Monday, October 14, 2019

The underlying motive of Columbus' voyage

 The underlying motive of Columbus' voyage was the conversion of those
who did not know Christ as the living Son of God Who became the Son of Mary. 
His favorite prayer, said in Latin, was
Jesu cum Maria sit nobis in via, which means
"May Jesus with Mary be with us on the way." 
For Columbus this way meant both the voyage through time into eternity
and the voyage in time to bring Mary's faith in her divine Son
to a still unbelieving world.

Fr. John A. Harden, S.J.

We cannot enter heaven without...

We cannot enter a house without first speaking to the porter.
Similarly, we cannot enter heaven
without calling upon the aid of the Blessed Virgin Mary
who is the Portress of Heaven.

St. John Vianney

Pope St. Callistus I

The name of St. Callistus was made famous by the Roman cemetery along the Apian Way that he beautified while he was its papal-appointed superintendent. Today, it still bears his name though he is not buried there but in the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere. The cemetery of St. Callistus is fittingly revered for having many relics of the Christian martyrs buried within its precincts.

Roman by birth, Callistus was the slave of a Christian member of Caesar's household. He later became assistant to Pope St. Zephyrinus and then succeeded him in 218 or 219, reigning for about five years. Although the time in which he reigned was mostly peaceful for Christians under Alexander Severus whose mother was a Christian, there are historical indications that he suffered martyrdom in the year 223.

Even his enemies attest to his having ruled with equanimity, at times contravening the customs of the era in favor of wisdom and mercy.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Like a gigantic circle of fire

The sun began to spin rapidly like a gigantic circle of fire.
Then it stopped momentarily, only to begin spinning vertiginously again.
Its rim became scarlet; whirling, it scattered red flames across the sky.
Their light was reflected on the ground, on the trees, on the bushes, and
on the very faces and clothing of the people,
which took on brilliant hues and changing colors.

After performing this bizarre pattern three times,
the globe of fire seemed to tremble, shake,

and then plunge in a zigzag toward the terrified crowd.
All this lasted about ten minutes.

Finally, the sun zigzagged back to its original place
and once again became still and brilliant, shining with its everyday brightness.

The Miracle of the Sun
as described by Sister Lucia dos Santos and witnessed by more than 70,000 people

St. Edward the Confessor

Edward the Confessor was the second son of King Ethelred II and his Norman wife, Emma. After King Ethelred's death, Emma married Canute, the son of the Danish king who had overthrown her husband in 1017. Hardly ten years old, Edward and his elder brother, Alfred, were sent to Normandy. The Danes having gained the complete mastery of England, the succession, with Emma’s consent, was settled upon Hardicanute, her son by Canute. Upon Canute’s death in 1035, however, his illegitimate son, Harold, taking advantage of Hardicanute’s absence in Denmark, seized the throne for himself.

Edward and Alfred were persuaded to make an attempt to regain the English crown, but this resulted in the cruel death of Alfred who had fallen into Harold's hands, while Edward was obliged to return to Normandy. Edward was only able to reclaim the throne after Canute’s son and heir’s death in 1042. The people were eager for their legitimate ruler to return to the throne, and Edward's accession was received with wide acclaim.

Brought up in the ducal court of his Norman uncle, Edward’s sympathies and loyalties always rested strongly with the Norman people – a trait which would cause him considerable trouble later.

Yielding to the entreaty of his nobles, he took the powerful Earl Godwin’s daughter, Edith, for his wife in 1044. Out of love for God and a desire for greater perfection, Edward had taken a vow of chastity in his youth. With Edith's consent prior to their marriage, he continued to live a life of absolute continence with her.

Edward’s reign was a peaceful one. He was a wise and just ruler, well respected and favored for his revocation of many exorbitant taxes. However, conflict arose between Edward and his father-in-law, Godwin, when the latter accused Edward of bias in his ecclesiastical nominations, appearing to show favoritism to candidates of Norman origin and in rejecting the election of a relative of Godwin’s to the archbishopric of Canterbury. As tension rose to crisis level and violent friction became imminent, Godwin and his sons’ position disintegrated due to the unwillingness of their men to fight the King. Consequently, Edward seized the opportunity to bring the over-mighty Earl to heel and he and his family were banished. Within a year though, Godwin returned, and he and the King were able to reconcile.

During his early exile in Normandy, Edward had bound himself by vow to make a pilgrimage to St. Peter’s tomb in Rome. However, as he could not leave his kingdom without doing injury to his people, Pope St. Leo IX commuted its fulfillment into the rebuilding of St. Peter’s Abbey at Westminster. The King endowed it in a superb manner out of his own patrimony and it is to him that we owe the magnificence of Westminster Abbey.

Edward was the first King of England to use the “royal touch,” a form of laying on of hands by which many suffering from diseases were cured by him.

The saintly King was taken ill while attending the dedication of Westminster Abbey on December 28, 1065. He died the following week on January 5, 1066 and was buried within its walls the next day. Numerous miracles took place at his tomb, wherein his incorrupt body was enshrined, and he was canonized by Pope Alexander III in 1161. He is the only saint buried in Westminster Abbey and one of the few whose relics were not destroyed by Henry VIII.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Sixth Fatima Apparition and the Miracle of the Sun

Header-Sixth Fatima Apparition and the Miracle of the Sun
As on the other occasions, the seers, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, first saw a bright light, and then they saw Our Lady over the holm oak.


Lucia:
What does Your Grace wish of me?
Our Lady: I wish to tell you that I want a chapel built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue to pray the rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.
Lucia: I have many things to ask you: if you would cure some sick persons, and if you would convert some sinners...1Miracle-Sun744x524

