Thursday, June 30, 2016

The strongest assistance in my weakness

Hope has been the sole companion of my life,
the greatest aid in doubts, the strongest assistance in my weakness;
hope, but not the hope in men,
such as is thought to bring greater happiness and instead
brings greater disaster,
but hope in Christ, supported by the celestial promise that
He will strengthen the weakest of men
with a greatness of soul and divine help.

Pope St. Pius X

The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church

In July of the year 64, more than half of Rome was destroyed by a fire that lasted for nine days. Rumor blamed the tragedy on the Emperor Nero, who was said to have set flame to the grand city. On the third day of the fire, dressed in theatrical costume and singing with his lyre, he surveyed the flaming ruins (“Nero fiddled while Rome burned” is the often-used phrase).More and more people began to blame Nero for the desolation. Alarmed, the emperor shifted the blame to the Christians, and had them seized and tortured to death in public. Some were burned as living torches at evening banquets, some crucified and others were fed to wild animals.

Though the Romans were hardened to cruelty by the display of the gladiator’s arena, the brutality toward the Christians caused horror and pity in many of those who witnessed the scenes. According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death even though no one believed them to be guilty.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What is in your heart?

The peacemakers are pronounced blessed, they namely
who make peace first within their own hearts, then
between brethren at variance.
For what avails it to make peace between others,
while in your own heart
there are wars of rebellious vices?

St. Thomas Aquinas

Sts. Peter and Paul

Peter, who was named Simon, was a fisherman from Galilee. Jesus gave him the name Peter, which means ‘Rock,’ because he was to become the rock upon which Christ would build His Church. Among the Twelve, Peter was the first to recognize the divinity of Christ and to publicly profess that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. Chosen by Our Lord to shepherd His flock, he led the Apostles as the first Pope.

Peter and the apostles James and John were often taken aside by Our Lord and were witnesses to the more profound mysteries of Christ's divinity: His Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, His agony in the Garden. Peter's triple denial of Our Lord during the night after the Last Supper filled him with intense sorrow.

Peter became head of the Church in Rome and was martyred in the year 64. He was crucified upside-down at his own request, because he claimed he was not worthy to die as his Lord. He was buried on Vatican hill, and St. Peter's Basilica is built over his tomb.

Paul is known as the Apostle of the Gentiles. Before receiving the name Paul, he was Saul, a Jewish Pharisee who zealously persecuted Christians in Jerusalem.

Saul was traveling to Damascus to persecute Christians when he was surrounded by a light from heaven. He was blinded and fell from his horse. He then heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He answered: “Who are you, Lord?” Christ said: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

Saul continued to Damascus, where he was baptized and his sight was restored. He took the name Paul and spent the remainder of his life preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Paul was imprisoned and taken to Rome, where he was beheaded in the year 67. He is buried in Rome in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

In speaking of St. Peter and St. Paul, Augustine of Hippo said of them: “Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles' blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Family Tips: Enrollment of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as King in Your Home


“To restore all things in Christ” ~ Saint Pius X

This devotion was introduced to the world by Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey with approval of several popes such as St. Pius X, Benedict XV and Pius XI. Fr. Mateo, a priest from Chile traveled the world including the United States in 1940.

 
Benefits of this devotion
Our Lord’s promises:
1)   “I will bless every place where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.”
2)   “I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.”
3)   “I will establish peace in their families.”
4)   “I will comfort them in their trials.”
*The above promises were taken from the 12 promises made by Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alocoque in 1673.

How to make it happen:
1)   Obtain a beautiful picture or statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
2)   Ask your priest to come to enthrone the Sacred Heart in your home.
Note: In the event a priest is not available, there may be a lay member or “promoter” in charge of this apostolate in your parish. Even the father or mother of the house may lead the prayers in this simple, yet powerful, ceremony.
3)   If possible, make this a special occasion by inviting some of your friends and family.
      This will help others pick up the same idea for their own homes.
4)   Print up the prayers for the participants to follow. (click here for prayers)
5)   Prepare some refreshments for after the Enthronement ceremony.

The ceremony
The steps in the ceremony are:
1)   An opening hymn or prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus;
2)   An explanation of the meaning of the Enthronement;
3)   The blessing of the image or statue of the Sacred Heart by the priest;
4)   Placement of the image of the Sacred Heart in a place of honor in the home;
5)   The Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart;
6)   A closing hymn (optional).




 

Refuge and path

“My Immaculate Heart
will be your refuge
and the way that will lead you to God.”

Our Lady to Sister Lucia dos Santos

St. Irenaeus of Lyon

Irenaeus was born around the year 125 in a province in Asia Minor. He was a brilliant student and well versed in the Holy Scriptures, which led him to serve as a priest under St. Pothinus, the first bishop of a local church.

His fellow clergy thought highly of him, so highly, in fact, that in 177 when the persecution of Catholics in Lyon in France began, they sent him away to Rome because St. Pothinus wanted to preserve him from martyrdom.

Irenaeus returned to Lyon and became a bishop. He remained a bishop for about twenty years, wrote several works against heresy and dedicated his life to evangelizing. He died around the year 202, and is known as one of the most distinguished theologians of his time.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Without anxiety

Let us learn to keep a perfectly even temper,
so important to our spiritual life, and
a harmonious state of mind so that
we may face all situations without anxiety.

St. Joseph Marello

St. Cyril of Alexandria

Cyril was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 376, and was the nephew of Theophilus, the patriarch of the city. When his uncle died in 412, Cyril took his position on the see of Alexandria.  He soon began a series of attacks against the Novatians, a religion started by the antipope Novatian. He closed their churches and drove Jews from the city.

