Friday, March 22, 2019

The key to Heaven

Holiness without suffering is just a dream.
The Cross is the key to Heaven.

St. Magdalena of Canossa

St. Nicholas Owen

Perhaps no single person did more for the preservation of the Catholic Faith when its practice was forbidden in England than Nicholas Owen.

A “diminutive man” according to one report, and called “Little John” on that account, Nicholas Owen was possibly a builder by trade. He worked for eighteen years with the clandestine Jesuit missionaries Fathers Henry Garnet and John Gerard and built expertly concealed hiding places for priests and Catholic fugitives.

In an age of license, Nicholas led a singularly innocent life, untainted by the allurements of the world. His confessor affirms that he preserved his baptismal innocence unto death.

Every time Nicholas was about to design a hiding place, he began the work by receiving the Holy Eucharist, accompanied the project by continuous prayer and offered the completion of the work to God alone. No wonder his hiding places were nearly impossible to discover.

After working in this fashion for some years, he was received into the Society of Jesus by Father Garnet as one of England’s first lay brothers. For reasons of concealment, his association with the Jesuits was kept a secret.

He was arrested with Father John Gerard on St. George’s day in 1584. Despite terrible torture, he never revealed the least information about the whereabouts of other Catholics. He was released on a ransom paid by a Catholic gentleman, as his services in contriving hiding places were indispensable.

The unique and successful escape of Father Gerard from the Tower of London was most certainly planned by Owen, although the escape itself was carried out by two others.

Finally, on January 27, 1606, after a faithful service of twenty years, Nicholas Owen fell once more into the hands of his enemies. Closely pursued by government officials, he and three other Jesuits successfully avoided detection for eight days, hidden in a couple of priest holes at Hindlip Hall in Worcester- shire. Concealed in the two small cramped spaces in which they could neither stand upright nor stretch their legs, they received nourishment through small drinking straws hidden in the building’s own structure. Attempting to protect the two priests by drawing attention to himself, Owen left his hiding place first. His fellow lay brother was arrested with him as soon as he emerged from hiding; Fathers Garnet and Oldcorne were seized soon after.

His enemies exulted when they realized they finally had their hands on the great builder of hiding places. Father Gerard wrote of him: "I verily think no man can be said to have done more good of all those who labored in the English vineyard. He was the immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds of persons, both ecclesiastical and secular.”

Brother Nicholas was hung upon a wall; during “interrogation” periods, iron gauntlets were fastened about his wrists from which he hung for hours on end, day after day. When this torture proved insufficient to make him talk, weights were added to his feet. Finally, the pressure caused his entrails to burst forth, causing his death. He revealed nothing.
First Photo by: Quodvultdeus
 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Why temptation?

Virtue is nothing
without the trial of temptation, for
there is no conflict without an enemy,
no victory without strife.

Pope St. Leo the Great

St. Enda of Aran

In the land evangelized by St. Patrick, there emerged in subsequent centuries a number of saints, who by the sanctity of their lives firmly established Christianity in Ireland. Among these is to be numbered the great St. Enda of Aran.

Enda was born in the sixth century to Oriel of Ulster, son of Conall Derg of Ergall, to whose principality he succeeded upon his death. One of his sisters was married to Oengus the king of Munster; another, the holy Fanchea, was abbess of a monastery. It was the pious exhortations of the latter that compelled him to leave the world and embrace the monastic life. He embarked on a pilgrimage to Rome to venerate the relics of the Apostles and was there ordained a priest.

Upon his return to Ireland, he built a church in Drogheda along the River Boyne and founded a religious community. From his brother-in-law, King Oengus of Munster, he obtained the grant of the wild and barren isle of Aran (Aranmore) in the Bay of Galway, where he founded the famous Monastery of Killeaney. Such was the fame acquired by this monastery and its abbot, that the island was called “Aran of the Saints”. Many of the great Irish saints had some connection with Aran and St. Enda: St. Brendan the Voyager, St. Kiaran of Clonmacnoise, St. Columba of Iona, St. Finnian of Clonard and others. So numerous were the pilgrims to Aran that St. Columba called it “The Rome of Pilgrims”.

Enda divided the island into ten parts, in each of which he built a monastery and over which he set superiors. His monastic settlement was known for its austerity, holiness and learning, and became a burning light of sanctity for centuries in Western Europe.

This father of Irish monasticism died in advanced old age and was buried on Aran Mor.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Pure love of neighbor

He alone loves the Creator perfectly
who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.

St. Bede the Venerable

St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne

Orphaned early in life, Cuthbert was brought up by a widow who loved him like a son. According to St. Bede, he was a Briton. One night, while working as a shepherd, he had a marvelous vision of angels carrying the soul of St. Aidan to heaven. This occurrence seems to have impressed him deeply, though he went on to soldiering and possibly fought against the Mercians.

It was as a soldier that he knocked at the gate of Melrose Abbey. As a monk, he went on to become prior of the abbeys of Melrose and Lindisfarne. After some years at Lindisfarne, wishing to grow even closer to God, he retired as a hermit first to Holy Island, today named after him, and then to an even more remote location among the Farne Islands. Still, people persisted in following him even to this isolated place, and he graciously built a guest house near the landing stage of the isle to accommodate them.

Illustrations taken from the Venerable St. Bede’s Life of Cuthbert
Later, at the insistence of the Abbess St. Elfleda, a daughter of King Oswiu, he reluctantly accepted a bishopric and was consecrated Bishop of Lindisfarne. The two years of his episcopate were spent visiting his diocese preaching, teaching, distributing alms and working so many miraculous cures that during his lifetime he was known as the Wonderworker of Britain.

Weakened by his labors and austerities, Cuthbert sensed death approaching and again retired to his beloved retreat in the Farne Islands. He received the last sacraments and died peacefully, seated, his hands uplifted and his eyes raised heavenward. The Venerable St. Bede also records in his life of the saint that when Cuthbert's sarcophagus was opened nine years after his death, his body was found to have been perfectly preserved or incorrupt.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Why St. Joseph is the terror of demons (Feast: March 19)


Header-Why St Joseph is the Terror of Demons

Although detailed accounts of St. Joseph's life remains scarce, we learn from Scriptures and Sacred Tradition about his unshakeable faith, his assiduous perseverance, his admirable purity and his exceptional humility. The Church, in her wisdom, left the faithful with a legacy of a series of beautiful invocations in his honor called the Litany of St. Joseph. The vivid appellations found therein draw us closer to the saint and remind us of his many virtues. We find a particularly intriguing invocation full of meaning and truth, "Terror of Demons." Now, one wonders why?

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A Noble Vocation

Given the grandeur of his vocation – the protection, sustenance and care of the Blessed Mother and Our Lord Jesus Christ as head of the Holy Family - we can expect that God also endowed him with an equally proportional grace to carry out such a lofty mission in life. And certainly we can picture him as a sublime icon of manliness and a pillar of strength that would sow terrible fear among the powers of darkness given the noble task under his watch.