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Our Lady: Some yes, others no. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.
Becoming sadder, she added, “Let them offend Our Lord no more for He is already much offended.”
Then, opening her hands, Our Lady shone the light issuing from them onto the sun, and as she rose, her own radiance continued to be cast onto the sun.
At that moment, Lucia cried, "Look at the sun!" 
Once Our Lady had disappeared in the expanse of the firmament, three scenes followed in succession, symbolizing first the joyful mysteries of the rosary, then the sorrowful mysteries, and, finally, the glorious mysteries. Lucia alone saw the three scenes; Francisco and Jacinta saw only the first.
The first scene: Saint Joseph appeared beside the sun with the Child Jesus and Our Lady of the Rosary. It was the Holy Family. The Virgin was dressed in white with a blue mantle. Saint Joseph was also dressed in white, and the Child Jesus in light red. Saint Joseph blessed the crowd, making the Sign of the Cross three times. The Child Jesus did the same.
The second scene: A vision of Our Lady of Sorrows, without the sword in her breast, and of Our Lord overwhelmed with sorrow on the way to Calvary.
Our Lord made the Sign of the Cross to bless the people.
Lucia could only see the upper part of Our Lord's body.
The third scene: Finally, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, crowned queen of heaven and earth, appeared in a glorious vision holding the Child Jesus near her heart.
Miracle of the Sun-Newspaper articleWhile these scenes took place, the great throng of 70,000 spectators witnessed the miracle of the sun.
It had rained all during the apparition. At the end of the conversation between Our Lady and Lucia – when the Blessed Virgin rose and Lucia shouted, "Look at the sun!" – the clouds parted, revealing the sun as an immense silver disk shining with an intensity never before seen – though not blinding.
This lasted only an instant. Then the immense disk began to "dance."
The sun spun rapidly like a gigantic circle of fire. Then it stopped momentarily, only to begin spinning vertiginously again. Its rim became scarlet; whirling, it scattered red flames across the sky.
Their light was reflected on the ground, on the trees, on the bushes, and on the faces and clothing of the people, which took on brilliant hues and changing colors.
After performing this bizarre pattern three times, the globe of fire seemed to tremble, shake, and then plunge in a zigzag toward the terrified crowd.
All this lasted about ten minutes. Finally, the sun zigzagged back to its original place and once again became still and brilliant, shining with its normal brightness. The cycle of the apparitions had ended.
Many people noticed that their clothes, soaking wet from the rain, had suddenly dried.
The miracle of the sun was also seen by numerous witnesses up to twenty-five miles away from the place of the apparition.





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Medicine for the body, medicine for the soul

In the life of the body a man is sometimes sick,
and unless he takes medicine, he will die.
Even so in the spiritual life a man is sick on account of sin.
For that reason he needs medicine so that he may be restored to health;
and this grace is bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance.

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Wilfrid of York

Wilfrid was born in 634, the son of a nobleman. At odds with his stepmother, he was sent to the court of King Oswy of Northumbria, where Queen Eanfleda, complying with his wishes, kindly saw to his education in the sacred sciences.

In 654 he went to Europe with St. Benet, and after a stay in Lyons, went on to Rome where he studied under Boniface the Archdeacon, secretary to Pope St. Martin.
Back in England, in league with King Alcfrith of Deira, he labored to bring the Roman discipline to the English church, taking distance from Celtic usages. Among the Roman practices he worked to establish in England was the Roman calculation for the celebration of Easter.

He became abbot of the monastery of Ripon where he introduced the rule of St. Benedict, and soon after was ordained a priest.

Appointed Bishop of York, he went to France to be consecrated. Lingering, for reasons unknown, then suffering shipwreck, when he returned, found that another, St. Chad, had been appointed in his place by King Oswy.

Wilfrid did not dispute the election, but later, St. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, found that the appointment of St. Chad had been irregular and placed St. Wilfrid in the see of York.

As a bishop, he was exemplary and beloved of his people, but his path was not peaceful. First at odds with the heir to Oswy, King Egfrith, and then with the latter’s successor, Aldfrith, he twice lost his see and twice had to travel to Rome to be reinstated, besides facing all sorts of difficulties.

He died in 709 and his body is buried in his monastery of Ripon. Part of the epitaph on his tomb reads: “… drove error far, and showed his folk sound law and liturgy … At home, abroad long time in tempests tossed … he bore a bishop’s charge … Passed to rest and gained the joys of heaven … Grant Lord his flock may tread their shepherd’s path!”

Friday, October 11, 2019

Future Belongs to Those Who Oppose Drag Queen Story Hours

Future Belongs to Those Who Oppose Drag Queen Story Hours
Future Belongs to Those Who Oppose Drag Queen Story Hours
A new kind of debate is now raging inside conservativism. In times past, we discussed the strategic and tactical options by which we might work toward common goals inside the existing political framework.
Today, the framework itself is in question. What is being discussed is the classical liberal foundation of the American political system. Indeed, both left and right have worked inside this framework for much of our nation’s history. Rarely have we faced such a challenge to the way America resolves its problems.

However, liberalism is in crisis.  Our society is in shambles and drifting steadily leftward. The most outlandish behaviors – political correctness, transgenderism and Satanism—are being mainstreamed. People are questioning the system because there appear to be no mechanisms inside this framework to prevent this decay and drift. They are looking for other solutions.
The Drag Queen Story Hour Trigger
This new state of affairs found its expression in the ongoing dialogue between National Review’s David French and First Things contributor Sohrab Ahmari. The case that triggered the French-Ahmari debate is the proliferation of what are called Drag Queen Story Hours. These events feature transvestite men who read LGBTQ-themed stories to three-year-old-and-up children at tax-supported public libraries.
According to the classical liberal interpretation defended by French, the story hours are an expression of free speech, regrettably competing in the marketplace of ideas. While we may not like it, we should not suppress but celebrate these events as expressions of differing opinions of what comprises a vision of the good life in a pluralistic society.
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Opposing parents and conservatives are told they must allow these tax-funded public forums. They take place in value-neutral platforms open to all. To deny one party access is to deny it to all.
Reaching the Point of Absurdity
Hence comes the questioning. Common sense dictates that these events that corrupt youth be canceled.
Before our days, no one could ever have thought that we would have decayed to the point that drag queens would be reading to our three-year-olds. However, we have reached that point of absurdity. The maximizers of liberty have decreed that all must be permitted even though an overwhelming majority inside the community does not desire these lewd performances.
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In a democratic society, where the people are supposed to rule, how does this angry majority defend themselves against the Drag Queen Story Hours and similar things that happen in their communities?
There appears to be no answer.
Liberty Gone Awry
For this reason, some say liberalism has failed because its inner dynamism has pushed unrestrained and disordered liberty beyond the limits needed for society to function properly. A social consensus around certain moral norms that used to filter excesses is crumbling and coming apart. A tiny minority can now tyrannize over others in the name of liberty gone awry.
The problem with liberalism is that its value-neutral public square easily becomes a value-free place where a Ten Commandments monument and a Satanist Baphomet statue share equal space. Sacred text and pornography are equally qualified as literature. There is no notion of a moral right and wrong, save that defined by the exercise of freedom. Except when it threatens the physical integrity of another, anything can and must be tolerated. We must recognize any absurd self-identification or pronoun.
How Panera’s Socialist Bread Ruined Company
Inside today’s framework, individual freedom trumps everything. Those opposing immorality in the public square have no ground upon which to stand. There are no criteria upon which to base the standards that would limit and restrain. A weak reference to tradition, custom or even public decency immediately gives rise to cries of imposing one co-equal opinion upon another—for indeed it is.
Even an appeal to the common good or the highest good found in more classical political text falls upon deaf liberal ears since no one can define what is meant by good and even common.
No Declaration of Evil
We have reached a point where nothing can be declared definitively evil. Everything is good, save those who claim an exclusive title to good. There is no evil save those who declare other things to be intrinsically wrong. Whatever the individual decides is good and right. Even “consensual” cannibalism is defended in today’s sick public square.
As a result, those who establish the limits of what is “good” are those who forever push the envelope toward what is forbidden. Today, it is not Christianity that decides what is “moral,” but drag queens, LGBT activists and the Satanic Temple that are stretching the limits of social acceptability to their activities. And they are imposing their views upon the opposition with increasing severity.
Recourse to a Universal Moral Law
The only way to fight today’s destructive moral relativism is to have recourse to a universal moral law based on human nature and not individual whims. There must be a return to a natural law discussion that elevates the debate beyond the field of personal opinions and whims.
That is to say, there is a natural moral law, which Saint Paul says, is inscribed on the hearts of all men whereby all might know by reason those moral precepts that define the good in life. This law’s general precept, from which all the others follow, is that “good is to be done and pursued, and evil is to be avoided.” This law is valid for all times and all people in all places.
This law is not limited to Christians, although the Church is its best guardian. Throughout history, it has provided that rock of moral stability that favored human prospering. It is hardly a novel invention since American law and English common law are rooted in natural law traditions. It is not too much to insist that we might return to our roots.
The Tyranny of Anti-Natural Law
The alternative is the coming tyranny. The next aberrations beyond the story hours will soon be upon us.  When modernity abandoned natural law, it enthroned a kind of anti-natural law. It replaced the constraints of human nature with the ever-expanding expressions of freedom. This new anti-natural law gives free rein to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s fantasy world where each has “the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Indeed, when the insatiable human passions rule, they prove to be the greatest of tyrants.
If conservatives are to win the battle for America’s future, the debate needs to be reframed in these terms of right and wrong, good and evil. Those who play by the rules of the old liberal framework of moral relativism are doomed to failure since they must accept everything in the name of disordered liberty. Indeed, the future belongs to those who are not afraid to proclaim the truth: Drag Queen Story Hours are wrong.
As seen on CNS News.