In 428, Cyril discovered that the priest/monk Nestorius, the Archbishop of Alexandria, was preaching heretical theology. Cyril sent the heretic a mild expostulation, but to no avail. Both parties then appealed to Pope St. Clementine, and Cyril was appointed to depose Nestorius. In 431, Cyril presided over the Third General Council at Ephesus, attended by some two hundred bishops, which condemned all the tenets of Nestorius and his followers. However, upon the arrival of Archbishop John of Antioch and forty-two followers who believed Nestorius to be innocent, they held a council of their own and deposed Cyril. Emperor Theodosius II had both Cyril and Nestorius arrested but released Cyril on the arrival of papal legates who confirmed the council's actions against Nestorius and declared Cyril innocent of all charges leveled against him.

Two years later, Archbishop John, representing the moderate Antiochene bishops, and Cyril reached an agreement and issued a joint condemnation, and Nestorius was forced into exile.

Cyril died in 444 at Antioch. He was named a Doctor of the Church in 1882.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Heaven on earth

God is as really present in the consecrated Host
as He is
in the glory of Heaven.

St. Paschal Baylon

St. Anthelm of Belley

Anthelm was born in 1107 near Chambéry, France. He was a good and generous man, but more materialistic than a priest ought to be. His eyes being opened to this spiritual defect while visiting the Charterhouse of Portes, he underwent an interior conversion. Requesting admission to the order, he was vested in the habit of St. Bruno in 1137.

Only two years after joining the order, he became the seventh Prior of the Grande Chartreuse. His growing reputation for wisdom and holiness attracted many to the order, including his own father and brother.

The salutary effect of his influence was also felt during the Schism of 1159 when western Christendom was divided. One group favored the claims of the true pope, Alexander III, the other supported the antipope, "Victor IV.” His work for the papal cause gained him the bishopric of Belley, though the holy man longed for nothing more than a monastic cell.  He fervently, even tearfully, pleaded with the Pope not to appoint him bishop, but to no avail, and in 1163, he was consecrated bishop over the diocese of Belley.

Until his death in 1178 at the age of seventy-two, Anthelm fearlessly reprimanded the clergy for their fallen standards concerning priestly celibacy and labored tirelessly and uncompromisingly for the reform of the clergy.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

10 Reasons Why Homosexual “Marriage” is Harmful and Must be Opposed


1. It Is Not Marriage Calling something marriage does not make it marriage. Marriage has always been a covenant between a man and a woman which is by its nature ordered toward the procreation and education of children and the unity and wellbeing of the spouses.
The promoters of same-sex “marriage” propose something entirely different. They propose the union between two men or two women. This denies the self-evident biological, physiological, and psychological differences between men and women which find their complementarity in marriage. It also denies the specific primary purpose of marriage: the perpetuation of the human race and the raising of children.
Two entirely different things cannot be considered the same thing.

2. It Violates Natural Law
Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It is a relationship rooted in human nature and thus governed by natural law.
Natural law’s most elementary precept is that “good is to be done and pursued, and evil is to be avoided.” By his natural reason, man can perceive what is morally good or bad for him. Thus, he can know the end or purpose of each of his acts and how it is morally wrong to transform the means that help him accomplish an act into the act’s purpose.
Any situation which institutionalizes the circumvention of the purpose of the sexual act violates natural law and the objective norm of morality.
Being rooted in human nature, natural law is universal and immutable. It applies to the entire human race, equally. It commands and forbids consistently, everywhere and always. Saint Paul taught in the Epistle to the Romans that the natural law is inscribed on the heart of every man. (Rom. 2:14-15)

3. It Always Denies a Child Either a Father or a Mother
It is in the child’s best interests that he be raised under the influence of his natural father and mother. This rule is confirmed by the evident difficulties faced by the many children who are orphans or are raised by a single parent, a relative, or a foster parent.
The unfortunate situation of these children will be the norm for all children of a same-sex “marriage.” A child of a same-sex “marriage” will always be deprived of either his natural mother or father. He will necessarily be raised by one party who has no blood relationship with him. He will always be deprived of either a mother or a father role model.
Same-sex “marriage” ignores a child’s best interests.

4. It Validates and Promotes the Homosexual Lifestyle
In the name of the “family,” same-sex “marriage” serves to validate not only such unions but the whole homosexual lifestyle in all its bisexual and transgender variants.
Civil laws are structuring principles of man's life in society. As such, they play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behavior. They externally shape the life of society, but also profoundly modify everyone’s perception and evaluation of forms of behavior.
Legal recognition of same-sex “marriage” would necessarily obscure certain basic moral values, devalue traditional marriage, and weaken public morality.

5. It Turns a Moral Wrong into a Civil Right
Homosexual activists argue that same-sex “marriage” is a civil rights issue similar to the struggle for racial equality in the 1960s.  This is false.
First of all, sexual behavior and race are essentially different realities. A man and a woman wanting to marry may be different in their characteristics: one may be black, the other white; one rich, the other poor; or one tall, the other short. None of these differences are insurmountable obstacles to marriage. The two individuals are still man and woman, and thus the requirements of nature are respected.
Same-sex “marriage” opposes nature. Two individuals of the same sex, regardless of their race, wealth, stature, erudition or fame, will never be able to marry because of an insurmountable biological impossibility.
Secondly, inherited and unchangeable racial traits cannot be compared with non-genetic and changeable behavior. There is simply no analogy between the interracial marriage of a man and a woman and the “marriage” between two individuals of the same sex.

6. It Does Not Create a Family but a Naturally Sterile Union
Traditional marriage is usually so fecund that those who would frustrate its end must do violence to nature to prevent the birth of children by using contraception. It naturally tends to create families.
On the contrary, same-sex “marriage” is intrinsically sterile. If the “spouses” want a child, they must circumvent nature by costly and artificial means or employ surrogates. The natural tendency of such a union is not to create families.
Therefore, we cannot call a same-sex union marriage and give it the benefits of true marriage.

