Wretched Saints - When the Righteous Path Leads to Hells Doorstep


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follow url For those who neglected to see Wisdom were not only kept from knowledge of good, but they also left to mankind a memorial of their folly, and so their crime could never remain hidden. But Wisdom delivered those who served him from all evils. When the just man Jacob fled from the wrath of his brother Esau, Wisdom guided him along straight paths and showed him the kingdom of God.

God gave him knowledge of holy things, prospered him in his labours and increased the fruits of his work. He stood by him against the greed of defrauders and made him rich. He protected him from his enemies and saved him from seducers. He gave him victory in his arduous struggle so that he might know that Wisdom is mightier than anything. He did not abandon Joseph, the just man, when he was old, but delivered him from the hands of sinners and went down with him into the well.

He did not desert him in his chains until he brought him the sceptre of royalty and authority over his oppressors. He showed those who had defamed him to be liars and gave him an eternal renown. He liberated a holy people and a blameless race, the Hebrews, from a nation of oppressors. He entered the soul of God's servant, Moses, and withstood fearsome kings with signs and wonders. He gave the holy ones the reward of their labours, led them along a perfect way, and became a shelter for them by day and shed a starry light upon them by night.

He brought them across the Red Sea and led them through the deep waters. He submerged their enemies in the sea and gathered his own people up from the depths of the sea. Thus he carried off the spoils of the wicked. They extolled you in their songs, O Lord, and together praised your conquering hand. For Wisdom opened the mouths of the dumb and made the tongues of the babes speak with fluency.

In the next chapter of the Book of Wisdom Wisd. To this we may add those who were delivered from great dangers by eternal Wisdom in the Old and New Testaments. Among them were Daniel who was freed from the lions' den, Susanna from the false crime she was accused of, the three young men from the furnace in Babylon, St Peter from prison, St John from the cauldron of boiling oil and numberless martyrs and confessors from the physical torments they were made to suffer and the calumnies which blackened their good name.

All these were delivered and healed by eternal Wisdom. And now let us proclaim: No matter what battles he has to wage, he will emerge victorious. No matter what dangers threaten him, he will escape unharmed. No matter what sorrows afflict him, he will find joy and consolation. No matter what humiliations are heaped upon him, he will be exalted and glorified in time and throughout eternity. In the eighth chapter of the Book of Wisdom, the Holy Spirit shows the excellence of eternal Wisdom in terms so sublime and yet so clear that we need only quote them here, adding a few reflections.

Of his very nature he is gracious without bitterness; gracious to those who love him, never showing displeasure; gracious in his conduct, never showing severity. He is so gentle and unobtrusive that you might often think that he is not present when you meet with accidents and contradictions. But, possessed of invincible power, he quietly but effectively brings all things to a happy issue in ways unknown to men.

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After his example, the wise man should be graciously firm and firmly gracious - suaviter fortis et fortiter suavis. It is certain that eternal Wisdom loves souls so much that he even espouses them, contracting with them a true, spiritual marriage which the world cannot understand.

History furnishes us with examples of this. God the Father has testified that he is pleased with him proving how much Wisdom is loved Cf. Chapter One and No. He alone came from heaven to teach the secrets of God Cf. We have no real teacher Mt. He alone brings all the works of God to perfection, especially the saints, for he shows them what they must do and teaches them to appreciate and put into practice all he has taught them. He understands the subtleties of speech and the lessons of parables. He recognises signs and wonders and knows all that is going to happen as seasons and ages pass by.

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Without him, man is nothing in the sight of God, no matter how learned he may appear in the eyes of men. He is so gentle, attractive and tender; how can anyone who possesses him be unhappy? But among all those who seek eternal Wisdom how many can honestly say with Solomon, "I have resolved to possess him"? The majority of men do not make such a resolution with real sincerity. Their decisions are mere wishful thinking or at best weak and wavering resolves. That is why they never find eternal Wisdom. The most powerful will be surprised when they see me and princes will show their admiration for me.