Picture her in your heart

The Holy Ghost did not describe Mary in the Gospels
but left it to you to picture her in your heart.
In this way, you might comprehend
that there is no grace, no perfection, and no glory
conceivable in a simple creature
that is lacking to her.

St. Thomas of Villanova

St. Mary Soledad

Christened Bibiana Antonia Emanuela, her parents were Francis Torres and Antonia Acosta, an exemplary Christian couple running a small business in Madrid.

At first Emanuela thought of joining the Dominicans whose convent she frequented, but her request was turned down due to poor health and she decided to wait for a clearer direction to her life.

This direction came through Madrid’s Vicar, Fr. Miguel Martinez y Sanz worried about the state of the sick in his parish. He gathered seven women into a religious community devoted to their service. Emanuela was among these first "handmaids" and took the name Maria Soledad – “Solitude”, a Spanish title for the Sorrowful Mother.

Five years later Fr. Miguel took half of the community to make another foundation, leaving Mary Soledad as superior in Madrid.  After dealing with difficulties that threatened the dissolution of the group, Mother Soledad was able to secure the support of Fr. Gabino Sanchez and the queen. At this time, the community was named Handmaids of Mary Serving the Sick.

After becoming involved with the care of young delinquents, the community received ecclesiastical approval. During the cholera outbreak of 1865, their dedicated service won the love and respect of all.

Again there were difficulties and, victim of slander, Mother Soledad was removed as superior only to be reinstated after an investigation. After several of the sisters left the community, the Handmaids grew in number and in 1875 began a ministry in Havana, Cuba. The new institute received papal approval in 1876 and the community spread throughout Spain opening houses and hospitals.

After governing the Handmaids for thirty-five years, Mother Soledad died of pneumonia on January 18, 1893. At the time of her death, there were forty-six houses of the congregation spread throughout Europe and Latin America.

In 1896, at the first exhumation of her body, required during the process of canonization, it was still intact and exuded a sweet fragrance. A few years later, however, only bones remained.

In the United States the congregation is known as the Sisters Servants of Mary, Ministers of the Sick. They have six communities still involved in home health care.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

What the Holy Rosary Can Do

The Holy Rosary,
recited with the meditation on the sacred mysteries,
is a sacrifice of praise to God for the great gift of our redemption
and a holy reminder of the sufferings, death and glory of Jesus Christ.

St. Louis de Montfort

St. Francis Borgia

Francis Borgia belonged to one of the most prominent families of the kingdom of Aragon, a family that gave the Church two popes. His father, Juan Borgia, was the third Duke of Gandia. On his mother Juana’s side, Francis was the great-grandson of King Ferdinand V of Aragon.

On his arrival at the imperial court at eighteen, Francis crossed paths momentarily with a man who impressed him, and who was being arrested by the Inquisition: Ignatius of Loyola. The following year, Francis married Eleanor de Castro, a Portuguese noblewoman, with whom he had eight children. On his father’s death in 1543, he became the fourth Duke of Gandia.

At his wife's death in 1546, Francis sought admittance to the Society of Jesus. Finally, in 1550, after settling his children and the affairs of his estate, he entered the Jesuits in Rome. The news of the “Duke turned Jesuit” spread and at his first public Mass the crowd was so great, the altar had to be moved outside.

After doing wonders throughout his country he crossed into Portugal and surpassed himself there. In 1554 St. Ignatius made him commissary general of the Society of Jesus in Spain.

As commissary general, he practically founded the Society in Spain establishing many houses and colleges. He was crucial in dissolving the prejudices that his relative, Emperor Charles V, harbored against the Jesuits. He also assisted at the death of the dowager queen Juana, who had gone mad fifty years before, on the death of her husband. She died healed and at peace. He also met St. Teresa of Avila, the great reformer of the Carmelite Order, and was the first to recognize her greatness.

Back in Rome, St. Charles Borromeo, and Cardinal Ghislieri, later Pope Pius V. regularly attended his sermons. At the death of Father Laynez, second general of the Jesuits, Francis was elected Father General of the Jesuit Order.

Backed by St. Pius V who admired and trusted him, he was able to do great things for the Order in Rome and abroad, building two churches, and at times using his personal influence to obtain acceptance of the Jesuits.

Worn by the responsibilities of his post and a last trip throughout Europe in which he was publicly hailed as a saint, he returned to Rome on a littler. Through his brother, Thomas, he sent a blessing to his children and grandchildren, and as their names were spoken to him, he prayed for each.  He died on the night of September 30.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Lust

You have heard that it was said to them of old:
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her,
hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5: 27-28

St. Denis of Paris

The flourishing Church of Gaul, in present-day France, suffered terribly under the persecution of Emperor Decius, and Pope Fabian sent the Italian-born Denis and other missionary bishops to encourage and restore the Faith there.

