Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A most powerful weapon to overcome the devil

If our age – in its pride – laughs at and rejects Our Lady’s Rosary,
a countless legion of the most saintly men of every age and of every condition
have not only held it most dear and have most piously recited it
but have also used it at all times as a most powerful weapon
to overcome the devil, to preserve the purity of their lives,
to acquire virtue more zealously,
in a word, to promote peace among men.

Pope Pius XI

St. Theobald of Marly

Theobald was the son of Bouchard of Montmorency, one of the most illustrious families of Europe. They were constables of France, marshals, admirals, cardinals, grand officers of the crown and grand masters of various knightly orders.

And yet Theobald is called the “great ornament” of the family of Montmorency.

He was born in the family castle of Marly, highly educated and trained as a knight. He served for a time in the court of King Phillip Augustus II, but showed a strong inclination to a state of retirement. Even at court he spent a long time in prayer and often visited the church at the convent of Port Royal founded by a relative, and which his father largely endowed.

Theobald took the Cistercian habit at Vaux-de-Cernay in 1220 and was chosen abbot in 1235. He lived in his monastery as the servant of all, surpassing others in his love of poverty, silence and prayer.

He was known to King St. Louis IX who held him in high esteem and veneration.

Theobald died on December 8, 1247.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

No explanation

To one who has faith,
no explanation is necessary.

To one without faith,
no explanation is possible.

St. Thomas Aquinas

Sts. Joachim and Anne

According to tradition, Our Lady’s parents were Joachim and Anne to whom, after years of childlessness, and much prayer, an angel appeared and announced they would bear a child. Much like Hannah who dedicated her son Samuel to the service of God (1 Kings), Anne also dedicated Mary to God as a child.   Hence, we find the abundant iconography representing the child Mary being presented in the Temple.

Eastern tradition of devotion to the parents of Mary goes back to the sixth century. Relics of St. Anne were brought from the Holy Land to Constantinople in 710. In the twelfth century, this devotion reached the West, with Crusaders bringing back relics of St. Anne to Western Europe.

Two popular shrines to Saint Anne are that of Ste. Anne D’Auray in Britanny in western France, and that of St. Anne de Beaupre near Quebec, where countless mementos hang in thanksgiving for favors and healings granted.

Monday, July 25, 2016

When you can do nothing at prayer

When you can do nothing at prayer,
make acts of humility, comparing
your nothingness with God’s greatness,
your ingratitude with His benefits,
your lack of virtue with the purity and perfection of the saints.

St. Claude de la Colombière

St. James the Greater

James the Greater was the son of Zebedee and Salome, one of the women at the tomb on Easter morning, (Matt.27:56, Mark 15:40, 16:1) and the brother of John – probably the elder of the two. He is called “the greater” to distinguish him from James the Lesser, who was probably shorter in stature.

There is evidence in Scriptures that these two brothers were cousins of the Lord, which may explain Our Lord entrusting His mother to John as He was dying. Both James and John were probably of a fiery temperament for which they were called “sons of thunder.”  They once wished to call fire upon a city, for which Our Lord rebuked them. (Luke 9:51-6)

James was one of the first apostles called by Jesus, and was one of the three selected to witness His transfiguration.

James was apostle in Iberia, in the region of present-day Spain. Ancient tradition ascertains that when praying one night in the year 40, the Virgin Mother, then still living, appeared to him on the banks of the River Ebro to encourage him in his difficult mission. She was accompanied by a multitude of angels who bore with them a marble pillar on top of which was a small statue of her holding the Child Jesus. She bid James build a shrine where the pillar was to be placed, which he did, the first shrine dedicated to the Mother of God on earth. Today, the sacred pillar, still in the same spot, is enshrined in the great Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza.

James returned to Judea after this apparition, and was the first apostle to suffer martyrdom. He died by the sword in Jerusalem at the command of Herod Agrippa in the year 44. His relics rest in the city of Compostela in northern Spain, the final destination of the famous pilgrims of the “Camino de Compostela.”

Sunday, July 24, 2016

When you are sick

When you are sick, offer to Christ our Lord
all your pains, suffering, and your languor, and beseech Him
to unite them to those He bore for you.

St. Francis de Sales