Book Review: Moments Divine Before the Blessed Sacrament

“Though an assent of Catholic faith be not due to them (miracles), they deserve a human assent according to the rules of prudence by which they are probable and piously credible.” Pope Benedict XIV

Moments Divine’ is a little book (pocket sized) of about thirty chapters containing accounts of Eucharistic miracles, prayers, and act of contrition, a reading regarding the Sacred Heart, and a prayer for spiritual communion. The end also contains a small section with litanies and other prayers, as well as prayers for Benediction. And at the very end there are a few pages with quotes from various Saints and theologians on visions and miracles. ‘Moments Divine’ can be a good preparation for Adoration, especially if you need a little something to help you turn your mind to God and holy things. Its size is fairly compact, which makes it easy to keep in your car, purse, or pocket.

Both the miraculous accounts and the Sacred Heart readings are documented by way of footnotes, and the Eucharistic miracles are titled by location and date such that it would be relatively easy to look up more information about a particular account at a later time.

“There are two sorts of apparitions, and both of them true, supernatural and divine, the handiwork of God. First of all, God by His absolute power can make such an impression on the senses of His servant, that while others see the absolute whiteness, roundness, thinness and quality of the sacramental species, he beholds a beautiful vision of the Babe of Bethlehem presented to him by the Divine Will; and it is no deceit; for as St. Augustine says, a fiction which is referred to as signification is not a falsehood, but a figure of the truth. Or again, when it is God’s will that a whole multitude should behold the vision, instead of miraculously impressing their senses, He may please to change all the accidents of the Host, its commensurable quantity excepted– which is the root and support of all the accidents– and may convert them into this appearance; and thus the laws of the Sacrament are not injured, falsified, or fundamentally disturbed, the dimensions remaining inviolate… These, as appearances of flesh and blood, are astounding evidences of the truth of the Blessed Sacrament; these apparitions of an infant are literally types, figures of its spirit, manifestations of its sweetness, disclosures of the devotional character which is apt to form.”Father Frederick Faber

I wrote this review of Moments Divine Before the Blessed Sacrament for the free Catholic book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

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Corpus Christi

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
Amen.

V. Panem de caelo praestitisti eis. Alleluia
R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem. Alleluia

Oremus: Deus, qui nobis sub sacramento mirabili, passionis tuae memoriam reliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.

Amen.

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! oe’r ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor blessing,
Might and endless majesty.

Amen.

V. Thou hast given them bread from heaven Alleluia
R. Having within it all sweetness Alleluia

Let us pray: O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament left us a memorial of Thy Passion: grant, we implore Thee, that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, as always to be conscious of the fruit of Thy Redemption. Thou who livest and reignest forever and ever.

Amen.

“Every Consecrated Host is made to burn Itself up with love in a human heart,”

~St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars

“It is not possible to “eat” the Risen One, present under the sign of bread, as if it were a simple piece of bread. To eat this Bread is to communicate, to enter into communion with the person of the living Lord. This communion, this act of “eating”, is truly an encounter between two persons, it is allowing our lives to be penetrated by the life of the One who is the Lord, of the One who is my Creator and Redeemer.

The purpose of this communion, of this partaking, is the assimilation of my life with his, my transformation and conformation into he who is living Love. Therefore, this communion implies adoration, it implies the will to follow Christ, to follow the One who goes ahead of us. Adoration and procession thereby make up a single gesture of communion; they answer his mandate: “Take and eat”.”

~ Pope Benedict XVI, Corpus Christi homily 26 May 2005

“In today’s celebration of the Eucharist, the Son of God has also been given to us. Those who have received Holy Communion, in a special way, carry the Risen Lord within themselves. Just as Mary bore him in her womb — a defenceless little child, totally dependent on the love of his Mother — so Jesus Christ, under the species of bread, has entrusted himself to us, dear brothers and sisters. Let us love this Jesus who gives himself so completely into our hands! Let us love him as Mary loved him! And let us bring him to others, just as Mary brought him to Elizabeth as the source of joyful exultation! The Virgin gave the Word of God a human body, and thus enabled him to come into the world as a man. Let us give our own bodies to the Lord, and let them become ever more fully instruments of God’s love, temples of the Holy Spirit! Let us bring Sunday, and its immense gift, into the world!”

~Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, 9 September 2007

“In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.”

~St. John Chrysostom, Catechesis

“If Christ did not want to dismiss the Jews without food in the desert for fear that they would collapse on the way, it was to teach us that it is dangerous to try to get to heaven without the Bread of Heaven.”

~St. Jerome

“If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.”

~St. Maximilian Kolbe

“By a beautiful paradox of Divine love, God makes His Cross the very means of our salvation and our life. We have slain Him; we have nailed Him there and crucified Him; but the Love in His eternal heart could not be extinguished. He willed to give us the very life we slew; to give us the very Food we destroyed; to nourish us with the very Bread we buried, and the very Blood we poured forth. He made our very crime into a happy fault; He turned a Crucifixion into a Redemption; a Consecration into a Communion; a death into Life Everlasting,”

~Bishop Fulton Sheen, This is the Mass

“The Blessed Eucharist means nothing to a man who thinks other people can get along without It. The Blessed Eucharist means nothing to a communicant who thinks he needs It but someone else does not. The Blessed Eucharist means nothing to a communicant who offers any charity ahead of this Charity of the Bread of Life.”