Denis and two inseparable companions, the priest Rusticus, and Eleutherius, a deacon, arrived in the neighborhood of Paris and settled on the island in the Seine River. On this island Denis set about building a church. His fearless and tireless preaching made many converts, but also excited the anger and envy of the heathen priest. Inciting the people against the new preachers, he prevailed upon Governor Fescenninus Sissinnius, to forcibly put a stop to their teaching. Denis and his two companions were seized, tortured, and beheaded. Legend has it that St. Denis’ body stood up, and before the astonished onlookers, picked up his head, and walked six miles.

At the burial site of the three martyrs, a small shrine was erected, later to be replaced by a great basilica which became the burial place of the French kings.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

How much?

The true measure of loving God
is to love Him
without measure.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

St. Keyne

Keyne was a princess, one of the many children of King Brycan of South Wales. Growing up into a very beautiful young woman she was sought in marriage by many noble lords, but resolutely refused all of them. Instead, she took a vow of virginity and retired into solitude. It was after this resolution that she was called “Cain Wyry”, Keyne the Maiden.

Crossing over the Severn, she set up her abode on the left bank. She finally settled in the area of present-day Keynsham, in Somerset. She lived there for years making many journeys and founding oratories and churches.

Her nephew, St. Cadoc, later convinced her to return to Wales, where she settled near a mountain, at which place she caused a healing well to spring up. She died on October 8 about the year 505.
Photo by: Buckstymie

Monday, October 7, 2019

Our Lady of the Rosary

The Blessed Virgin Mary first gave the Rosary to St. Dominic of Guzman in a vision in 1208, as he earnestly begged God for a solution to the Albigensian heresy then aggressively infecting the south of France. After St. Dominic began to preach the Rosary, the days of the Albigensian error were numbered.

The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted by Pope St. Pius V in honor and thanksgiving for the great victory of the Christian Maritime Coalition against the Muslim fleet at Lepanto in 1571. The "League" was formed in response to the Muslim advances made in Cyprus, with the intent of invading Western Europe. Once its forces were gathered ready to meet the Turk in the Mediterranean, St. Pius V blessed the banner of the fleet, which was solemnly consigned to its Commander in Chief, the young Don Juan of Austria, the twenty-four-year-old half-brother of King Phillip II of Spain.

As the fate of Europe hung in the balance, on October 7, 1571, the Sovereign Pontiff called for a Rosary procession in Rome and it was during that procession that the victory was decided for the Christian fleet.

At first St. Pius V instituted October 7 as the feast of Our Lady of Victory. In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title to that of “Feast of the Holy Rosary”.

In 1716 Pope Clement XI inserted the feast into the Roman Catholic calendar of saints and extended it to the whole of the Latin Rite, assigning the feast to the first Sunday in October. In 1913, Pope St. Pius X changed the date back to October 7.
On May 13, 1917, there began in Fatima, Portugal a series of apparitions of a luminous lady to three little Portuguese shepherds, Lucia dos Santos and Francisco and Jacinta Marto. She asked them to return to the same spot for five consecutive months, and that in October she would work a miracle for all to believe and reveal who she was. In every apparition the lady asked for the daily recitation of the Rosary as a remedy to life’s ills, and for peace in the world. On October 13, 1917, a crowd of 70,000 people witnessed the astounding miracle of the sun, as the fiery orb performed a fantastic dance in the sky above. The heavenly lady then revealed her name: “I am the Lady of the Rosary”.

We shall be judged

In the evening of our lives,
we shall be judged
by our love for God and neighbor.

St. John of the Cross

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Padre Pio's Advice on Guardian Angels

Padre Pio's Advice on Guardian Angels
Complied by Tonia Long


It is well known that Padre Pio had encounters with angels throughout his life. Through these encounters he came to know a great deal about their powers and their role in our lives: “to light, to guard, to rule, to guide.”
In a letter he wrote on July 15, 1913, to Anita, one of his spiritual daughters, he gives her valuable advice regarding how to act in relation to her guardian angel, locutions, and prayer.
As each and every one of us has a Guardian Angel, it would do us well to take Padre Pio’s advice to heart.
Dear daughter of Jesus,
May your heart always be a temple of the Holy Spirit. May Jesus increase the fire of his love in your soul and may he always smile upon you, as he does on all the souls that he loves. May Mary Most Holy smile upon you during all the events of your life, and abundantly make up for the absence of your earthly mother.
May your good guardian angel always watch over you, and be your guide on the rough path of life. May he always keep you in the grace of Jesus and hold you up with his hands so that you may not hurt your foot on a stone. May he protect you under his wings from all the deceits of the world, the devil and the flesh.
Have great devotion, Anita, to this beneficent angel. How consoling it is to know that we have a spirit who, from the womb to the tomb, never leaves us even for an instant, not even when we dare to sin. And this heavenly spirit guides and protects us like a friend, a brother.
But it is very consoling to know that this angel prays unceasingly for us, and offers God all of our good actions, our thoughts, and our desires, if they are pure.
Oh! For goodness’ sake, don’t forget this invisible companion, ever present, ever disposed to listen to us and even more ready to console us. Oh, wonderful intimacy! Oh, blessed companionship! If only we could understand it! Keep him always before your mind’s eye. Remember this angel’s presence often, thank him, pray to him, always keep up a good relationship. Open yourself up to him and confide your suffering to him. Be always afraid of offending the purity of his gaze. Know this, and keep it well present in your mind. He is easily offended, very sensitive. Turn to him in moments of supreme anguish and you will experience his beneficent help.
Never say that you are alone in the battle against your enemies; never say that you have no one to whom you can open your heart and confide. It would be a grave injustice to this heavenly messenger.
Humble yourself before the Lord and trust in him; spend your energy, with the help of divine grace, in the practice of the virtues, and then let grace work in you as God desires. The virtues are what sanctify the soul and not supernatural phenomena.
Pray out loud as well; the time has not yet come to abandon these prayers. Support the difficulties you experience when doing this with patience and humility. Also be ready to suffer distractions and dryness, and you must not, under any circumstances, abandon prayer and meditation. It is the Lord who wants to treat you this way for your spiritual advantage.
Forgive me if I end here. Only God knows how difficult it has been for me to write this letter. I am very sick. Pray much that the Lord may desire to free me from this body soon.
I bless you, together with the excellent Francesca. May you live and die in the arms of Jesus.
P. Pio





As a mother feels no disgust in dressing the sores of her child...

As a mother feels no disgust in dressing the sores of her child,
so Mary, the heavenly infirmarian,
never refuses to care for sinners who have recourse to her.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

St. Bruno

Bruno, of a prominent family of Cologne, was born in this ancient city around the year 1030. A promising scholar, he studied at the cathedral school of Rheims, and was ordained to the priesthood in his native Cologne.

In 1056 he became a professor of grammar and theology at his former school in Rheims where he taught brilliantly for eighteen years. Many eminent scholars and philosophers studied under him and did him honor throughout Europe, including Eudes de Châtillon, later Pope Urban II, who convoked the First Crusade.

