The Reality of Venial Sin Preventing Union with God

Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene continues his teaching on the critical aspects of the interior life of the Holy Spirit, which we are all called to live…our only purpose in existing. I have paraphrased some of his insights while retaining the meaning:

“Venial sin, like mortal sin, is counter to God‘s will, although with less serious deviation. While it does not destroy Charity in our soul, it is opposed to Charity and therefore diminishes fervor and vigor and hinders the growth of Charity. This is the disastrous effect of deliberate venial sin committed with the realization that it is displeasing to God.

“Once venial sense of this kind become habitual, it decreases our tendency toward God, and increases our leaning toward self satisfaction and other creatures. Thus, little by little, the soul loses its fervor and sense of sin and falls into tepidness, which is characterized by a certain indifference to venial sin. This puts the soul in danger of offending God in serious matters also. In this sense, venial sin maybe compared to a disease of insidious danger, a kind of spiritual tuberculosis, which undermines the soul slowly but fatally. It is not unusual to meet souls who having at first given themselves to God with sincere fervor, then let themselves fall into continual carelessness, indifference, voluntary omissions and laziness, because they have given into selfishness and pursued their own comfort. They become incapable of making the generous efforts required to advance on the way they have started. Their spiritual life is reduced to a kind of lethargy, which is not yet death, but which has none of the freshness and vigor of a strong, healthy life. It lacks the fervor of Charity, because of deliberate concessions to venial sin.”

To help us be constantly on guard against such thinking, Saint Teresa of Avila declares: “Always be fearful if you do not feel sorry for the faults you commit, for even venial sin should fill you with sorrow to the very depths of your soul…For the love of God, take care not to commit any deliberate venial sin, even the smallest…And can anything be small if it offends God?”

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Why Suffering and Mortification of the Senses are Necessary to Union with God

One of the great gifts of the work of Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene in his classic “Divine Intimacy” is the many teachings and reminders on the absolute necessity of suffering and constant mortification of our senses, and in making the great teaching on the interior life by St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila understandable to the average person.

Father Gabriel gives us many key insights. I will quote or summarize some of his key thoughts on suffering:

To those who dream only of prosperity and earthly glory (most in the entertainment world, Hollywood and those involved in our secular culture) the language of the cross is incomprehensible. Those who have a purely material idea of life find it very difficult to understand anything of spiritual significance, especially that of suffering. Saint Paul said that “Christ crucified” was indeed a stumbling block and foolishness to most who are in the world. Our Lord even had to rebuke Saint Peter, who at our Lord’s first mention of His passion objected strongly that this suffering should be done to Jesus. Our Lord had to state to Peter: “Get behind me Satan because you are thinking as human beings do and not as God does.” Let us take these words into our own hearts and ponder them! How often have we ourselves thought about rejecting suffering and the lessons on fasting and mortification!

To human wisdom, suffering is so disconcerting, that it can cause one to murmur against Divine providence and even to lose all trust in God. However according to the Wisdom of God, suffering is the means of salvation and sanctification!

However, it was not until after the descent of the Holy Spirit that the Apostles fully understood the meaning of the Passion; then instead of being scandalized they considered it the greatest honor to follow and preach Christ crucified. The human mind does not have sufficient light to comprehend the value of the Cross. We must have new light, the Divine Light of the Holy Spirit, in order to understand the need to suffer and the value of the Cross. We must have the Gifts and the Virtues of the Holy Spirit! We must correspond to the Person of the Holy Spirit and the Grace He pours forth into our hearts! If we do not value suffering, it is most likely because we do not know the Holy Spirit as we should. We must ask our Mother to help us to know her Spouse by releasing the Gifts and Virtues of our Baptism and Confirmation!

The world is often astonished at the sufferings of good people and instead of encouraging them to rely on God, they often turn people away from God by urging them to defiance by encouraging fear. Our passions themselves, our innate tendencies towards pleasure, often cry out to us and try by any pretext to prevent us from following Jesus crucified. So, let us remain steadfast in our Faith and always call on the Holy Spirit for Understanding and Counsel and push forward knowing we must suffer to be like Jesus Christ; and that we must deny ourselves often in order to tame our wounded nature, which is always seeking pleasure outside of God!