If I speak at some length, they will place their hands on their lips. In a way, they seem to rise above themselves and enter into the very one who possesses them. Thus they become mouthpieces of God himself, for they are concerned with God alone in everything they say, and they speak of themselves as though speaking of someone else. I shall show myself kind to my people and valiant in war. With him there is only contentment and joy. Only a few find him because only a few look for him in a manner worthy of him.

In the seventh chapter of the Book of Wisdom, the Holy Spirit speaks of the excellence of eternal Wisdom in these terms: For Wisdom is more active than any active thing. He is so pure he penetrates all things" Wisd. Those who have utilised this treasure have become God's friends, and praiseworthy for their gifts of knowledge".

All the more so since he is an inexhaustible source of riches for man who was made for him and infinitely eager to give himself to man. The bond of friendship between eternal Wisdom and man is so close as to be beyond our understanding. Wisdom is for man and man is for Wisdom. Wisdom's friendship for man arises from man's place in creation, from his being an abridgement of eternal Wisdom's marvels, his small yet ever so great world, his living image and representative on earth cf. Since Wisdom, out of an excess of love, gave himself up to death to save man, he loves man as a brother, a friend, a disciple, a pupil, the price of his own blood and co-heir of his kingdom.

For man to withhold his heart from Wisdom or to wrench it away from him would constitute an outrage. This eternal beauty, ever supremely loving, is so intent on winning man's friendship that for this very purpose he has written a book in which he describes his own excellence and his desire for man's friendship. This book reads like a letter written by a lover to win the affections of his loved one, for in it he expresses such ardent desires for the heart of man, such tender longings for man's friendship, such loving invitations and promises, that you would say he could not possibly be the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth and at the same time need the friendship of man to be happy.

In his pursuit of man, he hastens along the highways, or scales the loftiest mountain peaks, or waits at the city gates, or goes into the public squares and among the gatherings of people, proclaiming at the top of his voice, "You children of men, it is you I have been calling so persistently; it is you I am addressing; it is you I desire and seek; it is you I am claiming. Listen, draw close to me, for I want to make you happy" Prov. And the better to attract men, Wisdom says to them, "It is through me and through my grace that kings reign, princes rule, monarchs and sovereigns bear the sceptre and crown, I inspire legislators with the ability to enact just laws for the good of their people.

I give magistrates the courage to administer justice fairly and fearlessly. Those who come to me, I will lead along the paths of justice and prudence. I will enrich them with the inheritance due to rightful children and fulfil their greatest desires cf. Rest assured, it is my greatest pleasure and purest delight to converse and to abide with the children of men" cf.

Happy are those who keep my ways. Hear my instructions, be wise and do not ignore them. Happy is the man who listens to me, watching at my gates every day, waiting beside my door. He who finds me finds life and obtains salvation from the Lord, but he who sins against me, wounds his own soul. All who hate me love death" Prov. Even though eternal Wisdom has spoken so kindly and so reassuringly to win the friendship of men, he still fears that they, filled with awe at his glorious state and sovereign majesty, will not dare approach him.

That is why he tells them that "he is easily accessible, is quickly recognised by those who love him and is found by those who seek him; that he hastens to meet those who desire him and that anyone who rises early to look for him will have no trouble, for he will find him sitting at his door, waiting for him" Wisd. Finally, in order to draw closer to men and give them a more convincing proof of his love, eternal Wisdom went so far as to become man, even to become a little child, to embrace poverty and to die upon a cross for them.

How many times while here on earth could he be heard pleading, "Come to me, come to me, all of you. Do not be afraid, it is I. Why are you afraid? I am just like you; I love you.

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Wretched Saints - When the Righteous Path Leads to Hell's Doorstep - Kindle edition by Assuanta Howard, Marc Lacy. Download it once and read it on your. Wretched Saints [Marc Lacy, Assuanta Collins, Shonell Bacon] on Our faith provides energy and focus during the lifelong scamper down the path of righteousness. in turn, potentially providing a next day delivery service to hell s doorstep. . face, that demonstrates how one bad decision can lead to a path of destruction.

