Friday, June 24, 2016

When you have received Him

When you have received Him,
stir up your heart to do Him homage; speak to Him
about your spiritual life,
gazing upon Him in your soul where He is present
for your happiness; welcome Him
as warmly as possible, and behave outwardly
in such a way that your actions
may give proof to all of His Presence.

St. Francis de Sales

Nativity of St. John the Baptist



The birth and naming of John the Baptist, painted by Rogier van der Weyden.

The Church usually observes the day of a saint's death as his feast, because that day marks his entrance into heaven. To this rule there are two notable exceptions, the birthdays of Blessed Mary and of St. John the Baptist, both born free of original sin (as John was cleansed of original sin in his mother’s womb). “I tell you, among those born of woman no one is greater than John…”  Jesus said.

John’s purpose was to prepare the way for the Redeemer.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Fashions

Fashions that will greatly offend Our Lord will appear.
People who serve God should not follow fashions.
The Church has no fashions.
Our Lord is always the same.

Bl. Jacinta Marto

St. Thomas Garnet

Born in 1575 in the Southwark section of the City of London, Thomas was the son of Richard Garnet, a Confessor of the Faith, and nephew of the famous Jesuit missionary and martyr, Father Henry Garnet.

In his youth, he was a page to the Count of Arundel. At sixteen, he entered the College of St. Omer in the Low Countries and, two years later, was sent to Spain. He continued his studies at the College of St. Alban in Valladolid and was ordained to the priesthood in 1599. After his ordination, he returned to England and, under the alias of Thomas Rokewood, spent nearly six years wandering up and down the country ministering to the faithful and bringing souls back to the Catholic Faith.

About 1605, Thomas was arrested and falsely accused of participating in the Gunpowder Plot, the failed plan to assassinate James I. He was tortured for information, the authorities hoping to extract information about his famous uncle, Father Henry Garnet, Superior of the English Jesuits, who was implicated in the Plot because he refused to break the Seal of Confession.

After roughly nine months, he was released and deported to Flanders. There he entered the Jesuit Order, and just a year after his deportation, he returned to England. He was arrested after refusing to swear allegiance to the monarch as head of the Church of England, known as The Oath of Supremacy. He was hanged at Tyburn in 1608 as a traitor to the crown.

“I wandered,” he said during his trial, “from place to place to recover souls which had gone astray and were in error as to the knowledge of the true Catholic Church.”

Before he died, he publicly reaffirmed himself as a Jesuit and a priest. He was canonized in 1970 and is included among the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

When the devil tempts you to sin

When the devil again tempts you to sin,
telling you that God is merciful,
remember that
the Lord "showeth mercy to them that fear Him" but
not to them who despise Him.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More

The lives of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher are very closely linked, and thus it is quite appropriate that the Church celebrate their feasts together. They are both renowned Englishmen martyred within two weeks of each other for the same cause of defending religious liberty, the sanctity of marriage and Papal authority against State usurpation. They were both associates of King Henry VIII before his apostasy, and it was at his hands that they both suffered martyrdom.

Sir Thomas More was a distinguished statesman in the English Parliament. First and foremost, however, he was a faithful Catholic, a loving husband, and a devoted father. More was widely known for his “unfailing moral integrity, sharpness of mind, his open and humorous character, and his extraordinary learning." He was a close friend and confidant of Henry VIII, and the King himself eventually promoted Thomas to the prominent office of Lord Chancellor. However, the two were alienated when Thomas refused to compromise his conscience and faith when Henry openly defied Church teachings and divorced his wife to marry Anne Boleyn, choosing instead to renounce the King’s friendship, his own public career, wealth and worldly prestige. Thomas was consequently imprisoned in the Tower of London and eventually condemned and beheaded on July 6, 1535. He was named patron saint of statesmen and politicians by Pope John Paul II.

A friend of St. Thomas More’s, St. John Fisher also had a close connection to Henry VIII, having once been his tutor, and was a friend of the royal family. As the Bishop of Rochester, he was known as a man of great leaning and deep and unshakable faith. He was supported by the King and appointed to the lifetime position of Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. However, he too fell into disfavor with Henry when he also opposed the King’s unlawful divorce of Queen Catherine of Aragon. Bishop Fisher courageously warned Parliament of Henry’s encroaching powers over the Church in England in direct disregard of the Papal audit, and publicly preached against the divorce from the pulpit at the same time as Sir Thomas More was resigning his high office. By thus calling down the King’s fury on himself, the holy Bishop of Rochester suffered multiple imprisonments in the Tower, during which time he was made a Cardinal by the authority of Pope Paul III – an appointment which Henry rejected. Fisher was condemned to be hung, drawn and quartered; and, although originally sentenced to be killed on June 24, the feast of St. John the Baptist, the King had a superstitious fear of executing him on that feast because of the strong resemblance of the deaths of these two saints, and instead had him beheaded – ironically just like John the Baptist after all – two days earlier, on June 22, 1535.

Thomas More and John Fisher were beatified together by Pope Leo XIII in 1886, and canonized together by Pius XI in 1935. One a layman and statesman, the other a priest and bishop – they stand together as models and heroes of religious freedom against encroaching government powers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help


 Pray for 9 consecutive days - June 19th to June 27th


MOTHER OF PERPETUAL HELP, you are the dispenser of every grace that God grants us in our misery.
For this reason He has made you so powerful, so rich, and so kind that you might help us in our needs.
You are the advocate of the most wretched and abandoned sinners, if they but come to you.
Come to my aid for I commend myself to you.
In your hands I place my eternal salvation; to you I entrust my soul.
Count me among your most faithful servants. Take me under your protection; that is enough for me.
If you protect me, I shall fear nothing: not my sins, because you will obtain for me their pardon and remission; not the evil spirits, because you are mightier than all the powers of Hell; not even Jesus, my Judge, because He is appeased by a single prayer from you.
I fear only that through my own negligence I may forget to recommend myself to you and so lose my soul.
My dear Lady, obtain for me the forgiveness of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace to have recourse to you at all times, Mother of Perpetual Help.

Say Three Hail Marys

O MOTHER OF PERPETUAL HELP, grant that I may ever invoke your most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying.
O Purest Mary, O Sweetest Mary, let your name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me whenever I call on you, for, in all my temptations, in all my needs, I shall never cease to call on you, ever repeating your sacred name, Mary, Mary.
O what consolation, what sweetness, what confidence, what emotion fills my soul when I utter your sacred name, or even only think of you.
I thank God for having given you, for my good, so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely uttering your name; let my hope in you prompt me ever to hail you, Mother of Perpetual Help.