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The Innocence of Childhood Restored

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For the Feast of the Holy Innocents

Those for whom I wrote and prayed this prayer today, on the feast of the Holy Innocents, will understand that it was written and prayed for them. Many suffer well into adulthood, and even into old age, from things suffered in childhood, and often kept secret. The innocence that was robbed can be recovered, as can the joy of a pure childhood. The King of Love, being King of every year, month, day, and hour of time, can restore what was taken, and what He restores is brighter than what was lost.

O Divine Lover of Innocence,
Thou restorest innocence to those,
who, having lost it, turn to Thee in their sorrow and shame.
Thine it is, O Jesus, King of Love,
to restore the purity and joy of a holy childhood
to men and women of all ages
robbed of both purity and joy
by acts of cruelty, perversion, or lust.

The innocence that Thou restorest,
in Thy merciful goodness,
surpassses in brightness the innocence that was never tainted,
because it is marked by the diamonds of Thy tears,
and because Thou givest it,
washed clean in Thy Most Precious Blood,
as a free gift to those who ask it of Thee.

To all who ask for it today
restore the priceless grace of a holy childhood.
Protect Thou the little ones everywhere,
lest souls be damaged and destroyed by sin,
and lest any of those whom Thou hast destined for glory in Thy Kingdom
be lost along the way. Amen.

Evening of All Souls

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Passing through the Oratory of the monastery this evening, Dom Benedict took this photo of our statue of Jesus, King of Love, illumined by the oil lamp that burns in front of it. The statue of Jesus, King of Love touches the hearts of all who see it.

Dom Vital Léhodey (1857 - 1948), Abbot of Briquebec, wrote:

The Word Become a Child
My Little Jesus draws me to Himself at about the age of five years, or at about the age three or four. In the beginning, there was a little bit of imagination and a fair amount of emotion. It has been a long time now that the emotional has disappeared almost entirely; very often, it is desert, bleak and arid. What holds me in this way is the Word of God become a child, out of love for His Father and for us; or else it is the Saviour and Physician of souls; it is the God of my heart, the Friend, the Spouse and above all the adorable Little Brother. But it is always the Holy Humanity united to the Word, and so my worship goes to the Word become a child. When He presents to my spirit His infinite grandeurs and my nothingness, His holiness, my faults and my miseries, I adore Him in making myself very small. If He allows me to glimpse the charms of His childhood, His heart so humble and so meek, His infinitely touching holy littleness, the astonishing simplicity of a little brother (and so He does ordinarily), it is the heart that responds to Him, saying to Him the same protestations of love endlessly again and again, and from time to time, making itself very little before Him who is so great. This has lasted lo all these forty years and I never weary of always repeating to Him the same things. Since then, I have never aspired after another way; my Beloved Little Jesus is enough for me. And why would I have sought anything else, since, "all good things came to me along with Him" (Wis 7:11). I should never how to retell Him my gratitude enough.
Our Hearts Are Made One for the Other
And, first of all, He taught me better to know Him, and by that very means, better to know His Father. Like so many others, before that, I was inclined to see in God the Master and the Dispenser of Justice, rather than the Father and the Saviour. He veiled the grandeurs that would have dazzled me; He very nearly hid from me His Passion, which would have frightened me. He made Himself so very little, so that I would not be afraid of living with Him. It pleased Him to show me the goodness of His heart, His love and His tenderness, His mercies and His mildness, His patience in bearing with me, His quickness to lift me up. Truly, He has a Saviour's heart, a heart that doesn't know how to become angry, that never tires of pardoning, of healing, and of loving, a heart that loves extremely His mission as Saviour and physician of souls. In truth, He also has the heart of a friend. How many times has He not come to console me in my sorrows, to rejoice with me on my anniversaries by His loving visits. Now it pleases Him to remind me that He has the heart of a man, which heart needs to love men and to be loved by men, the heart of a Child God, who loves candidly and is candidly happy to be loved. He reminds me too that I also have a heart that needs to love and to be loved, and that our hearts are made one for the other. Let us then love one another and never cease loving one another.
The "Gate which is called Beautiful"
In thus making known to me the goodness of His heart, His and His tenderness, His mercy and His mildness, His astonishing simplicity, all things that make Him so lovable and so attractive in His Holy Humanity, He, by that very means, makes His divinity known to me. His Holy Humanity is, in fact, the most faithful mirror of His Divinity. All that is found in miniature, as it were, in his sweet Childhood, is found infinitely in the Word. And, since the Word is the Splendour of the Father and the Image of His Goodness, in learning of my Little Jesus, I learn also of the Father and the Holy Spirit. They are, all Three, one and the same infinite Charity. The sweet Childhood of my Little Jesus has, therefore, been for me like the "Gate which is called Beautiful" (Ac 3:2), through which He introduces me just a little bit, so little, alas, into the sanctuary of the Divinity."