7. It Defeats the State’s Purpose of Benefiting Marriage
One of the main reasons why the State bestows numerous benefits on marriage is that by its very nature and design, marriage provides the normal conditions for a stable, affectionate, and moral atmosphere that is beneficial to the upbringing of children—all fruit of the mutual affection of the parents. This aids in perpetuating the nation and strengthening society, an evident interest of the State.
Homosexual “marriage” does not provide such conditions. Its primary purpose, objectively speaking, is the personal gratification of two individuals whose union is sterile by nature. It is not entitled, therefore, to the protection the State extends to true marriage.

8. It Imposes Its Acceptance on All Society
By legalizing same-sex “marriage,” the State becomes its official and active promoter. The State calls on public officials to officiate at the new civil ceremony, orders public schools to teach its acceptability to children, and punishes any state employee who expresses disapproval.
In the private sphere, objecting parents will see their children exposed more than ever to this new “morality,” businesses offering wedding services will be forced to provide them for same-sex unions, and rental property owners will have to agree to accept same-sex couples as tenants.
In every situation where marriage affects society, the State will expect Christians and all people of good will to betray their consciences by condoning, through silence or act, an attack on the natural order and Christian morality.

9. It Is the Cutting Edge of the Sexual Revolution
In the 1960s, society was pressured to accept all kinds of immoral sexual relationships between men and women. Today we are seeing a new sexual revolution where society is being asked to accept sodomy and same-sex “marriage.”
If homosexual “marriage” is universally accepted as the present step in sexual “freedom,” what logical arguments can be used to stop the next steps of incest, pedophilia, bestiality, and other forms of unnatural behavior? Indeed, radical elements of certain “avant garde” subcultures are already advocating such aberrations.
The railroading of same-sex “marriage” on the American people makes increasingly clear what homosexual activist Paul Varnell wrote in the Chicago Free Press:

"The gay movement, whether we acknowledge it or not, is not a civil rights movement, not even a sexual liberation movement, but a moral revolution aimed at changing people's view of homosexuality."

10. It Offends God
This is the most important reason. Whenever one violates the natural moral order established by God, one sins and offends God. Same-sex “marriage” does just this. Accordingly, anyone who professes to love God must be opposed to it.
Marriage is not the creature of any State. Rather, it was established by God in Paradise for our first parents, Adam and Eve. As we read in the Book of Genesis: “God created man in His image; in the Divine image he created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.’” (Gen. 1:28-29)
The same was taught by Our Savior Jesus Christ: “From the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife.” (Mark 10:6-7).
Genesis also teaches how God punished Sodom and Gomorrah for the sin of homosexuality: “The Lord rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah. He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil.” (Gen. 19:24-25)


By TFP Student Action

Taking a Principled not a Personal Stand
In writing this statement, we have no intention to defame or disparage anyone. We are not moved by personal hatred against any individual. In intellectually opposing individuals or organizations promoting the homosexual agenda, our only intent is the defense of traditional marriage, the family, and the precious remnants of Christian civilization.
As practicing Catholics, we are filled with compassion and pray for those who struggle against unrelenting and violent temptation to homosexual sin. We pray for those who fall into homosexual sin out of human weakness, that God may assist them with His grace.
We are conscious of the enormous difference between these individuals who struggle with their weakness and strive to overcome it and others who transform their sin into a reason for pride and try to impose their lifestyle on society as a whole, in flagrant opposition to traditional Christian morality and natural law. However, we pray for these too.
We pray also for the judges, legislators and government officials who in one way or another take steps that favor homosexuality and same-sex “marriage.” We do not judge their intentions, interior dispositions, or personal motivations.
We reject and condemn any violence. We simply exercise our liberty as children of God (Rom. 8:21) and our constitutional rights to free speech and the candid, unapologetic and unashamed public display of our Catholic faith. We oppose arguments with arguments. To the arguments in favor of homosexuality and same-sex “marriage” we respond with arguments based on right reason, natural law and Divine Revelation.
In a polemical statement like this, it is possible that one or another formulation may be perceived as excessive or ironic. Such is not our intention.

Always

Charity requires us always
to have compassion
on human infirmity.

St. Catherine of Siena

St. William of Vercelli

William was born in 1085 at Vercelli in the Piedmont region of Italy of noble and wealthy parents. When he was still very young, he determined to renounce the world and become a hermit.

He built his first hermitage on Monte Solicoli, and then went to Monte Vergine. Many disciples came to him there, attracted by the sanctity of his life and the many miracles he performed. From among this first group of followers, a community soon formed. William became their Abbot and a church dedicate to Our Lady was built on the site. For this reason, the mountain became known as Monte Vergine or the Mount of the Virgin.

After a while, however, their ardor growing tepid, the monks began to complain that William’s rule was too strict and life too austere. He therefore decided to leave Monte Vergine. He traveled south and founded a new hermitage on Monte Laceno, then others at Basilicata, Conza, Guglietto, and Salerno. He also became an adviser to King Roger I of Naples. William died at Guglietto on June 25, 1142.

The first congregation of Monte Vergine dissolved. The monastery, however, remained and came into the hands of the religious of Our Lady of Monte Cassino, who wear the white habit of St. William in commemoration of the founder of the monastery.

The following extraordinary fact is recorded about the Monte Vergine monastery, where the monks still lead a life of penance and austerity. According to the rule, it is not permitted to eat meat, eggs, milk, or cheese. If someone tried to violate this regulation, storm clouds would appear in the sky and the lightning would destroy the illicit foodstuff that had been brought into the monastery. This happened on many occasions, and always with the same result. It is the way God chose to show that He desires the traditions of penance and austerity of the great St. William to be maintained.

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.

Do you love God?

He who wishes to love God
does not truly love Him
if he has not
an ardent and constant desire
to suffer for His sake.