Are you afraid because you are sinners? But they are the very ones I am looking for; I am the friend of sinners. If it is because you have strayed from the fold through your own fault, then I am the good shepherd. If it is because you are weighted down with sin, covered with grime and utterly dejected, then that is just why you should come to me for I will unburden you, purify you and console you. Eternal Wisdom, on the one hand, wished to prove his love for man by dying in his place in order to save him, but on the other hand, he could not bear the thought of leaving him.

So he devised a marvellous way of dying and living at the same time, and of abiding with man until the end of time. So, in order fully to satisfy his love, he instituted the sacrament of Holy Eucharist and went to the extent of changing and overturning nature itself. He does not conceal himself under a sparkling diamond or some other precious stone, because he does not want to abide with man in an ostentatious manner. But he hides himself under the appearance of a small piece of bread - man's ordinary nourishment - so that when received he might enter the heart of man and there take his delight.

Ardenter amantium hoc est - Those who love ardently act in this way. How ungrateful and insensitive we would be if we were not moved by the earnest desire of eternal Wisdom, his eagerness to seek us out and the proofs he gives us of his friendship! How cruel we would be, what punishment would we not deserve even in this world, if, instead of listening to him, we turn a deaf ear; if, instead of loving him, we spurn and offend him. The Holy Spirit tells us, "Those who neglected to acquire Wisdom not only inherited ignorance of what is good, but they actually left in the world a memorial of their folly in that their sins could not go unnoticed" Wisd.

Those who during their lifetime do not strive to acquire Wisdom suffer a triple misfortune. They fall a into ignorance and blindness, b into folly, c into sin and scandal. But how unhappy they will be at the door of death when, despite themselves, they hear Wisdom reproach them, "I called you and you did not answer Prov.

All the day long I held out my hands to you and you spurned me. Sitting at your door, I waited for you but you did not come to me. Now it is my turn to deride you Prov. No longer do I have ears to hear you weeping, eyes to see your tears, a heart to be moved by your sobs, or hands to help you. Read what the Holy Spirit himself has to say about the miseries, the wailings, the regrets and the despair of the fools in hell who, all too late, realise their folly and misfortune in rejecting the eternal Wisdom of God. Above all else let us seek and long for divine Wisdom.

And again, "Nothing that you desire can be compared with him" Prov. You may desire the gifts of God and even heavenly treasures, but if you do not desire Wisdom you desire always something of far less worth. If only we could realise what Wisdom actually is, i. We would fly as fast as we could to the ends of the earth, we would cheerfully endure fire and sword, if need be, to merit this infinite treasure. But we must beware of choosing a wrong wisdom, because there is more than one kind. God himself has his Wisdom, the one and only true Wisdom which we should love and seek as a great treasure.

The corrupt world also has its wisdom which must be condemned and detested, for it is evil and destructive. Philosophers also have their wisdom which must be spurned as useless for it can often endanger our salvation. So far we have been speaking of God's wisdom to those who are spiritually mature, as the Apostle calls them cf. The wisdom of the world is that of which it is said, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise 1 Cor.

It is earthly, devilish and carnal Jas. This worldly wisdom consists in an exact conformity to the maxims and fashions of the world; a continual inclination towards greatness and esteem; and a subtle and endless pursuit of pleasure and self-interest, not in an uncouth and blatant way by scandalous sin, but in an astute, discreet, and deceitful way.

Otherwise the world would no longer label it wisdom but pure licentiousness. In the opinion of the world, a wise man is one with a keen eye to business; who knows how to turn everything to his personal profit without appearing to do so. He excels in the art of duplicity and well-concealed fraud without arousing suspicion. He thinks one thing and says or does another. Nothing concerning the graces and manners of the world is unknown to him.

He accommodates himself to everyone to suit his own end, completely ignoring the honour and interests of God. He manages to make a secret but fatal reconciliation of truth and falsehood, of the gospel and the world, of virtue and sin, of Christ and Belial. He wishes to be considered an honest man but not a devout man, and most readily scorns, distorts and condemns devotions he does not personally approve of. In short, a man is worldly-wise who, following solely the lead of his senses and human reasoning, poses as a good Christian and a man of integrity, but makes little effort to please God or atone by penance for the sins he has committed against him.