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Let us give thanks to God the Father,
who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light:
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness
and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love,
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins:
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations,
or principalities, or powers.
All things were created by him and in him.
And he is before all: and by him all things consist.
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he may hold the primacy:
Because in him, it hath well pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell:
And through him to reconcile all things unto himself, making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth and the things that are in heaven.

(Colossians 1,12-20)

Lyrical, Jubilant, and Soaring

The Epistle of today's Mass for the feast of Christ the King resounds like a classic Roman Preface; it is lyrical, jubilant, soaring, and shot through with a profound thanksgiving for all that the Father has done, in Christ, for His adopted children. The ear of my heart hears it sung to the tone of the Roman Preface. It seems to call for the great conclusion evoking all the angelic choirs, and for the cosmic symphony of the Sanctus.

A Soul Schooled in the Liturgy of the Church

It is an immense grace to become aware of just how often the Roman liturgy places us before God the Father, allowing us to stand in the sight of His Divine Majesty, and giving us words, inspired by the Holy Ghost, to praise Him, bless Him, and give Him thanks for His great glory. A soul schooled in the liturgy of the Church will live at every moment ad Patrem, that is, facing the Father. A soul schooled in the liturgy of the Church will enter into the élan of the Heart of Jesus revealed on every page of the mystical Fourth Gospel: "Just Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee: and these have known that thou hast sent me." (John 17:24-25)

In Sinu Patris

"And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father." (Galatians 4:6) An authentic Catholic piety, the piety of the Bride of Christ, His Church, hides us ever more deeply in the bosom of the Father, in sinu Patris, through the Son, by the secret operations of the Holy Ghost. All the richness of Catholic devotional life passes, ultimately, through the filtre of the sacred liturgy where it joins "the lot of all the saints in light" (Colossians 1:1:1): ad Patrem, per Filium, in Spiritu. Thus, the tenderness we feel for Jesus, King of Love, the confidence His image inspires, the way the devotion to the King of Love softens our hearts and melts our resistances to divine grace -- all of these things carry us along into the powerful stream of the Church's liturgical prayer, and through the liturgy, into the priestly mediation of Christ, who is "always living to make intercession for us." (Hebrews 7:25)

The Church, Spouse of the King

It is the good pleasure of the Father to give us to the Son, to establish us under His sovereign lordship, and to make us subjects of His kingdom. In giving us to His only-begotten and beloved Son, our King, the Father restores order and right worship (orthodoxy) to a world skewed and disoriented by sin.

The Son -- Jesus, the King of Love -- receiving us from the Father, makes us His own by the outpouring of His Blood. He espouse us to Himself as His own Bride upon the marriage bed of the Cross, and so leads us back to the Father, united to Himself as members to their Head, and as the Bride who forms one flesh with Him. Thus do the royal prerogatives of the Son become the royal prerogatives of His Bride, the Church, and of every soul united to the King of Love in the mystic nuptial graces of Baptism and Holy Communion. United in this way to the King, the Church -- the Queen who stands at His right side arrayed in garments finely wrought of gold (Psalm 44:10) -- addresses the Father with a majestic reverence, with a holy boldness, with words and gestures inspired by the Holy Ghost.

O Magnum Pietatis Opus

The sacred liturgy is the magnum pietatis opus of the Kingdom of Christ, that is, the great work of His own tender devotedness to the Father. One who takes upon himself the sweet and easy yoke of submission to the King of Love participates in HIs filial and priestly glorification of the Father. "Father, I will that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me may be with me; that they may see my glory which thou hast given me, because thou hast loved me before the creation of the world. (John 17:24)

The Opus Dei

The monastery -- be it this little monastery or any other where the King of Love holds sway over all things -- is an inbreaking of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. We experience this inbreaking principally, objectively, and unfailingly, in the Opus Dei, the Work of God that is not so much our work done for God as His work in us and for us, and this through the sacred liturgy. The objectiveness of the Opus Dei trumps all our changing sentiments and human inconstancy, precisely because it is a divine work. Our participation in it, though real, does not make it what it is in the eyes of the Father and in the ears of His clemency. Christ, Priest and King, makes it what it is.

