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Shin Jan 24, '11 6:54 pm

Book: God and His Perfections
 
LISTEN TO THE WORDS OF LIFE.

1. ONE day St. Antony was preaching in a town called Rimini.

The people would not listen to him; so he came down from the pulpit, went out of the church, and walked till he came to the sea.

He stood on the sand of the seashore, and cried out to the fishes these words: "Fishes of the sea and of the rivers, listen to me. I wanted to preach to the people, but they would not listen to me; so I am going to preach to you."

When he had said these words an immense number of fishes, of all sizes, came round him, covering all the sea. The little fishes came first, behind them the middle-sized fishes, and then the great fishes. They were all in good order and very quiet, with their heads out of the water, turned towards the preacher.

Then St. Antony spoke to them these words: "Fishes, my little brethren, you ought to thank your Creator for all the good things he has given you. First, there is the beautiful water in which you live, the sea water as well as the fresh water, whichever you like best. Then there are the holes and caves in the rocks, where you can go when a storm troubles the water. God has made you able to swim, and given you all that you eat to preserve your lives. In the great deluge, when it rained on the earth for forty days and forty nights, all the other animals were drowned, and you only were kept alive. When the prophet Jonas was thrown into the sea, God gave him to you to keep him alive for three days. When the people came to Jesus, and asked to pay the tribute, you helped him to pay it. You were the food of Jesus Christ the Son of God, before and after his resurrection. Now, when you remember all these great favors you have received from God, you ought to bless him and thank him even more than other creatures."

When the fishes heart these words they opened their mouths, and bowed their heads, and showed how great was their desire to thank God.

Then St. Antony, full of joy, cried out: "Blessed be the great God, because he fishes praise him when men refuse to praise him." And now when the people heard what a wonderful thing had happened to the fishes, they all went out to see it, and, kneeling down before St. Antony, they asked him to pardon them, which he did.

Then the Saint turned round, gave his blessing to the fishes and sent them all away. So Almighty God worked a miracle, to let us see how much he desires that we should listen to his holy word which is full of power -- Ecc. viii. Little children, be at least as good as the fishes, and listen to the words of life which Almighty God speaks to you.

- 'Almighty God and His Perfections', Fr. John Furniss

Shin Jan 24, '11 6:54 pm

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
I love this story, and Fr. Furniss puts it so well. :D

Shin Jan 31, '11 3:31 am

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
2. Sometimes children will attend to any little trifle, instead of listening to an instruction. There was a great town called Athens. The soldiers were on their way to this town. They were coming to destroy it. The people of the town were in great fear; and they met together to consult what should be down to save the town. Amongst them was one very wise man, called Demosthenes, who stood up and began to speak to them. The people would not listen to him. They talked, and made a great noise, so that he could not be heard. Demosthenes therefore gave over speaking, and was silent for a few minutes; then he cried out to the people that he had a story to tell them. When they heard that he was going to tell them a story, they became very quit, silent, and attentive.

He began his story, "There were two men," he said, "travelling with one another. One of them had hired a donkey from the other. In the middle of the day they stopped. He who had hired the donkey, got off it; and as the sun was very hot, he sat down in the shadow of the donkey. 'No', said the other; 'you hired my donkey, but you did not hire its shadow.' When Demosthenes had said this, he gave over speaking. The people called out to him to go on. Then he said to them: "My good people, when I speak to you about the shadow of a donkey, you listen to me; but when I speak to you about the safety of the down, you will not listen." So a little child will let itself be distracted by the shadow of a fly or any trifle, instead of listening to the Word of God.

Shin Jan 31, '11 3:35 am

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
Such short attention spans we have.. especially if we are used to them staying short because of our activities that cater to it.

ready Feb 13, '11 6:29 am

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
If only we were always open to hear the Word of God we'd be much happier and safer in this life.

Shin Feb 14, '11 2:44 am

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
FIRST COMMUNIONS, MISSIONS, RETREATS

If you are getting ready for the day of your first communion, the greatest day of your life, or if you are making a retreat, or at a mission, I will tell you what to do;

1. Be sure that God sends down most wonderful graces and blessings on missions and retreats. God will give to you in particular such graces as you never received before, and your heart will be entirely changed. You may not feel this during the first day or two, but have patience and it will come.

2. To the mission, or retreat, or instruction for first communion, ask others to go. James v., "He who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins."

3. Come to every instruction. If you lose one instruction, it is like losing a link the middle of a chain, an perhaps you lose the most important instruction, and the very one which would do you most good.

4. From the beginning of the mission or retreat do not commit any more the sins you were accustomed to commit, cut yourself off from them as you cut a stick in two with a knife.

5. From the beginning of the mission say your morning and night prayers, and practice the other devotions recommended, daily Mass, grace before and after meals, spiritual reading, rosary, evening examination of conscience; also accustom yourself to make each day a meditation which you may continue during the rest of your life.