Commitment to Purity
In the writings of the venerable Mary of Agreda detailed in the City of God, we read that St. Joseph was a native of Nazareth, was of comely figure and agreeable countenance, very modest and incomparably genteel in appearance. He was related to the Blessed Virgin in the third degree, made a vow of perpetual chastity at age twelve, renewed and kept it in marriage much to the delight and joy of the Most Holy Virgin who vowed the same. He was thirty-three years old at that time.
It is beautiful to note here that when the holy priest Simeon gathered all the young men of Jerusalem from the house of David at the temple to choose who would be the rightful spouse of Our Lady, he was inspired by God to give each man a dry rod. After a period of prayer asking for the manifestation of the Divine Will, pure white lilies - the symbol of purity - blossomed from St. Joseph's staff and a white dove, most pure and brilliant, hovered over his head giving Simeon the sign that he was the chosen one.
Hence, St. Joseph is the epitome of a pure man: pure in thought, pure in heart; pure in body and soul – destined to be the most chaste spouse of Mary Most Holy conceived without sin. In face of such sublime purity and holiness, it would not be farfetched to believe that the ugly, filthy infernal spirits would cower in petrified fear in his presence.

The success of Christ's mission depended on St. Joseph
And in his hands lay the unenviable yet most exalted duty of protecting the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the pinnacle of all creation. God became Man to redeem mankind and to endow it with the most perfect and ultimate gift of Eternal Life through His Sacred Body and Blood. To fulfill His Divine mission, God the Father deigned to entrust His Son to the paternal care of St. Joseph. What a formidable and powerful man St. Joseph must have been!
We can certainly attribute this plan to God's Eternal Wisdom which has predestined us for Eternal Life through His Son. For this holy cause, He granted His Son to be born of a most pure Mother unblemished by the stain of Original Sin. And to ensure and preserve the integrity of that Immaculate Mother, He betrothed her to a beloved and most chaste spouse: Joseph.

Protector of the Church
And as the protector and guardian of Our Lord and Our Lady, St. Joseph is also invoked as the Patron of the Universal Church in apt recognition of his prowess and fortitude. The Catholic Church, born from the water that gushed forth from Jesus' side, and nurtured by the maternal love of Our Lady, sought comfort and protection from the snares and malice of Satan and his followers in the hands of St. Joseph, indeed, the terror of demons!. In recognition of this special place, Holy Mother Church honors him with the highest veneration called protodulia, higher than any given to angels and saints except for Mary who receives a special veneration called hyperdulia.

Patron of a Good Death
While Our Lady enjoyed the most singular privilege of perfect beauty of complexion and form even when she reached the age of seventy by virtue of her sinless body, God denied this favor to St. Joseph. Thus, he suffered bodily deterioration, pain and suffering with advancing age. Ultimately, he ceased from working and accepted his fate with resignation. Henceforth, he gave himself up entirely to the contemplation of the mysteries of which he was the depositary, and to the heroic practice of virtues.
Sacred Tradition tells us that Our Lord and Our Lady assisted him in his dying moments and his death was surpassed in holiness by no other saint – save by Jesus and Mary. By virtue of this, St. Joseph came to be known as the Patron of the Dying. Through the ages, the Catholic faithful lovingly prayed to him for the grace of a good and holy death. St. Joseph died at the age of sixty years.

Signal Graces obtained through St. Joseph's intercession
Finally, again citing Mary of Agreda's City of God, we learn the following consoling revelations:
•    "First, those who invoke him shall obtain from God, by his intercession, the gift of chastity, and shall not be conquered by the temptation of the senses;
•    Secondly, they shall receive particular graces to deliver them from sin;
•    Thirdly, they shall obtain a true devotion to the Blessed Virgin;
•    Fourthly, they shall have a good and happy death, and in that all-decisive moment be defended against the assaults of Satan;
•    Fifthly, they shall be delivered when expedient for them, from bodily sufferings, and shall find help in their afflictions;
•    Sixthly, if married, they shall be blessed with offspring;
•    Seventhly, the demons shall have extreme dread of the glorious name of St. Joseph.
With so many graces to be obtained through his powerful intercession, let us not tarry nor hesitate in asking humbly for the protection and aid of dear St. Joseph, Terror of demons!



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When sinners come to Jesus

When sinners come to Him, Jesus hurries to meet them.
Like the father of the prodigal son,
He is waiting for the return of the ungrateful ones.
Like the good shepherd, He seeks after the lost sheep; and
when He finds it, He places it on His divine shoulders and
restores it to the fold.

The Book of Confidence – Fr. Thomas de Saint-Laurent

St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

As a direct descendant of King David, Joseph was of royal lineage. Although of noble birth and ancestry, this heir of the throne of David was circumstantially poor and a carpenter by trade.

Chosen by God as the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the protector of her honor, Joseph respected her vow of virginity as evidenced in the Virgin’s response to the Archangel Gabriel when he announced that she was to bear a son, “How shall this be done, because I know not man?”(Luke 1:34)

Though the Gospels reveal little about Joseph, the simple eulogy of the Holy Scriptures, “being a just man,” (Matt. 1:19) encompasses his greatness.

It was this “just man” who perceiving the expectant state of his wife, and knowing not the origin, trusting in her holiness against the evidence of his eyes, refused to denounce her. God rewarded his heroic faith: an angel appeared to Joseph in the night and revealed to him that his holy spouse had conceived “the expectation of nations” (Gen. 49:10) by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We next read of this “just man,” now in the role of protector of both the mother and the divine Son in Bethlehem, looking for suitable lodgings for the birth of the incarnate Word, and being systematically refused. We read of him offering two turtle doves, again evidence of his poverty, as a ransom for the Child at the Temple. Then, again, an angel appears in his dream and warns him of the envy of King Herod. Immediately taking to the dusty road, this “just man” braves the frightful desert on foot, leading a donkey bearing the Creator of the Universe and His mother to safety in Egypt.

Though there is no scriptural record of Saint Joseph’s death, we know he was absent at Jesus’ crucifixion, which points to his having died before.

The Roman Martyrology commemorates March 19 as the feast of St. Joseph.  Blessed Pope Pius IX, acceding to the universal desire and prayers of the Catholic world declared the holy patriarch Patron of the Universal Church. It is only fitting that he who protected the mother and the Son, also protect the bride.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Three reasons to work

The first end I propose in our daily work is
to do the will of God;
secondly, to do it in the manner He wills it; and
thirdly to do it because it is His will.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Though Cyril’s birthplace is unknown, he was certainly brought up in Jerusalem. His parents, very probably Christians, gave him an excellent education.

St. Jerome relates that Cyril was ordained to the priesthood by St. Maximus, the Bishop of Jerusalem, who thought so highly of Cyril's teaching that he was charged with the important duty of instructing the catechumens. Nineteen of these catechetical discourses, delivered without a book, have come down to us. These are invaluable as an exposition of the teaching and ritual of the Church in the fourth century.

Upon the death of St. Maximus, Cyril was elected to his episcopal see. Not long after his consecration as Bishop of Jerusalem, however, misunderstandings arose between Cyril and Bishop Acacius because of the latter’s leanings to Arianism – a heresy that denied the divinity of Christ. He was summoned before a council convened by Acacius but refused to appear. Accused of rebellion, and of distributing Church goods to the poor – which he justifiably did – Cyril entered a crucible of suffering through persecution.

His life as bishop was plagued with charges by the Arians and consequent exiles by Arian-supporting emperors. Sixteen of the thirty-five years of his episcopate were spent in exile. With the accession of Emperor Theodosius he was recalled and ruled undisturbed for the last eight years of his life.