~Father Leonard Feeney, Bread of Life

Good reads for the feast of Corpus Christi:
The Blessed Eucharist: Our Greatest Treasure by Fr. Michael Muller, CSSR
Eucharistic Miracles by Joan Carroll Cruz
God is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (/Pope Benedict XVI)

June: Dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto Thine!

June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the liturgical Feast of the Sacred Heart falls on June 11th this year (next Friday!).

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is characterized by two elements: consecration and reparation. We consecrate ourselves to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and enthrone Him there as King and resolve to serve Him. And we make reparation to His Sacred Heart for all of the indifferences and ingratitudes He suffers daily.

A great (unofficial) prayer for this month I offer to my readers comes from the martyrdom of St. John Houghton, who, upon having his heart ripped out of his chest and seeing it in the hands of his executioner cried out to the Lord, “O Sweet Jesus, what will you do with my heart?”. Though there are several ways a person could interpret this,  I once heard a priest give a beautiful homily on the martyrdom of St. John Houghton and his final words as an offering of his death to Christ. We should strive to offer this month (and really every day of our lives) our hearts to the loving Lord, and upon offering them, ask Him boldly what He would have us do and then follow His holy Will… “O Sweet Jesus, what will you do with my heart?”

Good reads on the Sacred Heart of Jesus:
The Encyclical letter of Pope Pius XII “Haurietis Aquas”
The Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Fr. John Croiset
Love, Peace, and Joy: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus According to St. Gertrude by Fr. Andre Prevot

Happy Feast of the Ascension

“The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach, Until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.

They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? But he said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power: But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven. Then they returned to Jerusalem…”

Acts 1:1-11

Prayer for Priests to be said by the Laity

O Jesus, eternal High Priest, Good Shepherd, Font of life, who by a special favor of Thy most tender Heart, hast given to our priests in order to accomplish in us those holy ideals with which Thy grace inspires our hearts. Let Thy Mercy, we beseech Thee, come to the aid of our priests. Grant them O Jesus, lively faith in their works, unshakeable hope in their trials, and fervent charity in their intentions.

May Thy Word, radiant with eternal wisdom, become through continual meditation the never failing nourishment of their interior life.
May the examples of Thy life and passion, be renewed in their conduct and sufferings for our instruction and as a light and consolation in our sorrows.

Grant O Lord, that our priests, free from all earthly attachments and solicitous for Thy glory alone may preserve to their last breath in the fulfillment of duty and in the purity of conscience. And when in death they deliver into Thy hands a task well done may they have in Thee Lord Jesus their Master on earth, the eternal reward of the crown of justice in the glory of the saints.

Amen.

Divine Mercy Sunday!

Jesus, I trust in You!
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday to you! Today is the great feast of Divine Mercy (or Low Sunday/Quasimodo Sunday…(yes, the Hunchback took his name from the day on which he was found)/Dominica in albis depositis (“Sunday of putting away the albs”)). Traditionally, it is the day the newly baptized (at Easter) put away their baptismal robes.

Since 2000 (officially), it has been celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday. It comes from the Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska, a polish nun in the 1930s. Our Lord appeared to her and under the direction of her spiritual director St. Faustina wrote down her revelations in a Diary (i.e., Divine Mercy in My Soul). Regarding today’s feast her Diary says,

On one occasion, I heard these words: My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.* [our emphasis] On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will I contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy. (Diary 699)

Today, you may gain a plenary indulgence (the  remission of the temporal punishment due to sin) under the usual conditions (Confession, reception of the Eucharist, and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father… all the while being free from any and all attachment to sin–even venial sin). It is the Sunday that proclaims the mercy of God through the story of doubting Thomas and the institution of the Sacrament of Confession:

Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.

He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him: We have seen the Lord.

But he said to them: Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.

And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you. Then he saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing.

Thomas answered, and said to him: My Lord, and my God. Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed. Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book.

But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in his name.

John 20: 19:31, Douay-Rheims version

Merciful Jesus, I trust in You!

Some reads for Divine Mercy Sunday:
Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska by St. Faustina
Frequent Confession by Dom Benedict Baur
Dives in Misericordia encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II on mercy

Book Review: Jesus of Nazareth

Pope Benedict XVI writes a personal reflection on the life of Christ in Jesus of Nazareth, not a dogmatic treatise. That said there is nothing in Jesus of Nazareth that goes against his Catholic faith; instead, Pope Benedict XVI rescues Jesus from current (and sometimes popular) trends to view Jesus outside of His depiction in the Gospels. This book is a return to the Gospels to rediscover (and recover) the true identity of Jesus. It reads more like a meditation than a textbook.

Unlike some of the Holy Father’s other works which, though very good, are very rough reading for theological beginners, Jesus of Nazareth is accessible to the average reader. There are a few places where one with a more robust theological background could get more out of the reading (and there is a least one study guide to aide curious readers), but overall I think that the average person could read Jesus of Nazareth and gain something from it.

Jesus of Nazareth could be said to be Pope Benedict XVI’s personal response to the question “who is Jesus?”. In the forward, he makes it clear that he is writing from his own personal perspective (which is also why the book was published under Joseph Ratzinger and not merely Pope Benedict XVI).
You can purchase this book here.

I wrote this review for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, the largest Catholic Store online. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.