


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Spiritual Talk – Fr. Ho talks about Fatima (10)

The July apparition and the three Fatima secrets revealed there deeply affected Jacinta’s spiritual development. Having seen the pitiful souls suffering in Hell, she loved making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners, such as fasting and frequenting the Church even when it wasn’t Sunday. She was also devoted to the Immaculate Heart, loved the prayer “Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.” and encouraged Lucia, who was entrusted with the mission of spreading devotion to the Immaculate Heart. Jacinta, having seen the Holy Father being martyred, also loved offering prayers and sacrifices for the Pope. In 2000, Pope John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta and publicly thanked Jacinta for her prayers and sacrifices. Mary let Jacinta know that she would be brought to hospital in Lisbon to die alone, and then be brought to Heaven. When it was time to leave, Jacinta tearfully embraced Lucia and, knowing this was their final farewell, she asked Lucia to keep praying for her until she reached Heaven and to keep sacrificing for sinners. While in Lisbon, Mary revealed to Jacinta that it was the sin of impurity that brought the most souls to Hell. After Jacinta died, her body was discovered to be incorrupt and the Pope commanded Lucia to recount the stories of Francisco and Jacinta to the world.
Publish date: 2018 - 2 - 3