God in his infinite love and mercy knows how much we do not want to hear and execute this reality of suffering and mortification. Therefore, He constantly sends us Grace with specific help in order to overcome our selfishness and reluctance to suffer. This is the great gift inherent in the Flame of Love Grace of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is one of the great effects or results of this Grace! Our Lord purposely chose Elizabeth Kindelmann, a mother of six children, in order to demonstrate to us that even in a normal family life, filled with constant duties, all of us can learn with the help of God‘s grace to suffer, to fast, to mortify our senses and to be more like Jesus Christ.

The Flame of Grace is an extraordinary, Signal grace that is designed to disable Satan‘s influence over us, so we may finally overcome all of those bad habits and selfish tendencies, which hold us back from self giving. It is only through this type of extraordinary Grace that we have any ability of overcoming our deep-seated, selfish tendencies, especially our reluctance and unwillingness to suffer, to fast and to give of ourselves completely. But this is precisely what God is asking of us at this time in salvation history, where Satan‘s dominance is so overwhelming and so pervasive that he would take over the world if God did not intervene with such extraordinary Grace. It is up to the few, to those who know how important this extraordinary is to God’s Plan at this time in salvation history! We must beg for more of this Grace to continue and to never give up, in order to spread it to as many people as God‘s plan will allow.

Never be demoralized. Rejoice always even when rejected! Our Lady states that only a few will respond and correspond to the Grace. However, it is by the few that the victory will come! Our Mother’s beautiful, sinless Heart will triumph! We have been promised that Triumph at Fatima. There will be a new Pentecost of the Holy Spirit brought by our Mother! Therefore, pray, fast, hope and don’t worry. God will turn our suffering into our greatest joy! We simply must trust and never give up trying!

We will be ignored by many. We will be vilified by some…mistakenly…because of the addition of the prayer to the Hail Mary. Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! The world treated our Lord and His Disciples the same way. Your reward will be great now and for all eternity!

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the power of the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary! Fiat! Fiat! Fiat!

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The Reality of How We Grow in Union with God

In the classic work of Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, “Divine Intimacy”, we are given key insights into how we are stymied by our bad habits in our pursuit of union with God. “Disordered inclinations and affections always give rise to at least venial sins or to deliberate imperfections, when one willingly yields to them, even though they be only in matters of slight importance. Our will freely assents to these failings, minor though they may be, and is stained by the opposition to the Will of God; for this reason a perfect union cannot exist between our will and God‘s Will.

“Moreover, if these imperfections become habitual and the soul does not try to correct them, they form a great obstacle to divine union, and according to Saint John of the Cross, they prevent not only divine union but also advancement in perfection. He gives a few examples of these un-mortified habitual imperfections: the habit of talking too much, unrestrained curiosity, attachment to persons, entertainment, food or drink which the soul refuses to give up. There is also attachment to one’s comfort, little vanities, self complacency and attachment to one’s own opinion and reputation. There is a real mushroom-bed of appetites and disordered inclinations from which the soul will not free itself, precisely because it is attached to the meager, selfish satisfaction which it finds in these wretched things. It is “attached” to them and that is why It cannot make the decision to give them up completely. These are precisely the disordered voluntary appetites of which St. John of the Cross says: ‘one single un-mortified appetite is sufficient to tie the soul.’

“On the other hand, when it is a question of imperfect inclinations arising solely from human weakness, of those which do not get beyond the stage of “first movements” in which the will has no part either before or after, but rather tries to repress them as soon as it notices them, these do not prevent one from attaining divine union. It is our will that counts, and it must be completely free from the slightest attachment.