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

Aloysius was born in the Italian province of Lombardy in 1568, the first-born son of a Marquis and the lady of honor to the Queen of Spain. When he was seven, he experienced a spiritual awakening: he made a vow of perpetual virginity, keeping his eyes downcast in the presence of women to safeguard himself from possible temptation, and dedicated most of his time to prayer, especially the Office of Our Lady.

When he was just eleven years old he fasted in the manner of a monk, eating only bread and water three days a week, practiced austerities and taught poor children the catechism. The next year, he received his First Holy Communion from the hands of the great saint and cardinal, Charles Borromeo.

By age fourteen, Aloysius had resolved to join the Society of Jesus and become a missionary. He was to suffer much from his family's strenuous opposition to this decision, particularly from his father, who hoped Aloysius would join the military. However, he persevered, and his father finally relented.

In 1585, the seventeen-year-old Aloysius was admitted into the Jesuit novitiate in Rome where he took the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience two years later. While the young Gonzaga was ordained a deacon at twenty, he was never to realize his dream of becoming a priest and missionary in this life.

As had been foretold to him in a vision, Aloysius died on the octave of Corpus Christi in 1591 after contracting the plague while caring for the sick in the Jesuit hospital. He was twenty-three years old. He was canonized in 1726 and his relics remain under the altar dedicated to the Jesuit founder in the Church of St. Ignatius in Rome. The virtue that had so marked him in his youth – purity – and which he preached and practiced to a heroic degree during his short life, became the spiritual crown by which he will be forever known.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Miraculous Recovery

I walked into the kitchen and saw my mother hang up the phone, a worried look on her face.

“What is it, Mom?”

“It was your sister. She said one of the ambulance drivers for the medical office she works for is in a deep coma because of a gas leak in his trailer last night.”

“Wow… Will he recover soon?” I asked hopefully.

But as the weeks wore on, the young man failed to give any sign of life, and the doctors began to lose hope. The next time my mother asked after him, the decision had been made to disconnect life support.

Hearing of this decision, I felt a sudden rush of confidence: I remembered America Needs Fatima was launching a national drive to promote the Medal of Our Lady of Graces, a special devotional given to St. Catherine Labouré in an apparition of the Blessed Virgin in 1830. Coined to the exact specifications of Our Lady, so many blessings, graces and miracles have been granted to those who wear it, that it has consequently become known as the “Miraculous Medal.” 

“We need to get a Miraculous Medal to him!”  I told my mother. She enthusiastically agreed. My sister thought it a good idea, and asked a colleague of the sick man to deliver a medal to the hospital to be placed under his pillow (regulations forbade any metal on patients).

As we prayed, and shortly after the devotional was placed under his head, something incredible happened: the comatose began mumbling! The decision to disconnect life support was put on hold.

A few weeks later, the young man was released from the hospital and soon returned to work. He warmly thanked my sister for sending him the devotional and confided in her that he believed the Miraculous Medal saved his life.
By Andrea F. Phillips

What is the reward of faith?

Faith
is to believe what you do not see;
the reward of this faith
is to see what you believe.

St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Silverius

Born in Italy, Silverius was son of Pope Hormisdas, who had been married before becoming one of the higher clergy. He was only a subdeacon, when, upon the death of Pope St. Agapetus in 536, the Ostrogoth King Theodehad of Italy forced him on the Catholic Church. Soon afterwards, Silverius was formally accepted as pope by the Roman clergy.

Silverius soon incurred the wrath of the Empress Theodora. He refused to accept and recognize the heretical Eutychian patriarchs – Anthimus of Constantinople, Severus of Antioch, and Theodosius of Alexandria – who had all been excommunicated and deposed from their episcopal sees by the previous pope. Silverius is said to have remarked that by his signing the letter of refusal to Theodora's imperial request, he was also signing his own death warrant. And so it proved to be.

Theodora had Silverius kidnapped and imprisoned on the island of Ponza, and the empress nominated her supporter, Archdeacon Vigilius, for the papal throne. Vigilius was named pope, but upon taking the position, he ceased to support the Empress’ heresy and became a strong defender of orthodoxy.

In 537, after a reign of just a year, Silverius died of neglect during his imprisonment. He is now recognized as the patron saint of the island of Ponza, where he died.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Keep our hearts open

We should strive to keep our hearts open
to the sufferings and wretchedness of other people,
and pray continually that God may grant us that spirit of compassion
which is truly the spirit of God.

St. Vincent de Paul

St. Romuald

Romuald was born into a noble Italian family in 956. He spent his youth wildly in comfort and laziness. One day, when he was twenty, he saw his father kill another man in a duel. He fled to a monastery in disgust, and he stayed there for three years before deciding to travel, and spending the next thirty years building monasteries and hermitages in Italy.

On one occasion, Romuald was falsely accused of a scandalous crime. The accuser was a young nobleman whom the holy monk had previously rebuked, and Romuald’s fellow monks believed the young rake. Romuald was severely reprimanded, forbidden to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass and excommunicated, an unwarranted sentence which he endured for six months without complaint.

Of the monasteries established by Romuald, the most famous was called Camaldoli. There he developed an order he called “Camaldolese Benedictine,” where he brought together the monastic and hermitical ways of life.

Romuald died on June 19, 1027 at the monastery of Valdi-Castro, which he founded. Eventually, his father too became a monk. He gave up his wealth and followed his son to spend the rest of his life doing penance for his sins.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Forgetting something?

Forget the services
you have rendered to others, but not
those rendered to you.

St. John Bosco

St. Gregory Barbarigo

Gregory Barbarigo was born in 1625, of a very ancient and distinguished Venetian family. A brilliant student, he embraced a diplomatic career and accompanied the Venetian Ambassador, Contarini, to the Congress of Munster in 1648. He was later ordained to the priesthood and became the first Bishop of Bergamo consecrated by Pope Alexander VII. Eventually he became a Cardinal with authority over the diocese of Padua. Through his efforts the seminaries of both Padua and Bergamo were greatly increased.