In 1076, he was appointed chancellor of the diocese, and was about to be elected as Archbishop of Rheims when he announced he was retiring into solitude. At first, Bruno placed himself under the direction of Robert of Molesmes, who later was instrumental in the founding of the Abbey of Citeaux.

Later, given land by St. Hugh, the Bishop of Grenoble, he and six other followers settled in the mountainous reaches of Chartreuse where they first build an oratory surrounded by individual cells. Such was the origin of the Order of the Carthusians, which takes its name from Chartreuse. A great admirer of the Order's founder, Bishop Hugh made his spiritual retreats at the Chartreuse where he took Bruno for his spiritual father.

Hearing of his sanctity, and personally acquainted with his prudence and knowledge, his former pupil, now Pope Urban II, summoned Bruno to Rome. Although this presented a great trial for the saint, he obeyed, leaving one of his disciples, Landuin, as prior of the Chartreuse.

In Rome Bruno served the Holy Pontiff in various capacities, including helping in the preparation of several synods with the aim of reforming the clergy. Pressed by the pope to accept the archbishopric of Reggio in Calabria, Bruno earnestly excused himself, begging to be allowed to live in solitude. Pope Urban II finally consented that he retire into Calabria, but not so far off as Chartreuse.

With the help of a noble friend, Count Roger, Bruno settled in the valley of La Torre with a few new disciples from Rome.  Here he embraced the life of solitude with more joy and fervor than ever. It was here also, that Landuin visited him on behalf of the monks of the Chartreuse. They wished to consult their founder as to the manner in which their monastery should follow more faithfully in the spirit of its founder. Bruno instructed, comforted and urged them to perseverance and blessed them.

As he felt death approaching in 1101, Bruno gathered his monks about him and made a public confession of his life, and a profession of faith, which was lovingly preserved by his spiritual sons. He resigned his soul to God on October 6 in the year 1101.

According to Carthusian custom, which shuns all form of publicity, Bruno was never formally canonized. Nevertheless, in 1514, the Order obtained permission from Pope Leo X to keep Bruno’s feast. In 1674, Pope Clement X extended the commemoration of his feast to the Universal Church.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

What is the gospel of envy?

Socialism is a philosophy of failure,
the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.
Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.

Sir Winston Churchill

Bl. Raymond of Capua

Called “the second founder of the Dominicans”, Raymond della Vigna was born in Capua of a prominent family in the kingdom of Naples. He entered the Dominican Order when attending the university in Bologna and went on to fill several posts, including prior in Rome and lector in Florence and Siena.
While in the latter city, he met St. Catherine of Siena and was appointed her confessor. At first he accepted the assignment without enthusiasm as he had doubts about the young mystic. But after a stunning proof of her authenticity, which he relates in his biography of her, he guided her fervently, becoming her closest advisor.

Through the years he was involved in most of Catherine’s undertakings, including a call for a Crusade, the reconciliation of Florence with the papacy, and the plea to Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome from Avignon in France.

During a plague that struck Siena, Raymond fell ill while aiding the victims and was nursed back to health by St. Catherine.

When the great schism started in 1378 both saints supported Urban VI against the anti-pope Clement VII. After Catherine’s death in 1380, Raymond continued to strive for a settlement of the great crisis and was elected Master General of the Dominicans.

At the helm of the Order until his death in Nuremberg, he worked for the reform of the houses, and the strict observance of the Dominican Rule. Originally buried in Nuremberg, his body was later transferred to the Church of San Domenico Maggiore in Naples. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1899, the fifth centenary of his death.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Tomorrow is First Saturday

Header-Five First Saturday Devotions

The Five First Saturdays devotion is one of the principal points of the Fatima message. It centers on the urgent need for mankind to offer reparation and expiate for the many injuries that the Immaculate Heart of Mary suffers from the hands of both impious and indifferent men.

On the First Saturday during 5 Consecutive Months, the Devotion consists of:
1. Going to Confession,
2. Receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion,
3. Saying five decades of the Rosary,
4. Meditating for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary.
All this offered in REPARATION for the sins of blasphemy and ingratitude committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

History
During the third apparition on July 13, 1917, Our Lady revealed that she would come to ask for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart and for the Communion of Reparation of the Five First Saturdays. Consequently, she asked for the devotion in 1925 and the consecration in 1929.
While staying at the House of the Dorothean Sister in Pontevedra, Portugal, Sister Lucia received a vision on December 10, 1925 where the Blessed Mother appeared alongside a Boy who stood over a luminous cloud. Our Lady rested one hand on the Boy’s shoulder while she held on the other hand a heart pierced with thorns around it.
Sister Lucia heard the Boy say, "Have pity on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother which is covered with thorns with which ingrate men pierce it at every moment with no one to make an act of reparation to pull them out."
Our Lady expressed her request in the following words,
"See, my daughter, My Heart surrounded with thorns with which ingrates pierce me at every moment with blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, make sure to console me and announce that all those who for five months, on the first Saturdays, go to confession, receive Communion, say five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for 15 minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the purpose of making reparation to Me, I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls."
A few days afterward, Sister Lucia detailed this vision in a letter addressed to Monsignor Manuel Pereira Lopes, her confessor when she resided in the Asylum of Vilar in the city of Oporto, Portugal.

Why Five Saturdays?     
Sister Lucia’s confessor questioned her about the reason for the five Saturdays asking why not seven or nine. She answered him in a letter dated June 12, 1930. In it she related about a vision she had of Our Lord while staying in the convent chapel part of the night of the twenty-ninth to the thirtieth of the month of May, 1930. The reasons Our Lord gave were as follows:
The five first Saturdays correspond to the five kinds of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They are:
  a.    Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception
  b.    Blasphemies against her virginity
  c.    Blasphemies against her divine maternity, at the same time the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all men
  d.    Instilling , indifference, scorn and even hatred towards this Immaculate Mother in the hearts of children
  e.    Direct insults against Her sacred images
Let us keep the above reasons firmly in our minds. Devotions have intentions attached to them and knowing them adds merit and weight to the practice.

1st Five Saturdays Devotion Card Banner

Modifications to the Five First Saturdays Devotion to facilitate its observation
The original request of Our Lady asks one to confess and receive Communion on five consecutive first Saturdays; to say five decades of the Rosary; to meditate during 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary for the purpose of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in reparation for the sins of men.
In subsequent private visions and apparitions however, Sister Lucia presented to Our Lord the difficulties that devotees encountered in fulfilling some conditions. With loving condescension and solicitude, Our Lord deigned to relax the rules to make this devotion easy to observe:
  • Confession may be done on other days other than the First Saturdays so long as one receives Our Lord worthily and has the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
  • Even if one forgets to make the intention, it may be done on the next confession, taking advantage of the first occasion to go to confession.
  • Sister Lucia also clarified that it is not necessary to meditate on ALL mysteries of the Rosary on each First Saturdays. One or several suffice.
With much latitude granted by Our Lord Himself, there is no reason for the faithful to hesitate or delay this pious practice in the spirit of reparation which the Immaculate Heart of Mary urgently asks.