“St. John of the Cross has only one thing to say about renouncement and detachment, renounce everything and be detached from everything. If this demand seems unreasonable, let us remember that it is a pure evangelical counsel directly from the Gospel, and that it asks nothing more than what Jesus demands of us when He says: ‘Renounce yourself, take up your cross and follow me.’”

While it is easy just to throw up our hands and say this is impossible for me, this temptation comes from Satan. It is precisely in recognizing that we can not do these things that we begin the journey in earnest. If we simply keep trying and trusting in God, He sees the little bit of good will He requires, and He then sets out to do the work for us! It is in the continual trying and striving and never giving up, accompanied by the Faith and Trust that God can indeed do what is impossible for us, that we finally see progress….and He will do the impossible if we continue to persevere. Trust obtains all spiritual things!

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Mental Prayer as a Wound of the Heart

In his classic work, “Time for God”, Father Jacques Philippe, shares a very interesting insight with us.

“Experience shows that to pray well and to be brought to the state of passive prayer in which God and the soul communicate in depth, the heart must be pierced, pierced that is by the love of God wounded by thirst for the Beloved. Only through such a wound can prayer truly descend into the heart and lodge there. God must touch us at such a deep level of our being that we cannot do without Him anymore. Without that wound of love, mental prayer will ultimately be no more than a mere mental exercise or pious, spiritual practice; it will never be intimate communion with the One whose own heart was pierced with love for us.

“We have seen that Jesus’ humanity mediates between God and man. At the center of His humanity is His wounded heart. It was torn open so that God‘s love could be poured out on us and we could have access to God. Only when our hearts too have been laid open by a wound will we be able to receive that outpouring of love. Then a true exchange of love, the goal of the life of prayer, can occur. Then our prayer can become what it was meant to be: a heart to Heart communion.

“This wound produced in us by love may take many different forms at different times: desire, an eager search for the Beloved, repentance and sorrow for sin, thirst for God and agony at His absence. It may be a sweetness that swells the soul; it may be an inexpressible joy; it may be a burning passion and flame. It will make us into beings forever more marked by God, with no other life than the life of God within us.

“When our Lord reveals Himself to us, He is seeking to heal us from bitterness, faults, true or false guilt, hardness and much more. We know this and we yearn for His acts of healing. But it is important to understand that in a certain sense, He seeks to wound us even more than to heal us. It is by wounding us more and more deeply that He will bring about our true cure. Whether He comes close to us or seems far off, whether He is tender or seems indifferent (and there is all of this in a person’s prayer life!) what He does is done always with the aim of wounding us more deeply with His love.”

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Why the Beatitudes Matter

Father Dolindo Ruotolo is now known much more widely in the United States of America, because of his classic novena on surrendering to Jesus. Many people now pray this novena every single day with extraordinary results. Father Dolindo also has written one of the greatest and most practical works in the history of the Church on the Holy Spirit. It is entitled, “Come Holy Spirit”. In this masterpiece, he explains all the elements of our Faith by which the Holy Spirit sanctifies us. Sanctification, or loving and living as Jesus and Mary did, is the only purpose of our existence.

Here is an example from the Book , which I believe gives evidence of the gift that Father Dolindo is to the Church. His cause for beatification is underway. I have preserved his thought but slightly edited and altered several sentences to make them clearer.

“The beatitudes are the highest peak of perfection to which we are called…the practice of high virtue, what we call beatitudes, are due to the joyful effect they produce in the soul, both now and forever; and because Jesus Christ taught this path of holiness by repeating the word blessed, or happy, to introduce each principle of this method of imitating Him. The list thus constitute a veritable treatise on perfection and define the heroism at which the virtues, the grace and gifts of the Holy Spirit must arrive, in order to make us Saints now and then blessed in paradise.

“Mysticism and the treatises on higher perfection are all about this sublime science of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and of the beatitudes of the Holy Spirit. He who studies in depth and meditates on the science gradually raises himself from the practice of common virtues to that of the higher virtues and of heroism, until he obtains perfect union with God on earth and immortal glory in paradise.