The worldly man bases his conduct on personal honour, on "What will people say? These seven principles are the irreproachable supports on which, he believes, he can safely depend to enjoy a peaceful life. The world will canonise him for such virtues as courage, finesse, tactfulness, shrewdness, gallantry, politeness and good humour. It stigmatises as serious offences, insensitiveness, stupidity, poverty, boorishness and bigotry. He obeys as faithfully as he can the commandments which the world gives him: You shall be well acquainted with the world. You shall be respectable.

You shall be successful in business. You shall hold on to whatever is yours. You shall rise above your background. You shall make friends for yourself. You shall frequent fashionable society. You shall seek the good life. You shall not be a kill-joy. You shall not be singular, uncouth or over-pious. Never has the world been so corrupt as it is now, for never has it been so cunning, so wise in its own way, and so crafty.

It cleverly makes use of the truth to foster untruth, virtue to justify vice, and the very maxims of Jesus Christ to endorse its own so that even those who are wisest in the sight of God are often deceived. Earthly wisdom of which St James speaks, is love for the things of this world.

Worldly men secretly subscribe to this wisdom when they set their hearts on worldly possessions and strive to become rich. They institute court proceedings and engage in needless disputes to acquire wealth or hold on to it. Most of the time they are thinking, speaking, acting with the sole aim of acquiring or keeping some temporal possession.

They pay little or no attention to their eternal salvation or to the means of saving their souls, such as Confession, Holy Communion, prayer, etc. The wisdom of the flesh is the love of pleasure. This is the wisdom shown by the worldly-wise who seek only the satisfaction of the senses. They want to have a good time. They shun everything that might prove unpleasant or mortifying for the body, such as fasting, and other austerities. Usually they think only of eating, drinking, playing, laughing, enjoying life and having a good time.

They must always be comfortable and insist on having entertaining pastimes, the best of food and good company. They regale themselves with all these pleasures without the least scruple, with no disapproval from the world and no inconvenience to their health. Then they can go looking for some broad-minded confessor that is how they describe lax confessors who shirk their duty to obtain from him on easy terms the peaceful sanction for their soft and effeminate way of living and a generous pardon for their sins.

I say "on easy terms" because these worldly people usually want as a penance only a few prayers or a small offering to the poor. They detest anything that could possibly cause them any bodily discomfort. Diabolical wisdom is the love and esteem of honours. This is the wisdom of the worldly-wise who, secretly, of course, long for distinctions, honours, dignities and high offices. They strive to be seen, esteemed, praised and applauded by men. In their studies, their work, their undertakings, their words and actions, all they want is the esteem and praise of men, to be reputed as devout or learned people, as great leaders, eminent lawyers, men of great and distinguished merit or deserving of high consideration.

They cannot bear insult or blame and so they hide their shortcomings and parade their better qualities. We must, like our Lord Jesus Christ, incarnate Wisdom, detest and condemn these three kinds of false wisdom if we are to possess the true one, which is not self-seeking, not found in the world nor in the heart of those who lead a comfortable life, and which loathes everything that men consider great and noble. Besides worldly wisdom, which is pernicious and must be condemned, there is the natural wisdom of philosophers. It was this natural wisdom that the Egyptians and Greeks eagerly sought for, "The Greeks look for wisdom" 1 Cor.

Those who had acquired this wisdom were called magi or wise men. This wisdom consists in an eminent knowledge of nature in its primary elements. It was given in full to Adam before the Fall. It was conferred on Solomon, and down through the ages many great men have received it, as history testifies. Philosophers boast that their wisdom is acquired through philosophical argumentation.

Alchemists boast of cabalistic secrets for finding the philosopher's stone in which, they imagine, this wisdom is to be found. It is true that scholastic philosophy, when studied in a truly Christian way, develops the mind and enables it to understand the higher sciences, but it will never confer that so-called natural wisdom which the ancients prided themselves on possessing. The science of alchemists, which purports to teach that natural bodies can be reduced to their basic principles, is still more worthless and dangerous.

