Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

The Passions and the Flesh

This excerpt is taken from a little devotional book that I found at the Maine, NY house of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. It is called A Month with Mary.

Seventeenth Day
The Passions and the Flesh

"Mary [says]: The demon penetrates into you by means of the passions and, if you do not deny yourself, your battle against the demon is vain and fruitless. A passion is a disordered movement of your physical being or of your soul which makes you forget the high supernatural end to which you tend and reduces you within yourself. It is the keel desire for relief, for comfort that you look for in the mire because mire is all you see around you when you lose sight of your ultimate end.

It is a reaction to the law of God when you don't see its beauty and harmony; it is a rebellion against God when you seek pleasure, peace and happiness outside of him. Sometimes deluding poetry dazzles you and you dream of reaching high peaks of glory and pleasure when in reality you are falling into the abyss. Sometimes you see nothing but this present life and fail to recognize that all is passing... then you concentrate on everything on this earth, on your material well-being and go about seeking the deceptive love of creatures, riches, comfort, applause, pleasures, amusements. The demon is waiting for you at the pass in these dark narrow straits along your way; he presents objects which attract you; he upsets you with images which get you stirred up and thus he catches you in your own snares in order to drag you into his abyss. Don't deceive yourself; combat your passions as soon as they manifest themselves and fly the occasions which make them take on giant proportions!

If you live in the world and flit around like an inexperienced butterfly around flames, you will get burnt. Close your eyes to the distorted visions of your lower nature, your ears to the vain words of men, your heart to the vain affections of the senses. Nourish your soul on truth, nourish it on Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It is in the eternal Truth and eternal Love that the passions drown and die. The more you know God, the more you live by faith, the more you lift your gaze above, the more you immerse your heart in Jesus, the less you feel the weight of your flesh and the delusions of the false mirages of the passions. Converse with God because in him you will experience the beauty of your final end and the miserable attractions which you feel in yourself will vanish into nothingness.

ASPIRATION: O Mary, give me the grace to seek God and to delve deeply into the beauty of eternal truth.

LITTLE WORK: Deprive yourself for the love of God of some amusement that seems harmless to you. Often an amusement is like the spark that ignites the fire of the passions in the heart."

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