6. Avoid not only bad, but all company as much as possible. Jesus Christ went into the desert for forty days to avoid the company of others. Osee ii., "I will lead her into the wilderness and speak to her heart."

7. Keep silence and talk as little as possible. Eccles. v., "Let thy words be few." The more silent your tongue is, the more the voice of God will speak to your heart. The greatest thing you have to do at a mission or retreat is to make a good confession: it is well to make a general confession, or, at least, a confession of the sins since your last general confession. If any one has concealed a mortal sin in confession, he will confess it during the retreat or mission, at least let him say at confession, "Please, Father, there is something I am afraid to tell." If you doubt about anything, say, "Father, I have a doubt."

8. Write, if you can, on paper your good resolutions and a Rule of Life for yourself, that is, what prayers you will say, what good things you will do every day. Keep this paper in your room, and read it very often. A little girl at school, during a retreat, wrote her good resolutions and rule of life on a paper. When she left school she forgot her duty to God for several years. One day she happened to go into a room. She opened a drawer, and saw in it a paper. She opened the paper, and behold, it was the very paper on which she had written her good resolutions and rule of life during the retreat at school! Her hand trembled while she was reading that rule of life, which she had forgotten long since. When she remember how happy she had been in that retreat, she burst into tears. The reading of that paper changed her heart. On that spot, and with that paper in her hand and with her eyes lifted up to God, she determined to be good again, and keep her rule of life, and be happy again as she was before.

9. Pray very much during the retreat or mission. If you pray much, and well, and from your heart, you are sure to make a good retreat. If you do not pray fervently, you are sure not to make a good retreat.

10. A mission or retreat is a good time to find out the will of God about your vocation.

11. In a mission or retreat, you can if you like, read these books to help you to meditate on the instructions you hear.

Shin Feb 14, '11 2:45 am

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
I love the story of the little girl. . . how many people have been touched by God this way. . .

Silence, avoiding company.. It makes you understand how useful it is. :)

jayla221 Feb 14, '11 4:14 am

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
These posts motivate me very much. It is like being fed. I appreciate this most wonderful work that you do Shin. The world pulls so very hard that it is so important to have this time with these readings and in prayer. Part of my rule of life is to say the Rosary everyday. Just like the young girl in the story, I once made a commitment to doing that and then my daily routine changed and I dropped it. It is so easy to get distracted but good to have reminders and Catholic friends to point the way. God Bless!
Jayla

ready Feb 14, '11 2:05 pm

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
Thanks for the post, Shin.

Shin Mar 25, '11 12:11 am

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
SERMONS, INSTRUCTIONS, CATECHISMS, SPIRITUAL READING

I will tell you what you should do when you hear the Word of God in a sermon, or instruction, or a catechism, or when you read it in a good book.

1. Your dinner does you very little good, unless you have an appetite for it; so hearing God's word will do you very little good, unless you have an appetite for it, and a desire to hear it. If you do not feel this desire, at least wish for it, and pray for it, and it will be given to you; for it is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, called the gift of "understanding."

2. Do not go to an instruction through mere curiosity, for example to hear how somebody preaches, nor only because you are obliged to go, and you would be scolded if you were absent. Go to hear God's word, because it is able to save your soul -- James i. 21.

3. What you hear in an instruction is not the word of a man, but it is the Word of God. "You receive my word," says St. Paul, "not as the word of man, but, as it is indeed, the word of God." 1. Thess. So say in your heart: "My God, I believe that you yourself will speak to me in this instruction."

4. Listen with attention. The sin of Adam has made our minds very weak, and we cannot always keep our attention fixed; but do not be willfully inattentive.

5. In almost every instruction you hear something recommended which you feel in your heart just suits you. This is a particular light which God sends from Heaven into your heart. Say then to yourself, now I will begin this very day to do that thing. "Be ye doers of the word of God, and not hearers only." James i.

6. When a little bird comes to the river to drink, it does not keep its beak in the water all the time; but it lifts up sometimes, to let the water go down its throat. So when you are reading a good book, stop sometimes to let what you read, and especially what you feel most, go into your heart.

7. When you have eaten your dinner, you keep the food in your stomach, to feed your body. So when you have heard an instruction keep some of it in your mind, to think about afterwards, and feed your soul with it. In the stable of Bethlehem there were the infant Jesus, Mary his mother, and Joseph and the shepherds. When the shepherds were gone away, Mary, who was full of Divine Wisdom, kept the words of these poor ignorant shepherds in her heart, and thought of them, and meditated on them. Luke ii.

Shin Mar 25, '11 12:12 am

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
"Be ye doers of the word of God, and not hearers only." James i.

ready Mar 25, '11 6:31 am

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
3. What you hear in an instruction is not the word of a man, but it is the Word of God. "You receive my word," says St. Paul, "not as the word of man, but, as it is indeed, the word of God." 1. Thess. So say in your heart: "My God, I believe that you yourself will speak to me in this instruction."

