JOHN: 15:16- You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Picking apples at a nearby orchard produced "food for thought". Seeking the choicest apples reminds us of the command Our Lord gave to the Apostles - to bring forth fruit. Good Fruit - "fruit that would remain" - not old fruit that decays and dies away.
Our Lady brought forth the most Perfect and Holy Fruit - Our Savior Jesus Christ. And as She was "full of Grace" and imitated Her Divine Son most perfectly, She brought forth the the most delightful and holy fruit - virtues in the highest degree. If we remain under Her Mantle and beg her intercession, she will help us also to attain the fruit that we were created for - holiness.
Have you heard the AMAZING and TRUE story about St. Michael the Archangel saving the soldier in 1950 in the Korean War? It was read by the Navy Chaplain to 5,000 Marines at a San Diego Naval Base in 1951. This letter was also read once a year in the 1960s over a Midwestern radio station at Christmas time.
Background: What follows is a letter that was written by a young Marine to his mother while he was hospitalized after being wounded on a Korean battlefield in 1950. It came into the hands of a Navy Chaplain, who read the letter before 5,000 Marines at a San Diego Naval Base in 1951.
The Navy chaplain had talked to the boy, to the boy’s mother and to the Sergeant in charge of the patrol. This navy chaplain, Father Walter Muldy, would always assure anyone who asked that this a true story. This letter had been read once a year in the 1960s over a Midwestern radio station at Christmas time. We present the letter and let it stand on its own merits.
THE VALUE OF A RETREAT:
We were blessed to make our annual retreat at St. Benedict's Abbey in Still River, MA. The Abbey boasts a spectacular view of the rolling hills and plentiful, lush trees in the valley, (just beginning to display their splendid array of fall hues) inviting the soul to contemplate the wonders of our God.
A retreat is actually an old practice. Before Our Lord began His public ministry, He spent 40 days in the desert praying and fasting as a way to prepare for the important work ahead (see Lk 4:1-13). Those were days of retreat. Sometimes Jesus Himself would suggest that His disciples partake in a retreat, as He says: "come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while" (Mk 6:31).
On retreat, we seek to be alone with God in order to hear what He has to say to us. Often, the yearly retreat provides special graces to make a deeper examination of conscience, which moves the soul to a more profound contrition. Souls sometimes seek to make a general confession of their entire life -- renouncing pride, envy, lust and jealousy -- and so open their souls to the redeeming graces of Christ.
A retreat refreshes and revitalizes the soul and it allows for more time to be spent in prayer and contemplation, and rekindles and deepens one’s relationship with God. One may take this opportunity to more clearly hear God’s call and to seek God’s healing grace and thereby attain a degree of spiritual renewal. This time alone with God facilitates the ongoing conversion of heart that is critical to deepening faith. The Catholic Encyclopedia describes the necessity of such retreats: “In the fever and agitation of modern life, the need of meditation and spiritual repose impresses itself on Christian souls who desire to reflect on their eternal destiny, and direct their life in this world towards God.”
So, if you have never been on a retreat, or it has been a long time, why not consider embarking on a spiritual journey to bring you closer to the Heart of Christ. Entrust your retreat to Our Blessed Mother and She will shower many graces upon you and will help deepen your relationship with Her Divine Son.
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TO ADORE OUR LORD!
The Franciscan Handmaids of the Immaculate seek daily to draw closer to Our Lord. Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament is fundamental to Our spiritual life as we seek to conform our hearts unto His. Additionally, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, the rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Sorrows, we place ourselves in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, asking Her to bring us closer to Her Son.