This science, although valid in itself, has duped and deceived multitudes of people regarding the end it proposes to attain. Judging by my own experience, I am sure that the devil is using this false science to cause a loss of money and time, as well as grace, and even the soul itself, under the pretext of finding the philosopher's stone. No other science claims to accomplish such great effects by such obvious means.

This science claims to produce the philosopher's stone or a powder which they call "projection" which, when thrown upon any metal in a liquid state, will change it into silver or gold, which will restore health, cure illnesses, even prolong life, and effect countless marvels which ignorant people believe are divine and miraculous. There is a group of people who consider themselves experts in this science and who are called "Cabalists" and these keep such a close guard on the hidden mysteries of this science that they would rather lose their life than reveal its so-called secrets.

They justify what they teach by: I have given an account of the fantasies or illusions of this futile science so that like many others you may not be deceived. I know that some who, after having spent so much money and wasted so much time, under the most laudable and pious pretexts in the world and in a most devoted manner, have finally regretted everything and confessed their pretence and their delusions. I do not admit that the philosopher's stone is a possibility. A learned man named Del Rio is certain it is and has given proofs; others deny it. Be that as it may, it is not befitting, it is even dangerous, for a Christian to occupy himself in seeking it.

It would be an insult to Jesus Christ, Wisdom incarnate, in whom are found all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge of God Col. It implies disobedience to the Holy Spirit who tells us in Ecclesiasticus 3: So let us remain with Jesus, the eternal and incarnate Wisdom. Apart from him, there is nothing but aimless wandering, untruth and death. Now let us see the effects of Wisdom in souls.

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Eternal Wisdom, ever transcendent in beauty, by nature loves everything that is good, especially the good of man Wisd. That is why the Holy Spirit tells us that Wisdom is for ever seeking throughout the world for souls worthy of him Wisd. In former times he entered into the soul of God's servant Moses and filled him with abundant light to see great things, and endowed him with prodigious power to work miracles and gain victories. When divine Wisdom enters a soul, he brings all kinds of good things with him and bestows vast riches upon that soul.

This is Solomon's own testimony to the truth after he had received Wisdom. Among the countless effects eternal Wisdom produces in souls, often in such a secret way that the soul is not aware of them, the most usual are the following: I pleaded and the spirit of wisdom came upon me" Wisd. This subtle and penetrating spirit cf.

Eternal Wisdom communicates to man the great science of holiness as well as the natural sciences, and even the most secret ones when they are needed. He understands the subtleties of speech and the lessons of parables" Wisd. To Jacob he gave the science of the saints Wisd. To Solomon he gave a true knowledge of the whole of nature Wisd. He revealed to him countless secrets that no one before him had ever known Wisd. From this infinite source of light the great Doctors of the Church, like St Thomas as he himself testifies drew that eminent knowledge for which they are renowned.

Note that this enlightened understanding given by eternal Wisdom is not dry, barren and unspiritual, but radiating splendour, unction, vigour and devotion. It moves and satisfies the heart at the same time as it enlightens the mind. Wisdom knows what we want to say and communicates to us the art of saying it well, for "he opened the mouths of those who were dumb and made the tongues of babies eloquent" Wisd.

He cured Moses of his impediment of speech cf. He imparted his words to the prophets, enabling them "to root up and to pull down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant" Jer. It was eternal Wisdom who gave the apostles the facility they had to preach the gospel everywhere and to proclaim the wonderful works of God Acts 2: He spoke through the mouths of the prophets and apostles Cf. But the words that divine Wisdom communicates are not just ordinary, natural, human words; they are divine, "truly the words of God" 1 Thess. They are powerful, touching, piercing words, "sharper than a two-edged sword" Heb.

Solomon is referring to this gift of Wisdom he himself had received when he said that God gave him the grace to speak according to the feelings of his heart Wisd. These are the words which our Lord promised to his apostles, "I will give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist" Lk. How few preachers there are today who possess this most wonderful gift of eloquence and who can say with St Paul, "We preach the wisdom of God" 1 Cor.

