Thursday, November 21, 2019

Make friends with the angels

Make friends with the angels, who though
invisible are always with you.
Often invoke them,
constantly praise them, and make good use
of their help and assistance
in all your
temporal and spiritual affairs.


St. Francis de Sales

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple

On the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, we celebrate the fact that Our Lady’s parents brought her to the Temple at the age of three and handed her over to live there for a long period as a consecrated virgin where she might exclusively contemplate God.

There is a special beauty to this feast since it highlights the fact that Our Lady was chosen even before time began. She is called the root of Jesse (Isaiah, 11:1) from which Our Lord Jesus Christ would be born. She is introduced to the synagogue, the institution in charge of keeping this promise. Thus, the synagogue receives Our Lady as a first step. In this act, the hopes of ages would soon be fulfilled.

Our Lady, a supremely holy soul, is received in the Temple and entered into the service of God. Despite the corruption of the nation of Israel and the transformation of the Temple into a den of the Pharisees, an incomparable light appeared: the sanctity of Our Lady.

Unknowingly, Our Lady began to prepare herself to become the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In an atmosphere of grace in the Temple, she was set apart from everyone in order to serve God. She increased her love of God until she formed the ardent desire for the imminent coming of the Messiah and asked God if she might have the honor to be the servant of His Mother. She did not know that she was the one chosen for this honor. That is why she was perplexed when the Archangel Gabriel greeted her to ask her permission for the Incarnation.

Our Lady’s magnificent preparation to be the Mother of Jesus Christ began with her Presentation in the Temple, a feast the Church celebrates on November 21. It is fitting that we ask Our Lady to prepare us with the best of Catholic doctrine to serve God by serving her. We should present ourselves before Our Lady, asking her to assist us in taking up the task of our sanctification, as the Holy Ghost did with her in the Temple of Jerusalem.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Devotion to the Eucharist

The devotion to the Eucharist is the most noble, because
it has God as its object; it is the most profitable for salvation,
because It gives us the Author of Grace;
it is the sweetest, because the Lord is Sweetness Itself.

Pope St. Pius X

November 20 – St. Edmund the Martyr

St. Edmund the Martyr

King of East Anglia, born about 840; died at Hoxne, Suffolk, November 20, 870.

The earliest and most reliable accounts represent St. Edmund as descended from the preceding kings of East Anglia, though, according to later legends, he was born at Nuremberg (Germany), son to an otherwise unknown King Alcmund of Saxony. Though only about fifteen years old when crowned in 855, Edmund showed himself a model ruler from the first, anxious to treat all with equal justice, and closing his ears to flatterers and untrustworthy informers. In his eagerness for prayer he retired for a year to his royal tower at Hunstanton and learned the whole Psalter by heart, in order that he might afterwards recite it regularly. In 870 he bravely repulsed the two Danish chiefs Hinguar and Hubba who had invaded his dominions. They soon returned with overwhelming numbers, and pressed terms upon him which as a Christian he felt bound to refuse. In his desire to avert a fruitless massacre, he disbanded his troops and himself retired towards Framlingham; on the way he fell into the hands of the invaders. Having loaded him with chains, his captors conducted him to Hinguar, whose impious demands he again rejected, declaring his religion dearer to him than his life.

His martyrdom took place in 870 at Hoxne in Suffolk. After beating him with cudgels, the Danes tied him to a tree, and cruelly tore his flesh with whips. Throughout these tortures Edmund continued to call upon the name of Jesus, until at last, exasperated by his constancy, his enemies began to discharge arrows at him. This cruel sport was continued until his body had the appearance of a porcupine, when Hinguar commanded his head to be struck off. From his first burial-place at Hoxne his relics were removed in the tenth century to Beodricsworth, since called St. Edmundsbury, where arose the famous abbey of that name. His feast is observed November 20, and he is represented in Christian art with sword and arrow, the instruments of his torture.
G. E. PHILLIPS (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Better prayers

It is better to say one Pater Noster (Our Father) fervently and devoutly
than a thousand with no devotion and full of distraction.

St. Edmund the Martyr

November 19 – St. Nerses I, Bishop of Armenia, Martyr

Nerses I

Armenian patriarch, surnamed “the Great”. Died 373. Born of the royal stock, he spent his youth in Caesarea where he married Sanducht, a Mamikonian princess. After the death of his wife, he was appointed chamberlain to King Arshak of Armenia. A few years later, having entered the ecclesiastical state, he was elected catholicos, or patriarch, in 353. His patriarchate marks a new era in Armenian history. Till then the Church had been more or less identified with the royal family and the nobles; Nerses brought it into closer connection with the people. At the Council of Ashtishat he promulgated numerous laws on marriage, fast days, and Divine worship. He built schools and hospitals, and sent monks throughout the land to preach the Gospel. Some of these reforms drew upon him the king’s displeasure, and he was exiled, probably to Edessa. Upon the accession of King Bab (369) he returned to his see. Bab proved a dissolute and unworthy ruler and Nerses forbade him entrance to the church. Under the pretence of seeking a reconciliation, Bab having invited Nerses to his table poisoned him.

LANGLOIS, Collection des historiens de l’Armenie, II (Paris, 1869); ORMANIAN; L’eglise armenienne, son histoire, sa doctirne, son regime, sa dicipline, sa liturgie, sa litterature, son present (Paris, 1910); HEFELE, Hist. of the Councils of the Church, IV (tr. CLARK, Edinburgh, 1895); SUKIAS SOMAL, Quadro della storia letteraria di Armenia (Venice, 1829); WEBER, Die kathol. Kirche in Armenien (Freiburg, 1903); TER-MINASSIANTZ, Die armenische Kirche in ihren Beziehungen zu den syrischen Kirchen bis zum Ende des 13 Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 1904); NEUMANN, Versuch einer Gesch. der armen. Litter. (Leipzig, 1836); FINK; Gesch. der armen. litter. in Gesch. der christl. litter. des Orients (Leipzig, 1907); AZARIAN, Ecclesiae Armeniae traditio de Romani Pontificis primatu iurisdictionis et inerrabili magisterio (Rome, 1870); CHAMICH, Hist. of Armenia, (Calcutta, 1827).
A. A. Vaschalde (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Monday, November 18, 2019

Which is better?

Better a few staunch and sincere Catholics,
than many compliant with the enemies of the Church
and conformed to the foes of our Faith.

St. Peter Canisius