I will do this.

Shin Apr 2, '11 2:42 am

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
If you will not listen to the words of his life see what may happen to you. St. Francis once gave a great mission in the town of Naples. Several nights before the mission began, he went round through the streets to every house. He knocked at each door as we went along, and when it was opened, he said: "Please, for the love of God, to come to the mission." In a certain house in one of the streets there was living a very wicked woman; her name was Catherine. St. Francis came to the door of Catherine's house, and when it was opened, he said: "Please, for the love of God, to come to the mission." Catherine answered, "No, I will not come to the mission." St. Francis left the house, and went on his way. The next evening St. Francis came again to Catherine's house, and knocked on the door. The door was opened, "How is Catherine?" said St. Francis, "Catherine!" a voice answered -- "Catherine is dead!" "Then," said St. Francis, let us go up stairs and see the dead body." They all walked up stairs and went into a room where a dead body was laid on a bed. It was the dead body of the wicked Catherine, who only the night before had said: "I will not go to the mission." They stood round the dead body. St. Francis stood in front of it, and looked at the pale body, which had no life in it; then he said with a loud voice: "Oh! Catherine, Catherine, tell me, in the name of God I command you to tell me, where are you -- where is your soul?" A moment passed, and that cold dead body opened its mouth, and the dead tongue moved in the inside of the mouth, and that dead tongue answered the question of St. Francis, and said in a frightful voice: "I am in Hell." Poor Catherine! you lived many years and committed many dreadful mortal sins; still the good God did not send you to Hell. Then St. Francis came to you from God, and he asked you to listen to him, and be converted, and you answered: "No, I will not listen." Then the just God sent you to Hell. In a like manner, if there be any child who will not listen to the instructions which are given to it, let that child tremble, because perhaps it is near to Hell as Catherine was.

Listen, then, to the first instruction, and you will hear of "God and his perfections."

THE GREATNESS OF ALMIGHTY GOD

"Who shall understand the ways of God?" -- Ecc. xvi. 21. One day St. Augustine, the great bishop, was walking on the sea-shore. He was thinking about the greatness of Almighty God. As he went along he saw a little child sitting close to the sea. This child had a small spoon in its hand, and was dipping the spoon into the sea. St. Augustine went to the child and said, "My little child, why are you dipping that spoon into the water?" The child answered: "I want to empty all the water out of the sea." "But," said St. Augustine, "it is of no use for you to try to empty the great sea with that little spoon; if you were to work forever you could not do it." The child then said: "I am an angel from Heaven; and God has sent me to tell you that it would be easier for me to empty the sea with this little spoon, than for you to understand all about the greatness of God." Who hath known the mind of the Lord (Rom. ii. 30) -- the greatness of God? Still, you may know something of God.

GOD IS ETERNAL

1. God always was. Before the sun shone on the earth, before a grain of sand was made, God was. Before the millions of millions of years which are passed away, God was; for he never had a beginning. This book which you are reading was made -- somebody made the paper for it, and somebody printed it; but God was not made by anybody -- he always was of himself.

2. God will never have an end: "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." -- Heb. i. 8. All creatures perish and die, but God will never die; "They shall perish, but thou shalt continue." -- Heb. i. 11. The hard stones are worn away by the winds and the rains; the grass dies; the flowers fade away; the leaves drop off the trees. The birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea, breath out their last breath; the beasts perish in the fields; empires, and kingdoms, and nations, pass away; our bodies go into dust, because God has said: "Thou art dust, and into dust thou shalt return." The stars will fall from Heaven: the Heavens and the Earth will pass away; and last of all death, which destroys all other things, will itself be destroyed: and when the Heavens and the Earth shall have passed away, God will make a new and more beautiful Heavens and Earth (Apoc. 21); and from the dust of the body in the grave he will make a more beautiful body, shining like the sun in its brightness. So all things perish and die; only God lives for ever and ever.

3. All eternity is present before God. Look at the clock -- it is just one minute past twelve o'clock. That one minute is present to us; but the minute before it, and the minute after it, are not present to us. It is not so with god. Job x. 7. "Are thy days, O God, as the days of man?" All the years that are past, and all the years that are to come, are present before God just as much as this present minute. You cannot understand this. Take then, a very long stick, and put it close before your eyes. You see the middle of it quite well, but you cannot see the ends of it so well; because your eye is too weak. But the all-seeing eye of God can see not only the middle, but also the beginning and the end of all things. Jer. xxii. 23. "Am I, think ye, a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off." So all things, past and to come, are always present before God. Where, then, is this great God? what place is he in?

Shin Apr 2, '11 2:43 am

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
Quote:

God always was. Before the sun shone on the earth, before a grain of sand was made, God was.
The eternity of God is something one can think on always.

ready Apr 2, '11 4:41 am

Re: Book: God and His Perfections
 
I love how God sees everything in the present and knows each beginning, middle and end all at once.


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