Most of them speak according to the natural light of their minds, or from what they have taken from books. They do not speak under the impulse of divine Wisdom or from a heart filled to overflowing with wisdom Mt. That is why in these times we see so few conversions made through preaching. If a preacher had truly received from eternal Wisdom this gift of eloquence, his listeners would hardly be able to resist his words, as happened in the early days of the Church: Such a preacher would speak with so much unction and such authority Mk.

He gives to man a relish for everything that comes from God and makes him lose his taste for things created. He enlightens his mind with the brightness of his own light and pours into his heart an indescribable joy, sweetness and peace even when he is in the midst of the most harrowing grief and suffering, as St Paul bears witness when he exclaims, "I exceedingly abound with joy in all our tribulations" 2 Cor. Whenever I go into my house, says Solomon, even though I am alone, I will take my rest with Wisdom because Wisdom's company is always pleasing, his companionship is never tedious but always satisfying and joyful Wisd.

And not only at home did I find joy in conversing with him, but everywhere and in everything, because Wisdom went before me Wisd. There is a true and holy joy in Wisdom's friendship Wisd. These are the wonderful virtues and heavenly gifts described briefly by the Holy Spirit when he says, "If anyone loves justice, great virtues are again Wisdom's handiwork, for he teaches temperance and prudence, justice and fortitude. Nothing in the world is more useful to man in this life than these" Wisd. He sets them on fire, inspiring them to undertake great things for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

In order to discipline them and make them more worthy of himself, he permits them to engage in strenuous conflicts and in almost everything they undertake they encounter contradictions and disappointments. At times, he allows the devil to tempt them, the world to calumniate and scorn them, their enemies to defeat and crush them, their friends and relatives to forsake and betray them. Sometimes they may have to suffer illness or loss of possessions, and at other times endure insults, sadness and heartbreak.

In short, Wisdom tests them thoroughly in the crucible of tribulation like god is tested in a furnace. He has tried them like gold in a furnace and accepted them as sacrificial victims. When the time comes, he will look upon them with favour" Wisd. It is Wisdom who enriched the virtuous man in his labours and enabled him to reap the fruit of his toil.

He came to his aid against those who were trying to deceive him and made him prosperous. He protected him against his enemies, shielded him against seducers and engaged him in combat so that he might come through victorious and so convince him that Wisdom is more powerful than anything in the world Wisd. We read in the life of Blessed Henry Suso, a Dominican friar, that in his eagerness to possess Wisdom, he often offered himself to undergo any torment in return for his friendship. One day he said to himself, "Do you not know that lovers endure suffering upon suffering for the sake of the one they love?

For them wakeful nights are pleasant, fatigue is delightful, labour is restful, once they are assured that the one they love is pleased and grateful. If men go to such lengths to please a mere mortal, are you not ashamed to show weakness in your resolve to obtain Wisdom? No, eternal Wisdom, I will never falter in my love for you, even though I have to plunge through thicket and bush to reach you, even though I have to undergo a thousand torments in body and soul.

I will always prize your friendship more than anything else on earth and you will always have the first place in my affections. While travelling a few days later, he fell into the hands of robbers who beat him so unmercifully that they themselves could not help pitying him. Seeing himself in such a state, Henry Suso forgot his resolution to be brave no matter what might happen and gave way to deep depression, weeping and wondering why God had afflicted him in this way. As he pondered over his plight, he fell asleep. Early next morning he heard a voice reproaching him, "Look at this warrior of mine.

He can scale mountains, climb over rocks, break into strongholds, cut to pieces his enemies when everything is going right for him. But when he meets with adversity his courage fades and he is helpless and useless. In time of consolation he is a fierce lion, but in time of tribulation he is a timid deer. Wisdom does not share his friendship with such faint-hearted cowards. Wipe away your tears and show the world a cheerful face. But our loving Saviour numbers, weighs and measures everything and sends crosses to his friends in proportion to their strength, and tempers them with divine unction to such an extent that their hearts are filled with joy.