This devotion is so necessary in our days
The culture of vice and sin remains unabated even as one reads this. Abortion, blasphemy, drug abuse, pornography, divorce and bad marriages, religious indifference, the advances of the homosexual agenda and others are just some of society’s many plagues that cut deeply into the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
We must console Our Lady amidst all these insults and injuries to her and her Divine Son. She asks for reparation, she pleads for our prayers, she hopes for our amendment of life. Let us listen to her maternal pleas and atone for the ingratitude of men.
The First Five Saturdays devotion stimulates the spirit of reparation; it instills a tender love for the Holy Sacraments of Confession and the Blessed Eucharist. It nurtures a holy affection for the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Rosary. Above all, it is an excellent means to maintain one in the state of grace while immersed in the daily spiritual battles and prosaic existence in the neo-pagan world that we live in.
Let us not delay in observing this devotion for it too gives us hope for eternal salvation.


REFERENCE:
Solimeo, Luiz Sergio, Fatima, A Message More Urgent than Ever 
(Spring Grove, PA: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property-TFP, 2008.)
  
1st Five Saturdays Devotion Card Banner

Also Read:

If needed

Preach the Gospel at all times;
if needed,
use words.

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi

Francis was born in Assisi, a charming hill town in the Italian region of Umbria. His father, Pietro Bernardone, was a wealthy cloth merchant who traded often in France, and his mother, Pica, is said to have belonged to a noble family of Provence. Though baptized “John”, their only son was called “Francesco” or “the Frenchman”.
Young Francis had an expansive nature and was a lover of life, spending his father’s money lavishly. He was also devoted to romantic chivalry then being extolled by troubadours.

At twenty he fought for Assisi against Perugia and was imprisoned for a year. Later, he sought to join another general, and bought a handsome horse and outfit, but meeting a poor man on the way, gave him his clothes. Taken ill, he heard a voice that invited him to fight for “the master” rather than the man.

As he prayed in the Church of San Damiano, he heard a voice coming from the crucifix: “Francis go and repair my house, which you see is falling down.” Thinking he was ordered to rebuild the crumbling church, he sold a bolt of cloth, and his horse and offered the money to the pastor who refused to use it.

From then on, young Francis embarked upon a spiritual path that culminated in his father publicly disowning him. In a dramatic gesture, Francis handed his father all his clothes, and was covered by the bishop’s cloak. He then set out to beg alms to repair churches in his area. Knowing him, the town’s people mocked him, all of which he bore joyfully.

Francis had fallen in love with “Lady Poverty”, leaving all to find ALL. His was the calling to counteract the worldly spirit then infecting society, so contrary to the spirit of the Gospel that had built the Middle Ages.

Around the small chapel of Portiuncula, in the valley below Assisi, he built a first community of wood and mud huts. As others joined him, the community grew to the point that he sought approval of Pope Innocent III in Rome, who, having had a dream of Francis holding up God’s falling church, blessed his Order.

Out of humility, Francis gave his order the name of “Friars Minor”, and never sought ordination, thinking himself unworthy of such an honor.

He also co-founded a feminine branch of the Franciscans with St. Clare of Assisi.

In the fall of 1212, St. Francis resolved to go and preach to the Muslims. His first two attempts were foiled, and he returned to Italy where he preached extensively.

In 1219 he went into Egypt with the Crusading army, and fearlessly sought and faced Sultan Malek-al-Kamil, who, impressed with his teaching, invited the monk to stay with him, but, ultimately, did not make a commitment.

Disappointed, Francis returned to Italy to face a crisis developing in his Order, now spread throughout Europe. In response to a movement attempting to overturn his initial ideal of strict poverty, he revised his rule.  The form ultimately approved by Pope Honorius III in 1223 substantially represented the spirit of St. Francis.

In August of 1224, Francis retired with a companion to Mount Alvernia where he was granted the stigmata of Christ. As his health worsened, the wounds were a source of further pain and weakness and he also became nearly blind.

He died surrounded by his spiritual sons, laying on the floor as he had requested, exhorting his brethren to love of God, of poverty and of the Gospel, “before all other ordinances”.  He was forty five, and was canonized only two years later by Pope Gregory IX.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Tomorrow is First Friday


The Nine First Fridays Devotion

“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 Friday for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance; they shall not die in my disgrace nor without receiving the sacraments; my divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in that last moment.”  Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary

How to complete the First Friday’s Devotion:
  1. Receive Holy Communion on each First Friday;
  2. The nine Fridays must be consecutive;
  3. They must be made in honor and in reparation to His Sacred Heart.

ACT OF REPARATION TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS
Sacred Heart of Jesus, animated with a desire to repair the outrages unceasingly offered to Thee, we prostrate before Thy throne of mercy, and in the name of all mankind, pledge our love and fidelity to Thee!
The more Thy mysteries are blasphemed, the more firmly we shall believe them, O Sacred Heart of Jesus!
The more impiety endeavors to extinguish our hopes of immortality, the more we shall trust in Thy Heart, sole hope of mankind!
The more hearts resist Thy Divine attractions, the more we shall love Thee, O infinitely amiable Heart of Jesus!
The more unbelief attacks Thy Divinity, the more humbly and profoundly we shall adore It, O Divine Heart of Jesus!
The more Thy holy laws are transgressed and ignored, the more we shall delight to observe them, O most holy Heart of Jesus!
The more Thy Sacraments are despised and abandoned, the more frequently we shall receive them with love and reverence, O most liberal Heart of Jesus!
The more the imitation of Thy virtues is neglected and forgotten, the more we shall endeavor to practice them, O Heart of Jesus, model of every virtue!
The more the devil labors to destroy souls, the more we shall be inflamed with desire to save them, O Heart of Jesus, zealous Lover of souls!
The more sin and impurity destroy the image of God in man, the more we shall try by purity of life to be a living temple of the Holy Spirit, O Heart of Jesus!
The more Thy Holy Church is despised, the more we shall endeavor to be her faithful children, O Sweet Heart of Jesus!
The more Thy Vicar on earth is persecuted, the more we will honor him as the infallible head of Thy Holy Church, show our fidelity and pray for him, O kingly Heart of Jesus!
O Sacred Heart, through Thy powerful grace, may we become Thy apostles in the midst of a corrupted world, and be Thy crown in the kingdom of heaven.  Amen.

12 Promises of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary
1.  I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
2.  I will give peace in their families.
3.  I will console them in all their troubles.
4.  I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
5.  I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.
6.  Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7.  Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8.  Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
9.  I will bless those places wherein the image of my Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
11. Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.
12. In the excess of the mercy of my heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.