“The exercise of the virtues entails a daily combat, which gives us the satisfaction of victory. The gifts give us a great docility of will, which makes possible the action of the Holy Spirit in us and brings us to the perfection of the virtues, conferring on us greater ease in exercising them more perfectly. The gifts in fact perfect the basic virtues of the Christian life: faith, hope, charity, prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. The fruits make us conquer the works of the flesh balancing the soul, the body, the faculties, the senses, and giving us in these exercises of virtue a spiritual taste which not only makes the way of holiness easy but delightful. The beatitudes lift us to the heroism of holiness on earth, give the soul the blessedness of loving union with God, and in paradise eternal happiness by means of the perfection of union with God and of enjoyment of God.

“It is it necessary to acknowledge and confess that on the part of Christians, the great ignorance of the action of the Holy Spirit in their souls, is the principal cause for which the spirit of the world prevails in them. Virtue is almost totally neglected; holiness is rare, very rare, even in souls consecrated to God, and the decay of the spirit is general and worrisome. Nature has prevailed in every area and sadly triumphed.

“The energies expended to restore the Christian spirit are sterile, because these consist mostly of propaganda activity, instead of profound transformation and sanctification. Souls are held to more or less artificial rules of the spiritual life, and ignore the sublime rule of the action of the Holy Spirit, the only Person who possesses the great secret of supernatural fruitfulness. It is for this reason that we feel the need to deepen further understanding of the path of the beatitudes, which brings us to the heroism of the virtues and to true perfection and sanctity.”

As we look forward to 2018, and what God is calling us to by nourishing the great Grace of the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, there is no more important work than learning all we can about the Spouse of our Mother, by whom the Flame of Love Grace is kindled! Getting a copy of “Come Holy Spirit” by Father Dolindo Ruotolo and meditating with it a few pages every day would be an excellent choice and gift to our Mother and our Lord to fulfill our purpose of imitating them as perfectly as this Signal Grace allows.

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On a Deeper Understanding of The Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, and His Spouse’s Role

We will start a new series further exploring the role of the Holy Spirit and our Mother Mary in our lives and how God wills to accelerate the duty and life of His holiness we are called to imitate. This holiness…Loving as God Loves…is the only purpose for our existence after we accept the Gift of salvation through Faith in Jesus Christ. Our acceptance of this Gift of Salvation, and then Sanctification, requires our correspondence to Grace through our Faith, Hope and Love “through the good works that God has prepared for us to walk in”.

We will use as our main guide the work of Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, the extraordinary Carmelite preacher, whose work on holiness, entitled “Divine Intimacy”, is perhaps the greatest ever written in the history of the Church. It should be used by all who now understand the unfolding of the “New and Divine Holiness” preached by Saint Hannibal de Francia, the extraordinary Spiritual Doctor, Saint Therese of Lisieux, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Saint Faustina, Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, and the great Saint John Paul II.

The essence of holiness can never change in the Church, because that holiness comes from Jesus Christ and his Church, which He established with Sacraments to impart Grace, and specifically from the power of the Holy Spirit whom He sent upon the apostles to establish His Church and these Sacraments. Specifically, God has ordained that holiness be implanted in our souls at our Baptism of repentance, where we acknowledge our sinfulness, pride and the guilt from our first parents, as well as our ongoing inclination to sin and to rebel against God and His Commandments. It is only in the sharing of Divine life, which we call Grace, that we have any ability to do supernatural things and thus imitate the thrice holy God. It is very clear at this time in salvation history from Fatima, Lourdes, Akita, Amsterdam and all the approved Messages and Events that God has given His Mother a special power (Signal Graces) in order for her to help us know and cooperate with the Holy Spirit in order to perfectly form Jesus Christ in us, such that we can imitate the lives of Jesus and Mary much faster and easier than ever before due to God’s Divine Mercy! We must release this Grace by our ongoing, moment by moment correspondence!

