Thursday, October 18, 2018

If you desire peace...

If you desire peace in your hearts,
in your homes, and in your country,
assemble each evening to recite the Rosary.
Let not even one day pass without saying it,
no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors.

Pope Pius XI

St. Luke the Evangelist

Luke was not a Jew but a Gentile, and thought to have been a Greco-Syrian, probably born in Antioch. Though one of the four Gospel writers – known as the Evangelists – he was not one of Christ's Twelve Apostles. Whether he converted to Christianity from Judaism or paganism is not certain.

He was a disciple and companion of the Apostle Paul who mentions that he was also a medical man, “Luke, the most dear physician” and he probably helped St. Paul with his much-tried health. Luke was certainly with the great apostle in his first two imprisonments in Rome.

According to tradition, the physician and Evangelist was also an artist and painted several pictures of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Among the most famous is the Salus Populi Romani enshrined in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

Not only is the third Gospel, written in Koine Greek, attributed to Luke by the early fathers, but Biblical scholars are in wide agreement that he also wrote the Acts of the Apostles. While traditional Christian scholarship dates the writing of his Gospel to the 60’s, others place it in the last decades of the first century.

St. Luke is believed to have died a martyr though accounts of his death vary.

He is venerated as St. Luke the Evangelist and his symbol is the bull. He is patron saint of artists, physicians, surgeons, students, and butchers.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

How to console a suffering soul

In order to console a soul in its sufferings,
point out to it all the good it can still do.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

St. Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius, born in Syria, converted to Christianity at a young age, and was thought to be a disciple of St. John the Evangelist. He is one of the five Apostolic Church Fathers, who were instructed personally by Christ’s apostles.

An early tradition has it that he was the child that Our Lord took up in his arms, as recorded by St Mark: “And taking a child, he set him in the midst of them. Whom when he had embraced, he saith to them: Whosoever shall receive one such child as this in my name, receiveth me (9:35-36).

Consecrated bishop by the Apostles, he succeeded St. Peter and Evodius as the third Bishop of Antioch about the year 69.

An ideal pastor and true soldier of Christ, Ignatius comforted and strengthened his flock when the persecution of Domitian broke out. He was arrested during the persecution of Trajan, and shipped aboard a vessel bound for Rome. Along the route his ship made several stops, which afforded the saint opportunity of confirming the faith of various churches. He wrote several letters to these communities which have been preserved, and deal with early Catholic theology. St. Ignatius was the first to use the Greek word “katholikos”, “universal” in reference to the Church founded by Christ.

At Smyrna, he had the joy of meeting his former disciple and dear friend, St. Polycarp. His route to martyrdom was a sort of triumphant march, with Christian communities flocking to meet him everywhere, hailing and encouraging him on his way.
He was martyred in Rome on the last day of the public games, December 20 in the year 107. Condemned to be devoured by lions in the public arena, his prayer before his death was: “I am God's wheat, and I am to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts, so that I may become the pure bread of Christ. Indeed the lions devoured all of his body leaving only the large bones.

Today, these relics of St. Ignatius rest in the Church of San Clemente in Rome.

A Favor Granted

Centuries ago, in Toledo, Spain, there lived a Cistercian nun called Mary. Being at the point of death, the Blessed Mother appeared to her, and Mary said to her:
"Oh Lady, the favor you do me of visiting me at this hour emboldens me to ask you another favor, namely, that I may die at the same hour that you died and entered into heaven.”
"Yes," answered Mary Most Holy. "I will satisfy your request; you will die at that hour, and you will hear the songs and praises with which the blessed accompanied my entrance into heaven; and now prepare for your death."
When she had said this she disappeared.
Passing by Mary’s cell, other nuns heard her talking to herself, and they thought she must be losing her mind. But she related to them the vision of the Virgin Mary and the promised grace. Soon the entire convent awaited the desired hour.
When Mary knew the hour had arrived, by the striking of the clock, she said:
"Behold, the predicted hour has come; I hear the music of the angels. At this hour my queen ascended into heaven. Rest in peace, for I am going now to see her."
Saying this she expired, while her eyes became bright as stars, and her face glowed with a beautiful color.
From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Three Streams of the Sacred Heart

 From this Divine Heart three streams flow endlessly.
The first is the stream of mercy for sinners; it pours into their hearts
sentiments of contrition and repentance.
The second is the stream of charity which helps all in need and especially aids
those seeking perfection to find the means of surmounting their difficulties.
From the third stream flow love and light for the benefit of His friends
who have attained perfection; these He wishes to unite to Himself
so that they may share His knowledge and commandments
and, in their individual ways, devote themselves wholly to advancing His glory.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Margaret Mary was born in the small Burgundian town of L’Hautecour in France, the fifth of seven children of Claude Alacoque, a notary, and his wife, Philliberte Lamyn.

Her father died when she was eight and she was sent to school with the Poor Clares. She was immediately attracted to their way of life and so exemplary was her piety that she was allowed to make her First Communion at the age of nine – an unusual privilege at the time.

Struck by a very painful rheumatic illness, which confined her to bed until the age of fifteen, the young girl returned to L’Hautecour only to find her family home occupied by several relatives who proceeded to treat her mother and herself almost like servants.

By the age of twenty, she was being pressured by these relatives to marry. Strengthened and supported by a vision of Our Lord, she refused.

Margaret did not receive Confirmation until she was twenty-two, but once she was fortified by the sacrament, she bravely confronted and decisively overcame her family's remaining opposition to her religious vocation, and entered the Monastery of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial in 1671.

Deeply devoted to the Passion of Our Lord and to the Holy Eucharist, Margaret felt sensibly the presence of Our Lord. On December 27, 1673, while praying before the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the convent chapel, she felt Our Lord inviting her to step into the place taken by St. John the Beloved at the Last Supper near His Heart.

This first communication was followed by several others during a period of eighteen months in which Our Lord Jesus revealed and expanded to her the devotion to His Most Sacred Heart in which He wished His Heart to be honored under the form of a heart of flesh. He also asked for the Communion of Reparation on the nine First Fridays of the month, and an hour vigil on Thursdays.

Margaret Mary suffered misunderstanding and persecution from within her religious community as she attempted to reveal Our Lord’s wishes. Falling ill under the strain, her superior promised to heed her if she was healed, both of which came to pass.

Further supported by the spiritual guidance of the Jesuit, St. Claude de la Colombière, who while visiting Paray-le-Monial recognized both Margaret’s sanctity and her message, the new devotion began to gradually spread throughout France and the world.

Margaret Mary Alacoque died in October of 1690 and was canonized in 1920.