Gregory worked unceasingly toward the Counter-Reformation – the movement by the Council of Trent as a response to the Protestant Reformation specifying Catholic doctrine on salvation, the sacraments, and the Biblical canon.

Gregory died at Padua of natural causes in 1697. He was canonized in 1960 and his body is buried in the Cathedral of Padua.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The only infallible way to drive out the devil

The devil can be driven out in a thousand ways:
the only infallible way
is through obedience.

St. Joseph Marello

St. Albert Chmielowski

Born on August 20, 1845, Albert belonged to a wealthy, aristocratic Polish family. Involved in politics from a young age, at eighteen he lost his leg during an uprising against Czar Alexander III of Russia.

Albert had a great talent for painting, and eventually became a well-know and rather popular artist. But he soon became aware of the suffering of the poor of the city, and felt compelled to help those in need. He abandoned his art and became a Secular Franciscan to dedicate his life to helping those in need. In 1887, he founded the Brothers of the Third Order of Saint Francis, Servants of the Poor, known as the Albertines or the Gray Brothers. Then, in 1891, he founded a community of Albertine sisters, known as the Gray Sisters. The Albertines organized food and shelter for the poor and homeless of any age or religion, dedicating their good works to God.

Albert died on Christmas Day, 1916.  He was canonized on November 12, 1989 by Pope John Paul II.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Resentment at what is done or said against us

We should blush with shame
to show so much resentment at what is done or said against us,
knowing that so many injuries and affronts
have been offered to our Redeemer and the saints.

St. Teresa of Avila

St. Lutgardis

Born in the Netherlands in 1182, Lutgardis was sent to a Benedictine convent at the age of twelve because her merchant father had lost the money meant for her dowry, and marriage without it seemed unlikely.

She was fond of worldly things, and had no inclination toward a religious life. However, one afternoon she had a vision of Our Lord, Who showed her His sacred wounds and asked her to love Him and Him alone.

Lutgardis immediately renounced all worldly pleasures and became a religious. She often saw Christ while engaged in prayer, and was allowed to share in His sufferings: her forehead and hair were often made wet with drops of blood when she meditated on The Passion.

Desiring to live under a stricter rule, Lutgardis later joined a Cistercian convent at Aywieres. There she spent the final thirty years of her life, becoming known as a mystic with the gifts of healing and prophecy. During the last eleven years prior to her death she was totally blind, an affliction which she treated as an extraordinary gift from God because it reduced the distractions of the outside world.

Before she died, Our Lord appeared to her to warn her of her approaching death, and asked her to prepare for this event in three ways. She was to give praise to God for what she had received, pray constantly for the conversion of sinners and rely in all things on God alone. She died soon after the vision on June 16, 1246.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

You can only take with you a heart enriched

Remember when you leave this earth, you
can take with you nothing that you have received
– only what you have given:
a heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Germaine of Pibrac

Germaine was born in 1579 in Pibrac, a village in southern France. Her mother died soon after her birth, leaving the child in the care of her husband. Germaine’s father, who had no love for her on account of her right hand being paralyzed and deformed, eventually remarried. Her new step-mother was abusive, forcing her to sleep in the stable or in a cupboard under the stairs. She gave the sickly girl scraps and isolated her from her healthier step-siblings.

As soon as she was old enough, she was charged with the care of the family’s flock of sheep. During this time, surrounded by nature as she was, Germaine became closer to God, and attended Mass as often as she could. If she heard the church bells toll for the beginning of Mass, she would plant her crook and her distaff in the ground, commend her flock to her guardian angel and hurry to receive Holy Communion.

When she returned, she would find that though she had left the flock unattended, not one of the sheep in her flock had strayed or fallen prey to the wolves that often lurked nearby.

One winter day, when the ground was still frozen, her step-mother chased her with a stick, accusing her of concealing stolen bread in her apron. But when Germaine let her apron fall, summer flowers tumbled onto the hard ground. Her parents realized the deformed girl had been touched by God, and showing her kindness at last, invited her to live with them in the house. Yet she refused, and continued to live as before until one morning in 1601, she was found dead in the little cupboard under the stairs. She was twenty-two years old.

Germaine was buried in the church of Pibrac. Forty-three years after her death, her body was accidentally exhumed and was found incorrupt and flexible.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

An Empress God-Mother

When Austria was ruled by Emperor Franz Joseph, his Empress, Elizabeth, was legendary for her beauty, and also for her love of the outdoors. She often took trips in the company of her lady-in-waiting, simply dressed so as to remain incognito.
One fine day, when out walking in the Tyrol, in the region of Campiglio, both ladies rested on a bench in the shade of a farmer’s cottage.
They soon observed that the inhabitants of the cottage, while dressed in their holiday best, seemed upset. Elizabeth discretely inquired as to the reason of the uneasiness, to which she received the answer,
“Well, M’am, our baby girl is to be baptized today, but the Godmother has not come…We are at a loss as to what to do…”
“I am a Catholic,” offered Elizabeth, “I would be glad to stand in as Godmother…”
Though simply dressed, Elizabeth’s appearance spelled high-born-lady at a glance, so the good people were pleased to accept.
And so queen and lady-in-waiting followed the family to the local church.
After introduction to the Curate, and explanations, the parents asked the God-mother-to-be her name, so they could name the little girl after her.
“O,” answered the princess evasively, “my name would not be usual in this part of the country, why don’t you give the little one the sweetest amongst all names to a Christian, that of Mary?”
And so “Mary” was the little girl baptized, and after many manifestations of thanks, the party dispersed. Astonished was the gray-haired parish priest when, studying the register closer, he recognized the signature of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria.
And more astonished was the family, when a few days later a liveried lackey delivered a costly gift from the empress to her godchild.
Reference: Based on Anecdotes and Examples for the Catechist by Rev. Francis Spirago

Reject the corruption of the world

The whole essence of a Christian life is
to reject the corruption of the world
and to oppose constantly
any indulgence in it.