Our part is to come to choir, to take our places, to open our books and our mouths, to stand, to bow, to kneel, and to do all of these things simply and quite imperfectly, in desolation or in consolation, with energy or in a state of weariness, with pious sentiments or without them, believing that the Opus Dei realizes what it announces, makes present what it describes, glorifies the Father in the sanctuary of heaven, and bears fruit in the vineyard of the Church on earth, and all of this because it is a royal action of Christ, Priest and King.

Act of Consecration

At the end of Holy Mass today, we shall renew our Act of Consecration to Jesus, King of Love. This is no mere pious formality. It is a response to the love with which He has first loved us. It is a radical renunciation of all those things to which we cling for an illusory security, so as to live in total reliance on His merciful goodness. It is a participation in His own filial devotedness to the Father: the friends of the King of Love share in all the dispositions and sentiments of His Heart. The Act of Consecration to Jesus, King of Love is not the liturgy, but it echoes the liturgy. It will prolong its grace, and make the work of the liturgy more fruitful in this house and in our souls.

Receive the Olive Branch

Finally, I am going to do something today that I would counsel you to do as well. Receive from the outstretched hand of the King of Love the olive branch that signifies both healing and peace. There is no torment of soul that He cannot calm. There is no suffering that He will not suffuse with redeeming love. There is no wound to which He will not apply the healing balm of the Holy Ghost.

Say to Jesus, King of Love: O Thou, Child King, willingly and confidently will I receive from Thee today all that Thou desirest to give me. Do Thou in me, O King of Love, all that Thou wouldst see accomplished in me, so as to draw out of my nothingness, out of my poverty, out of my struggles, and even out of the wreckage of my sins, peace and beauty for Thy Kingdom, praise for Thy mercies, and glory for Thy Father. Amen."

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Today, being the feast of Christ the King, we will renew our Act of Consecration to Jesus, King of Love at the end of Holy Mass.

O JESUS, KING OF LOVE,
WITH TRUST IN THY MERCIFUL GOODNESS,

we consecrate ourselves to Thee;
and offer to Thy Sacred Heart
all that we have received from Thee:
our life itself,
our strength, and our talents,
our desires, our works, and our humble efforts.
At the same time we offer Thee
our weaknesses and our inconsistencies,
our fears, our failures, and even our sins,
for there is nothing of ours
that Thy merciful love cannot redeem, and heal,
restore, and turn to Thy Father's glory.

Thou hast come to us in Thy image,
and so we come to Thee
to offer Thee what is already Thine:
the church built to Thy glory sixty years ago,
this house and all the constructions adjacent to it,
the entire property of Silverstream,
its fields, its water, its woodlands,
and all Thy creatures therein.

By the light of Thy Eucharistic Face
and the fire of Thy Eucharistic Heart:
make Silverstream entirely Thine:
a little kingdom where Thy Love holds sway,
and in which all are subject to Thee.

O Jesus, King of Love,
make this monastery a hospital for the healing of sick souls,
a safe refuge for fearful and anxious souls,
a welcoming home for poor and restless souls.

Here, O King of Love,
let sinners be converted;
here, let the lukewarm be set ablaze;
here, reveal to Thy friends the secrets of Thy Sacred Heart.

Here, let souls receive the gifts of Thy Divine Friendship:
perseverance in prayer, peace of mind, and purity of heart.
Here, make Thy servants joyful in a shining chastity,
and ardent in an unassailable purity.
Here, raise up those who have fallen,
give light to those who are in darkness,
give courage to those beset by fear.

O King of Love,
so establish the sovereign rule of Thy Heart in this monastery and over it,
that it will become a garden enclosed,
a sanctuary of silence and of peace,
a place of tranquil order, where beauty is at home.

Cast out from this place the powers of darkness,
the enemies of our souls,
the cruel tempters of Thine anointed,
and the bodiless persecutors of those who would live for Thee alone.

Impart to all who live here,
or labour here,
or visit here,
or in any way participate in this monastery's growth,
a share in the incomparable grace of spiritual childhood,
and an unfailing light along the path of confidence
and abandonment to Thy merciful love.

O Jesus, King of Love,
meek and humble of heart,
rule over this, Thy little kingdom;
make all herein the faithful subjects of Thy Love,
the adorers of Thy Eucharistic Face,
and the friends of Thy Eucharistic Heart.

Having lived in Thine intimacy here below,
vouchsafe that we may pass from this life
to the glory of heaven,
there to praise Thy merciful goodness
in the company of Thy Immaculate Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary,
of Saint Joseph, Saint John, Thy Beloved Disciple,
Saint Benedict, Saint Thérèse, Blessed Abbot Marmion,
Thy servant Mother Yvonne-Aimée,
the Holy Angels, and all Thine elect,
forever, and unto the ages of ages.
Amen.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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