 
Sacred Heart Devotional Set

Also Read:

Two eyes

Prudence has two eyes,
one that foresees what one has to do,
the other that examines afterward what one has done.

St. Ignatius Loyola

St. Thomas of Cantelupe

Born into an illustrious and influential family, Thomas was the son of William de Cantelupe, a minister to King John, and Millicent (or Maud) de Gournay, the Dowager Countess of Evreux and Gloucester. He had four brothers and three sisters.

His education was entrusted to his uncle, Walter de Cantelupe, the Bishop of Worcester, who sent Thomas first to Oxford and then to Paris. In 1245, while yet a student, Thomas attended the first Council of Lyons. After his ordination to the priesthood in France, he returned to Oxford to teach canon law. In 1262 he was chosen chancellor of the university, and though considered a strict disciplinarian, was known for his charity to poor students.

In 1264 he was appointed Lord Chancellor of England, and was renowned for his prudence, courage, blameless life, scrupulous justice, and disregard of human respect and the least bribe, but did not hold office long.

In 1275 he was appointed Bishop of Hereford, a diocese he found in a bad state owing to civil wars and the pusillanimity of his two predecessors. One after another he met, defied and overcame the lords. He rebuked and excommunicated public sinners equally publicly, especially those in high places who set a bad example. He was also a trusted advisor to King Edward I.

Yet, as it is with truly courageous shepherds, they are just as tender and attentive as they are combative, and it is said that whenever he was among the young, he would personally inquire if they had received the sacrament of Confirmation. Receiving a negative answer, he would personally supply what was needed and confirm them himself.

Unhappily, toward the end of his life, Thomas entered into a great dispute with John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury, over questions of jurisdiction and other particular cases. This disagreement ended by the metropolitan excommunicating Thomas who traveled to Italy to settle the matter with Pope Martin IV who, despite the fulminations in Peckham’s letters, received him kindly. Thomas was ultimately absolved.

Pending the consideration and outcome of his appeal, Thomas retired to Montefiascone but succumbed to the fatigues and the heat, and died in Orvieto on August 25, 1282. His remains were later transferred to Hereford and he was buried in the cathedral. He was canonized in 1320.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The first thing about the angels

The first thing about the angels
that we ought to imitate
is their consciousness of the Presence of God.

St. John Vianney

The Holy Guardian Angels

The existence of angels is a dogma of our Catholic Faith, and is abundantly documented in Sacred Scriptures and Catholic Tradition.

An angel is a spiritual creature, superior to human beings, with a three-fold mission: to praise God, to act as His messengers, and to watch over mortals. "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? ... For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor" (Psalm 8:4-5).

The name "angel" is from the Greek "angelos" meaning "one who is sent" or "messenger". Though purely spiritual, they can show themselves to men in human form as in the story of Tobias.

Passages in Scripture point to the existence of an angel specifically assigned to each human being to help, guide and protect him or her through the journey of life: “Behold I will send my angel, who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him, and hear his voice” (Exodus 23:20) And in the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ speaking of children: “See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10).

Guardian Angels are often visible to Catholic saints as in the life of St. Frances of Rome, St. Gemma Galgani and St. Pio of Pietrelcina. St. Gemma’s angel even delivered letters for her, and brought her coffee in bed when she was sick.

Like many other feasts, the feast of the Guardian Angels was celebrated on a local level before it was placed on the Roman calendar. Pope Clement X officially established the feast of the Guardian Angels for the Universal Church on October 2.
Photo by: Louise Docker

Sweet Star of the Sea


Did you know that the Blessed Virgin Mary, embarked on a sea voyage in her lifetime?

Though this information does not come to us by way of Scriptures, it reaches us through a trustworthy private revelation, which the Church approved and leaves to our discretion to believe.
Such is the vast work entitled, City of God, written by Venerable Maria of Agreda, a Conceptionist nun and mystic of the seventeenth century to whom the Virgin Mary dictated her life.
One of the fascinating details of this account is the story of how St. John, to whom Our Lord entrusted His mother, wishing to protect Our Lady from the persecution developing in Jerusalem, moved her to the town of Ephesus in Turkey. To this day there is a house in Ephesus which is claimed to have been her abode.
So it was that the beloved disciple and Mary Most Holy came to the shore, and boarding a ship, made for the high seas.
For the first time, our Blessed Lady was on the sea. She marvelled at the might and beauty of the ocean, discerning the greatness, the power, and the charm of her Son written in its glistening movements. She praised God for this His mighty work, at the same time commanding all the inhabitants of the deep to give praise to their Creator. Immediately all the creatures of the ocean, from the biggest to the smallest began to show their heads above the breaking waves, gathering around the vessel and bobbing up and down in gleeful acknowledgement of their Queen’s presence in their midst.
At one point there were so many schools of fish and maritime animals crowding around the bow, that the ship’s progress was hindered. At this, the gentle queen, at St. John’s suggestion, graciously blessed them and dismissed them. All promptly obeyed, with one last foaming show of joy, to the astonishment of all on board who were ignorant of the origin of this wonder.
In this voyage, Our Lady also sensed how terrible a menace the sea can be when aroused, to those sailing it. In her maternal concern, she asked her Son to grant her the particular privilege to be a safe haven to all who invoke her at sea at such times of peril. At this prayer, Our Lord granted her the awesome title of “Star of the Sea” and the assurance to all those who invoke her on the ocean, never to perish by its raging might.
A twenty-first century appendix is that while relating this story to an uncle who was a Navy Commander and devotee of Mary, his face lit up on hearing of this divine grant and exclaimed, “I know by experience that what you tell me is true!”
By Andrea F. Phillips

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The goal of all our undertakings

The goal of all our undertakings should be
not so much a task perfectly completed
as the accomplishment of the will of God.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Marie-Françoise Thérèse Martin was born on January 2, 1873 in the town of Alençon in French Normandy. Her parents were Louis Martin, a watch maker, and Zélie Guerin, both beatified by the Church. Called Thérèse, she was the last of nine children, five of which survived to adulthood.

Growing up in a deeply Catholic family, Thérèse’s life was filled with love, consideration and kindness. A pretty, blond and blue-eyed girl, hers was a precocious mind, and passionate, willful, sensitive nature, a nature made yet more sensitive by her mother’s death of breast cancer when Thérèse was four.

After his wife’s death, M. Martin moved his family to the town of Lisieux, and rented a charming home, “Les Buissonnets”, where he raised his five girls in bourgeois comfort. Thérèse was his “Benjamin” for whom he had a special affection and whom he called “my little queen”.

For her mothering needs, the little girl turned to her favorite sister, Pauline, who took the rearing of her “child” seriously looking after her needs of body, mind and soul.