When the eternal Word, eternal Wisdom, decided in the grand council of the Blessed Trinity cf. This explains why, during the 4, years since the creation of the world, all the holy people of the Old Law pleaded earnestly in their prayers for the coming of the Messiah. They groaned, they wept and cried out, "Clouds, rain forth the just one. Earth, bud forth the Saviour" cf. They reached out towards heaven but their arms were not long enough to reach the throne of the Most High.

They offered the sacrifice of their hearts unceasingly to God but they were not worthy enough to obtain the greatest of all graces. At last, when the time appointed for the redemption of mankind came, eternal Wisdom built himself a house worthy to be his dwelling- place Prov. He created the most holy Virgin, forming her in the womb of St Anne with even greater delight than he had derived from creating the universe.

It is impossible on the one hand to put into words the gifts with which the Blessed Trinity endowed this most fair creature, or on the other hand to describe the faithful care with which she corresponded to the graces of her Creator. The torrential outpouring of God's infinite goodness which had been rudely stemmed by the sins of men since the beginning of the world, was now released precipitately and in full flood into the heart of Mary. Eternal Wisdom gave to her all the graces which Adam and his descendants would have received so liberally from him had they remained in their original state of justice.

The fulness of God, says a saint, was poured into Mary, in so far as a mere creature is capable of receiving it. O Mary, masterpiece of the Most High, miracle of eternal Wisdom, prodigy of the Almighty, abyss of grace! I join all the saints in the belief that only the God who created you knows the height, the breadth and the depth of the grace he has conferred on you.

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During the first fourteen years of her life the most holy Virgin Mary grew so marvellously in the grace and wisdom of God and responded so faithfully to his love that the angels and even God himself were filled with rapturous admiration for her. Her humility, deep as an abyss, delighted him. Her purity so other-worldly drew him down to her. He found her lively faith and her ceaseless entreaties of love so irresistible that he was lovingly conquered by her appeals of love.

Wondrous to relate, this divine Wisdom chose to leave the bosom of his Father and enter the womb of a virgin and there repose amid the lilies of her purity. Desiring to give himself to her by becoming man in her, he sent the archangel Gabriel to greet her on his behalf and to declare to her that she had won his heart and he would become man within her if she gave her consent. The archangel fulfilled his mission and assured her that she would still remain a virgin while becoming a mother. Notwithstanding her desire to be lowly, Mary wholeheartedly gave the angel that priceless consent which the Blessed Trinity, all the angels and the whole world awaited for so many centuries.

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Humbling herself before her Creator she said" "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word" Lk. Notice that at the very moment Mary consented to become the Mother of God, several miraculous events took place. The Holy Spirit formed from the most pure blood of Mary's heart a little body which he fashioned into a perfect living being: God created the most perfect soul that ever could be created. Eternal Wisdom, the Son of God, drew the body and soul into union with his person.

Here we have the great wonder of heaven and earth, the prodigious excess of the love of God. Eternal Wisdom became incarnate. God became man without ceasing to be God. This God-man is Jesus Christ and his name means Saviour. Here is a summary of his divine life on earth: He wished to be born of a married woman, though she was indeed a virgin, lest he should be reproached as one born out of wedlock.

Other important reasons are given by Fathers of the Church. His conception, as we have just said, was announced to the Blessed Virgin by the angel Gabriel. He became a child of Adam without inheriting Adam's sin. His conception took place on Friday, 25th March, and on 25th December the Saviour of the world was born at Bethlehem and was cradled in a manger in a poor stable. An angel brought the news of the Saviour's birth to shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks in the fields. He invited them to go to Bethlehem to adore their Saviour. At the same time they heard celestial music, voices of angels singing, "Glory to God in the heavens and peace on earth to men who are God's friends" Lk.

On the eighth day after his birth, as prescribed by the Law of Moses, he was circumcised, even though he was not subject to the law, and he was called Jesus, the name that came from heaven. Three wise men came from the east to adore him having learnt of his birth through the appearance of an extraordinary star which guided them to Bethlehem.