God in his infinite Divine Mercy knows how difficult the rough road of holiness is as taught by St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. Therefore, He has given a new impetus to understand just how merciful He is, which is why He raised up St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Faustina and Elizabeth Kindelmann to teach us that holiness is a gift of His Divine Mercy and that God can choose to make it easier to become a saint by accelerating the work in us by the power of the Holy Spirit and our Mother. However, God will not do this unless we are willing to correspond to such Grace by turning over our will and recognizing this work as that of our Mother Mary and the Holy Spirit and that we are simply nothingness and inclination to sin.

If we are not willing to accept such truths, we can not be sanctified the way God wills. While knowing we are children of God loved to the extreme, we must first know and admit that we are saved and sanctified through Grace alone. Many people rebel at these truths due to the subtle pride that Satan has stirred within them. How we are sanctified has been consistently taught in the Church from the the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given as Jesus promised, otherwise the Apostles would have remained in hiding and trembling for fear of the authorities seeking to imprison or kill them. They could never have become Holy and overcome their fear, preach the Gospel to all the world and give their blood and their will to God, without the power of the Holy Spirit in them through the intercession of the Mother of God. Our Lord specifically instructed them to wait assembled together and pray with His Mother for the Holy Spirit in order to receive the “power of His Holy Spirit”. Why would it be any different for us? So, we must also come together to know and understand this power of the Holy Spirit working in us though our Mother’s intercession, or we will not be able to fulfill the desire of our Lord to preach the Gospel of Repentance and Salvation to all who so desperately need to hear it! It is not enough to know the doctrine, we must know the Person who gives the power, the Love between the Father and the Son! It is only a conscious understanding and cooperation with the Holy Spirit, which allows the Holy Spirit to work in our souls and the souls He wills to reach through us.

Let us listen again to the magnificent words of Blessed Pope Paul VI in the extraordinary gift of the exhortation, “On Evangelization in the Modern World”:

“It must be said that the Holy Spirit is the principal agent of Evangelization; it is He who propels each individual to proclaim the Gospel, and it is He who in the depths of consciences causes the Word of Salvation to be accepted and understood. But it can equally be said that He is the goal of Evangelization. He alone stirs up the new Creation, the new humanity of which Evangelization is to be the result…We exhort all evangelizers to pray without ceasing to the Holy Spirit with Faith and fervor and let themselves be guided by Him as the decisive Inspirer of their plans, their initiatives and their evangelizing activity.”

Prayer: Oh, Holy Spirt, command that I know you as You will to be known and give me that Grace which will allow me to know You and Love You… so I may love at every moment with Your own Love in the one eternal Act of Love!

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Day 30 of “The Gift, the Love Between the Father and Son, the Holy Spirit” from Venerable Conchita

30 Days to the Gift, the Love Between the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit. From the Eve of the Feast of the Assumption to the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary from the Inspired Works of Venerable Conchita.

Consecration to the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit, receive the perfect and total consecration of all my being. From this moment, and in every instance of my life and in my every action, be my director, my life, my guide, my strength and all the Love of my heart. I abandon myself without reserve to your Divine actions, and I want to be always docile to Your inspirations.

Holy Spirit, transform me through Mary and with Mary, into Jesus Christ crucified, for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls. Amen.

(Print this prayer out and say it with Love every day. It will transform our lives!)

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Day 28 of “The Gift, the Love Between the Father and Son, the Holy Spirit” from Venerable Conchita

30 Days to the Gift, the Love Between the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit. From the Eve of the Feast of the Assumption to the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary from the Inspired Works of Venerable Conchita.

Prayer to Receive the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Almighty and eternal God the Father, your wish to regenerate Your children with water and the Holy Spirit through Baptism and have forgiven our sins, grant that your Spirit may descend upon us with His seven-fold Gifts!

Send forth your Spirit of Wisdom, who may reveal to us the enemies we should fear and the dangers we should avoid. May the Spirit of Understanding help us to choose what is most helpful to our eternal salvation as we relish and fathom the depths of Your Being and Your works.