Cyril participated in the great Council of Constantinople, when the Nicene Creed was promulgated in its amended form. He is thought to have died in 386 around the age of seventy. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1882.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

A Bargain with Our Lady


In the city of Doul, in France, lived a young cavalier named Ansaldo. This gentleman was trained in the arts of horsemanship and battle. As was common for those in Ansaldo’s line of work, he received a battle wound from an arrow, which entered so deep into the jaw-bone, that it was not possible to extract the iron.
After four years of suffering in this way, the afflicted man could endure the pain no longer. His affliction had made him very ill, a shadow of his former robust self. He thought he would again try to have the iron extracted. But before doing so, this time he decided to make a bargain with the Blessed Virgin.
From his sick bed, Ansaldo implored the Mother of God to heal his jaw and restore his health to him. In exchange for this great grace, he vowed to visit a sacred image of her in the city of Doul every year, and make an offering of a certain sum of money upon her altar if she granted this request.
He had no sooner made the vow than the iron, without being touched, fell out of his jaw and into his mouth.
The next day, ill as he was, he went to visit the sacred image. With a great deal of effort, the weakened, but hopeful man placed the promised gift upon the altar.
Immediately, he felt himself entirely restored to health.
Amazed by the quick maternal response of Mary Most Holy, Andsaldo never forgot his vow and returned every year to honor his part of their bargain.
From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

How much does Our Lady love us?

Our Lady of Mercy!
It is thus that the faithful people call upon Our Lady when they contemplate her seated
with the divine corpse of her Son on her lap.
Mercy, because her whole being is nothing but compassion:
compassion for her Son, and compassion for her children, because she has not only one son.
His Mother became the Mother of all men, and she has compassion
not only on her Son, but also on her children.
She sees our pains, our sufferings and our struggles. She smiles upon us in danger;
she weeps with us in sorrow. She relieves our sadness and sanctifies our joy.
Proper to the heart of a mother is the intimate participation in everything that stirs the hearts of her children.
Our Lady is our Mother.
She loves each of us individually even the most miserable and sinful  much more
than the combined love of all the mothers of the world.

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

St. Patrick of Ireland


Patrick of Irish fame was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland in 387 to Christian parents of means and position. At the age of sixteen Patrick was abducted and sold into slavery. In Ireland he worked as a shepherd in the service of the chieftain Milchu of Dalriada, who was also a Druid high priest. Alone with the sheep, young Patrick developed a deep prayer life. Referring to this period of his life in his “Confessio” he writes: “… and the faith grew in me, and the spirit was roused …”

Patrick became acquainted with the Celtic language, and with the ways of the Druids, a knowledge that was to be crucial to his effectiveness in ridding Ireland of pagan Druidism.

Led by an angel, after six years Patrick fled captivity, walked 200 miles to the sea and boarded a ship, ultimately returning to his people.  They begged him to remain, but Patrick felt the call to dedicate his life to God. He spent time in the monastery of St. Martin de Tours and on the island sanctuary of Lérins and was ordained a priest by his mentor, the great St. Germain.

But the “voices” of Ireland called out to Patrick to return. Commended to Pope St. Celestine by St. Germain, Patrick received the commission to bring the green isle into the fold of Christ.

Returning to Ireland, Patrick proceeded to win over the pagan chieftains, druids and ultimately the king by his daring, meekness, miracles and inspired teaching. The tradition of a three-leafed shamrock originated in  the fact that he held the shamrock up before the Irish chieftains as he explained the doctrine of the Holy Trinity of three divine Persons in one God.

Before the apostle’s faith, ardent fervor and miracles, druid magic melted away and druid strongholds succumbed. As Patrick and his companions announced the glad tidings of Redemption, Ireland was cloaked in the green mantle of new hope and faith.

After wrestling with paganism, Patrick wrestled with God in prayer and penance, obtaining from Him great blessings for Ireland and was granted to be the judge of Ireland on the Last Day. Before his death, he was also granted a vision in which he saw the light of the Catholic faith shining in Ireland for many centuries, then dimming to the point of only prevailing in certain areas, then growing and glowing again.

Patrick died on March 17 having spent forty years in preaching the Gospel in Ireland.
First Photo by: Andreas F. Borchert
Shamrock Emblem by: Setanta Saki

Saturday, March 16, 2019

St. Patrick's Breastplate (Feast: March 17)


St Patrick's Breast-Plate
The beautiful prayer of St. Patrick, popularly known as "St. Patrick's Breastplate", is supposedto have been composed by him in 433 A.D. in preparation for his victory over Paganism.

St Patrick's Breastplate Card St Patrick's Day Card 1 St Patricks Day Card 2
Click on above cards to print


The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
 Shamrock/Clover
I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself todayGod's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.
Shamrock/Clover 
I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me todayAgainst every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
Shamrock/Clover




Only the first step is painful

On the Way of the Cross, you see, my children,
only the first step is painful.
Our greatest cross is the fear of crosses …
We have not the courage to carry our cross, and we are very much mistaken;
for, whatever we do,
the cross holds us tight  we cannot escape from it.
What, then, have we to lose?
Why not love our crosses, and
make use of them to take us to heaven?

St. John Vianney

St. Abraham Kidunaia

Abraham was born near Edessa in Mesopotamia, in present-day Iraq, into an extremely wealthy family. Though he preferred the celibate life, his parents chose a bride for him but on the seventh day of the customary festivities preceding the marriage, Abraham disappeared.

After searching for seventeen days the family found the fugitive groom in the desert, leading a life of intense prayer. Oblivious to threats and entreaties, he built a cell and walled himself in with only an orifice through which food could be passed. After his parents’ death, Abraham commissioned a friend to distribute his wealth among the poor.

As people began to flock to Abraham for council and guidance, the Bishop of Edessa ordained him a priest against his humble protests. He then asked him to leave his hermitage to preach to the nearby colony of Beth-Kiduna, a seat of idolaters who had resisted every attempt at evangelization.

Reluctant but obedient, the hermit settled in Beth-Kiduna where he built a church and, after earnest prayer, set out to destroy pagan altars and topple idols. Needless to say, the infuriated villagers beat him and expelled him from their midst. In the morning he was back praying in his church and from there went out to harangue the people urging them to give up their superstitions and abominations. This time he was stoned and left for dead, but recovering, again returned and bearing insults, isolation and mistreatment, he persevered.

After three years, the inhabitants of Beth-Kiduna realized that there was something to this man’s meekness and patience, and began to listen to him.  After baptizing and confirming the many converts in the region, Abraham passed his apostolic work onto another and returned to the desert where he lived for many years until his death at the age of seventy.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

About the Rosary

Header-Quotes about the Rosary

“Continue to pray the Rosary every day.”
Our Lady of Fatima to Sister Lucia

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“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, Fatima seer

“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.”
Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche

“Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.”
Pope Blessed Pius IX

“If you persevere in reciting the Rosary, this will be a most probable sign of your eternal salvation.”
Blessed Alan de la Roche

“The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary.”
Saint Francis de Sales

“When the Holy Rosary is said well, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious than any other prayer.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“The Holy Rosary is the storehouse of countless blessing.”
Blessed Alan de la Roche

“One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.”
Saint Dominic

“If you say the Rosary faithfully unto death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins, ‘you will receive a never-fading crown of glory’ (1 St. Peter 5:4).”
Saint Louis de Montfort

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“You must know that when you ‘hail’ Mary, she immediately greets you! Don’t think that she is one of those rude women of whom there are so many—on the contrary, she is utterly courteous and pleasant. If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you!”
Saint Bernardine of Siena

"Recite your Rosary with faith, with humility, with confidence, and with perseverance.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.”
Pope Saint Pius X

“Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practice black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if—and mark well what I say—if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“When you say your Rosary, the angels rejoice, the Blessed Trinity delights in it, my Son finds joy in it too, and I myself am happier than you can possibly guess. After the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, there is nothing in the Church that I love as much as the Rosary.” 
Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche

“‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!’ No creature has ever said anything that was more pleasing to me, nor will anyone ever be able to find or say to me anything that pleases me more.”
Our Lady to Saint Mechtilde

“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic or be led astray by the devil.”
Saint Louis de Montfort


Rosary Guide Booklet




Your actions speak

Actions speak louder than words.
Let your words teach
and your actions speak.