When Pauline decided to enter Carmel in 1882, the shock made Thérèse seriously ill. As the illness progressed, and as her family prepared for the worst, on May 13, the sick girl appealed to a statue of Our Lady by her bed. “Suddenly,” Thérèse writes, “Mary’s face radiated kindness and love…” and she was healed. To the family the statue became “The Virgin of the Smile”.

On Christmas Eve in 1886 at the age of fourteen Thérèse received a great grace. In one moment, she was cured of her hyper-sensitivity, and went through what she calls “her conversion”. From then on she decided to live no longer to please herself but for love. She felt her heart burn with the wish to help Jesus save souls.

Hearing of a murderer, Henri Pranzini, who had been condemned to death, but remained unrepentant, she set out to pray and offer small sacrifices for his conversion, and trusted that God would hear her against all appearances. She was elated when she read that though refusing a priest to the last, at the scaffold Pranzini suddenly turned and, snatching a crucifix from the attending priest’s hands, kissed it repeatedly. Thereafter, Thérèse always called Pranzini her “first son”– her course was set.

She entered Carmel at age sixteen, and though only living as a Carmelite for nine years, she rose to the heights of sanctity through her “little way” of serving God and others in everyday life, and doing everything, even the smallest things, with great love and child-like trust in her God’s paternal love, and mercy.  At the request of her sister Pauline who glimpsed her sanctity, she penned her autobiography, The Story of a Soul.

Struck with tuberculosis, Thérèse suffered greatly. Knowing she was dying she promised, “I shall spend my heaven doing good on earth … I shall let fall a shower of roses”.  Thérèse died on September 30, 1897, after a brief ecstasy. Her last gasping words were, “My God! ... I love Thee!”

She was canonized by Pius XI in 1925 and devotion to her quickly spread throughout the world. For her doctrine of “The Little Way” Thérèse was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Louder than words

Either we must speak as we dress,
or dress as we speak.
Why do we profess one thing and display another?
The tongue talks of chastity, but the whole body reveals impurity.

St. Jerome

St. Jerome

St. Jerome is a Father and Doctor of the Church who is best known for his compiling of the Vulgate version of the Catholic Bible, now the standard edition in use.

He was born about the year 347 at Stidon, near Dalmatia, to wealthy Christian parents. Initially educated at home, his parents soon sent him to Rome to further his intense desire for intellectual learning. There he studied and excelled at grammar, Latin and Greek, rhetoric, and philosophy, and lived a deeply materialistic life alongside his fellow students. Jerome was baptized in his late teen years, as was the custom at the time, around the time he finished his schooling.

After spending many years in travel and, notably, discovering and investigating his extreme interest in monasticism, Jerome’s life took a sudden turn. In the spring of 375, he became seriously ill and had a dream that profoundly impacted him, because in it he was accused of being a follower of Cicero – an early Roman philosopher – and not a Christian. Afterwards, Jerome vowed never to read any pagan literature again – not even the classics for pleasure. He separated himself from society and left to become a hermit in the desert so as to atone for his sins and dedicate himself to God. Having no experience of monasticism and no guide to direct him, Jerome suffered greatly and was often quite ill. He was plagued terribly with temptations of the flesh and would impose harsh penances on himself to repress them. While there, he undertook the learning of Hebrew, as an added penance, and was tutored by a Jewish convert. When controversy arose among his fellow monks in the desert concerning the bishopric of Antioch, Jerome left to avoid the tension of the position he found himself in.

Having developed a reputation as a great scholar and ascetic, Jerome was ordained to the priesthood by the persuasion of Bishop Paulinus, on the condition that he be allowed to continue his monastic lifestyle and not be obliged to assume pastoral duties.

In 382, he was appointed as secretary to Pope Damascus, who urged him to undertake a Latin translation of the Bible from its original Greek and Hebrew origins.

After the death of the Holy Pontiff, Jerome left Rome for the Holy Land with a small group of virgins who were led by his close friend, Paula. Under his direction, Paula established a monastery for men in Bethlehem and three cloisters for women. Jerome remained at this monastery until his death around A.D. 420, only leaving occasionally for brief trips. He is the patron saint of librarians and translators.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Why the wicked exist

The wicked exist in this world
either to be converted
or that through them
the good may exercise patience.

St. Augustine of Hippo

Archangel St. Michael

St. Michael is the model of the Christian warrior because of the fortitude which he showed by casting into hell the legions of damned spirits. He is the warrior of God who will not tolerate the divine Majesty to be challenged or offended in his presence, and who is ready to wield the sword at any time in order to crush the enemies of the Most High. He teaches us that it is not enough for a Catholic to behave well: it is also his duty to fight evil. And not just an abstract evil, but evil as it exists in the ungodly and in sinners. For St. Michael did not cast evil into hell as a principle, a mere conception of the intellect, nor are principles and concepts susceptible to be burned by eternal fire. It was Lucifer and his minions that the Champion of the Almighty cast into hell, as he hated the evil that existed in them and which they loved.

We live at a time of profound religious liberalism. Few Christians have an inkling that they belong to a Church militant, as militant on earth as St. Michael and the faithful Angels were militant in heaven. We also should know how to crush the insolence of wickedness. We too must tenaciously counter the adversary by attacking him and rendering him powerless.

In this struggle, St. Michael should not just be our model but our help. The fight between St. Michael and Lucifer has not ceased but continues throughout the ages. He helps all Christians in the battles they wage against the power of darkness.

Archangel St. Gabriel

“And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

The message that St. Gabriel – which means “the strength of God” – took to Our Lady is a message that affirms the Incarnation of the Word and therefore the greatest act of power and domination that God could exercise upon the world. With the Incarnation of the Word, God was preparing to rescue the world. In doing this, He, who is king of the world by right, also became king by conquest. Thus, He – the second Person of the Blessed Trinity – entered the earth to conquer on the cross. In this special way, He established His kingship upon the world. From this, we can draw some applications for the prayers we can still address to him today. St. Gabriel announced the coming and triumph of the Messiah to Our Lady and thus to all men. We should ask that he now announce the recovery of God’s effective kingship upon the earth through the coming of the fulfillment of the Fatima message.

Today we are in a situation that is even worse than that of the ancient world before Our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we can ask that Our Lord Jesus Christ reign once again, that He establish His reign on earth in Mary and through Mary, and that this period of darkness in which we find ourselves come to an end. He has done one thing, let Him do the other. He had the key to do it to close the era of antiquity, and thus opened a new epoch. Let Him close this era and open the Reign of Mary. Second: we should ask St. Gabriel for an enormous, superabundant devotion to Our Lady and that this devotion grow every instant until the end of our lives. Third: we should ask him for a most ardent, intransigent, vigilant and therefore most militant love of purity; and to have every form of revulsion and disdain for impurity in every way and degree. This is what we should ask him. May he thus protect us and bring us closer to Our Lady.