Pope Leo XIII

St. Methodius of Constantinople

Born in Sicily in the eighth century, Methodius, well educated and wealthy, hoped to receive a place in the Court of Constantinople. However, influenced by a holy monk, he decided to abandon materialism and become a religious, and built a monastery on the island of Chios.
In 815, during the second outbreak of the iconoclastic persecution, the movement against the veneration of icons, Methodius was sent to Rome as a representative of Patriarch Nicephorus, who was exiled by Emperor Leo V the Armenian for refusing to yield to the imperial decrees on the destruction of icons. The holy man spoke in favor of the reverence for holy images, seeking acceptance and approval for the icons, but he returned to Constantinople unsuccessful.

Methodius returned to Rome in 821 when a new emperor, Theophilius, sat on the throne, hoping to convince him to allow the veneration of icons. Instead, he was scourged and imprisoned for seven years.

In 843 he was consecrated as Patriarch of Constantinople with the backing of the Empress Theodora, Theophilius’ widow, and convened a council. Theodora was an ardent supporter of the veneration of icons and was the reason icons were restored to Catholic churches.

Methodius died in Constantinople in 847 of dropsy, or what is now called edema.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Jesus wishes to use you

Jesus wishes to use you in order to make me known and loved.
He wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world.
I promise salvation to those who embrace it; and
these souls will be beloved of God
like flowers arranged by me to adorn His throne.

Our Lady of Fatima to Lucia dos Santos

St. Anthony of Padua

Anthony was born Fernando Martins in Lisbon, Portugal, in August, 1195. His noble and wealthy family arranged for him to be instructed at the Cathedral school where he was instilled with a deep religious piety. At fifteen, Fernando entered the Augustinian Order at the Abbey of Saint Vincent on the outskirts of Lisbon and there studied theology, Latin and the Holy Scriptures.It was after his ordination to the priesthood that Fernando first came into contact with some Franciscan friars who settled near his monastery. From the beginning, Fernando was strongly attracted to the simple, evangelical lifestyle of the friars. However, it was not until the news came of the first martyrs of their order – five Franciscans beheaded in Morocco – and Fernando saw their mutilated bodies, which had been ransomed, being buried in the Abbey of Santa Cruz, that he obtained permission to leave the Augustinian Order and join the Franciscans, where he received the new name of Anthony. So inspired was he by the martyrs’ example that he set out for Morocco himself, with the hope of becoming a martyr too. However, he fell seriously ill en route and was forced to return to Portugal to regain his health. According to the designs of Divine Providence, on the return voyage, the ship was blown off course and landed in Sicily.

From Sicily he made his way to Tuscany where he was assigned to a convent of the order, but he was later assigned to the rural hermitage of San Paolo near Forlì, Romagna, a choice made after considering his poor health. There he lived in a cell made by one of the friars in a nearby cave and spent his time in private prayer and study.

One day, in 1222, in the town of Forli, on the occasion of an ordination, Anthony was persuaded to be the homilist. So simple and resounding was his teaching of the Catholic Faith that even the most unlettered and innocent might understand it and it made a great impression on all who heard. Not only his rich voice and arresting manner, but the entire theme and substance of his discourse and his moving eloquence, held the attention of his hearers. Everyone was impressed with his knowledge of Scripture, acquired during his years of solitude at the hermitage of Forli.

Anthony was known as the “hammer of the heretics” in Italy. His great protection against their lies and deceits in the matters of Christian doctrine was to utter, simply and innocently, the Holy Name of Mary. Outstanding among the stories of his dealings with the heretics – who would not listen to him as he tried to teach them the truths and joy of the Gospel – is the one which recounts how he became so frustrated one day by their stubbornness that he went out and preached to the fishes, who gathered in droves to listen attentively to his words, poking their heads up out of the water and refusing to leave until they had received the saint’s blessing.

Anthony died in 1231, at the age of thirty-five, and was canonized by Pope Gregory IX less than a year later. He was declared a Doctor of the Church and is especially invoked as the patron saint of lost articles.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

What did Our Lady say at Fatima on June 13th?



Preceding the second apparition, the seers, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, once again saw a great brilliance, which they called lightning. Some people in the group of fifty spectators noticed that the light of the sunlight dimmed during the first few minutes of the conversation. Others said that the top of the budding holm oak bent down, as if under the weight of something. During Our Lady's conversation with the seers, some of the bystanders heard a whispering, like the humming of a bee.

Lucia: What does Your Grace wish of me?
Our Lady: I want you to come here on the thirteenth of next month, to pray the rosary every day, and to learn to read. I shall later say what I want.
(Lucia asked for the healing of a sick person.)
Our Lady: If he converts, he will be healed within the year.
Lucia: I would like to ask you to take us to heaven.
Our Lady: Yes, I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you will remain here for some time yet. Jesus wishes to use you in order to make me known and loved. He wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it; and these souls will be beloved of God like flowers arranged by me to adorn His throne.
Lucia: Will I stay here alone?
Our Lady: No, daughter. Does that make you suffer much? Do not be dismayed. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart shall be your refuge and the road that shall lead you to God.

Lucia writes, ”Upon saying these last words, she opened her hands, and for the second time she communicated to us the reflection of that intense light. We could see ourselves in it, as if immersed in God. Jacinta and Francisco seemed to be in the part of this light that went up toward heaven, and I in the part that was cast toward the ground. In front of Our Lady's right hand there was a heart encircled by thorns that seemed to pierce it. We understood that it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, insulted by the sins of humanity and which desires reparation."
When this vision ceased, the Lady, still surrounded by the light that she radiated, rose from the little tree and glided toward the east until she disappeared completely. Several persons who were closer noticed that the buds at the top of the holm oak were bent in the same direction, as if they had been drawn by the Lady's clothes. They returned to their usual position only some hours later.