St. Anthony of Padua

St. Leobinus of Chartres

Lubin’s parents were peasants from the region of Poitiers in France. As a young boy, Lubin had an aptitude for learning and applied to a monastery where he was employed in menial tasks. His work occupied him the entire day, and he was obliged to do most of his studying at night, screening his candle as best he could. The monks complained that the light disturbed their slumbers, but by much humility and perseverance Lubin advanced in knowledge.

He eventually joined the monastery and, probably at the suggestion of St. Carilef, for a time lived as a hermit under the guidance of St. Avitus. Later, after some misadventures, he settled in an abbey near Lyons, remaining for five years.

In a war between the Franks and the Burgundians this monastery was raided and all the monks fled with the exception of Lubin and an old monk. The enemy, unable to extort from Lubin the location of the monastery’s "treasure", tortured him by first strangling him with a rope and then by tying his feet and dipping him, head first, into the river. Left for dead, he recovered, and was received in the monastery of Le Perche.

Bishop Aetherius of Chartres nominated Lubin the Abbot of Brou and had him ordained to the priesthood. His responsibility as abbot weighed so heavily upon him that he begged – although in vain – to be relieved of it. Instead, upon the death of the bishop, he was elevated and consecrated in his place. He brought about various reforms and became renowned for his miracles. Lubin participated in the Fifth Council of Orleans and in the Second Council of Paris, and died on March 14, about the year 558, after a long illness.
Photo by: Chatsam

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

How mothers prepare us for heaven

Someone who in the first stages of life
experienced the joy of having a good mother
understands that life on earth can be very difficult,
but as long as he remembers his mother,
he will retain the paradisiacal remembrance of his infancy.
And retaining this remembrance, the person
maintains hope in the Celestial Paradise.

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

St. Euphrasia

Euphrasia’s father, Antigonus, was a kinsman of the Emperor Theodosius I, and her mother, also named Euphrasia, was of an equally exalted station.

Both parents were as virtuous as they were socially privileged and wealthy. When Antigonus died a year after Euphrasia’s birth, the emperor took the widow and child under his protection. At five years of age, Euphrasia was promised in marriage by Emperor Theodosius to the son of a wealthy senator.

When the young widow herself began to be sought in marriage, she took her child and moved to Egypt to live near a monastery of nuns known for their holiness and austerity.  At age seven, feeling drawn to religious life, the little girl begged to be allowed to join the religious. Delighted, the mother cautiously allowed her a time in the monastery, but realizing that her daughter, despite her youth, was in dead earnest, the widow entrusted her child to the motherly care of the abbess. Soon after, feeling herself close to death, Euphrasia counseled her daughter: "Fear God, honor your sisters, and serve them with humility. Never think of what you have been, nor say to yourself that you are of royal extraction. Be humble and poor on earth, that you may be rich in heaven.”

And, in fact, young Euphrasia edified her sisters by her astounding meekness and humility. Once, being tempted by all the things and honors she had left, her superior had her move a great pile of stones, at which task she persevered for thirty days, conquering her temptation.
Upon the death of her mother, and Euphrasia having reached a marriageable age, the emperor pressed his claim requesting her return to court. But she sent him the following reply written in her own hand: “Invincible emperor, having consecrated myself to Christ in perpetual chastity, I cannot be false to my engagement, and marry a mortal man, who will shortly be the food of worms. For the sake of my parents, be pleased to distribute their estates among the poor, the orphans, and the church. Set all my slaves at liberty, and discharge my vassals and servants, giving them whatever is their due. Order my father’s stewards to acquit my farmers of all they owe since his death that I may serve God without let or hindrance, and may stand before him without the solicitude of temporal affairs. Pray for me, you and your empress, that I may be made worthy to serve Christ.” The emperor shed many tears upon reading Euphrasia’s reply, as did those senators who were present. Overcome, one of them exclaimed in admiration: “She is the worthy daughter of Antigonus and Euphrasia, of your royal blood, and the holy off-spring of a virtuous stock.” Shortly before his own death in 395, the emperor fulfilled all as she had desired.

Euphrasia died at age thirty and was favored with the gift of miracles before her death.

The Power of Prayer


Have you ever felt the urge to pray for someone and thought, “I’ll pray for him or her later”?
This story will show you how real these urges can be.
A missionary on furlough in Michigan told this true story to the congregation at his home church. While in Africa, he served in a small field hospital. Every two weeks he travelled to a certain city for medicines and supplies, and since it was a two-day journey through the jungle on his bicycle, he camped overnight at the halfway point.
On one of these trips, as he entered the city, he noticed two men fighting. As he approached, he realized one of them was seriously injured. He treated the injured fellow and then tried to do good to his soul by talking to him about Our Lord.
The missionary then went on to withdraw funds from the bank and purchased the necessary medicines and supplies for his hospital. After loading everything on his bicycle, he started on the return journey.
Two weeks later the missionary returned for more supplies. As he walked to his errands, he spotted the young man whom he had treated on the previous visit, and engaged him in conversation.
The good priest inquired about his wounds, and touched by the goodness shown to him, the young man confessed, “Last time when you left here, some friends and I followed you into the jungle. We knew you had money and supplies. We also knew you would camp overnight and we planned to kill you and take the money and drugs. But just as we were about to move into your camp, we saw armed guards around you. As we stood there, peering through the foliage and weighing our odds, we counted twenty-six men. We then just gave it all up and walked away.”
The priest laughed and said that he certainly did not have twenty-six guards with him. But the young man pressed the point, “No, sir, I was not the only one to see the guards. My friends also saw them and we all counted them. It was because of those guards that we left you alone.”
Just then, a man in the congregation jumped up, interrupted the missionary and asked him as to the day this had happened. The missionary replied, and it was the man’s turn to tell a story.
“Father, on the night of your incident in Africa, I was playing golf. I was about to putt when I felt a great urge to pray for you. It was so strong that I called several men to come into church and pray with me.” Then, turning to the congregation, he said, “Will all those who joined me in prayer that day stand up?”
As several men in church rose to their feet, the missionary counted. There were twenty-six men.
By: M. Taylor

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

How do we love God?

It is certain that the love of God
does not consist in
this sweetness and tenderness which we for the most part desire;
but rather in serving Him
in justice, fortitude, and humility.
His Majesty seeks and loves courageous souls.

St. Teresa of Avila

St. Theophanes the Chronicler

Theophanes was the son of Isaac, the imperial governor of the islands of the Black Sea, and of Theodora, of whose family nothing is known. At the death of his father when he was only three, he was left the heir of a very large estate and was subsequently brought up at the court of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine V, who saw to his education.

He was induced to marry early, but convinced his wife to lead a life of virginity. Later, after the death of his father-in-law, they separated by mutual consent, each to embrace monastic life. Theophanes first entered Polychronius Monastery on Mount Sigriano, then went on to found another monastery on the island of Kalonymos, which was part of his inheritance.