This event is celebrated on 6th January, the feast of the Epiphany, that is, the manifestation of God. Forty days after his birth he chose to offer himself in the Temple, observing all that the Law of Moses prescribed for the redeeming of the first-born. The stories obviously deliver a message of prevalent hypocrisy in the church and seek to challenge those who call themselves followers of Christ to practice what they preach. No topic is spared as each story gives a glimpse of situations some Christians may face. Some of the stories are more believable than others and some, of course, are more poignant than others.

Overall, the book is a solid read. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. As an avid reader, I found Wretched Saints to be a refreshing look at how regular people approach their "spritual walks". Each story spins a tale of an individual who is in search of self and yet is often their own worse enemy.

The authors are skilled and the characters interesting. Even the titles are intriguing! Dealing with real-life issues such as sexuality, monagomy, drug abuse and "religiosity", Wretched Saints leaves the reader wanting more. Wretched Saints, an alluring collection of spiritual short stories, is ideal and highly recommended for book club discussions!

Wretched Saints is a book that shadows the truth of many everyday people. It offers the readers a look inside many taboos that we all go through but are too afraid to admit. Each character has something so interesting and familiar about them, that it continues to draw you in deeper with each story you read. The characters will have you rooting for them Wretched Saints is a collection of stories that will have you checking to mirror to be sure you are not one of these sinking saints.

To quote Lord Byron "Truth is stranger than Fiction. The characters present themselves as completely human. The authors skillfully draw the reader into the stories about love, betrayal, infidelity, distrust and forgiveness. This thought provoking collection of short stories causes the reader to ask the question am I a wretched saint? The answer may surprise some and disgust others as the truth reveals itself. Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? The reader must decide.

This is an impressive book of short stories, some serious creative writing! It makes you really look into your own life to make sure you're not a wretched saint. The chapters are so carefully titled, it's definately a page turner. The characters come alive in each story, in one particular chapter it places womens health factors into perpective basically saying that women should love themselves the way God made us and women don't have to flaunt for attention Each chapter makes you really think I really enjoyed reading Wretched Saints.

The collection of short stories were very believable and relevant to today's society. The book is beautifully written, easy to follow and visualize. Each story was just the right length to captivate your interest. As more weather updates were broadcast, Kansas called herself trying to pay attention, but she could not stop thinking about her busy evening ahead:. I've got to stop at Target, go home, then I'm gonna meet the girls for a quick cocktail, hit bible study, then ladies' night at Scofield's will be in full effect. Of course her restored automobile was an eye-catcher by itself, but it wasn't like the driver was hard to look at either.

Even though Kansas Dickerson was an unassuming free- spirited and very independent lady, her fiery red long twists, caramel skin, slanty brown eyes, and well-endowed petite figure didn't hurt the cause either. Kansas was the prime example of forty being the new thirty. Target was finally seen on the horizon as rush hour traffic got thicker under a very cloudy sky. Kansas pulled into the parking lot and parked close to the main entrance. As she made her way to the door, Kansas could feel someone's eyes on her at close range as she noticed a strange lady dressed in Goth and appearing homeless, in the periphery to the left.

Kansas never really stopped and looked fully in that direction, but continued walking at an even faster pace. Once inside the store, Kansas slowed down slightly and pranced through the aisles looking for a disposable digital camera. A modest feeling of guilt overcame her as Kansas made her selection. I hope that lady is not out there when I return to my car, she thought. I get approached all the time and I'm really getting tired of having to be on the defensive. I wish I could help more people out, but it's just not safe for a lady to reach into her pocketbook in front of strangers. Realizing the time, Kansas paid for the camera and dashed out the door moving in a b-line toward her vehicle.

She didn't even look left or right while crossing the pavement between Target and her car. Upon her arrival at the vehicle, Kansas sighed briefly and appeared relieved that the strange lady was not around. As she unlocked the door, a squealing witch-like voice bellowed, "Excuse me, ma'am! Kansas' camera went straight up in the air as she lunged forward and smashed her shoulder up against the open vehicle