Send forth your spirit of Knowledge, who will make us understand the beauty, gentleness and faithfulness of the Truth, whose Light illuminates our journey on this earth; this Truth which the Heavenly Father reveals with such Love to the humble but hides from the proud.

Send forth your Spirit of Counsel, who in our every action may endow us with the opportune and prudent reflection; grant that we may be docile to Your inspirations, and that He may enable us to become in right moments timely, brave and self-sacrificing counselors for our brothers and sisters.

Send forth your Spirit of Fortitude to turn our weakness into courage so we may become apostles full of zeal!

Give us your Divine Spirit of Piety, who may enkindle in us the flame of Your Love even in the smallest of things as we rejoice in our adoption as children of our Loving Father.

Fill us with your Spirit of Fear so that we may live under Your gaze in friendly union in respect and love for You, ever maintaining our desire to never offend you. Amen.

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Day 28 of “The Gift, the Love Between the Father and Son, the Holy Spirit” from Venerable Conchita

30 Days to the Gift, the Love Between the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit. From the Eve of the Feast of the Assumption to the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary from the Inspired Works of Venerable Conchita.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit, Creator come
From Thy bright Heavenly throne
Come, take possession of our souls
And make them all Thy own.

Thou who are called the Paraclete
Best Gift of God above
The living spring, the living Fire
Sweet unction and true Love.

Those who art sevenfold in Grace
Finger of God’s right hand
His promise, teaching little ones
To speak and understand.

O guide our minds with Thy blest light
With Love our hearts inflame
And with Thy strength which n’er decays
Confirm our mortal frame.

Far from us drive our deadly foe
True peace unto us bring
And from all perils lead us safe
Beneath Thy sacred wing.

Through Thee may we the Father know
Through Thee the eternal Son
And Thee the Spirit of Them both
Thrice-blessed Three in One.

All glory to the Father be
With His co-equal Son
The same of Thee, great Paraclete
While endless ages run. Amen.

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Day 27 of “The Gift, the Love Between the Father and Son, the Holy Spirit” from Venerable Conchita

30 Days to the Gift, the Love Between the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit. From the Eve of the Feast of the Assumption to the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary from the Inspired Works of Venerable Conchita.

Jesus promised his apostles that the Father would send them the Holy Spirit if they prayed. As Jesus was preparing for His departure, He spoke continuously to His apostles about the Holy Spirit. His heart was moved because He was sad that He would no longer be with them. He was already preparing them for the Consoler, who would sweeten the bitterness of His absence. The Holy Spirit would strengthen them for persecution, great suffering and imprisonment, making their hearts overflow with joy by His presence.

St. Luke refers to the Holy Spirit as the promise of the Father, because He brings about the realization of all the plans of our loving God for mankind. The Holy Spirit follows us everywhere, dwells in our very hearts and wants us to become holy. Why should we languish in our spiritual life if we carry within us the very life of God himself?

The Holy Spirit is the breath of Love which gives life to the Church. It is He who will give us the strength to be able to live the new law of Love. It is the Spirit who gives the Church the grace for the ministry of salvation. The Holy Spirit is the heart of the church, because He divinizes us and unites us into the one Body of Christ!

May the Holy Spirit to descend upon us! He is the unfailing light and the cause of all happiness. We must long to be his apostles and members of His family on earth. We must be His army of peace and charity, so that we will be witnesses of the Word made flesh! So, let us be light to the world . May He come quickly to reign and bring joy and happiness to all those who desire to be children of God.

Prayer of Conchita

Oh Holy Spirit, who overflows with mercy for men, I want to live always in Your presence so that I can I love You and make You loved by others. Come Holy Spirit and renew all things in Christ! Through your Divine fire, societies will be renewed. The cross of Christ will be raised up with His Heart in the center for the salvation of the world. Jesus, precious fruit of the Holy Spirit, You are the gift of Love from the Blessed Trinity to men. Send a new Pentecost upon the earth! May the world be consecrated to the Holy Spirit. We asked through Mary, the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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