Six years later, Theophanes returned to Sigriano where he made another monastic foundation. It was in virtue of his position as abbot of this monastery that he participated in the Second Council of Nicaea in 787, which issued the declaration of faith concerning the veneration of holy images:

“As the sacred and life-giving cross is everywhere set up as a symbol, so also should the images of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the holy angels, as well as those of the saints and other pious and holy men be embodied in the manufacture of sacred vessels, tapestries, vestments, etc., and exhibited on the walls of churches, in the homes, and in all conspicuous places, by the roadside and everywhere, to be revered by all who might see them. For the more they are contemplated, the more they move to fervent memory of their prototypes. Therefore, it is proper to accord to them a fervent and reverent adoration, not, however, the veritable worship which, according to our faith, belongs to the Divine Being alone — for the honor accorded to the image passes over to its prototype, and whoever adores the image adores in it the reality of what is there represented.”

When Emperor Leo the Armenian resumed his iconoclastic persecution, he had Theophanes brought to Constantinople. The Emperor tried in vain to induce him to condemn the same veneration of icons that had been sanctioned by the council. When the Emperor’s promises failed to move him, he resorted to threats. Finding the venerable old man equally unmoved, the Emperor submitted him to 300 lashes and had him thrown in a dungeon. His imprisonment lasted for two years, but he remained constant in his faith. Theophanes was released in 817 only to be banished to Samothrace, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, where he died seventeen days later as a consequence of the cruel treatment he had endured during his imprisonment.

Theophanes left a chronicle or short history of the world to the year 813. He is also mentioned in the Roman Martyrology.

Monday, March 11, 2019

What catches the hearts of men?

Mary is the most sweet bait;
chosen, prepared and ordained by God,
to catch the hearts of men.

St. Catherine of Siena

St. Aengus Abbot

St. Aengus, called “God’s Vassal” was of the royal house of Ulster, and was born around the middle of the seventh century. As a young man he entered the Monastery of Clonenagh, which under its holy abbot Maelaithgen was famous for its learning, sanctity and numerous followers. At Clonenagh Aengus advanced so rapidly that there came a day when it was said that none in Ireland rivaled Aengus in knowledge and virtue.

Desiring to abandon the world entirely, Aengus retired to an isolated hermitage where he practiced severe mortifications. These, in turn, began to attract all manner of people to his “desert”. So, one night, he simply disappeared. Knocking at the door of the great monastery of Tallaght in Dublin, he asked to be admitted as a servant – concealing both his name and renown. He was accepted by the abbot, St. Maelruain, and for seven years labored at the meanest chores about the monastery, none suspecting his true identity.

One day as he worked in the barn, a little boy who did not know his lesson, and was playing truant from the monastery school sought shelter in the granary. Aengus befriended him, and by the time the lad left the barn yard he knew his lesson perfectly. The fact came to the attention of Abbot Maelruain, who divined that his chore-boy was the missing great teacher Aengus. Relieved of his menial work, Aengus went on to write the metrical hymn known as the Félire Óengusso or The Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee.

After the death of St. Maelruain, he returned to Clonenagh where he appears to have been made abbot and to have been raised to episcopal dignity.

As he felt his end approaching, he withdrew again to solitude where he finished his Félire, and perhaps other works now lost. The exact date of his death is not known but it is thought that he lived to a great age.

"A Fire in My Chest..."


Article Title - Fire in My Chest, From Shepherdess to Saint
Visiting Fatima years back, preparing to work on my children’s book Jacinta’s Story, the tiny town of Aljustrel gave me a glimpse into the personalities of the three small seers, Lucia dos Santos, and Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
I will never forget emerging from the tiny, white-washed cottage that had been Francisco and Jacinta’s home and seeing the last of their living brothers leaning against a wall, available for souvenir photos. He was a man out of modern time, unsophisticated, direct and simple, a man “of the earth”, still untouched by the complications of industrialized civilization.
This is how Jacinta, her brother and cousin, must have been–even more so. There was nothing remarkable about this man, peering at me shyly from under his brow, just as there must have been nothing extraordinary about the little shepherd girl who Pope John Paul II declared Blessed in May of 2000 and was canonized a Saint in May of 2017, and who looks at us just as shyly from under her brow in her photos.
Pictures and descriptions of little Jacinta show us a pretty, spritely, charming girl who at times, according to Lucia, was a bit sulky, and “the sweetest of his children” in the words of her father, “Ti”  Marto.
Rosary Guide Booklet Banner

We get a glimpse of a sensitive, affectionate child when, at age five, she cried bitterly on hearing about the sufferings of Christ,  and promised not to make Him suffer anymore.
We sense her contemplative nature when we read of her calling the moon, “Our Lady’s lamp.".
And we meet the little Portuguese “hostess” when, at age seven, at the first apparition, on May 13, 1917, she shyly asks Lucia if they should share their lunch with their heavenly visitor.
We also glimpse the pristine innocence in the small oval face of the pictures, coupled with an almost disconcerting directness and strength in the brown eyes–eyes that seem to see “beyond”,  for indeed they had had a glimpse of Heaven–and Hell.
In the second apparition of June 13, the Blessed Virgin said that she would soon take Francisco and Jacinta to Heaven. In the  vision of July 13, they were shown a terrifying scene of Hell, in which they saw, immersed in a huge fire, innumerable souls like  “burning ambers”.
This vision coupled with Our Lady’s pathetic plea “Pray for sinners, many go to Hell because there is no one to pray for them,” lit in the innocent girl’s heart a fire of love for God and souls.
Between the great graces of Our Lady, the knowledge that she was not long for this earth and the thirst to save as many “poor  sinners” as she could, Jacinta forgot the earth, and for four short years lived only to please God, her “Lady” and to help souls  make it to that Heaven she had been promised for herself.
Jacinta’s natural sensitivity and affectionate disposition were sublimated into that burning charity that renders all sacrifice small and all effort easy. Lucia writes in her memoirs how Jacinta never tired of telling Our Lord and Our Lady how much she loved them. She once said, “ I have a fire in my chest but it doesn’t burn me."
This inward “fire” fueled her on until her death of tuberculosis just shy of her eleventh birthday, alone in a hospital in Lisbon, which last sacrifice she embraced for her beloved “sinners”
Despite her youth, in the words of Pope John Paul II at her beatification on May 13, 2000, “She could well exclaim with St. Paul: ‘I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church’” (Col 1: 24).
In four short years the little Portuguese girl had gone from carefree shepherdess to heroic saint.
On the Anniversary of Saint Jacinta’s birth:
America Needs Fatima invites you to take the children you love on a wonderful pilgrimage to feel Our Lady’s maternal love and to learn about her beautiful Fatima apparitions through Jacinta’s Story. Children will follow Jacinta’s footsteps to the Cova da Iria—the famous spot where the Mother of God appeared. They will see Jacinta kneel in awe as Our Lady approaches the holm-oak tree in a radiant sphere of light. They will feel Jacinta’s sadness as people spread a rumor that it was the devil instead of the Virgin Mary who had appeared.
Jacinta’s Story is the Fatima story imaginatively told through the eyes of Saint Jacinta Marto, the youngest of the three seers to whom Our Lady appeared in 1917 to deliver the most important message of our times. The book is hardbound and richly illustrated by author Andrea F. Phillips.
Jacinta’s Story contains many vital lessons for children—why it is so important that they pray the Rosary, obey their parents and follow the difficult but rewarding road of virtue in this life.