There is no problem that cannot be resolved by the Holy Rosary

The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live
has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent
that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is,
whether temporal or above all spiritual,
in the personal life of each one of us, of our families
- that cannot be solved by the Rosary.
There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is,
that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.

Sister Lucia dos Santos

St. Paula Frassinetti

Paula Frassinetti was born in Genoa, Italy into a Catholic family. At nineteen, she left home to live with her brother, who was a priest, to fulfill the call she felt toward a life of servitude to God.
Paula often assisted her brother in teaching poor children at his parish, and soon realized her vocation as an educator. In 1834, she and six other women began a school for the poor, and became known as the Sisters of St. Dorothy. The congregation grew quickly, and the schools eventually spread across Italy, then to Europe and Africa, Asia and onto the Americas, many of which remain open to this day.

Sister Paula Frassinetti died in 1882 and was canonized in 1984 by Pope John Paul II.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The human soul is a field of battle

The field of battle between God and Satan
is the human soul.
This is where it takes place every moment of our lives.
The soul must give free access to our Lord and be completely
fortified by Him with every kind of weapon.
His light must illuminate it to fight the darkness of error.
He must put on Jesus Christ, His truth and justice, the shield of faith,
the word of God to overcome such powerful enemies.
To put on Jesus Christ we must die to ourselves.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

St. Barnabas the Apostle

Though Barnabas, a Jew of Cyprus, was not one of the Twelve chosen by Our Lord, he is still considered an apostle. He was closely involved with the apostles after Pentecost, and was principally responsible for their accepting Paul, who was a recent convert, into their midst.

Barnabas was sent by the disciples to lend a guiding hand to recent evangelization efforts in Antioch. The success in Antioch led to his first official mission trip: the holy man traveled all over, preaching the Gospel to all who would listen, even the Gentiles. Barnabas took Paul with him, and the two continued to evangelize and preach the Gospel together for many years.

Later, when the two apostles decided to revisit their missions, a sharp contention arose between them over whether John Mark should accompany them, and they parted company going their separate ways: Paul with Silas to Asia Minor and Barnabas with John Mark sailing to Cyprus. In the Apostle Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians he indicates that their friendship was unimpaired by this disagreement.

It has been said that Barnabas was stoned to death at Salamis, the Greek city-state near Cyprus in about the year 60.

Friday, June 10, 2016

One of the most admirable effects of Holy Communion

One of the most admirable effects of Holy Communion
is to preserve the soul from sin, and
to help those who fall through weakness to rise again.
It is much more profitable, then, to approach this divine Sacrament
with love, respect, and confidence,
than to remain away
through an excess of fear and scrupulosity.

St. Ignatius Loyola

St. Ithamar of Rochester

We know very little about St. Ithamar, but we do know that he was consecrated to the see of Rochester after the death of St. Paulinius.

He was the first Anglo-Saxon bishop in Britain, but according to the Venerable Bede, his wisdom and piety were equal to that of his predecessors.

In 655, Ithamar consecrated a fellow countryman as the Archbishop of Canterbury. He died just a year later in 656, and many churches were dedicated to him on account of his reputation for miracles.

His relics were enshrined in 1100.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

He will be crowned

Blessed the one who continually
humbles himself willingly; he
will be crowned by the One
who willingly humbled himself for our sake.

St. Ephrem the Syrian

St. Ephrem the Syrian

Ephrem was born about the year 306 in Nisibis in Mesopotamia and is the only Syrian Doctor of the Church. He was a vigorous defender of the Faith, taking it upon himself to expose and combat many false doctrines of his time.

In 350, Ephrem and other Christians were forced to flee their homes when the Persians attacked their city. The holy deacon retired to a cave in a rocky height overlooking Edessa and lived most austerely until his death in 373.

Ephrem is known as the “Harp of the Holy Spirit” because he was a great poet and composer of holy songs. It has been said that Ephrem prayed to Our Lord to “stop the flow of inspiration” because he could not work fast enough to pen all the compositions in his head.

“St. Ephrem’s Prayer” is considered to be the Lenten prayer par excellence in the Byzantine Rite tradition as it succinctly summarizes the true spirit of Great Lent:
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle talk.
But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity (integrity), humility, patience and love.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brother.
For blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Also called “the zither of Mary,” Ephrem wrote most of his compositions in his cave above Edessa, dedicating many of them to Our Lady, to whom he had a great devotion. He is credited with bringing song into the offering of the Holy Liturgy of the Mass

Pope Benedict XV proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church in 1920.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Irresistable Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus




O my Jesus who didst say: “Indeed I say to you, ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.” Here I am, knocking, seeking, and asking the grace (mention your request).
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be…Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,I place all my trust in Thee.
 
O my Jesus who didst say: “Indeed I say to you, whatever you shall ask the Father in My name, it shall be granted to you.” Here I am, asking Thy Father in Thy name for the grace (mention your request).
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be…
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee.

O my Jesus who didst say: “Indeed I say to you, heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass.” Here I am, and supporting myself on the infallibility of Thy words, I ask Thee the grace (mention your request).
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be…
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee.

Prayer:
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom only one thing is impossible and that is not to feel compassion for the wretched, have pity on us, miserable sinners, and grant us the grace which we ask Thee through the Immaculate Heart of She who is Thy tender Mother and also ours. Hail Holy Queen…  
Saint Joseph foster father of Jesus, pray for us.



Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to Families
Who Honor His Most Sacred Heart:

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
  2. I will establish peace in their families.
  3. I will bless every house in which a picture of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
  4. I will console them in all their difficulties.
  5. I will be their refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
  6. I will shed abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
  7. Sinners shall find in My Heart a fountain and boundless ocean of mercy.
  8. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
  9. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
  10. I will give to priests the power of touching the hardest hearts.
  11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
  12. I promise thee, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all who communicate on the first Friday of the month for nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My displeasure nor without the sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.



Memorare:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Know you not?

“Know you not
that you are the temple of God, and
that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
(1 Corinthians 3:16)

St. Paul the Apostle

St. William of York

William, Archbishop of York, is a rather intriguing saint due to the conflicts surrounding his “on again, off again” reign as archbishop, due in part to its timing. It was during a period of great civil unrest in England known as the Anarchy (1135-54) when the armies of the two cousins – Stephen of Blois and Empress Matilda – were fighting each other for the English crown. William was the nephew of Stephen of Blois, which launched his ecclesiastical career right into the middle of the political conflict.

William was the unusually young treasurer of York Minster prior to his election as Archbishop of the diocese in 1141; but, even though he was elected by majority vote and with the support of Stephen, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Theobald of Bec, who stood behind Empress Matilda on the other side of the political chasm, refused to recognize the canonical election and would not consecrate William. Indignant, Stephen authorized his brother, also William’s uncle, Archbishop Henry of Winchester, to consecrate him…without waiting for papal approval. Despite this, the clergy and people of York loved their new bishop for they saw in him a man of deep and intense piety, personal austerity, kindheartedness, and devoted generosity, especially towards the poor.

However, the Cistercians of Yorkshire, who had supported Henry Murdac, the Cistercian Abbot of Fountains Abbey, in the election, with the support and help of the renowned St. Bernard of Clairvaux, succeeded in accusing him of simony, sins against chastity, and intrusion, resulting in his deposition by Pope Eugenius III (also a Cistercian) and the corresponding appointment of Henry Murdac to head the diocese in William's place. However, the clergy of York refused to admit Murdac into the city and he was forced to withdraw and retire to Beverley for the remainder of his days. He died in 1147.

From this time until 1153, William took refuge with his friend the King of Sicily, where he lived a very austere life as a monk. By this time, the opponents to his election had died and the civil war in England had ended, and William appealed to the new pope, Anastasius IV, to restore him to his office. The Pope concurred and conferred on William the papal pallium. Thus, Archbishop William reentered his diocese in April, 1154, to the accompaniment of such a mass of exuberant supporters that the bridge over the Ouse collapsed under the weight. That no one was killed in the accident is considered a miracle.

Sadly, he was hardly back in office a month, before he died on June 8th, 1154, allegedly from his chalice being poisoned during Mass. He was canonized in 1227, by Pope Honorius III due to the large number of miracles reported at his tomb.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Power of a Single Hail Mary*

One day, when Saint Mechtilde was praying and trying to think of some way in which she could express her love of the Blessed Mother better than she had done before, she fell into ecstasy.
Our Lady appeared to her with the Angelic Salutation in flaming letters of gold upon her bosom and said to the saint, “My daughter, I want you to know that no one can please me more than by saying the salutation, which the Most Adorable Trinity sent to me and by which He raised me to the dignity of Mother of God.
“By the word Ave, which is the name for Eve, I learned that in His infinite power God had preserved me from all sin and its attendant misery that Eve had been subject to.
“The name Mary, which means ‘lady of light,’ shows that God has filled me with wisdom and light, like a shining star, to light up heaven and Earth.
“The words full of grace remind me that the Holy Spirit has showered so many graces upon me that I am able to give these graces in abundance to those who ask for them through me as Mediatrix.
“When people say The Lord is with thee, they renew the indescribable joy that was mine when the Eternal Word became incarnate in my womb.
“When you say to me blessed art thou among women, I praise Almighty God’s divine mercy, which lifted me to this exalted plane of happiness.
“And at the words blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, the whole of heaven rejoices with me to see my Son Jesus Christ adored and glorified for having saved mankind.”
*Adapted from Saint Louis de Montfort’s The Secret of the Rosary (Montfort Publications, Bay Shore, N.Y., 1954), 44–45.

My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge

I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart
that my all-powerful love will grant to all those
who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays of nine consecutive months
the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace,
nor without receiving the sacraments.
My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

St. Anthony Gianelli

Anthony Maria Gianelli was born in 1789 into a middle-class family living near Genoa in the north of Italy. As a child, people were often struck by his gentle nature, industriousness, and extraordinary intelligence. When he came of age, the lady who owned the farm his family lived on became his generous benefactress and financed his schooling and entry into the ecclesiastical seminary in Genoa.

He quickly distinguished himself by his virtue and exceptional eloquence, thus earning him the unusual privilege of being allowed to preach while still a subdeacon. In 1812, when he was twenty-three years old, he was granted special dispensation to be ordained a priest two years before the required canonical age.

Although Fr. Anthony was dedicated to his educational work, he also devoted himself to the work of preaching and hosting missions which resulted in a great harvest of souls. All this was in addition to all his ordinary duties and functions as a parish priest – indeed, he was often confined to his confessional for long stretches of time in order to accommodate the endless stream of penitents who flocked to him for spiritual aid. He was ordained a bishop in 1838 and appointed to the diocese of Bibbio, where he led his flock by his extraordinary example of virtue, prudence and firm government.

Before his death from a fever in 1846, at the age of fifty-seven, Bishop Gianelli founded three religious orders - two for men and one for women. The Missionaries of St. Alphonsus and the Oblates of St. Alphonsus were established in 1827-1828; but sadly, both lasted only twenty years. The Sisters of Our Lady of the Garden were founded in 1829 and dedicated their lives to teaching poor children and caring for the ill and infirm. They are still active and well known today in Italy and in other parts of the world as well.

Anthony Gianelli was canonized in 1951 by Pope Pius XII.