Jacinta's Story Book
Visit our On-Line store to place your book order: http://store.tfp.org

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References:  America Needs Fatima online, Mystics of the Church onlineSpeech of Pope John Paul II at Beatification of Francisco and Jacinta Marto-Vatican Website

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Novena until the feast of St. Joseph

Header - Novena to St. Joseph

Novena Prayer to be said at the end of each day's devotion. (See each day's prayer below)

Saint Joseph, I, your unworthy child, greet you. You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place all my hope of salvation in you, for you are especially powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants. Therefore I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.
Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore: (Mention your request).
Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.
Memorare
Remember, most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, my loving protector, Saint Joseph, that no one ever had recourse to your protection or asked for your aid without obtaining relief. Confiding, therefore, in your goodness, I come before you and humbly implore you. Despise not my petitions, foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. Amen.






FIRST DAY
Foster-Father of Jesus

St Joseph and the infant JesusSaint Joseph, you were privileged to share in the mystery of the Incarnation as the foster-father of Jesus. Mary alone was directly connected with the fulfillment of the mystery, in that she gave her consent to Christ's conception and allowed the Holy Spirit to form the sacred humanity of Jesus from her blood. You had a part in this mystery in an indirect manner, by fulfilling the condition necessary for the Incarnation -- the protection of Mary's virginity before and during your married life with her. You made the virginal marriage possible, and this was a part of God's plan, foreseen, willed, and decreed from all eternity.
In a more direct manner you shared in the support, upbringing, and protection of the Divine Child as His foster-father. For this purpose the Heavenly Father gave you a genuine heart of a father -- a heart full of love and self-sacrifice. With the toil of your hands you were obliged to offer protection to the Divine Child, to procure for Him food, clothing, and a home. You were truly the saint of the holy childhood of Jesus -- the living created providence which watched over the Christ-Child.
When Herod sought the Child to put Him to death, the Heavenly Father sent an angel but only as a messenger, giving orders for the flight; the rest He left entirely in your hands. It was that fatherly love which was the only refuge that received and protected the Divine Child. Your fatherly love carried Him through the desert into Egypt until all enemies were removed. Then on your arms the Child returned to Nazareth to be nourished and provided for during many years by the labor of your hands. Whatever a human son owes to a human father for all the benefits of his up-bringing and support, Jesus owed to you, because you were to Him a foster-father, teacher, and protector.
You served the Divine Child with a singular love. God gave you a heart filled with heavenly, supernatural love -- a love far deeper and more powerful than any natural father's love could be.
You served the Divine Child with great unselfishness, without any regard to self-interest, but not without sacrifices. You did not toil for yourself, but you seemed to be an instrument intended for the benefit of others, to be put aside as soon as it had done its work, for you disappeared from the scene once the childhood of Jesus had passed.
You were the shadow of the Heavenly Father not only as the earthly representative of the authority of the Father, but also by means of your fatherhood -- which only appeared to be natural -- you were to hide for a while the divinity of Jesus. What a wonderfully sublime and divine vocation was yours -- the loving Child which you carried in your arms, and loved and served so faithfully, had God in Heaven as Father and was Himself God!
Yours is a very special rank among the saints of the Kingdom of God, because you were so much a part of the very life of the Word of God made Man. In your house at Nazareth and under your care the redemption of mankind was prepared. What you accomplished, you did for us. You are not only a powerful and great saint in the Kingdom of God, but a benefactor of the whole of Christendom and mankind. Your rank in the Kingdom of God, surpassing far in dignity and honor of all the angels, deserves our very special veneration, love, and gratitude.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of having been chosen by God to be the foster-father of His Divine Son. As a token of your own gratitude to God for this your greatest privilege, obtain for me the grace of a very devoted love for Jesus Christ, my God and my Savior. Help me to serve Him with some of the self-sacrificing love and devotion which you had while on this earth with Him. Grant that through your intercession with Jesus, your foster-Son, I may reach the degree of holiness God has destined for me, and save my soul.
Novena Prayer


SECOND DAY
Virginal Husband of Mary

Wedding of Mary and JosephSaint Joseph, I honor you as the true husband of Mary. Scripture says: "Jacob begot Joseph, the husband of Mary, and of her was born Jesus who is called Christ" (Matt. 1:16). Your marriage to Mary was a sacred contract by which you and Mary gave yourselves to each other. Mary really belonged to you with all she was and had. You had a right to her love and obedience; and no other person so won her esteem, obedience, and love.
You were also the protector and witness of Mary's virginity. By your marriage you gave to each other your virginity, and also the mutual right over it -- a right to safeguard the other's virtue. This mutual virginity also belonged to the divine plan of the Incarnation, for God sent His angel to assure you that motherhood and virginity in Mary could be united.
This union of marriage not only brought you into daily familiar association with Mary, the loveliest of God's creatures, but also enabled you to share with her a mutual exchange of spiritual goods. And Mary found her edification in your calm, humble, and deep virtue, purity, and sanctity. What a great honor comes to you from this close union with her whom the Son of God calls Mother and whom He declared the Queen of heaven and earth! Whatever Mary had belonged by right to you also, and this included her Son, even though He had been given to her by God in a wonderful way. Jesus belonged to you as His legal father. Your marriage was the way which God chose to have Jesus introduced into the world, a great divine mystery from which all benefits have come to us.
God the Son confided the guardianship and the support of His Immaculate Mother to your care. Mary's life was that of the Mother of the Savior, who did not come upon earth to enjoy honors and pleasures, but to redeem the world by hard work, suffering, and the cross. You were the faithful companion, support, and comforter of the Mother of Sorrows. How loyal you were to her in poverty, journeying, work, and pain. Your love for Mary was based upon your esteem for her as Mother of God. After God and the Divine Child, you loved no one as much as her. Mary responded to this love. She submitted to your guidance with naturalness and easy grace and childlike confidence. The Holy Spirit Himself was the bond of the great love which united your hearts.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being the virginal husband of Mary. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to love Jesus with all my heart, as you did, and  love Mary with some of the tenderness and loyalty with which you loved her.
Novena Prayer


THIRD DAY
Man Chosen by the Blessed Trinity

Holy Trinity & Holy FamilySaint Joseph, you were the man chosen by God the Father. He selected you to be His representative on earth, hence He granted you all the graces and blessings you needed to be His worthy representative.
You were the man chosen by God the Son. Desirous of a worthy foster-father, He added His own riches and gifts, and above all, His love. The true measure of your sanctity is to be judged by your imitation of Jesus. You were entirely consecrated to Jesus, working always near Him, offering Him your virtues, your work, your sufferings, your very life. Jesus lived in you perfectly so that you were transformed into Him. In this lies your special glory, and the keynote of your sanctity. Hence, after Mary, you are the holiest of the saints.
You were chosen by the Holy Spirit. He is the mutual Love of the Father and the Son -- the heart of the Holy Trinity. In His wisdom He draws forth all creatures from nothing, guides them to their end in showing them their destiny and giving them the means to reach it. Every vocation and every fulfillment of a vocation proceeds from the Holy Spirit. As a foster-father of Jesus and head of the Holy Family, you had an exalted and most responsible vocation -- to open the way for the redemption of the world and to prepare for it by the education and guidance of the youth of the God-Man. In this work you cooperated as the instrument of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the guide; you obeyed and carried out the works. How perfectly you obeyed the guidance of the God of Love!
The words of the Old Testament which Pharaoh spoke concerning Joseph of Egypt can well be applied to you: "Can we find such another man, that is full of the spirit of God, or a wise man like to him?" (Gen. 41:38). No less is your share in the divine work of God than was that of Egypt. You now reign with your foster-Son and see reflected in the mirror of God's Wisdom the Divine Will and what is of benefit to our souls.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for having made you the man specially chosen by Him. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to imitate your virtues so that I too may be pleasing to the Heart of God. Help me to give myself entirely to His service and to the accomplishment of His Holy Will, that one day I may reach heaven and be eternally united to God as you are.
Novena Prayer


FOURTH DAY
Faithful Servant

Flight into EgyptSaint Joseph, you lived for one purpose -- to be the personal servant of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Your noble birth and ancestry, the graces and gifts, so generously poured out on you by God -- all this was yours to serve our Lord better. Every thought, word, and action of yours was a homage to the love and glory of the Incarnate Word. You fulfilled most faithfully the role of a good and faithful servant who cared for the House of God.
How perfect was your obedience! Your position in the Holy Family obliged you to command, but besides being the foster-father of Jesus, you were also His disciple. For almost thirty years, you watched the God-Man display a simple and prompt obedience, and you grew to love and practice it very perfectly yourself. Without exception you submitted to God, to the civil rulers, and to the voice of your conscience.
When God sent an angel to tell you to care for Mary, you obeyed in spite of the mystery which surrounded her motherhood. When you were told to flee into Egypt under painful conditions, you obeyed without the slightest word of complaint. When God advised you in a dream to return to Nazareth, you obeyed. In every situation your obedience was as simple as your faith, as humble as your heart, as prompt as your love. It neglected nothing; it took in every command.
You had the virtue of perfect devotedness, which marks a good servant. Every moment of your life was consecrated to the service of our Lord: sleep, rest, work, pain. Faithful to your duties, you sacrificed everything unselfishly, even cheerfully. You would have sacrificed even the happiness of being with Mary. The rest and quiet of Nazareth was sacrificed at the call of duty. Your entire life was one generous giving, even to the point of being ready to die in proof of your love for Jesus and Mary. With true unselfish devotedness you worked without praise or reward.
But God wanted you to be in a certain sense a cooperator in the Redemption of the world. He confided to you the care of nourishing and defending the Divine Child. He wanted you to be poor and to suffer because He destined you to be the foster-father of His Son, who came into the world to save men by His sufferings and death, and you were to share in His suffering. In all of these important tasks, the Heavenly Father always found you a faithful servant!
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being God's faithful servant. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to be a faithful servant of God as you were. Help me to share, as you did, the perfect obedience of Jesus, who came not to do His Will, but the Will of His Father; to trust in the Providence of God, knowing that if I do His Will, He will provide for all my needs of soul and body; to be calm in my trials and to leave it to our Lord to free me from them when it pleases Him to do so. And help me to imitate your generosity, for there can be no greater reward here on earth than the joy and honor of being a faithful servant of God.
Novena Prayer


FIFTH DAY
Patron of the Church

Patron of the ChurchSaint Joseph, God has appointed you patron of the Catholic Church because you were the head of the Holy Family, the starting-point of the Church. You were the father, protector, guide and support of the Holy Family. For that reason you belong in a particular way to the Church, which was the purpose of the Holy Family's existence.
I believe that the Church is the family of God on earth. Its government is represented in priestly authority which consists above all in its power over the true Body of Christ, really present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, thus continuing Christ's life in the Church. From this power, too, comes authority over the Mystical Body of Christ, the members of the Church -- the power to teach and govern souls, to reconcile them with God, to bless them, and to pray for them.
You have a special relationship to the priesthood because you possessed a wonderful power over our Savior Himself. Your life and office were of a priestly function and are especially connected with the Blessed Sacrament. To some extent you were the means of bringing the Redeemer to us -- as it is the priest's function to bring Him to us in the Mass -- for you reared Jesus, supported, nourished, protected and sheltered Him. You were prefigured by the patriarch Joseph, who kept supplies of wheat for his people. But how much greater than he were you! Joseph of old gave the Egyptians mere bread for their bodies. You nourished, and with the most tender care, preserved for the Church Him who is the Bread of Heaven and who gives eternal life in Holy Communion.
God has appointed you patron of the Church because the glorious title of patriarch also falls by special right to you. The patriarchs were the heads of families of the Chosen People, and theirs was the honor to prepare for the Savior's incarnation. You belonged to this line of patriarchs, for you were one of the last descendants of the family of David and one of the nearest forebears of Christ according to the flesh. As husband of Mary, the Mother of God, and as the foster-father of the Savior, you were directly connected with Christ. Your vocation was especially concerned with the Person of Jesus; your entire activity centered about Him. You are, therefore, the closing of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New, which took its rise with the Holy Family of Nazareth. Because the New Testament surpasses the Old in every respect, you are the patriarch of patriarchs, the most venerable, exalted, and amiable of all the patriarchs.
Through Mary, the Church received Christ, and therefore the Church is indebted to her. But the Church owes her debt of gratitude and veneration to you also, for you were the chosen one who enabled Christ to enter into the world according to the laws of order and fitness. It was by you that the patriarchs and the prophets and the faithful reaped the fruit of God's promise. Alone among them all, you saw with your own eyes and possessed the Redeemer promised to the rest of men.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being the Patron of the Church. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to live always as a worthy member of this Church, so that through it I may save my soul. Bless the priests, the religious, and the laity of the Catholic Church, that they may ever grow in God's love and faithfulness in His service. Protect the Church from the evils of our day and from the persecution of her enemies. Through your powerful intercession may the church successfully accomplish its mission in this world -- the glory of God and the salvation of souls!
Novena Prayer


SIXTH DAY
Patron of Families

Holy FamilySaint Joseph, I venerate you as the gentle head of the Holy Family. The Holy Family was the scene of your life's work in its origin, in its guidance, in its protection, in your labor for Jesus and Mary, and even in your death in their arms. You lived, moved, and acted in the loving company of Jesus and Mary. The inspired writer describes your life at Nazareth in only a few words: "And (Jesus) went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them" (Luke, 2:51). Yet these words tell of your high vocation here on earth, and the abundance of graces which filled your soul during those years spent in Nazareth.
Your family life at Nazareth was all radiant with the light of divine charity. There was an intimate union of heart and mind among the members of your Holy Family. There could not have been a closer bond than that uniting you to Jesus, your foster-Son and to Mary, your most loving wife. Jesus chose to fulfill toward you, His foster-father, all the duties of a faithful son, showing you every mark of honor and affection due to a parent. And Mary showed you all the signs of respect and love of a devoted wife. You responded to this love and veneration from Jesus and Mary  with feelings of deepest love and respect. You had for Jesus a true fatherly love, enkindled and kept aglow in your heart by the Holy Spirit. And you could not cease to admire the workings of grace in Mary's soul, and this admiration caused the holy love which you had consecrated to her on the day of your wedding grow stronger every day.
God has made you a heavenly patron of family life because you sanctified yourself as head of the Holy Family and thus by your beautiful example sanctified family life. How peacefully and happily the Holy Family rested under the care of your fatherly rule, even in the midst of trials. You were the protector, counselor, and consolation of the Holy Family in every need. And just as you were the model of piety, so you gave us by your zeal, your earnestness and devout trust in God's providence, and especially by your love, the example of labor according to the Will of God. You cherished all the experiences common to family life and the sacred memories of the life, sufferings, and joys in the company of Jesus and Mary. Therefore the family is dear to you as the work of God, and it is of the highest importance in your eyes to promote the honor of God and the well-being of man. In your loving fatherliness and unfailing intercession you are the patron and intercessor of families, and you deserve a place in every home.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of living in the Holy Family and being its head. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain God's blessing upon my own family. Make our home the kingdom of Jesus and Mary -- a kingdom of peace, of joy, and love.
I also pray for all Christian families. Your help is needed in our day when God's enemy has directed his attack against the family in order to desecrate and destroy it. In the face of these evils, as patron of families, be pleased to help; and as of old, you arose to save the Child and His Mother, so today arise to protect the sanctity of the home. Make our homes sanctuaries of prayer, of love, of patient sacrifice, and of work. May they be modeled after your own at Nazareth. Remain with us with Jesus and Mary, so that by your help we may obey the commandments of God and of the Church; receive the holy sacraments of God and of the Church; live a life of prayer; and foster religious instruction in our homes. Grant that we may be reunited in God's Kingdom and eternally live in the company of the Holy Family in heaven.
Novena Prayer


SEVENTH DAY
Patron of Workers

St Joseph the WorkerSaint Joseph, you devoted your time at Nazareth to the work of a carpenter. It was the Will of God that you and your foster-Son should spend your days together in manual labor. What a beautiful example you set for the working classes!
It was especially for the poor, who compose the greater part of mankind, that Jesus came upon earth, for in the synagogue of Nazareth, He read the words of Isaiah and referred them to Himself:  "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor..." (Luke 4:18). It was God's Will that you should be occupied with work common to poor people, that in this way Jesus Himself might ennoble it by inheriting it from you, His foster-father, and by freely embracing it. Thus our Lord teaches us that for the humbler class of workmen, He has in store His richest graces, provided they live content in the place God's Providence has assigned them, and remain poor in spirit for He said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3).
The kind of work to which you devoted your time in the workshop of Nazareth offered you many occasions of practicing humility. You were privileged to see each day the example of humility which Jesus practiced -- a virtue most pleasing to Him. He chose for His earthly surroundings not the courts of princes nor the halls of the learned, but a little workshop of Nazareth. Here you shared for many years the humble and hidden toiling of the God-Man. What a touching example for the worker of today!
While your hands were occupied with manual work, your mind was turned to God in prayer. From the Divine Master, who worked along with you, you learned to work in the presence of God in the spirit of prayer, for as He worked He adored His Father and recommended the welfare of the world to Him, Jesus also instructed you in the wonderful truths of grace and virtue, for you were in close contact with Him who said of Himself, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life."
As you were working at your trade, you were reminded of the greatness and majesty of God, who, as a most wise Architect, formed this vast universe with wonderful skill and limitless power.
The light of divine faith that filled your mind, did not grow dim when you saw Jesus working as a carpenter. You firmly believed that the saintly Youth working beside you was truly God's own Son.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to work side by side with Jesus in the carpenter shop of Nazareth. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to respect the dignity of labor and ever to be content with the position in life, however lowly, in which it may please Divine Providence to place me. Teach me to work for God and with God in the spirit of humility and prayer, as you did, so that I may offer my toil in union with the sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass as a reparation for my sins, and gain rich merit for heaven.
Novena Prayer


EIGHTH DAY
Friend in Suffering

Statue of St Joseph holding the Child Jesus' handSaint Joseph, your share of suffering was very great because of your close union with the Divine Savior. All the mysteries of His life were more or less mysteries of suffering. Poverty pressed upon you, and the cross of labor followed you everywhere. Nor were you spared domestic crosses, owing to misunderstandings in regard to the holiest and most cherished of all beings, Jesus and Mary, who were all to you. Keen must have been the suffering caused by the uncertainty regarding Mary's virginity; by the bestowal of the name of Jesus, which pointed to future misfortune. Deeply painful must have been the prophecy of Simeon, the flight into Egypt, the disappearance of Jesus at the Paschal feast. To these sufferings were surely added interior sorrow at the sight of the sins of your own people.
You bore all this suffering in a truly Christ-like manner, and in this you are our example. No sound of complaint or impatience escaped you -- you were, indeed, the silent saint! You submitted to all in the spirit of faith, humility, confidence, and love. You cheerfully bore all in union with and for the Savior and His Mother, knowing well that true love is a crucified love. But God never forsook you in your trials. The trials, too, disappeared and were changed at last into consolation and joy.
It seems that God had purposely intended your life to be filled with suffering as well as consolation to keep before my eyes the truth that my life on earth is but a succession of joys and sorrows, and that I must gratefully accept whatever God sends me, and during the time of consolation prepare for suffering. Teach me to bear my cross in the spirit of faith, of confidence, and of gratitude toward God. In a happy eternity, I shall thank God fervently for the sufferings which He deigned to send me during my pilgrimage on earth, and which after your example I endured with patience and heartfelt love for Jesus and Mary.
You were truly the martyr of the hidden life. This was God's Will, for the holier a person is, the more he is tried for the love and glory of God. If suffering is the flowering of God's grace in a soul and the triumph of the soul's love for God, being the greatest of saints after Mary, you suffered more than any of the martyrs.

Because you have experienced the sufferings of this valley of tears, you are most kind and sympathetic toward those in need. Down through the ages souls have turned to you in distress and have always found you a faithful friend in suffering. You have graciously heard their prayers in their needs even though it demanded a miracle. Having been so intimately united with Jesus and Mary in life, your intercession with Them is most powerful.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to suffer for Jesus and Mary. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to bear my suffering patiently for love of Jesus and Mary. Grant that I may unite the sufferings, works and disappointments of life with the sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass, and share like you in Mary's spirit of sacrifice.
Novena Prayer


NINTH DAY
Patron of a Happy Death

Death of St JosephSaint Joseph, how fitting it was that at the hour of your death Jesus should stand at your bedside with Mary, the sweetness and hope of all mankind. You gave your entire life to the service of Jesus and Mary; at death you enjoyed the consolation of dying in Their loving arms. You accepted death in the spirit of loving submission to the Will of God, and this acceptance crowned your hidden life of virtue. Yours was a merciful judgment, for your foster-Son, for whom you had cared so lovingly, was your Judge, and Mary was your advocate. The verdict of the Judge was a word of encouragement to wait for His coming to Limbo, where He would shower you with the choicest fruits of the Redemption, and an embrace of grateful affection before you breathed forth your soul into eternity.
You looked into eternity and to your everlasting reward with confidence. If our Savior blessed the shepherds, the Magi, Simeon, John the Baptist, and others, because they greeted His presence with devoted hearts for a brief passing hour, how much more did He bless you who have sanctified yourself for so many years in His company and that of His Mother? If Jesus regards every corporal and spiritual work of mercy, performed in behalf of our fellow men out of love for Him, as done to Himself, and promises heaven as a reward, what must have been the extent of His gratitude to you who in the truest sense of the word have received Him, given Him shelter, clothed, nourished, and consoled Him at the sacrifice of your strength and rest, and even your life, with a love which surpassed the love of all fathers.
God really and personally made Himself your debtor. Our Divine Savior paid that debt of gratitude by granting you many graces in your lifetime, especially the grace of growing in love, which is the best and most perfect of all gifts. Thus at the end of your life your heart became filled with love, the fervor and longing of which your frail body could not resist. Your soul followed the triumphant impulse of your love and winged its flight from earth to bear the prophets and patriarchs in Limbo the glad tidings of the advent of the Redeemer.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to die in the arms of Jesus and Mary. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace of a happy death. Help me to spend each day in preparation for death. May I, too, accept death in the spirit of resignation to God's Holy Will, and die, as you did, in the arms of Jesus, strengthened by Holy Viaticum, and in the arms of Mary, with her rosary in my hand and her name on my lips!
Novena Prayer